The Pillars Of Man
I have mentioned before in a few instances how the three pillars of man are body, mind, and spirit. It is nothing new, and while I came to the conclusion myself, I found that many others have concluded the same. It often seems that young men in our generations neglect one, and sometimes two of these pillars. The cliche analogy of a three legged stool, requiring legs of equal length to properly stand comes to mind.
None of these three legs grow fully by simple and easy means. On the surface all three are simple, but as soon as you penetrate the surface, it can become difficult and require self analyzing, discipline, and hard work. No man is flawless, and I've yet to meet someone with all three of those legs perfectly balanced, but ultimately I'd rather sit on a 95% stable stool than a 45% stable stool.
The body is self explanatory. "If you're not fit, you're fucked." This is quickly apparent to everyone that gets into prepping. As soon as you load up a ruck with 3+ days of equipment, a full loadout of 7+ magazines, and whatever mission critical gear you need to carry, things can get uncomfortable quickly. Add rough terrain into this, and you're going to need to be fit to get to the fight and have enough energy left to get back home. Many of us strive to look like Arnold or an ancient Greek statue when it comes to physique. Some of us are fine with looking like the average build but with great endurance. Regardless of whichever path you want to take, if you are overweight or out of shape and are fine with it, you are coping in every way.
If you cannot actively carry every member of your team while wearing your equipment, and factoring in the premise of the enemy shooting at you, you are lacking and will ultimately do more harm than good. Do you need to dedicate 20 hours a week to the gym? Not necessarily. But being able to perform a basic Marine Corps PFT and getting a first class score is sufficient. If you're light and can ruck, but can't carry a buddy or extra ruck, you know what you need to work on. Pull ups, sit ups, burpees, and run are great ways to get a capable body without dedicating too much time. If you want to take it a step further and become a monster among men, there is still a point of diminishing return where you will be working too hard to move the mass that you have and will fall behind on long movements.
A good standard is a first class USMC PFT, which can be found at https://www.inchcalculator.com/usmc-pft-calculator/ to calculate your score. There are several Youtube videos on how to run each event. If you are getting a second or third class, you will need to start working on it. From there you will have a good foundation to get in better shape, and then looking into advanced physical fitness with weight.
Mind is something that is often quickly accepted, but then overlooked. For your mind to be in a right place, it's important that it builds off of the other pillars. Mind can be seen as the most important leg of this stool, and it is the most delicate. Not only is it important to read and seek knowledge of war, but philosophy is another important piece to shaping your mind. The philosophy of things can be glossed over in a modern time, and I've so much as heard people claim that philosophy is outdated.
To claim that philosophy is outdated is a modernist and tamed attitude. Philosophy tied with knowledge of psychology is a dangerous tool that can be used to your advantage. Any instance of psychological warfare ties these two things together, and for good reason. Understanding how the brain works and perceives things can keep you and your loved ones from getting into a bad mental spot when things get tough.
Keeping your mind strong and healthy also aids in thinking outside of the box, and keeps you alive. There's a reason most selection courses in various militaries look for mental toughness and abilities over purely physical. Having the mental capacity to critically think through an issue, and the physical ability to make it to that issue and become their issue is an essential harmony that is required on the battlefield. Master tacticians and logisticians win wars.
We can't overlook that an important part of winning these wars is marksmanship, overwhelming fire superiority, and the ability to ruck, all of these abilities will be useless if your tactics and logistics are bad. If you can't readily get food, water, rest, and time to unwind, you will be working hard to ensure your mind and body don't get overworked to the point of mental and physical exhaustion.
Your mental state will also help you with focus. If you're looking to workout, focusing on your form and cause and effect of your actions will leave you with a more fulfilling workout. Focusing on your current task at hand will keep you from making simple mistakes. It's a bit of an endless pit, where you make a mistake on a task and it discourages you, you redo it in the wrong mental space and make more mistakes, discouraging you further. Clearing your mind from the negative aspects of your current situation will help you complete tasks effectively and cleanly.
One of the biggest pieces of advice I have is being able to separate the different aspects of your life. I have work life, home life, and military life. These three things generally do not crossover into the other aspects. Obviously all of these take up time and intrude on the other facets of your life, but proper balance ensures that none of these facets become neglected.
Being in a bad mental state generally drives you further into a bad state, like I had mentioned. Many people when they become upset look to an instant form of pleasure to get out of it. Be it pornography, consumerism, alcohol, etc. These will all drive your mental state even lower, and affect other things like your financial well-being, which can cause further mental stress. When you become too stressed, you generally will neglect your physical and spiritual health as well.
Finally we have the spirit. Recently, I did a podcast episode with Nutria_Bru in Instagram revolving around Catholicism. A small section we covered was on spiritual warfare. The spiritual warfare that we face is attacking us from not only adversaries, but from society as a whole. It's easier to conquer a nation that is Godless. Your spiritual health will help you give proper meaning to your struggles, helping to keep your mental health in check.
If you have no spiritual meaning to your struggles, it's easy to give up. It's easy to initially say "I'll fight for my friends, family, community, etc." but when it's week 4 of no sleep and the enemy is relentlessly targeting your community and the armed men within it, you will need a greater meaning to carry on. The reason why communities were so strong in the past were due to religious similarities. While it's not beneficial to split off from others due to slicing hairs in religious preferences, religion and spirituality can often play into the morality and ethics of your community. For instance, if you find yourself in a community that's lead by those who regularly attend ceremonies worshiping an ancient cannibal god that demands sacrifice, you'll end up finding yourself as a target, even if they constantly claim that they offer religious freedoms. It's much easier to coexist with those that are in the same group of religion, IE Christianity, but have different ideas on how the finer workings go.
That's working to a bigger picture of spiritual importance, but if we look at an individual smaller scale, we go back to justifying struggles and keeping you driven throughout. Seeing your fellow man as one of God's children as opposed to the modernist view of "simply stardust," we are much more charitable. A charitable society without God cannot exist, and while many will disagree and point to arbitrary things like the NAP, societies that have lost focus on God have oftentimes been disastrous.
Looking to God for you happiness and purpose will largely assist with your mental wellness long before collapse. Driving you away from finding happiness in pleasure and materialism will keep your financial situation in check, and you will end up appreciating the world around you more. There is obviously a point of diminishing return, where we focus too much on God's creation and how man ruins it, but man is a creation of God as well, and we have to accept that imperfections give us a metric of good vs bad. Seeing things in this light give us mental fortitude. Understanding that we cannot know a straight line without knowing what a curved line is (in the words of CS Lewis in Mere Christianity), we can accept hardship much easier.
It's always interesting to me how some people in these circles can be fully onboard with physical and mental health, then decide that they don't need spiritual health. Many who neglect it see it as weak, and requiring others to tell you what's right vs. wrong or give you drive. This is partly true, but in a different light. Throughout all of humanity, man has given himself to his God or gods, and it has given him drive in battle and daily life. The ancient Greek, Scandinavian, Roman, and early American warriors were all strong in their faiths for many years, and it drove them to be physically and mentally fit. You are an intentional creation of an omniscient being who loves you. Do not treat your mind or body in a way that would disgrace that.
Something that is a good practice is to dedicate 30 minutes to an hour to each of these aspects. If you work a physically demanding job, unwind by reading and studying works that help your mind and spirit. If you work a mentally demanding job, relax your brain by working out and meditating. I'm guilty of playing video games to unwind when I could be reading, and it's something I aim to fix. Being realistic with yourself and seeing where your weaknesses lie and attacking them will be essential to staying in your ideal condition when there is no artificial society to keep you in this condition.
- Coniferous Origins