Tag Archives: Burn in Hell

On Mental Independence

To be human is to be individual. Although all humans share a common humanity (that’s why they’re called “humans“), and this fact is used to consider individual human beings as part of a collective, the truth of the matter is that each human is an individual at the core of his or her being.

To be an “individual”, one must have a mind, which creates thoughts, desires, and plans and takes action. Among these desires is a sense of belonging among fellow humans. Humans have an intrinsic social need: a need to be accepted on some level. We are created in such a way as to need communication, both in speaking and in listening. The thoughts, desires, plans, and actions among humans differ. This is another characteristic of humanity, and a byproduct of the fact that humanity is composed of “individual” humans. If humans were not individual in nature, but were rather homogeneous, such as atoms sharing the exact same molecules and molecular structures, then concepts such as the ones mentioned above would be mute.

But, as it stands, humans are individual in nature; and individual with a desire for sociability and beloningness.

With the individual nature of the thoughts, desires, plans, and actions of humans, comes many influences. Although each person has his or her own will, that does not mean that our wills are not influenced by external forces (forces outside of our bodies). Other humans influence through their words, actions, etc. We react to each other. And we are reacted to when we react.

But despite all of this complicated interplay among humans, there is still a desire to be individual. To be independent. To be one’s own person. And this is not to say that in order for one to be an individual, one must not be influenced by outside forces. For this would be impossible. In that case, babies must not learn, because almost all of the knowledge that they obtain comes from outside forces.

And, in fact, it is impossible to not be independent. This is another aspect of our humanity: being individual in nature, we are inherently independent.

So what is all of this about?

To preface this, I would say that given all of the concepts and ideas that very intelligent people have communicated throughout mankind’s history, I have no expectations that my own ideas will have any influence that I would deem significant. Sure, if one person is influenced in a manner that we both deem positive, it could be argued that that would be “significant”, because the well-being of each and every person on the planet is important.

But you get my point.

However, for whatever reason, I have a natural desire to think and express my thoughts.

My thoughts, as are everyone else’s, are independent.

And one of my desires is to write my thoughts down.

I have no explanations as to why my thoughts may be of superior objective quality to anyone else’s thoughts, so I’m not going to attempt to argue that here.

And if you were to ask me how I could characterize my thoughts generally, I could only come up with vague descriptions such as “unique” (which isn’t very unique, by the way).

However, I have them, and I think them. And they exist.

Next, I have a natural desire to express those thoughts. I have a feeling that my thoughts have enough quality to be shared to others (and some agree with me and some disagree with me). And so, I share them. And I share them and I share them and I share them, in the hopes that someone can receive them and say “Hmm…he’s got a good point. I never thought of it that way.” Or “You know, I’ve always thought the same thing, but he elaborated upon my original thought in an effective way.”

Don’t misunderstand me here: I’m not simply looking for praise for praise’s sake. If you will recall what I stated earlier, I have thoughts which I think are worth sharing, and a desire to share them. It’s not so people can tell me how smart I am. It’s more than that. It’s just who I am. It’s just me. It is me to think, think that my thoughts are of fairly intelligent quality, and then attempt to share those thoughts with others in the hope that people can make sense of them and, even perhaps, learn something.

And, once again, this isn’t to try to “prove” to people how smart I am.

It’s just naturally who I am.

Once again, you may be asking yourself:

What is his fucking point?

I’ll try to begin explaining that to you now.

I have always struggled with being mentally independent. At least in some ways. There are some ideas that I would say I have “independently” (meaning void of any anxiety-peer pressure driven acceptance), and some that I do not. I have no way of describing any defining criteria between the two, because I’m not sure if there is any, besides just a recognition that one is one and the other is the other.

But, at least for me, it is extremely difficult to be mentally independent in a way that I would consider to be “independent”. I have always attributed this difficulty to two things: a desire to understand objective truth, and assuming that people are well-intentioned.

Let me explain what I mean a little bit further. I’ve always loved learning. I love knowing truths. I think many people share those same loves. So, I’ve always tried to absorb knowledge, from whatever I could. To be mundane, this would include anyone speaking to me (as a child: keep this in mind); basically, any form of information that I absorbed through multiple forms of media (books, magazines, etc.). And, I always assumed that people were telling the truth. Or, at least trying to. But I encountered a couple of problems along the way, which I couldn’t begin to comprehend until I got older.

The first problem that I encountered was that some people are just fucking stupid. I kind of knew this when I was younger, but I almost felt bad for knowing this truth (sympathy for them because they were stupid), so I tried to ignore this truth so that I didn’t feel like a bad person. But the truth is the truth. Acknowledging that a stupid person is stupid is simply that: an acknowledgement that a stupid person is stupid. That in and of itself is not necessarily a value judgment upon said person. It is simply an undeniable fact. This was very hard for me to accept when I was younger.

I always wanted everyone to be the best at everything, but people are just different, and differ in ability, desires, etc. I felt bad when I felt like I had an advantage in, say, intelligence, as opposed to someone else. Just a general sadness. It wasn’t fair that they were born less intelligent than I was. And I didn’t think it was fair because I knew of the advantages one would have when one is intelligent, and neither of us really had any control in our respective intelligences. We were created that way through genetics and our environment, and didn’t have much (if any) say so in the matter. That was always soul-crushing to me.

Likewise, I felt bad for people who were physically disabled. I could go on and on and on about the things that I felt sorry for.

And although I still feel that sympathy in many different respects (nowadays, it more manifests itself towards criminals), I, through what I can only attribute to age, experience, and various lessons people have tried to teach me along the way, have learned to accept (at least, more so than I used to) the differences in advantageous and disadvantageous traits and life experiences from one human being to another.

But one thing that I’m not content with my grasp on is my own personal mental, ideological independence.

I realize that, at the time of this writing, it is only 5 days until my 24th birthday (it, apparently, took me over a year to finish this). And I realize that’s a pretty young age to expect “complete mental independence” (for lack of a better phrase due to laziness). But still, one area of my life that I would like to develop is mental independence. All humans, as they age from children, to adolescence, to adulthood, wish to be mentally independent. Once again, it’s part of our nature. But I think I have a way of expressing this more effectively than most (although there are surely writers who could communicate this more effectively than I).

I realize this is a very humorous thing to say, but the thing that scares me the most about independence is the responsibility. I just don’t fucking trust myself. I know how I am. I remember my history. I remember my mistakes, and how devastating they were for me. The more I tried to control a situation, the more shitty it became. Once I “shirked responsibility”, the shit was still there. But it was more manageable. I could just ignore it until it went away. The idea of being in control never appealed to me. There were several things outside of my control (such as the relationship between my parents), and the more I tried to control something, the more shitty I felt when things didn’t go my way. So, I just accepted the shittiness. And that was really hard to do. There is nothing more devastating than feeling like you have done a good job, only to find out that you hadn’t. I feel like this was the case for me in school a lot. I was a smart student, and I wouldn’t say that this disappointment was the majority of the time, but when it happened, it seemed to cripple me. For instance, reading the wrong chapter for homework. That type of failure was always crippling to me. Why? Why couldn’t I just say “Woops”, and move on? I think a part of it had to do with always being told how smart I was by teachers, and hearing my mom talk to other people about me. I just set my own personal standards too high (especially for my age). I couldn’t tolerate mistakes. And it all ate me alive.

The carefree attitude saved me, although it also caused a lot of problems. Instead of feeling like shit for not getting the grade I wanted, or for making a mistake, I just stopped caring. I stopped caring about my grades. Luckily, I didn’t flunk everything. But straight As went to Bs and Cs really quickly. And I was content with that. I didn’t care about school anymore. The subjects were boring, and I already knew what it was like to “Ace” everything. Why did I need to continue doing that? I didn’t know. And, so, I stopped trying as much.

But even when I did try, I still made mistakes. And it made me angry. So, I “ragequit” again. That has been my modus operandi for a long time now: just quitting everything. Barely getting by. The idea of college was terrifying to me when I was in high school. “You mean I’m going to have to decide what I’m going to do with my entire life? I can’t even remember what page I was supposed to read for homework!” I had zero confidence in myself as a decision maker. I believe, knowing my history, this was justified. My “decision” was to coast, and I know I got pretty lucky along that coast. But still, I made the “decision” to coast, and it seemed to work out (in some areas). Of course, every decision will lead to mistakes somewhere, and this was certainly the case for me.

Coasting has worked out for me, but I think it is, at least to a significant degree, at its end. “The writing is on the wall.” I can see, pretty clearly, what my main option is for the future. It is in contrast with what I dream to do. I will probably have to do both simultaneously, and it is very probable that my dreams are going to be opposed to what it is that I ultimately have to do. My only option is to try to do both simultaneously until the dream can become the job, and that is uncertain (unlikely, most would say. I know I won’t succeed without optimism, however). All of my thoughts need to develop over time. I have to figure out how I want them to develop. I’m still so anxious about what it is that I want to do that this anxiety freezes me. I want to write about “big” things. And when I try to go down the path of thinking about them, I become anxious. Either because I don’t have everything that I want to say figured out, or I start thinking about after the piece becomes completed, and what is going to happen. It is hard to concentrate. In my opinion, I think this is a good thing in several ways. I am cognizant of the sands of time ticking away. I realize that the journey is long. Doing what I want to do is going to be really fucking hard. And it is all for an uncertainty. It is hard to concentrate when these factors constantly occupy your mind. The only saving grace from this as far as the work is concerned is the joy that you obtain from doing the work. But I don’t want to treat my work as digging in the sand with a stick. I treat my work as a future career. That’s my attitude. “How is it going to work?” “How can you expect to-” blah blah blah. I don’t care to listen to your concerns, regardless of your motivations.

I want to write my thoughts down. This means that they need to be developed. This just takes fucking time. Learning takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of labor. It’s just hard to learn something. It’s even harder to write about something. I think that all writers are “teachers”. When you write something, you want to impart ideas to the reader. You want these ideas to be beneficial to the reader. You don’t want to have the reader say “Yeah yeah yeah, I already know this”, and stop reading what you wrote. You want the reader to say “Huh. That’s good.” That’s hard to do. There’s so many good writers out there that the prospect of you being a good teacher is slim. But, once again, that’s where the love of the work comes into play. In a sense, it doesn’t matter how good of a teacher I am. Even if I’m a shitty teacher, I’m going to keep writing. I’ll keep getting bad reviews, but I’ll keep fucking writing. Because I love to do it. I firmly believe that persistence is what I’m going to need to succeed as much as I can succeed, whatever level that ultimately happens to be. I would encourage everyone to write about how shitty I am as a “writer” or a “teacher”. Start your own blog called “Cody Alan Reel SUCKS”, and lay forth your arguments as to why I’m a lazy fucking sexist neckbeard who lives in his mom’s basement and is going to be flipping hamburgers (1, 2) his whole life. Maybe you’ll end up being right. Don’t you want to be among the first to be able to take credit for your predictions?

Of course, if one is going to take action, one must assume responsibility. There’s always some difficulty with this. Even when one takes responsibility, there is a guilt that comes with it. Or a somberness, when facing punishment. I can’t say that I’ve ever had, nor kept, many responsibilities in my life. The fact that I’m struggling to think of them really signifies that to me. I would characterize myself as a “weasel”: I’m always able to “weasel” my way out of things. I’m thinking something like chores. I never really did them. For one, some of them didn’t make sense (and still don’t). For instance, making one’s bed, or cleaning one’s room. Making one’s bed makes zero sense to me. It gets messed up every night. It doesn’t matter how it looks in the morning. And as far as one’s room goes: well, it’s my room. Sure, my parents owned the house. But it was still my room. The toys are going to come right back out the next day. So why not just leave them out? It still doesn’t make any sense to me. Authoritarianism is not a valid argument. Why should I put the toys away? “Because I said so” should never suffice for a youngster. If you can’t explain why something needs to be done, then it doesn’t need to be done. Teach your child how to reason: not how to fear authority. I’ve weaseled my way out of many other things besides chores, but I won’t get into them all now (chores were certainly a significant part of it; especially early on in life).

