The Measure of Man
Posted on July 20, 2013
It dawned upon me that the measure of “man” (men&women) is not so much about how they act during the times of victory (which is still very important mind you) but who they are as a person when the sh*t really hits the fan. The true test of character comes when you are down…really down…and everything around you seems dark. Winston Churchill called this darkness “The Black Dog” and many have experienced that feeling of something lurking behind you ready to snap at any happiness that you may create for yourself. If we let it, then of course the animal will follow us…because we feed it. And in that, I am reminded of an old Cherokee Tale.
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
“One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
“The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
It is incredibly easy to lose perspective in this world. If you turn on the TV you will see all sorts of garbage and it will leave you untrusting of what is actually being fed to you. Hate spills all out over the internet, people hide behind social media and technology, and through it all true integrity, accountability, and perspective on what truly matters in life gets completely trampled. It was in Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” that he describes that once a man reaches the light from the pit of darkness and his eyes adjust…he will truly understand that the only things that really matter in this world are wisdom and virtue. Because everything else is really just stuff. The things you have don’t own you. Your celebrations, your events etc…those are just things that are happening because of something inside you. The good comes with the good and the bad comes with the bad. A solid heart leads to great things happening – and visa versa.
So learn to dance in the rain. Learn to enjoy the sound of the patter on the roof of your car as you turn off the car and the radio. Sit there for a second and really listen. You can either try to avoid it…or ditch the umbrella and go out there and get soaked – and enjoy every single second of it. Because this life has so much to teach you, but don’t just look for the lessons during the good times…be aware of the fact that it is only when it is dark outside that you can appreciate the brightness of the stars.
The Better Man Project
a friend of mine and myself once ran around our college campus and stomped in puddles as our way of dancing in the rain. it’s so needed in more ways than one. i love this post! dark times are needed so the light can be appreciated… otherwise, like with most things, we’d take it for granted. reminders are good to have once in a while. it’s so true about which wolf we feed. a great post through and through. 🙂
That quote, not avoiding the storm but learning to dance in the rain…is one of my favorites! Reading your blog… I though simply insert her for him, woman for man. We all need this. We all are a work in progress. Thank you for your insightful and beautifully written words. They definitely struck a chord!
Have you written something about expectations? I’m wondering what it means to expect things, what that is, and if I should really drop all expectations on everything. I’m thinking, how odd would that be!?
very well said
Reblogged this on Stephanie Dubyna and commented:
Another great blog from The Better Man Project. And it begs the question…..which wolf will you feed?
Wow, I’m impressed brother. That’s the first time I’ve heard someone make an allusion to Plato’s Republic on a blog.
What’s really powerful about that passage to me is that Socrates goes on to explain that once people attain true wisdom (fully emerge from the cave and see things as they really are, in the light of the sun) they become completely devoted to that light. They want to live in that light. They don’t want to go back into the cave.
But Socrates argued that for the good of society, they had to be MADE to go back down – because only those who had seen the light were fit to lead, but the common masses of humanity whom they were responsible to lead still dwelt, and would always dwell, within the cave.
So in a sense leadership is a constant coming up for air (wisdom and light) and then a constant diving down to bring what we have found to those who do not know it exists, who are still drowning in a world of illusions, of flickering fire-light shadows on stone walls.
Perhaps that is what you are trying to achieve with this blog. In any event, thanks for making that reference. It warms my heart to see someone with an appreciation for the great thinkers of humanity.
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yes… open the windows of your house and let the “ATMOSPHERE” come in
lol lol lol LMAO
Here’s a good example of a man who really showed character:
Very True. As soon as your journey leads you closer to the true self the state of the world seems to attempt to draw you back.
I much prefer Dancing in the Rain, to wallowing in the muck.