Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Warrior Ethos

Glenn received some new books in the mail from author Steven Pressfield and one that caught my eye was The Warrior Ethos. Pressfield has some great books that have sage advice such as Do the Work that explains how to overcome resistance and procrastination. The great thing about blogging is that I can now procrastinate about doing work while reading a book about how not to procrastinate and call that work for blogging. Oh, never mind...

Anyway, Pressfield describes himself as a writer who writes about war:

...external wars and internal wars, wars ancient and modern, real wars out of history and imagined wars that exist only in speculation.

The The Warrior Ethos was written for our men and women in uniform, but its utility, I hope, will not be limited to the sphere of literal armed conflict. We all fight wars--in our work, within our families and abroad in the wider world. Each of us struggles every day to define and defend our sense of purpose and integrity, to justify our existence on the planet and to understand, if only within our own hearts, who we are and what we believe in.

One interesting section called "The Warrior Archetype" discussed the archetypes of psychologist Carl Jung and looked at the stages we pass through on the way to maturity:
The warrior archtype clicks in like a biological clock sometime in the early to mid-teens. We join a gang, we try out for the football team, we hang with our homies, we drive fast, we take crazy chances, we seek adventure and hazard.

The lessons we learn in this "warrior" phase, the book says, are with us our whole lives as we move through our different life phases. What is learned in the warior phase carries over to being a good father, mother, husband or wife. Finally, the last chapter sums it all up: "The hardest thing in the world to be is ourselves."

How do we get to the point where we understand who we are, what we believe and how we want to live? This book asks a lot of questions--it's up to the reader to find the answers. It is also available in a Kindle Edition here.

Cross-posted here at the PJ Lifestyle blog.



Blogger Doom said...

Hmm, I don't know. The thing I have learned from fighting and engineering (what I know of the latter) is that doing a lot of front load heavy lifting is done so that you can then... well, not have to work on a perpetual basis. If I beat the heck out of someone, it is so that I don't have to suffer over a longer period if in smaller ways. In engineering they seem to have developed both methods and practices so that doing a similar task the next time is not as difficult. (Mind you, that becomes increasing impossible as the tasks left become... astronomically more complex, but the notion remains, to the point of creating systems that self correct and advance themselves (as a goal, perhaps a reality in some cases).) Think of the top goals for engineering... a perpetual machine and an infinite power source. Either would negate work, for men, mostly. Heck, feminism is a social science, socialist, communist, hope for a similar thing. Ha!

The race to the top is merely a way to the bottom. That's all I'm saying. I don't know if it's a trick, a hope that keeps people going, or a fact a truth or a reality. Perhaps it is the realization that we are mortal, so we want to set things up for when we can't function as well? Or based on that? Kill enough of your enemies when you are young that there aren't enough strong ones left to come at you when you are old? Maybe?

7:01 PM, July 16, 2011  
Blogger Zorro said...

I saw Glenn's post on Do The Work and bought the book. It's really good.

I never procrastinate. Whenever I have the urge to procrastinate, I put it off until tomorrow.

8:26 PM, July 16, 2011  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

I think it is all tied into societal bonding, practicing how to live in the adult world and finding ones role within it, combined with the defensive aggressiveness to protect family, community and nation that we naked apes use to survive.

12:04 PM, July 17, 2011  
Blogger Mark said...

"How do we get to the point where we understand who we are, what we believe and how we want to live?"

This is, I believe, one of the central aspects of "growing up". In part, we learn who we are thru experience (defined as what you get when you don't get what you want) and time. We have to incorporate who/what we are, come to terms with the unsavory aspects of ourselves and what we've done, and move on.

Then again, I'm not a psychologist, nor do I play one on TV, and I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

11:29 AM, July 18, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Finally, the last chapter sums it all up: "The hardest thing in the world to be is ourselves."

How do we get to the point where we understand who we are, what we believe and how we want to live?"

I think that's exactly where our culture is at the moment. As I see it, there are generally two competing narratives: the Old Left/New Deal liberal view of human nature and America--what it is and what it should be; and the tea party, libertarian/conservative view of the same (best articulated by Sarah Palin, ironically).

In the end I think the tea party view will win out, not just on practical grounds, though that would be enough, but because they're the one's who can correctly answer the questions: Who are we? What do we believe? and How do we want to live?

I've blogged about this recently:

6:42 AM, July 21, 2011  

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