Entirely the Wrong Battle

Your victory
Was so complete
That some among you
Thought to keep

A record of
Our little lives

This song has been playing in my head, on and off, since we started watching the second series of True Detective and it speaks to me. It says many things.

Over the course of my life I have perceived, on very many occasions, that certain individuals have wanted to “beat” me in some way or another. It has become personal and they want to score points, “win”, get one over on me, and even destroy me. Just so long as they come up “victor” and I come out the “vanquished”. I have looked at this in a detached way and insofar as I can tell my perceptions were and are accurate in this respect. And in many cases, they have had their victory. As a consequence, I am now powerless, there is virtually nothing I can do on the physical plane and even were there, I am now disinclined. Many of these situations were very petty.

How people treat you is their karma, how you react is yours.

I am not a big fan of contention. I am even less of a fan of bickering, squabbling and arguing the toss for the sake of the toss. I am not fond of “tossers”. I know I should be compassionate to all beings but hey, I am not perfect. As a rule of thumb, I walk away.

I suspect that in many cases these individuals were fighting entirely the wrong battle. Instead of looking at themselves they sought to have a go at me. Maybe I was, at least temporarily, enemy #1 in their eyes, minds and hearts. Angry people don’t see so good. They can damage that which they need.

Having cued this up:

Have I ever wanted badly to “beat” another being?

Did this desire, to an extent, consume me?

Was I satisfied when I won?

Is there a nanoparticle of chance that I was fighting entirely the wrong battle?

Your Victory Was So Complete

Leonard Cohen Lyrics

“Nevermind”

The war was lost
The treaty signed
I was not caught
I crossed the line

I was not caught
Though many tried
I live among you
Well disguised

I had to leave
My life behind
I dug some graves
You’ll never find

The story’s told
With facts and lies
I had a name
But never mind

Never mind
Never mind
The war was lost
The treaty signed

There’s truth that lives
And truth that dies
I don’t know which
So never mind

السلام على السلام يا سلام
سلام سلام على السلام

Your victory
Was so complete
That some among you
Thought to keep

A record of
Our little lives
The clothes we wore
Our spoons our knives

The games of luck
Our soldiers played
The stones we cut
The songs we made

Our law of peace
Which understands
A husband leads
A wife commands

And all of this
Expressions of
The Sweet Indifference
Some call Love

The High Indifference
Some call Fate
But we had Names
More intimate

Names so deep and
Names so true
They’re blood to me
They’re dust to you

There is no need
That this survive
There’s truth that lives
And truth that dies

Never mind
Never mind
I live the life
I left behind

There’s truth that lives
And truth that dies
I don’t know which
So never mind

السلام على السلام يا سلام
سلام سلام على السلام

I could not kill
The way you kill
I could not hate
I tried I failed

You turned me in
At least you tried
You side with them
Whom you despise

This was your heart
This swarm of flies
This was once your mouth
This bowl of lies

You serve them well
I’m not surprised
You’re of their kin
You’re of their kind

Never mind
Never mind
I had to leave
My life behind
The story’s told
With facts and lies
You own the world
So never mind

Never mind
Never mind
I live the life
I left behind

I live it full
I live it wide
Through layers of time
You can’t divide

My woman’s here
My children too
Their graves are safe
From ghosts like you

In places deep
With roots entwined
I live the life I left behind

The war was lost
The treaty signed
I was not caught
I crossed the line

I was not caught
Though many tried
I live among you
Well disguised

Winning the Argument

Depending on your current orientation you may or may not like arguing and it might be important for you to be the victor in the argument. If you want to take the heat out of “argument” you might call it a debate or a discussion. But even in these there are many who like to win or have apparent victory. Perhaps that racks up some kudos points of some other weird thing.

Generally, one of the first things to fly out of the window in situations of argument is listening, often the desire to win or brow beat the other takes ascendancy and very quickly it becomes confrontational as opposed to cooperative. Take a look at the baying and bickering which goes on in the House of Commons, for example. It doesn’t seem all that intelligent to me and it gets petty quickly.

In the heat of “debate” so often we get argument and bickering, people can become adamant about the most ridiculous of things. The red-mist takes over and winning becomes paramount even if that means damage to or loss of relationship. This desire to be “right” overtakes reason.

Once you encounter such a situation you have two choices; to bicker or walk away.

Having cued this up?

Do I like to win arguments?

