All my life, I have walked alone.
In all things I have forged my own path. As a child, I favoured solitary pursuits over group activities. My tendencies drew me away from the crowds, and towards the meditations of the ancient philosophers, the craft of art, the way of sword and pen in accord. In money-minded Singapore, I chose the path of the freelancer and the artist, a volatile career in a nation obsessed with stability. As a writer, I strive every day towards the apex of the art, with near-total indifference to market trends and modern tropes, the antithesis of guaranteed income.
My parents were troubled by my unwillingness to socialize. My peers were perplexed by my introversion and resistance to pressure. My teachers were aware of my inclinations, and some sought to call attention to it, to draw me down a different path. A conventional path. The path better-trod. Perhaps they had a point.
Yet looking back on my life, I see now that my childhood has singularly prepared me for medical apartheid.
97% of Singapore’s eligible population has been vaccinated. Every day, in the mass media, you see stories highlighting vaccine efficacy, deaths of high-profile unvaccinated people, the march of Covid across the globe. Not a day passes when I do not hear of employers, friends and family members constantly pushing for the unvaccinated to take the jab. The government rolls out ever-expanding vaccine discrimination measures in the name of public health.
Every day, the Covid state is ratcheting up the pressure to get vaccinated. It will take away your jobs, deny you access to services, turn your friends and family against you, hammer you if you speak against them—and claim that they do this for your own good. To escape this pressure, all you need do is to take the shots—then the booster—then every future booster they demand of you.
The pressure on most people is enormous. And yet…
I feel nothing.
Many, many people have called me brave. I do not feel particularly brave. All I have done is to live my life by a code of principles. Among them is Miyamoto Musashi’s Dokkodo: the Way of Aloneness.
In a world that seeks to turn brother against brother, parents against children, you must immunize yourself against social and psychological manipulation. To stand fast in the face of insanity, to live your life on your terms, to become free, you must be prepared to walk alone.
Accept Everything Just the Way It Is
Things are going to get worse before they get better.
However harsh or unpleasant it may feel, do not run from it. Do not pretend it will not happen. Do not rationalize it away. Do not try to downplay its impact on your life, or treat it like the end of the world.
The Omicron variant is set to sweep the world. With its ultra-contagious nature, it likely is only a matter of time before it becomes the dominant variant. The Covid state will see rising case numbers, and conclude that it must once again push for boosters, restrictions, and other lockdowns. It doesn’t matter how mild or severe Omicron will be, or how safe and effective vaccines and non-pharmaceutical interventions may be. Driven by the need to maintain the narrative, these are the only policy measures the Covid state will allow itself to pursue.
You must be ready for what is coming.
Seek calmness. From calmness comes clarity. The ideal state is mizu no kokoro: a heart like still water. When it is still, water becomes perfectly reflective. You can see things exactly as they are, without overstating or underplaying their impact on your life. Through acceptance and setting aside emotional judgment, you can attain this state.
Every problem carries within itself its solution. All you need is to perceive it exactly as it is. Do not be afraid to seek help if you need it, do seek out new skills and methods to address it if you need must, but do not allow yourself to think it is insurmountable. From this perception, act accordingly.
Apply this to all things, starting with the coming restrictions.
Be Detached From Desire Your Whole Life Long
Many humans are driven by desires, yet desires also drive them astray.
We used to live in the most prosperous time in the history of mankind. Clean water and food everywhere. Cheap electricity. Motor vehicles. Easy connection to others. Abundance, convenience and pleasure are everywhere. In the First World, the quick and easy satisfaction of material desires has become our baseline state of existence.
It is now being used against you.
The allure of vaccine passports is a promise of a return to the baseline. Or, rather, a less-harsh version of current restrictions. Eating out, going to the movies, nightlife, entertainment, overseas travel, socialization, a return to so much convenience and pleasure of the pre-Covid era. All you have to do is to comply, and keep complying—forever. And even then, the Covid state will not return all your freedoms. Only enough to remind you of their power—and only until they decide it’s time to lockdown again.
Purge yourself of these desires. To allow them to dictate your life is to place yourself at the whims of the Covid state. It can arbitrarily change the rules at any time, and you have to keep complying. Remember that Big Pharma pockets all the profits, the governments holds all the power, and you shoulder all the risks. That is not a recipe for a long and happy life.
He who chooses convenience over health will discover he has neither. He who chooses short-term pleasure and convenience over long-term risks will discover that the former will fade and the latter will linger.
He who is free from desire and sees the world as it is will not be tempted by mere convenience and pleasure. He will be free to take the best course of action for himself, and those around him.
Do Not, Under Any Circumstances, Depend On A Partial Feeling
Make your choice. Stick to it.
