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It’s been said a couple of places, such as Enter of the Dragon and Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera. Probably been said a lot more places than that, actually. It is, in many ways a universal truth, perhaps the sole universal truth, as much as many people would not like it to be so.

Strength is the Virtue from which all other virtues flow.

It is also the first of the Nine Noble Virtues that I am going to be looking at in this series. Because, as the saying goes, all other virtues flow from Strength. Without Strength to defend and enforce them, all other virtues are nothing but ideas without power behind them. You can believe in honor, courage, kinship, etc, but without the Strength, the Power to uphold and enforce those virtues, they amount to nothing.

So what is Strength?

Essentially, Strength is Power. It is Might. It is not just found in the muscles, but in the mind, in the will, in the soul, and in faith. It is one’s personal power and ability, through which one enforces their views, protects them, upholds them, and makes them into being. It comes from many places, and takes many forms, but at its core to have Strength is to have Power.

And Power, though most would like to deny it, is everything in this world. Nothing functions without power. Nothing can be done without power. Without the power to defend ourselves, our nations fall, the virtues of those nations fall, and their people fall. People like to argue that Might doesn’t make Right, that there is a Universal Morality that lies beyond what can be made by Strength, but ultimately this is a false. Without Might, without Strength, one cannot enforce one’s Right.

And then the one with the Might will decide what is Right, even if you think it to be Wrong.

It is Strength that builds civilizations. It is strength that allows the development of culture, art, science, etc. Because it is Strength that both defends us from those that would do us harm, and allows us to legislate the morality we will.

People will risk life and limb to gain that Strength, that Power. It is only through embracing this reality and embracing Strength that we can protect, and enforce, our virtues.

My ancestors new well the Value of Strength. The God we most praised was Thor, the God of Thunder, who was the strongest of all the gods, and responsible for fighting the Jotun, and protecting both Asgard and Midgard. For the Norse, indeed for pretty much all the Germanic Tribes, it was Strength and Cunning that were the skills most prized, and both are forms of power greatly needed in life. Our myths and legends filled with the tails of men and women of Strength and power who defended their kin, sought glory, and reveled in their power.

To truly obtain and use one’s strength, one must embrace life fully. One must affirm one’s life with that strength, and in using that strength they affirm life most fully. For the weak seek to deny life, and retreat from it. Because life is a battle like no other, and strength is one’s weapon in that battle. The Strong seek battle, and battle seeks the Strong!

This is why Strength is the First Virtue.

Be Strong!