Discover more from Culturcidal by John Hawkins
There Really Are Levels to the Game of Life
So, now what?
Most of you probably have not heard of Mark Bell, although he’s an extraordinarily impressive human being. He initially made a name for himself by being one of the best powerlifters walking the earth:
I am a World and American record-holding pro powerlifter. I've squatted 1,080 lbs, benched 854 lbs, and deadlifted 766 lbs. My 2,628 lb total is the highest in California history. I'm currently ranked in the top 10 of all-time at 275 and 308.
Of course, powerlifting may have been where he started, but it wasn’t where his career ended. He moved on from there to competing (and winning) in bodybuilding at a fairly high level:
He also did 100,000 steps in a day, which is INSANELY HIGH, especially for a guy his size:
He even got into running and qualified for the Boston Marathon:
Now, all that is pretty amazing, but you may be thinking, “All right, so this guy is a real stud athlete, but what else has he done?” Well, he also did pro wrestling for a while. He runs the famous “Super-training” gym. He created a product that helps people with their bench press called the Slingshot which is well-known to gym junkies all over America. On top of all that, Mark Bell’s Power Project is a wildly popular podcast, he’s essentially treated like royalty in the powerlifting/bodybuilding/fitness world, he’s worth 5 million dollars, he has two kids and he has been married to the same woman for 23 years. The man has even done a rap video and guess what? It’s not Eminem in his prime or anything, but it’s surprisingly good:
Not only is Mark Bell a remarkable human being, he is the sort of guy who might legitimately be the most impressive, accomplished guy in a room full of tens of thousands of people. You may be thinking, “Okay, so what? Are you getting ready to ask us to join his fan club or something?” No. Just making a point about how our connectedness in the modern world can skew our perceptions about what success in life really entails.
Towards that end, consider this. It would also be entirely possible to put Mark Bell in a room with say 300 other people in it and have him be the least impressive guy there. If he was at some big, all-star Hollywood gala with people like Elon Musk, the Rock, Tom Cruise, Mick Jagger, Tyson Fury, Lebron James, etc, a lot of people would find him to be the least noteworthy man in the room. He might even think that himself. In fact, maybe in the dark of night, Mark Bell is laying in bed going, “There are people that have surpassed me in powerlifting and sure, I did pretty well at bodybuilding, but I was never very good compared to the elite guys in the sport. Pro-wrestling? I never made it to the WWE and 5 million dollars? That’s great and all, but there are people worth over 100 billion dollars. Man, I really feel like a failure.”
Does that sound crazy?
Well, it’s not, because we all have our internal rules about what we need to do and achieve to feel like a success. Sometimes those rules are fair and sometimes they’re not. There really are people out there who are 1-in-a-million success stories who feel like they’re failing. Ironically, our modern world has made that more possible than ever because we live in an age of specialists and if you compare yourself to them in those areas, you’re not going to come off very well.
Keep that in mind as you read these tweets from a self-described incel (involuntarily celibate) “Black Piller” (Basically, a nihilist) who had 1.4 million people see this on Twitter:
People don’t like to admit it, but there is actually a lot of truth to this and there always has been. Even if you go all the way back to before recorded history, when human beings were roaming around in small bands, SOMEBODY had to be on top. Somebody had to be the chief, the best hunter, the best warrior, and the guy who got the best-looking woman. Still, the gaps probably seemed a lot smaller back then because today, the best of the best in everything is right in front of us on social media. Whatever small thing you want to do, there are people who’ve made that their life’s mission and are just better at it than you or I will ever be. When you’re talking about the big things, we’re no longer comparing ourselves to a few hundred people in a small farming town or tribe, we’re often comparing ourselves to the best of the best among 7.8 billion people.
Saying this can be discouraging if you don’t have the right mentality about it is an understatement. Neither you nor I are going to have the wealth of Elon Musk, the brain of Einstein, the looks of Jason Mamoa, the fame of Clint Eastwood, the charisma of Joe Rogan, or the athleticism of Michael Jordan. Not everyone gets to grow up with a silver spoon in their mouth, is a freak athlete, or is a natural “10” in looks. This is reality. This is life – and it’s not a video game where everyone starts at the same place. Some people even have a mind-boggling combination of gifts. In other words, you really may have a harder life than “Chad.”
So, now what?
You can do what three years olds do when “life is not fair.” They stomp their little feet and cry until snot comes out of their nose and sometimes, it works. Most of the time, though? Not so much. Other people become “activists” and beg politicians to change the rules of society to make life easier for them. Again, that does work sometimes, but it tends to be a long, hard, and extremely unreliable road to go down. Other people just give up and sink into misery, which pretty much never works. Additionally, as someone who has read incel and “Black Pill” forums for articles now and again, I will tell you that this approach doesn’t seem to make them happy people. In fact, if I were using words to describe the vibe I got from those places, they would be ones like “bitter,” “disillusioned,” “depressed,” and “maladjusted.” I’m not even sure they would disagree with those characterizations. Instead, they’d probably say something like, “Well, what do you expect with the world the way it is?”
It’s also worth noting that incels and people that have taken the “Black Pill” may be the most prominent examples of human beings that have given up on life, but they’re far from the only examples of it. There are an awful lot of people that have to one degree or another checked out because they think life is too hard or they’re upset because they feel like other people are so far ahead of them in areas that they care about that they can never catch up with them. Why can’t life be fair and equal?
Except, here’s the thing; in a very real sense, there is no real way to make everything “fair” and “equal.” As Aristotle said, “The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.” Thomas Sowell also chimed in on that subject:
Some people were born on third base, some people got lucky, and some people are just so obsessive or talented that you can’t match them… but, that’s okay because you don’t have to match them. You don’t have to be a billionaire, a supermodel, or a social media celebrity to be a worthwhile person and have a happy, meaningful life. That’s actually good news, not just for the rest of us, but for the crème de la crème of humanity. After all, fame is fickle, all of us get older and weaker, and great fortunes can be lost just as well as won. For the most part, the people at the top of the heap today will not be the same ones on top of the heap tomorrow as Hillary Clinton, O.J. Simpson, Lance Armstrong, Vanilla Ice, Tiger Woods, Marie Antoinette, Harvey Weinstein, Sam Bankman-Fried, and Napoleon could all tell you.
That’s why Teddy Roosevelt was right when he said:
No matter where you are, if you keep trying to add skills, improve your life and become a better person, you may be stunned at where you end up, and guess what? It may be true that there can only be one person standing on the peak of the mountain at a time, but there are happy, successful, fulfilled people all over the mountain and you know who they are? They’re the ones that didn’t give up in base camp. They’re the ones who didn’t get discouraged because there were people that were better at climbing or way above them. They’re the ones that didn’t give up because they didn’t think they could make it to the top. They’re the ones that looked at that mountain and decided to make their lives better by starting to climb. So, whoever you are, wherever you are in life, even if it’s hard and slow at first, start to climb. It will make all the difference over the long-haul.