Razor Edge

Double-Edge-Shaver-Razor-Blade

According to Carlos Castaneda clarity is one of the enemies of knowledge.

This applies to all fields of human activity, including academia.

If you know the answer in advance, there’s no point in arguing or doing a research. A scholar or a a scientist needs to stay puzzled, as well be aware of the limits of his knowledge.

At the same time, however, there must be a sense of commitment, perseverance, and even stubbornness with pursuing a research question. After all, what’s the value of a scholarly investigation if it’s given up easily?

So on the one hand a scholar needs to be determined in his inquiries and views. On the other hand he needs to keep an open mind for a fresh perspective.

Finding a proper balance may not be easy. The term “golden middle” is not appropriate here. Rather, it’s a razor edge, as slightest leaning towards either side can lead to a disaster.

Yet the efforts are worth the result.

After all, razor edge is just another challenge – although a tough one – on the way towards a man of knowledge.

Can We Defeat Fear?

Everybody fears something. Whether we realize it or not, whether it is conscious or subconscious, we are all afraid of something.

I consider fear to be one of the biggest sins. As Carlos Castaneda put it, fear is the first enemy for the man of knowledge.

So the question is – can we defeat our fears?

I don’t think so.

I already addressed the subject in the post on the biggest virtues. Briefly, in order to deal with fear, one needs to practice courage. Think about darkness stepping away when there is light.

The key word here is practice. We all require courage in different situations. Yet I don’t think there will be a day when we can say honestly and sincerely: “I am not afraid of anything!”.

The point is not about having or not having fear.

The point is whether we face it or surrender.

Other posts related to Carlos Castaneda:

Castaneda And Frankl: A Bridge Between Esoterics And Psychology
Death Makes Life Meaningful
What Is The Way of The Marital Arts? (Part 1)
What Positive Attitude Really Means
A Cubic Centimeter Of Chance
We Must Never Stop Dreaming
The Four Enemies Of Knowledge

Navigate By Resistance

Recently I came across an inspiring video below with a simple yet profound message.

What we want to do least is what we need most. Fear is our compass. And we need to navigate by resistance to achieve success.

This idea resonates with every cell of my body. It also echoes with Richard Bach’s call to run away from safety.

Looking back at my life, I realize that whenever I had the courage to overcome my fears and embrace change, the results were overwhelming.

Ultimately we always have a choice between quest and comfort.

Shoot For The Moon

In martial arts, in order to break an object you need to focus on a point beyond it.

This is pure physics.

For every action there is reaction and resistance. When applying your power and speed through and beyond a target, their vectors will be pulled back towards you. So eventually you end up breaking the object.

The same principle applies to human life in general.

If you want some result, you need to work a lot. And if you want a stunning result, you must work off your ass for it.

We must aim high in order to achieve something. Simply because there will be resistance on the way slowing us down.

And in order to achieve most we need to aim as high as possible.

You Don’t Have The Guts To Be What You Wanna Be

“Scarface” is by far one of my favourite movies. And Al Pacino, who brilliantly depicted Tony Montana’s character, is my favourite actor ever.

Despite the cruelty of many scenes, “Scarface” contains many mind-blowing dialogues (or monologues, to be more precise) voiced by Tony Montana.

In my opinion, the “bad guy speech” characterizes the main hero best of all. Being a head of the criminal clan, Montana nevertheless will not compromise his principles: keep your word, be honest, be yourself.

As Abraham Maslow put it, “What a man can be, he must be.”

Watch out – the video below contains inappropriate language :).

Knowledge Vs. Wisdom

I am now reading an inspiring Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, a prominent psychiatrist of the 20th century and a Holocaust survivor. The book conveys a powerful message about the human search for meaning in life.

One of the author’s ideas that stand out in my mind most vividly is the distinction between knowledge and wisdom.

Let me quote Viktor Frankl here (translated from Russian):

Our scientists need something more than knowledge: they also need to have wisdom. And I define wisdom as knowledge combined with awareness of its limits.

“Knowledge combined with awareness of its limits” – isn’t that truly powerful?

A true scientist, scholar, or anyone who claims to have critical thinking must be always ready to change his point of view under the pressure of facts and evidence.

Most people are not ready to do that, as for them it is much more pleasant to know than to seek. Even people with strong intellect may get rigid in theirs views and answers.

Yet every knowledge is limited and reality always comes up with facts “not matching the theory”. In order to notice them, one just needn’t turn away.

To always feel the limits of your knowledge, your discourse, be always ready to review your theories due to new circumstances, be open to the unknown – this is what wisdom is.

I couldn’t agree more on this with Viktor Frankl.

To conclude with the author’s words, check out his famous short video below on the search for meaning. Perhaps this will serve as a motivation to check out his great book.