If a person gave away your body to some passerby, you’d be furious. Yet you hand over your mind to anyone who comes along, so they may abuse you, leaving it disturbed and troubled - have you no shame in that?”
(Epictetus, Enchiridion, 28)
We’re all about defending ourselves. It’s big business, and whole subcultures are built around the self-protection ethos. Speaking only for myself, I’ve studied various European and Asian armed and unarmed systems of martial arts, acquired some mechanical and tactical skill with firearms, and am currently working on my concealed carry licensure.
The spirit of molon labe (Greek for “come and take them”) is rich in the American spirit…
… but what about our minds?
Like was mentioned above, there are a boatload of self-defense trainings and options to protect the body, but none of those things offer self-defense solutions for our minds. However, it’s not only defense I’m talking about… but surrendering without a fight because we’re unaware that our mental-lives are in danger.
Reruns of reruns of reruns. Binge television. Social media. Thoughts and opinions of others (theirs about us, and ours about them). “Rabbit hole” internet journeys. If we don’t see those things as dangers to our mental-lives, we desperately need to reevaluate the nature of those things.
Let’s say that we set aside time to foster serenity and peace, for ourselves, and with our loved ones… the phone still comes out at the dinner table… judgements of others (or of self) continue to fill our minds while walking through a beautiful park… the “enemy” is insidious. What could we be in those moments if we weren’t handing our freedom of agency over?
Before blame arises, remember that this is something we do to ourselves. It’s not the fault of our phones, or the internet, or the other guy… no, it’s ours.
If all sorts of terrible things can befall the body, through no control of our own, then the mind is the last vestige of self-determination and personal freedom that we have. We must protect and defend our minds.
No banter, no barter, no quarter.
(See y’all tomorrow)