I think I understand people. Most people. Some people are beyond my understanding, and I think it should stay that way. What I know is that life is like a series of mountains and gates. You become your habits of climbing and passing through. It may very well be that the biggest things I have are my ego and my will to live. They keep me working for the best, to survive and let the upside take care of itself, but to take that upside and own it. I am perceptive and articulate and I have a pretty good memory. I am armed with logic and empathy, and I have my own family. That's the foundation for a life well spent, and I'm pleased with what I have become.
As some readers know, I am engaged in my Martial Education and I am noticeably more muscle and less fat than I've been in a decade. It's a good start. But there are still some Liberal Arts and Technical educational disciplines I maintain. Let's cover a few things which remain as my current deep questions.
The best way I can describe this Liberal Arts problem of mine concerns the ethics of the virtuous man in the woods of chaos. How should one engage the man who tattoos his forehead with the mark of the Beast in reaction to the evil he perceives in the world? How much patience should one have with moral laxity? I have little patience with things that are broken, but while people are not things, a person who behaves with only a fraction of his humanity engaged is asking to be abstracted. To what extent is it in my position in society to insist on virtue in the collective? Do I have to assess the whole or just the man within reach? Could I waste my entire fortune in sympathy with the degraded and corrupt? Could I exhaust my tolerance and patience addressing every corruption? What is the appropriate middle ground, or is moderation itself the agent of complacency?
I suspect there's a classic book that handles such questions well. So I am engaging some selections of these swapping out some of my recent boredom with science fiction, and moderating my patience for the true detective stuff which has become recently delicious.
That's the conversation I want to have, Mr. Crowley, if you're interested in another heart to heart. It's the conversation I'm ready to have with anyone who will put up with my willingness to consider nothing as settled.
On the Martial Ed front, as it were, I'm rather stunningly pleased with the amount of ease with which a physical manifestation of self expresses itself. That is to say, when you go from fat to thin, or vice versa, it is deeply transformative not only of yourself but of your impression of others who do not. Let me do an analogy. I think it was Freakonomics or perhaps Ariely who evaluated the self-esteem of people who wore knockoff clothing or jewelry. The people who wanted to signify their status with a fake Rolex watch who knew it to be a fake were much less confident in themselves than those who wanted to signify their status with a real Rolex watch. So in fact, it's not the guy in the Ferrari who has the mental problem, it's the guy in the Mustang who drives like he's got a Ferrari who's doing the compensating. I can verify this for myself remembering the day I was driving my BMW 535 and got passed on the freeway by a BMW 540. Although, at the time I thought the guy in the M5 was over-compensating. I should have really just wanted the M5 and have done with it.
So I have come to think of all of my prior fake exercise programs and fake diets, now that I am serious about both and am getting the sort of results that both impress me and leave me in pain. I know all of my previous efforts to be less than totally committed - even as I sometimes adjust my commitments to my new regime. However, I have the confidence that I am doing the real thing, which is based on the fact that I have ordered the Navy Seal workout and have seen that I do much of what they do. It is that commitment to the warrior standard that puts my ego in check and forces me to deal with the more ultimate question.
This is very much in parallel with what ESR says about the moral clarity learning to use a firearm imposes on the thoughtful person. Which reminds me of a famous lyric fraught with elision. You may know Folsom Prison Blues:
When I was just a baby my mama told me. Son,
Always be a good boy, don't ever play with guns.
But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die
There's a big gap between playing with guns and shooting a man just to watch him die, but people seem to think the gap is mighty small between the wish and the deed. That's just happy talk. Going the distance is difficult. There is no room for the passive voice. It's not what you aim to do, it's what you practice doing.
On the Technical side, as I progress on various fronts from Gearhead to Hacker to Maker, I am learning a great deal these days about the systems that make modern banking possible. And although I would probably prefer to get into the business of big data for water systems and have responsibilities for the most basic of industries, I'm not convinced that banking itself isn't one of those. Nevertheless I'm going to be proprietary about what I'm doing there other than saying that I've just discovered another in the Mae family beside Freddie and Fannie.
My life is good and I've never been much happier for any reason. This dude abides.