Life is Struggle, But It Beats the Alternative

Health and Wholeness Personal Development Relationships Spirituality What Your Father Should Have Taught You

The world is not a friendly place. We must fight for our right to exist. Thanks to the struggles and achievements of the generations that preceded us we have built a world that insulates us from the brutal knowledge of this truth; a truth that has formed us through the evolutionary process for millennia. This process is slow. The anatomical human organism has not noticeably changed for over 40,000 years – although there is some evidence that we are weaker as a species because the evolutionary struggle no longer weeds out the weak.

But who are the weak? Over time humans have toyed with the idea of genetic engineering and eugenics to “improve” humanity but every attempt so far has ended in disaster. Like everything else in the world, every time we make one change it causes a cascade of unexpected consequences that roll outward like ripples rolling outward in a pond from a rock we have carelessly thrown to disturb its surface. Often, the consequences of our actions do not even register as consequences in the lifetimes of the arrogant overlords who thought the action was a good idea.

Greetings Freedom Troopers, welcome to SabersEdge.Online and What Your Father Should Have Taught You.

Giordano Bruno wrote that “God is the universal substance in existing things. He comprises all things. He is the fountain of all beings. In Him exists everything that is.” Personally, I don’t like “God.” The term I mean. “God” has so many subconscious suppositions and activates so many prejudices in our minds that I doubt that the term is really useful. Theologians have called “God” the “Ground of All Being” in other words the foundation of all existence; “the Source,” “the Sacred Flame,” Gandalf, in the Lord of the Rings, tells the Balrog that “I am a Servant of the Secret Fire,” and (if you believe the Bible,) “God” Itself simply says “I Am That I Am.” Most people use “God” as if its a name and Yahweh, Elohim (the Divine – plural), El Elyon (God Most High), or other names of the Divine as if they are names. They are not, they are titles for something that is beyond our understanding and beyond naming. “I am that I am.”

I guess that is what this blog is about today. What is beyond our understanding? We as humans, especially in our youth, cling to our arrogance that we have answers and that we know. As we age those answers become less clear and we have more questions…maybe we should have taken the time to ask more of those questions when we were young. I remember a political science instructor at university, Dr. Phil Dyer, who said that he wished he could have taught college when he was in High School because he had all the answers then. As he gets older he just gets more questions.

What has brought me to this is my job. The man I used to work with/for found out that I was unemployed and invited me to apply and work with him at the new site where he worked. He was a retired police officer who now did security and he thought that I could do the job required despite my disabilities. I like to work. I believe that work is who we are as a creature. We evolved in the struggle to survive and if we don’t work we become indolent and begin a spiral of decay. That never ends well for us personally.

I remember my Dad, when he was struggling with cancer, talked to his boss (who was also his friend,) about retiring. His boss said, “Don’t do that, people die when they retire. When my Dad stopped working he wasted away. If you are doing too much come to me and we will reduce your duties or get you assistants to do the labor for you. But don’t retire until you absolutely cannot go on.” This was good advice. My Dad worked his whole life, as a small child he was “farmed out” to another family for room and board to help them with their farm work because his widowed mother could not support all her kids. We were designed to work and be active. I firmly believe that many of our health problems come from a world and lifestyle that we have created that is sedentary and “anti-humanity.”

In the 19th Century, many philosophies advocated “getting back to the land” and out of the cities. One philosopher called the migration of people from farms to the cities a “highway of death.” I used to think that was extreme. But as science tells us more and more about the effect of being isolated from the natural world on our psyche and bodies, the effects of chemicals, preservatives, and packaging on our foods, as well as taking a deeper look at history I am beginning to wonder. Every society that has collapsed is proceeded by “success.” Mesopotamia, Rome (which may have numbered 2 million in its capital at the height of its Empire), and innumerable others saw this migration to the cities, and with it came a radical change in values, and that radical change in values contributed to the collapse of the “successful” society that was built.

We seem to think success is a life without struggle. But if we evolved to engage in the struggle then creating a world without it is our death. This truth was voiced in the movie The Matrix where the AI said that it originally created a world that was perfect and without struggle; where humans had all of their wishes fulfilled…and they lost entire “crops” of human batteries. Humans, it said, need to strive and overcome to survive – it’s who they are. Indeed, the Matrix is about people who are strong enough to recognize that they are not really living and to break out of the cogs of the machine and live a messy life of struggle and conflict.

Struggle is what this blog is about.

