An Exercise in Control

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Story by Connor Jasche, Features Editor

I heard a quote recently that stood out to me, and it has been rattling around in my brain for a few days.

Now, I’m not one for those “inspirational quotes” over some sappy background calling itself motivation, but as a writer, I admit words have a profound effect if used wisely.

So now every week instead of racking my brain for something to rant about, something mostly random, these columns will be centered around some quote I thought was profound. Or funny.

Basically, anything I feel like doing because I’m the boss between these lines.

The quote goes, “No man is free who cannot control himself.”

It was originally from the ancient Greek philosopher, Pythagoras. I’m not going to tell you what it means, because of the clichéd “it will mean something different to everyone” deal. It’s pretty simple and if you can’t figure it out yourself, you probably have bigger problems.

Really what this quote did was make me aware of how I see other people.

I wrestled through high school. That meant heavy practices, early mornings, late nights and weight cutting.  Weight cutting is the slowing of nutritional intake (including food or water) in order to make it to a specified weight. Needless to say, it was not fun.

But I learned a lot about myself and the discipline it takes to become fully in control of myself and my surroundings. While it may not have been the healthiest of routines, for those moments I was cutting weight, I was in full control  – not even the instinctive drive to eat could hold me down.

Nowadays, though, not many people are disciplined. Sports that shine are the ones with the flash. A slam dunk is fun to watch. A Hail Mary is a cool play no matter who you are. But those things don’t matter; instead, the values learned while teaching yourself to do those things are important, however washed out those lessons become.

Control really is the only shot we have of maintaining our own freedom. Pythagoras is teaching us lessons even thousands of years later.

For the sake of moving away from being overly mushy, let’s just take a look at how it relates to your everyday college students.

We all know someone with their addictions. Whether it be Netflix or drugs, an addiction will take control from a person.

While I’m not here to tell you to let go of all of your vices for some sappy existential reason, it’s best to keep the idea in mind. College is the first place many people are allowed any semblance of freedom. Don’t give that up because you can’t maintain self-discipline.

Having the freedom to choose is a double-edged sword. Choose something addictive, and lose the freedom to choose