It takes a certain amount of strength to reach for a piece of fruit and yank it away from a plant. Strength is required to build and to farm and to hunt and to carry groceries from the store and put them in your car. Ask an old person if loss of strength has impacted their lives in a negative or positive way. A weaker person is more vulnerable. Less strength means it is less likely that you will be able to push someone away who wants to take something from you, and on a strictly physical level, reduced strength means a dimininsehed ability to take what you want from someone else. A person who is too weak simply cannot survive. It is strength that makes all other values possible.
Strength is the ability to exert one’s will over oneself, over nature and over other people.
– Jack Donovan, The Way of Men
If men swear that they want to harm you when you are asleep, you can go to sleep. If women say so, stay awake.
– African Proverb
This past couple of weeks I’ve dedicated a lot of my time to playing League of Legends. It’s a 5v5 real time strategy game, where you control one character with four teammates against five other people and attempt to destroy their base before they destroy yours. The number of commands available to each player are relatively simple – your character has four skills, you as the magical summoner have two more spells which you can use once in a long while, move here or attack there, and any additional abilities you obtain from items you buy throughout the course of a game. The gameplay itself is not so easy going – in a matter of seconds, everyone on your team could die and during the time you are waiting to respawn, what was an even game, or a really easy game where you were miles ahead of the opposing team, you lost the game. Though it couldn’t happen the minute you started, over time every “champion” – through killing of opponents and neutral NPCs – gets stronger, and gameplay becomes more and more volatile. Whereas in some other games a significantly better player may have vast armies already conquering other places, in League of Legends late game, any slip up by any member can cost the whole team the win.
The volatility is often reflected in the players’ emotions.
The other day, my math major friend told me that someone from his dorm went full on rage during a game they were playing together. While saying hi to someone, that guy wasn’t paying attention to the game screen and ended up being pulled into a gank, giving “First Blood” to the enemy team and granting one of their members bonus gold. The rest of the game, he apparently screamed “Fuck You” at my friend (these games average 30-40 minutes), and at the end he threw a chair. Note that (at this time) there is no way for any character to affect the positioning of an ally, it was actually impossible for Mr. Math Major to save Mr. Dorm Friend.
The interesting part was not that, as stupid people are everywhere and stupid things happen all the time, but rather, Mr. Math Major’s response. He was all sad and broken up about it. This one guy, who he doesn’t know at all outside of being a friend of a friend and someone who lives in the same big building as he does, made him depressed for a good couple of days. On facebook, he said, “Amazing how just one person can ruin my college experience.” I agree, it is quite amazing. But not amazing in the way he imagines. He thinks it’s amazing because it’s just one nobody.
I think it’s amazing because he didn’t deal with it.
You don’t understand. If you were in the room and was the target of everything he was saying, you probably would have outright punched him.
Yes. And the problem would be solved.
I have no problem with getting mad.
I have no problem with any emotion really.
Just as the saying goes with being drunk, I believe you become “more of who you are” when you have intense emotions. In terms of percentages, you are generally not very much “yourself” in normal situations – i.e., you do not stick very much to what you believe. There’s a lot of leeway to fuck around in for most things. It is the margin, the halation, and it is very large. It takes a high degree of discipline to do what you truly believe in normal situations, for all the distractions and confusion lead you in haphazard directions unless you’re skilled at discerning what is important from what is not.
When you are emotional, you start ignoring large parts of reality. Whereas under normal conditions its pretty hard to concentrate on anything, emotions make it significantly easier. It is however not all sunshine and roses, magical everything is clear now. Your emotions color your world a certain way, and while any emotion always helps you focus, what you focus on may not necessarily be the optimally productive. Joy may cloud your vision and cause a car crash. Self pity may end up with you missing an opportunity to court the girl of your dreams. Gratitude may cause forgetfulness of something else that’s important. Anger could create conflicts that end up being significantly more destructive than if you had done nothing. These reasons are why our culture today has emphasized so heavily the importance of being “calm” and being “rational”.
That being said, I love having intense emotions.
It’s pretty hard for me to deal with everything “as it is”. It’s infinitely more simple when I am emotional. I don’t need to worry about all the little things, about how my desk is messy or some leg muscle hurts, how the chair isn’t as comfortable as it should be, how my pillows are uncomfortable or how my soup needs more salt. Emotions are, quite literally, order at no cost. Like your mom making your bed and your breakfast in the morning, or Google gathering the results from all of the internet and putting them in order of relevance, it’s life on EZ mode. Yes, maybe some suboptimal discoloration in your views of the world will result. Your mom isn’t always going to cook your favorite meal; Google isn’t always going to give you the result you want on your first try and on the first page of results. But at least it’s organized without your effort in some manner. It is much easier to respond to a system, than to build one from ground up.
