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January 22nd, 2019
This episode is dedicated to Andrew Ruiz. Follow him on Twitter @then_there_was.
A Battle Royale is a fierce fight. A Japanese movie of the same name perhaps took it to the ultimate extreme. In the movie a fictional government has come to the conclusion that the youth are becoming lazy and complacent. In response a rather brutal reality show contest is invented where a class of school children are plopped on an island, given various weapons and left to kill one another until there is one standing. Such a plot might sound like the popular hunger games series. To be clear, the Japanese version came first and is far more – let’s say – realistic.
While it’s best that such an exercise is left to the realm of fiction, we would do well to delve into the application of such a brutal process to the realms of fiction we entertain. More specifically, applying the concept of a Battle Royale to our thoughts, our ideas, and perhaps most importantly our beliefs.
One word that is often coupled with the word ‘belief’ is the word ‘cherished’, as in the phrase ‘our most cherished beliefs’. And yet how many cherished people, of all nations and creeds and ages and sex have suffered as a result of another person’s cherished belief?
This unfortunate fact of human psychology is at the core of the Identity Danger. By holding on to any identity too tightly, people can become fearful of other identities and when this phenomenon is compounded with a power differential, terrible atrocities can occur. All because one person or group of people cherished some belief.
Human atrocities aside, holding on to a bad belief that we cherish can be incredibly self-limiting. Holding onto a certain belief can mislead us for years and blind us from fundamental mistakes in our plans and strategies. Not only can the underlying belief be an Axiomatic Mistake, the tendency to hold on to such a belief is also an Axiomatic Mistake. The error here compounds. And in retrospect we can realize that being flexible, and adaptable means being able to let go of ideas and pivot quickly towards more useful ones. This might sound like an absolute crazy free-for-all, but not if we institute it at varying levels using a Well-Oiled Zoom. First we would want to apply this Battle Royale method to our list of priorities.
What are the few most fundamental things that should be of concern both long term and short term. The best way to do this is to actually look at what we do on a daily basis and throw those activities in to the arena with what we think our priorities are. If some of our daily activities don’t stand up to the masochism invoked by juxtaposing them next to our imagined priorities, then we know we need to cut out certain behaviors and initiate others.
With priorities set, this can give rise to goals that we’d like to see occur. Again, the arena of our mind for ideas about how to accomplish those goals should be subjugated to a Battle Royale. This is an exercise in the exorcism of denial. We ask, which ideas will actually be affective and which ideas do we simply like. Such a mental Battle Royale doesn’t ensure success. Far from it, we need to act upon the winner of such a mental Battle Royale and get some feedback from reality. Such feedback may in a sense ‘re-equip’ our different ideas for action and give reason for another Battle Royale of ideas.
Regardless of the specifics of how we actually chose to act, the core utility of this metaphor is to be ruthless and masochistic towards our own ideas and beliefs to ensure that they are worth the rent they charge our minds.
We often hear the prescription to ‘get out of our own way’. This may in fact be a direction to get some of our cherished beliefs out of our way so that we can see with a better set of eyes and move forward unencumbered.