[The following excerpt is taken from a martial arts pamphlet by the late Robert Caputo (1950-1985).
He founded a style of martial arts called 'Tang Soo Tao'. He was killed in a car accident at age 35.]
...Man's most gross animal instinct, the will to survive. All animals, man included, are born with physical defense mechanisms to protect themselves. The senses keep animals aware of apparent dangers, and the hands, feet, teeth, limbs, etc., enable him to protect himself. Although man is regarded as the most superior animal on our planet, he has actually become inferior to most of the lower animals. Abnormal living conditions have dulled most of his natural instincts. Electricity, with its air conditioning, refrigeration, stoves and hot water heaters, etc., have dulled man's ability to cope with natural climatic conditions, food and natural situations.
The advent of the automobile has stripped man of vital strength and use of his legs. Modern chairs have weakened his back, automatic appliances have lessened the use of his upper limbs and the all pervasive television has stripped most of mankind of his desire to do almost anything physical for himself at all, even to the point of having to think. Modern social culture has encouraged the use of tobacco to destroy our breathing, alcohol to destroy our kidneys and liver and dull our brain, and exotic foods which throw man's life cycle entirely out of tune with natural seasonal changes of food and weather. Media, competition and social pressure create excessive stimulation to man's senses and promote unnatural desires. Consequently, as a result of our seemingly advanced technology and culture, man has all but lost one of his most important attributes: the ability to be natural.
We find in modern man infinite varieties of disease and ailments entirely unrelated to any other of the animal kingdoms. These problems range from backache, migraines, and obesity, to heart conditions, blood disorders, neurosis, and sexual malfunctions. That diseases of this nature are only found in modernized man, is proof that man has indeed lost something. Even the so called primitive man of uncivilized countries does not suffer the types of problems outlined here. Obviously, the more removed from nature we become, the more problems we create for ourselves.
When man relies on inventions or external tools for his sustenance, he disregards one very important point. It is impossible to use a tool or instrument to solve basic problems of self support. Any other utensil alien from the natural human ability has an unknown quality which cannot be relied upon. The human being is a complete and separate entity in himself. A tool or device is not. The only usefulness of a tool or device is when it is behind the touch of a human being. Without the human being, any instrument is completely useless. It can be good or bad, depending on who is using it. Though certain tools and instruments are convenient to use they are only temporarily useful at a given time or place and should not be relied upon as an ultimate means of sustenance. Because the individual is a complete entity in himself, the basic nature of body and mind is of utmost importance to his survival. This principal exists on the mundane as well as esoteric planes. It is a primary truth which applies to all living beings regardless of age, culture, or geographical location. It is our only duty to follow the supreme laws of nature and to maintain and develop the natural balance of body and mind.
Because our relative world does not promote natural harmony these ideas are sometimes difficult to understand. A man who is one with his environment is immune to life and death. Good or bad, and enemies and friends are one and the same. This total understanding is the basis for eternal life... Universal nature shows us love and protection to all things. This is not just for people, but for all creation-- from the smallest leaf, to the snail at the bottom of the ocean. The flowers, the forest, the animals and man, receive the same blessing of sun, moon, and rain. Nature distributes her fruits equally to all things. By seeing this we can become more unified with the world around us. Negative people will always point out the suffering they see. They object to the idea of harmony and ask how suffering can be an expression of nature's harmony and love. Suffering exists, but its existence depends entirely on the way we accept it. The same sun that gives light also creates shade. Where there is happiness, there is sadness. The sadness itself is a part of nature's harmony. If sadness did not exist, there would be no cause for happiness. If death did not exist, what reason would there be to live?
No man can be happy if he lives against nature's way, and even if man can temporarily excel in an evil act, the time will always come when he will have to pay for his ill deeds. We must always strive to perfect ourselves by learning the truths of nature and living in accordance with them.
Life is suffering... there is a reason for suffering... there is an end to suffering... there is a correct path leading to the end of suffering...