Beyond A Pragmatic Existence

Pragmatism, along with its attributes necessity, efficiency, frugality, and prudence, is a useful tool, especially with regards to necessity, but it is not an end in itself.

The goal of pragmatism is not merely to be more pragmatic.

It is a starting point.

It helps us to survive and, if used wisely, to thrive.

Pragmatism’s purpose is to give us space, to buy us time, and to increase the distance between ourselves and necessity.

It helps us to reach a place where, beyond the struggle for food, clothing, shelter, and security, we can actually begin enjoying our lives, our relationships, and our experiences.

Once our basic and immediate needs are met, once we have some financial, emotional, and relational security, our focus should shift away from pure necessity for necessity’s sake and toward that which brings us joy, contentment, and satisfaction.

There is more to life than that which necessity, efficiency, frugality, and prudence will give us.

Pragmatism lays the foundation, but a life built on pragmatism alone is existing more than it is truly living.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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