I suppose I should talk about things that I was “responsible” for in the past: namely, times in which I got in trouble. There were plenty of fights with my brother that I was responsible for. But the main thing I can think of for getting in trouble and being “responsible” for is porn. I don’t recall a time where I felt like I was “in trouble” before it came to porn. Looking back on it, there was definitely an overreaction. So I drew some pictures of boobs as a kid. Why do I need to see a guidance counselor because of that? So I planned on bringing some porn over to a friend’s house. What’s wrong with that? I can’t describe the embarrassment when I was “discovered”. I can’t even remember what was said to me at the time, I was so embarrassed. All I remember was the porn fell out of my shirt, I didn’t get to go over to my friend’s house, my mom called my friend’s parents and apparently he was asked about the porn, and I don’t know what else happened. I think they really made a big stink out of nothing. Maybe that was just my young mind overreacting due to embarrassment, but it seems to have been made a bigger deal than it actually was. So I was “responsible” for drawing pictures of boobs and trying to take porn over to a guy’s house. Big deal. (I can’t remember exactly how old I was at the time. I think I was in my very early teens: maybe even 12). I think this is partly why I still have a problem with “responsibility”: inconsistent, nonsensical parenting. My mother certainly provided a lot of that, and confused the Hell out of me. Then, there was the parents fighting, pitting one against the other, then, as a kid, I had to “take sides”, yadda yadda yadda. Except it wasn’t like a regular divorce with two “normal” parents: at least one of them was insane.

I seem to be finding it harder and harder to write about anything. I would hope that I become a better reader and editor as time goes along, but I continually find that things that I wish to write about overlap so much that distinguishing between things to separate them into “pieces” becomes very difficult. It truly feels like I just want to write about my life, my one life, and it is hard to write about my “life” in separate pieces. It is hard to decide how to frame each piece, or to keep it “on track”, when I feel like there are so many things that I want to say that intertwine.

One of the hardest things for me to deal with with regards to mental independence is how to handle other people. I envision someone screaming dumb things at me an inch from my face. Or punching me in the face. I desire to express myself honestly. And I accept that there will be people that hate it. But some of those crazies will think it is a good idea to stab me in the stomach. That’s the risk you have to take when you wish to speak honestly. (Or when your sense of humor is as fucked up as mine is). But it certainly occupies a significant portion of my thinking when I desire to write something, or do something.

One good thing about getting older is that you start to learn who, in your past, was wrong. As I write this, I think of the times that I tried to write in my mid-to-late teens. Writing was so much harder back then. Who was I writing for? I didn’t know. Well, myself, obviously. But who was going to read it? I had no idea. The few that did read it made me feel very self-conscious. I don’t think the small sample size understood what I was trying to say (and clearly, my inability to articulate myself had a significant role in this). But what changed in those 9, 10 years? Why am I so much different today than I was then? It bugs me that this development is “out of my control”. It just happened. Naturally. I just naturally became a better writer because I got older (and practiced a little bit). My language skills got better just because I had more experience, my brain chemistry is different, etc. That’s such an annoying, hopeless position to be in. To just be stuck as a shitty writer, with the only “saving grace” being time. That’s so fucked up. Why can’t I be the best writer that I will ever be right now? Sure, that thought frightens me. But why can’t I be at my max level all of the time? Why must I grow? Why can’t I control my growth? That tortures me. There are some things that become worse the more that you try to control them. That is a significant theme throughout my life. I have accepted it, and have become moulded by that philosophy. And, in my opinion, it is completely justified based on my history. It is how I have found my personal level of “contentment”. But it eats me alive sometimes to have development out of my control. Sure, it isn’t completely out of my control: because I desire to write, and thus, write, it will inevitably get better over time with practice. So what I’m getting better at is within my control. But so many things aren’t. And it is those that bug me.

I deplore when I realize that I was wrong in the past. I’ve had some pretty weird viewpoints about life that are really hard to put into words. I think that is what my mission shall be: trying to explain my past ways of looking at the world. I think they’re quite interesting, and I don’t care if you disagree with me. It is really weird, the things you think when you are extremely mentally dependent. Some really fucked up things can happen very easily. It is quite frightening.

Once again, there are so many different directions that I could take this that I find it hard to decide which way to go. I had certain mindsets in my past that I maintained, even if all they produced was failure. My mind was constantly focused on Hell. And so, naturally, the thought of Hell affected almost all of my perspectives about everything. I don’t really need to lay them out here: it’s the same old suspects. But some of them truly are odd. The way it affected my overall perspective is so strange. It produced this deep skepticism that still remains to this day. It was an ethical skepticism: “Is this person a Christian? Is this person a Christian? Is this person a Christian?” The skepticism that remains today isn’t about whether or not a particular person is a Christian. But my cynicism definitely remains. And it is so odd to me. Over and over, I find people to be trustworthy. But I’m still painfully cynical. I’m content with quite a bit of my cynicism, but I find myself in situations often where I’m asking myself “Why am I being so cynical right now? What has this guy done to me?” It is a conservative hangover. It’s very fucking odd.

I am looking forward to my confidence building over time. “Coasting” has been my saving grace. I’ve been very lucky. I don’t handle failure very well. And it has always seemed like the more I have tried to fix something, the worse it made it. But my philosophy has changed over time, and I’ve “settled in” to something that works for me. That’s what we all long after: just that way of moving throughout the world that satisfies us the most. I think I’m pretty good right now with what I have. I want to explain it and elaborate on it more throughout time. And, of course, I hope to be able to write about more subjects, and just get better overall. I’m confident that it will happen with time and practice, even if there are many things that I write that I end up not happy with, for various reasons.

I love writing, and I just look forward to becoming a better thinker. I accept the fact that I’m repetitive, but I believe it is all related. In my heart, I believe that every “repetition” is a building block upon an entire life’s work. I can’t ask someone “Hey, do you think this builds upon this? Or did I just repeat myself?” I have to interpret my work how I wish. And I need to make my work fully my own, to my full potential. That’s (one of) the lifetime challenges……

I want to be a good thinker. And I want to be able to say “Hey, here are my thoughts.” I hope they can be received honestly. And that’s all that I can hope for from them (besides the dreams of them somehow paying the light bill down the road).

A Declaration of Independence.

Education.

A Philosopher’s Mind.

Highly Sensitive Mind.

Analyzing My Decision-Making.

Religio.

My poetry.

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Journey

I have always scoffed at the phrase “Life is not about the destination, but the journey.” No doubt, as is the case with everything, this was influenced by being raised in religion. I was introduced to the idea that when I die, there is a perfect place I am going to if I do x (let’s not get into what exactly x is, as its far too complicated to elaborate here, for the purpose of this piece, in my opinion). I’ve always had a destination in mind (two, in fact). My every thought, action, and feeling was weighed against these two destinations. There was not a moment in my life where these two destinations did not have a direct, powerful influence over me. I believe this “destination-mindedness” has bled over into other areas.

I’m in a hurry to get things done. I rush and rush until life’s no fun. All I really gotta do is live and die, but I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.” The truth that everyone is going to die someday, including me, has always made me aware of the sands of time ticking away. Anxiety has been my modus operandi for my entire life. Everything I do, I just want to get over with, and just get to the end. As I wish to write, this attitude starts to creep in. I ask myself: What is the final destination with regards to writing?

I love listening to successful people (especially artists). Over and over, I’ve always heard that they are never satisfied with what they’re doing. They always want more. They always strive to get better and better. I thought that was dumb as a child. Not only did I think that rich and famous successful people were the scourge of the earth, but I thought the idea of living life without a destination was ludicrous. Why would the ambiguity of “getting better” be a more valuable “destination” than an actual concrete destination? (Measured by what, God only knows).

My destination of choice is to make a living doing a job that I love. That is my main goal in life. But as I ponder what my life would be like if I had “enough money to last a lifetime”, I think: what would I do with the rest of my life then? If I, at age 25, were an infintillionaire tomorrow, what would I do? What would my emotional state be? I would certainly feel more secure, which is a gigantic motivating factor at this point in my life. But what would I do? It is so easy for people who are having a difficult time financially to think money is “the end”. But that thought depresses me. What do you mean “the end”? Surely you aren’t going to die immediately after making such-and-such amount of money, correct? What are you going to do? What are you going to spend your money on, and when? How much? How are you going to spend your time? It is very easy for people to enviously scoff at the rich, but it is a legitimate question. It is not a 100% guarantee that any amount of money will make someone a certain “level” of happy. Of course, it’s foolish to not acknowledge the obvious benefits of money. If I had a certain level of money (which I’m not quite sure what that would be), it would certainly alleviate many of the problems that I have currently. But I am quite sure that it would not touch others. It’s easy for me to say this now, but I do not anticipate that my life would change that much from how it is now. I would imagine that I would be happier as compared to thinking about working 6 days a week, 8 hours a day, at the alternatives where I live (it also depends on what I would be doing to make that amount of money, how much I enjoyed that work, etc.). But, for the moment, I have a great deal of financial security. I realize this is limited, so I obviously think about the future. If I were to have a significant amount more money than I have now, I think I’d still be doing the same things I’m doing today. I don’t like the idea of flaunting my wealth around with expensive cars and luxury items. I’d probably fix the house up a bit, and save the rest. Maybe take a couple of trips, which would be different than I’m doing currently. But I anticipate that I’d still have the desire to write and create comedy for myself. I don’t think money would change that fact, because I’d still need something to do. Of course, I’d have more money to spend, and, thus, more options. Perhaps I can’t even conceive of what those options could be. But I want to write, and I want to create comedy. I don’t see this changing, even if I had a quadrillion dollars in the bank. I would just need something to occupy my time, and there’s little I enjoy more (productively speaking) than writing and making myself laugh through creating various things.

This has led me to the conclusion that I finally understand (at least, in my opinion) the phrase “Life is not about the destination, but the journey.” I am starting to understand the profundity of that statement. I abhor the phrase “studies have shown”, but they have that there’s a certain amount of money which produces max happiness, and going above that (especially excessively) decreases that happiness. That makes sense to me. I can see that being the case. “Nice to see that your beliefs, whatever you base them on, matches up with science, Cody.” I’m glad I could please you.

The conflict along the journey bugs me: the fact that we all naturally go from being happy to sad to angry; that our life circumstances change; that we’re stuck doing the same necessary, mundane things from day to day. These things bore me, infuriate me, and I haven’t committed myself to focusing on anything else. I think that I have not committed myself to anything else largely due to the fact that I have believed that life is about the destination, and my destination was of a religious origin (and, of course, you can’t expect a child to have his entire life planned out for himself. I’m still young). I’ve ran away from “the world” in favor of “spirituality”, but now, I’m, very slowly, learning to appreciate the world. Learning to appreciate now. Life used to be this thing that just “got in the way” of me going to Heaven. Living here on Earth, through time, was a nuisance. Not only that, but it was actively preventing me from going to Heaven. Not only in the obvious sense that being alive means that I haven’t “died” and gone to the afterlife, but life here on Earth was affecting what was going to happen to me after I died. My entire life structure was based on certain beliefs regarding what it took to go to Heaven. Most of this involved hating the Earth. But I don’t believe that anymore. Thank God.

It is going to take a lifetime to develop a philosophy regarding my life here on Earth. Undergoing a very significant change in religious philosophy starts off with getting rid of the old ideas, and replacing them with new. I have a general sense of what the new will be, and I’m working on getting rid of the old, but there’s still a lot of unknowns regarding how I feel about the journey. That is part of the journey: figuring it out, and writing about it. That feels pretty good.

