I just finished reading Montaigne’s essay “On the cannibals”, referring to the people from America, back in the 15th hundredths.
He mentioned why they went to war with other peoples from the zone, and the reason was not to get more land or to steal their crops and women, but to be able to show their courage.
When they captured their enemies and took them to their towns, they didn’t mistreat them. No, all the contrary, they treated them as kings, providing them with all the necessities they needed. Why? Because after a while, they were going to eat them, as the ultimate revenge.
You might think that they fed them to get them fat, but no. They fed them because they wanted them to hold dear to life, to break them, and have them implore for mercy, only then would they be completely defeated once their constancy and spirit were broken.
Now, what does this have to do with the question?
It’s way more common to value crap that will make you weak. We value having over being. We value having so much that we forget how to “be” in the world. Think about it. If you’re on Instagram, you’ll value attention and likes over authenticity. Or if you’re in the rat race, you will value what will get you the most money over real work that benefits other human beings.
We value the tangible over the intangible because we can put a number on the tangible, but not on the intangible.
Now, what has more value?
if you’re looking to be stronger mentally and emotionally, I would argue that the intangible,
Courage, steadfastness, consistency, wisdom.
These things are ironically free. You can always choose to act them out in your life.
Having a crappy day? Practice endurance. No money? Practice humility and resourcefulness.
The key is to start practicing, and becoming better at them. And eventually, you’ll be stronger mentally and emotionally. You will even crave the opportunities to test your newfound treasures.
Like what you just read?