The young officer received orders for his next assignment: Vietnam, Chief, POW Interrogation Team. What to do? There were rumors of U.S. forces torturing prisoners. A predicament: Resign his commission, desert and flee to Canada? But his motives weren’t pure. He didn’t want to leave his beautiful young wife and their new-born son. Of course not. The lure of media exposure as a conscientious objector loomed large. TV interviews. Maybe publishing a book. Much more attractive than a billet in Nam. And regardless of possible media distortions, it was clear: lots of men were dying in Nam.
Persuasive factors but not honorable. So the lieutenant flew out to meet with his mentor, a colonel, to seek insight. Hearing the question, the colonel was crest fallen. “We don’t do that! We don’t torture prisoners!” That was it.
The lieutenant chose to go and see for himself. Ego was not absent from that decision either. Maybe the colonel was right. Didn’t seem likely, but maybe. In any event, Nam was the right decision for career advancement. He went.
Without knowing what preceded or followed this decision, can we judge its morality, its rightness in absolute terms? Both possible decisions were ego tainted, holding vast unknowns and based on fragmentary information about the realities of the war zone. What say ye?
Pretty good Jocko #0445club motivation. Wisdom speaks:
“So, my dear friends, listen carefully;
those who embrace these my ways are most blessed.
Mark a life of discipline and live wisely;
don’t squander your precious life.
Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me,
awake and ready for me each morning,
alert and responsive as I start my day’s work.
When you find me, you find life, real life,
to say nothing of God’s good pleasure.
But if you wrong me, you damage your very soul;
when you reject me, you’re flirting with death.” (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 8, Verses 32-36, The Message, BibleGateway.com)
Adultery: High road to fun or low road to doom? Well, it’s Friday night, as it turns out. So maybe the whole chapter is worth sharing. Kill joy in the short run or kill boy long term? If as Jocko says, Discipline Equals Freedom, then lack of same = ????. Read on to find out or listen (click the speaker icon).
1-5 Dear friend, do what I tell you;
treasure my careful instructions.
Do what I say and you’ll live well.
My teaching is as precious as your eyesight—guard it!
Write it out on the back of your hands;
etch it on the chambers of your heart.
Talk to Wisdom as to a sister.
Treat Insight as your companion.
They’ll be with you to fend off the Temptress—
that smooth-talking, honey-tongued Seductress.
6-12 As I stood at the window of my house
looking out through the shutters,
Watching the mindless crowd stroll by,
I spotted a young man without any sense
Arriving at the corner of the street where she lived,
then turning up the path to her house.
It was dusk, the evening coming on,
the darkness thickening into night.
Just then, a woman met him—
she’d been lying in wait for him, dressed to seduce him.
Brazen and brash she was,
restless and roaming, never at home,
Walking the streets, loitering in the mall,
hanging out at every corner in town.
13-20 She threw her arms around him and kissed him,
boldly took his arm and said,
“I’ve got all the makings for a feast—
today I made my offerings, my vows are all paid,
So now I’ve come to find you,
hoping to catch sight of your face—and here you are!
I’ve spread fresh, clean sheets on my bed,
colorful imported linens.
My bed is aromatic with spices
and exotic fragrances.
Come, let’s make love all night,
spend the night in ecstatic lovemaking!
My husband’s not home; he’s away on business,
and he won’t be back for a month.”
21-23 Soon she has him eating out of her hand,
bewitched by her honeyed speech.
Before you know it, he’s trotting behind her,
like a calf led to the butcher shop,
Like a stag lured into ambush
and then shot with an arrow,
Like a bird flying into a net
not knowing that its flying life is over.
24-27 So, friends, listen to me,
take these words of mine most seriously.
Don’t fool around with a woman like that;
don’t even stroll through her neighborhood.
Countless victims come under her spell;
she’s the death of many a poor man.
She runs a halfway house to hell,
fits you out with a shroud and a coffin. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 7, The Message, BibleGateway.com)
Note to Reader: This post was due out two days ago but needed a bit more gestation.
Note to Self: Wait a minute! This warning is for you! That still small voice you’ve been ignoring for YEARS? Heed it today! Maybe there’s yet time to get to higher ground.
Note to Self and Others: Gravity, weather, and wisdom always apply. Belief gets no vote. The fool’s vortex is belief agnostic. Action counts!
20-21 Lady Wisdom goes out in the street and shouts.
At the town center she makes her speech.
In the middle of the traffic she takes her stand.
At the busiest corner she calls out:
22-24 “Simpletons! How long will you wallow in ignorance?
Cynics! How long will you feed your cynicism?
Idiots! How long will you refuse to learn?
About face! I can revise your life.
Look, I’m ready to pour out my spirit on you;
I’m ready to tell you all I know.
As it is, I’ve called, but you’ve turned a deaf ear;
I’ve reached out to you, but you’ve ignored me.
25-28 “Since you laugh at my counsel
and make a joke of my advice,
How can I take you seriously?
I’ll turn the tables and joke about your troubles!
What if the roof falls in,
and your whole life goes to pieces?
What if catastrophe strikes and there’s nothing
to show for your life but rubble and ashes?
You’ll need me then. You’ll call for me, but don’t expect
No matter how hard you look, you won’t find me.
29-33 “Because you hated Knowledge
and had nothing to do with the Fear-of-God,
Because you wouldn’t take my advice
and brushed aside all my offers to train you,
Well, you’ve made your bed—now lie in it;
you wanted your own way—now, how do you like it?
Don’t you see what happens, you simpletons, you idiots?
Carelessness kills; complacency is murder.
First pay attention to me, and then relax.
Now you can take it easy—you’re in good hands.” (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 1, Verses 20-33, The Message, BibleGateway.com)
We know what we stand for, #0445club! Extreme Ownership!
. . . I will always do my duty,
No matter what the price,
I’ve counted up the cost,
I know the sacrifice.
Oh, and I don’t want to die for you,
But if dyin’s asked of me,
I’ll bear that cross with honor,
‘Cause freedom don’t come free. (Toby Keith, American Soldier)
Loafers say, “It’s dangerous out there!
Tigers are prowling the streets!”
and then pull the covers back over their heads. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 26, Verse 13, The Message, BibleGateway.com)
I can relate! I never considered myself a loafer, but there have been times when I woke up ready to get up, then thought of all the tigers, not in the street so much as in my life. The tigers were circling. Bed seemed a safe place to be.
That was before Extreme Ownership, before The Tim Ferriss Show podcast with Jocko Willink, before 40 + episodes of The Jocko Podcast, before joining the #0445club, and before the recent #fastingsavages sally.
Now, it’s no longer Beware: Tigers! It’s Tigers, beware! Now when I wake up, I feel the spirit of hundreds, maybe thousands of fellow Troopers around the world with me. And I think of the servant of the prophet Elijah:
15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.
16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (The Second Book of the History of the Kings, Chapter 16, Verses 15 & 16, The New International Version, BibleGateway.com)
And today it is true. There are more and more of us. We are the tigers in the streets. Get it on, Troopers!
Oh, if you’re not a Trooper yet, you can fix that. Or maybe better just cover your head? Wait for the tigers to spring? No slack.
My most important question: at the end of your getting after it—-90 year old Jocko….just before he dies thinks/says ?
So asks @TysonBush. My guess? Most likely something out of Tennyson. What else for a guy who loves literature but not quite as much as jiu jitsu?
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
. . .
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
I think he’ll still be tapping out all comers until one day he doesn’t.