Sun and Steel: Reforging the Body

April 16th, 2023

Body and mind are linked. Forge the body, and you’ll forge your mind. Not only physically stronger, but also mentally strengthened.

Sun and Steel was a book by an insane Japanese dude who seen the military aggression of Japan and then the softness, inflected by consumer goods. He ended his life after storming a JDF compound and then committed Seppuku. Pretty god damn nuts if you ask me. The book, Sun and Steel was an autobiography about reforging the body. Where to forge the body also forges the mind. They’re both intrinsically linked together. Just like soul eater said, a healthy soul resides in a healthy mind in a healthy body.

  There’s something fucking magical about forging the body. It like reduces your anxiety about this and that. In a way, you just become you. There’s less bullshit and less oh no my body sucks and all that. Your mind sharpens up, your senses don’t get dulled. But, most importantly, each time you exercise, each time you forge your soul, there’s power that springs forth like no tomorrow. Sun and STEEL baby.

  The body is the most direct connection one has to the mind. The body literally houses the mind. The worse the state of the body, the worse the state of the mind, with some exceptions. After 30, our mental state degrades in a linear fashion and there’s virtually no way to prevent this. Exercise slows down this progress so that we age gracefully. My grandpa is reaching over 70 but he doesn’t seem that physically old. Constant farmwork, moving around most of his body, and walking more than a few km per day just due to work has forged his body. Others aren’t the same, their body becomes weak and frail, as if a gust of wind would blow them over. They have not been forged in the sun, they have not become steel.

  Forging the body directly shifts your mindset, where what was lamented as impossible no longer becomes so. You feel invincible. Even beset by an infinite number of worldly issues, they don’t become your Achilles heel, instead, it’s merely a stepping stone towards further greatness.

The Correct Type of Accountability Partner

March 19th, 2023

Accountabliity Partners must know and understand you properly. They must be able to hit the truth about WHY you want to change.

I always see posts on Reddit asking for an accountability partner. Someone who you tell what you want to do so they can keep you accountable and on track with that goal. There’s even paid accountability groups, where everyone keeps each other accountable to whatever task they wanted to do. This all sounds great in theory. But, in practice it’s a lot more nuanced then just telling a random stranger on the internet what you want to do and magically expecting that you’d do that.

  The theory of accountability partners is that you, a social animal, care about the consequences of not going through with your word. However, people lie. Others don’t care about people in general. Words are the wind, just because you say something doesn’t mean you give a damn about going through with it. In the end, running away from those people, those groups, is always an option.
Online Universities (Unis) have an abysmal completion rate. Everyone starts the course then completely forgets about it. Physical Unis have layers of accountability, but they have real external punishments as well. In a course, friends would ask about how you went with the latest assignment. Nobody wants to be the person so constantly says they haven’t done it. Or in classes, the tutor would ask about your progress on the coursework. Again, do you really want to look like a dud?

  Normally, this is good enough to compel people to move forward. There’s a social shame and stigma attached to someone who does nothing. Except, for me, I just ran away. I ran away from the friends I made so I’d never need to talk about coursework. I stopped attending classes so the tutors could never ask me about assignments. I ran away, then failed that course.

  Just having someone to ask about your progress isn’t enough. Ben, on the the Charisma on Command podcast, talked about when he was hesitant to approach a girl in a bar. His friend tried multiple ways of convincing him but nothing worked. Until he touched upon who Ben saw himself as. A charismatic guy who runs the Charisma on Command Youtube channel. Could he really call himself someone charisma and teach others if he didn’t approach this girl? That was what compelled him forward. Not his friend being by his side, holding him accountable just by listening and watching him. It was holding him accountable to who he sees both his current and his future self to be.

  The correct type accountability partner must know who you see your current and future self as. Then and only then could they hold you accountable. There will always be times you falter and slack, after all, if it was easy, did you really need someone to constantly hold you to your word? Your partner’s true moment to shine is during those lulls, to re-invigorate yourself by holding you to who you wish to become. To align your current actions with your identity.

