This is a paper I had to write for a Public Speaking course in something that influenced my life. Just thought it would be an interesting read and since this is a martial arts forum and it's about fighting, I thought it would only be appropriate. Many people are influenced by cultural, idealistic, or philisophical views in their lifetimes. It shapes who and what they are, how they react in situations in life, and their general outlook on their very existence. For me, the exposure to fighting has inspired and changed my outlook on life, as well as my interactions with others and my own philosophy on life and religion. Through fighting I have reached what I would call an epiphany on the very existence of the foundations of society and the meaning to the human race in general. When I first began learning how to fight I realized the logic behind violence. Through violence we are able to control or force people to do things they don't agree with, force them to keep their subjective views and emotions in check, and keep secure our own existence. I came to the realization that any organized society is based upon the ability to use violence to enforce the law. Laws which are seen as beneficial to the whole while keeping the individual perspective free of opression. When I came to this conclusion I then realized that there are people out there who use this "control by fear" philosophy in other ways. I realized that people use fear to control others through religion, war, crime, and in every aspect of life in general. For example Evangelical Christianity preaches that "without God you will burn eternally in hell." This gives off a horrible picture of eternal torture from burning. But the description of Hell within the Christian's religious text portray hell as the complete seperation of God rather then being tortured for eternity. In Christianity God created the world, thus God being the essence and justification in all that is in existence. To be completely seperated from him would mean the complete destruction of what is percieved to be a soul. Justification for this view can be found in MAT 10:28 in saying, "fear not those who can destroy the flesh, but fear him who can destroy both the flesh and soul." The justification behind the belief that hell is a place of eternal torment is based on the explanation of hell being a lake of fire. Fire destorys things to the point of nothing which further justifies the destruction of the soul rather then eternal torment. This interpretation no longer instills the fear of burning forever and being tortured, but rather that you will truthfully not exist anymore. The offer of Christianity then becomes, "follow this and your existence will continue, reject it and you will no longer exist." People in power generally try to use the fear of threat to one's existence as means of controlling the whole of a population. Hitler did this effectively with the german people, America with it's fight against communism, and myself when I want my brother to stop being annoying. After I realized how people are being controlled in their everyday actions, how I was being controlled, I was able to think for myself. I was able to pick out logical fallacies in other people's arguments in order to be the absolute ruler of my own life. This in turn helped me to develope my own philosophy on life: That we all mean nothing. The individual, the whole, all of it means nothing unless given a reason to be justified. This justification became God, which led to the conclusion that we are to live our lives as we have been created to do so, and that since we are all created as human beings, we all have human rights. The individual perspective on things no longer matters as long as it does not violate the well being of the whole of humanity, and as long as the whole of humanity does not opresss the individuals ability to be an individual. Since this conclusion was understood originally from learning how to fight, it was only proper that my way of life philosophy was to be molded in to the want to protect other's rights in any way I can. This is the adaptation of the martial arts philosophy. Fighting has been one thing in my life that has had a profound affect upon my reasoning and interpretation of the world around me. Learning to fight has freed me from the intimidation of being hurt, which in turn lead to my own ability to think for myself and how I percieve the world about me, and finally to my own philosophy on life. To say fighting will do this for anyone is a very big slippery slope, but for me fighting has been the one influence that I believe has freed me from what I would call the chains of opression. I also believe that my philosphy founded on the ability to fight has/will lead me to a productive life as well as any contribution to humanity I will make.