The first time I came across this profound quote as a younger man, I thought, “Right, the world is not fair, screw the world! I’m gonna attack it before it attacks me!” But, soon I realized how wrong I was in my interpretation.
As stated in last week’s Lombard Ranger post ,“Combating Arrogance and Resentment” actions and words brought on by arrogance, combined with those brought on by resentment are objectively bad for the world. Certainly, “screw the unfair world” is an arrogant and resentful way to look at things and therefore an objectively bad way to go through life.
So, in what way should this quote be interpreted to avoid being objectively bad? Well, lets start with applying the Lombard Ranger Values; Respect, Responsibility and Toughness. First, respect the lion. The lion in the quote represents the world. Respect the world. The existence of the world is more complex, more meaningful and more wonderful than one can perceive. Without the world existing as it has, order does not exist. Love does not exist. Consciousness does not exist. And you do not exist.
Next is responsibility. What does one have control or influence over? In this quote, expectations seem to be the fatal factor. Something awful happened when it wasn’t expected or prepared for. The world was being treated fair, but then it ate you anyway. If the world is observed for any amount of time it is clear that violence and catastrophe exist naturally and though can’t be totally predicted but must be prepared for. The better one understands the wisdom and logic in being prepared, the better one can withstand catastrophe.
Lastly, there is toughness. The world is going to challenge you. The lion is going to chase you. You will be devoured. This was true from the moment any of us entered the world. The power of indomitable will is truly boundless. Remain vigilant in being respectful, and responsible no matter how difficult things get. If these values are adopted, it will never be the world you blame for the things that happen to you. Train your mind to be alert, on guard for catastrophe while constantly seeking a better understanding of it. Train your body to be prepared for catastrophe, healthy and strong, while arranging the physical belongings in your life in a way they won’t act as weights or obstacles when catastrophe strikes. Train your soul or spirit to except and appreciate the gifts of the world in order to transcend the challenges in it.
Respect the world. Except your responsibilities in it. Be tough in the execution of both. It isn’t the Lion’s purpose to eat you, it is just part of it’s nature.