  Take myself as an example. After reading experiences at Nazi concentration camps, the Communist Revolution and the resulting mass incarnation or massacres from the Gulag Archipelago in Russia and The Great Leap Forward in China. I wondered, take everything away from a man, what does he have left? Let’s say we were in that same position. We lost everything. Our homes and possessions, family, friends, community and are locked up in hard labour. What do we have left? To me, the only thing I had left was my word. Hence, I define myself as a man of my word and will go to great lengths to keep it like that.

  However, yesterday, I said I’d fix my sleeping schedule. I’d wake up early in the mornings to take steps to will this world to my image. Yet, I failed. Instead, waking up midday and, yet again, nothing could be accomplished. My hypothetical accountability partner hold me against that. How I said I was a man of my word, yet what do my actions tell the world? They would provoke me into action to be who I define myself as. That is to get up and get ready early in the mornings, to will my world into existence, instead of sleeping half of it away. So, it isn’t perfect, but better than nothing.

Lived Experiences vs Experiences Through Media

January 16th, 2023

The man who doesn’t read only lives once before he dies. The man who reads lives a thousand different lives before he dies. This is a quote from George RR Martin when talking about the value of reading and I believe this statement is quite true. To read is to see how other people experience life and how their perspectives shaped their lives.

  Malcom X, black activist, was fiercely anti-white for most of his life. In fact, a majority was shaped through a tribal view of white man and black man. This man grew up in the 1920’s, where anti-black sentiment was far more deadly than today. Remember Michael Brown, the black who was shot and killed by police and kick started the Black Lives Matter movement. The most inconvenient fact that he was reaching for his gun before being shot and killed was revealed after a through investigation, an ignored fact. Or how, on average, white people are more likely to be killed by police than a black. Hence why today’s anti-black sentiment wasn’t as deadly as the 1920’s.

  Back then, there were serious consequences, like how Malcom X watched as hoons set fire to his house and the police just stood by and watched. These constant acts by white people against blacks shaped his world view, to the point everything became tribal. Us vs them. Blacks vs Whites. Although I thought, as I read through the biography, it was a dumb view. If I had lived the life he had, then I’m sure I wouldn’t have been so different.

  Reading about the lives of others can help us understand why people think a certain way. It can also help shape our own views, if we see the path someone else took to a particular worldview, then decide whether we want our own to be shaped like theirs.

There are limitations though. Somethings in life can’t be read about and understood properly. It’s only through living it can we experience something completely different. Like, experiencing the calming effects of the sea, the sights and smells. You just can’t experience the same thing through words, pictures or video. Not even VR can replicate that perfectly, it’d be nothing more than an imitation in the end.

  Or the granduer and magnificence of nature and hikes. Objectively reading about hikes sounds terrible. It’s a tough climb to go up 50 to 100 meters. You see trees? Well, you can see trees virtually anywhere, what’s the difference? Or the view at the summit. So what, someone has a pic on Instagram don’t they?

  What about living in small cities vs large cities. Reading about them sounds meh. A small city has everything closing early, where people rush around a lot less. A large city has things opened to till everyday and with everyone rushing towards their objective. Isn’t that the only difference? How can you explain the idylicness of the small city, the lack of any rush and the leisurely flow of time. Only through experiencing this could you properly comprehend what life is like in such a city.

  One final limitation would be suffering. My sharehouse was 2km from the Central Business District (CBD) of the city. I used to run 2km everyday, so such a small distance is a breeze. I’d be a relaxing walk to see the CBD and the surrounding regions, oh so I thought. As I continued my walk, I looked to my right and thought it was odd to see a 2 story building in the heart of the CBD. When I looked a bit closer, it turned out to be 8 stories. At the nearby intersection, on the right was a enourmous slope downwards and then going straight up back to the same level I was standing on. I thought to myself, hah, sucked in plebs that need to walk that.

