Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Letters to a young man 35

Hello my friend. I share with you the following:

And when you see her for the vile creature she is, rather than a beauty to be conquered, then you shall be free.

This is but the tip of the iceberg, of course, but I want to get your attention. What does this passage refer to? A woman? Or something else? You see, there is a parallel between the above and most everything which you encounter in life. You are offered inferior things and you quibble with others over which is better while your pocket is picked by your enemies.

Consider the arguments you have with others about this movement versus that movement. About this philosophy versus that philosophy. About the finer points of this philosophy versus other points of the very same philosophy. Consider how much energy you waste in this senseless distraction. Our enemy grows stronger and more powerful daily, while we quibble over the unimportant details. The most important detail is the fact that, on one side lives the enemy, and everyone else is on the other side.

So who is this enemy?

The enemy is silent, yet lives everywhere. He touches everything you touch, everything you buy. He lives on your back, a heavy weight, though you do not feel it as such. He instigates trouble and draws you into conflict, then runs and claims that you started it all. He is a weasel and a devil. If you are not careful, he will be master of all you are and do. He has many resources and craftily plays all sides of the game. He only cares that he profits in the end--the sort who bets on both sides of the chess match and always "wins".

To fight him we must begin by cultivating ourselves. We must remove the poison from our wounds, though the taste is bitter, though the process is painful: it must be done. Removing the poison first, we then remove our blinders. Until we correct ourselves, what business do we have correcting anything else? We awake to see a world much different than we had supposed. In this next period we will have to fight our depression and sense of powerlessness. We will need to overcome our urge for bloodthirsty revenge, for our enemy is powerful and will capitalize on our hasty actions. We must calm ourselves and take things step by step. We must keep our eye on the future and the long-term goal.

As an example, look upon how several nations, including China and Russia are working together to fight the evil we all face. The Chinese in particular are masterful at their patient struggle forward. The enemy underestimates them, and because of this, the Chinese will prevail. As will the Russians. Are they our enemies? I tell you that they are not. If you believe that they are, ask yourself why. You must examine what you know and what you believe, for you have been told lies and have been led astray by our enemy. We need not fear the Chinese, nor the Russians, nor others, for we have the same enemy. We may not be entirely the same, but we have more in common than you may think.

As you move forward, focus on the fact that you are planting seeds of not only the enemy's destruction, but of your own liberation and betterment, as well as the liberation and betterment of your people. Focus on this when you must make difficult decisions, for when you remember all that is at stake you will see things clearly.

Xunzi said, "Unless you pile up tiny streams, you can never make a river or a sea."

Once you have cultivated yourself, begin to work with your family, especially the young. Teach them and show them that there is a different way to live and exist. A different way to treat others and a different way to treat themselves. Begin to discuss such things with your friends. In both cases, be moderate. Do not try to accomplish too much too fast. Let them taste the medicine little by little. They will soon come to welcome it, as we have, you and I.

Xuzi said, "If the gentleman studies widely and each day examines himself, his wisdom will become clear and his conduct without fault."

We may not conquer our oppressors in this lifetime. Yet, our job remains: to train the next few generations of men to conquer them and to rectify names. Elementary schools, high schools, and universities: these are the places to fight the psychological poison of society. In their halls we must establish a beachhead from which we can push back against the tide. Above all of these is the home, for that is where our revolution truly begins. We must be patient. The enemy is counting on us to give up, to return to our old ways of comfort and enslavement.

Xunzi said, "If there is no dull and determined effort, there will be no brilliant achievement."

We will begin to gain ground. We will see change. We will face new challenges. The enemy will try to adapt. He will fight back. Did you think he was going away without a fight?

You are probably thinking that there is no hope. The game is rigged. The enemy has deep pockets, far reach, and vast influence and control. These are all true. Yet, the enemy has something else which will lead to his downfall: overconfidence and lust for profit above all else.

How many emperors came and went throughout ancient China, how many dynasties? Did they not also believe their own myths, did they not believe in their own invincibility? They all failed to understand that there is no substitute for being in accordance with the Way. If you are against the Way, it will eventually lead to your destruction. No matter what the enemy does, he will never understand this. His only advantage is his wealth. Yet he has no morals, and has no love for the people. How will they stand with him when he needs their help? Of course, they will not. They will turn on him, as we are, and he will be rooted out like the greatest evil which man has ever known.

Xunzi said, "Against the soldiers of a benevolent man, deceptions are of no use; they are effective only against a ruler who is rash and arrogant"

And, "If he cares only for profit and engages in much deceit, he will be in danger. And if he engrosses himself in plots and schemes, subversion and secret evil, he will be destroyed."

And what a rash, arrogant foe we have before us. Given his cunning, his willingness to lie, to rig the game, to play all sides, we must finally heed Xunzi's teachings on how to punish our great enemy. For if we are too lenient, he will rebound and bite us once again.

Regarding the regulations of a king, Xunzi said, "The violent shall be repressed, the evil restrained, and punishments shall be meted out without error. [...] if they do evil in secret, they will suffer punishment in public."

Clearly, those who have done so much to wrong others must be held accountable. A message must be sent so that all understand that there can once again be known a thing called Justice. No more hypocrisy. No more confusion of right and wrong; no more blending of the two. We must rectify names. Men will be men; women will be women; good and evil will no longer be confused and hard to tell apart. When our people have accomplished this, then they may look back to us and the sacrifices we have made, to the efforts we have put forth, and they will admire us as their ancestors, as men of wisdom, strength, and virtue. Without our hard work now, they may stand no chance to prevail. The harder we work now, the sooner our families, and our people, may be free.

Maintain your uprightness. Remember that Xunzi's words are not just hollow talk, but are based on observations of the fall of tyranny throughout a long human history. We can only but prevail if we continue forward.

You may not hear from me for a while. I will keep you in my thoughts. Above all else, remember these words from Xunzi,

The thing that all men should fear is that they will become obsessed by a small corner of truth and fail to comprehend its over-all principles. If they can correct this fault, they may return to correct standards, but if they continue to hesitate and be of two minds, then they will fall into delusion. There are not two Ways in the world; the sage is never of two minds.