Introspection helps me with a lot of problems. Many personality traits remain the same over time, but my philosophies have certainly changed over time, and I look forward to seeing what “peak” happiness is going to look like for me. At what point in my life am I going to be the “happiest”? Is it currently? What will my life circumstances be? My job? My financial situation? My hobbies? It is very interesting to me. Once again, I have an intrinsic desire to “hurry up and get there”, but “the grass could be greener on the other side” or whatever. There’s so many variables that it doesn’t really do me any good to think about the future in that regard. Although goals are definitely important, I want to relax. I want to have more of a “journey” approach than a “destination” approach. Ignoring people is very hard for me: especially if they speak confidently about something I haven’t given much thought. This is certainly the case when I hear, in my head, all of those that will tell me how the fact I’m not preparing for the future now is going to make my life suck in the future, I’m going to be saddled with an immeasurable guilt, that could’ve been avoided if I would’ve only taken step x right now-look. We both know that we don’t know shit about the future. Yeah yeah, I know. Experience. “Odds”. Blah blah blah. I have my own philosophies that I want to develop, for my own reasons. I am done uncritically accepting the “advice” of others to the detriment of myself.

The “destination” stress of a religious variety that plagued me in my youth was also of the “future here on earth” variety. I’ve written about that before.

I have always been susceptible to abandoning myself to do what others advise me to do. It is traditionally been hard for me to tell myself “No” with regards to taking actions that are suggested to me. A problem is that I haven’t been able to explain to myself the problems that I had with their suggestions. That just changes over time, with age, in my case. I feel stress when others tell me that I need to change what I’m doing, and even more stress when I try to take their advice. Something has to give. My wants matter. I’m currently not thick-skinned enough for my taste. It has been a work in progress for a long time now.

Of course, the destination that I have in mind is the same one a lot of people share: being wealthy, and relaxing in a gigantic house. Having a “permanent vacation”. Filling time with the same things I’m doing currently, but without financial anxiety. I’m not going to let anyone convince me to have a different goal. Write about the problems that you have with my philosophies among yourselves: don’t tell me, because I don’t fucking care.

I want to see how my writing develops over time. How my use of language changes, how my tone changes. I’m happy with my non-fiction up to this point, but I want to write a lot more of it. I want to get crazier, smarter, more sarcastic, and more organized with it. As my best friend has said, you have to get better at something if you do it enough. You won’t remain stagnant. I’m banking on that as far as writing is concerned. I also need to read a lot more, but that’s a whole nother story for another day. I still have a sense of hopelessness that things aren’t going to matter, anyway. No matter how many times people write about, say, how unnecessary nuclear weapons are, they’ll still be developed, and still threaten us all. I personally find it pointless to write from a “change-the-world” standpoint, because I don’t think it is going to work. That isn’t to say that words don’t have a profound impact. But, from my point of view, I accept that there are always going to be shitheads that try to fuck everything up for the rest of us, and there ain’t much I can do about it. I can whine and complain, but other than that, not much is going to happen. If someone is willing to twist my arm off, say, for something I wrote, I don’t think any amount of screaming in pain is going to change their mind. There’s certainly a certain amount of inevitability when it comes to evil, regardless of how depressing that fact is. The goal is to avoid the arm-twisting for as long as possible by as many people as possible disseminating the fact that arm-twisting is evil to as many as possible, and then, we just have to hope for the best. A fucking miracle, as it were. I don’t know if that will be enough while I’m here, but I suppose this is one instance where I think it works to be “destination-minded” as far as the afterlife is concerned. When I die, none of what happened here on Earth is going to matter to me. There’s no telling how long I’m going to have to wait to reach that point, but whenever it happens, it will last forever, so I guess there’s one thing to look forward to. The only problem is figuring out what exactly to do along the journey to getting there. It truly does take a lifetime to find out, for better or worse. That feels like such a long time to figure something out. I’m not sure how much I’m looking forward to it. I guess it all depends on what happens within it.

My overall approach to my journey is to coast. This attitude was developed over the course of my childhood, when things were beyond my control, and no matter what I did, I could not alleviate the bad. My actions did not help the circumstances surrounding me one bit. I had to accept the circumstances, and become depressed. That helped foster my apathetic attitude, which, regardless of your beliefs, really did help me out. Of course, it is tragic that it came to that, but “it is what it is”. I frequently found that the harder I tried at something, the worse I got. I didn’t have an overall philosophy that I was longing for. I was confused, and that made me miserable. Apathy helped me disconnect from negative external circumstances, and that helped me develop intrinsically as well. When I failed and failed and failed, no matter how hard I tried to succeed, I finally developed apathy. In this “moralistic cliche” world in which we live, that’s outright blasphemy. But it helped me out more than I can say. “Apathy” has been my modus operandi for a long time now, and it has helped me out tremendously. I’ve coasted, and been very lucky. But, as I’ve written about before, I’ve uncritically listened to people enough in my lifetime. It’s time to be more stubborn and judicious.

There is something about freedom that just produces happiness within oneself. Freedom just produces this happiness. This good feeling. Success, of course, produces yet more good feelings and happiness. But even separate from success, there is a happiness that just naturally comes from independence. It is so intrinsic to our very existence; makes up our core. It is the “will”, and the exercise of that will produces a natural happiness. Of course, we make mistakes, feel miserable about it, beat ourselves up about our stupidity, etc. But, still yet, there is a happiness that comes from the exercising of one’s own will. Because, as I’ve elaborated on before, who cares more about my happiness than me? Who cares about one’s happiness more so than oneself? This is where “do-gooders” will pipe up and say “Some people don’t know what is best for them”, etc. etc. And it is certainly the case that many with self-destructive lives are happy after someone intervenes. But the point is that every action taken is an attempt to achieve a greater state of happiness, even if it doesn’t work. This doesn’t mean that mistakes will not happen, but every person is always attempting to make himself happier than he is currently. When he’s hungry, he eats in an attempt to satisfy himself, even if what he eats leads him to get food poisoning, and he’s worse off than he was before he ate. The point is that every person attempts to increase their satisfaction, even if they ultimately don’t. How can anyone argue against the good of that? Not successfully, I would argue. The nature of man is to have a will and exercise it.

Humanity is so complex that writing about it is a great chore. It truly takes a special mind to do so effectively. There’s so many different paths to choose from, so many varying lengths of the different paths, and the destination is so often unknown. One can go to medical school for many years, incurring great debts, and then regret it later on in life. Someone else can consider that experience the best decision they ever made. Newborns die all the time, while some live to be 10. Others, 20. Still yet others, 30, and some even make it to be 100. We desire to make sense of this. This inequality bugs many, if not most of us. It introduces us to tragedy, and unfairness. We seek to understand it. At least, for a little bit. Then, we find other things to cheer us up. If it makes one happy to continue to ponder these tragic inequalities of the world, I would say continue to do so. But if one does not enjoy doing so, but feels obligated to do so, I would urge that individual to move on. In my opinion, “Help” really helps when the helper feels some satisfaction to do so. If an individual has a gun pointed to his head, and is required to “help” another, there’s clearly something lost in that. If we should strive towards being more “loving” people, we can’t do that by pointing guns at each other’s heads to arrive at that point. Does that mean I dislike guns? No. Defense is different from aggression. We should not be initiating violence to achieve peaceful ends. But I, personally, do not believe that one who engages in violent defense is “unethical”. Life is a balance between evil, forgiveness, and justice. This is what we have. The evil is unavoidable in a complete sense. Evil consumes us all, even when we don’t want it to, from time to time. We will all wrong other people during our lifetimes. I think it is a blessing that the degree to which we wrong others can be less severe than others. Although we are all sinners, we are not all murderers. I consider that a blessing. But when it comes to love, forgiveness, and justice, we must accept our natural humanities. Fear is natural within us as humans, it is true. But it is also true that love is greater when freely given instead of being coerced. It is always better than aggressive violence.

The harder I try not to sin, the more I’m aware of my sin. It consumes me to the point of hopelessness and depression. And anger. Why is that what God would rather have me do than enjoy the good times as they naturally occur throughout the course of my life? If God cares about me, why would He want me to torture myself? Surely there are some similarities between humans and God, if we were “made in His image”? Why would our concept of caring for someone give us a feeling of compassion, whereas when God enters that equation, it leads to misery and fear? I don’t buy it. God does not torture us because He loves us. Therefore, we should not torture ourselves just because we love God. If God has forgiven us for our transgressions, as Christians believe happened through Christ, then why can’t we forgive ourselves?

I don’t know anything more about my journey through life currently, so I’m going to end this piece here. All I hope for currently is that my pieces continue to get better, and that I’ll be able to recognize it. That’s probably the biggest step along my “journey” thus far. Is this step leading to the destination? I have no idea. But the destination makes me happy, the journey is making me happy, so that’s what I’m going to do.

“Fire Dance”

Vex not Thou the Poet's Mind

Holy Fire!
Hear my cry!
The world is too wet with sentiment!

The tears of the unjust
have flooded the flower fields
to where characters can’t grow!
The moral stem of them
will not shoot and bud,
for the foggy clouds of indecision
keep the sunlight from raising examples.

As I wave my fingers,
wave your solar flares,
Ancient Judge!
Let fireballs lick the swamps
and wetlands where the people
lazily wallow in the mire.
Singe their skin, making them run
in repentance.

Holy Fire!
Hear my cry!
Fling your ember meteors,
smashing the buildings to the earth!
For mankind now erects many Babels!

Starving children,
traitorous kinsmen,
liars that lead,
crimes aquitted.
Oh Holy Fire!
Why is there no recompense?
Their souls are soaked with apathy.

See how I run in circles,
stamping my feet in the mud,
for a time that once was,
for the days when the…

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Wants

Ideological conflict is human nature. Us humans were given life on this planet, without a say so in the matter, and we live. Our very existence is a conflict. Within our existence, there exists “nature”. This “nature” provides us with things we need to live (air, water, etc.), and also things that can kill us (air, water, (hurricanes, etc.) etc.). This troubles me. It is often said that those things which one cannot change should not be the cause of stress, because there is nothing one can do about those things. But it is precisely the fact that I cannot do something about a thing which bothers me the most. Realizing the constant state of conflict in the world wears on my soul. It wears on all of our souls. It will always wear on all of our souls. We will be given breaks for indefinite amounts of time. But it will always wear on our souls. And that fact wears on mine.

I truly should be thankful for those times in which I live in the moment. In some ways, I think it is almost impossible not to be. Almost instinctively, we say the phrase “I am thankful.” There are often situations which are so great to us that we feel compelled to say thank you. The phrase “I am thankful” itself signifies gratitude, so there is an inherent gratitude that overwhelms us whenever we are thankful. It is in those exact moments that we are freed from the conflicts that we otherwise cannot escape.

I suppose this is a good time to bring up a specific conflict that I’ve had in mind. Quite simply, the conflict amounts to these two separate ideas: 1) that our wants do matter, and 2) that our wants do not matter. Among these, there, of course, branch off several different beliefs attached to each of these ideas.

I will approach the second idea first. The idea that our wants do not matter. This can be approached from several different standpoints. There is a religious standpoint (particularly self-defined as “Christian”) in which our wants do not matter because there is a “higher” purpose. This “higher purpose” is “God”. And I don’t want to discuss fully the idea of what “God” is in this sense, because that would take me forever to do so (and I probably would not be sufficient at doing so, anyway). The idea basically comes down to a few things: that we are sinners, and that we deserve to be punished. That we should punish ourselves for our own sin so that when we die, we may be rewarded. And it attempts to identify what is a sin (what should be avoided) and what isn’t, and, every single time, it creates anger, resentment, confusion, depression, guilt, and hopelessness upon the person weighing his own sins. His time is to be preoccupied with these emotions, and happiness just doesn’t fit into the equation. In fact, “happiness” means he is enjoying his sin. His flesh (including his mind that isn’t preoccupied with Heaven and Hell) will lead him to a path of eternal damnation; an eternal pain and suffering caused by an everlasting fire. But some mysterious spirituality residing in specific buildings will help him when he dies, say, 40 years from now. Constant guilt and beating oneself up for one’s whole life will show God that one is, in fact, holy, and worthy of being saved. The key to avoiding Hell when one dies is to not allow yourself to escape from thinking about it while here on Earth. That, in a nutshell, is the gist of the idea. It doesn’t make any sense to me (anymore), but that’s the idea.

