12 September 2006

The Strength of Weakness

Lao-tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher, spoke of water as the weakest substance in the world, yet there is nothing you can compare to it that can overcome both hard and soft. You can cut water with a knife and it lets the knife go right through yet water is also responsible for cutting the Grand Canyon out of rock!

It’s a common Western idea to associate masculinity with strength and femininity with weakness. The whole concept of the “tough guy,” rugged and muscular, is really a model for weakness. One would assume that this tough exterior would work to protect itself – but so much of what we fear from the outside gets to us because we fear our own weakness on the inside.

What if an engineer were to build a completely rigid bridge? If the Golden Gate Bridge were not able to sway, if it had no give, it would come crashing down. Likewise, when a man pretends to be this super macho tough guy on the outside he is in doubt of his manhood on the inside.

For example, let’s say Mr. Tough Guy approaches another guy rather aggressively, cursing, trying to intimidate him. What Mr. Tough Guy is actually doing is trying to validate his manhood by putting on this elaborate display of aggression when in fact he is insecure with his manhood. He is trying to prove to his onlookers that he is in fact a man as if their opinion of him has some sort of direct effect on his journey through life. For the man on the other end of this spectacle, he can show his strength by backing down and continuing on with life; he has better things to do with his time. In fact he has already won the “battle” and need not prove anything to anyone. He is secure with himself and his manhood and attacking poor Mr. Tough Guy would be like a Lion trying to kill a rabbit. There is just no point.

If he (Tough Guy) can allow himself to be “weak” per se, he can allow himself to experience what is really his greatest strength.
  • Stumble This
  • Fav This With Technorati
  • Add To Del.icio.us
  • Digg This
  • Add To Facebook
  • Add To Yahoo