Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | February 7, 2012

The Lonely Battle of the Self

There is no fate so terrible that it cannot be overcome – whether by a literal victory gained through action and in time, or the deeper victory of spirit in the lonely battle of the self. 

Robert Cochrane


  1. Maybe if he had not viewed life as a “battle” of the self, he would not have become so despairing and self-condemning as to kill himself.

    • A good point Chas! 🙂

    • Respectfully, I’m not sure that I agree with this statement. Some battles are given to us. Some battles are a consequence of choices previously made.

      As well, the ‘battle of the self’ does not create despair. From what I understand, this is backwards. Despair is a battle of the self.

      Unfortunately there are some that lose this battle.

  2. Thought provoking…Thanks Phillip.

  3. I’m afraid I find it difficult to comment politely as I find Chas Clifton’s comment fatuous and smug and extraordinarily unaware of the nature of the spiritual journey. The most that can be said is that Cochrane’s statement is a bit dramatic and romantic in its terminology. One might ask, if one considers Buddhist ideas, whether there is a self to battle, but then that becomes the arena of the battle.

    We engage in the spiriitual journey because we seek wholeness or transcendence or whatever. To undertake that journey means we have to see through the deceptions of the Lapwing, overcome the Dog and find the Roebuck in the Thicket. Each of those is a battle of sorts and is with oneself, if you like with the Shadow (don’t like Jungian terminology, but it seems appropriate at present). Until one has battled the Shadow one can not come to realise that it is our own and we must accept it and carry it with us wherever we go.

    • Thanks Stuart – and that is partly why Jinas (enlightened ones in Jainism) translates as ‘Conquerors’ – ie victors in this battle.

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