For me, it’s even a better deal than it is for most people. Through methods I am still attempting to clarify, I have managed to make it so that order itself truly is the thing I believe in most. It matters not what emotion I have; the moment I get emotional a problem relating to order shows up, and I put all my energy towards solving it. Grief, self-pity, gratitude, happiness; it matters not, something always shows up as important, and it is important. It might not be the thing which needs most attention out of all things, but again, you can’t learn without being wrong, and you can’t be wrong without trying.
However, for those who do not practice and value discipline, emotions truly can wreak havoc.
While normal calm reality is simply nonorder for people who allow themselves to be led by stupid and/or pointless things, emotions for them are active disorder. For 99% of their regular interactions they are purely anti-negative, always evading other things rather than pushing their own. They do not actually believe in anything, only disbelieving in other things. This has mostly been acceptable or at least tolerable in society today, as society today asks of people only to not be in physical contact with each other and to do logistical work in some office cubicle and to “be nice”. There are very few expectations of anyone and it is very hard to fail, as actual discussions are outside acceptable norms (religion, money, and politics, I believe it was?). A “diversity” of things are allowed to grow.
And of course, when order comes around, everything that is not order is razed to the ground.
When I am mad, I am very clear about what is the problem and what I need to do. But for many others, anger is actually a pure power trip. I’m going to fuck you up because I can. They do not believe in anything, and when the limbic system calls, they have nowhere to direct their exertions of power to… and so, they distribute it everywhere and at random. Just as I love emotions no matter what I have, most people hate emotions no matter what they have (outside of the good ones for a vague indescribable I-like-this feeling, but we will ignore that for the time being). When they’re happy, it’s messy. When they’re sad, it’s messy. Indeed, if you and all the people you’ve ever known had no discipline (hello, America 2012) and every time any of you ever got emotional, shit got really messy, I too would conclude that it is always better to be calm and rational.
Of course, I don’t.
To contrast, when I am mad, the most common term I use is not “Fuck You” because I want to show dominance and willingness to start a fight, but rather, a “Shut Up”, because I’m having a fabulous time not having to deal with a ridiculous amount of distractions, and this gloriously easy time I’m having concentrating on solving this one problem is being ruined because some “friend” wants to “talk about it”. And “it” is not the problem I’m trying to solve, but how it’s bad and evil that I’m liking being emotional.
I’m not sure if it’s because they don’t see that I’m much more efficient when I’m mad, or if they just don’t like actual efficiency. Or if it’s because they’re jealous. Or, if it’s because my failures are much more decisive when I’m mad, and they don’t like failures, period. Doesn’t really matter which one it is because they’re wrong, if not dishonorably then at least incorrectly, because all of them run to me for advice on how to deal with difficult shit.
Which is really funny, because I give about the same damn advice each time, and each time they reject it, and each time they come back for more.
My emotions make me more orderly, because I already seek order. I feel anxious and nervous at times basically all men and women do, and I have times where I roll around in my bed too thinking about how the world’s out to get me. But rather than let the emotions control me, I see emotions as a resource, something I refine for the appropriate amount of time and then put to use. I’ll curl up in bed for ten minutes, then go out into the dark night to lift some weights or do something simple to set a tempo, then go and ramp it up to fix or do something complex. I’ll feel “butterflies in my stomach” for a moment, but I’ll order myself to approach the girl, and then I do it. And then it’s over. No bullshit.
Everything lives for its appropriate length of time in the appropriate way, then dies off into silence.
Pain is chaos, the result of freedom. When people are instable, they search for meaning and truth, things that are absolute. In other words, the search is for limiters. People need constraints to function. Indeed, “function” cannot exist without environment.
My advice is always to stop talking and start doing, to stop thinking and start feeling. Confusion exists only because there is no order: this is a fundamental truth. Where there is order, you can only be correct or incorrect, you are either right or wrong. But where there is disorder, those concepts cannot exist. Indeed, no concept can exist, which is why emotionally “tormented” people can never truly describe their problems head on. They will always say “maybe” as a qualifier. Maybe it is. Maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s slightly different. I dunno, maybe. If they could just word their thoughts and speak them rather than just thinking them, they could figure out how exactly they are inaccurate.
But they don’t, because they think they can cut Michelangelo’s David with just one hammer stroke if they just find the perfect angle and the perfect slab of granite to stick their never-before-tested chisel.
I was facebook friends with a guy once, and he always came back to me to tell me how I’m wrong for focusing on discipline rather than finesse. I bang my head up against the wall too much, he said. Smart work is better than hard work, he said. Toiling forever at something doesn’t mean it has value, he said. These are all true statements. I do indeed bang my head against the wall often. But the wall breaks when I bang my head, my head gets harder and I get through walls faster, while you have to travel to the ends of the earth to find a way around or spend forever building some ladder you fail to bring over the wall. Smart work is better than hard work, but smart is only a way of improving things and you can’t improve anything if you hadn’t been doing it to begin with. It is, again, true that toiling at something doesn’t mean it has value. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value, either.
