Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How to Fight

This link to an video interview with Dan Milllman has some very insightful words by Mr. Millman. In the past, certain friends have accused me of being a pacifist because of my opposition to various United States military operations in other countries. Try as I might to convince them that is not true, they continue to hold that mistaken belief. Mr. Millman summed up my basic philosophy at 6:40 into the interview. He stated the following.


Let me define the term Peaceful Warrior. All of us are seeking to live with a peaceful heart but there are times when we need a warrior spirit. If we have to fight, let’s fight for something and not against something.  There is a much different spirit in fighting for something than fighting against something, rebelling, angry – fighting against something.

I am not an idealist/pacifist.  In other words I would not let someone beat me to death, my family to death, because of my philosophy of non-violence. I believe in kindness whenever possible. But, if I were attacked, I would reflect back to the attacker the consequences of attacking another person. And, I would fight to the very best of my ability. So, I don’t advocate violence but I do advocate self-defense and having boundaries and self-respect for yourself because no one has a right to harm us or people we know and love. 
His distinction about fighting for something and not against is very profound. I have always felt that protesting different government actions was counter-productive because my actions actually empowered the oppressive activity. But what to do?


Taking action to lead in the proper direction will be the most beneficial action one can take. So, for instance, instead of protesting the Iraq War that many of us knew instinctively to be wrong, the positive approach would have been to fight for truth in reporting, having the propaganda laid bare, show the true cost of such an approach, discover the hidden agendas, etc. Those types of positive activities while maybe being ineffectual in the end would make us better people and would at least disempower the war mongers a little and create ongoing positive actions that might make future foreign interventions less likely.

On a personal level, it is important to guard against the media, acquaintances and other influences stirring up our anger and causing us to fight against something. Instead, channel your indignation and self-defense into an action that promotes what you believe is the correct course.

I am reminded of a time when complaining to my boss about something going on at the company where working. He listened carefully to my complaint and then assigned me to make a recommendation about what needed to be done to fix it. While this was not the outcome envisioned when lodging my complaint, I then became a positive force for changing the direction of the company.


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