To Live Contra Mundum

I have learned that to live contra mundum is hard. In fact, it is no way to live at all.

The Founders of our nation lived contra mundum. They believed the comparatively gentle tyranny of George III so egregious they preferred the possibility of dying. I am glad they did. Nevertheless, I wonder how many Revolutionary widows and orphans found the liberty won worth the cost. There are costs and losses more hateful than one's death. In the middle of the 19th century, my ancestors held their right to political autonomy so dear they seceded from the United States. Living contra mundum in this way cost the states of The Confederacy a quarter million dead and the utter devastation of their country.

In my formative years, I lived contra mundum for the thrill and convenience of it. It was fun and required little effort. It came as naturally to me as breathing. My lifestyle likely stole years from my parents and if not it condemned them to months and months of late nights spent in fear and heartache. It crippled my left leg and left me an emotional adolescent even unto this day. I squandered a bright mind on easy course work, doing it my way, thus preempting my future wife and children the secure and stable life they so rightly and richly deserved.

Soon after entering the business world, I developed a reputation for fearlessness. My penchant for ignoring conventional wisdom was proving beneficial. Attacking projects others thought impossibly difficult returned me several fortunes that I wasted with bravado. I began to fancy myself a paladin of lost or difficult causes, invincible. Success redoubled this hubris and I got more daring still, virtually demanding the world mount a charge and take me down. It didn't have to. It just stood still and fired while I, like Picketts Brigade threw myself against it.

When a young bounty hunter drew down on The Outlaw Josey Wales in the film of the same name, Wales replied, "Dyin’s a hard way to make a livin boy". The boy died. To live contra mundum is to court a similar fate. Bounty hunters and outlaws lead solitary lives. Solitary men may live contra mundum with a certain nobility. Not so normal men for when the carnage of recklessness is shed on innocent wives, children, parents and friends there is no honor only the shameful indulgence of lazy and rebellious character.

To live contra mundum is hard. To live in the wake of one living contra mundum is piteously hard. In fact, it is no way to live at all.