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A formula for existence, a human strategy, aphorism 449

449

A formula for existence: A Me-science wired to a We-science and strapped to Energy, which increases with natural repetitions. Then upon this crudely jointed frame stitch on a skin of vanity ... and through the ear implant raw ambition deep into the brain — and then I have it, the creation of a life. Monstrous? Yes ... but life nonetheless.

Humiliation and resentment, The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 285

285 Humiliation and resentment can be an impetus to truth. Hidden under this resentment is a cause for gratitude. The reflex consequent of this realization is not resentment. One enjoys this sensation ... this salvation for as long as one is able, before the inevitable fall back into the beneficial condition.

self-interests, a human strategy, aphorism 450

450 If reason truly governed humanity then we would clasp our hands together and alternately bewail and respect the obvious consequences of our unavoidable conclusions. As it is we are a clamoring marketplace of self-interests, and here, at least, a little happiness seems possible.

envy, a human strategy, aphorism 451

451 The only way to be rich and not be envied is to be poorer still than everyone I know.

for the achievement of a higher goal, The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 286

286 We are tempted to measure our Faith in ourselves by what we are “willing to sacrifice.” However, it could very well be that our highest goal requires that we not sacrifice our favorite things, precious relationships, or pleasant activities ... but indulge in them. For example, we might even find an acquisition and not a sacrifice when we indulge in the highest pride consequent of enmity. A boxer who takes a punch in order to get inside and give a punch has superior stamina and ability than the boxer who only baits himself with the “will to sacrifice” ... to “take the pain.” The former takes pride in his ability to defeat the rival and wants to prove this ability so badly that he does not care about or feel any pain in having his cheek turned once or twice before he achieves his goal. He turns his cheek, for his pride. Likewise a man might accept a slight without retribution, but not to prove any capacity for sacrifice, but for the achievement of a higher goal. He measures…

Optimists in Agony:

ridicule, a human strategy, aphorism 452

452 Why fear ridicule? If my life’s task proves to be unworthy, why then, like most everything else in this world, the ridicule will pass away. If it proves to be worthy, why then ...

The nonviolent strategy, The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 287

287 The nonviolent strategy provokes the aggression by breaking with the habit or with the established rank, but does not fight back. This is half of a circuit, the stimulus without a response. Now, the observer must “fill in the blanks.” He himself must fill in this missing response, bringing forth himself the retribution that has been withheld. Police dogs and fire hoses provide an act of violence for which there has been no corresponding revenge: This is the observer’s opportunity to relieve himself of his own drive, an opportunity to dominate over the aggressor with a good conscience. Thus, the revenge lacking is filled in by a mass need to discharge aggression ... “an outraged nation.”

a human strategy, aphorism 453

453 Anyone who would be unambiguously great must have no history.

Zen No-Mind

to turn the other cheek, The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 288

288 It is one thing to turn the other cheek out of an inability to strike back. It is quite another to do so in order to dramatize the other’s previous inability not to strike. And if the stage has been set properly, the assailant could even strike a second time and only strengthen the conviction within a third party that he is indeed too weak to restrain himself. On the other hand, even if the assailant does not strike a second time, he only implies the previous assault to be an error and thus convicts himself with this obvious inconsistency.

ambition, a human strategy, aphorism 454

454 Only fighting for gain and fighting against loss have meaning. But excuse my archaic use of the language here. In a much older era, before we desired the meaning of the thing more than the thing itself, we understood one another better and had no need to define the meaning of “meaning.” Ambition.

Letting the other win, The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 289

289 “Letting the other win” has the curious effect of making the victor’s wreathe an object of humiliation and is a position from which the victor can only be silent or beg for the desired response from his spectators ... and the more we grant him his victory, rather than let him earn it, the more frustrated his dominance gesture. He knows that he has only won through our permission. An absence of disappointment, indifference to eye contact, and “carrying on” are the dominance gestures accompanying victory by yielding – not so much the game as the standard presupposed by the game.

heart and ambition, a human strategy, aphorism 455

455 We would march toward purity of heart but that it too slides toward ambition. To be authentic, we conclude, we must affirm our ambitions with a proud heart.

the strength of self-control, The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 290

290
One might turn the other cheek to dodge an undignified battle.  Whether intended or not, such an avoidance often has a devastating effect on the assailant: to the very degree that one tolerates the assault without retaliation one also demonstrates the degree to which the other lacks sufficient rank to merit one's response.  If one remains indifferent, the stronger his assault the greater his humiliation.  The other fails to produce the desired response.  

Where one can demonstrate the strength of self-control, one also demonstrates a standard whereby the inability to restrain aggression belongs to a lower rank.

the power that humiliates, The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 291

291
We often give another the power that humiliates us when we resist his attempt to humiliate us.  In most cases, we unconsciously accept a presupposed value standard by which he dominates.  For example, when he demands that we step out of his path, we then refuse stoutly – as a “matter of honor and dignity”– but we have still accepted his sovereignty in determining our value standard.  Although both parties usually remain unconscious of the actual struggle, in effect he decrees our lower value, not necessarily by our performance of the submissive gesture, but quite often by our showing the other’s standard to be worthy of our reaction.  That is, not only does he presume a superiority with which to decree our value standard, but we then validate his authority to do so by taking his standard seriously.

In the mechanist’s view, we humiliate ourselves only because we bow to his authority over our value standard and not because we bow to him.  We could even step aside and bow to prove t…

Theory of Moral Relativity