27 Ways to Harm Someone
- Posted by James Altucher
I wanted to pull out his eye while he screamed. Then I would see straight through into the brain that did this to me. I walked over to his house in Brooklyn. He had lied about me, distorted the truth, wrote about me in a major public forum, got others writing lies about me. I was angry. I had thought he was a friend.
I knocked on the door. He opened it. I then took a glass bottle I happened to have on me and smashed it over his head. He fell to the floor and was bleeding from all over his face, his glasses broken, one of his eyes maybe gashed too deep. “What the f***?!” I then kicked his head. Flattened his nose. And I left and walked away. In my dream about it I think I had an erection.
The brain is the worst tyrant. I imagined the above scene in my head the day he wrote about me. And a year later, today, I imagined it again. It’s hard to be a pacifist sometimes. Sometimes I think I’m mentally ill.
Anger (external or internal) can raise your heart rate in seconds to 180 beats a minute from 120. It can raise your blood pressure from 120 over 80 to 220 over 130. Over 400,000 deaths a year are attributed to sudden anger. Your brain kicks into survival mode. Chemicals get unleashed that clot your blood, causing heart damage or strokes. Acids get released into the stomach, causing ulcers. It’s all bad.
I want to be happy and healthy. A vow of pacifism is hard to stick with. But it’s worth doing. An outer renunciation of violence as well as an inner renunciation. You have to do both. A perfect example of not “practice makes perfect” because I never will be. But eventually practice will make permanent.
Someone asked in my Twitter Q&A if they should be a “physical pacifist” as well as a “verbal one”.
You must commit to being a pacifist in EVERY WAY else it’s false pacifism. There’s 27 kinds of pacifism and to be the happiest you can possibly be you must engage in all of them. I would say most people do a few of these but that’s not good enough. That’s a false commitment. One must practice and get better until one is doing all 27.
The FIRST THREE
There’s thinking, speaking, acting. Don’t think bad thoughts of someone (because those thoughts can be better and more productively used). Don’t speak badly about someone or to someone (has gossip ever helped you in life?), and don’t hurt someone physically (you will only hurt yourself in the end and your lifespan will be one day less so was it worth it?) That’s three ways.
The SECOND THREE
For each of those ways there’s: before, during, and after. There’s before the action (when the anger builds up, which is a hot iron burning straight through all your neurons and synapses, speeding up the onslaught of dementia and polarism), there’s during the action (where all anger is unleashed and only chaos is the result), and there’s after the action (the regrets, the guilt, the shame, the consequences).
The THIRD THREE
And for all of those, there’s YOU as the actor. Or there’s you getting SOMEONE ELSE to be the actor. Or there’s you simple APPROVING something harmful happening to another person. This might be the most insidious because it seems the safest.
3x3x3 is 27 ways of harming someone. Everytime you harm someone you postpone for yourself happiness, knowledge, and blissfulness. Why would you want to postpone that. I can be happy right now or I can be happy at 2pm tomorrow. I choose NOW!
So what do you do? When you feel any of these 27 coming along you…PRACTICE: stop yourself and say “not useful”. For instance, if you hear two people gossiping negatively about someone, you think “this isn’t going to be useful to my ultimate happiness and success” which is all I care about. I don’t care about the other person or the two people. Just my success and happiness. I don’t want to postpone it!
- acknowledge that the above are the 27 ways you become a non-pacifist, i.e. the 27 ways you harm someone and yourself.
- acknowledge that it takes practice to recognize when this anger is starting to light up in your brain. Don’t blame yourself if you slip. Then you are HARMING YOURSELF. That’s even worse. Then you’ve double-harmed! The other person AND yourself. It takes time. Look at me! I just smashed someone with a glass bottle over the head about ten minutes ago. And that’s over an action he did over a year ago. It’s hard. But just be aware.
- label the thought or speech or action, “not useful”. That’s it. That’s the only trick.
- cultivate the opposite thought.This doesn’t mean cultivate love to someone you hate. I really do think some people are crappy people. It’s too hard to love them the second after I hate them. I can’t do it. The opposite of hate is ignore. Just ignore them.
The question about pacifism is a good one because it’s the key to all success and happiness. Financial success, health, relationship success, and emotional calm. Very few people can do it. Take the vow of pacifism.
Why choose otherwise?
You will be happier and it will be a simmering happiness that will last. Not the burst of adrenaline you might get with a glass bottle over someone’s head.
I want to die in music and not in the delirium of anger I see in so many people.
[thanks to @bkharnish for asking this during my Thursday Q&A: "pacifism. what do you think? i'm a verbal pacifist. i don't like word arguments. but physically, i don't know."]
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