• Sim

Rather Than


Discarding your “Rather than's”

A substrate of thought that seems to bubble to the surface in many different manifestations: “I'd rather be a poor good man, than a rich prick” “I'd rather be mobile than muscularly huge and tight” I'd rather be X than Y. It's interesting to see, hear and witness within myself. These are conditions we put on ourselves. We don't have to think this way nor even act towards that. Its like a self fulling prophecy. Because you are convinced there are certain conditions to some of these attributes. This is in no way absolute in both directions. Maybe (I use that word carefully) you can't have it both ways (or everything) because a defining parameter (or parameters). BUT (I emphasis strongly) that also seems to be the case in a subsequent minority of cases/situations.

You don't have to put up a condition. You can be wealthy/rich and still be an amazing human being and morally good. You can be mobile and athletic and be as muscular as you want. That line of thinking is too binary to accommodate ultimate reality.

In the Daily Stoic I found a passage that has an interesting illustration about this type of duality. Hero or Nero? “ Absolute power corrupts absolutely”. “It's not so clear that power always corrupts. In fact, it looks like it comes down, in many ways, to the inner strength and self awareness of individuals – what they value, what desires they keep in check, whether their understanding of fairness and justice can counteract the temptations of unlimited wealth and deference.”

Even more interesting is a thought Jocko Willink conveyed on his podcast. “War is an amplifier, not a creator. People going in with some type of psychological issues (fractured mind) tend to come out worse. It amplifies what's already there. The more sound and stable of mind tend to come out better.” Paraphrasing from memory, that was the general gist. So both wealth and war are amplifiers, they don't create character (although they could): they amplify character. Maybe we're afraid that by trying to get “everything we want” we will corrupt ourselves. Or maybe that we're taking more than our fair share? Maybe we don't know an option exists where we can have both? Perhaps some are afraid of what might be potentially amplified. That if they got their riches, they'd lose sight of what's important. I say the practice of self awareness keeps you on line with actuality, this way you can potentially have both.

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