Prisoners always end up controlling society because whenever you restrict a man’s freedom, you drive him towards the cliff of conviction—the sacrifice that every leader must make.
committing to your beliefs
committing to your own beliefs means you are willing to go to the necessary steps to make sure you’re getting what you want from people. if you’re committed to what you believe, you won’t be threatened by criticism. neither will you feel the desire to silence even the most offensive accusations. gravity isn’t threatened by disbelief any more than subtraction is threatened by a bad math student. the only people threatened by criticism are those who are ashamed of what they really believe. censoring words that attack your beliefs are all hallmarks of being committed to other people’s beliefs, not your own.
committing to your own beliefs will also require you to be specific in both stating your beliefs and addressing challenges to them. this is when you’ll learn the difference between legalism and specificity. your critics will hide their beliefs in legalistic wording (“i never said that!”). they will primarily focus on what they haven’t said not on what they have said. they will avoid specificity at all costs because being specific will require them to be accountable to their own views. this is a scary thought for people who have no experience stating their own beliefs in public, let alone committing to them.
we only commit to the beliefs that meet our needs aka make us happy. that’s why we rarely commit to our own beliefs. if our beliefs were functional, we would have unlimited access to happiness because we would always know how to get the companionship we require.
but, unfortunately, the vast majority of our beliefs don’t meet our needs. thus, we have no other option but to depend on the beliefs of other people. since, our dysfunctional beliefs rob us of both friendship and romance, we will support the beliefs of those who appear to have the two things we desire most. since winning competitors like Michael Jordan are popular with people, we assume they have both friendship and romance. so we stop caring about our own unpopular beliefs and start committing to their popular beliefs in the hopes of being rewarded with the same respect they’ve garnered. this way we figure we can eventually get the love that they appear to have access to.
keyword—appear. because even if we do become popular, our fan’s admiration of our competitive skills can never meet or replace our need for companionship. i.e., it feels great to be liked, but even admiration falls short of making us truly happy. we don’t want to settle for mere admiration. we require reciprocation! we want exactly what we give to others! we want those in our relationships to make the exact same sacrifices that we make!
belief begets criticism. criticism hunts for integrity. public scrutiny acts like a chisel chipping away at anything counterfeit, anything susceptible to change. once the sources of doubt are removed from belief, your actual relationship with Principle is revealed. this means that you start to understand for the very first time that there are BOUNDARIES to your existence; you discover your mortality from your first serious knee playing soccer. before getting hurt your had zero concerns about your body. you felt invincible. now there is suddenly concern you’ve never experienced before. THAT is limitation.
this is the same concern you experience when you’re 3 INCHES from the edge of a cliff. there is a dangerous place beyond that cliff boundary. if your parents haven’t taught to respect limitation through their discipline, you will experience trouble violating boundaries your entire life because you lack the self-discipline to restrict your own steps.
take Slither for instance. KNOWING your limitations in Slither teaches you how close you can afford to get to any worm, at any given time. there is no longer any guesswork when you know your limitations. there is no longer any harmful hesitation or anxiety-producing-last-minute wavering. there’s just comfort in your own skin—the dream you always ponder over, but NEVER EXPERIENCE. this is why self-discipline, self-restriction, is crucial to alleviating the anxiety that plagues you. this is the difference between being stressed over all the homework you have, and restricting yourself to a homework schedule which completely eliminates the anxiety produced from not having any guidelines from which to act. restriction is required to get you to your destination. once your self-restriction becomes exact and specific, then you have developed the ultimate restriction called ‘direction’.
your beliefs represent the agreements you make with limitation. these agreements take the form of restriction. i.e., what you believe determines how you restrict yourself. if you believe in Capitalism, you will restrict your education and career choices to reflect that. if you believe in God, you will restrict your behavior accordingly. if you believe in anarchy, you will be very lenient with your restrictions. if you believe in competition, you will restrict your training to accommodate it. if however you believe in addressing your desire for companionship, you will restrict yourself according to the Principle of Necessity.
