top of page

How and Why Ruthlessness is a Virtue

Updated: Feb 9

A young man looking good.

Introduction: A Poem Called "Two-Leg Comeback"

I again became,

A ruthless walker.

And I don't care, I don't care,

I don't care-care-care,

That I needed a cane,

This recent year.

I will conquer each kilometer,

Without fear!

My feet were hurting,

And only I'm the one knowing.

But I don't care, I don't care,

I don't care-care-care,

That I'm suffering,

For I can be unforgiving,

To anyone including myself!

My mind needs to be strong,

To endure what's coming along.

So I don't care, I don't care,

I don't care-care-care,

Hence why I dare,

To endure this nightmare,

Of walking hours on end!

And should I have the power,

To walk a city by its entirety,

I don't care, I don't care,

I don't care-care-care,

For I will do so,

For my emotions,

Are external from Tomasio!

So should you whine,

About my harsh criticism,

I'm sorry, I'm sorry,

I'm sorry-rry-rry,

But it is no matter,

I am easily a ruthless caster,

Of brutal words, including on myself.

I'm too logical,

To over-regard,

So I don't care, I don't care,

I don't-care-care-care,

I handled enough,

My former emotions,

Handle your own yourself,

It's not my behalf.

I'm not in this world,

To have fun and games.

I need to be strong,

That's done,

By pain.

Ruthlessness As a Virtue

Ruthlessness can be described as a lack of compassion or pity towards something or someone. Therefore, in order for ruthlessness to be considered a virtue, we need to explain why these values aren't always virtues, and why they can also be a liability, AKA, something that defies virtue.

First of all, there is a difference between ruthlessness and cruelty that is needed to be made, as they're not the same. Cruelty is focused on the intentional infliction of pain and suffering. That is while ruthlessness is about the absence of compassion and pity. While both lack compassion, cruelty is done specifically by the desire to gain pleasure off the suffering of others. Ruthlessness, on the other hand, does not have to depend on pleasure at all, and not even by the desire itself to cause suffering or be the one suffering. Ruthlessness is, in other words, mercilessness. And the mercilessness isn't always there for the fun of it. There may be other goals in hand that may require a merciless approach.

That is because logic, in essence, is conditional. And someone who is ruthless on the pursuit of their goals, does whatever it takes for the goal to be attained. When our own, positive traits become an obstacle in our path towards said goal, these traits become a liability. And since a liability cannot be virtuous, not all virtues are virtues at all times.

We are often told that we should be more forgiving towards ourselves. That we should accept who we are because no one is perfect. However, what this mentality fails to realize is our goals might require us to be more unforgiving towards ourselves and others, or else we might likelier to fail. And since we might fail due to certain traits that we have, these traits become problematic. Therefore, to encourage traits that may be problematic for the attainment of our sincerest goals, is counter-productive.

As such, our goals may often require us to change ourselves, in whatever way possible, in order to accomplish our ambitions. While there are facets in our mentality that cannot be changed, like autism, there are traits within our personality that can be altered, at least to a degree. It is unrealistic to expect the world to be accessible to all our differences, as well as expecting our goals to be ensured in their accomplishment. Therefore, what we can change at best is ourselves, and even then, partially.

As you can see, pleasure, as expressed in cruelty, is irrelevant in the matter of success. We should therefore be ruthless because the uncompromising human spirit is one that is far likelier to reach success than someone who is too forgiving and compassionate towards themselves.

Being harsh, while not exactly nice-feeling, may be critical for better understanding what it may take to pursue our goals more effectively. And our joy from all of this, if anything, matters only if we lack the discipline to act independently of it. And even then, ruthlessness allows us to pursue our activities without the need of joy to be present or sought.

Personal Case Study (As Shown in the Poem)

Aside from my Reaping Fatigue Era, which lasted 5 years, I've been going on extremely long walks since 2012. My point of making these hours-long walks is to make my spirit tougher despite the hardships included in long, solitary walks. I'd rarely, if at all, take buses, and won't even rest often during these difficult exercises. Although I sometimes went with others on these walks, doing so was not very effective as they didn't have the time and energies that I had and have.

I intentionally lead a modest lifestyle in order to focus on my work as a writer and philosopher. Writing articles, as well as managing my website, can be a very solitary work. And as I learned by experience, solitude often requires us to be mentally strong in order to endure the hardships that may be included in being alone. That includes symptoms such as sadness, emptiness, skin deprivation, post-traumatic flashbacks, anxieties and so on. Being able to endure solitude better than otherwise, helps me minimize these problems and focus more on work.

And to endure solitude better I need a stronger spirit to develop and maintain. What I mean by "spirit", is my resolve to not "escape" to the company of other people when I can resume working on Philosocom. This contemporary age is a very distracting one, and the increasing distraction of the external world, unnecessarily hurts the competency of our work, by making us mentally-feeble and by shortening our attention span.

To combat my default human weakness, I "torture" myself by going on to extremely long walks in order to get used to get things done independently of pleasure and comfort. When I am outside on a walk I have only 2 main objectives: Reach my destination, and return from it. There are no compromises here. Taking any ride would compromise the ruthless efficiency of this challenge.


Whenever we don't take compromises, we normalize ourselves to get things done without depending on them. This stands in the way of ourselves being the better versions of ourselves in whatever role we have, because should I not take a bus back home, I will be a better walker, for instance.

And the key to reaching our goals more effectively is to be better at whatever we're doing. Giving ourselves mercy, and therefore compromising our development, will only hinder us from reaching our goals, by being less good than we otherwise would've been.

Compassion, or ruth, wouldn't have been as necessary to many of us if we had a higher pain tolerance. One of the key points of compassion is to reduce our and others' suffering by sharing their pain and understanding them using empathy. However, the need for pain reduction, while helpful, can have its necessity altered by being tougher and, indeed, more ruthless and unforgiving. And toughness is evident by enduring pain, of any kind, without the frequent call for its reduction.

And when our pain tolerance is greater than otherwise, we can focus more on the tasks at hand with less suffering, caused by said pain.

Because of all these reasons, ruthlessness can indeed be seen as a virtue, often other virtues such as mercy. Mercy, for that matter, can normalize victimhood, and a victim's mentality is a liability. Would we consider victimhood a virtue just because it was enabled and accepted through a virtuous value like mercy/pity?

Virtues therefore are never universal if there are cases when they lead to counter-productive results. By the same token, things that we consider darker than to otherwise, can be redeemed as helpful, practical values. It really all depends on what we're trying to make.

84 views0 comments

Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

צילום מסך 2023-11-02 202752.png
bottom of page