Monday, August 28, 2006

An interview with Jet Li leads to Jungian self analysis

Recently, I read an excellent interview with Jet Li in Kung Fu Magazine. Jet Li mentions that "the most important enemy is yourself." Now, at first I scoffed at this as a trite aphorism; however, one word snagged me: "important"(not "worst," as is typically said). Now call me a Jungian-buddhist-hippy, but Li's choice of "important" strikes me as very insightful because any enemy/agressor/challenge needs to be understood in order to respond appropriately, but to value an enemy as important and vital as your self is to overcome your own ego-driven limitations and thus to achieve a sort of, not transcendence--too lofty--but accurate comprehension of yourself. And when these enemies are your own weaknesses, better to value them, engage with them and transform them rather then to constantly ignore them or feel guilty about them.

So I started thinking, "Trev, what are your weaknesses? Looking at girls in short skirts, smoking cigarettes, being generally lazy." And then, of course, I started feeling bad about this and thought, "No more. That's it. Eat right. Think right. Act right. No ciggies--EVER, no checkin' out the ladies, more exercise..." the list went on. Luckily, though, I suddenly remembered a little something about forging swords--you can over-work the metal so that it becomes brittle and will likely break under stress. A katana has a really sharp edge, but retains a lot of flexibility along the spine. So the challenge is recognizing flexibilty from complacency. So I won't have a smoke right now, or a beer, but I might later on.