Thanks to Shanna Mann for pointing me to this. Lovely poem.
"If" by Rudyard Kipling, 1895
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
I posted "Excerpts From Hagakure, Chapter 1" a while back. The book is dense with interesting ideas. Here's some more excerpts -
When an official place is extremely busy and someone comes in thoughtlessly with some business or other, often there are people who will treat him coldly and become angry. This is not good at all. At such times, the etiquette of a samurai is to calm himself and deal with the person in a good manner. To treat a person harshly is the way of middle class lackeys.
Treat people calmly and with good manners, even when they're a little careless. "To treat a person harshly is the way of middle class lackeys" - that made me laugh.
There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to pet wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything.
You get wet either way in a rainstorm, but by accepting it you stay of clear mind. What a great metaphor. Accept that you'll get wet in a rainstorm - because you will either way - and go purposefully instead of rushing.
What started out as my exploration of an age-old question: whether total nerds have a chance at snagging highly desired women ripples into a topic that permeates into a thorough exploration of everything regarding the enigma we call 'love' and how it may not be as magical as we first deem it to be.
Reupdate: 3/14/13 Didn't really mean to update on Valentine's Day but there we go. I rescind my 51/49 soul/body split I mentioned in the 3/13 update after responding to Zach's post on Sebastian Marshall's blog http://sebastianmarshall.com/dont-underestimate-biochemistry. I now believe it is a dynamic split that changes based on situation.
Update: 3/13/13 In yet another update of this post's evolution the original question has been staked in the heart by Tynan's latest post Not that kind of person. I am now more convinced than ever that there are no 'pre-sets' in life and the only barriers we put up are the ones of our own making. Not everyone starts on even-footing and some have advantages over others but in the long run for most things we are self-defined. For the longest time I've tackled a deeper philosophical question - is the body a victim of biological processes or are biological processes controlled by the body? (ie can we use willpower alone to induce biological change) Are human personalities just a sum of biochemical reactions or is the human persona a product of the 'soul'? I now believe that we have a lot more power than we give ourselves credit for and even though our bodies and higher aspects (mind/soul) may often conflict with one another ultimately the higher aspects are in control.
Admittedly hormones and such play a big role in our day to day feel/function and have enough weight to throw us off course . Starting out I think we may be a 51/49 split of mind over matter but with self discipline and proper care of the human vessel in my experience that ratio only goes up to pass more control to the higher self.
Update: 9/6/12 Figure I'd clean this up and add in a shortcut to help anyone trapped in the loop of pining for women - most of what is considered "love" doesn't exist just sex. Read the end of this post for the explanation why. Otherwise original post below...