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The Philosophy of "The Way," and Achieving True Freedom
An introduction to the motivations of Vagabond, and the philosophical school known as "the way".
“And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion”
- Quran, Verse (57:20)
The year 2022 has presented a plethora of noteworthy occurrences on a global scale, including financial collapses, widespread fraudulent activity, the emergence of various conspiracy theories (some of which have been validated), and the rise of alpha male Youtubers who espouse controversial ideologies. For many individuals struggling to simply survive in such tumultuous times, comprehending and processing these events can be a daunting task. Furthermore, attempting to understand multiple viewpoints while avoiding accusations of bigotry can be a challenging endeavour.
In response to these challenges, a group of individuals who have never met in person but are connected through cyberspace have formulated "the way." This concept represents a synthesis of the accumulated wisdom of our forefathers and our own personal insights and experiences, intended to guide us on a righteous path. Even we, the creators of this concept, continue to grapple with certain aspects of the complex world in which we live.
However, this is the essence of what we call “the way”. By understanding, at a low-level modern politics, philosophy, economics and the art of war, it is possible for one to become anti-fragile, and develop the necessary skills to survive, and even thrive no matter the conditions the universe has imposed on them.
Modern politics is often characterized by corruption, whereby the rich and powerful take advantage of public resources to further their own causes. This corruption can take many forms, such as bribery, nepotism, and illicit favouritism. Hence, it’s understandable why most people decide to forgo even trying to make society better through political activism because the key foundations of power corrupt the core.
Many wise individuals from previous lifetimes spoke on politics, and developing an even basic understanding of their teachings illuminates us to the problems with modern politics. One philosopher who has written extensively on the topic of corruption is Plato. In his work "The Republic," Plato argues that the root of corruption lies in the pursuit of wealth and power.
"when the rulers are the most ignorant and base of men, the city is in the greatest danger of falling into complete slavery, which is what I call corruption"
-Plato, "The Republic," Book VIII
A modern lie that has been shoved down every individual’s throat since the day they have been capable of consuming external media is that materialism is the path to salvation. Walking down this path, however, is a mistake many unwittingly make. Years of societal programming, even by so-called individuals who are “free from the matrix” still spout this nonsense. The way requires one to have no attachment to any worldly positions, the only thing we truly own is the body we were born in.
The corruption of modern politics can also be attributed to a lack of ethical values and a lack of accountability. As one of the great philosophers, Kant wrote;
"if justice perishes, then it is no longer worthwhile to live on earth"
- Kant, "Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals," Preface
This quote also helps us understand the modern mental health problem. Many people are born into an already rigged game, knowing full well they cannot win. So instead, they choose not to play.
Furthermore, the lack of accountability for corrupt actions also sets a precedent for new entrants. With evil actions having no negative consequences, why would one choose not to be evil to get ahead? As the philosopher, Hobbes writes;
"the corruption of man is such that he is not content with the portion of life that nature has assigned to him, but aspires to be like God, and the result is that he distributes the portions of life, which he is not able to enjoy, to others"
- Hobbes, "Leviathan," Part I, Chapter 13
It is clear that in order to truly make a difference and create a better society, we must address these underlying issues and work towards creating a more just and accountable political system. Only then can we hope to achieve a world that is truly free from corruption and one that truly values the well-being of all its citizens.
Modern finance is a complex and multifaceted system that plays a crucial role in the functioning of economies around the world, run by rich kids fueled on crack and god complexes. In many cases, it is almost impossible for someone from a poor background to make it in the world of finance, as they are often shut out by a system that is designed to favour those who won the birth lottery. For someone born into low economic status, the grind to even a stable life can be hell. However, understanding these systems is crucial in developing an understanding of “the way”.
The rich stay rich because they have an edge that 99.9% of the world does not, privilege. This privilege often manifests itself in crimes that go unpunished, such as insider trading, tax evasion, and the manipulation of markets.
How many readers of this publication, or in general have knowledge of the recent scandals involving the manipulation of interest rates and foreign exchange markets? We’d wager a bet, that barely any do.
In the case of the interest rate manipulation scandal, several major banks were found to have colluded to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), a benchmark interest rate that is used to set the terms of financial contracts around the world. The banks involved were able to profit at the expense of their customers and the broader economy, and the political structure played a role in cultivating this corruption by failing to regulate and oversee the financial system effectively.
Another example of corruption in the financial markets is the recent scandal involving the theft of billions of dollars from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, known as 1MDB. In this case, a number of high-ranking officials, including the prime minister of Malaysia, were implicated in the theft and misappropriation of funds. The political structure played a role in this scandal by allowing those in positions of power to abuse their authority and enrich themselves at the expense of the public. His wife, was often seen in public, drenched in gold, whilst a majority of her loyal servants suffered daily.
