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Anger and Hatred
Adapting to Aggression as a Youth
It's amazing to me how much of our early story coincides. Being picked on, beaten, with a nerdy cowardly side that turned to almost sadistic violence on the singular level.
Did you ever seek out fights or violence?
That was my problem. I compensated for my anger and hatred with aggression despite not being a gifted fighter. I found out quickly as you did that without a crowd most individuals crumpled under sheer will and aggression.
-Bran Mak Sworn
We were damaged but not destroyed as boys and attempted to reassert ourselves in the face of an evil world aggressively as youths, and then found, each in our own way, that we had tempered ourselves by the time we reached full manhood. We both discovered, in our youth, that most of our peers had only to be isolated and made to face us for them to crumble like dust. This would later, in my adult life, serve as the foundation for my urban avoidance methods, the knowledge that so many aggressors lacked sustainable will.
Having been bullied we had internalized the true damage done by asymmetrical, top-down aggression, that it is emotional, moral and mental violence, more hurtful than the actual blows. We simply reversed this process by becoming hyper-aggressive against bully types. It seems you took a more social approach to this by representing others in match fights.
As soon as God gifted me with an early puberty, I simply decided, that since the first stage of being beaten was being picked on, that anyone who insulted me had declared war on my soul and that I would then attack. This made hanging out with me something like petting an urban pitbull, so limited my social circle and kept me un-bullied. It retarded my ability to do well in traditional relationships, but set me up well for dealing with the kind of predation I later encountered upon moving to Baltimore, which reminds me, that another parallel is that we both matured physically outside of a large urban environment and not quite in some sissy suburban matrix, which I think permitted us to fight back against society in this way without falling into criminality. If we had raised ourselves in East Baltimore, we may have both ended up in the juvenile court system and then prison.
My early life of being bullied and negated ended up being imprinted on me as a kind of social retardation that kept me from projecting my personality. Ironically, I never picked a fight. I attacked and challenged, but only according to my crude honor code cited above. I have also never initiated relations—verbally, as in hey, let’s get together sometime—with a woman. In retrospect this bullied experience helped me as a writer and hurt me as a viable member of society.
As for your observation that attacking the mind directly via physical aggression, it is spot on. Humans are so dependent on social sanction for their aggression, whether it is the censor or informer doxing a writer or a hoodrat breaking bad because he’s got three bros at is back, that when they don’t have that, and are confronted with a real, directed, burst of aggression from a dedicated aggressor, they melt. That was how most ancient battles were won, with one army collapsing as soon as its component human parts became convinced that their army was not in position to save their ass. For the best study of will applied on the world stage, see the career of Alexander the Great.
Letters from Planet Meathead: A Fighter’s View of Postmodern Physical Culture
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