There are a few things every Fierce Gentleman ought to own. Call these the “Fierce Gentleman’s essentials.”
(Of course, nobody ever really owns anything, at least not in a metaphysical sense.)
It’s all destined for dust, and we keep things in perspective when we remember that.
Even so, we need to buy and own things. . . durable things.
But, not a lot of them.
A durable, attractive set of clothing, plus footwear
A F.G. may look good naked, but he need not be naked at inappropriate times.
It doesn’t matter if this “suit” is an actual suit, or simply a set of casual clothing that he knows sets off his best physical features and conveys his unique value to the world.
Clothing is communication, and a clean, well-kept, attractive suit of clothing and footwear says a lot about what you bring to the world.
A man who won’t take the time & effort to take care of himself will not be trusted to take care of much else.
This also speak to the quality and durability of what you buy. Buy local, if possible, and buy for the long term. A man who cuts corners when taking care of himself will cut corners when taking care of others. A temporary value is no value at all.
Your tools are what allow you to make your way in the world.
It could be a full set of traditional tools. It could be a styrofoam cup for change and an upturned bucket to sit on. It could be a latest-generation high-speed laptop.
Whatever your tools are,
- They should be kept clean.
- They should be of high quality and durability.
- You should know where they are at all times.
A man who loses his tools is a man likely to lose his purpose.
If you’ve ever wondered why the military instills such vigilance and discipline with respect to the soldier’s “tools” (i.e. rifle), this is why.
Sometimes, dangerous things happen.
When they do, while others are pulling out their now-dumb smart-phones and trying to dial 911, the F.G. will be opening his desk drawers or bag and pulling out rations, first aid, food, emergency portable radio, climb gear, water purification, and, oh yes, his good camp knife.
(A good camp knife, by the way, is a knife you use around camp. Humans have had them for thousands of years. They are multi-purpose and they are functional. They are not weapons. They are for cutting wood, whittling, preparing traps, making cordage, and other things a man must do if the luxuries of civilization are not immediately available. They are an essential part of the Fierce Gentleman’s essentials.)
A prepared man has a chance. He has a bag of “readiness gear” in his house, his office, and probably his car, and he keeps them clean, freshly-stocked, and ready to go.
This does not make him a “prepper;” it makes him prepared.
This readiness gear is not about the macho need to prove oneself or out-compete the other guy. It is kept so the F.G. can render greatest possible aid to greatest possible number of folks adversely affected by a natural disaster or other calamity. It has nothing to do with personal aggrandizement or base fear; it’s sole purpose is to ensure that one can help others, in the most dire of situations.
This is the ethos of material minimalism; the idea that if we own much more than we can carry, we own too much.
The dominant Western narrative of material success — requiring the outfitting of a mortgaged suburban home with material possessions similar to those owned by one’s peers — is psychologically comforting, yet psychically and spiritually debilitating.
To pursue a lifetime of purchasing, accumulation, and upgrading is to miss entirely the point of life, which is not to build outward in ostentatious shows of material prosperity, but to grow inward in the simplicity of spiritual depth.
As above, so below; as outwardly, so inwardly. Material minimalism frees our mental energy to relax into the depths of our own being, and as such is an essential practice for the Fierce Gentleman — especially as it pertains to the Fierce Gentleman’s essentials.
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Also published on Medium.