Friday, January 7, 2011

Solitude - The Initial Path Of The Intellectual Warrior


The Lonely Shepherd - Gheorghe Zamfir
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Alex on one of his computers studying Algebra II 
through one of his Plato courses (he also does Thinkwell Math).

Alex automatically goes to his study station right after breakfast.

He is eager to initiate his studies for the day.

Although his subjects have a minimum time standard...
he is always free to extend each according to his desires.

He will frequently wish to work on a particular concept until
he completes the Mastery test (100%).

Just yesterday...
I was in another room and I had heard him jumping up and down
and singing a little song of victory.
He had just mastered a mathematical concept (mastery test)...
one that he had been working on for several hours.

Although the concept wasn't so difficult...
the steps were very labor intensive...
tedious...
one small misstep along the way...
the result would, of course...
be wrong.


In order to prevent massive frustration...
his mother checked his work in groups
(hence the smiley faces).



As he had wished to master that particular segment before doing
anything else...
he (as he frequently does on his own)...
voluntarily extended his math time until he finished the task.

He understands the concept of digression...
to leave a task undone...
unmastered...
not only leads to a half step back...
if left for the next day...
it leaves the mind unsettled.

He usually has some free time after his last study session...
before his Karate lessons.

He completed his Mastery Test with just 5 minutes to spare...
before we had to leave...
but he was so happy with himself...
he was giddy with glee.

He says he just loves improving...
he loves to see his progress...
(illustrates the value of daily reachable objectives)

He got a big hug from me and off we went...
he has the same attitude with his Karate training...
he loves to see his progress in everything.


Many times I am at another computer in the morning...
I hear him come down...
he gives me a big hug and goes to his table to eat and read...
(he likes to read as he eats).

He then goes to his study station and brings up his first lesson
for the day on his computer.

He will complete each lesson and move on to the next
without the need for us to prompt him.

His mother will walk over to him to check on his progress periodically...
 to conceptualize a difficult area...
or to praise him for his progress.


The house is always quiet.
When I listen to music in another room...
while on the computer...
I use headphones.

He has his own areas to lose himself
in his studies...
in peaceful surroundings.


He already knows...
that his early years...
shall set the tone
for the rest of his life.

He is...
in essence...
an intellectual warrior monk...
in training.

He loves solitude...
to be able to lose himself in books...
or studying new and exciting concepts
through the computer or DVDs.

Solitude
allows him to develop his imagination...
his hopes and dreams...
to help him to 
discover who he is
and what is important to him
in life.

He enjoys playtime also...
but he also realizes that...
playtime is a dessert...
that it is something to treasure.

Something that is treasured...
is especially enjoyed...
savored...
made memorable...
not to be wasted with boredom...
but with full belly laughs with friends.

He knows the concept
and importance
of Quality...
in everything
in life.


His solitude...
a sacred time of study and reflection...
not only allows him to make steady improvements
in all of his subjects...
it is his baseline...
a constant
from which all of his other experiences are measured.

He doesn't need the ever higher levels
of stimuli to enjoy himself
(as do those who lead a hedonistic lifestyle).


With his base line set on the level
that one needs to be on to excel...
he will not only reach his goals
in an efficient manner...
all of the great simple pleasures in life
become self evident.


Too much...
way too much...
emphasis (in America)...
is put on socialization of the children...
(learning to relate to others)
through playtime at school...
even to the detriment of academics.

This, in my mind, is backwards.

It places, and emphasizes, the learning of 
the nature of human relations
from the external to the internal.

I say that it should be from
the internal to the external...
that one should learn to relate with others.

It is through solitude 
(combative sports - studies - music...etc. included)
that one learns about oneself...
about one's true nature...
and so...
about the true nature
of all human beings.

One learns to respect oneself...
and so...
learns to respect all others.

In groups...
one leads...
all of the others...
learn to follow.

In solitude...
all are masters of their destiny...
the chief engineers...
the Captains of their ships.

In solitude
there is complete freedom.

The freedom to discover
who you are...
whom you wish to be...
through rigorous training and studies.

It is only through ever expanding exploration
that one progresses in life.

The greater those experiences...
the greater the growth...
and so...
the greater the happiness...
one shall have.

To illustrate this concept...
through a very famous story from Japan...

Musashi...

a monk had initially captured and imprisoned Musashi...
as he had been a rogue youth...
and had just beaten a man to death...
had he been captured by the authorities...
he would have been executed.

The monk (Takuwan)
had locked him in an attic room for 
three years
(after hanging him from a tree for a few days).

Musashi had no human contact...
as the monk told him that he was unfit
to be among humans so long as he acted inhumanely.

The monk gave him just the bare necessities...
with one exception...
he had given him copious amounts of books...
those were to be the building blocks of his later
great humanity.

Musashi had later gone on to accomplish
many great deeds.

It was through...

Solitude...

 his studies of great subjects...
 of the accomplishments of great men before him...
and later...
through his solitary training of the sword
that he had learned
the true nature of himself...
that of the true nature of others...
what it meant to be a great human being...
about the true beauty of life...
as seen through the eyes of a completely changed man.


His further interactions with humans were ones of 
Great Courage...
Great Love...
Great Honor.


The story also illustrated the lifestyle of one of his initial friends...

Matahachi...

who had rejected the honorable life...
and the solitude initially required...
to achieve it.

He went on to live a hedonistic way of life...
seeking popularity and shallow friendships...
eventually finding no true happiness...

wanting to instead...

find a quantity of small temporary diversions...
through drink, and other social pleasures...
to the detriment of his ultimate happiness.

He had sought happiness through others...
(from the outside to the inside)

Instead of seeking happiness through himself...
(from the inside to the outside)

Allow your child to be
a Musashi...
and not...
a Matahachi.

It is through your child's slaying of...
the great demons of...

Ignorance...
Self Doubt...
Self Indulgence...

through solitary training of the
Mind...
Body...
Spirit (Emotions)...
(Studies of Academics / Martial Arts / Music)

as his mainstay...
his constant...
his rock solid foundation...

he will learn to enjoy 

Solitude

as he knows this is his path to ultimate
success and happiness.


He will greatly enjoy life...
as all of life's simple pleasures 
shall take on
a magnified importance...
since they shall not be taken for granted.

Once he learns the concept of Quality over Quantity
(his goal would then become the Quantity of Quality)...

He will forever settle for nothing less.

This is the correct path to take in life.

The way in life to true happiness
lies in...

Training...

Mind...
Body...
Spirit (Emotions).





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