Do not be half-hearted with your decisions, especially the most important ones. Your health, future and finances, and those of everyone who depends on you, depend on it. Being half-hearted will guarantee only failure and loss.
Do not doubt. Do not allow yourself to doubt. Do not waver. Do not allow anything other than conviction into your heart.
Do not allow conviction to be founded on illusion and desires. See the world as it is before you make your choice. If the situation is unclear, the best choice is often to not act at all. Not until you can see clearly the world around you, and the costs and consequences of possible choices.
This does not mean you should never change your mind, of course. When new data emerges that proves that you’ve made a mistake, then you must change course immediately. If you discover a better way of doing things to achieve your goals, then you should adopt the better way. But do not act without conviction founded on clarity.
Do Not Regret What You Have Done
Regret is poison. It is a slow acid that corrodes the soul.
The singularly most important decision of your life is to take the vaccine—or not. The former is irreversible, the latter is not. Whatever your decision, you cannot turn back the hands of time. All you can do is to go forward. To regret your actions is to be mired in the past that will never return. If you have made a mistake, all you can do is to deal with the consequences as they unfold, then strive to never repeat it.
Of course, the best course of action is to not make a mistake in the first place. See the world as it is, not what others want you want to see it, then act according to the situation. You cannot feel regret for a mistake you have never made.
Never Be Jealous
The vaccinated are allowed to go out, to have a life, to experience some of the old pleasures and convenience of the pre-Covid era. It is so easy for the unvaccinated to be jealous of them.
If you’re unvaccinated, don’t be jealous.
They have made their choices. You have made yours.
Such comparisons will only upset you. They will call forth the monsters of desire. They will cloud your heart and lead you astray.
Focus on what you need to do, on living the best life you can. There is no need nor room for jealousy. Do not allow the green eyed monster to erode your will. Make your choice—then commit to it, all the way to the end.
Never Let Yourself Be Saddened By A Separation
People will depart your life.
This is inevitable. Life changes, long-distance moves, death. People will leave you at some point.
The strategy of the Covid state is to turn everyone against you. It leverages on fear. The fear of social disapproval, of being seen as an idiot or an undesirable, of being left out, of being separated from your friends and family.
Be not afraid.
Separation is inevitable. Do not cling to that which you can no longer have. If others choose to leave you, that is their choice. You must make yours, and commit to it.
It is natural to feel sadness, grief, anxiety, and other such emotions. What is unnatural is holding on to them. Just breathe. Let all these emotions go. Do not hang on fear. Set it aside.
When you are no longer afraid of being separated from others, the Covid state cannot use them against you—and vice versa.
But do not forget that the Covid state turned them all against you.
Resentment and Complaint are Appropriate Neither For Oneself Nor Others
To be resentful is to grab a burning coal and shove it down your throat. To complain is to vomit venom all over yourself and others.
Do not resent those who have made a different choice from you. They have their circumstances, and you have yours. There is no need for you to become like them. Simply live the way you choose. To be resentful is to grow bitter and cynical, and reduce yourself to a shadow of who could be.
Do not complain about how terrible things are. Complaining takes up energy better spent on improving the situation. We all know how terrible the Covid situation is. We know how harsh the restrictions are, and how much harsher they will be. Complaining does nothing to address the problem.
See the problem as it is, identify the solution, and resolve it. Don’t waste your energy doing anything else.
Do Not Act Following Customary Beliefs
The Covid state wants you to act in their best interests, which isn’t necessarily your best interests. To convince you to do so, they have done everything in their power to create a set of customary beliefs.
Covid is dangerous. Vaccines are safe and effective. Pandemic of the unvaccinated. The unvaccinated are dangerous to society. Masks, lockdowns, vaccines and mandates are necessary.
These customary beliefs are how we got to this point.
You must act according to your best interests, and those of everyone who depends on you. You are the one shouldering all the risks, responsibilities and consequences of every decision you make. If you make a decision that you know is against your best interests, all you have done is betray yourself, and everyone around you.
When you act against customary beliefs, you must be willing and prepared to say no. You must protect and enforce your boundaries. The herd will try to manipulate, coerce and convince you into going along. This is especially prevalent in communal societies like Singapore. The highest reason that they will offer for you to do something is that everyone else is doing it—and that you are holding them back. A ridiculous notion, easily disproven by pointing out the never-ending restrictions everywhere in the world in spite of mass compliance.
Be firm when you say no. Recognize that those who do not respect your no do not respect you. Never forget that you will be the one bearing all the costs for making the choice they want you to make. They have no skin in the game. Therefore, their words are only wind.
Act in the most appropriate way for the situation—which may well mean saying no to the herd.
Do Not Fear Death
Fear is how we got to this point.
