“The only way to a woman’s heart is along the path of torment. I know none other as sure.”
– The Marquis de Sade
The feeling in my fingers was slowly slipping away. The wind was howling across my arms and chest, sapping the warmth from my body. I continued hitting the pads with jabs and crosses and kicks. It was freezing. So what? It was the middle of the night. So what? I wasn’t going to quit, and neither was my training partner. Back and forth we went, swapping the pads at intervals to give the other the chance to move around and warm up a bit on this freezing night.
What drives a man to practice Muay Thai in the freezing cold in the middle of the night? Why were the two of us out there when everyone else was cozying up in their warm beds?
The pursuit of pain and struggle. It was not enough for us to train in the warmth of the heated gym. We knew that if we were going to make the kind of progress we sought, we would need to go beyond normal training methods. We know that pain makes you strong, and the more discomfort you can handle, the more progress you can make in transcending your former limitations and carving yourself into something stronger, tougher, harder, and better than before.
We knew we were succeeding when we found ourselves sweating and shivering at the same time.
They say that man will always rise to meet the occasion. This is false. Man will rise to the degree that he is capable of rising. Those with the greatest inner strength will rise the most. If you are never forced to rise, you will never be able to develop the inner strength that will carry you onwards. You can train yourself to rise, but this requires forcing yourself into situations that force you to overcome yourself.
If you really seek to turn yourself into the living fire you must encase yourself in ice.
Why does it hurt so much? Because it takes some very ugly truths about the worst traits of humanity and magnifies them before your eyes, making it impossible not to see them.
Humans are violent and irrational creatures. Most of the time, we seem to manage just fine. Most of us are calibrated so as not to devolve into our darkest, most bestial qualities unless circumstances are very dire indeed. Not all of us are so finely tuned. Some people are triggered in much less trying circumstances.
If we are not careful, these people can create the kind of circumstances that push even the most even-keeled to the brink; the kinds of circumstances that magnify that turbulence at the heart of all people and enable us to see clearly things that remain in calmer times muddled and hidden.
Once such things are seen, they can never be unseen. To have such characteristics exaggerated for us so explicitly trains us to spot them in other people and in other contexts in which we would otherwise have missed them.
Projection. Denial. Blame-shifting. Rationalization. Ego. Lust. Wrath. The death drive. Depression. Violence. Greed. Lying. Loneliness. Self-deception. Doublethink. Ire. Revulsion. Addiction. Rationalization. Validation. Self-hatred. Cognitive dissonance. Insanity. Complicity.
Imagine all of those compressed into the span of 10 seconds. It’s a high-octane crash course in human psychology. It will break you, but the game doesn’t end there. Imagine navigating those waters again and again and again and again. For months.
Your breaking is only the beginning.
There is much that you learn about others. There is much that you learn about the human mind. There is much that you learn about yourself.
You won’t like all that you learn. You’ll wish that you could forget some of the darkest truths and most horrible secrets that have been forced upon you. You never will.
If you don’t get out in time, you will learn how to deal with people who should not be dealt with. You will learn exactly how they work. You will reverse-engineer every though that goes through their head. You will be able to perfectly comprehend the mind of a crazy person. The price of this is a piece of yourself. Once it is complete, there will always be a part of you that is stark raving mad.
The creeping horror comes when you realize that the crazy part of you better understands other people then the normal part. That’s when the truth hits you.
Everyone is crazy. Even you. And no one knows it.
You don’t become the only sane man in the sane asylum. You become so insane that you achieve a level of self-awareness that most people will never muster. And you realize that everyone is just as crazy as you are, and they will never realize it.
Man needs danger and play. The level of each that he needs is not set in stone. The right circumstances can drive him to need more of the one than he should, and very easily too.
Get addicted once to danger, and for the rest of your life you will always crave more.
Get addicted to the pain, and you will know love, for love is the only way to cope.
If someone hurts you enough, you won’t be able to help but falling in love. Don’t think that having a penis makes you immune to this. If you swallow the bait and get hooked, then you won’t be able to tear yourself away from what happens next…not until the pain becomes too much and something has to give.
If it never hits that point, you will never get away.
If you get away, you’re one of the lucky ones. Like Odysseus, you hear the song of the sirens and came out on the other side in one piece. In one piece. In one piece. In one piece.
In one piece?
Get addicted once to the pain, and nothing else will ever be able to give you the same rush.
What you do get is relief, though. If you’re really lucky, the relief will balance the need for the rush. If you’re really lucky, you end up just as functional (or even more so), once you come out the other side. Be proud of yourself. You dodged the bullet. You took a heavy shot and come up standing.
You wonder what would happen if you got hit harder. You never stop wondering. And one day, you’ll realize you desire to be hit again…
What happens when you hit that fork in the road?
How easily we forget that in building paradigms in order to better understand what we can see, we only make ourselves less capable of seeing what truths lurk in the blind spots that we do no know we have.
The same thing I discussed toward the end of this post applies. The amazon thinks that only the alpha can handle here. Is she right? yes. Why would the alpha want to, though? That’s a different question entirely, but suggesting that a true alpha would never have reason to involve himself with such a woman is the act of a coward masquerading as some kind of big man.
Everyone has a dirty lens, and no matter how much we try to clean it, it will still distort reality like a funhouse mirror.
Just as it takes hard work and a lot of pain to make significant strides in the physical realm, so too do you have to deal with people in the best of circumstances and the worst of circumstances to truly understand them. A proper theory of mind cannot be built starting from a priori assumptions and rationally discerned. It has to be forged, and the worst of circumstances provide the best material to incorporate and synthesize.
There are a lot of ways to do this, and some are definitely more painful than others. A lot of times, though, there’s a pay-off. Is it worth it? Only you can know how you will answer that question.
The same principle applies here as that of training Muay Thai on a cold December night. I can’t recommend it. It’s a stupid idea. No one same and rational would do it.
If you seek pain, though, and all that pain can teach you, the calculations are a bit different.
I cannot recommend it. I will never recommend it. If you go in with full knowledge of how much it will hurt, how much it will change you, and how much you will learn, though, I cannot bring myself to stop you. I can only wish you the best.
If you really seek to be able to tame the void and grasp both the wonders and the horrors that lie within, you need to cast yourself into the howling dark and trust that your inner fire is sufficient to handle what will come hurtling in your direction.
Even if it is, though, walking the path will change you forever. How far do you dare go?
UBI DOLOR, IBI AMOR