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, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

What do you think of this? Is it a power worth using on trifling things like brow-beating gas boys or getting a window seat? It feels a bit more special than that.

A friend and I used to talk about the power of rhetoric. The art of argument … or, even more accurately, the art of presenting argument. A master of rhetoric is a force of nature. And such power demands responsibility.

On the heels of those discussions, the same friend told me the story of meekness.

My friend says meekness is a term used first by horse trainers. In particular it was used by those that trained battle horses. Any inexperienced trainer would assume that the ideal horse to ride into the fray is the biggest, baddest stallion in the pasture. Mostly because there’s no way you’d want to be on the back of a sloop-backed nag. Of course, maximizers that we are, everyone would naturally ignore the quiet, proud one standing alone in the field – but that’s the one you’d want.

You don’t want the stallion. He’s too unpredictable. And you don’t want the nag – her spirit is broken. You want the meek one.

The horse you want in battle will get you to the fight and carry you both through it. You can’t have it going rodeo on the way and you don’t want it running scared when the fighting starts. Meekness is strength under control.

When horses were first used in battle they were the most powerful weapon in the field. But off the field, all you wanted was a horse.

Your strength is best used in battle and you need to realize: you aren’t always in battle. In fact, you’re hardly ever in one.

p.s. – the graphic reads “feel you, feel me”

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Commentary

Yes … how I love words that are terribly misunderstood.

Meek was used to distinguish a trained horse whose spirit was broken, from one whose spirit was intact. Meek is not submissive, but a word of strength. The meek have great strength, yet do not display it. The meek know they are powerful, but hold it in check.

By coincidence I am reading one of my hero’s just now, T.H. White, The Goshawk. He speaks of training a wild hawk he has just come to live with in the barn where he wrote.

Bright is the ring of words when the right man rings them …

“In teaching a hawk it is useless to bludgeon the creature into submission. The raptors have no tradition of masochism, and the more one menaces or tortures them, the more they menace in return. Wild and intransigent, it is yet necessary to break them before they can be tamed and taught. Any cruelty, being immediately resented, is worse than useless, because the bird will never bend or break to it. He possesses the last inviolable sanctuary — the mishandled raptor chooses to die.”

Choosing to die before choosing to submit. The hawk, then, has that sense of nobility that was lost to men years ago.

For anyone else reading, John’s the friend. Thanks John, I like your last sentence a lot.

Reminds me of a Thoreau or Goethe quote I can’t quite remember.

It’s important, not only because submitting has so many fall-out consequences, I think it also erodes (perhaps kills) the spirit.

Distinguishing between spirit, soul, and sub-consciousness is hard (and maybe pointless) but I always think of all three as a young boy. A bright eyed lad, maybe six years old. And in that moment of submission, I see his eyes welling with tears as his shoulders fall. He stands looking out across the oceans of his dreams. And he visibly grows older.

The boy ages. Not decades, nothing so dramatic. Just a few more years, a little less innocence, and a lot less unfettered hope.

It’s a beautiful picture to me, one I think of often, and it drives my resolve.