Nihilism and Jiu-jitsu.

Nihilism is the philosophical view point that life- our existence- has no inherent meaning. This throws a lot of people into despair upon their first encounter, I know it did for me. What a lot of people don’t go on to read about is that it is anything by fatalistic. The idea that there is no inherent meaning is supposed to motivate us to find meaning and create value within our lives by surpassing the constructs that humanity has created for itself.

Within each of us, we have the ability to change our mindset and view the world from a different perspective. This perspective can be one where everything that we’ve been told confirms our place in the world, or it can be one where we question these things and watch as the superficial and dissatisfying answers slip away to reveal truth and knowledge- knowledge about ourselves, the world and others.

In a large way, Jiu-jitsu has been a heuristic for me to change my view of the world. It’s been a tool by which I have learned more about myself, others and more about objective truths that I cannot doubt or question.

Most of us within the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu community would have heard Renzo Gracie talk about “seeing the world through Jiu jitsu eyes.”

I think this is an amazing metaphor to show us what Jiu-jitsu is capable of as a tool for us to effect change on our own views, opinions and beliefs. Just like any learning process, we can apply what we have learned in a number of concepts once we understand the central ideas of that thing well enough. Once we see the way broadly, we can see it in all things. Musashi said that, and if you don’t know, now you know.

Application is the key. A hammer is no use to me if I don’t know how to hold it or how to strike a nail correctly. Education is the same. Philosophy, the same. Jiu Jitsu, the same. Applying what you have learned is just as important, if not more, than the actual act of learning it. I’m not a rocket scientist just because I learned about rocket science. I am only a Jiu-jitsu practitioner if I apply what I have learned from Jiu-jitsu. 

So when I begin to apply what I learn in Jiu-jitsu to a existence with no inherent meaning, I can begin to create meaning for myself. I can begin to see the world through “Jiu Jitsu eyes” and I can see the way in all things. I create the meaning in my existence through the tools that I choose to use. Remember that.

Thanks for reading.



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