The Inner Struggle

Doing the Right Thing … with anger and resentment? … or peaceful humility?

ゆりかごの歌”  William W. Spearman IV, from the album “Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)

“Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)

“Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)

For the last little while, I have been thinking about stress and disposition, over hot coffee, and amongst friends and allies, all the while acknowledging that  congeniality and a relative absence of turmoil and emotive stress are required to consider honestly any life situation involving said turmoil and stress.

I have been considering the difference between doing, or not doing the required “right thing” which you are handed by circumstances and the exigencies of daily life. Between saying and not saying whatever comes to mind as one finds oneself yet again troubled by the unrest resulting from the ill considered actions and sayings of others.

As Bill the Bard famously wrote: “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles, And by opposing end them”. I rather suspect folks have thinking these thoughts for a long long time.

I think the question of doing or not doing is pretty much settled, at least for me. Of course we “do the right thing” regardless of how we feel about it personally, sometimes we even manage to do it to the extent that we choose to make major personal sacrifices to do the right thing. All well and good. Doing “the right thing” is the important thing. 

But my personal jury is still out deliberating over “saying” or “not saying”.  Adapting ourselves to the mentalities, preferences and needs of others proves to be a real obstacle to doing the right thing with good will. We give ourselves a free pass to say whatever comes to mind because “the other” is wrong, rude, ungrateful, malicious, stupid, they don’t understand, they never learn … the excuses we use to heal our self image and justify our bad behaviour are endless.

Captain James T. Kirk

We choose to insist upon our personal feelings, our point of view, our own tastes, instead of resolving to overlook  all the differences of temperament, mentality, education, experience, tastes and so on.

Putting ourselves as the service of the other with a genuine and sincere spirit of humility in all things would short circuit the hard wired reactions of resentment, anger, judgement, and general dissatisfaction with the “moronic” conduct of others which lack of consideration and foresight leads to all the problems and crisis of daily life, our “Calvary”.

So how can one reasonably transition from anger, resentment, thirst for personal justice and fairness, wake up and smell the coffee, people, the all encompassing general irritation with the idiosyncrasies and idiocy of those around us who are continually screwing with our otherwise peaceful pleasant lives by their self-centered, narcissistic, ill-considered, defecation on the carpet of life?

How can one transition from pride and arrogance to humility and peace?

“早春賦”, William W. Spearman IV, from the album “Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)

Mark Manson, 2016

Mark Manson, 2016

It strikes me today that that place of transition, that no-man’s land between anger and arrogance and peaceful humility, may well be entered into by Mark Manson’s “Subtle art of not giving a F***”. As he says in his book (swapping the F-bomb for “damn”):

*****

Look, this is how it works. You’re going to die one day. I know that’s kind of obvious, but I just wanted to remind you in case you’d forgotten. You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon.

And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of damns to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a damn about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice—well, then you’re going to get damned.

There is a subtle art to not giving a damn. And though the concept may sound ridiculous and I may sound like an idiot, what I’m talking about here is essentially learning how to focus and prioritize your thoughts effectively—how to pick and choose what matters to you and what does not matter to you based on finely honed personal values.

This is incredibly difficult. It takes a lifetime of practice and discipline to achieve. And you will regularly fail. But it is perhaps the most worthy struggle one can undertake in one’s life. It is perhaps the only struggle in one’s life.

Because when you give too many damns—when you give a damn about everyone and everything—you will feel that you’re perpetually entitled to be comfortable and happy at all times, that everything is supposed to be just exactly the damned way you want it to be.

***

Manson, Mark. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life (pp. 13-14). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

The fault zone, the rift valley, between the tectonic plate of self-righteous anger and resentment and the neighboring undiscovered country of peaceful meekness and humility in all things is so huge as to be difficult to apprehend and consider crossing without some kind of mountain pass or transition zone.

I am thinking that perhaps that philosophical mountain pass is in fact exactly what Mark is talking about: “pick and choose what matters to you and what does not matter to you based on finely honed personal values”.

Not only “what matters to me” but leap to “What Matters”! In this metaphorical mountain pass we can pick off daily bites of climbing which our limited abilities make doable.

Considering the entire fault zone as one huge challenge to “leap at a single bound!” puts us in the position of having to be Tony Stark in our Iron Man flying power armor. We are going to fail, come up short, confirm just what a screw-up we really are, in short turn our struggle into a self fulfilling prophecy of failure and misery.

Then, as a newly realized, miserable failure, we are tempted to indulge in : … F***ing  things up in at least one of two ways: 1.   “Denial”.  Some people deny that their problems exist in the first place. And because they deny reality, they must constantly delude or distract themselves from reality. This may make them feel good in the short term, but it leads to a life of insecurity, neuroticism, and emotional repression.

And 2.  (a real biggy) Victim Mentality”.  Some choose to believe that there is nothing they can do to solve their problems, even when they in fact could. Victims seek to blame others for their problems or blame outside circumstances. This may make them feel better in the short term, but it leads to a life of anger, helplessness, and despair.

People deny and blame others for their problems for the simple reason that it’s easy and feels good, while solving (personal behaviour) problems is hard and often feels bad.

