What’s the point of sweating to compose a good argument when the reader doesn’t exist who will rebut it instead of nosing around to figure out who penned it and going after them instead?
This is a question worth asking but the answer is even more important. When faced with an audience addicted to ad hominem and whatboutery, you rage against them, you surrender and lay down your weapons, you keep hammering your arguments out in the hope that one day you will be understood or you simply walk away, never to lift your finger over a keyboard again – at least not to compose anything that will eventually end up as some mouth-breather’s toilet paper.
Rage, it is commonly acknowledged, and the desire to exert control over things that cannot be controlled that underlies such passion is not tenable. Surrender and submission are equally misguided, not to mention privileged, positions. So what is left is your commitment to your intellect and your industry and the implication is that you must keep going on and on.
I think it’s hard to define some things that don’t simply embody a fixed definition as much as encompass a set of circumstances that together carry a certain quality. Fortitude is one such, and I don’t know what fortitude itself is considering what it represents can vary drastically depending on the circumstances.
But here, now, fortitude would seem to be this radioactive mix of persistence, a willingness to skirt the edge of insanity (according to Einstein’s definition), the constant belief that one is right at the risk of being wrong every now and then, and of course the mental clarity and determination to enter this fortress of conviction at the right moments and leave at others without inadvertently leaving parts of yourself behind on either side.
If only it were a drug.