There is also a standpoint with regards to the philosophy that our wants do not matter from a “depressed”, “defeatist” attitude. The idea that life itself does not care about our wants, because our wants are so often devastated, often horrifically, by things outside of our control. A lot of scientists and atheists take this approach. In the case of science, this “defeatist” attitude often comes from a lack of repeatable evidence. This isn’t always true, but it happens enough for there to be a noticeable “tendency”. The idea that life was an accident of nature. That everything was “just right” for life to come into existence, but without a purpose for coming into existence. The “Descartesian” approach: that reality is perceived through the senses, so all realities must be measurable by the senses in order for something to truly be a reality (even though he admits he’s a Christian in his writings. In college, my professor brought it up that he probably would’ve been tried for heresy if he hadn’t have admitted such, so that makes me “doubt” (haha) whether or not he truly identified as a Christian). “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Beliefs” cannot be seen, smelled, heard (from an outside source; they originate from “within”, and then can be talked (and, therefore, “heard”)), tasted, or touched. They are something separate from “the senses”. It is evident that beliefs are separate from the senses as someone can deny (through, say, shock) something that is seen in front of them, heard over the phone, etc. “Faith” is something that transcends the senses. It doesn’t have to be called “religious faith”.

Take, for instance, the case of a loved one dying in the hospital. No one wants to believe that the loved one is going to die. They know it is either possible or likely, but they still hope that the person lives. Knowing that they are likely to die is different than believing they are likely to die. Hope transcends the senses. Optimism, in this case, transcends the senses. The belief that the loved one will recover is an essential emotional tool. You can’t see, smell, taste, hear, or touch the recovery that you hope to happen, but truly believing that someone isn’t going to pull through is very difficult emotionally. People believe the loved one is going to make it through because it makes them feel better. There’s certainly a lot of scoffing at the idea that one would ignore a reality just because it makes one “feel” better. I’m included among these “scoffers”. But belief is an essential emotional tool for us humans. Optimism, hope, belief, and faith are essential. What makes one optimistic, or why one is hopeful, believes, etc., is up for debate. But the most obvious answer is that it makes one feel better, and this, by itself, does not disprove anything. The fact that one is hopeful that the loved one lives does not disprove that the loved one is going to live (of course, this goes without saying, that hope does not prove that the loved one will pull through, either). Hope, faith, etc. are things which cannot be measured, and are truths that exist separately from realities that are perceived through the senses. So, in conclusion, if the creation of life itself has no “purpose”, and our existence has no “purpose”, then why would our happiness have any “purpose”? If life was a happy accident, why can’t happiness be a happy accident? Why should we treat it as anything more than a “fortunate accident”? This, I think, explains, on at least some level, the noticeable depression among many “atheistic/scientific” types. This is one “atheistic/scientific” approach to “wants”. (There are, of course, atheists who believe that “purpose” is whatever we ascribe to our realities, and they aren’t particularly nihilistic. But the nihilistic atheists are worth mentioning). I should mention that I went through my own atheistic period, just to make sure the reader understands that I am not critiquing atheism because I was raised religiously and accept what I was taught uncritically.

The temperatures of space and the sun can be measured. The infinite majority of the universe is uninhabitable. There are searches for hospitable planets in the depths of space, but for every chance there may be a planet where life could exist, there are countless examples of places in space where life almost certainly cannot exist. If you very deeply value the idea of there being life outside of Earth, this fact, of course, will produce depression inherently. If you don’t care about whether or not there exists life outside of the Earth, this will not bother you. It is a matter of differences in personal values.

There are other “types” that believe that our desires to not matter from a philosophical standpoint. Unfortunate life circumstances have a tendency to make one extremely pessimistic and depressed. This will, of course, make one believe that the world doesn’t care. And that perspective certainly makes sense. “If God loves us, why does He allow for war, famine, and disease to happen?” I personally find that to be a very poignant question. A lot of Christians run from that question, for fear of angering God and suffering His wrath. But how can anyone not ask that question? It’s a very valid question. When it comes to matters of spirituality, I believe that honesty is always the best policy. Opening up your soul to The Great Beyond is always important and therapeutic. It is important to believe that one is able to do this. You can’t have peace spiritually if you are afraid. Comfort requires peace, and quiet, and poignant honesty. Admitting that you have problems with something. We, as humans, should not avoid the nature of our brains when we discuss spirituality. We can’t run from ourselves. It only makes us more miserable than we were when we first started running. And if God loves us, as Christians preach, why can’t we ask Him tough questions? Why can’t we say we have problems with Him? Why can’t we be angry at Him? Jesus Christ is said to have been God in human form. Human. It is said that we were made in God’s image. We, as humans, were made in God’s image. What does “image” mean, exactly? Well, perhaps the way we look is a part of it. I don’t know what “God” looks like, but Jesus was a human. I think it’s more than just cosmetics, however. The Bible makes it clear that God can both love and hate. Can’t we also love and hate? Of course we can. I think this is also what is meant by being made in “His image”.

So if there is, according to Christian doctrine, a strong connection between humanity and God, let’s think about some specific instances of relationships between humans. Let’s take loved ones for example. Can we not get angry at loved ones? We still love our loved ones. But can’t we get angry? Can’t we forgive our loved ones when we believe they have wronged us? I have to believe that these are also what is meant by us being made in God’s image: sharing some of His characteristics. That He can get angry at us, but also forgive us. That makes sense to me. I can’t comprehend completely the level of, say, His anger, or His forgiveness, but I can accept that He can “experience” both.

The atheists and Christians come together in their resentment of human choice. Speaking broadly, of course, the atheists’ nihilism leads people to believe that their actions have no significant influence, and the Christians’ condemnation leads people to believe that their desires are evil. Both of these stifle action. And action, of course, is driven by desire. Both the atheists and the conservatives are about creating misery. The sad thing is that they spend so much time fighting each other that they can’t see that, in that respect, they’re the same. “It doesn’t matter what you want because God isn’t real and life has no meaning and we’re all going to die” is, of course, an extremely similar message to “It doesn’t matter what you want because what you want is going to lead you to an eternity of suffering after you die.” Notice the similarity? (Hint: it isn’t just the fact that “in the long run, we’re all dead”).

This attitude of “it doesn’t matter what you want” extends beyond any religious/spiritual spheres. It’s common even among non-religious discussions. Of course, the basic fact is “You can’t always get what you want.” But there’s a certain attitude that comes with this reality that I rather despise. It, similarly, amounts to “It doesn’t matter what you desire”, which is ridiculous. Much like the hospital example I gave earlier. Does the fact that a loved one is almost certain to die mean that I should just “Get over what I want”? This attitude is extremely pervasive; not about loved ones, but desire in general. You can be that way if you wish, but I find it disgusting and repulsive.

Once again, I think this largely has to do with unfortunate life circumstances. Perhaps there’s an underlying depression that manifests itself through anger among those that so proudly declare to dreamers that “It doesn’t matter what you want” when the listener of those words is deciding upon which course of action to take in the common course of his life. It’s usually very hateful, which is a red flag to me. I’m not against hate completely, as there are many things that I “hate”. But the way that I so often hear “It doesn’t matter what you want” raises a red flag to me. It has for a very long time. I had this attitude for most of my childhood simply by observing my parents. I watched them leave for work everyday, and complain about it every single day. Of course, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this. But, to my child mind, I wanted something different (my parents certainly had a lot to do with planting this seed in my head in other, more intentional ways, as well). I grew up basically expecting that adulthood was going to suck, and that I’d never experience happiness again after childhood. It’s interesting, because that perspective influenced me in other regards as well. It basically became my overall demeanor for a long time.

It goes without saying, but several different things have affected my perspective. Religion affected my perspective; my mother abandoning me affected my perspective. The most embarrassing thing which affected my perspective in childhood was porn. I consumed porn as a child that affected my perspectives about women. Apparently, looking back on it, I must’ve been reading some dominatrix porn. At the time, I didn’t know anything about “kinks” or “normal human relationships”, so I thought this was just the way that women treated men. It made me resent them. Hey, it’s embarrassing. But honesty is therapeutic to me. (I must include that in addition to this porn, religion severely affected my perspectives about women. It made me hate the fact that they made me feel “sinful things, and made me resent them because of it. Once again, it’s embarrassing. I already know what is going to be said: “Wow, sounds like Ed Gein.” Go ahead and get that out of your system. I know you’ll feel better for hating me). But the type of porn I discovered, along with religious guilt about sexuality in general, made me want to stay as far away from women as possible. Even to this day, I do not particularly desire women. It’s no surprise why. I realize that will make many readers angry, but hey. Therapy is good.

Also, as is the case with many, if not all people, you have crushes during your childhood that lead to absolutely nothing. And it continues through your teenage years. If it happens frequently enough, and you’re emotionally sensitive enough (as I was), you put your guard up. All of these facts lead up to why I don’t particularly enjoy dating, nor sex. I try to avoid attractive women because I don’t even want the thoughts to enter my mind. I’m developing a healthier attitude towards sex due to the way my life philosophies have changed regarding happiness, but the idea of being in a relationship does not interest me in the least. Casual sex doesn’t either, honestly. Friendships, of course, are fine: provided that I don’t get too physically or romantically attracted to the friend. Then, that just leads to more complicated feelings that I wish I could rid myself of. (I should also mention that my desire to be alone also originates just from my natural demeanor, without being influenced by “outside forces”. I just naturally enjoy my alone time).

It is quite unbelievable how long I spent trying to run away from my emotions about women. Trying to run away from physical attractiveness in particular. It doesn’t surprise me that it happened, but I can’t believe how long it has taken me to say “Uh, that’s just dumb.” I’m basically having to teach myself that sexuality is ok, and that’s a really bad thing to have to do. That should be taught from the beginning. I don’t recall exactly who “taught” me otherwise (I really don’t think it was my parents. I remember them speaking to me about condoms, and I was so overwhelmed with embarrassment that I tuned them out. I think it was pastors on the radio, or something. It’s crazy how one sermon can completely change your life forever. For the worse, even). Emotional sensitivity, shyness, dominatrix literature and conservative preaching have all been factors towards my feelings about women. I don’t hate women. Women are human beings. I know this. But I prefer to be alone and guarded. I know this will change with time, but it doesn’t really bother me that I am this way. It bothers me that people are going to think the worst of me based on what I’ve said, but it doesn’t matter what you do or say, you’re always going to have people that think you are an evil person. It’s just how it is. I’ll concede that I am a stupid person, but, hopefully, you understand why I’m a stupid person. I’m working on it, slowly but surely, and a large key to this is going to be my “happiness” philosophy. I’m having to retrain myself that my wants actually matter. That my wants aren’t “evil”. And I just don’t want romance. I’m also still hesitant about being sexually attracted to women, but there’s just some things that you can’t help. THERE TRULY ARE SOME THINGS THAT YOU JUST HAVE TO “ACCEPT”. Once again, I know you’ll think I’m weird, and that’s acceptable. Because I am weird. I just hope you understand where I’m coming from, and can maybe empathize with me, is all.

