Why I started supporting Sam Harris

I am not an adherent of anyone, so I’m loathed to even admit this, but I started supporting Sam Harris with a monthly contribution of $10 today. So… basically three tall Lattes. Which feels somewhat cheap of me, now that I type it out. Hopefully he’ll put them to good use. Nothing like a quick caffeinated beverage before putting evil to the sword… or sending out a sardonic tweet.

I like Sam. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything he says… and I am obviously discounting the (large) percentage of things that he does say that I don’t necessarily understand. (I am quite stupid).

I do think Sam is a good person and I think he approaches everything he does with the best of intentions. Although I often feel like I’m watching a masochist go about his day. I think you have to be slightly that way inclined to be willing to wade through all that vitriol and malice day after day. Perusing the comments on an innocuous SamHarrisOrg tweet (about the weather) is more akin to staring into the abyss.

‘He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.’ – Friedrich Nietzsche

I am constantly amazed that Sam hasn’t become this weird, reclusive misanthrope living in a cabin somewhere in Montana. This is likely because I think Sam Harris is in actual fact a Samurai. Albeit a cerebral Samurai who lays the smack down with his words. But a samurai nonetheless.

91611-004-C997AF25I do wish I could tell Sam to stop climbing down under bridges and battling the residents who dwell there though.

In Jujitsu (practiced originally by Samurai) of which Sam is an enthusiast (as am I) there is generally a clear cut winner and a loser in a bout between combatants. Someone taps out. You shake hands and either go again or call it a day.

Combat on twitter doesn’t work that way. And I don’t think Sam, with his bushido ethic and profound sense of honor can thrive in a place like this.

Your life just becomes an endless loop of having to step out onto main street with a six shooter (or daitō) to battle it out with some inane bumbler (reclined on his sofa with his macbook perched on his y-fronts) who was nothing better to do with his time than think of way to slander and misrepresent you. What a fucked up way to spend the time that has been alloted to you.

Maybe that’s easy for me to say, in any event I wish you more Zen Sam, I really do.

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. – Sun Tzu.

I think primarily Sam makes me want to be a better person. That’s not something I say lightly. Listening to Sam has made me think about things I would never have considered before. He has introduced me to a plethora of new ideas and he has challenged me to consider why I believe the things that I do.

You have had a profound effect on my life, and for that Sam I am very grateful. (I think the above is true even if you don’t like Sam. Be grateful that you have found a worthy adversary, a Moriarty to your Holmes, but still conduct yourself in an upright manner)

Mostly I have decided to support Sam Harris because I want my ideology to survive and hopefully thrive. And for that to happen there needs to be soldiers fighting in the trenches on the front line. Hopefully my $10 can help (just a little) to make that happen. I need Sam to continue to fight the good fight, to be Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘man the arena’, to keep swinging for the fences.

I think (basically) I just want to say ‘good luck’ Sam. I hope you make it. And thanks again.