Skull-Stomping Sacred Cows: Weakness is Cowardice.
I see a lot of commentary from people, in comments here, on Facebook, and various sites across the blogosphere about their willingness to die on a hill. There is nothing inherently wrong with being willing to sacrifice yourself for the good of your tribe, or the values you hold dear. The problem is, most of the people proclaiming this willingness are completely, utterly, totally full of unmitigated bullshit.
Sacrifice, among other definitions, is most relevantly defined as “to give up something important or valued, for the sake of other considerations.” Self-sacrifice is defined as “giving up of one’s own interests or wishes in order to help others or to advance a cause.” There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, or with extending those definitions to the idea of dying for the greater good of the community. The problem arises when we look beyond the basic meanings of the words, into what the words actually mean—where they come from, and what they represent.
Sacrifice is from the Latin “sacrificium,” built of “sacra” meaning “sacred rites,” plus the root of “facere” meaning “to do.” So, a sacrifice is performing a sacred rite. Ultimately, a sacrifice is a means of exchange with the divine. It’s a barter arrangement. “I offer Thee this, and I ask Thee grant me that.” For Christians, of course, the ultimate expression of this was Jesus dying on Calvary. He died in exchange for the forgiveness of the sins of mortal men.
Even prayer is a form of sacrifice. You “give up” some of your time, to communicate with your deity. Dying on the hill, whether it is to give your friends time to escape from danger, or simply to reduce the danger to friends and family in the future, by killing as many cannibalistic San Franciscans as you can, before they get you, is the ultimate sacrifice you can give. It’s offering EVERYTHING you have, in exchange for the safety of your people. There’s nothing wrong with that. Hell, there’s probably nothing more noble than that (in my personal belief, there IS nothing more noble than that).
So, what’s the problem? Why the fuck is John talking shit again?
If you’re not willing to make the lesser sacrifices of training and preparation, you will not make the ultimate sacrifice. Period. Full-stop. End-of-story.
Training—whether it’s PT, handgun, rifle, combatives, patrolling, etc—is a form of sacrifice. You are giving up some of your time, that one thing in life we cannot get more of, and some of your comfort (at least, if you’re training validly), in the hope that, sometime in the future, when you need the attributes developed, that they will be there, and you will be favored with victory. Whether you believe in Yahweh, Odhinn, Zoroaster, or any other deity; or you believe in rational science, it’s all the same. If you make the sacrifice now, you hope you will be repaid your offering later.
Here’s the crutch though….if you’re unwilling to make small sacrifices now, you’re categorically NOT going to make the ultimate sacrifice later. You’re too much of a coward. That’s right. Weakness is cowardice. 18 or 80, thin or fat, whole or crippled, being weak (and no, for a change, I’m not just talking about PT here) is a choice. It’s a choice to follow the easy path. It’s a choice to abjure the discomfort and sacrifice of training, in favor of intellectual masturbation about the future you.
No one expects a 79 year old woman, suffering from osteoporosis to go squat 2x her body weight. No one expects her to run a Kalashnikov and perform a reconnaissance patrol. Chances are, you’re not a 79 year old woman suffering from osteoporosis. The level of ability that will be YOUR pinnacle will be influenced by age, sex, previous injuries and infirmities, and a host of other factors. Guess what though? ANYONE can be better than they are now. Your unwillingness to push yourself to new heights of achievement is a symptom of cowardice. It’s a fear of discomfort. It’s a fear of the unknown.
We spend a lot of time talking about the practical values and importance of training. Training is far more than that though. It’s MORE important than that. Training is about introspection. It’s about digging deep inside yourself, and finding the spirit of self-sacrifice within yourself. It’s about finding the part of you that is willing to give anything to protect the tribe. It’s not easy to find, despite the blustering machismo of too many mouth-breathing assholes. It is discovered at the moment of failure, in ANY training evolution, when you nut up and say, “fuck it, I’m not done yet!” and you drive on until you surpass failure.
If you’re not willing to go there; if you’re not willing to suffer, physically and mentally, to the point of failure—and then keep on suffering—you’re not going to sacrifice yourself.
So, if you’re the guy who claims, “I’m too XXXXX to train! I’ll just sit on a hill and take XXX number of ‘them’ with me?” You are full of shit. You are a coward. If you’re not willing to make small sacrifices NOW, you’re damned sure not going to make the ultimate sacrifice then.
There will be those who read this, that discredit it as “John is just spouting his typical elitist bullshit. He doesn’t understand that we’re not all former SOF guys!”
Those people are wrong. This isn’t about being SOF. This is about being human. Survival is about tribalism. Tribalism–both within tribes and between tribes–is about merit. That’s elitism and that’s okay. The only people who support egalitarianism are those that know–at some level–that they lack merit.”