Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Drug Lords Are Cool: Knowledge From Pablo Escobar

Sometimes wisdom comes from the most unlikely of sources.

Sometimes it comes not from the best role model or the most perfect person.

Sometimes, in fact, it comes from a cold, hardened, criminal; from someone who's responsible for the deaths of countless people; who made his name and fortune trading in products that everyday ruin and take the lives of so many.

Sometimes, a drug lord like Pablo Escobar, can say something insightful and meaningful.

I'm often reminded of something in particular he once said. And it goes as follows:

"There are two hundred million idiots, manipulated by a million intelligent men."

In many ways, it was the story of his life - the idea that the weak are always more numerous than the strong, and that the strong will always control the weak.

It's how a single man can rise to the top of a multi-billion dollar drug trafficking industry. It's how a poor man from Colombia can become one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world. It's how he can keep that power in a business where no man is a friend through fear and coercion, violence and bribery.

The strong feed on the weak.

They take advantage of them. They use and abuse them to get what they want, how they want it. They exploit what kindness they find and make of it what they will - for their own gain, for their own illicit reasons.

Pablo Escobar was surely a master at this.

But though it's likely none of us knows a Pablo Escobar, it is likely that we know the feeling of which he speaks.

Because if you are coming from a place of weakness in life - from a past filled with sadness or pain or depression, and a life of being shy, and forgotten, and hopeless - it's likely we were once one of those 200 million men of which he spoke.

It was us taken advantage of.

It was us used and abused and picked on.

It was us who perpetually felt inadequate, weak, helpless.

Such is the reality of life - that one must inevitably dominate another, even if only in the most subtle of ways, in any given interaction.

As we improve our lives and our selves, we must be conscious of where it is we fall in this spectrum. We must be aware that our actions come from a place of strength, rather than weakness, from a desire to fulfill our own desires, rather than those of whoever might pressure or coerce us.

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