The Why Talk

the why talk

Pur­pose: to ignite in the learn­er a deep and burn­ing desire to become a bet­ter man

What do I need to know to give this?
‑his­to­ry
‑the Greeks
‑phi­los­o­phy
‑rhetoric
‑per­son­al accom­plish­ments, physical
‑speak anoth­er language

-why do we do what we do?
spec ops, cops, bor­der patrol, any phys­i­cal­ly dif­fi­cult and chal­leng­ing job

-what is great about Amer­i­ca, or, why are we here?

The goal?  To per­fect the self.  This is the way & the end.  Live for the experience.

-greeks
‑arete
‑flow state
‑ethics and morals
‑peace/love/joy
‑com­mu­ni­ty
‑feast­ing togeth­er (feast­ing over 15,000 years old, pre-dates agriculture)
‑clas­si­cal education
‑farm­ing
‑prob­lem solving
Rec­om­mend­ed Read­ing and source list:
‑car­nage & cul­ture, who killed homer, blood merid­i­an, seneca, dev­il’s high­way, epicte­tus, the odyssey, the war­rior’s edge, trout bum, per­for­mance rock climb­ing, the right stuff, thoughts of a philo­soph­i­cal fight­er pilot, endurance, sol­dier’s load, self reliance, the four agreements

For the sol­dier’s trade, ver­i­ly and essen­tial­ly, is not slay­ing, but being slain.  This with­out well know­ing its own mean­ing, the world hon­ours it for.  A bravo’s trade is slay­ing; but the world has nev­er respect­ed bravos more than mer­chants: the rea­son it hon­ours the sol­dier is, because he holds his life at the ser­vice of the State.  Reck­less he may be–fond of plea­sure or of adventure–all kinds of bye-motives and mean impuls­es may have deter­mined the choice of his pro­fes­sion, and may affect (to all appear­ance exclu­sive­ly) his dai­ly con­duct in it; but our esti­mate of him is based on this ulti­mate fact–of which we are well assured–that put him in a fortress breach, with all the plea­sures of the world behind him, and only death and his duty in front of him, he will keep his face to the front; and he knows that his choice may be put to him at any moment–and has before­hand tak­en his part–virtually takes such part continually–does, in real­i­ty, die daily.”
‑John Ruskin, The Roots of Hon­or, Unto This Last

Five great intel­lec­tu­al pro­fes­sions, relat­ing to dai­ly neces­si­ties of life, have hith­er­to existed–three exist nec­es­sar­i­ly, in every civ­i­lized nation:
The Sol­dier’s pro­fes­sion is to defend it.
The Pas­tor’s to teach it.
The Physi­cian’s to keep it in health.
The Lawyer’s to enforce jus­tice in it.
The Mer­chan­t’s to pro­vide  for it.
‑John Ruskin, The Roots of Hon­or, Unto This Last

The Greek idea of virtue starts with the indi­vid­ual; we are to be stronger, tougher, more out­spo­ken than it is in our nature to be.  We must look to our­selves, not oth­ers, for suc­cor in star­ing down what is fated.”

[]Last­ing reform is found only through action.  Mean­ing can only be found in the effort to do what we should not be able to do, in sac­ri­fic­ing life and health in order to paw and scratch at big­ger things that do not fade.”

[] Men on foot with mus­cu­lar strength, not horse­men nor even mis­sile men, alone ulti­mate­ly win wars.”

[] Most alien to the Clas­si­cal spir­it is the sup­pres­sion of argu­ment, the refec­tion of self-crit­i­cism, or the idea that incor­po­rat­ing the ideas of oth­ers dimin­ish­es oneself.”

The Greeks have already mapped the paths to indi­vid­ual suc­cess and the cre­ation of a sta­ble soci­ety: joint deci­sion-mak­ing, no astro­nom­i­cal pay­offs for an unde­serv­ing elite, con­stant audit and account­abil­i­ty, duties to the com­mu­ni­ty, noblesse oblige towards the less fortunate–what the Greeks called charis”

Did not more than one Greek say, “Not fine­ly-roofed hous­es, nor the well-built walls, nor even canals or dock­yards make the polis, but rather men of the type able to meet the job at hand”?  Peo­ple, then, matter.

Learn­ing comes through pain, rea­son is checked by fate, men are social crea­tures, the truth only emerges through dis­sent and open crit­i­cism, human life is trag­i­cal­ly short and there­fore comes with oblig­a­tions, char­ac­ter is a mat­ter of match­ing words with deeds, the most dan­ger­ous ani­mal is the nat­ur­al beast with­in us, reli­gion is sep­a­rate from and sub­or­di­nate to polit­i­cal author­i­ty, pri­vate prop­er­ty should be immune from gov­ern­ment coer­cion, even aris­to­crat­ic lead­ers ignore the will of the assem­bly at their peril–start with Homer, espe­cial­ly his Illiad.

-Vic­tor Davis Han­son, Who Killed Homer?

When you get to the top of a wall, there’s noth­ing there.”  ‑Yvon Chouinard, on why he climbs, from the movie 180 South

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