  I checked directions to the sharehouse and realised I had to go right. It turns out that I was the pleb. So, with my 5 kilogram backpack and 10 kilogram suitcase, I struggled down and up that hill. At the very top, already out of breath, I cheered that the hill was done, it should be flat ground from here on out. Except, it wasn’t, the path just kept going up and up and up. Every time I stopped to catch my breath, I looked at the road and the inclines never stopped. Finally I reached a turning point and I thought the suffering was over.

  Too bad hell had no depth. Turning my head towards the path google maps showed, there was a 45 degree incline upwards. Is this even legal? I had to double check the maps, just in case there was a mistake. There wasn’t… My backpack felt heavier as I climbed upwards. My arms were aching from dragging what should’ve been a 10 kilogram suitcase upwards. Each footstep up resounded with a thud of my entire existence. The path of suffering, as I named it, required multiple breaks every few meters. Then, finally at the top, at the telephone poll that marked the end of my suffering, was just more inclines.

  Hell has no depths and the path of suffering proved that. Still, after just a tiny bit more, my suffering would be over and then it’d be flatland from there on. Surely, it can’t go any higher, right? Yet, again, I was wrong. The final road to the sharehouse was an incline. What I thought would be a leisurely 2km walk, turned out to be the depths of hell, well, at 150 meters of hell that is.

  Merely reading about my suffering cannot convey the truth to you. Only through experiencing the pain through your arms, legs, and back. Walking down and up hills. Puffed out every few meters. Sweating profusely. And experiencing the weight of the universe as you take another step forward. The weight of your entire existence with every step could you truly understand the path of suffering.

Constant New Cities: Resetting Connections: Death Stranding; Death Stranded...

October 16th, 2022

I Am Death Stranded. Every friendship dies off when moving to the next city. Then what can make friendships stand the test of time?

  Death stranding, a game that has heavy philosophical ties of connecting with others and how, if we’re alone, without connections, the world is worse off. Each time I move to a brand new city, because I’m only staying in each city a short time, past friendships aren’t strong enough to withstand the test of time. It’s almost like a backpacker at a hostel, you meet with others there and make temporary friends. You go places, hang out, all knowing that whenever one of you leave, that relationship fades away.

  In the anime, Heroines run the show, the main character made 3 connections within the first few days. In contrast, it’s been 3 weeks since I moved to a new city and haven’t made a single strong connection. Friendships are strengthened with time and meetups. Without both, those relationships will fade by the time you visit that city again. I met someone interesting at a friend’s wedding and had an enjoyable chat, so I invited him out for board games. Board games, usually with 4-6 people, are deeply impersonal. All conversations are group ones and 1-1 chats are few and far between. Even though I might be fine arranging another meetup in a year from now, would he? In the end, I was just someone he chatted to at a wedding and played some board game with. That’s the extent of our relationship.

  As I travel around, what is it that could make relationships last? Is it interests? Activities? Personality? Philosophy? There was a theory that, since we’re mammals and always grouped up for survival, friendships form within those groups to help us survive. When we leave the pack, those existing friendships no longer help us survive, thus die off. How many times have seemingly great relationships died because you left the pack? That is school, university, moving workplaces or moving away from your current city? At my previous workplace, I had a colleague with similar thoughts as myself, even then, our relationship became non-existent as soon as I left.

  Reene Brown mentioned being vulnerable with others and how that can form stronger connections. Without being vulnerable to some degree, relationships stay superficial. Where everything’s on the surface layer of “positive vibes”. Real talk can advance a shallow connection to one that can stand the test of time. After that, instead of being seen as a mere bundle of interests, you can be seen as who you truly are.

  I used to be good buddies with someone from school, but it started to fade away after he no longer played the same game and school ended. It was only after we talked about philosophies of life, sharing our similar thoughts and myself being vulnerable did the relationship turn solid. Now, even as we both live in different cities, I believe that a meetup would be met with open arms, whether it’s a year or decade from now.

  Too bad those deep conversations are difficult, especially since meeting new people, without common connections, is difficult. Soon enough, my journey will continue around the world. But, I wonder if, by the end of this journey, I’d be death stranded. All my connections in previous cities fade away as I hop from place to place. Then, even in my home city, those once strong connections become a few loose strands.