be a ‘no man’


All too often in life we encounter people who ride the wave of popular opinion. All too often in life we ourselves ride that wave. We do this because we don’t want to shake things up. We don’t want to piss someone off. We are comfortable with the status quo and aren’t in the mood for challenging ourselves or others.

But there comes a time, there comes a place, when this simply will not do. When confronted with a time and a place such as this, it’s time to say “screw it” and start being a ‘No Man.’

be contentious

I have few friends who agree with me on many things. In that same light I refuse to date a girl who won’t test me. And I prefer it that way. If all my friends agreed with me on everything, life would pose no challenge. Debate would hold no merit, as it would be nonexistent. Now that’s not to say they can’t be brought around to my point of view, or I to theirs (we should all be open-minded enough to allow our opinions to be swayed time and again), but sometimes we must argue simply for the sake of arguing. Here’s why:

We cannot advance ourselves without discontent. Without dissatisfaction. Without confrontation. Many people shy away from confrontation because it scares them, but it should be wholeheartedly embraced. The disillusioned hold the key to societal progression. Oscar Wilde said, “The world belongs to the discontented.” I agree with the intent of that saying, and I admire the concept of the Occupy movement for this reason alone. They are flipping the metaphorical, and sometimes physical, finger to the establishment. It takes balls (and some free time) to be able to do that.

Be contentious about issues like this that matter. And sometimes, for the fun of it, be contentious about issues that don’t, simply to stir up some cognitive dissonance within yourself. You may find that you question things more than you originally thought you did, an unwitting gift in the form of confusion. This is not a curse, but a blessing. If you don’t believe me, listen to some dead guy: “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”

However, in light of all of the above, please avoid the whirlpool of idiocy this can oft-times generate:

  • Don’t argue about things you know nothing about
  • Understand that things you know something about via personal experience, you may have no knowledge of in abstract form, or vice versa (i.e. I feel better when I don’t eat carbs means carbs are bad for me)
  • If the other person is getting too heated, sometimes it’s better to just drop the issue. An excess of emotion does not a good argument make

Now if only my sober self could tell this to my 10-beer-deep self.

be content

Throughout all this, we must feel the discontentment brewing within us. We must feel the defiance, and the freedom that this brings. Stop saying yes all the time, stop agreeing with everyone, stop riding the wave of popular opinion. Stop being a paper sailboat drifting along in the gutter until the only thing that awaits you is the gaping darkness of the storm drain. Stop being a fucking pussy.

And through all this, be content.

We will lose arguments. Our reasoning will not prove sound. Our level of knowledge will not be sufficient. Someone’s “yes” will overpower our “no.” We will question ourselves so completely that we will get lost in the argument with little of hope of resurfacing.

And through all this, be content.

Life is mysterious. Life is nebulous. Life is immeasurable. Understand this. And when intellectual understanding is attained, realize it. Internalize it. It’s not all rainbows and kittens, but it’s also not all blood, sweat and tears. Life is imperfect at best. And in this imperfection, it is perfect.

so the next time

The next time a boss or coworker tells you to do something you disagree with, say no.

The next time someone says something so ridiculous you want to punch them right in the suckhole, say no.

The next time someone does something you deem immoral, say no.

And through everything, be content.


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One Response to “be a ‘no man’”

  1. be a ‘yes man’ « livin' like a freebird Says:

    […] livin' like a freebird cynical realism for the common man « be a ‘no man’ […]

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