It’s been over two months since I wrote the first post in my intended series on “Building a Life”.
Some readers may have wondered if I’d dropped off the face of the earth. Well…that’s actually pretty near to being an accurate explanation, but there’s a simpler explanation for why it’s taken me so long to get back to writing. Before I could comfortably preach my new philosophy, there were certain elements that needed to be put more rigorously into practice.
That said, let’s take a look at the first elements of a life…
It should be pretty obvious that if you haven’t got your health it’s going to be pretty difficult to get your life together in other ways. It should be obvious, yet we so often ignore common sense preventative maintenance until it’s too late.
When you’re sick or out of shape your productivity declines, making it that much harder to make a living. To make matters worse, poor health decreases your your sexual and romantic attractiveness. It’s going to be that much harder to find true love when you’re fat, sick and tired looking. Finally, physical illness can lead to depression and other psychological disorders. Your brain is a part of your body, after all.
Letting your health slide is usually the first step in a vicious cycle. Stop taking care of yourself now, and you may soon find that you no longer have the energy, resources or support you’d need to stop the downward spiral.
To begin on the path to building a life, you must first come to understand your body as your vehicle and your temple. If fact, it is often best if you stop thinking of your body as “your body” and start thinking of simply as “yourself”. I am my body and there is no sense in which it is possible to conceive of “my body” as spearate from “me”.
While it’s obviously not necessary, possible or desirable for every adult human being to go to medical school, there are a number of basic skills that are necessary for self maintenance. A preliminary (i.e. incomplete) list for your consideration would be…
A working knowledge of basic hygiene.
A working knowledge of nutrition.
A working knowledge of cooking, in order to make good nutrition pleasant and palatable.
A working knowledge of exercise science.
A favored sport or physical activity, in order to make exercise fun, purposeful and meaningful.
A basic understanding of medical principles, in order distinguish good medical advice from bad.
A working knowledge of natural home treatment options.
A working knowledge of First Aid.
This last item on the list brings us to my next point, the other side of the first element…
Make no mistake, the primary causes of death for educated people living in civilized countries are the completely preventable, self inflicted “diseases of civilization”. There are few things more ironic than the sight of a sick, out of shape “martial arts expert”. (Except perhaps a sick, out of shape doctor, fitness trainer or nutritionist.) That said, there are other threats to your long term health and physical integrity that need to be adressed if you plan on functioning in the real world.
Just as it would make no sense to spend your life in paranoid fear of criminal attack, only to end up dying of heart disease, it makes equally no sense to cultivate a perfect healthly body only to end up stabbed, shot or smashed up in a car accident.
With that in mind, there are a few additional skillsets you need to master…
A working knowledge of practical self defense (note, I did not say “martial arts”).
A working knowledge of the most common weapons in your area (should be included under the heading of “practical self defense” but people tend to skip over this part).
A working knowledge of First Aid (yes, I included First Aid twice).
A high level of competence in Defensive Driving (car accident is a much more common cause of death than violent assault).
Again, note I did not include Martial Arts anywhere on my list essential skills. Now I happen to love martial arts (or rather, I love real martial arts) but formal training in martial arts is not necessary for most people.
As I believe I may have mentioned before, not everybody can (or should) be a warrior. Every free man and woman should , however, take responsibilty for their own health and safety. What we’re talking about here is the development of basic, practical skills, stripped of any ritual or tradition. On the other hand, basic practical skills are where it’s at when you’re talking about real martial art, anyway. It is precisely the process of taking responsibility for yourself and developing these practical skills that leads to the catharsis that warrior training is so famous for.
Now the above may sound like a lot to learn, but remember that these are essential life skills we’re talking about. This is stuff you need to know to keep yourself fully functioning, healthy and in one piece.
These are also, ironically, topics that have been among the most terribly abused by confidence artists great and small. There is a huge amount of disinformation out there about health and safety. Learning to see through the bullshit may well be the first and most important step on the path to becoming a true Occult Philosopher, as well as a healthy, happy, free human being.
Think about it.