Omne Bellum

Omne Bellum translated from Latin is “Everything is War.”

Exercise. Every time I work out, I go to war. In my mind, I have two options: win or lose. In my heart: press on or give up. There is a battle to begin, another battle to stick with it, and one to finish strong. There is a battle to push down my ego and another battle to not go too easy. Exercise, in fact, is a battle.

Communication. I have a lot that I want to say. So does everyone else. Can I listen, be empathetic, and still have a conversation that is productive? The great communicators can do it, but they had to develop the skill. They had to overcome their fear, while at the same time tamper down their cockiness. As I attempt to improve my communication socially, I have to do the same things. How can I get my point across and still be mindful of my audience? Communication, in fact, is a battle.

These are just two examples, but I’m fighting battles every day in about every aspect of my life. The battles are usually between what I want to do and what I should do. Between virtue and comfort. The key for me is to stay vigilant and to remain in the fight.

The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable. –Sun Tzu, The Art of War

The worst kind of war you can fight is the one that you don’t know you are in. If the enemy is free to fight unmolested, he is going to win. If you are not fighting back, you are going to lose. The enemy wants you to stay dormant. He does not want you to fight back. And as my old drill sergeant used to say, “The enemy is everywhere.” We are all fighting a war. For most of us, it is an internal war between virtue and vice. It is between righteousness and evil. Discipline and sloth. It begins at birth and continues on until our last day. The only way to win is to keep fighting. Omne bellum, because, “Life is, in fact, a battle.” –Henry James (1843-1916)


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