So, slowly but surely, I’m learning that wants (especially sexual) are not inherently evil. Physical attraction is not evil. It makes me uncomfortable, but it isn’t evil. I can see how trust is important when it comes to relationships. Learning that trust, love, etc. are important to relationships does not occur in the way that learning to fear God through the Ten Commandments happens. A major problem I have had is hearing basic facts about the world and judging them through this “Ten Commandments” logic. “Is this sinful, or is this not? I’m going to judge this to the fullest extent of holiness to see if it stacks up to God’s plan.” Basically, it is the idea of treating, say, the fact that love is built on trust to mean that you must trust anyone you have any attraction to at any time or else you are an ethical failure with regards to trust, and I guess that means you’re going to be punished for not trusting. This, of course, is a result of being taught that lust (a.k.a., sexual desire) is unholy unless you are married to the person you sexually desire. So it isn’t surprising to believe that you must develop an intimate relationship with anyone you physically desire, but it’s excruciatingly tragic. You push your warped logic to its extreme end. Most of us are aware of “conservative crazies”, but sadly, too many of us are those “conservative crazies”. It’s really stupid and depressing. There’s many of us that understand what warped conservative ideologies say, and, thankfully, many people that are critical of it. The amount of times that I treated being attracted to a girl to mean that I had to date her is physically repulsive to me. Shitty conservative ideas: “lust” (looking at a woman with sexual attraction with no intention of “marrying” her) should be avoided at all costs, you should ask God for forgiveness, masturbating is a sin, yadda yadda yadda. It truly is emotional child torture. It is so weird how, over the course of your life, people can affect you for the worst. Some people make your life better, others make it worse. Just another inescapable fucking reality of being here on Earth.

Interestingly enough, in addition to me being a fucking retard about women, I’m also a doormat. When I was younger, I made sure not to step on anyone’s toes, and this came at the expense of me asserting myself pretty much at all. You want to date me? Sure, why not. It doesn’t matter what I want: I exist to make other people happy, because that’s a holy thing to do. Showing that I “care for others” as God commands. Jesus fucking Christ: when have I not been stupid? Time after time after time, I dated a girl simply because she wanted to, when I had no interest in doing so whatsoever. Because I’m just a pushover that couldn’t assert myself. Of course, I doubted myself because of perceived “peer pressure”: “Everyone else is fucking, man! Why don’t you care about dating?” Finally, after several years of emotionally tormenting myself, I accepted that I just wasn’t interested. I was still physically attracted (and emotionally attracted a few times), but not interested. That was a huge, great first step for me. Asserting myself. Defending myself is the next step I see, but there is a value in ignoring criticisms, whether they be just or not, and entering your own bubble. That’s blasphemous to those who aren’t being widely criticized, but privacy and solitude are beautiful blessings indeed.

The final step, at least thus far, towards my “accepting happiness as a valuable, worthy goal” philosophy was tackling religion on a different front. Not the religious ideas that I’ve already mentioned in this piece, but ideas that I’ve mentioned before in other pieces. I reached a breaking point as far as money and God were concerned. The conflict between making money on the one hand (thus, avoiding God, in my mind) or choosing God and remaining in poverty on the other proved to be my breaking point (the dichotomy, of course, existing because “this world is sinful”, etc.). By a miracle, I finally accepted that the two ideas were not mutually exclusive: they were not incompatible. The misery I experienced in my youth regarding my parents being miserable with their jobs was gone. I always ran from my desire for money by saying “Well, if my parents don’t like making it, why should I make it?” “If money is the root of all evil, why shouldn’t I avoid it?” “If CEOs are greedy, horrible people, why would I want money?” Then, of course, when I actually needed money, I faced a huge contradiction. Thankfully, this was resolved for me by realizing that I can choose both. A truly revolutionary idea that has basically zero traction in common discussion, which goes: Either we should focus on God and not care about money (because of “greed”) or we should abandon God altogether. I have not seen many connect the two dots. I have not seen many say that one can be wealthy and be a Christian. Often Biblical verses are cited to prove that one cannot be both simultaneously, but I’d have to be skeptical of this analysis from several points. On the one hand, why should poverty be something to be “helped” if wealth is also a bad thing? In other words, how can poverty and wealth both be conditions undesirable to God? What other “state” is there? Middle class? Is there a specific amount of money that God will allow? That seems ludicrous to me. Let’s say I start out at this “specific” amount of money that makes me “holy”. If I buy something, I’m “below” that monetary amount. Likewise, if I sell something, I’m “above” it. Is the amount which determines “holiness” dependent upon money, or materials? How exactly is this “value” to be measured? Once again, I consider the whole idea of God demanding a “specific” amount of money to be a Christian a ludicrous idea. I also consider the idea of there being a holy “range” of money to be just as ludicrous.

Many interpret the Bible to mean that Christ hated wealth itself. As I’ve been studying economics for quite some time now, I find this to be absurd. I have learned that wealth is created through common, beneficiary exchange. Why would God dislike humans working together to become happier? Still yet, others may say it is the wealth disparity that God hated. Once again, I don’t think this would be the case. On the free market, wealth is created through voluntary exchange, whereby individuals trade because they believe to be better off. Those that are wealthy have traded more valuable things to more people, and thus, have increased the happiness of all of those involved in the trading (of course, there is such a thing as “buyer’s remorse” and “seller’s remorse”, but one buys or sells when one believes one will be better off, more satisfied, when he or she buys or sells). Why would God be upset with the traders if they are benefiting the people around them more so than the poor? (Of course, many will say that, for example, those with disabilities can’t trade as much with others, if, in fact, at all, and thus, are at an economic advantage. Surely God cares about the disabled, correct? The argument I’m making isn’t that God hates the poor because they are poor, but that He doesn’t hate the wealthy just because they are wealthy. I don’t think He hates the wealthy simply because the poor exist. I don’t think God is a Socialist (I don’t think He has ever been accused of being an egalitarian in hardly any sense: He’s been condemned for being a “favoritist” more often)). Certainly I don’t think it is wealth that God has a problem with. I’m sure he has problems with how wealth is created (I don’t see how God can issue a commandment “Thou shalt not steal” but be ok with stealing from the rich to give to the poor (it is a commandment, afterall). But what about the murder commandment? What about “just holy wars” where people die? What about self-defense? All valid questions that I don’t have answers to), but I don’t think there is a problem with wealth per se. Wealth can do great things to people. One has to be wealthy in order to donate wealth to others. In other words, you can’t donate unless you have. Why would having be evil, while giving be praised? Once again, I think the whole idea is ludicrous. And even if a rich person spends their money “selfishly”, other people are still getting paid. Whatever the rich person buys is being given to the people involved in getting the product (or service) to the rich person, whether it be producing, distributing, storing, or whatever. The whole idea that God hates wealth is nonsense. Why would Heaven be described with “streets of gold” if gold (a symbol of wealth) is this inherently evil thing? I don’t think God is displeased with us humans because, within the past several centuries, wealth has been created for humanity on a scale never before created in humanity’s history. (This makes me think of conservatives, who lament at “the good old days”, back before people were “Godless”). I can’t believe that God has a problem with the free market, and that He has a problem with wealth. Of course, it is easy to compare the rich to the poor, but the fact that all money that is spent helps out somebody is a reality that should be understood. Whether a rich person gives it to another rich person that owns a business and employs people and gives customers goods and/or services, or gives it to a charity to help children born with life-threatening conditions, it should be understood that his wealth helps whomever he gives it to. (It should be noted that there would be no money to give to charities without profit). I do not think this means that God has a problem with saving (“hoarding”), because saving simply exists for future consumption. Everyone knows that it is dumb to, for example, be buried with your money after you die. I think that is part of the problem with wealth that God may have: stuff that is already obvious to us. I think the fact that it is obvious to us is evident that God would have a problem with it (the “human connection” between God and man).

My life changed forever on that day when I realized that God and money were not completely incompatible. I desired to learn about what money actually was, and I’ve been studying economics ever since. I’ve also, largely thanks to my best friend, been developing a “happiness” philosophy. I enjoy introspection, and unraveling why I am how I am. I’m always going to do this with my writing. This, typically, is done in retrospect. But now, I actually have a philosophy to anticipate developing in the future. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a time in my life where I actually looked forward to the future (pun unintended), at least long-term. It’s really overwhelming: I’m not quite sure what to do at times. I feel like a dog that has been abused, who, thanks to a very loving owner, wags his tail violently and jumps and runs around uncontrollably simply due to glee and relief. I love listening to my best friend talk about religion. He has taught me a lot, and I owe him a lot. His personal battles, past and present, are interesting to me, and I’m interested in seeing how God develops us over time. What will our similarities within the faith be, and what will be the differences, as I’m sure there will be? I’m very interested in finding that out.

I, also briefly, would like to mention something else regarding to my past sensitivities, morality, etc., and that is the idea of debating. I don’t really believe I was taught this, but it has just always been a natural disposition of mine. When I was younger, I never liked it when people “debated”. I hated arguments (even harmless ones), and I didn’t like loud noises. I never liked gregariousness (which explains why I spent so much time alone, away from, for example, my father). Of course, you learn, change, and grow over time. People help influence you, and I’m clearly different than I was as a child (God, I would hope so). But now, I dislike debating for other reasons. I won’t mention them all here: I’ll save them for other pieces. Change always makes me wonder why in the fuck I was ever the original way in the first place, but, at least if the change is clearly for the better, I can be thankful that it, at least, happened at all.

I’ve been influenced for the better; I’ve been influenced for the worse. I guess I’m just a human being.

I certainly understand the idea that “you can’t always get what you want”. But what I don’t understand about people who so proudly declare that “it doesn’t matter what you want” with so much sass is that everything we do is an attempt to satiate some desire that we have. What we desire drives our actions. I don’t understand why this isn’t widely believed, or, at the very least, why it isn’t widely disseminated. I am indebted to various economists I have read over the past several years for the revelation that “human beings use means to achieve ends”. This, of course, means that humans desire. Desire is what drives all economic activity: the desire to live, and to live how one wants to the best of his abilities, doing the best he can for himself because he desires what he considers to be in his best interest. So, in other words, all of those miserable people who, so proudly, declare that it doesn’t matter what you want, are, essentially, driven by their own wants. Once again, I don’t know why this isn’t widely accepted and disseminated. The conservatives want to go to Heaven, and the best way they can see to do this is by condemning the “sinful” world around them (sadly). Atheists, I suppose, want to learn sensible truths, or, at the very least, want to avoid the negativity that often comes with being religiously conservative, and want to call out those who make others purposefully feel like shit, even if for a “higher purpose”. Of course, there’s countless motivations and reasons for what people do, but the point is that they are driven by intrinsic desire to obtain their goals, and they take actions in an attempt to satisfy these goals for themselves. This, in the words of Mises’s magnum opus, is “Human Action”.

I personally refuse to accept that what I personally desire isn’t valuable: that it is a “waste of time”. I certainly reject the proposition from a Christian standpoint, which, ultimately, I believe, is the “life” standpoint. As a Christian, I refuse to believe that God loves and cares about me, but somehow doesn’t care about my happiness. Once again, if I said I care about, say, my best friend, but didn’t care about his level of happiness, can I really say that I care about him? Sure, I can rationalize and try to be “moral” and “preachy” and tell him all the reasons why what makes him happy is wrong. But the idea that being happy itself is wrong is, quite simply, just wrong to me. Incorrect.

Because, as I have said, I don’t desire debating, I’d rather not go into too much detail into what it is that I want. As I’ve said, I know I’ll get a billion different reasons as to why I shouldn’t want what I want, or why I’ll never get it, etc. etc. Of course, I write about what I want all the time, but I want to defend wanting itself in this piece.

