Fortification of the Mind and In Praise of Indifference


Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble”s a ton, or a trouble”s an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it,
And it isn”t the fact that you”re hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?

–Edmund Vance Cooke

Life is a constant struggle littered with adversity and suffering. Sadly, an unavoidable proviso of existence. Nothing comes free of cost, and hardships provide the potent bitterness that man must taste in order to fully enjoy the pleasures of life. Without turmoil or difficulty life would become increasingly tedious and saturated with the numbing contentedness of insipidity. A man who indulges in his every desire is ignorant of the pleasures he consumes (after all, the last chocolate in the box is devoid of taste and each subsequent piece diminished in flavour). Or as a consumer of perfumes soon finds–the scents overwhelm the olfactory senses, necessitating an opposing smell to reset the inundated nose–coffee beans typically used as a counteractive in this colourfully smelly example.

The duality of nature dictates that beauty be tempered by ugliness, health and vitality by disease and illness, and the illimitable pleasures of life with the finality and soberness of death. Nature provides a balance in our temperaments, affording us with the opportunity to experience elation at the birth of a child, or depression and sadness at the departure of a long-acquainted friend. The circumstances that engulf us, appearing from nowhere in order to catch us unawares are external and lay beyond our reasonable control, yet how we respond to such events dictates our overall happiness and mental well-being. One cannot preserve life, ensure boundless happiness, and no matter how many precautions are taken, robust health will decline, forcing us to accept our mortality. And as Poe’s poem “The Conqueror Worm” aptly concludes,

“That the play is the tragedy, “Man”,

and its hero, the Conqueror Worm”

Despite this overtly cynical, yet undoubtedly realistic portrayal of the complexities of human emotion and the human experience, a considerable amount of heartache online casino and stress could be readily avoided. One must not forget the internal and most essential processes that determine how we respond to our external circumstances—that enigmatic phenomena we call the mind.

As we’ve come to accept (and research is increasingly making us aware), the mind is a powerful tool. It is our final filter against the stressors and mental carcinogens that we pick up throughout our daily lives. A filter that can be fine-tuned with mental effort and a will to self-improvement, moulding it into a crenellated battlement that protects us from negative thought–a guardian of the gate if you will.

As the poem by Edmund Vance Cooke clearly demonstrates at the beginning of this passage, it matters not whether you’ve been slighted, insulted, or hurt—what matters is how you have interpreted such feelings and impliedly, how you continued to progress in spite of these difficulties.

In order to better illustrate my point and to impart the reader with ancient wisdom, I will endeavour to describe the contemplative and philosophical musings of a 16th century French nobleman.

Michel de Montaigne recounts the attitudes of the philosophers Heraclitus and Democritus. The former being of a compassionate and pitying disposition toward his fellow man, brimming with tears and perpetually maintaining a sad countenance whilst Democritus expressing open disdain toward man, finding his condition “vain and ridiculous, never [going] out in public but with a mocking and laughing face”.

Democritus saw man as ludicrous and vain and therefore nothing more than an amusing creature; there is power in this perspective, since no man can bother or offend you if you make light of his entire being and his fallible nature. He is so beneath you that his actions and behaviours are inconsequential and of no import. Life, in all of its assumed self-importance is merely a farce—a joke to be laughed at and not to be taken as seriously as we do.

In a similar vein, Diogenes considered man as having neither the ability to do good nor evil and held man in disdain and avoided all associations with him. Such aloofness arms one against the perils and attacks of the other. A certain level of detachment appears to provide power to the individual; and what are relationships if not manifestations of the distribution of power?


John Milton once wrote that

“The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven”

We seem to be unaware of the power that our minds possess. Our thought processes determine our well-being and it is of vital importance that we ensure the healthy state of our own mental resiliency through reflection. Absorbing others’ criticisms, gossip, rude-remarks, insolent acts, and allowing such banalities to pervade one’s conscience will sicken the subject, debilitating their mental energies and lessening their self-esteem and confidence.

Criticisms are not vile creatures, in fact, if interpreted positively, they can improve one’s skills and abilities and increase one’s self-efficacy. Yet a poisoned mind is one that negatively attributes criticisms to their own personal innate faults, failures and general inability to adapt to the ever-changing societal landscape. This diseased mind is marked by a self-consuming obsession that belittles the subject and makes him wither into himself.

I pray reader that you may continually strive to better yourself, and to steel your mind against the negative energies that pervade our lives, by selecting your battles judiciously and having the cognizance to differ between the extraneous elements that life throws at us and the ones worth our attention to take up arms against.