I just thought maybe it was time to have a little fun, and poke fun at us hopelessly positive dreamers…
Find more serious motivational content at https://kurtsussman.com/wp/blog/ and throughout our archives…
We all want children to be treated fairly, to get equal opportunities, and to have the chance to do and be anything they want to be. At first glance, it seems only fair. But we have to look at the outcomes of these actions, to make sure they are doing what’s intended…and the truth is, when everybody gets a trophy, the person who worked the hardest feels cheated, and the one who knows that they are not as skilled as some others feels embarrassed. EVERYBODY LOSES. Then when this generation grows up, they will have learned not to try to succeed, because they deserve to win just by showing up.
Maybe it would be better to teach our youth that FAIR has nothing to do with life, and when you get knocked down by an obstacle, you get back up and go through it. This will instill resilience, which is much more valuable than a trophy. Better yet, maybe we teach by example of how we face our own hardships. Do we call “foul”, “it’s not my fault”, or “it wasn’t fair”; sure…but hopefully we are able to grow to learn that it is only through accepting conflict that we grow into something better. Embrace the suck and ask for more. Guaranteed, someone’s watching…
Our world, the world of Humans, is an artificial one, a skewed reality. Many feel that all outside forces need to accommodate us, so that we are not offended. We have to remember that this is far removed from the natural order of life on planet earth, where survival is only possible through adaptation. We need to adapt, or perish. Now, our societies go to extreme measure to ensure that no one is offended. Of course, that seems like a compassionate, moral undertaking…but what are the long term effects? If you need for the world to bend to your needs at every turn, you have defined yourself as possibly the weakest person on earth. As Canadian Psychologist Jordan Peterson has brought to light, as he lectures on responsibilities, and the dangers of weak people.
Martial Artists have long known the dangers of weak people; it’s weak people that commit the atrocities highlighted throughout human history. Why? Because weakness breeds fear, and fear leads to all of the horrors of modern society from gang violence to mass shootings.
Martial Arts is a study of “The Contrary” approach, and it works like this: If you want an ordered society, it begins with empowering the individual. How do we do this? By willingly engaging in conflict and ultimately it’s resolution. we engage in conflict when we push the limits of our capabilities, and there is no bigger conflict than the risk of mortal danger. When a person enters Martial training, it is often because of fear. As they train, they willingly take on more and more conflict until at a certain point, their fear has diminished or becomes even negligible. This happens not because the individual was shielded from hardship, but because they willingly embraced hardship…and when they have ventured on the path long enough…the danger they sought to prepare for seldom comes! Why? Because they are not thinking like a prey animal any more, desperately seeking safety in numbers, but like a predator. It’s only at this stage that true compassion and empathy awaken, and the warrior seeks to empower others that remind them of themselves…not so long ago.
Facing the conflict at hand is the path of liberation, and no growth happens in the absence of conflict. Martial Artists have known and practiced this principle for thousands of years.
What may have started as a beneficial tool wielded by the conscious mind has not only grown to a screaming fever pitch to which many of us can’t escape, but even more troubling is the idea that many of us identify that noise as themselves, rather than the one listening…
Some people seem to have everything under control, as if they lead charmed lives. If you examine the life of any of the true human heroes, you will see a life that survived conflicts that would crush most of us. We think that we should create control measures that would prevent some of these things from happening… but the more we try to exert rules and control on life, the more out of control life becomes. If we were to examine the lives of true Warriors; we would see that they don’t try to control anything, but they practice the art of adapting to the environment. We think they are magical, and in some ways they are… because they understand that you don’t even control your own heartbeat…trying to control the world is madness. If you want to see true Warriorship, start with the life of Viktor Frankl, or my 13 year old cat, Peanut.
Our world, and reality itself as we experience it, is a virtual interpretation orchestrated by our brains, based on its interpretation of frequency spectral inputs of light and sound, and the interpretation sent along neural pathways on the presence, pressure, and “feel” of touch. This interpretation is created and based not only on our physical structures, but on our DNA, our experience, and our cultural indoctrination for the first several formative years of our lives…at the minimum. Siblings have much different experiences of reality from each other, despite commonality in genetics and upbringing. So is it even possible for anyone else’s view of reality to be “more correct” than our own?
That’s right. Only the truly dangerous are capable of true compassion. Dangerous individuals are strong, empowered individuals and in almost any situation, they do not feel threatened, so they can CHOOSE to be compassionate. A weak, powerless individual is not compassionate; his flaccid response to a situation is not choice; its the only response he is capable of, until he has been oppressed long enough to explode in rage.
Empowering individuals is the single most important thing a society can do to reduce violence.
It’s easy to embrace the light, the sunshine, the warmth on our face. But we must also strive to embrace the darkness, our fears, and uncertainty. Facing the darkness is the only possible way of seeing the stars that can only be seen there.
Mark Twain had some great quotes like “Never argue with a fool…onlookers may not be able to tell the difference” and “Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it”.
These may be paraphrases, but Mark Twain was keenly aware that the biggest threat to our well being is our own rabid thoughts, and unchecked emotions.
I see the danger every day…looking back at me when I brush my teeth.
Albert Einstein was quoted as saying “As the circle of our knowledge grows, so does the circumference of the Darkness”. Darkness is often equated with ignorance (“until I saw the light”), So its no stretch to say that the more we know, the greater our ignorance. In fact, he was also know for the saying that “a person’s intelligence can be directly related to his/her ability to entertain a contrary viewpoint from their own, without needing to believe it”. Maybe it would be wise to adopt a neutral stance as we age, toward new, perhaps strange ideas. Maybe it can best be summed up by a little plaque my daughter gave me when she was very young; perhaps an indication of the thoughtful woman she was to become. The Plaque said, simply, “I’m not young enough to know everything”.