Despite the fact it will always be the case that I will never be completely satisfied always, this does not mean that there is something wrong with wanting in general. I sincerely hope more people discuss this (I’m probably just looking in the wrong places) and understand that every thing we do is an attempt to satisfy some want. I hope more people will become more comfortable with expressing and accepting their honest feelings about wanting. While I certainly understand the phrase “You can’t always get what you want”, I reject the notion that what I want doesn’t matter. I implore everyone else to believe the same thing for themselves.

And people trying to tell you that what you want doesn’t matter or is impossible to achieve will only make the satisfaction of that desire all the more sweet. (Let’s say that what you want is impossible to achieve, and you finally realize this, and change course of action. …Who cares? Who should be the one to decide when one should change course of direction, and to which direction?) That’s a gigantic motivation for me, personally. I want to prove people wrong that say I’m never going to succeed at what I want to succeed at. More than anything. Almost more than the success itself. “What do you possibly have to offer to the world, Cody?” Let’s just wait and find out, shall we?

Life is a learning process because we aren’t omniscient. Our wills drive us. Our entire lives will be battles between satisfying our desires and the desires of others, and not satisfying our desires nor the desires of others. Human interrelations are so complex that it is seemingly impossible to discuss all of its nuances. Sometimes, we do good, and other times, we do evil. Sometimes, we helplessly make things worse, while other times, we do good accidentally. I don’t really have any good way of explaining why things are the way they are between us all. I’d be highly skeptical of the one that says he does have a good way of explaining it. When you get right down to it, ultimately, the answer to the question “Why?” does seem to come down to: “It just is.” But we should all ask “Why?” as often as we are comfortable with asking, and, for me, that’s quite a bit. Why are many people content with not doing so? Who knows. “They just are.” But if they proclaim, from a deeply philosophical sense, that my wants (or anyone else’s wants, for that matter) simply don’t matter, they are wrong from multiple standpoints. In my opinion, they are taking the easy way out because they themselves are miserable, and that’s the great tragedy behind all of this. I may not know why some men commit heinous evils while others do not, but I can be thankful that I don’t want to commit evil, and I can be thankful for the others that feel that way as well. I am thankful that we don’t all want to be evil, even though, inevitably, it will slip out from all of us, from time to time, to varying degrees. That’s the best I can hope for while I’m alive: that our evil doesn’t destroy us too much. That remains to be seen, but I’m hopeful. Of course, I’m not in a gulag, so that’s easy for me to say now. If I were, I probably wouldn’t be as hopeful. But, in the long run, maybe that’s all we have: hope. Because we want good, even when we create bad. (I reserve the right to be pessimistic, especially for comedic purposes).

Personal Happiness as a Virtue.

Insightful.

A Way Out

Never before in my life have I felt more in control of my life. And never have I felt more terrified (well……maybe that’s an exaggeration. I’m sure my recollection of past anxieties is quite understated, now that I’ve given it more than five seconds of thought (it’s odd how sometimes, it’s hard to forget what you want to, then you want to remember what was previously hard to forget. Being a human is fucking weird, dude)). Due to the nature of childhood, whereby you do what you are told by guides, and due to being taught about how shitty my decisions are in the eyes of God, I’ve coasted. I’ve been very lucky in this coast thus far, but that time has come to an end. The “free ride” is over.

I finally understand that I am free. I am free from the punishment of my sins, past, present, and future. I am beginning to realize what “control” actually means. And I’m growing tired of “guidance”.

I try to write about things that bug me. Because it feels important to do so. I never feel like I have the right words to say what I want to say. I fear this struggle will stay with me forever. But I’m getting tired of common rhetoric. And I’m getting tired of trying to figure it all out.

I need a way out. I need a way out of the intellectual mire I have been in for so long. I don’t know what this way out is. Once again, it feels important for me to be mired in it to a certain extent. But I realize this is futile in many regards. But, I also realize it is valuable. I don’t have a good perspective about this at the moment, and it is bogging me down.

Why write this when no one reads it? Why write at all when there’s so much to be read? Why talk about anything when it’s been talked about countless times before? When it’s been ignored? Debated? What’s the point? I really don’t fucking know anymore. But I’m finally at that point in my life where I realize I need something. I don’t know what it is. But I need something. I need something meaningful. I need to find happiness. And I finally realize this must, ultimately, come from within.

I listen and learn as much as I can. I get frustrated, hit metaphorical walls, and distract myself from it all. I try to contribute valuable ideas. I wish I was like God. I wish I had all of the perfect answers, and that I could perfectly live by them. But I’m stuck being a human instead, where I get tired, commit wrongdoings, become a victim, etc. I also happen to be a quite stubborn one.

The point is, I want some direction. I’m not necessarily saying I want you to give me one, because I know I will reject your advice. But I feel like something large is missing in my life. I want to write about it as much as possible, to find out what that is. I think a part of it is just growing up. I’m tired of letting the misfortunes of my past define me today. I want to move on from it all. And I want to write about it all. And I’m going to dream of financial success. I’m going to write ideas that no one cares about, and dream of success. I’m a mess. My writing is a mess. My mind is a mess. My mental and physical health is a mess. Perhaps I’m becoming more mature, because all of this isn’t crippling yet. Isn’t that what being human is largely about? About coping with these sorts of things? I suppose I’m finally “inaugurated” to adulthood. But I don’t like most adults, and I don’t want to be one of them.

I have to figure out what I’m going to do, and at this point, I’m not sure what that is. My physical health will probably give out on me before I do figure it out (in which case, I won’t have to worry about it), because I can’t have the discipline to avoid a tasty taco for more than a couple of days; and then, I don’t have the discipline to avoid many of them.

I suppose I have to accept the fact that negative things are going to happen to me. Positive things, too. But the negative is here, and is coming. And I can’t figure all of this out. I want to do my best. I want to put forth effort to do something. I want to contribute something. But I’m no Messiah. Thank God. I just want to be what I want to be. I just want to be Cody. But I don’t quite know what “Cody” is yet. And, I suppose, that is what needs to be figured out.

It’s very terrifying, considering my religious background. All I hear in my head is how “bad” “Cody” is. Deep down, I understand that, despite that fact, God still loves me, and forgives me for my sins. But I think about this only from an afterlife perspective. Sure, I know I’m going to Heaven when I die. But what am I going to do while I’m here? Most of the time, I feel pretty confident in what I’m doing. But that’s until, say, my hypochondria starts to notice the wheels falling off. Is that what this is really all about? Did I have a panic attack while eating a taco and wondered if it was a heart attack? Does this have to do with thinking about politics, arguments, and history? Reading, and learning? Perspective? All of the above. I’m finally accepting that my life is my own. It’s my own to figure out. I could not have realized this without diligent studying over the past several years. But I’m truly realizing that my life is my own. And it’s fucking hard to figure it out.

I can’t even write, because I can’t explain what I’m thinking. I can’t organize it. I think about the fact that nobody reads this stuff, and wonder if I’m wasting my time, while, at the same time, realizing that I want to say it for some reason that must be important to me. I want to be informed on “issues”, but it seems pointless, as the wheels of society go round, and round, and round, to, seemingly, no conclusion. I want to write, but what? Everything I write is going to be inferior to someone else’s work. So why wouldn’t I want to read the work of others? Then, I want to do nothing. Not sure what I want to do. In some ways, it feels like I am wanting structure. But I know that as soon as I had it, I would immediately reject it and resent it. So I know that, deep down, the ultimate answer must come from within me. But I’m not informed enough yet. And I try, and I try, to make myself more informed. But it makes me more depressed. More nihilistic. And that makes me more depressed.

I wish I had everything figured out. I wish I was perfectly happy. I know these are futile. But there are aspects within these ideas that are good. I can never figure everything out, but I can learn. I can’t be happy all of the time, but this doesn’t mean that I will never be happy some of the time. And these drive me, thank God. I still have stress, and think about money, my health, my work, politics, “society”, etc. And they overtake me at times, and lead me down dark, confusing roads. But I finally understand that I don’t have to get lost down them. I am the navigator. Albeit an anxious, inexperienced one, I realize that everyone has been, and still is, to varying degrees. So, I must look forward to making my own mistakes and decisions, and look back on them with my own emotions of lamentation and fondness. I’ve got to do this on my own, even if I break into tears. I’ll probably die a penniless author due to too many cheeseburgers. But if there are no other alternatives that I’m willing to take, I must accept the results of my actions, even if I end up regretting them.

I deeply long for an escape from the evils of this world. The only permanent escape is death; but I don’t want to die yet. Does that mean I wish to reside among evil? Perhaps. This contradiction within myself bugs me. “Why would I rather live here, where I perform evil actions and have evil actions done to me, instead of killing myself and going to Heaven, where I believe I’m going?” Well, I don’t want to kill myself. But why? I think there is some uncertainty, even within my “Christian” beliefs of Heaven and Hell. I’d rather do what makes me happy (even if it kills me “in the long run”) than make a decision to end my life immediately on an unimaginably depressing level. It isn’t that I don’t want to kill myself because I think of what will happen to me when I die: it’s that I don’t want to kill myself because of everything leading up to that death. I don’t want to put myself through those moments leading up to the suicide. That isn’t worth going to Heaven sooner rather than later. I’d rather deal with the evils of this world than kill myself (of course, if I ever end up in a prison under a completely tyrannical government, or the world is on the brink of a complete nuclear war, I may reconsider my position). I realize that position sounds very strange to many, but I hope that you will ponder what I have just said and actually understand my point of view.

Finding like-minded individuals always helps with stress. You always hope that you are part of a majority, but it’s inevitable, on some level, that you will be a part of a minority. If the parts of yourself that you identify with the most are part of that minority, it can be very difficult. It can be difficult to be that isolated. It becomes downright infuriating when you feel as if you hold the ethical position to the unethical position of “the majority”. Of course, the question is begged: “What makes you think you are so much more ‘ethical’ than us?” And thus, history is introduced. The same arguments keep continuing, and, many times, the answer lies in some long-forgotten text. It feels futile to attempt to give any knowledge “to the world” because of that fact, but there’s clearly many ancient texts that are not forgotten. (Of course, for you simpletons, I’m not saying that my writing is equivalent to someone like John Locke, but clearly, as evidenced by the fact that I’m writing something, I feel as if that piece of writing has some value, and, depending on what type of writing it is, that can be intellectual value, comedic value, etc.).

Am I saying that the answer lies in books? Can the void I am experiencing be filled by literature? And, if so, why am I so hesitant to read? There’s clearly an exhaustion element to it. I guess I’m just not as smart as “avid readers” (but when I look at many popular, say, political philosophies, from “well-educated”, “well-read” and “well-published” college professors, I have to wonder how much “reading” affected their abilities to be logical thinkers (or ethical people)). When you start to go down the road of reading a book, it’s a commitment. It’s a commitment to the ideas of the author. And even if I’m interested in a book, I just get tired of going down that string of ideas for too long. I always get anxious when I’m not personally creating something (even if what I’m creating is vastly inferior to what I stop reading (or consuming in general) in order to create). I have a deep drive to be financially successful, and I can’t do that without a body of work. So I try to create works. But they’re just inferior to what they are going to be in the future by virtue of lack of experience, biological growth, practice, etc. I’m stuck in the mud, spinning my wheels. I want to go as fast as possible to get out of this mire that I’m in, but I’m going nowhere. I know that I’m not exactly going nowhere, but it’s so slow that it feels that way. I know my writing sucks, and that sucks. I compare myself to other authors because I want that stable paycheck we’re all after.

I know, I know. Don’t write for money, write for myself. I fucking hate this shit. I always write for myself. But I always want to become a professional at it. How can it be that desiring to be a professional isn’t for “me” but is only for other people? That’s idiotic.

