“Hard times create strong men; strong men create good times. Good times create weak men; weak men create hard times.”
No one really knows where it came from, but at this point the saying is pretty well known. We can probably agree it makes some sense, for what it is: a generalization. Here’s a sort of naïve take on it. I’m not going into any real depth here, just walking through it.
Strong men create good times
The idea here is that when people are free, resilient, self-reliant, and work hard (all usually associated with strong people), everyone prospers and “times” get better or “good.” Productivity is up, ingenuity flourishes, and we work with vigor to provide for ourselves, families and the common good. As a result, wealth tends to increase along with overall prosperity. Everyone’s lives are getting better.
Good times create weak men
The result? With more wealth, convenience and luxury, we are further removed from dirt, discomfort and death. We need not worry as much or work as hard. There is plenty to eat, bills are paid, and leisure activities are widely accessible. It’s not rocket science: we get soft, fat, and crave the comfort and convenience we’re accustomed to. And we get angry when it’s taken away, throwing tantrums like spoiled children, blaming everyone but ourselves.
Weak men create hard times
The problem with weak men is they’re not just skinny, flabby or otherwise soft of body. They’re also soft of mind. When everything is handed to you by your forebears, what need is there for pursuit of excellence in anything? When in the midst of peace and prosperity we don’t have to worry about the heretofore matters of import, we focus on really stupid shit that tends to divide us socially, and breaks down the zeitgeist which brought that very peace and prosperity.
With all the various kinds of bickering going on, making good national, cultural, legal and moral decisions becomes impossible. Everything is compromised, and the social and economic orders are destroyed. We flail for years in “hard times.”
Hard times create strong men
When times are hard, many people rise to the challenge. They become, or are raised, with the resilience, adaptability, character and work ethic that will thrive even in these hard times. In short, people become strong again. And when enough people apply that strength, society, culture, the economy, all of it begins to improve, heading toward “good times” again.
The Inevitable Cycle
I’m sure we can agree that we’re dealing with human nature here. There’s something inside us that drives us to “progress,” with little idea to what end we are progressing. In our self-interest we seek longer lives, less pain and illness, more convenience, less discomfort. Most of our lives in this age are devoted to such things.
Why did you go to school? To get a good job. Why did you need a good job? To make more money. Why do you need more money? To get more stuff, more convenience, more influence, power, control, etc…
Why do we need cars? Because we can get places faster. Why should we get places faster? It means we can move more product and make more money. Why should we make more money…?
Well, human nature being what it is, this cycle is almost inevitable. When we are strong and work hard, we can’t help but create good times. When we live in good times, we can’t help but become simpering fools with low T and chronic apathy.
How to Create Strong Men without Hard Times
If Strong Men created the times we’ve been living in, then of course the goal is to not become weak. The problem is a generational one. The Greatest Generation were our Strong Men. They made the Good Times in which we were raised. Guess what that makes us?
Obviously we can’t live in generalizations, so we have to admit that everyone is different, and there’s a million variables that influence who we are. We do have Strong Men today. But there’s no cohesive “spirit of the times” that includes anything resembling strength. Quite the opposite is true.
Introspection time. Take a look in the mental mirror while you read. Who are you?
If you can’t honestly claim to be that Strong person, and you’re not on the path? Then it’s time to fix it. Because times are hard, and we need you now more than ever.
If Hard Times create Strength in us, guess what: during the Good Times, we have to do hard shit and struggle to keep up our strength. Did our forebears of Hard Times have to lift heavy things? Did they have to go without food sometimes? Did they have to take cold showers, or forego the shower altogether at times? Did they have to cut costs, make sacrifices, manage their priorities and stay disciplined?
Some of you are “But but butting” right now, and I’m going to wreck your sails. The problem is GENERATIONAL. Which means if YOU aren’t staying strong, you won’t be passing any of that resilience to your kids. How will they remain strong through the Good Times you gave them if they aren’t taught how?
Strong Men Create Strong Men
When I was young I played in the woods with my brothers and friends. We were super active, barely watched any TV and obviously didn’t have internet or phones tied to our faces. Even with that kind of upbringing, the world we grew into was so soft it massaged a lot of the strength from our bones. There was nothing external forcing us to keep up our level of activity, inquisitiveness, imagination and exploration. So we got soft.
Eventually we learned.
If lifting makes you strong, do it. If watching Netflix makes you soft, quit it. If training sharpens your mind and body, do it. If you’re seeing the same warning signs I am, adjust your priorities. If social media is sucking away your productivity, drop it. If you’re sedating yourself with mindless entertainments or substances, fix your shit, or Hard Times are going to be a hell of a shock.
Find a partner or a group; iron sharpens iron. Walk, ruck, run, lift, wrestle, shoot, and eat real food. We are on the precipice of Hard Times. Better get strong.