The Samurai were some of the fiercest warriors in all of human history. With a strong sense of honor, potent self-discipline, and clear goals, they would enter each battle with the belief that they were already dead men, which enabled them to perform to their utmost ability. In movies and history, we see heroes jumping into action when they think they’ve lost everything they hold dear. When there is nothing left to lose, something happens within us and we’re motivated to activate the full breadth of whatever skills are required for what we’re facing.
In normal life, most of us are familiar with regular 9-5 jobs at workplaces that just… sort of keep things running as they are. We accept the politics at hand, whether we voted for it or not. We complain about, yet dutifully pay, our taxes every year. School standards are abysmal, but as long as the kids move along, it’s fine. Some place treats us a certain way we don’t like, but we continue to shop there because we don’t want to cause a fuss. It’s easier to play along, even if we don’t like it, even if it makes us feel small and futile.
What if we lived every day like the Samurai did in battle? What if comfort was worth sacrificing for a richer life - not just an easy one? What is “comfort” anyway?
When I think of comfort, I think of warmth, safety, and love. But the comfort we’ve been sold in the “normal” world is a lie. How safe are you when you hand that guardianship off to a separate entity? When do you get to breathe freely if you let someone else decide when you have to cover your face? If a bully wants you to put your head in the toilet, or they’ll punch you in the face — is either option actually comfortable? Or is one just easier to clean up, one stirs less “trouble” with that bully.
I’m afraid far too often. Afraid of losing my dad's attention. Afraid of losing friendships between people whose company I’ve valued. Afraid of being unimpressive or uncool to the right people. Afraid of accusations of being an imposter. Afraid of never succeeding at anything I attempt... The truth is that I might not ever impress anyone. I have lost so many friendships - in fact, a close friendship was lost very recently. I am infinitely uncool to most people, since childhood (I should really be used to that by now). Accusations are just words. Success is subjective.
The bigger one, though, is when we go up against powerful bullies. This is what really scares people. I am talking about government bodies. I am talking about the existing systems we’ve all suffered for far too long (fear mongering birth professionals, expensive and useless universities, credit scores, to name a few). Like feeble, four-eyed red-heads, we’ve listened to them promise not to break our nose as long as we let them continue to shove our faces further down the toilet bowl. We take no risks and so, we get easy, we get aimless careers, partnerless lifestyles, decades with nothing to write on our tombstones but “survived until now”. We get “at least my baby is alive” followed by crippling depression and developmentally compromised infants. We get “my insurance doesn’t cover that” and a desperate search for imported groceries. We get indoctrinated generations and a total loss of identity.
What if we lived like the samurai? What if we understood that life is the ultimate “choose your own adventure” game? This is all we have to work with, this one life. No pause, no reload. Are we doing the things that are worth our lives?
I’d rather live, which, to me, means building the best homestead and legacy for my family, which includes creating a meaningful community, which could spread out to meet other life-driven communities, which could ultimately become a new society and possibly even a new historical age of humanity. And if these larger goals are never realized in my lifetime, I'll be glad to know that I tried. Besides, I've got nothing to lose – we're all dead men anyway.