Life in Writing
Many of us are quick to judge. We hear about the latest case of some criminal and waste no time in spreading our opinions on what should happen to them. Jail time, death penalty, whatever we happen to think. We're quick to say that they're monsters, and deserve less than human treatment for their crimes because their crimes have made them less than human. When is the last time you saw a political post in your facebook feed and didn't find comments telling people that they should go kill themselves for being so stupid? But how quick do you think anybody would be in passing judgments if they had to carry out the sentences themselves? How fast would we see a change in the behavior of internet trolls if they were forced to carry out all of the threats they leave? There's a real disconnect between what people think should happen when they're sheltered from the reality of carrying such things out, and how they feel when they're faced with that brutal reality. So if you're in the camp of people who think that all of your political opponents should go die, and that all minor criminals should be imprisoned. Think about how you'd feel if you were the one that had to carry out all of those sentences against them. I think you'll find that a lot of times it will change your mind about how you judge what others deserve.
Despite his super powers, Spider Man often finds himself as the underdog in many situations. Be it through youth and inexperience, or just from a really powerful super villain, Spider Man gets overwhelmed all the time. So if a guy with super strength, wall crawling powers, and a tingly spidey sense frequently finds himself in overwhelming situations how much harder can life be for us non-powered folk?
But Spider Man shares with us here the value of putting forth our maximum effort. Sure, everybody fails at some point, but those who won't try fail every time. So learn from Spider Man, and don't let the fear of failure stop you from trying. Never go down without a fight.
Fate is a concept I find myself rather resistant to, but the truth is that fate is rarely used to mean what the word actually means, which is likely the case here. In most usages of the word, it means something closer to opportunity or chance. In this sense, Optimus Prime shows great wisdom in this quote. As much as we all probably daydream about becoming an overnight success without dedicating every waking hour of our lives to it for years on end, it just doesn't happen. You can't just pick an arbitrary date and decide that you'll be successful on that day. You plan and you work, and you wait for your opportunity. And nearly every time an opportunity comes. It's inconvenient. The fact is that success is never convenient, but if you're willing to inconvenience yourself a bit then you can really go far in life.
We all love Captain Jack Sparrow. He makes us laugh with his over the top antics, but there's more than just his antics to his likability. His attitude is one of the biggest factors. Jack faces of against the British navy, skeleton pirates, magical underwater pirates, giant sea monsters, and a whole host of other daunting enemies. Yet through the entire series of movies, there's almost never a time where Jack doesn't seem to think that he'll be able to accomplish his goals. He believes in himself, and he's always looking for a solution to his problems. That's why we all like Jack so much. And there's a lesson from that we can apply in our own lives. Nobody likes to be sad, and nobody likes to be around sad people, and the truth is that, with the notable exception of those with depression, we don't have to be sad. We can decide how to feel no matter what situation. So next time you're feeling down about something, remember Jack's words and think about it. Is the problem really the problem? Or is it just your attitude about the problem?
It seems odd that this really needs to be said, but women are awesome. Sure, men are generally physically stronger, but thinking that physical strength is the only strength that matters is a pretty serious fallacy. Wonder Woman is somewhat unique in pointing this out as she actually is physically stronger than most men, but her physical strength just serves to additionally prove her point that judging a person to be a certain way solely because of their gender is flawed thinking. Wonder Woman specifically mentions here the stereotype that all women are "sissies," which is obviously untrue. But how many other stereotypes do we place on people? Certainly we occasionally need to make some judgments based on limited information in order to avoid trouble. You wouldn't want to invite a person into your home who bore numerous needle marks in their arms and seemed to be shaking from withdrawals. Sure you don't have all the information about that person, they could be wonderful for all you know, but as a basic matter of personal safety you avoid them. That kind of judgement is just a part of living. But assuming that all women are inferior just because many of them aren't as strong, or that somebody isn't good because of their race, or that somebody is evil because they're rich, or that somebody is racist because they're white aren't judgments we need to make. It's a hard thing to do, avoiding snap judgments, after all, they're what keeps us alive. Judgments and preconceptions are built into us as human beings. Everybody has a natural and healthy fear of anything different from themselves. But why do we have to be only what our nature determines us to be? We're intelligent enough to move past initial judgments and find the truth. We don't have to live our lives catering to our natures. Our lives are about overcoming our own natural selves and become something better.
So next time you catch yourself judging another person, ask yourself if it's necessary for you to make that judgment now, and if it's not then try to get to know that person a little better. Find the truth, and see that person's true strength.
This quote sounds like something you would read in a fortune cookie but that doesn't make it any less true. Dignity is one of those concepts that we often don't think about but is incredibly important. Dignity is defined as a state of being worthy of honor or respect. A state that all of us should strive to be in. Yet there are so many things that can strip us of our dignity. Jealousy, pride, or as Jack so aptly points out here, aggression.
Aggression is a purely selfish emotion and is actually the opposite of dignity. Selfishness has never brought honor or respect to anybody. So next time you're starting to feel a little angry or aggressive, remember the wise words of Samurai Jack and don't sacrifice your dignity for your aggression.
Daniel M. Quilter is the author of A Soul Divided. On this blog he'll interview other authors, review books, share nerd wisdom from popular sci-fi and fantasy, and occasionally share his insights on writing. See a list of his works or see what he's working on.
Are you an Author? Are you interested in doing an interview for this blog? Find out how by clicking here.
Interested in getting your sci-fi/fantasy book reviewed on this blog? Check out our submission guidelines
Do you write any flash fiction? Do you want to share it on this site? Click here to review our submission guidelines.