So, these days I am strongly leaning towards “daily bites of climbing” which are doable with our limited resources and God’s help. The other part of this challenge is the understanding that we are unlikely to be successful in attaining peaceful, humble, meekness in any degree of perfection. This is a daily ongoing battle – failing and getting up again and trying again.

No matter how much we may seem to have failed, the climb is all about never giving up and always starting again with renewed commitment. This is all that matters, it is an effort of the will, it is not emotional, and there are precious few consolations along the way. The emotional danger of feeling that all our time and effort is wasted is what tempts us to give up in our effort.

Our ordinary notion of progress does not serve us well in this climb, for it will often appear that we spend more time failing than succeeding, and in that we lose site of the fact that the climb is all about trying and never giving up.

At least that is how it seems to me these days.

Cheers

Joe

Never Give Up, Never Give Up, Never Give Up …

 

 

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

Donkeys and Sheepdogs … part 2 …

Evil exists. there are lots of places where good is absent. You better believe it. There are lots of evil men in this world and they are capable of horribly evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you join the sheep team. There is no safety in denial. No refuge in refusing to see, and no insult or belittling about this. It is simply choosing to live in reality, or denying reality.  Most of the people in our society are sheep.  As I said previously, they are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident. There is no mortal malice in them.

Our society is like “… the pretty, blue robin’s egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell“. LTC (RET) Dave Grossman,  author of “On Killing.”   If you find you can handle that book then check out “On Combat”  and “The Bulletproof Mind“.  Soldiers, sailors, Police officers, Firemen, Para-medics and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful, a civilization that they protect from the enemy, the wolves.

So, for example, we have a flash-back from over 40 years ago when I routinely spent over 300 days a year at sea because the guv’mint saw us as a problem and ran us permanently at less than half strength while still demanding that we “do everything, with nothing, forever”:

The Naval Prayer

O Eternal Lord God,
who alone rulest the raging of the sea;
who has compassed the waters with bounds
until day and night come to an end;
be pleased to receive into Thy almighty and most gracious protection
the persons of us Thy servants,
and the Fleet in which we serve.

Preserve us from the dangers of the sea,
and from the violence of the enemy;
that we may be a safeguard unto our most gracious Sovereign Lady,
Queen Elizabeth,
and her Dominions,
and a security for such as pass upon the seas upon their lawful occasions;
that the inhabitants of our Commonwealth may in peace and quietness
serve Thee our God;
and that we may return in safety
to enjoy the blessings of the land,
with the fruits of our labours,
and with a thankful remembrance of Thy mercies
to praise and glorify Thy Holy Name;
Amen.

First published in 1662 in the Book of Common Prayer,
The Naval Prayer has remained mostly unchanged since then,
with the exception of a change to the name of the monarch

That comes under the heading of “Tradition”. To stand between the pretty blue egg and the enemy. To be a safeguard and a security. To serve the Master, the True Shepherd.

And the enemies of that pretty blue egg are all around, in the form of the usual legion of killers and terrorists, and criminals, and so on. But there are other enemies, “stealth” enemies, in the deadly 5th column of gov’mint officials, and teachers, and administrators, and unionists, and economists, and central bankers, and politicians, and bureaucrats, and the state sponsored media,  who want to keep the sheep under control and stupid so that  they can turn them into lamb-chops – metaphorically of course – after all, where do taxes come from?

It was a sad day, and also a most important day in my military service when I realized that the most dangerous enemy we faced was back home in the Capital and the Administration. A realization that the chestless ones, our leaders and intellectuals and academics and media wankers thought of us,  the security, the guys and gals in uniform,  as “the enemy”. Because they chose the “self interest” side of the coin (see previous post) and they had subverted the polity. That they had mutinied against the Master and now served only themselves.

So how did teachers make the list above? Let me be clear, there are indeed many teachers who have done and continue do exemplary service to and for the people they teach. I am NOT talking about those teachers.

I included teachers in the list above because the good teachers have been eclipsed by the “Teachers” who  collude in this process of subversion as the first line of indoctrination, because their “careers” depend on it and they are highly rewarded for “buying into the meme”. They are the primary interface between young folks and the gov’mint. They “teach” young people to become sheep, or at least weed out the non-sheep as “trouble-makers”.

We give our children to these minions, and most of them have never done anything in their lives except go to school, first as students and then as teachers. They have drunk deeply of the chestless cool-aid.  These very well paid know-nothings are given our children to mold as their masters see fit. To instruct the young, not in the higher things of life like values and ethics and morals, but rather to turn them into good little compliant lamb-chops who won’t ask questions and will more or less do as they are told by their enlightened betters.  BAAAA!

Then there are the legions of administrators who have the power to punish the sheep if they fail to “get in line”. And then you have the central bankers and gov’mint ministers who have the power (for example) to create fiat money at will with printing presses and thereby deplete and dilute the savings and destroy the security of the sheep at will, and many other shady evils which it would take several posts to go into so I will leave that for another day.

On the bright side, there are the donkeys. … luv those donkeys …

To be continued …

Cheers

Joe

CSRDisclaimer for nitpickers: We take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately

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