Knights of Infinite Resignation: Preservers of Faith
Updated: Oct 21, 2021
Art is alluring in a near infinite number of ways. Speaking only for myself, I find imagery most enticing when it represents/addresses the unstable nature humans are made privy to as a result of being. This new post on Allegedly Blog welcomes you with an image depicting a tug-of-war between the mind and heart. It would seem as though conflict between the mind and heart spurs distress as man attempts to unite passion and sense. This division in oneself is a topic discussed by a wide range of philosophers, across a wide range of history; that aside, I do have my first introduction to this concept. It began with European Philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard. His book, Fear and Trembling went into great detail about what it means to be a knight of infinite resignation. Now, I could just pen quote after quote demonstrating what this term means, but that would produce arguably the most uninspiring piece thus far. Instead, I’ve decided to pull from a line of fictional characters who I believe to be apt representations of Kierkegaard's knight of infinite resignation.
Shanks: “Now that you’ve drawn your pistol, put your life on the line”
Bandit #1/1,234,567,890: “Huh, what’re yeee on about?”
Shanks: “I’m saying those aren’t for threatening people.”
—Death of Bandit #1/1,234,567,890—
Betting your life on it:
As far as I can tell, the only perquisite for walking the ascended path of infinite resignation is faith. The land of promise is the destination one reaches upon finishing their personal legend. Thus, an ascension in one’s path begins the moment they march forward with purpose, lest you become yet another man stuck in a mirage. In an extreme case, you can find yourself with a bullet in your head, and we have the Oscar-level acting of Bandit #1 to thank for that. Additionally, I ask you to watch the gif again, but this time look at what is occurring in the background. You should spot a boy beneath the boot of a grown man. Why would any of this be relevant? Well, you’re simply spotting the difference between a person with purpose, and one without. A person with heart, and one without. A person with sense, and one without. Shanks and his crew came to deliver swift punishment to those who harmed their friend, where as the mountain bandits stand idly on by as they wait…as they wait? Wait for what!? To this day, I cannot understand the mountain bandit’s motivation—but I feel as though I know why I cannot understand thanks to Kierkegaard. A person who has both their mind, and heart aligned is fiercely impatient. After all, their entire life, it lives and dies with this quest; and with this in mind, nothing should pacify your feet from marching forward.
Starting The Journey:
Ash Ketchum?! Yes, Ash Ketchum. What many of you do not know, is that he is actually wearing a mithril chainmail ordered off RuneScape beneath that black t-shirt from H&M. What a courageous ten-year-old. If Kierkegaard were alive to speak to Ash, I like to imagine it would be a query into Ash’s unabashed faith. This ten-year-old got up, told his mom he’s going out to become the Pokémon champion, and that he would catch em’ all.
Faith is something that can’t be faked. There are those who leap, and those who don’t. In the fanatical, a man of faith is symbolized by their unwavering passion and will. In Kierkegaard’s work, faith is interpreted as the nucleus of passion. Faith in him becoming the Pokémon Champion is what drove Ash out those doors, and into the unknown. Let me reiterate this before I have a reddit thread about me ten years from now: what drove Ash out those doors and into the wild was not Christian, nor Judaic, nor Islamic theology; rather, it was something deeply internal manifesting itself externally.
Interestingly enough, the two animated characters which influenced me those most as a child were Monkey D. Luffy, and Ash Ketchum. Both originate from Japan, have a journey spanning over twenty years, but only one of them has impacted their world within all that time; contrary to what's expected, I still chose the one who has failed to impact their world as my champion of faith. Why? Well, I like to think we've all heard the story regarding the man/woman who conquered the unknown, met their existential obligations, and found a peaceful lake to enjoy for a bit prior to their eternal rest. What we don't see often is a man of focus, commitment, and sheer will whose spent 20 years catching like 30/898 Pokémon. Like, WHAT!?! Who is writing this show? Why does this kid still have faith in himself?!?! No one knows, and that's okay. As long as we believe in ourselves, you can expect to live a life more fulfilling than one without such redeemable qualities.
Knights of a Guild, Living Lives Fulfilled:
Finally, I can touch up on two figures who exude the noble qualities necessary to be considered knights of infinite resignation: Dracule Mihawk, and Roronoa Zoro. Previous entries like that of Shanks, Luffy, and Ash, I would argue, are of a similar vein to these two individuals—but there's a catch—Mihawk and Zoro are two individuals whose worth is measured by the other, not themselves. Mihawk, the worlds greatest swordsman: a man who endlessly travels the globe in search of a worthy opponent. Zoro, a no name swordsman: a man whose only goal in life is to become the worlds greatest swordsman.
These two warriors are not simply the greatest fictional representations imaginable because they wield swords. No, it's far deeper than that. Take a moment to appreciate that Mihawk's entire outfit is inspired by that of a Catholic Spanish Inquisitor. Everything from his sword's hilt, to the pocket-knife cross worn as a necklace. These details are found within Zoro as well through Buddhism; but, they are simply paralleled by Zoro's way of life and fighting style, not so much his outfit. Two men, two faiths, following one path: divine contest. Their outfits may differ, their age may differ, their style may differ, and their skill level may differ, but they each have the same destination: to cross blades at the height of their power.
I had a hard time containing my excitement as a seven-year-old watching these two meet for the first time, all while these little subtleties flew right over my head. However, It's 2021 now, and I couldn't be happier than I am right now using this precious moment in my childhood as a tool to better apprehend a philosophical concept. Zoro being utterly outmatched at the time, only to earn the respect of Mihawk right before the kill blow was to be delivered. Real recognizes real as they say, and Mihawk isn't passing up an opportunity to get his long-awaited challenge...even if it ends up taking twenty years.
Dreams never die, only you do.
Thanks for reading — Walker