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Only the strong can choose

Doing what one wants is the privilege of the strong.

This sentence made me think.

It comes from the last episode of the first season of the anime Tokyo Ghoul.

To give you some perspective: Jason, a sadic but extremely powerful guy, said this much to Kaneki, the good-hearted hero of the story.

(According to the fandom wiki, the quote should be: “Doing what one likes is the right of the strong.” – but the wording above hit me harder.)

A matter of choice

The privilege lies in being able to choose what you want.

There’s no merit in what you do when you have no choice. If you happen to like it, good for you. But that’s just a happy coincidence.

Choosing means discarding viable alternatives. Some examples:

That’s why you need to be strong.

Kindness of the weak

There are different ways to be kind.

One can be meek by nature, because they want to avoid conflicts. This easily leads to explotation by others and, even worse, to self-neglect.

If you never fight, you put everything on an equal footing. By not choosing, you choose the status quo. By saying yes to all, you end up saying no to yourself.

Shallow peace

Say all you want is to be left alone. But someone wants to mess with you.

You didn’t want war, but war is now upon you.

Whatever you do (or don’t), your peace is lost. But that’s only shallow peace.

Deep peace

When you know you’re weak, your only choice is to run away.

But if you’re strong enough, you can choose to stay and claim your peace.

And this is deep peace, because you are able to defend it.

Kindness of the strong

It’s not enough being well-meaning and having good intentions.

Thoughts, actions, and consequences should be aligned.

We must be strong to carry it all out. As a friend once told me:

You need to toughen up, you have everything else.

Know thyself

We can’t ever be strong in an absolute sense. Even the most powerful person on earth is highly fragile, regardless of how they see themselves.

Listen to yourselves, and try not to fool yourselves. The weak think they’re stronger than they are. But the strong know their weak spots.

Fighting can be a sign of strength or weakness. Same goes for retreat.

Only you can tell which is which for yourself.