commitment represents the ultimate restriction; pleasure motivates you to be strict in following the standard of Necessity and pain prevents you from recklessly neglecting your duty to uphold it. both are required to keep you focused on your needs and to correct careless deviations from them. only if all parties in the relationship commit to this Principle will they produce a healthy family. this means the parents must provide, nurture, and protect and the children must obey, train and grow. these are reciprocal functions that depend on each party’s cooperation.
the standard of Necessity demands that those neglecting their function must be punished while those performing their function must be rewarded. whoever avoids their required chores receives painful discipline (spankings, scoldings, privileges removed) while those obeying the standard set by the parents receive pleasurable praise (an allowance, affection, privileges granted).
and just like children, parents also need to obey this standard. those who neglect to enforce it, raise disobedient, unrestricted children who cause damage to other families and the community as a whole. such irresponsible parents should be punished by the community while those parents who train their children to obey the standard of Necessity should be celebrated by the community. they can look forward to a satisfying life!
if restriction falls below the standard of Necessity, it immediately becomes dysfunctional in nature. this type of abnormal restriction takes the form of either deprivation or indulgence.
deprivation restricts access to the things you need to live; anorexics abnormally restrict their food intake. “no fap” participants legalistically restrict their sexual behavior, erroneously assuming their innate desire for sex will disappear. Stoics restrict their emotional reactions to people and the environment. all these groups suffer unnecessarily as a result of abnormal restriction that neglects to focus on necessity.
indulgence means removing restrictions to add anything beyond necessity. our legal systems contain contingency upon contingency designed to indulge our childish urge to act without accountability. we’ve vilified and demonized our police officers to the point where we now see them as the enemy instead of servants commissioned with the duty of protecting our lives. ‘authority’ has become a 4-letter word today because of our hated of restriction. it’s no coincidence that all our favorite slogans have to do with “reaching for the stars” and “following your dreams” and listening to the emotionally schizophrenic voice of your heart. there’s no thought of doing what is necessary to make society function. because we refuse to guide our children with proper parental restrictions like spankings, we now incarcerate more criminals than any other country in the world. the same applies to our tax codes. they are unjustly complex because we lack a uniform governing standard to guide and restrict our daily economic decisions.
when we refuse to enforce the Standard of Necessity, we create a dysfunctional society that eats too much, exercises too little, doesn’t know how to earn a living, racks up insurmountable debt, and refuses to accept responsibility for its behavior. it’s only a matter of time before such a society crumbles under its own childish whims.
functional restriction requires the ability to see limitation. men develop this ability to restrict their lives based on the limitation they experience. scrutiny is necessary to verify the authenticity of the limitation. those who seek restriction should never fear public scrutiny because its the necessary tool used to scrape away whatever is hiding the Standard of Necessity.
commitment is the currency of belief. a man who is commits to his beliefs can afford to answer criticism because his commitment is constantly generating relationships along with all the valuable resources they bring. men who stand behind their own beliefs essentially print their own money. commitment even has greater purchasing power than self-sacrifice. the value of commitment is immediately recognizable because it motivates people to act. people want to be in the vicinity of men who are committed to their beliefs anyone who is willing to sacrifice his life must believe he’s found a priceless treasure that warrants a gold rush. this is why commitment is so contagious.
committing to my beliefs
when you’re committed to my beliefs, you’re always wondering what can go wrong because you’re invested in making other people happy at your expense.
i was the same way. i spent untold hours committed to other people’s beliefs. that’s why i combed my hair in the mirror for hours. that’s why i obsessed over my wardrobe. that’s why i got depressed when i got acne. i constantly carried the weight of other people’s expectations on my shoulders….
but now my attitude has changed after experiencing over and over again how my opinion was able to directly shape people’s behavior. through practice, i learned how to control my social environment so it finally met my needs. so today, when i go some place, i now think about what i want to do because i have learned how to control what happens to me. i know how to handle problems that come up. i know how to respond to criticism. i’m no longer terrified of public scrutiny. so i’m no longer motivated to dwell on what can go wrong. instead, i’m focused on what i want! ..what i believe.
when you’re committed to my opinion, you’re essentially trying to imitate me. because i feel good about myself, and because you want that same feeling, you delude yourself into thinking you can just capture it by imitation—“fake it till you make it!” unfortunately, that’s a popular self-help motto today; faking behavior to STEAL that behavior.