I know, I’m delusional. I’d rather be insane at this point in my life than “sane”. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t try. I can’t imagine packing in my bags without giving a valiant effort, then feeling so depressed in my old (or middle) age that I never wrote as much as I wanted to. “You can still write, Cody. Just don’t think of it as a job.” I fucking hate conversation. There’s literally no downside to trying to make your passion a career. Literally zero. Damn, I could be an electrician right now. I could have a stable job right now. Learning a valuable skill. But here I am writing some shit that no one reads. What am I, insane? I sure fucking hope so, because I hate sane people. How hard is it to understand the concept that if you really love doing something, you should treat it like a career? Why do so many people disagree with that statement? I truly think they’re soulless people. I don’t want to be as unhappy as they are. (Perhaps that’s unfair of me. But I personally cannot agree with their logic. I would argue they should be more like me, but who doesn’t argue that? “Whatever floats your boat.” (“We all float down here, Richie.” Sorry. I’m recently influenced)).

I have a deeply held conviction that life is not simply about being miserable. I realize this was largely due to my youth, but I always anticipated that adulthood was where happiness came to die. Even as a kid, I always dreaded getting older. “Why do Mom and Dad work at those places if they hate their jobs?” I always wanted to escape that, and I think my parents were instrumental in fostering that desire within me. “Don’t do as I did. Go to school.” Etc. This desire got me interested in economics, and now, my worldview is completely changed. Of course, whether or not I was ever introduced to economics, my life would’ve changed from childhood to now. But economics has had a profound effect on me. I’ll never look at the world the same way again. I always wanted an answer to why they worked at jobs they hated besides the “that’s just the way it is” argument. That argument only works in very limited circumstances. Yes, I’m a hypocrite. Sometimes, I get tired of learning about a subject, and accept the bare minimum. Other times, I’m not that way. What do you fucking want from me as a fucking advice giver?; perfection?

I should state that my best friend has had a profound impact upon me as far as my “happiness philosophy” goes as well. I won’t get too religious here, as I’ve written about it separately before, and will continue to do so, but he has certainly been a key to me accepting this “happiness philosophy” for myself; and, of course, I want to share it with others in an attempt to foster happiness in others. (Yeah, I also like pissing people off from time to time. …Ok, a lot. But still, it’s for a good cause. Give me a break. I’m not God, even though, sometimes, I wish I could be. (“Didn’t Satan say that?!”)). The internal conflict could be settled if I was perfect, so I always wish that I could be, so that I could get an ultimate relief from conflict. In reality, as I said before, the only way to escape conflict completely is to die. But I don’t want to die yet. So, like everyone else, I’m stuck here on this planet with conflicts. In some ways, the conflicts feel so trivial. But, on the other hand, they’re crippling. Yet another fucking conflict

People will think I’m crazy, but I can very vividly remember the day my life changed forever with regards to this “happiness philosophy” of mine. At the risk of repeating myself, I was finishing up community college, living with my mom. I couldn’t tell you what my future plans were during this time, because I didn’t fucking know. I played a lot of sports video games. Masturbated. And that was pretty much it. (Some things never change……). I knew I was going to need a job eventually, but I’m stubborn in that I don’t jump into something until I understand what I’m doing (is that true all of the time? Not when I really want something. Then I jump right in and figure it out later). Money was always this dirty thing to me. This is what drove people away from God. And now, you’re telling me that I need it to live? Why isn’t God providing for me instead of money? How can something evil be so necessary to life? When I asked myself that question, my life changed forever.

I remembered hearing on ABC News, when I was a kid, about the profits that CEOs made. Being religiously brainwashed (I have a lot of the blame to share with this), I thought it was evil (of course, there were people on the network outraged at the amount of money as well). I hated money. Business, corporations, etc., were evil. Money was evil. I was reminded of this when I thought about getting a job, and making money. There was an immediate contradiction that needed to be resolved. Is living evil? Is bare sustenance the work of the devil? Are poor people more moral than rich people? Up until this point, I had always said “Yes” to all of the above. But on this day, in what felt like a lightning bolt of inspiration, I realized that the answer had to be “No” if I ever were to have any chance of escaping poverty. I had to reeducate myself regarding money, corporations, jobs, etc. And now, the subject has taken over my life, and introduced a whole new set of problems (but, of course, healthy perspectives as well).

In addition to my worldview being warped as far as economics was concerned, just my worldview of people in general was severely warped. It still is, to a large extent, due to my previous religious thoughts. It’s very weird to explain. In some ways, it boils down to “Any time a group of people are happy, I’m skeptical of them.” That sounds dumb, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because it is. My red-colored glasses of conservatism made everything “dumb” and weird. It’s really embarrassing, but “it is what it is”. It’s so embarrassing to admit my level of cynicism, largely influenced by religion, of all things. That sounds so fucking odd to say. But, you know: there’s goddamn sinners out there, Cody! Ya gotta watch out for them! God damn, I was stupid. I pity anyone who thinks like I used to. That level of exhaustion is just fucking beyond description.

Let’s continue along the economic-skepticism line. I’ve always been distrustful of successful people. (Let me just say that I fucking hate writing about myself (hard to believe, I know). On the one hand, I want to say that I’ve always been skeptical of people who, say, were famous, or rich. Or anyone who spoke from a position of authority. But I’ve also been very gullible. So I can’t say with certainty whether I’ve been more skeptical or gullible. This is what I hate about being a human: it’s so hard to say that I am one specific thing (which would make writing so much easier……)). As I said, I’ve always viewed successful people as evil, and it’s been hard to untrain myself from that mode of thought. I always look at “celebrities” with this sneering judgment. It’s almost instinctual. It’s because I’ve trained myself to, but now, I’m actually able to observe what I’m doing instead of actually being caught up in the moment. It has been so hard to untrain myself in this regard, and I’m still not where I would like to be completely. I’m basically having to relearn a philosophical position regarding “success”. There are countless people that have this same attitude. It’s depressing, but I wouldn’t like to talk about them too much here, because I know it isn’t really going to “solve” the problem. I’m learning that there are no ultimate resolutions to “sides”: at least not in a perfect sense. There will always be “sides”: disagreements. Conflicts. Things that always terrified me as a child, for some reason. I don’t know why that always bugged me as a kid. Could it have been that I saw “disagreements” as a sinful flaw against God’s perfect plan of peace and harmony? Perhaps. But I think a lot of it just had to do with being a naturally sensitive kid and just personally really disliking disagreements, even if I was only a third party to two other “disagreeing” parties who weren’t as troubled by the disagreement as I was (which is so weird. The best way I can think to describe myself in one word is “weird”). It’s very interesting how I’ve attempted to “toughen myself up” as I’ve gotten older, and it’s also interesting how I still have a deep soft spot within me as well. I should talk about that at a later date, when I’ve given it more thought.

I don’t want to be on any “side”. I hate “sides”. But by virtue of learning, you are put on one. I don’t think there is ever any escape from “sides”. At least not if you wish to speak. (I suppose, even if you remain silent, you take a “side”: you make choices as far as what your ethics are, etc.). Perhaps that is what I need to learn: to just keep my goddamned mouth shut. I don’t want to be in a position where I never take positions, but I also don’t want to take positions. Or, at least, I wish that I didn’t feel that it was important to take positions. I wish I lived in a situation were there were no positions to take. Or perhaps I just wish that my “position” was apathy. But that’s not how I am. I need to learn to become more apathetic in some ways, and more well-spoken in others. I fucking hate how life is such a confusing, delicate balance when it comes to the mind. You can ask someone the same question on two separate days, and get a different answer depending on their emotional state. I fucking hate that about being human. I know it’s inescapable, but I need a personal philosophy to be able to learn how to live with it. My old philosophy was that all humans are broken. My perspective began in an incredibly judgmental, unproductive way. It morphed to depression, as I paid attention to evils in the world. I finally had to turn it to humor, because the tragedies grew too great. I do get exhausted focusing on negatives so often. I need a real way out. I need to find it for myself. I don’t want some jackass self-help guru to tell me some shit that isn’t going to resonate with me; that I’ll either feel bad because there must be something wrong with me to not get what this “expert” is saying or I’ll analyze every fucking word he says and pick apart everything I see wrong with what he said (which I really don’t want to waste time doing). I’d rather just ignore the motherfucker altogether, but that’s hard for me to do. It’s just so hard for me to ignore people, and that’s what I need more than fucking anything right now. I need to ignore you cocksuckers who tell me dumb moralistic phrases like “Sometimes it’s good to listen to other people, Cody, you know.” God damn, I fucking hate you people, and I need to fucking learn how to ignore your stupid self-righteous asses. It’s so hard. Sadly, I think biology is the main key.

I have always admired people who through their sheer individualism change the world around them. I think of someone like George Carlin. Who was “instructing” George Carlin on how to live his life? What “boss” was George Carlin obeying? This was a man living individualism to the fullest. He created his own world. He made the people around him subscribe to his ideas. Of course, he had to have been influenced by others: it’s impossible to be completely uninfluenced by others (perhaps feral children are the only ones “uninfluenced” by others, but, of course, it can be argued that they are “influenced” by the parents that abandoned them if they were abandoned, etc.), but through his will alone, he changed the people around him. I can’t tell you how inspiring that is to me. I admire anyone who does that for the better. I deeply wish to emulate people like that. But when I think of how far I have to go in that regard to get to that point, it just depresses me; that, and also the uncertainty of whether it will even happen at all.

I know, I know. I’m a dumbass, grandiose little boy. Is that out of your system? Do you feel better now?

I personally have learned that, speaking for myself, it is almost always better if I make up my own mind instead of going for advice. Most of the time, when I have gone for advice, it has only made things worse. I realize that my independent mind must make decisions regarding who I listen to, the types of ideas that I believe for myself, etc. Taking those first steps toward accepting that were very hard for me. “What if I make a grave mistake?” That’s always held me back so much. But I’ve spent so much time looking for answers from others (answers which never satisfied me) that I just can’t take it anymore, goddammit. I’m making up my own mind. Creating my own thoughts and solutions. And it’d be great if those influenced other people for the better. But I’m done looking for advice. “Does that mean you’re never asking for advice ever again, Cody?” God DAMN you fucks are stupid. It feels so great to point that out. I hope you feel like shit when you read this, fucking retard.

It is so hard to be bored, and desire mental stimulation, and then constantly find problems with your source of mental stimulation. I do this constantly. I think of how I can do what the people I’m “consuming” are doing. Constantly. It’s relentless. The idea of being mentally braindead and just consuming what someone else is doing without thinking of a way to actually use it for myself terrifies me. That’s how people fail, in my opinion. I want everything I consume to be beneficial to me in some way. Just something that I can use. And when I get exhausted with that, I’ll relax, and just consume to relax (which, of course, is still “beneficial” to me). But I want to observe successful people, and try to figure out what I can take from them to make myself successful. I don’t need a fucking Mark Cuban book to figure out how to do this. Life is an independent “project”, and I want to work on it by myself, in my own way. That’s what I crave. I want people to say “Damn. I can’t believe he fucking did that. How in the fuck did he do that?!” I have a natural desire to create ideas more than consume them. But I always end up consuming more than creating. “WHAT’S WRONG WITH HEARING THE IDEAS OF OTHERS, CODY?!?!?!?!?!” You fucking retards……

Read what I’ve written about “Other People” here.

The uncertainty of the future is bugging me at the moment. The restlessness. The back and forth of “common” arguments. I need a way out. Maybe that means reading more. Maybe that means reading less things on the internet. I don’t know exactly, but I’m certain that it will come with time. (It’s so weird how I can ignore my past. I have a fear of being “stuck” in the past, so I don’t think about it much. But, one day, when I’m not feeling so anxious, I really should go back and analyze my past mindset regarding “the future”. “Haven’t you been doing that in this piece, Cody? Haven’t you been talking about your religious past?” Yes, I have been. But there’s many things in my past that I haven’t written about yet, that will be very difficult to put into words. But I would like to do so sometime in the future).

