The Reversal Point of the Defeated Warrior

Give me a few days of peace in your arms.I need it terribly. I’m ragged, worn, exhausted. After that I can face the world. ~Henry Miller
(Book: A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin & Henry Miller

When a great warrior in battle notices that he is going to lose – a great a magnificent warrior will rise from within.

When there is nothing to yearn for, the stress level drops. And the only option is to adjust to no hope, is to live like a warrior that fight not because he thinks he will win, but exactly  by knowing that he is with back to the wall. And this is the greatest warrior, he knows that he has no chances left, and yet, he fight, and the only reason for that fruitless goings on, is that he has got nothing to lose now.

In the point of total defeat he rises from the ashes like the phoenix, and now he fights like he never fought before.

The emergence of this great retaliating power from whitin is like the old Arbian story of the Genie that jumped out of a bottle.

There is no greater force and power then the power of total desperation.

Going on because of something has limited fighting power, but fighting on despite the loss, when all is lost – then the greatest power should emerge.

There is no enemy more dangerous than the one who lost it all, and now has got nothing to lose.

In the story: “The old man and the sea”, Hemingway portrays a figure of an old fisherman going to catch the biggest fish (one last act of bravery before the surrender to the feebleness of old age), but he is defeated by the sharks who eat completely the whole flash of the big fish. And the response of the old man is to carry the skeleton to the shore, he fought to complete his mission despite and because of his defeat. The Skelton is worth nothing, but he fought against his fate, not for any reason (for there wasn’t any, anymore) but as a mark of defiance against the stronger forces of nature and life.

The other example is the samurai. For the Samurai not to lose his self-respect is more precious to him then his life. His dignity, his self-respect, will not allow him to sink into weakness and self-sorrow. They put great importance on self-respect. If a samurai lost his honor, it is better for him to kill himself: Seppuku, in Japanese.

“Even if it seems certain that you will lose, retaliate. Neither wisdom nor technique has a place in this. A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.”
― Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai

“No matter if the enemy has thousands of men, there is fulfillment in simply standing them off and being determined to cut them all down, starting from one end.”
― Tsunetomo Yamamoto, Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai

And it is his self-honor which keeps him on the path of continuing to fight. This defeat releases from him incredible power, the power of rebellion against his destiny, against all odds. He, as Sisyphus, keeps rolling the rock up the hill, only to be defeated when the rock falls down again. Prof. Shlomo Giora Shoham pays homage to Albert Camus, the author of the The Myth of Sisyphus,  he says that examples from literature and myth demonstrate that if man is in defeat, especially in the defeat, he can find a creative modus vivendi, a reversal point in him, which can draw out of him a great power to continue despite his tragic life. And only at the lowest point of the rock position – only then, he is being reversed – and then the greatest power of desperation bursts out of him. Like Camus, Shoham concludes that it is only through creative rebellion (here it is rebellion against defeat) that man can find authenticity and redemption.


Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas – 1914-1953


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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