it doesn’t work that way because you can’t steal the effect of a scar just by making a similar injury on your own body. you can’t be me just by repeating what i’m doing because i wasn’t formed by any particular behavior of my own. my behavior is actually a result of experiencing other people’s beliefs. their beliefs created and shaped my beliefs. thus, the only real way to change your own behavior is to first change your beliefs.
i’m sure polio survivors or shark bite victims or victims of violent crime all know what it feels like to be scarred for life. they not only do things differently from that point on, but more importantly, they fundamentally think in different ways— forever! and most important of all: they now believe something they never believed before.
just saying exactly what you think i want to hear, will NEVER accomplish that, not in a billion years. because what i say is a reflection of who i already am, meaning i don’t talk to start building my identity. the only reason to talk is to reveal the identity that already exists! there must be a belief before the mouth even has a right to open. if you claim to have no beliefs, then you’re really telling me you have no right to speak.
first of all, there’s no such thing as a non-belief. belief happens spontaneously because belief is simply a reaction to your experiences. so if you were to tell me you had no beliefs, i would immediately know you’re lying.
second, telling me you have no beliefs just informs me that you don’t matter. immediately you’ve motivated me to stop respecting your existence. and i mean immediately; as soon as i hear your monotone voice, i know you’re committed to my belief. not only does this bore me, but i begin to tune you out.
as soon as your mind goes blank from questioning, i know you’re trying to calculate what you think i want to hear. this makes me cringe from being embarrassed on your behalf.
as soon as i notice your eyes darting back and forth, looking down at your feet, or fidgeting with your hands, i know you’re uncomfortable in your own skin. it makes me want to move away from you as soon as possible.
as soon as you interrupt my criticism before i even get a chance to voice it, i know you’re a coward trying the truth of your condition. this causes me to lose interest in correcting you or helping you.
as soon as you insert fake emotion where it doesn’t fit, i laugh at your attempt to substitute intensity and moral indignation for commitment. i quickly get bored of your orchestrated calculations designed to preserve your imaginary view of your likability.
as soon as i catch you agreeing too quickly to soften the blow of my criticism, as if you already knew it, i get discouraged talking to you. your contingency plans don’t impress me because they try to hide who you really are. your denials of your own necessities only serve to alienate me further.
as soon as i hear you mutter or speak too fast, i know you’re trying to rush off stage because you feel ashamed of your own beliefs. i know could never depend on a person like you.
as soon as i catch you trying to regurgitate my mannerisms, i start to pity your insecurity because i know you are still struggling to be liked.
as soon as i hear the cadence in your voice, i know you’re on autopilot, committed to my beliefs. i start wondering what common cliches will pop out of your mouth.
as soon as i hear your measured tone, i begin to wonder how frustrated you really are inside from actively suppressing your own beliefs.
as soon as i notice you stalling for time, i know you’re trying to calculate what i want to hear and i lose respect for you.
as soon as i hear you narrating facts as a replacement for your opinion, i know you’re worried about what i’ll think of you. this only annoys me even more because, like you, the facts also refuse to make decisions.
as soon as i witness one of your fake morality speeches, i know your parents and society have shamed you out of paying attention to what you really believe and have turned you into a glorified Hall Monitor. i know you’re a legalistic asshole who holds people accountable to moral standards you can’t meet yourself, and i hate you for it.
last but not least, tell me you have no beliefs is really a refusal to state what you already believe! everybody on the planet knows exactly what they believe and why they believe it. it’s not a mystery to them at all. the only mystery is deciding whether or not to declare those beliefs out loud and risk rejection of your standards. this is exactly why people don’t commit to their own beliefs and instead commit to the beliefs of those around them.
but when you’re committed to my beliefs, you negate your own function. you undermine your own ability to provide companionship. i.e., committing to my beliefs negates your ability to meet my needs!—this is why i reject you.
i already know what my own beliefs are, i don’t want you repeating them back to me in a different voice. that does nothing for me. so when i reject you, i’m really rejecting the fake version of me.