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How to Benefit from the Enemy

The most frightening enemy of the primitive man were the wild beasts around him, until he learned to tame some of them and others to be train as useful tools for his daily tasks. He ploughs the soil with them, transport, assisting in war, hunting and become his best friends to protect him from any danger. He adopted their milk and flesh for food, skin, and hair for cloths and shoes, the bones for needles and musical instruments and the rennet with the bile to manufacture cheese and for medication. Nothing left out to be wasted, even the excrement used for agricultural fertilizer and kindling the fire. The same he did also with the vegetable kingdom. Poison trees and vegetables used for furniture and medication. The Stinkwood used for luxury furniture, the poison belladonna as nostrums, and the toxic herbs for tea refreshment and mental boosters. The sea is salty, undrinkable, and dangerous to live on, yet men learned to play with the waves, mining precious diamonds, gold, pearls, sponges and catch tasty fishes for his food. He drilled at enormous sea depth to extract petrol, gases, and other valuable minerals. He learns to sail the oceans to any part of the world, with large luxurious boats more romantic than any land transport. Nothing left unexploited no-matter how difficult or dangerous was. Like certain wild beast with their strong digestion who eat poison snakes and scorpions without any risk to their health? When the Greek philosopher Chilon listened once to a man saying that he avoided all enemies as useless and dangerous, he replied. “If you act like this, you won’t be able to exploit the hidden treasures that hide often in difficult man, neither to grow strong and respectable human.” The man who is able to extract skillfully and peacefully the most benefit from his enemy, is at the same time the most suitable leader to govern the world. “One receives often profit from an honest enemy than from a flatter friend. The enemy looks for faults to justify his anger, while a friend ignores them because of courtesy”. Since the prime object in life is “to know our selves”, we do not mind if an enemy unwillingly helps us to correct our faults and arrive at self-realization. The fire burns and kills, but at the same time gives light, heat, and assist in cooking and for all the arts if we learn to use them skillfully. The same applies also with an enemy, in spite of his angry behavior; we must try to look deeper if there is a possibility to convert his rage and to benefit, instead of reprisals, hate and revenge like the animals in jungle. Thyme is a juiceless, bitter, and astringent herb, but the bee’s with skill extracts the tastiest honey from it, and sheep produce the best milk when they eat it. When one despises the unpleasant and difficult things, one loses also an opportunity to discover the hidden treasures. Like the unpolished diamonds on our open path, we walker over them some times without realizing their hidden treasure. Coco and macadamias nuts are very difficult to crack their shells, but when we manage to open them, the delicious meat inside was worthy of our effort. To listen and respect the words and opinions of others is an indication of prudence and respectful human being. We gain dignity when we remain calm, and attentive to opinions of others. They are some individuals who like to be noisy when their idle talk, like the bubbles in waterfall, that soon break and leave just wind behind. Many times, we regret that we spoke prematurely or foolishly, but never when we remained silent. Once at an Athenian symposium, Socrates spotted a young man that remained silent all night, at the end approached him and whispered into his ear. “Young man, he said, if it happens that you are a fool, it was a good choice to remain silent to night, but if you are wise, you are a fool to stay so mute”. Personally, when it happens to be in uncongenial environment, I remain silent like a grave tomb; sporadically I throw a word here and there to warm a bit the frigid atmosphere. The worst behavior is when one over talks and is trying to undermine the mentality and dignity of others. “What I gain to try to convince an angry man, said the cynic philosopher Diogenes, when I know when that neither knows what he is talking about neither what he is doing”. Annoyed, by the naked truth of the writer Andreas Lascarattos, who published his views in a weekly newspaper on the Greek, island Kefallinia; the local authorities sent him a parcel with beastly waste as a blasphemous revenge. Unaffected from hurt or anger Lascarattos, gathered some roses from his garden and sent them back as gratitude. He also placed a card on the rose-bouquet with the following, “every body sends what he has”. Restrain, respect, and love are precious natural gifts that adorn the human personality with grace, and exemplifying for others to follow alike. The difference between developed and undeveloped human being, is how far behind they have left the animalistic primitive behavior and replaced it with restrain, respect, modesty, knowledge, wisdom and love. All these admirable human qualities the ancient Hellenes with their profound language technique, wrapped them together in a single exquisite tetra-syllable word, which they named “SOPHROSYNI” (PRUDENCE).

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