The warrior is guided by 5 principles, Benevolence, Duty, Courage, Wisdom and Faith. In this article, I shall explain the meaning of Duty. Many people interpret the chinese character to be righteousness. However, the ancient Chinese are aware that right or wrong is decided by the one who is in power, who controls public opinion. The meaning of the character that means righteousness, means the thing which a man think is right, and must do. And that, we shall name it as Duty.
Duty, you can also interpret it as purpose, or meaning. You often hear this catch phrase in movies or animations, What are you fighting for? What is the meaning of life? Yes, we need a reason to fight for, we need a purpose in life. This is what Duty in the five pillars of the Warrior Code refers to, and the warrior should seek it and let the duty, purpose and meaning guide him on his warriors path. Whichever side he is on, the warrior fights for what he thinks is right. It is the quality of a clear judgement of right and wrong.
Many people in today's society, especially the younger generation, do not have a purpose in life. Either that, or they do not have a reason strong enough to let them achieve more in life. You will often hear youngsters saying, exams is over, I have finished playing my video games, I am bored. Apparently, they do not have a direction to follow, that is why they often feel bored. They become passive; when there is exams, they study; when there are projects; they work; when there is work; they work 9 to 5 and shut down afterwards. After work time is the time to release the stearing wheel and let the car go jackknife, no more control.
Duty can make a persons spirit strong. It can make a worker more productive, an artist more refined; and a warrior more skilful.
In terms of the five elements, Duty is of the metal element. Metal condenses, it is dense and sharp, and yet sensitive to the light substance, like air. The metal element marks the outer borders. Its attributes are clear and precise, to be summarized. The metal element is the state of refinement, its basis is duty.
Some comment that the Kung Fu way is not modern, it is too demanding and not consumer friendly enough. What is consumer friendly? Anytime, anywhere, anything, anyhow? Definitely unwise. Or rather, the modern consumer has much to learn from the timeless principles of duty. The purpose, the duty, calls for structure and direction. It calls for being organized and productive.
Today we see many people who are in depression, as well as many people who claim they have mental disorders. They largely have something in common, which is they lack purpose and direction. Without duty to move them, they lost the energy for existence and they become dysfunctional.
It appears that escapism is the exact opposite of duty, like letting go is the opposite of fighting on. Many people face difficulties when they have a purpose, even though it might be a small mundane one such as feeding one's family. The temptation to fall towards escapism can be strong at times. There are even philosophies and social movements that cater to people succumbing to escapism, encouraging people to let them go, lose their form, and lose their duty and purpose even further.
When you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
That sounds simply terrible. We can't glorify this kind of mentality. In fact, it looks shameful. Some debate that Chinese believe in adapting, like flexible water bamboo like yinyang soft Tai Chi. Adapt to being born poor, born rich, being strong, being weak. It sounds religious, and it's not a positive one but a negative one. People who claim that such a mindset is the core of a Chinese warrior scholar, must be condemned to the very bottom. Be wise enough to see who is your true friend or your true enemy. Know it is unwise to keep 'frenemies'; and even if circumstances forces you to, always know it is fundamentally an enemy.
In the face of discouraging factors be it from nature or people, friends or enemies, we must hone our sense of duty to keep us going and keep us strong. The authentic Kung Fu warrior philosophy is that of fighting spirit. When you have a reason to fight for till your last breath, and it pulls you right on track, you have no time to be bored, let alone depressed or hide behind mental illness. When you have a reason to strive for excellence, you cannot even accept being average.