I used to tell my sons when they fell (once I was sure they were not seriously hurt,) “Pain is good for you. It builds character.” A phrase I learned, not from my father but from my drill sergeant. Nietzsche said, “What does not kill me makes me stronger.” And there is truth in both of these phrases. But the disabling injury that damaged my back did not make me stronger it made me fragile. The subsequent mega-doses of Ibuprofen the VA prescribed me for the pain ruined my liver, Covid aggravated this and my liver failed me. I survived the transplant surgery and I am definitely stronger than I was when I was dying. Before the surgery, I needed help just getting to the bathroom and I couldn’t have even dreamed of returning to work. Now I am working 40 hours a week in the security field again.

But the steel-toed boots, the utility belt and equipment, and eight hours of sustained effort, the hour commute, are all a strain on a body that has grown weaker and not stronger. Or has it?

I got up to write this because my mind was engaged and active even though my body did not want to move from the bed. Currently, it is taking me 12 hours of bed rest to recover from the 8 hours of work and commute and the task is not physically difficult. Ah the arrogance. Karma is a bitch.

I remember a sergeant who had been thrown from his tank in the Cavalry and hurt his back so severely he had to use a cane until the disability discharge was processed. At 20 years of age, I kept thinking, “If I was hurt I would push through it.” That was when I thought pushing through pain was a case of mind over matter. In the arrogance of youth, I didn’t realize that sometimes the body breaks and won’t go any farther.

When my mom was in her late 70s she began to struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. She would get so angry at her body because it wouldn’t do what she wanted. She told me once that her own body had become her enemy. I didn’t fully understand. Now, I think I do. Before my injury, I didn’t realize what it was like to live in constant pain and I didn’t know how fatiguing it was or how short-tempered constant pain can make someone. I am sure many of my friends and acquaintances have simply decided that I am an asshole and do not understand the constant pain I am fighting with just to sit and socialize at a dinner party. They, hopefully, will never know what it is like to need to have twelve hours of bed rest to recover from the pain of a day of work. I told people when I was a pastor that my disability and constant back pain were a good thing. Before my injury, I never had a clue what the elderly were going through with their arthritis and other pains but thanks to my injury I had a clue. Still, the mistake we all seem to make is to think that our pain is comparable to someone else’s when we really have no frakkin’ clue how to compare them.

I could see the looks of some of my acquaintances and employers (especially when I worked for immigration,) They thought because they hurt their back once playing golf on it was comparable to my disability and that I needed to stop using it as an “excuse” to get “accommodations” like an ergonomically correct chair and other things that were standard for my disability. Fortunately, they were stupid enough to put their arrogant prejudice against my disability in emails so that I could file an EEO complaint – which they settled but I got less than a year’s pay and it vaporized with medical bills and the 7 years of bed rest and unemployment that followed. Still, I survived.

But today I don’t feel stronger. I was working on a WYFSHTY about Testosterone and hormones and how if we don’t get the hormones that our body needs we can die earlier. But I have not had the strength, energy, or time to finish it with working. I have dozens of other research started and not completed – I return to them as the news cycle comes back around to them so they are not wasted. The topics always resurface. So for today, I wanted to explain my situation and apologize for not getting my regular blog out. Knowing that many readers won’t really understand unless they themselves are permanently disabled or have encountered it in their immediate family.

What does not kill me makes me stronger? I’m not dead yet. But I don’t feel stronger. It was a struggle to get up and sit and write this. My wife is having similar trials. She has generally been supportive to me but only now does she realize what it’s like to have to fight and expend a herculean amount of energy just to put on your shoes or do the dishes. I told her that I am sorry she is going through that and I love her. What more can we say? Words, so often, are inadequate.

Still, what is strength? What is desirable? This is why I started this blog speaking about eugenics. Margaret Sanger, the founder of what is now Planned Parenthood wanted to rid the world of what she called “human weeds.” Which she described as minorities, poor, and disabled. She confused the outcome, poverty, with lack of ability. Even today most Planned Parenthood clinics are located in the areas of the poor or minorities and these are their primary customers. The Nazis would probably decide I was no longer “useful” since every action entails pain. But my mind is sharp.

Am I stronger or weaker? I was surprised when my twenty-something son brought me a jar to open. Lately, I have had him open my jars or lift loads that I could not. He had pulled a muscle in his shoulder but there is something satisfying when a man can use his strength – even to open a jar. An average man has 17 times the gripping strength of an average woman yet fools would have us believe there is no difference between male and female and it is a “societal construct” only by building a society “safe” from real struggle could we be so self-deluded.

