I think the main reason people make anime is more than to just tell stories. It’s probably to teach kids about morals and love and friendship as well. But some of us finally catch up to Avatar: The Last Air Bender at age 21 after having accepted teachings of morals and love as cliché, we look for something else. And even if we aren’t looking and we’re just trying to forget everything that happened in the real world, we still manage to find some lessons.
I’ve always been an advocate of doing things. I thought that we always have to be in motion to get the world around us going. I thought that if I weren’t constantly in control of things happening to me, that I was going to fall apart. I thought I was going to disappear if I didn’t do anything.
That was until I learned that disappearing is not the worst thing to have happen to you and despite what the priests or the motivational speakers say about us having the power to change the world, I realize, even if I don’t get out of bed today, the world will probably still keep moving.
The aforementioned wise words of the Earth King Bumi come when he realizes that his kingdom is being seized by the Fire Nation and even though his troops are dead set and ready to fight, he surrenders. The Avatar goes to ask King Bumi what in the hell he was thinking surrendering and Bumi says that there’s a right time to react to something. But there’s also a time where even though the world is collapsing all around you, you need to sit silently and listen for when the right time comes to act so you can be ready to make the most impact. (I’m obviously kinda paraphrasing)
And surely enough King Bumi was able to free himself and join the Order of the White Lotus where he was well rested and properly backed to fight in the final war to take back the Earth Kingdom. Had he acted on pride and faced the fire nation when they came for him first, he might have survived because he’s this hundred years old ripped, reckless Earth bender but still, his loss might have been greater.
And so “Do nothing.”
Bumi talks about three fighting options called Jings. The Positive Jing when one is attaking, the Negative Jing when one is retreating and a Neutral Jing for when one does nothing.
I wanted to think of these in literal everyday life fights and I saw that mainly, I’m either on full attack calling people out and making plans for the future and going to events, trying to be happy; making things happen or I’m sitting in my room hating the world and feeling sorry for myself. The Positive and the Negative Jings.
Now I wonder if I should try the Neutral Jing.
The most valuable thing Mark Manson’s book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck: A Counter-intuitive Guide to Living A Good Life has taught me is that we probably shouldn’t waste time worrying about things we can’t control. I wonder if this can go within the same line as the Neutral Jing. I wonder if this Neutral Jing is a dangerous state to be in because the amount of fucks given decreases by eons. But really, what’s the worst that could happen?