Fear of catching Covid. Fear of death from Covid. Fear of long Covid. Fear of new variants. Fear of restrictions. Fear of punishment. Fear of disapproval. Fear or loss of status. And when the fear dies down, rest assured that there will be something new to fear.
Be not afraid.
If you’re not in the at-risk demographic, you have nothing to be afraid of.
If you are in that category, do what you can to mitigate the risk, and then you have nothing to be afraid of.
In both cases, live a healthy life to the best of your ability.
The Covid state wants you to be afraid, so it can sell you the solution to take away your fear. You can simply cut out the middleman by cutting all causes of fear from your life.
If, despite everything you have done, you are still afraid of death. ask yourself why. What are you afraid of? Why are you afraid? How will your death affect everyone around you? How will you ensure your dependents are taken care of?
Resolve these questions, and be not afraid. Steel yourself to do the difficult and the unpleasant every day, and to keep doing it until it becomes second nature. Dedicate yourself so thoroughly to your path that there is no room for doubt, jealousy or fear.
Fear is a natural emotional response to the perception of danger. Therefore, perceive the world as it is, identify the causes of danger, and either resolve or avoid them. Navigate the way through danger, and you will find the Way.
You May Abandon Your Own Body, But You Must Preserve Your Honour
Most of us will outlive the pandemic. Once Covid is over, there will be a reckoning for everything everyone has done.
How have you treated others? How have you acted? Have you built bridges or have you divided people? Did you strive to be of service to others, or have you taken advantage of others? Have you spread the truth or have you spread delusion?
You are going to have to answer for everything you have done.
People will remember your actions. They will treat you in the manner you—and they—have earned and created. In your darkest of moments, you must be able to look in the mirror and know you’ve done the right thing.
Never do anything you cannot live with. Never do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you.
How you will be remembered will outlive your body.
Never Stray From The Way
Once committed to your path, stick to it.
Do not allow others to sway you. Do not allow your desires to drive you off-course. Do not be half-hearted in your actions. Change course if you must, but only so you can continue walking the Way.
What is the Way? In the context of Covid, it means freedom. Freedom from restrictions, freedom from fear, freedom from anyone or anything that might try to harm you.
I cannot tell you how to live your life. But you may find it useful to follow the following precepts:
Immovability. Become immovable. Do not allow threats to shake you. Do not deviate from your course of action. Be committed to your goal. If your employer threatens to fire you, make them fire you. If your school threatens to expel you, make them expel you. If your friends and family threaten to ostracise you, make them ostracise you. Do not do their work for them. Make them make good on their threats, and obtain their justification in writing. You may need that leverage later.
Adaptability. Be prepared to explore every path necessary to achieve your goals. This may mean making a career switch, starting a side gig, finding new friends, obtaining new support networks. Do whatever it takes to attain your goals.
Antifragility. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Every mistake is a lesson. Every failure shows you how to do better. Instead of fearing to fail, fail faster. Find out what works and doesn’t work, then keep adapting and changing your approach until you succeed.
Security. Do not allow anyone or any organization to dictate how you should live your life. If someone you do not trust has power over you, close that vulnerability. This could mean an unsupportive employer, a hostile workplace, or toxic people. Cut out any avenue anyone can use to coerce you into acting against your own interests.
Truth. Always seek the truth. Learn to sift out the wheat from the chaff, to read and interpret studies, to assess experts and opinions. Act only according to truth, never delusions and deception.
Your Way is Yours
The Way of Aloneness is to be alone.
You must be. Your Way is yours, no one else’s. No one else knows your life better than you do. No one else has the same skills, personality, lifestyle, aspirations, ambitions, and circumstances as yours. Though others may walk beside you, they are walking their paths. You have your life, they have theirs, and while you may be walking in the same direction now, you are all walking separate roads.
No one can tell you how to walk your path. No one can take it from you. Some may try to manipulate you into deviating from it, whether out of misguided compassion or out of malice. Others may try to get you to follow someone else’s path. Trust only with those who can help you walk your path and become the best you can be.
There are as many paths as there are humans, but there is only one Way worth walking. That Way is freedom.
Freedom from fear. Freedom from delusion. Freedom from want. Freedom from discrimination, injustice, undue interference. Freedom to live as you please without infringing upon others.
When you are free, no government restriction can affect you, no toxic people can manipulate you. But you must find that freedom for yourself.
The way of aloneness is not easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is. But if you are to survive the Covid era with your sanity intact, with a strong spirit and a calm heart, you must detach yourself from everything and everyone that tries to pull you away from the Way.
Only you can live your life for you. Live well. And should the worst come to pass, if the world itself turns against you, if you are left with no other choice…