Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Masochism, a self destructive impulse in which one derives pleasure from self-destructive, painful or self-abnegating impulses,should not be confused with submission. Submission, in the service of taming a raging ego, is one of the highest spiritual goals. For instance in martial arts, advanced students tend to demonstrate a higher level of humility than lower belts. There are exceptions but the greater the fighter the less the tendency to braggadocio and exhibitionism. Bruce Lee believed in economy of motion. He didn’t need to show off  his technique, to mix it up with opponents to win. Great martial artists submit to a creed, to a way of the warrior like Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. The problem of submission, of course, for those who don’t study something like karate or jiu jitsu, is who or what to submit to. Self proclaimed prophets are like the pied piper. Demagogues and tyrants can be charismatic, yet this kind of submission—which involves being a supernumerary to a fascist—is surely not the effective way to go. What is one left with? God, the Buddha, the dictatorship of the proletariat? Faith, by definition, is predicated on uncertainty. The further from materialization the ideal is, the more difficult it is to find, the more literal and instantiated, the more labile. People tend to disappoint as ego deflating ego ideals. Those who search for deflation are caught between a rock and a hard place.

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