“Health without force is like hardness without elasticity.” — Miyamoto Musashi

Oooohhh… this is a tricky one.

I had to really sit back for… well, a few days so that I could think about this quote. Usually with philosopher’s quotes you can find the context pretty easily and at least figure out the general idea. But this quote almost sounds like a riddle or a joke; “What do health and force have in common with hardness and elasticity?”

Well logically we try to compare the two things instantly. So let’s follow our logic. Hardness without elasticity sounds like something that’s durable but not flexible. Health without force sounds like something that’s always healthy without trying — something that isn’t ideal because it’s unbalanced.

I imagine that he compares effortless health to solid hardness because both are unbalanced. Hardness without elasticity can’t change and adapt to its surroundings, which eventually leads to its downfall. Health without force becomes too dormant in its state and eventually falls out of health due to its lack of maintenance. 

With this in mind, we can begin to understand what Musashi means. Health without force is like hardness without elasticity because both are unbalanced in their effort. It reminds me of the ratio people should have between work and play. We see people who party all the time and only work so that they can afford alcohol and fancy vacations, and they’re generally looked down upon by society because they don’t work a lot. We also see people who are buried in their work. They might be successful in terms of financial gain, but the truth is that they aren’t really living. There’s two ends of the spectrum: party animal and workaholic. The ideal way of stumbling through life is to find a balance — it might not cure you of mental conditions or instantly make everything better, but at least it won’t all come crashing down on you. 

Keeping this in mind, try to find ways where you can force health while also searching for ways you can be more flexible. Balance discipline and rest. Find your spot on the spectrum of work and play.




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