This is a quote from the movie The Thirteenth Warrior, one of my favorite movies, old now by today’s standard. It’s stars Antonio Banderas as an Arab Poet who’s banished to the Northern parts of the world and comes across Norsemen, and according to the Oracle, when a messenger from a far off land, requests some help, 13 warriors are chosen, 12 are Norsemen, and the 13th is supposed to be one that is not a Norseman, hence Antonio Banderas, was reluctantly recruited. Throughout the movie he’s tested, cultured, and eventually leaves the Norsemen. The bonds, scars, and wisdom he’s learned from a very simple people, according to him, change him into a better man.
One of the things I love about the culture of the Norseman, is the simplicity of their philosophy: A man scared is no man, your fate’s already determined, might as well face life head on! For one’s honor, for one’s name, for one’s family, for the sake that a death in battle leads to a Heaven that only the brave can enter in, and meet with one’s ancestors.
But when translated to a more modern setting, it’d become: Why be scared of Life? It’s full of many wondrous things, even Death can be wondrous, hesitation and fear does nothing in changing your destiny, Bravery and dying in battle is rewarded, Life is something meant to be enjoyed to the fullest, because in the end, being scared isn’t going to change a damn thing.
So they laugh out loud, they eat what they want, they drink and fight and love and life. In a sense, they’re very honest, direct people, maybe not the most tactful of people but once you’re one of them, you’re practically family.
So why isn’t that practiced today? This particular philosophy is within many cultures, not just the Norsemen, it’s even in my own.
I guess, it can only be acquired individually, just as fear grasps the hearts of each man, a charismatic point of view to life must be learned on one’s own terms. Granted, changing one’s life’s perspective isn’t as easy as it sounds, ha ha, but with practice and experience, you can change the very parameters of your reality. By staying up 5 minutes more than usual, you can make an Early Bird into a Night Owl; you can make a 300 pound man into one of the world’s strongest men with small changes; You can make the most adamant atheist into the most religious individuals with a passage from a book.
But one thing that must be considered is: Are you afraid?
If you are scared of change, you’ll find ways not to. If you’re scared of falling into traditions, you’ll try anything that’s new. But fear is a natural emotion, yet how can it rule over our lives so much? Granted, fear can save one’s life, so it’s a vital emotion, but I believe it’s never meant to be a hindrance, no, long ago I learned what fear really does.
Fear widens the eyes, quickens the breath, heightens the hearing, increases the bloodflow, speeds up the thinking processes, and puts you in a fight-or-flight state of mind. Meaning, that you can run and flee for your life, finding the quickest route out of danger and into safety…
Or you can fight.
With all your senses heightened, you can prove to be a lethal weapon. You can face all the monsters of this world and the next, if you would just stand your ground. The idea that being scared doesn’t do anything for you in given situations, that there will be times when you need to grit your teeth. To take that step forward, to speak a word to that one individual that makes you freeze in your tracks, to stand up when all others have sat down. All these require efforts in the mastering of fear, not in the absence of it.
So when the situation calls for it, you have two choices:
You can run or…
You can Fight.