January 27, 2017, Panama
There are a lot of people in life protesting; they want this and they want that. They do not want this or that do not want that. The question is what rights do we have, what are we "entitled" to?
In democratic societies we are entitled, at least in theory, to certain things such as fair representation in law, equal opportunity, and certain basic freedoms. In the natural order of things we are actually entitled to nothing but that which we can secure on our own, by any means at our disposal.
In natural society if you cannot hunt or find or grow food, then you will die. Other than the newborn no one will be fed. You are not entitled to have someone else work for you and bring you food. Society, and law, came around, basically, to protect the weak. As we all fear a time when we will be either sick or old, we support these laws, at least in theory, and contribute to the general welfare of the group. As a Bedouin in the desert we need the group in order to survive.
In natural society if you cannot defend yourself you die. In man made societies and in many animal societies we form packs or groups for mutual self defense.
Rights? It is a strange and tricky concept.
A child who goes to school has the right to study in peace and not be bullied by other children. In fact if that child does not learn to stand up for himself he will be bullied. No parent, teacher, principal or law maker will be able to protect him at all times. As I always say we the people are our first line of defense. When seconds matter the police are minutes away, at best. If a terrorist or thief enters your home the government, the military, your elected officials, are all of little use. The best we can ask of them is not to interfere with our natural right of self defense. Do not deny me my weapons of choice, do not deny me my right to defend myself. If you cannot help at least get out of the way.
No one has a right to be rich or successful. No one even has the right to say I want my path to be free of obstacles. There will be obstacles in your way and it will be your responsibility to tackle them. We can look at rich and successful people and be angry; why do they have so much while I have so little? But no one ever succeeded by complaining/whining.
The Talmud teaches a different approach: if you see someone whom "the hour is favoring" Join him!
Yes, do not cry bitterly and feel sorry for yourself, but join the successful person. The best secret for success is to hang out with successful people. The first verse of Psalms makes this very clear. The Ethics of the Fathers taught this over 2,000 years ago: "Praised be the man who has not walked in the company of the wicked..."choose a good crowd and you will be learn from them, the success will rub off on you.
Unless you are the rebel rouser who exploits the underprivileged for his own good, you will not get rich complaining. Again, some have done this as a "profession". They are professional complainers and get rich by using others. But as a rule complaining does little good. Complaining uses up valuable time that could have been spent working towards a goal.
I think of people that came to America with a goal, Bruce Lee, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and how they toiled night and day and ultimately achieved the ultimate success, and I do not recall a word of complaint or protest or a word about supposed "rights". It is not easy when you are not fluent in a language, or speak with a foreign accent but they did not let that stop them.
There is very little in life that you have a right too as that would usually imply expecting others to do the work for you. You have a right to get up each morning and face the world, you have a right to go to sleep at night and face your own demons.
I was at the gym tonight here in Panama City, the gym owned by IKI instructor Ricardo. I saw many people, some naturally well built, others not so much. Some were naturally beautiful, others less so. Now while I am not a body builder and find it odd that someone would spend so many hours each day sculpting their body, I do admire and appreciate the fact that these people are working hard and devoting themselves to a goal of self improvement. They are working towards feeling better about themselves. This is part of their chosen path of personal empowerment and that I do admire. Rather than complain they are coming to the gym after work and training hard.
In civilized society we have certain rights, at least in theory, but in the natural order of things the only right you have is to use everything in your power to protect yourself and move forward. You have no right to be handed anything for free. You have no right to expect others to help you, (other than children and parents). You have a right to fight to create your own might. Right makes Might and when you have Might you can help others as well. Having Power gives you the power to help others.
As we say in the Grace after Meals, may we never require the gifts of other flesh and blood and not even their loans. May we stand up for ourselves, protect ourselves and work for the betterment of the world.
It is time to stand up for yourself. Stop complaining, stop waiting, Stop whining. Stop pushing off what you know you need to do, for yourself!