Couldn’t Do That

Recently I watched a documentary series produced by the guys over at Flograppling called Daisy Fresh: An American Jiu-Jitsu Story. In short, it is an incredible documentary series; featuring the efforts of the Daisy Fresh Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu gym in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. Besides the skill that those featured exhibited, what was most striking about the series were the living conditions that those who lived at this gym, a former laundromat, were willing to put up with. These conditions are far more comparable to that of a third-world country rather than the United States. We are talking about showers once a week. Stealing hand soap from bathrooms to do laundry. Living off of little more than ramen and frozen vegetables. This is not to mention training upwards of 8 hours a day. This is their job. I couldn’t do that.

Again recently, I watched dashcam footage of two police officers in Wyoming getting the call of a drunk driver driving in the opposite lane at a very high rate of speed. Obviously, they needed to stop the said driver so the officers moved to intercept the driver. This was done by parking their patrol vehicle directly in the path of the driver. As the footage goes, you see headlights of the oncoming driver get closer and closer to the driver, with the officers dropping a few well-deserved curses in response. WHAM! The wrong-way driver slams into the corner of the cruiser, veering off due to the impact. You hear nothing for several seconds too long until you hear one officer quietly ask the other if he is okay. “Yep” he answers. I couldn’t do that.

These two examples reveal something fascinating about humanity, something that is certainly not in vogue in today’s CULTURE (there you go Thomas). That is some people’s rejection of the homo economicus (economic man) model. That is that humans are primarily out for their own gain, out for what will make them most comfortable. This, of course, is true to a great degree. To paraphrase the historian Ian Morris when summarizing all of human history and advancement: humans are a bunch of scared, lazy, and greedy semi-hairless apes, which explains almost every human advancement.

However, the examples cited above are those moments you realize that humanity or rather certain people are capable of so much more. That some people will do things that make no sense. For most (me included), allowing a wrong-way driver to hit their vehicle is not something that they would be willing to do. For most, attempting to be a professional athlete in almost third-world conditions would not be something they would be willing to do.

In the end, this is the importance of choice, free will, and freedom. In a recent conversation with Thomas, he asked if it were better for man to not speak so that he can’t speak evil? In true Instagram quote fashion, I responded that while man not speaking means he won't fall, it also means he won’t be able to rise.

There is an older video by a YouTube channel called FreedomToons that describes how sociologists describe hunter-gatherer societies. The joke is that sociologists think of modernity as a curse and that life was simpler, more equal, and all-around better when man was not in society. To give the Devil his due, it’s true. Many things were better in this period of mankind. Our diets were better; there was overall less war, heck we were slightly taller overall (at about 5’10). But as I and most people would contend, modernity has the benefit of allowing us to rise from the “peaceful” constant of hunter-gatherers who possess no past and no future, to the potential moral and physical dynamism of modernity.


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