The excellent writer, Quintus Curtius, recommended a short story for his readers awhile back—“The Country of the Blind” by H.G. Wells. I finally had a chance to read it and I was not disappointed. The story is a classic.

It takes place in the Colombian Andes. A man falls off a cliff, landing into the bottom of a deep valley. There he meets a community of blind people. By the end of the story, the village elders give him an ultimatum—he must blind himself if he wants to coexist with them. The analogy of the story is awesome—every person must, on a certain level, become “blind” to live in a community: think of various relationships, types of work, social circles, etc.

wells_1

The reason for this ugly truth is stated by Nunez, the story’s main character:

“…you cannot even fight happily with creatures who stand upon a different mental basis to yourself.”

So true.

An old friend once told me, “You are who you are.” The phrase has been useful to me, since I find it to be true nine times out of ten. You can’t change a pacifist into a fighter. You can’t turn an alcoholic into a CEO. And you can’t give self-esteem to someone who doesn’t have it. It’s an unpopular idea, no doubt. We live in an era of self-esteem, of self-improvement, of 24/7 female empowerment. And there’s an industry designed to sell people the products that make them a “better you.” But how many people are really capable of change? Very few, I’m afraid…

Are you currently arguing with someone who continually falters? Are you trying to convert someone to a new way of thinking? If so, then you’re probably wasting your time.

There’s an irony to giving advice—the best way to lead is not by words, but by action. If you really want to help people, you’ll have to focus on yourself. Become a champ in your personal life, in your professional dealings. When people see you walking on a path of success, then they’ll come looking for you. And they’ll be taking notes.

If you continue to push your advice on others, to help those that perpetually stumble, I’m afraid you’ll end up like Nunez—a man trying to teach the blind to see.

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4 thoughts on “You Cannot Fight with People Who Stand on a Different Mental Basis

  1. Tightly written, professional quality. I applaud you lightly, softly.

    Major Styles, following your one (1) comment on my site, qedbook.wordpress.com, you disappeared. I would like to keep hounding you, hectoring you and imploring you to bring your talent, of many kinds, to Qedbook. I have just started growing it over the past week (it really is only a month old) and it is doing significantly better. BUT I MUST HAVE COMMENTERS OF SKILL AND BALLS. YOU HAVE IT.

    The most recent articles that might interest you are an erotic/historic comment on sex with Mexican women, an article on Hollywood, and a few posts on my writing career which I’m going to be launching (so when I tell you you can write, you know it comes with bona fides of certifiability.)

    In reply to YOUR article, I would agree with you 85% — but hold forth more optimism on the changeability of men (not females). Given sufficient incentive, and a warm supporting cultural environment, you would be AMAZED at the internal changes they can have wrought. Human capacity for growth is inspiring, not limiting — and I’m a cynic, asshole, bastard AND realist in one package.

    Believe.

    See you at Qedbook, my lord.

    1. Nice work over at Qedbook. It’s good to see a flourish of men coming into their own, mentoring others. Keep up the good work!

      “I’m a cynic, asshole, bastard AND realist in one package.”

      We must be related. 🙂

  2. I noticed your arrival and depositing of a good comment at Qedbook, Major Styles.

    It made me very satisfied and content, and it enlivened up the QED neighborhood a lot.

    Don’t be afraid to write longer or more frequently. In the early stages of my website, it is CRUCIAL I gather as many comments as possible. This is not for ego purposes, as much as it may seem, but because lurkers judge you by the number and quality of your comments. If YOU’RE posting regularly to my site, then lurkers will say, hey, this isn’t a minor outpost. It is crucial to snowball and gather momentum.

    They also read the comments and consider it an adjunct to the main text. As one of the few commentators, you’ll get spillover from my site to yours — guaranteed. The more you post to QED, the more water will fall your way.

    Think about it. I am aggressively spreading the word about Qedbook throughout the Net. I will seek an alliance with majorstyles.wordpress.com and other Primary Wise Men as they come aboard, and I won’t forget you. Hell, SPAM ME with comments, one after the other. Write one paragraph comment than another following that. Be snide. By sly. Be a “cynic, asshole and bastard” like me. I love it all!

    Anyway, I’ve gotta go back to my site and do more writing. See you there, one hopes.

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