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The Lion Seeker
"Here is the South African novel I've been waiting for." - Lynn Freed
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"The only thing that really counts in this world is the fist." Is this philosophy still applied today?

Created: 08/24/14

Replies: 12

Posted Aug. 24, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1318

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"The only thing that really counts in this world is the fist." Is this philosophy still applied today?

Through specific events, such as Isaac's confrontation with Magnus Oberholzer and the rise of powers before the war, the author emphasizes the need people and countries feel for superiority: "The only thing that really counts in this world is the fist." How does this philosophy influence Isaac and his decisions? Is this philosophy still applied today?


Posted Sep. 01, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 184

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RE: "The only thing that really counts in this world is the fist." Is this philosophy still applied today?

I'd like to think, no. But using a fist isn't that much different than going to war, just on a different scale. And we certainly haven't learned that lesson.


Posted Sep. 02, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melindaw

Join Date: 04/15/14

Posts: 5

RE: "The only thing that really counts in this world is the fist." Is this philosophy still applied today?

I think Liberals, and certain countries (Tibet) and religions, do not live by this philosophy. However, it is still dominant in Conservative America, and certain other countries of the world. Personally, I think it is a defeatist philosophy, as it does not allow for the believer(s) to have a peaceful existence, but to be hypervigilent, oversensitive, damaged, and angry. I believe that Isaac, at some point, let go of this philosophy, when his father (who never lived by this philosophy) and he finally achieve a truce and peace, they live a much more enriching and relaxing life together. It's too bad that the protoganist did not learn to let this philosophy go, earlier in her life, and in the rearing of her son Isaac, as it caused both of them much turmoil. However, the protoganist had an extremely difficult life and this belief may have been the only one that kept her going, kept her living, even if it was a tortured existence.


Posted Sep. 02, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elise

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 30

RE: "The only thing that really counts in this world is the fist." Is this philosophy still applied today?

I think there has been some change in that view with child rearing. Using physical means of punishment for children at home and at school was accepted and considered the norm until the last 30 years or so. On a larger scale, there are still many countries that rule with fear (the fist). In today's society, we still have people that use violence as a means to get what they want.


Posted Sep. 02, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 184

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RE: "The only thing that really counts in this world is the fist." Is this philosophy still applied today?

I was thinking more about this today. It is so incredibly sad that there are so many children who use guns, ie. fists as an answer to real or imagined problems, from Columbine to Sandy Hook. It seems that in some ways that rule by the fist philosophy has escalated in very scary ways. Its difficult right now to ignore the fists that are being used on young black men whether by each other or outsiders


Posted Sep. 03, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MarieA

Join Date: 10/12/11

Posts: 149

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RE: "The only thing that really counts in this world is the fist." Is this philosophy still applied today?

I guess the question is what is "the fist?" Does it mean hand to hand combat to the mortal end or does it mean to show an antagonist that the individual being threatened has a backbone? Timidity can lead to serious aggression and defeat. Sometimes showing courage and strength can give an aggressor pause. Weakness, though, often leads to defeat.


Posted Sep. 03, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
RebeccaF

Join Date: 08/24/14

Posts: 12

RE: "The only thing that really counts in this world is the fist." Is this philosophy still applied today?

Maybe this was true of South Africa up through the 1980s/90s, but I think things are slowly changing, thanks to people like Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.


Posted Sep. 03, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beac

Join Date: 08/23/11

Posts: 70

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RE: "The only thing that really counts in this world is the fist." Is this philosophy still applied today?

I definitely don't think that the only thing that counts is a fist. I believe that in most cases, when dealing with other rational beings, friendliness can get you much further than meanness and can create much more happiness. However, this does not mean that you should not be prepared to defend yourself or someone you love from those who do not share your philosophy. It is too bad, but if you can't defend yourself you may be defeated by someone more aggressive. Not everyone thinks like you do.


Posted Sep. 07, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mal

Join Date: 09/09/13

Posts: 155

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RE: "The only thing that really counts in this world is the fist." Is this philosophy still applied today?

The question I have - what's the climate currently as opposed to the time portrayed in the book. I'm a lover not a fighter. I'd like to believe the fist is the last resort when all other options have been exercised.


Posted Sep. 10, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lea Ann

Join Date: 04/20/11

Posts: 99

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RE: "The only thing that really counts in this world is the fist." Is this philosophy still applied today?

This may not be 100% true when it comes to dealing with other individuals, but current events would lead us to the conclusion that nations still believe it to be true. We have too many examples of violence between nations and within nations to deny the sad reality of people turning to violence to "get their way." Unfortunately, many individuals also ascribe to this belief, much as we'd like to think otherwise. Violence against women, minorities, the weak still is rampant; more so in some places than in others. We must teach our children through example and however else the lessons can be taught that violence toward others leads to a temporary, sullied sense of superiority.


Posted Sep. 10, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
N*Starr

Join Date: 03/13/14

Posts: 35

RE: "The only thing that really counts in this world is the fist." Is this philosophy still applied today?

Internal to this book, that statement is false. There are strong themes of loyalty, selflessness, the glory found in losing yourself in work- none of those have to do with the "fist". In fact, even with Magnus what really mattered was that in the end he 'outsmarted' Isaac and destroyed (arguably) one of the most important things in Isaac's life.


Posted Sep. 10, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joycew

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 75

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RE: "The only thing that really counts in this world is the fist." Is this philosophy still applied today?

I think there will always be people who believe this. Some people are incapable of relating their feelings with words and use their fists. There are an amazing amount of "rednecks" in the U.S. and I am sure each tribe has some who want to fight to prove they are macho. Joycew


Posted Sep. 30, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
roberts

Join Date: 08/20/13

Posts: 31

RE: "The only thing that really counts in this world is the fist." Is this philosophy still applied today?

The reference to the "fist" in the question refers to physical domination. I do not find that Isaac lived by the fist. Gitelle's direction to Isaac to be a "Clever", and Avrom's advice to be a lion, both of which Isaac took to heart, spoke to shrewdness, cunning, perseverance, intelligence and mental toughness as the necessary qualities to achieve one's goals -- qualities that could, in fact, overcome the fist. Isaac realized success using his mind, not through physical prowess.

There are plenty of examples in the world described in the book of forces that relied on the fist to oppress and subjugate -- Magnus and the Greyshirts and Nazi Germany for example. Similarly, in today's global arena we find Putin's Russia and ISIS, to name just two contemporary violent bullies. Sadly, there will always be those interests, both at the individual and macro level, that will seek to impose their will through physical force.


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