WolvesYou've heard it before.

The old man tells the boy, "I have two wolves inside me. One is angry, and the other is peaceful. They are always in conflict, each pulling me its own way."

"Which one is stronger?" the boy asks.

The old man says, reflectively, "The one I feed."

--

Sounds wise, doesn't it?

But here's the question: have you ever known anyone who successfully starved the anger to death?

I haven't either. The analogy breaks down when you think about what these two wolves are. Each of them is you. You can kill a part of yourself, by suicide (!), but not by deciding not to think about it. How'd not thinking about it work with your appendix? Your broken leg? Your divorce?

Think of the whole system. Those wolves are in conflict. One wants to destroy the world with anger, it says; the other wants it to shut the hell up. But let Peaceful Wolf say "Go ahead," and Angry Wolf will say, "Whoa. I thought you were going to restrain me. What do I do now? We had a deal!"

Instead, give Angry Wolf what it really wants, whatever that is. What's it angry about? Honor? Then honor it. Deprivation? Care for it. A demand for order? Give it some order. In its own space. If it says, "I want to complain and bitch and moan forever," say, "You can have 10 minutes. Bitch and moan all you want." It's sort of like a child: it sees everything in huge terms.

Peaceful Wolf wants to be accepted, to have love and harmony, and its own order. Give it to him.

Bottomless pits stop being bottomless when you give them what they need.

Then Angry Wolf -- or, rather, Protector Wolf -- can rejoice when you take charge; so can Peaceful Wolf.

Views: 294

Comment

You need to be a member of Art of Manliness to add comments!

Join Art of Manliness

Comment by Chris Hamm on December 15, 2009 at 10:48pm
Really nice. I had to slow down and turn the words over a couple times to really get to the bottom of what you were saying. I would say, however, that while you cannot completely starve one wolf it is possible to cage it, weaken it, leash it, however you like to look at it. I think this is what happens to people who bottle anger and deny themselves an outlet for their frustrations. Of course the issue there is the angry wolf will eventually get ravenous enough to chew his own foot out of the trap and unleash hell.

Likewise we all know those people who goad the angry wolf to attack first and ask questions later while keeping the peaceful one in the kennel. My uncle did this and paid the price. He died of a heart attack at 32.

The tension exists for a reason. To deny one wolf what it needs results in a very unhealthy person.
Comment by Cowboy Bob Sorensen on December 15, 2009 at 6:40pm
I see it. We need the tension or conflict within us, because each is a part of us. You cannot deny or eliminate a part of yourself, but you can get it under control, and even work with it. Excellent post.
Comment by Shawn Mcfarland on December 15, 2009 at 4:50pm
Well said.

Latest Activity

John Landes replied to Conor's discussion I need help moving on, it's been six weeks now.
"Sometimes doing the right thing goes against everything your heart wants. Don't make the entire AOM community hold an intervention on your behalf and show up at your doorstep with a crudely wrapped box of testicles for you. Get fixed…"
3 hours ago
Irish Skot updated their profile
7 hours ago
Liam Strain replied to Sir's discussion Looking for two quotes in the group The Great Debate
"“George Bush’s faulty and offensive historical analogies aren’t going to end the war in Iraq, make America safer or bring our troops…"
8 hours ago
Liam Strain replied to Braeden's discussion Why do American Schools tolerate this? in the group The Great Debate
"I often would tape record lectures that I had trouble with, then review later in conjunction with my notes. This happens on occasion. "
9 hours ago
Liam Strain replied to Native Son's discussion The Current Travel Mess. in the group The Great Debate
""What damage is it actively causing?"Beyond the obvious - to those coming here. It plays directly into the narrative that terrorists and islamist radical want. It gives them another reason to say "look, we were right, the US hates…"
9 hours ago
Liam Strain replied to Native Son's discussion The Current Travel Mess. in the group The Great Debate
"I've heard the Obama Iraq decision characterized as like going to the DMV and finding new regulations in place. It takes longer, but they still were processing. Politifact breaks it down nicely. the TL:DR version, trying to make the…"
9 hours ago
Dominic replied to Native Son's discussion The Current Travel Mess. in the group The Great Debate
"There are so many important differences between Obama's action and Trump's as to render equivalency null. The 2011 action was predicated on a specific and credible threat. That action only halted the processing of refugee visas from one…"
12 hours ago
Clinton R. Ausmus replied to Native Son's discussion The Current Travel Mess. in the group The Great Debate
"I stand corrected.  Still just one country, not seven.Guess this is the whole "Bowling Green Massacre" we've heard so much about...I appreciate the link and the correction on my facts..."
13 hours ago

© 2017   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service