If so, why?

What purpose does it serve to be crowned victor?

Do I know anyone seemingly obsessed with winning arguments?

Winning and Victory

From Wikipedia

“A Pyrrhic victory is a victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is tantamount to defeat. Someone who wins a Pyrrhic victory has been victorious in some way, though the heavy toll negates a true sense of achievement or profit.

Etymology

Pyrrhic victory is named after king Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose army suffered irreplaceable casualties in defeating the Romans at the Battle of Heraclea in 280 BC and the Battle of Asculum in 279 BC, during the Pyrrhic War. After the latter battle, Plutarch relates in a report by Dionysius:

The armies separated; and, it is said, Pyrrhus replied to one that gave him joy of his victory that one other such victory would utterly undo him. For he had lost a great part of the forces he brought with him, and almost all his particular friends and principal commanders; there were no others there to make recruits, and he found the confederates in Italy backward. On the other hand, as from a fountain continually flowing out of the city, the Roman camp was quickly and plentifully filled up with fresh men, not at all abating in courage for the loss they sustained, but even from their very anger gaining new force and resolution to go on with the war.
— Plutarch, Life of Pyrrhus[1]

In both Epirote victories, the Romans suffered greater casualties but they had a much larger pool of replacements, so the casualties had less impact on the Roman war effort than the losses of King Pyrrhus.

The report is often quoted as

Ne ego si iterum eodem modo uicero, sine ullo milite Epirum reuertar.
Another such victory and I come back to Epirus alone.
— Orosius[2]”

Potens Est

Money can be viewed as crystalized power, according to the Toltec tradition. And with crystalized power you can buy yourself a golf resort or if you have £3 billion to spare, an aircraft carrier. Power is weird as is money. Material power has a certain gravitational pull, it draws people to it. Not all are drawn but many are.  And power struggles are a major theme in popular culture, they lie aback literature, movies and TV dramas. People are fascinated by it and many stories are, in one way or another, about victory. These victories can be large scale or moral. There is some kind of obsession with winning. Often power and the powerful are not portrayed in a good light. This is because power can do strange things to people.

A long while back, someone accidentally gave me a gift of power. He was trying to denigrate me, to score a few points, he said that I was powerless in a certain situation. His attempt at “stabbing” me, opened up a wonderful new dimension for me, the dimension of powerlessness. A whole new avenue of inquiry lay before me, he opened a door. It was a tremendous gift. It had never occurred to me that being powerless might be interesting or a good thing. The less material power one has, the less responsibility there is. And without going all Spider Man on the subject, certain types of power can confer responsibility. As things stand I can no longer crystalize power, well only very small amounts. This means that there are many things which I cannot do. They are outside of my power, beyond my say-so.

Associated with power is the notion of potential, an un-manifested possibility of power. It is a kind of maybe you could do this, but it is untested on the physical plane.

Here on the farm I have no sight of the goings-on amongst the powerful, the rich and the famous. All I have is the window on these worlds offered by the press, who are drawn to them because of their gravitational pull. I doubt the press is afforded real insight so that which I see is very sketchy. I have no say-so in those worlds. I am powerless to affect those worlds. I am not drawn to them by the gravitational pull. This pull is in some cases relied upon. There is an assumption that moths are drawn to flames, which is a general but not encompassing observation. If you only want moths that is fine, but what if you want or need ladybirds?

Those keen on power seek to develop a power base, which they defend. They build a castle, a brand, an army. This branding is a relatively modern commercial thing and there are rankings as to which brand has the most power and which has the most loyalty. You could be a Nike or an Adidas person, for example. This brand loyalty is similar to having an army, we could be city or united in football terms. It provides a sense of identity, of belonging and contest. It gives us something to talk about and something to do of a Saturday afternoon.

Provided that one does not threaten a power base in any way, one is pretty free to operate. The moment a power base comes under the merest of threats some kind of conflict ensues, that conflict can be actual or simply political manoeuvring. Those with friends in high places have the power to stop you doing something. It is in their power, their say-so. All it takes is a quick ‘phone call in many cases. Many spend a lot of time concerned, even worried about their power base. This kind of power is a burden and it can exact a price, a price which some are more than willing to pay. If you are powerless, there is no power base to defend.

Which brings me around to these simple but profound questions:

Am I a moth?

Am I fascinated by or otherwise drawn to power?

If so, why?