Was it folly or was it method? This question lingered in the recesses of my mind. I had enough experience with street intrigue to be wary of what meets the eye, but experience also taught me that most people are the manipulated, not the manipulator, merely reacting to their environment.
"[W]e have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting, too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection."
- Thucydides, Pericles’ Funeral Oration
"I find myself thinking about the things I do, things I say. Ramifications. I’m not as angry or reactive. See, I was able to take a moment, think. And I realized that…you took a huge risk playing that card, which means you’re desperate.
You got nothing.”
Jax Teller, Sons of Anarchy, season 2, episode 7
Reacting without thinking is the instinct of the fool; and fools fall victim to the designs of those who premeditate and manipulate. Next time you confront an antagonizing situation, stop. Take a moment. Realize what reaction will garner the most favorable outcome for yourself. Then act.
"We live forwards, but we understand backwards."
- William James’s favorite Kierkegaard quote
"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was a vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did."
- T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom
"It doesn’t matter that this road goes nowhere. What matters is that we’re on it."
- Bret Easton Ellis, Less than Zero
"Fear is the mother of morality."
"…make up your own rules. Why be a servant to the law when you can be its master?"
- Bodhi, Point Break