53: Michael Kurcina – Hated

Podcast: https://anchor.fm/donavon-riley/episodes/53-Michael-Kurcina—Hated-egcltj

Men will find themselves judged, cursed, and crushed for their intelligence and honesty in a world of declining values, declining manliness, and declining desires for achieving a worthy place in the world.

Hell, even a dull hell awaits men without courage and a vision, or the objectivity to stand back and understand what every man must pursue. Critics will attempt to publicly injure risk takers and will ask how dare they.

Men should never stop trying to become fully developed persons. Attempting to truly live means men will also experience tremendous shocks to the soul, shocks that wound us severely. The delicate instrument of love will close off some of our injuries from further insult but we must have enough courage to see the operation through, and have enough to pursue the path of being alive! Wandering, questioning, doubting, unbelieving and believing, coming, going, dying and growing. We must never stop.

Michael Kurcina, We Fight Monsters

51: Frederick Douglass – Self-Made Men Aren’t Self-Made

Podcast: https://anchor.fm/donavon-riley/episodes/51-Frederick-Douglass—Self-Made-Men-Arent-Self-Made-efmp2l

The lesson taught at this point by human experience is simply this, that the man who will get up will be helped up; and the man who will not get up will be allowed to stay down. This rule may appear somewhat harsh, but in its general application and operation, it is wise, just, and beneficent. I know of no other rule which can be substituted for it without bringing social chaos. Personal independence is a virtue and it is the soul out of which comes the sturdiest manhood. But there can be no independence without a large share of self-dependence, and this virtue cannot be bestowed. It must be developed from within.


019: Jocko Willink – Mind Control

Podcast: https://anchor.fm/donavon-riley/episodes/019-Jocko-Willink—Mind-Control-ef8ccr

“You have to decide that you are going to be in control, that you are going to do what YOU want to do. Weakness doesn’t get a vote. Laziness doesn’t get a vote. Sadness doesn’t get a vote. Frustration doesn’t get a vote. NEGATIVITY doesn’t get a vote. ”

“You are declaring martial law on your mind: MIND CONTROL.”

Jocko Willink, Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual.

49: Joseph Goebbels – Propaganda Never Rests

Joseph Goebbels presents Nazi propaganda as the model for the rest of the world, calling it the “background music” to government policy because a modern state, whether democratic or authoritarian, cannot withstand the subterranean forces of anarchy and chaos without propaganda.

Podcast: https://anchor.fm/donavon-riley/episodes/49-Joseph-Goebbels—Propaganda-Never-Rests-ef35fg


018: Midweek Debrief – BJJ, Equality & Peace

If you want to find a place of equity, where you’re not judged by the color of your skin, gender, sexual orientation, political ideology, or religious belief, sign up for jiu-jitsu.

Podcast: https://anchor.fm/donavon-riley/episodes/018-Midweek-Debrief—BJJ–Equality–Peace-eeuq60

GoFundMe for 10th Planet BJJ – Long Beach: https://www.gofundme.com/f/rebuild-10p-long-beach?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link-tip&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet

017: Midweek Debrief – Choose, Slavery or Love

Why do people act against their best interests and consent to their enslavement?

Podcast: https://anchor.fm/donavon-riley/episodes/017-Midweek-Debrief—Choose–Slavery-or-Love-eel4fd

…it has been common to assume that the masses are purely victims in their enslavement, unable to mount any form of resistance due to the threat of force wielded by those in power. In the 16th century, the French philosopher Etienne de La Boétie challenged this view in his essay The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude. All governments, he argued, including the most tyrannical, can only rule for extended durations if they have the general support of the populace. Not only are those in power vastly outnumbered by those over whom they rule, but governments rely on the subjugated populations to provide them with a continual supply of resources and manpower. If one day enough people refused to obey and stopped surrendering their wealth and property, their oppressors would, in the words of La Boétie, “become naked and undone and as nothing, just as, when the root receives no nourishment, the branch withers and dies.” (Étienne de La Boétie, The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude) Hence mass submission to even the most oppressive political regimes is always a voluntary servitude, one based on popular consent. As de La Boétie explains:

“Obviously there is no need of fighting to overcome this single tyrant, for he is automatically defeated if the country refuses consent to its own enslavement: it is not necessary to deprive him of anything, but simply to give him nothing; there is no need that the country make an effort to do anything for itself provided it does nothing against itself. It is therefore the inhabitants themselves who permit, or, rather, bring about, their own subjection, since by ceasing to submit they would put an end to their servitude. A people enslaves itself, cuts its own throat, when, having a choice between being vassals and being free men, it deserts its liberties and takes on the yoke, gives consent to its own misery, or, rather, apparently welcomes it.” (Étienne de La Boétie, The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude)


016: Midweek Debrief – No More Lies

Brute force is not enough to maintain tyranny, rather a tyrannical regime will only maintain power if they can control the minds of their subjects.

