Monday, August 3, 2020

Fortitude, Dan Crenshaw: American Resilience In The Age of Outrage

First of all, a big thanks to "Seattlepi" for doing a review of this hyper excellent work for our times ... as the reviewer says --  "I recommend this book to anyone who finds the current political environment disturbing, whether you think of yourself as Left or Right or in between. Yes, Crenshaw is a Republican, but this book is not about political parties. He critiques ideas on both ends of the political spectrum." 


Crenshaw is FAR more capable than me, and a much better writer  -- he weaves much of the wisdom of "The Coddling Of The American Mind", Marcus Aurelius, the Bible, "Antifragile", Zen,  and more into a "page turner" 250 page gem! 

One of the many favorite quotes: ""You have a duty to try hard to not offend others, and try harder to not be offended"!

On page 164 he talks about why it may be that suicide rates among the religious are lower than the general population. 
"The reasons for this are likely complex, but I believe that one reason is a sense of meaning that is greater than ourselves. Without it, nihilism can infect the head and the heart. and with it a sense of emptiness,  a sense of being lost. If we are truly just walking skeletons stuffed with meat and tissue, following the commands of our firing neurons, then what is the point of it all"? 
 If you are affected, SEEK HELP!  I also  highly recommend "Man's Search For Meaning" ... for the less affected. 

Page 140 has an insight that could save our culture -- although without the PRACTICE of some of the mental toughness regimes outlined in the book, unlikely. The pressure to conform to the "virtue" of outrage is huge.
"This normalization of outrage has consequences. The result is an equally extreme -- and unhealthy -- view the outrage mob as a bell shaped curve, with the most nuanced responses in the middle ("I'm sorry you took my comments that way but this is how I meant it"), the most subservient responses on the right side ("I apologize deeply for my insensitive comments"), and the most unapologetic on the left ("I'm not resigning!")" ... "Everyone has two options now: show deep shame, or show no shame. The middle option of showing a little amount of shame in proportion to the actual offence is hardly an option at all,. There is simply no reward for it. No grace is given, no outrage will subside" 
... and so we get more outraged!  Social Media and the media in general encourage outrage because it gets "more clicks", and increasingly the political parties follow the same devastating strategy -- breaking up  friendships, families, community, and our nation itself. The tough minded person will typically (not "always"!) be making amends from the middle of that curve, or just being silent. Why? Because they actually didn't mean to give any offence, and if they DID want to offend you, you would be very well aware of it! Mostly they operate from a place of "stillness" (in the book), so what they do and say is "intentional". That doesn't mean it is "right", nor is there any "all/always" -- even SEALs are human, just maybe a bit "better human" than most of the rest of us in the "stillness" factor.

Yes, respecting SEALs means a form of  "hierarchy" -- a bad word for some in our time. Only you can decide if ultimate "wokeness", or "ultimate fortitude and resilience" are in your goal set -- or if they are compatible in any way with your "identity".

In this age where "identity" is often seen as immutable, and CRITICAL at the same time, this book is a threat. It claims that there are things such as "better and worse", and that certainly, ALL LIVES MATTER ... a statement that is seen as damning as saying "I am a witch" in Salem MA in 1692.  

I've bought a number of copies of this book and I'm handing them out to some. If you get one, it DOES NOT mean that I think you are someone that really needs it. We ALL need it -- and I'm in the top 1% of the needy! 

It ends with a statement that is at a minimum a good start for creating a nation with fortitude. Perhaps to "SEAL our future?" ... 
“I will not quit in the face of danger or pain or self-doubt; I will not justify the easier path before me. I decide that all my actions, not just some, matter. Every small task is a contribution toward a higher purpose. Every day is undertaken with a sense of duty to be better than I was yesterday, even in the smallest of ways. I seek out hardship. I do not run from pain but embrace it, because I derive strength from my suffering. I confront the inevitable trials of life with a smile. I plan to keep my head, to be still, when chaos overwhelms me. I will tell the story of my failures and hardships as a victor, not a victim. I will be grateful. Millions who have gone before me have suffered too much, fought too hard, and been blessed with far too little, for me to squander this life. So I won’t. My purpose will be to uphold and protect the spirit of our great republic, knowing that the values we hold dear can be preserved only by a strong people. I will do my part. I will live with Fortitude.”

I will, with the help of God!  

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