Suicidal Thoughts

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2.

“A dispassionate white sun shone at the summit of the sky. I wanted to hone myself on it till I grew saintly and thin and essential as the blade of a knife.”

– The Bell Jar Page 90.

Simone De Beauvoir writes in The Second Sex that because men are encouraged to fight, they come to trust themselves and their ability to grapple with the world and its challenges.

Esther Greenwood, on the other hand, is not able to exert herself physically. As a girl, sports are not part of her upbringing. Ultimately, bad luck and her fiancée, Buddy Willard, conspire to keep it from her.

Buddy teaches her to ski. As she hurtles down Mount Pisgah, nature opens up to her and one of the book’s most shocking lines comes at you, straight as an arrow: ‘I thought, ‘This is what it means to be happy.’

I’ve written much about fighting, all of it posted here, which explains my fascination with it.

A punch in the face or single rep maximum squat or bench press is the blunt-force hand of God that compels you head-first into the moment.

Any other consideration is thrust to the periphery. Your mind doesn’t wander when someone else’s fist is buried in your ribcage, or while you’re trying to knock that person out.

The difference between Sylvia and I is that I didn’t break my leg, like she did on the ski slope, preventing her from continuing to ski (p. 94). I kept training, and practising, at the expense of everything, almost every day of the week for decades.

The spiritual experience most acclaimed in Western culture is probably romantic love. But that’s fleeting, and finishes with an agony; training and fighting does not. Like skiing, there is no downside. It is pure transcendence.

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