Midweek Debrief – The Individual versus Tyranny: https://anchor.fm/donavon-riley/episodes/016-Midweek-Debrief—No-More-Lies-eearju

Previous podcast on Fear & Social Control: https://anchor.fm/donavon-riley/episodes/45-Academy-of-Ideas—Fear–Social-Control-edrc0j


46: Musonius Rufus – Hard, Beautiful Work

When each person strives to outdo the other in devotion, the marriage is ideal and worthy of envy, for such a union is beautiful.


“In marriage, there must be complete companionship and concern for each other on the part of both husband and wife, in health and in sickness and at all times, because they entered upon the marriage for this reason as well as to produce offspring. When such caring for one another is perfect, and the married couple provides it for one another, and each strives to outdo the other, then this is marriage as it ought to be and deserving of emulation, since it is a noble union. But when one partner looks to his own interests alone and neglects the other’s, or (by God) the other is so minded that he lives in the same house, but keeps his mind on what is outside it, and does not wish to pull together with his partner or to cooperate, then inevitably the union is destroyed, and although they live together their common interests fare badly, and either they finally get divorced from one another or they continue on in an existence that is worse than loneliness.”

Musonius Rufus

And, for those who don’t know… 

Gaius Musonius Rufus was a Roman Stoic philosopher during the reign of Nero. Rufus is considered the Roman Socrates and was the teacher of Epictetus.

015: Midweek Debrief – Pandemic Wisdom

While so many people are eager to express, and act on, their fear and anxiety at this time, what about working to strengthen ourselves both inside and out? To build our toughness and resistance as much as possible?






42: Aurelius & Aesop – The Friendship of Wolves

Donavon Riley reads Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations and Aesop’s Fables and discusses honesty and the friendship of wolves.




The rotten pretense of the man who says, ‘I prefer to be honest with you’! What are you on about, man! No need for this preface – the reality will show. It should be written on your forehead, immediately clear in the tone of your voice and the light of your eyes, just as the loved one can immediately read all in the glance of his lover. In short, the good and honest man should have the same effect as the unwashed – anyone close by as he passes detects the aura, willy-nilly, at once. Calculated honesty is a stiletto. There is nothing more degrading than the friendship of wolves: avoid that above all. The good, honest, kindly man has it in his eyes, and you cannot mistake him.

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 11.15


The wolves said to the dogs: ‘Why, when you are so like us in all respects, don’t we come to some brotherly understanding? For there is no difference between us except our ways of thinking. We live in freedom; you submit and are enslaved by man and endure his blows. You wear collars and you watch over their flocks, and when your masters eat, all they throw to you are some bones. But take our word for it, if you hand over the flocks to us we can all club together and gorge our appetites jointly.’

The dogs were sympathetic to this proposal, so the wolves, making their way inside the sheepfold, tore the dogs to pieces.

Aesop’s Fables, “The Dogs Reconciled with the Wolves,” or, “The Wolves and the Sheepdog”

012: Midweek Debrief – Self-Discipline Hacked

Donavon Riley reads Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations and discusses how failing to exercise self-discipline can help us become better at self-discipline.



Marcus Aurelius, Meditations Book 5

“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work—as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for—the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?

‘—But it’s nicer here…’

So you were born to feel ‘nice’? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?

‘—But we have to sleep sometime…’

Agreed. But nature set a limit on that—as it did on eating and drinking. And you’re over the limit. You’ve had more than enough of that. But not of working. There you’re still below your quota. You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you. People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it, they even forget to wash or eat.

Do you have less respect for your own nature than the engraver does for engraving, the dancer for dance, the miser for money or the social climber for status? When they’re really possessed by what they do, they’d rather stop eating and sleeping than give up practicing their arts.”

41: Aurelius & Aesop – Reflect on Who You Are

Donavon Riley reads and discusses Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations and Aesop’s fables. In this episode, what is the value in moderation?



Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 3.6

If you find in human life anything better than justice, truth, temperance, fortitude, and, in a word, anything better than your own mind’s self-satisfaction in the things which it enables you to do according to right reason, and in the condition that is assigned to you without your own choice—if, I say, you see anything better than this, turn to it with all your soul, and enjoy that which you have found to be the best.

But if nothing appears to be better than the deity which is planted in you, which has subjected to itself all your appetites, and carefully examines all the impressions, and, as Socrates said, has detached itself from the persuasions of sense, and has submitted itself to the gods, and cares for mankind—if you find everything else smaller and of less value than this, give place to nothing else, for if you do once diverge and incline to it, you will no longer without distraction be able to give the preference to that good thing which is your proper possession and your own.

For it is not right that anything of any other kind, such as praise from the many, or power, or enjoyment of pleasure, should come into competition with that which is rationally and politically or practically good. All these things, even though they may seem to adapt themselves to the better things in a small degree, obtain the superiority all at once, and carry us away.

But to you, I say, simply and freely choose the better, and hold to it. But that which is useful is the better. Well then, if it is useful to you as a rational being, keep to it. But if it is only useful to you like an animal, say so, and maintain your judgment without arrogance. Only take care that you make the inquiry by a sure method.

—Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 3 (tr Long)


The Dog & His Reflection

A Dog, to whom the butcher had thrown a bone, was hurrying home with his prize as fast as he could go. As he crossed a narrow footbridge, he happened to look down and saw himself reflected in the quiet water as if in a mirror. But the greedy Dog thought he saw a real Dog carrying a bone much bigger than his own.

If he had stopped to think he would have known better. But instead of thinking, he dropped his bone and sprang at the Dog in the river, only to find himself swimming for dear life to reach the shore. At last, he managed to scramble out, and as he stood sadly thinking about the good bone he had lost, he realized what a stupid Dog he had been.

It is very foolish to be greedy.

008: Midweek Debrief – I Am Not Myself

Donavon Riley reads and discusses Richard Rolle’s 14th-century poem:


The limbs that move, the eyes that see,
these are not entirely me;
Dead men and women helped to shape,
the mold that I do not escape;
The words I speak, the written line, these
are not uniquely mine.
For in my heart and in my will, old
ancestors are warring still,
Celt, Roman, Saxon and all the dead, from
whose rich blood my veins are fed,
In aspect, gesture, voices, tone, flesh of
my flesh, bone of my bone;
In fields they tilled, I plow the sod, I walk
the mountain paths they trod;
Around my daily steps arise – the good,
the bad – those I comprise. 

by Richard Rolle c 1300 – 1349

007: Midweek Debrief – Are You Trapped by Modern Society?

Donavon Riley reads and discusses, “Are You Trapped by Modern Society,” by Bjorn Andreas Bull-Hansen. Do you feel that you’re not living the life you want to live? The game is rigged and you are going to lose. But, what happens if you just leave?



35: Gilgamesh – Life, Death, and Brotherhood

Donavon Riley continues to read and discuss the Epic of Gilgamesh. This episode, Gilgamesh suffers the death of Enkidu. How has the language of brotherhood, so prevalent in ancient cultures, all but disappeared from our relationships at present? How has not contemplating our mortality contributed to the devaluing of life? What is the purpose of our lives?


Midweek Debrief 005: The Philosophy of Inanimate Objects

Donavon Riley reads and discusses an article by Marty Skovelund Jr., “The Philosophy of Inanimate Objects.” Also, thoughts on upcoming episodes, moving from self to sacrifice, and what happens when we stop chasing after what everyone else wants.




Leo Jenkins – You’re Not Entitled to Your Own Opinion

Donavon Riley reads and discusses Leo Jenkin’s article, “You’re Not Entitled to Your Own Opinion.” Is everyone entitled to their own opinions, regardless of the time and energy they’ve invested (or not) in forming their opinions? How does a sense of entitlement alter our opinions, and our self-identity?



Sebastian Junger – Sacrifice or Selfishness?

Donavon Riley finishes reading and discussing Sebastian Junger’s book, Tribe. This episode, what happens to people in a society that doesn’t offer them the chance to act selflessly? How does a lack of connectedness contribute to peoples’ selfish behaviors?



001 – Midweek Debrief – Forgiveness Is Strength

Donavon Riley read and discusses a meditation from osulifestyle. What happens when we see resentment and hatred as a virus? Why do we not see forgiveness as real strength? What happens when we understand that forgiveness is a weapon that liberates us from resentment and hatred?