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Investigate This Thoroughly

Despite having owned my current vehicle for over two years now, I didn’t bother to use the CD player until recently. Whenever confronted with a long drive I typically listen to music or simply conjure up new plans for content and research. Last week things changed when I randomly decided to checkout The Book of Five Rings in audiobook form. I usually don’t mess with that format because it is difficult to take notes while driving, but this departure from tradition proved worthwhile.

The book is written by Miyamoto Musashi, a samurai and poet active during the 14th and 15th centuries. It is a brief text, but one principle repeated incessantly across the pages in various forms is the phrase “You should investigate this thoroughly.” A casual reader might assume Musashi’s dogmatism is simply meant to convey the importance of his book or stature, while those more attune to his Buddhist persuasions could argue the phrase relates to some pursuit of truth or balance.

Neither assessment is essentially wrong, yet I believe there is a more universal lesson beyond the specific audience and context. As noted before, we have limited time to cultivate concrete understandings of particular perspectives or subjects. Many folks simply dally-fance around, spouting information they gleaned from someone else because the impetus to uncover and master on an individual basis proves too formidable. Thus the mind scarcely has a chance to reach its higher level potential, and emotional rage swiftly replaces comprehension. For normies such positions appear committed and admirable, largely because they do not see past the preliminary veil.

When Musashi instructs readers to have a thorough approach in their study and experience, he turns back this entire modernistic proposal. The more one reads and interacts with the world, the less is he able to embrace knee-jerk, talking-point reactions to every issue. It becomes clear to him that life is more complicated than simply a crude dualistic perspective, and in fact the manifestations we come to know are usually assembled by a chain of other events. Successfully exploring so as to forge those networks in the mind allows a person to truly appreciate the eternal query of why, rather than distracting with predictably public noise.

I encourage all of you to attempt the same method in life. As I think back to some of my “classic” YouTube content, I must concede that while it was entertaining, the drive to present an all-inclusive message on some matter was undermined by a hesitation to wait and learn. Nowadays, I will often make a new recording if a not-yet-published piece lacks information discovered only after it was put together. Yes, the process is tedious, however the outcome unquestionably superior.

Live long and be thorough.

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