Again I ask. Am I stronger? Have my trials broken my body and made me weak? I am amazed at the nurses that come in when I have had hospital stays who want me to exercise with pathetic little straps that give only ten pounds of resistance. Are Americans over 50 that weak today? I started since I am usually reading when they come in, to have them hand me my backpack of books so I can put my book away before we start. Nurses are not pussies. It is a hard job. However, some of the women would have to strain a bit to pick up my 40-pound bag of books. I would take it and put my book away and set it down by the bed. They would look at their pathetic little straps and say “Well we don’t need these.”

I found we could save time if I told them I used to be a drill sergeant, I lived on the third floor of an apartment building at 61 and carried my groceries every week up three flights of stairs, and walked 3 km twice a weak. I cannot do that now. Like my mother, I feel more and more like my body is a traitor. It is betraying me and in far too many ways it has become my opponent.

For a while at Immigration, I began to think that maybe I really was becoming wimpy and letting my pain get the better of me. But, when I had an appendicitis and they removed my appendix they said to ask them if I needed a painkiller and I said OK. Three different nurses and two different doctors came in and looked at my chart and said something to the effect of “You have an unusually high pain tolerance.” OK, I thought. We cannot compare pain but the doctors know what normal people ask for during this operation and I am not a wimp. I really do have a higher-than-normal pain tolerance. What did not kill me HAS made me stronger although I cannot run as I used to or finish a ten-mile march with a 50-pound pack anymore I am not weak.

On days like today I need to remind myself of these things. I apologized to my wife for still being in be a couple hours ago. She said, “It’s OK your body will get stronger.” It will, until it doesn’t.

When I was in High School we had an exercise to choose a family motto – or to share ours if we had one. I, inspired by my father’s teachings chose “DVM SPIRO SPERO” – Where there is life there is hope.

Where do we come off making decisions of how we could “improve” humanity or genetically engineer our children with “designer genes” when we have created a world that is so “anti-life” in the first place?

Scientists have proudly proclaimed that they can control the weather but they cannot. Sure they can keep it from raining during the Olympics in Atlanta but the weather goes somewhere. In that case, keeping the rain out of Atlanta meant that Tennessee dealt with deaths due to floods – but the Olympics made money and went on without interruption and the news never pointed out that the people who died in Tennessee floods died because people wanted to have nice weather for the Olympics.

But the story of every religion is that humans are arrogant and too often make self-destroying decisions. The universe did not create us for sitting on clouds playing harps – does anyone even find that inviting? I like Valhalla better. The brave go to feast with the gods and prepare for an even greater struggle that lies ahead. A struggle that they can face with other fighters who dare to go on – no longer having to listen to whiners crying “It’s not fair!” Give me a break. Whoever promised you life was fair lied to you. We were not designed for the “straw death” but to fall in the struggle raging against death and oblivion. “What do we say to death?” The sword-master said to his pupil, “Not today.”

Steven Hawking struggled with a debilitating disease that made his body waste away. Most people have no clue of the man’s tenacious will. His friends said he would crawl up the stairs to bed, forcing his body to serve him as long as he could still do so. I think that will to survive is what allowed us to benefit from his intellect for as long as we did. But the eugenics movements would have said, “Oh, he has a propensity for this horrible disease, maybe you should abort it.” I hear crap like that a lot. “I don’t want to bring children into this world. It’s too hard.” (None of my children utter this defeatist crap.)

Oh, the condescending, spoiled arrogance of humanity today! As if oblivion is better than life! “Oh, if I brought children they might have to struggle!” You bloomin’ idiot! Struggle is what life is! It is what life has always been. And if you aren’t strong enough to keep fighting then give up, curl into a ball and die. But you will get no sympathy from me. You’ll find sympathy in the dictionary between shit and syphilis – another of my Drill Sergeant’s quaint sayings.

Where there is life there is hope. Death is the enemy and not life but our bastardized society doesn’t understand this. Some spoiled pantiwaste made a Tik Tok complaining that he had to work just to eat and have a place to live “It’s crazy!” he said. Welcome to the human race. Welcome to humanity. Quit your whining and get out there and live. Or don’t. But either way spare us your whining.

I’m sorry I didn’t get my researched blog out in time but I will keep plugging away at it.

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