We have a lot of smart workers today. They give no fucks about their employers or even their own futures. No fucks.
Something culture doesn’t value today is a low turnover rate. It was the original, the tradition, but we have abandoned it for the pursuit of using a certain word that starts with the letter P more. Today, corporations and governments measure their turnover rates in months and years. In so and so many months and years, this percentage of our employees will be completely different. I am unsure how it operates in third world countries, but in second world countries like America, these turnover rates are high not because people are getting shot or getting so sick because they can’t work, it’s because people don’t care. There’s more money elsewhere, I’m going there instead. There’s a nice mall or nice weather somewhere else, bye bye Company, it was nice being here for 2 years and knowing only two people out of the thousand people in the building.
There is one type of group that still operates with low turnover rates in mind, and they have amazing capabilities. Rather than measuring turnover in months and years, they measure it in terms of generations. How many generations has your family been part of this brotherhood? It is the organized criminals. The mafias, the triads, the yakuza, all of these groups have and rely on low turnover rates. Indeed, any group which has this succeeds enormously. The monarchs of the past had loyal servants and an orderly culture. Can the leaders of countries today boast the same thing? People of the same guild or the same town used to be ready to take up arms to defend a financial partner or a community member. How common is that in “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave”?
None of the people of the old thought to work smart. Working hard is the first thing, it is the core thing. It is work and action from which everything builds off of. It’s assumed that you will use your correct and best judgement at all points in time. You worked to obtain this slab of marble, of course you’re going to create the best sculpture out of it. And everyone believes you will.
Today we have the hammer and chisel and brag about not having marble. Or, more accurately, stealing and working on someone else’s marble then bragging about how we didn’t have to work to obtain the marble. Obviously, nobody cares about helping “strangers” in this system. Laugh maliciously at everyone who fails, feel free!
If that’s your kind of thing, great. I can see how saving effort is good and how you could more focus your energies towards pure improvement. It is also of course your choice whether or not to brag about being so great at R&D you do not need to develop your fundamental skills. If you can do it, I can’t have a problem with it.
I don’t believe you can.
When halation comes around, it will again be I that spends no effort in revealing the farce that you are. Everyone must race in the race of order, and your flamboyant disregard for doing daily practices and runs will again show your lack of mental fitness. I on the other hand have always actively seek races. When I had my teenage depression, I rammed straight through it. I took no drugs. I had no counseling. With the help only of a few friends, I have been able to emerge with a complete understanding of all feelings blue. Yes, it took me a few years. Several, even. But now, depression and all my emotions are my bitches. Because I train both in mental strife and in mental peace, I am at least prepared and ready to react to any situation that will ever realize or arise. But most of the time, I have already achieved the ideal in The Art of War: I win before I ever fight it.
Do your emotions serve you, because you have something in mind that you truly believe and work at at all times and all costs?
Or do you serve your emotions?
When I play with a really bad team in League of Legends and I’m mad, I get a lot of insults. I say the usual things most people say of course, and I’m not a perfect player. But outside of the “wow you’re so fucking stupid” generics, I give orders. Go here. Buy that item. Ward that bush. Defend base. Push mid. It is what I want people to do to me if I’m being stupid, and it is what I do to other people when they are being stupid. None of this “PLEAAAASE come and help with the teamfight” shit, or “Why are you mad?”/”U mad bro?” fuckatry. Clear orders. And people call me retard because I end up making some mistake – as everyone does, it’s very hard to play a game without ever dying – which leads to the loss of some objective or someone else’s death. I’ve been told worse things by better people, of course.
I do however like accuracy. If you insult me or someone like me, who tries to organize the team’s actions from this vague non-communication and trying to pull a win out of a guaranteed loss, by calling us retards, you are wrong. Do not misunderstand, I do not get offended. I may be doing something wrong or something stupid. I don’t deny that. I’m not a perfect League of Legends player, nor am I perfect at anything. This does not mean I cannot give orders. If you have better orders, by all means, let us duke it out and may the truer point win. If you are right, I will follow your future orders. If I am right, you will follow mine.
But if you’re just talking shit about how I’m retarded and how XYZABC things don’t work without ever putting up your own points to run on? If you’re just like everyone else, pussyfooting through reality thinking you can achieve happiness by doing nothing and simply “being” smart? There is a word for what I do and the type of person I am, and there is a word for what you do and the type of person you are.
I am an asshole. You are the retard.
Get your fucking bullshit straight.