This will be a blog in 2 parts, since that is how the evening came to me.
I. There is a not-so-secret fantasy most men have. Sometimes it involves fast cars or loose women. Sometimes it is running off to the wilderness or the islands or hitting the rails as a hobo. The one thing they all have in common? A lack of responsibility to anyone but yourself. It is the daydream of the ultimate selfishness. The idea that one can go through life responsible only for one’s self. No wife, no kids, no emotional or moral responsibility to the women you fuck, no financial responsibility beyond what you need for what you want. Duty is a four letter word and responsibility is for chumps. Few men are honest enough with themselves to put it that bluntly, but when you boil down our Walter Mitty daydreams, that is what they lead to. And I don’t know any man myself who can honestly deny they never indulge those daydreams from time to time.
So, Saturday night I had an epiphany. There I was, a good book in my pocket, a good cigar ready to be lit, several uninterrupted hours of time with no responsibilities or obligations. You would think I would have been happy. No wife, no kids, no job responsibilities, no cell phone, no money worries. The only thing wrong was no whisky.
The epiphany I had was…it wasn’t enough. To live only for one’s own gratification is empty, hollow and lonely. It is duty and service that brings real meaning to life. It is the gratification of a job well done or selfless service rendered, not freedom from responsibility, that brings lasting contentment. We all get tired, we all need a breather to recharge our batteries. But the daydream is just that, no more graspable than a puff of cigar smoke.
II. Despite feeling a bit sorry for myself I settled down to smoke my Gurkha and read. About 20 minutes in a Tall, Strange Man (TSM) sat down across from me. We introduced ourselves, talked cigars and books which led to the discovery that we shared a lot of similar views not only on politics and life, but on more esoteric subjects I do not often find people knowledgable about; composting, ram pumps and resiliency in general. I seemed to have found a kindred spirit, not only a knowledgable and experienced leader but someone who was as concerned as I in the direction of our government and economy and with similar ideas as to the best tools for insuring our individual Liberty and survivability. What really sold me though, on his reliability and compatibility, was the stories we both could relate about leadership. Not just the science, but the art, the intangibles that mean the difference between a good and great leader.
So, over the course of this few days down in Bagram we have enjoyed some great conversation and damn good cigars. So much so that I am very happy to announce that TSM will be a guest blogger here, commenting mostly on the concepts of tribe and resiliency I have laid out previously and whatever else he feels is germane. I will leave it to him to decide how to introduce himself and how much anonymity he wishes to maintain. I really look forward to his contribution to the discussion and the future development of our RC/IC/Tribe or however it ends up shaking out.
So, I am again energized to take up my duties with joy rather than resignation. Expect, for my regular readers, a fresh spate of ideas and resources both regarding Resiliency and real and virtual tribal development.
More to come!