In addition to these more overt forms of corruption, there are also more subtle ways in which the financial system is stacked against those who are not wealthy. The high cost of education, the prevalence of payday loans and buy now pay later products, make the poor even poorer. The general deep-seated nepotism in the industry also makes it hard for those from low socio-economic statuses to carve a path in the world.
Modern Media and the Consumerism Problem
"Let go your earthly tether. Enter the void. Empty, and become wind”
- Zaheer, “Avatar the legend of Korra”.
It is truly remarkable that a program intended for children has the capability to impart a valuable lesson in philosophical thought. It is a fact that our society operates on the basis of consumerism, with those at the top of the social hierarchy profiting from the consumption habits of those below them. From an early age, we are conditioned to consume without discernment or purpose.
It is a perplexing phenomenon that the proliferation of consumerism coincides with the increasing prevalence of individuals who subsist from one paycheck to the next. This prompts the inquiry: is the reason for the record levels of poverty due to deteriorating circumstances caused by wage stagnation or the seductive allure of consumerism that compels us to purchase flashy new items and exceed our financial limits as a society? This raises the question of what should be prioritized: personal freedom or the perception of oneself among one's peers?
“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like”
- Chuck Palahniuk
“The way” fundamentally encompasses freedom. Without truly feeling free, one cannot achieve self-actualisation. Hence, we encourage one to only focus on achieving perfection of the mind and body, as these are the only assets in the world that truly matter. Sacrificing health and well-being to attain more worldly positions is a fool’s trade; often, this lesson is learned too late by many people.
The Art of War
"The essence of this book is that you must train day and night in order to make quick decisions. In strategy, it is necessary to treat training as part of normal life with your spirit unchanging."
- Miyamoto Musashi, The book of five rings
Mastering the art of war and achieving physical perfection are two ideals that are necessary for the philosophy of “the way”. Throughout history, famous warriors and generals have emphasized the importance of these concepts. Unfortunately, these lessons have been lost to time, as society has become safer and the art of war has become less necessary to survive.
However, mastering the art of war in the modern day will provide one with the strategic intellect, and mental and physical fortitude to fight through even the toughest battles. Hence, it is important to be adept in these lessons long forgotten.
"The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected."
- Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Sun Tzu's emphasis on the importance of the art of war highlights the fact that it is not just a matter of winning battles, but rather a way of life for those who seek to excel in the military. In order to truly master the art of war, one must be well-versed in strategy, tactics, and the use of resources. It is not enough to simply have strong muscles or a fierce determination – one must also have a sharp mind and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
In addition to mastering the art of war, achieving physical perfection is also crucial for those who seek to excel in the military. This requires a combination of strength, endurance, and agility, as well as a commitment to training and discipline. Famous warriors such as Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan are often cited as examples of physical perfection, and their successes on the battlefield speak to the importance of maintaining a strong and able body.
Alexander the Great is known for his incredible feats of physical strength and endurance and is said to have trained relentlessly in order to achieve his level of physical perfection. He once famously said;
"I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion."
This quote speaks to the importance of not just physical strength, but also the leadership and strategic thinking required to truly excel in the art of war.
Genghis Khan, another famous warrior and conqueror, is known for his military prowess and his ability to lead his armies to victory. He is also known for his strict training regimen, which included long rides on horseback and rigorous physical exercise. It is said that his soldiers were required to be able to run long distances, shoot arrows accurately, and ride horses with great skill. This focus on physical perfection is believed to have contributed greatly to the success of the Mongol armies.
The 7 Pillars of “The Way”
To achieve true perfection and freedom and to walk on the straight path, one must relinquish all earthly attachments and avoid being a consumer.
It is necessary to have the ability to let go of all worldly positions without hesitation. In addition, one should master the modern financial system and understand the inner workings of the economy to attain financial freedom.
Limiting the consumption of modern media and focusing on physical and mental development is also crucial. Daily physical training and proficiency in the art of war are essential.
It is important to also master modern political systems and cultivate strong morals and ideals through a thorough study of philosophy. Lastly, it is essential to look forward and let go of the past in order to allow for future growth and to have absolute belief and faith in God.
Hence, the 7 paths encompass…
Letting go of all earthly tethers.
Mastering the modern financial system.
Limiting consumption of modern media.
Physical training day and night to perfect the art of war.
Mastering modern political systems.
Always looking forward, and letting go of the past.
Have absolute belief and faith in god.
“It is said that what is called "the spirit of an age" is something to which one cannot return. That this spirit gradually dissipates is due to the world's coming to an end. For this reason, although one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation.”
― Tsunetomo Yamamoto, Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
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