Vicissitudes — The Wisdom of Bowerman

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The illusion of control is a state which many buy into. It is a seductive thought. Beckoning to enhance our fragile self-importance. This, of course, is folly. We are no more in control than the ant or pelican are of their destiny. Thankfully, we are afforded free will and the faculty to choose our reactions to environments and events. However, beyond that capacity, we are hopelessly impotent. 

"We have no hard and fast training rules, the vicissitudes of life usually teach an intelligent person what he can handle. It does help to have someone wise in the way of candles to steady you as you grope toward the light."

So said the highly regarded philosopher-coach of American athletics, Bill Bowerman, long ago. He understood the most impactful teacher is not a carefully crafted and controlled lesson plan executed flawlessly, rather the many undesired and unique adversities which we are all subjected. 

Increased strength to shepherd on comes from survival. Nietzsche offers, "at which does not kill us makes us stronger." A somber truth to many, but a deeper reading yields empowering undertones. When coupled with another line of encouragement from him: “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how,” the value of vicissitudes and our lack of total control becomes bearable, even comforting to the truth of our naked humanity. 


Thanks for reading. I'm glad you're here. // jm 

Jonathan Marcus