Enemy/Self

So okay. The title is super cryptic, right? “Know the enemy”. I actually love the idea of “know the enemy”, most would-be intellectuals do. The problem with it is that nobody has actually read The Art Of War. I know I haven’t. Who has time for that? Nobody, that’s who. More importantly, the quote. The whole quote is infinitely more useful than the abbreviation.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

People no longer know themselves. People know what they want, but that’s sort of it. We’re a want-driven society. Some people know what they need. Neither of these things really allow someone to know themselves.

Super deep, brah. Not what’s really important or rant-worthy, and I only rant about real issues like movie casting.

No, what’s really important is people’s desire to hate each other. It works on a couple levels. First, assuming that someone with different beliefs (anything from drinking Pepsi to believing that the world is flat) automatically classifies them as your enemy. Stop that shit. The only people you should consider to be your enemies are those who want to hurt you or yours. That guy that wants to make an organic leather jacket out of you? Joke’s on him, you eat McDonalds – more importantly, enemy. That person that thinks gender is simply a construct of android space farmers that set humanity in motion with the intention of growing choice robot weed? Not enemy. That bush baby that wants to sabotage your family company so his dairy farm will prosper in the void? Weird enemy. You don’t have to be besties with those not in the ENEMY category, but you certainly don’t need to hate them either.

The other possibly more important part is the “know” bit. It’s not that straightforward. It’s translated from ancient Chinese secret, so it’s much more lofty of a concept than that. Think more like enlightenment. Even that concept is a little odd to those unfamiliar with eastern philosophy. By the way, I’m actually getting towards talking about peace in all of this. Weird, right? Using a line from the Art Of War to argue peace. Anyways, in order for the “know the enemy” line to work AT ALL is if you truly know them. You need to be enlightened regarding them and your self. Let’s boil it down some. You don’t know yourself very well. You only know your desires. You definitely don’t know the other party well. How could you? You’re not them. There’s the problem. That’s it. It stops there. There’s no “I wonder what they’re thinking. What they’re feeling”, no “I wonder what makes them them?” We can’t even stop and understand that about ourselves. What’s the point? Take a long hard look at your life. What makes you tick? Ponder that for a while and then ponder the other guy.

What’s the point of all of this hoopla? Trying to settle the endless battle of purpose in our society. Here’s where it gets really ranty. (OH BOY)

So people are arguing. All. The. Time. It’s like all we can do anymore. Look at phone. Argue with person. Watch TV. Argue with person on TV. If you don’t think humans are warlike, listen to casual conversations and compare the rate of compliments versus insults when another person is the topic. We argue and argue, but it doesn’t go aaaaaaanywhere. It’s a pretty simple format, too.

  • Discover person’s viewpoint
  • Disagree with that person
  • Assume and imply that person is dumb
  • Disagree harder
  • Disagree hardest
  • Pretend to take the high road by abstaining from further disagreement
  • Get booty bothered about it
  • Angrily post on the internet about how you’re smarter than people
  • Go to bed angry

Every time, pretty much.

What do I want from people? I want them to just understand the other side. Sympathize with them. Not just have a vague understanding of their issue like a how-to you read on them internets. If you don’t really understand, there’s literally no way you can benefit from the debate. It’s just a shouting match. I don’t know how often I see two people arguing, making perfectly reasonable points and completely ignoring the other side’s point. Simply ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. Stop being condescending. Stop assuming you’re smarter, harder, better, faster, stronger or richer. Actually open yourself up to persuasion. Some people are crazy, but it’s not really for you to judge. You don’t have to agree with anything but you have to consider everything. Take food for example. At on point, tacos were practically non-existent. Now look. They’re considering replacing the olive branch with a plate of tacos as the international symbol for peace.

Learn about yourself. Embrace your fellow humans. Consider every angle. Otherwise you’re just part of the problem, regardless of what views you have.

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