Monday, March 21, 2005

Fighting Shape

by AJ/Skald

"When you study, for example, the ecology of man and the world of microbes, you are confronted with a most surreal affair, and you may try to decide which microbes are the good guys and which are the bad. You want to know how to get rid of the bad guys without getting rid of the good guys, and then you realize you need some of the bad guys because otherwise the good guys fall apart. Some of our medicines are very much, on the level of our body, like what DDT is on the level of agriculture. They are too indiscriminate, and they kill too many of the good guys along with the bad guys. After a time you become very doubtful as to the precise definition of GOOD and BAD, because every group, every species, must have an enemy. If you dont have an enemy, then you start multiplying too much. Because nothing prunes you, you start eating up all your supplies of food because there are too many of you, and you start getting in your own way.

You are so successful you never have to fight, and you develop flabby muscles, and so, gradually, the successful group fails. A group that manages to obliterate its enemies will fall apart; that is the way the world works. The same principle applies in business, almost exactly. If you wipe out your competitor, then you have no reason to produce anything but a lousy product, and then someone else with a good product can come along and wipe you out despite your success. So, there is always something self-defeating in any attempt to succeed. Nothing fails like success. It is for this reason that Taoists always have an attitude of caution. " --Alan Watts

Good stuff from Alan Watts. Maybe I was growing flabby in Thailand. Maybe I needed this tangle with my enemy (work/job/bosses). It has certainly roused my fighting spirit. It has certainly catalyzed me to examine my life: its purpose and progress. It has certainly made me contemplate my economic stance towards the world. It has, in short, triggered all sorts of crisises.

This is not necessarily BAD. I think Mr. Watts is right.... we must be very cautious about judging these situations. We must tread them carefully. We must mine them for learning experiences. Its a good attitude to have towards life in general.

Carlos Castaneda said much the same thing. He said that a warrior is one who views all events as challenges. //Success// is one kind of challenge. //Failure// is another. Both are ripe with dangers and opportunities.

My current situation is interesting, fascinating, exciting, boring, and unpleasant... all at the same time (depending on the time, day, and circumstance). I find it hard to make a lump conclusion. Is it bad? Is it good? At the moment, it is both and neither.

Sometimes it is best to embrace ambiguity rather than resist it.

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