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If You’re Having A Bad Day

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There’s a very valid time for quitting and walking away, and there’s a very valid time for sticking to your guns and ploughing on. I think more often than not, ploughing on is probably the best approach.

The right or wrong decision is something that is obvious when you look back and connect the dots, but it never seems as clear as that at the time. So when things go wrong, when mistakes are made, when everything falls through, when you don’t get as far as you wanted to get within the time you set – all this freakin’ messy collateral of mindache can be frustrating and upsetting and annoying, and it’s easy to fall into a trap of discouragement or wallowing or defeatism.

So if or when that happens, and if you’re having a bad day, read this:

“The slaves received the whip with more certainty and regularity than they received their food. It was the incentive to work and the guardian of discipline. But there was no ingenuity that fear or a depraved imagination could devise which was not employed to break their spirit and satisfy the lusts and resentment of their owners and guardians – irons on the hands and feet, blocks of wood that the slaves had to drag behind them wherever they went, the tin-plate mask designed to prevent the slaves eating the sugar-cane, the iron collar.

Whipping was interrupted in order to pass a piece of hot wood on the buttocks of the victim; salt, pepper, citron, cinders, aloes, and hot ashes were poured on the bleeding wounds. Mutilations were common, limbs, ears and sometimes the private parts, to deprive them of the pleasures which they could indulge in without expense. Their masters poured burning wax on their arms and hands and shoulders, emptied the boiling cane sugar over their heads, burned them alive, roasted them on slow fires, filled them with gunpowder and blew them up with a match; buried them up to the neck and smeared their heads with sugar that the flies might devour them; fastened them near to nests of ants or wasps; made them eat their excrement, drink their urine, and lick the saliva of other slaves. One colonist was known in moments of anger to throw himself on his slaves and stick his teeth into their flesh.”

[An extract from The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution by C.L.R. James]

Suddenly the little things don’t seem that important, and it’s certainly not worth allowing them to pull us down too far for too long. The chances are slim that someone’s gonna pour burning wax on our arms, or fill us with gunpowder and blow us up with a match. It’s all a game of perspective. Everything is a game of perspective.

Things could be worse. Tomorrow is a new day. We are lucky.

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Vague Direction: A 12,000 mile bicycle ride, and the meaning of life.
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2 comments on this post

  1. DJ says:

    yes we are lucky… and tomorrow has the potential of being better. Thanks for the perspective adjustment. That is always a good thing.

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