3 Minute Monday
Today we’re revisiting the Inner Citadel.
My good buddy and past Modern Wisdom guest Rob Henderson taught me about it last year and I can’t stop seeing it everywhere.
So you’re swallowing this red pill along with me.
Isiah Berlin says:
“When the natural road towards human fulfilment is blocked, human beings retreat into themselves, become involved in themselves, and try to create inwardly that world which some evil fate has denied them externally.If you cannot obtain from the world that which you really desire, you must teach yourself not to want it.If you cannot get what you want, you must teach yourself to want what you can get.This is a very frequent form of spiritual retreat in depth, into a kind of Inner Citadel, in which you try to lock yourself up against all the fearful ills of the world.”
Rob explained it in a simpler way:
“If your leg is wounded, you can try to treat the leg.If you cannot, then you cut off the leg.And announce that the desire for legs is misguided and must be subdued.”
Basically – if you can’t win at a game, you stop playing, say that you never cared about that game and create your own game with rules which you can more easily win at.
This is something I’ve been trying to put into words for years.
I see it everywhere.
How many people have chosen not to compete by exiting the game completely and just making their own?
Can’t get a relationship to work?
Declare that all monogamous relationships are archaic and restricting and just turn polyamorous.
Can’t gain status in a meritocracy?
Announce that the system is rigged in a way that keeps people down and now gain status by being a critic of status-structures.
Struggle to be popular or well liked?
Convince yourself that you’re a high functioning introvert and are better off in isolation anyway.
Find losing weight difficult?
Proclaim that losing weight has no baring on health anyway, that any encouragement to lose weight is in fact an attack on your identity and now demand that the world’s preferences change to fit around your shape.
Have trouble staying out of jail?
Claim that real jobs are for suckers anyway and turn to a life of crime.
Retreating To The Inner Citadel is everywhere I tell ye.
How about this one…
I’ve argued for a long time that the modern move toward asceticism and modern spirituality is done by people who simply don’t want to play the game of material acquisition, so that they never risk failing at achieving their material goals.
A prudish, meek existence seems purposefully humble from the outside.
But can more easily be motivated by a fear of failure, rather than a desire for austerity.
In short, we don’t like failing at things.
We even less enjoy failing at things which we genuinely want.
It feels like an existential threat to our ego.
“If I can’t do X then what else can’t I do?”
This concept is an absolute monster.
Where are you retreating to your Inner Citadel?
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This week’s upcoming episodes:
David Robson – how our expectations influence everything from our health to sleep to diet to athletic outcomes and more. One of my favourite episodes this year. Don’t miss this one.
Logan Ury – the Director of Relationship Science at Hinge joins me to talk about how to date better, backed up by data and science. Pretty fascinating.
Not sure yet. Maybe Phrost on the world of fake martial arts.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED
Men and women use pressure to get sex.
“Among older adults, twice as many men (5.9%) as women (3.1%) report ever using pressure or force to have sex with someone.
Among younger adults, twice as many women (7.8%) as men (4.1%) report every using pressure or force to have sex with someone.”
This surprised me a lot.
h/t Rob Henderson
Stop saying 50 is middle aged.
“For US men only 1 out of 16,566 of us make it to 100.
True Male US Average Lifespan = 75.1 years.
When 37 years old, you are middle aged.
For half of us, halfway is less than 37.
Stop delaying… you gon’ die :)”
— Alex Hormozi
“The rhetorical style of any Twitter account that continues to gain followers converges on that of a fortune cookie.” — Eugene Wei
Just prepend 12ft.io/… to the URL of any paywalled page, and they’ll probably be able to remove the paywall and get you access to the article.
Completely free, works on mobile, means you can blast through paywalls.
Dope idea. Thank you to whoever made this.
The next big production podcast guest is starting to take shape. Yea boi.