It’s hard to find a way out and express yourself because other people can express themselves to your expressions. I don’t enjoy this, whether it’s praise or criticism. I just like to be left alone in general as much as possible. It’s always weird to me when people start talking to me. I do enjoy being a troll, though, so there is some enjoyment that comes from it sometimes.

In fact, I’m honestly just so fucking sick of these arguments where there’s multiple viewpoints, and “the truth” just comes down to your own personal opinions. I don’t want to discuss criticisms of my personal philosophies any longer. It’s necessary to address them every so often, because by virtue of being a communicator, you’re opening yourself up to being communicated to, but, thankfully, we’re all given wills, and that includes the will to ignore. It’s not always easy, but at least it’s there.

Literature truly is going to be an incredibly slow process over my entire lifetime. I’m not going to be the best writer I can be overnight. But whatever happens overnight is important. Perspective is a very important thing to me (I think it is to all of us, honestly, but maybe I just talk about it more so than many people I’ve been around). I’m not satisfied with what I hear. I can almost say that I never have been. I used to think this was some problem that existed within myself. I spent many years telling myself that I was somehow broken because so many things didn’t satisfy me. Those “phrases” that just exist in the world, those “words to live by”, just never did anything for me. Well, they annoyed me when they inevitably didn’t work (thanks to a process I was taught by religious conservatism). But I’ve almost never been satisfied with what I’ve heard from others. I’ve always had to create my own world. My own happiness. And it’s hard, because people get involved, and I just don’t fucking like them. I don’t care if my words don’t make sense to you, you think I’m some kind of psychopathic killer, whatever. I don’t fucking care. I don’t like you. Say whatever you want to about me, but don’t say it to me. Perhaps this is part of the reason that I hate cliches so much: they just don’t apply to me like they do to, seemingly, so many other people. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “If you’re going to say something, say it to my face.” I don’t think that applies to me as much. I don’t want to hear what dumb shit you’re going to say about me, and I’d rather you spread unfounded rumors as to confront me about some ethical flaw that exists within my person as perceived by your mentally-impaired mind. “To each his own.”

It has always been very hard for me to ignore other people. I’ve always been painfully thin-skinned. Being as apathetic as I am (the exact measurement is questionable) has been an extremely difficult process over many years. I’m thankful for the end result, but I’m glad I don’t have to repeat the process again. Isn’t it weird how that’s how life is? We do shit that we hate so that we don’t have to do it anymore? On a philosophical level, I have to question why we’d have to do it in the first place, if we’re doing it simply to avoid it later on in the future, but I digress. “Duh, life isn’t perfect, Cody.” Sorry. I just wanted to make you sound like a fucking idiot there for a second.

I always compare a current state of being with perfection. Why do I do that, you may ask? Because I lament the original state of man. I believe that, when man was first created, we lived in a perfect paradise. And we fucked it up. I think that, deep down, I know we had perfection, and we lost it. I think this is why I naturally compare all current states of being to perfection. I accept the fact that we cannot get it back (until we die, if we are a Christian), and I think this is where I differ with a certain (seemingly large) group of people. This is an incredibly difficult topic, and I look forward to my best friend’s thoughts about this subject, as I’m sure he’s given it much thought, and he could probably shed some light on the subject. But, for example, there is a difference between helping someone who is drowning because you don’t want to see that person drown because you yourself are a human being, and don’t want to drown, so you have this almost kindred connection with that person (also known as “empathy”), and helping out the drowning person because you remember that this book you read taught you to care for other people and if you don’t do that then you’re going to burn in Hell for all eternity so you live your entire life based on trying to avoid that eternal fire. In both cases, you are helping the drowning man: a noble act. But the motivations are so different from one another that I’d consider them two separate actions. (This is where wordplay gets tricky (and why I fucking hate language): can you say they are different actions, when the act performed was the same? Surely, the intentions are different. Fuck words. Fuck semantics. I know I need to know this shit if I’m going to be a writer, but it’s so goddamn mundane that I’d rather be harvesting hay, or some other monotonous, laborious shit (well……….almost)).

I cannot explain to you the level of boredom that I’ve experienced throughout most of my life. It’s painful to think about. I wouldn’t go back to that time period for anything, because now, I have so many things to keep me busy, and I feel like I’ve never been happier. I’m convinced that a large reason why I have been so bored throughout most of my life was my early experiences with reading, that I’ve written about before. That’s quite depressing, but it is what it is. I’ve also, (like everyone else), just been weird. When I say something, people don’t understand what I’m saying. And I fucking hated explaining myself (growing up), because I just wanted someone to relate to me. But, ironically enough, as with everyone else, so few did relate to me. Isn’t that so odd? How we can all be in the same troubled boat? Why can’t it be that two people with the same problem solve each other’s problem? Humans are FUCKED up. I think this troubles me so because I’m always comparing any current situation to the Fall of Man. “Then just don’t do that, Cody.” No. “Well then, I guess you’ll just be miserable then.” I guess I will. “But is that any way to live?” Once Pandora’s Box is opened, you can’t close it. I do not want to will myself into an ignorant situation, even if it makes me feel better. “I bet you don’t think that way when you’re eating fast food, huh, Cody? Bet those health problems are just gonna sneak up on you, aren’t they, Cody?” Fuck you.

On a side note, I hate it when people try to use my words against me and fail. “Uh, Cody, you don’t want to will yourself into an ignorant situation, but you actually think you can become a professional author? What gives with that contradiction?” All I care about is waving my check in your face.

I suppose I should give thanks to all of those who have gotten me out of the mental-badminton quagmire. I hope to find more out there.

There is a beauty in life in that we exist as individuals. This means I have my life, my thoughts, and my beliefs. I have my desires, my goals, and my actions. I really think that should, ultimately, be my saving grace. When faced with the unknown, I, like probably everyone else, try to fill in the gaps. I realize just how stupid those fillings were from my childhood. Now, I was a child, but still. It’s taken me this long to realize this extent of my stupidity. I know more of it will be revealed to me as time goes by, and I just pray that it doesn’t hurt too badly. It feels great to be an individual. Over the past several years, I have surrounded myself with a philosophy that heralds individualism. I have been reconditioning my brain from the moralism of yesteryear. When I was first introduced to this “rugged individualism”, it felt refreshing, but I was still unsure of it. I was hooked, and listened to every word of those that expounded it. But I wasn’t immediately sold. I still had questions. I needed to learn more beyond the initial sales pitch. And now, I find myself as a “libertarian salesman” of sorts. I’ve been ingrained in the “libertarian philosophy” for so long now that it’s branched out into other areas of my life that it hadn’t before. Many of the questions that I had with religion were filled by libertarian (individualistic) philosophy. A lot of things are making sense now, and I’m actually feeling confident in my decisions and actions. And I have to thank libertarian thinkers such as Ron Paul, Murray Rothbard, among others, for that. They have provided me with “a way out” as much as anyone else ever has, if not more so (and that’s certainly arguable).

The evils and problems of the world will always bring me down to a certain extent. But I’m fairly certain they will never ultimately defeat me. Perhaps my way out will involve more reclusion than I ever thought myself actually comfortable with. Perhaps it will be developing thicker skin. I don’t know exactly where the end road will be, but I do imagine myself being much happier in the future as I continue to develop this mode of thinking. I don’t know exactly what “the way out” will be, and I know I will always get sucked back in, then escape, then sucked back in, in varying intervals, but I hope to keep my mind in a good place and contribute good to the world. That’s ultimately what I want. I consider myself blessed to not want to rule the world, and I pity those that do desire that. They’re missing out. They may put the bayonet to my neck, but I don’t anticipate they’ll ever have my mind, nor my spirit. I think I’m on the bottom steps of the way out. I’m in a hurry to make it to the final destination, but not enough to speed up the process any faster than biology and my lifestyle choices regarding diet and exercise will get me there.

I do not look forward to the next time I get trapped, but it is so strange how getting older makes your brain change.

It is so strange how age makes your perspective change for the better. What was once a cause of social anxiety is a source of pride. Why in the fuck couldn’t you have made me that way originally, God? I ask this at the risk of you casting me into the Lake of Fire, of course. But I think it’s a legitimate question, no? I guess this is why the last chapter of the Bible is called “Revelation”. (Go ahead and make fun of me, atheists. Once again, these debates are so petty to me. Do what you want).

So, the whole point of this is: what is the way out from this all? I know age is a huge part of it, but is there anything else? How can I escape? What is my escape? There is no complete escape, I would argue. I’m too smart: I know what is “out there”. But how can I handle it all? Will only time tell? Or is there anything else that I can do to help myself? I know my best friend will continue to help. Venting to a man with his own problems that I can’t solve. Having the willpower to just ignore the arguments in general will help immensely. Finding something to replace the nervousness when someone asks me “Don’t you care about ‘the issues’?” I need something to say to that person. I need the willpower to ignore that person. I just don’t have it now. I need a way out, but I think it’s going to take a while before I get there. That’s very sad. But “it is how it is” (oh how I hate that sentence, if only for the way it is used often).

It is so odd to me how, so often, desiring something immensely, and doing everything in your power to satiate that desire, just leads you further and further away from it. That’s so fucking weird. We’re all strapped into this ride, that sometimes has some pretty brutal bumps on it, but we keep moving forward. Life is so fucking odd to me. I don’t think that is ever going to change. I think life is just always going to be fucking weird to me. I guess it takes weird to know weird.

“…they may take our lives, but they’ll never take…OUR FREEDOM!” – Mel Gibson as William Wallace in “Braveheart”.

I look forward to seeing the day, in the future, where all of this takes me. Where will I see debating and arguing in the future? What all will I have written 20 years from now? What all will I have read? How happy will I be then? What will be the overall “state of affairs” in the world?

I don’t anticipate really wanting to talk to people. I think this format of thinking and then writing will work well enough for my purposes in the future. I can’t stop analyzing people, and regardless of what people have always told me, I personally don’t see any problem with it. That’s how I am, and I personally accept it. But because other people don’t, I just need to get away from them as much as possible. I need a way out. (You see how clever that was? It’s like the title of the piece, and I tied it all together. Aren’t I smart? Damn, I’m smart……….and funny, too. Now, if only the world noticed……………….. c’est la vie).

No One Knows What Anyone is Talking About.

On Boredom

I decided to write this article on a day when, no surprise, I was bored. To remedy this problem, I decided to drive to McDonald’s: my deadly way of typically dealing with boredom (not only is eating when you are bored deadly; but eating at McDonald’s? Premature death, here I come). I debated it briefly, as I know how unhealthy McDonald’s food is. And I had already eaten there the day prior. But, after a few minutes, I decided to, anyway, and left the house full of guilt.

On my way home, I contemplated my boredom. I remembered that, throughout most of my teenage years, I experienced extreme boredom, with little stimuli to remedy it. Boredom led me to start writing again after many years, back in 2012. But there are some complicated things that arose in me on that way home from McDonald’s, and I’m going to attempt to write them all out here.

After I remembered how bored I used to be, I thought of all of the different things that I am able to do today. Particularly, I enjoy writing, making Youtube videos, and writing jokes. That’s what I enjoy doing, and I dream of making money at all of these someday. But then I realized that, for some reason, I get bogged down with these things. Not bored, but just…unmotivated. Why is it that I’m not working on what I like to do? And the answer was the amount of work involved.

I come up with ideas, but rarely complete them. Coming up with a good idea is the easy part, but I’m always so unmotivated to complete them. And I don’t know why. It’s some kind of commitment issue. I realize that at the rate at which I come up with ideas, to complete them all, and as well as I would like to, would require a fulltime, life commitment to these projects. And I have always been terrified of spending too much time on one thing to the detriment of doing other things. I feel like that was taught to me at some point (and conservatism prevented me from dedicating my time to anything other than God, and that’s probably a huge part of it as well). But I’m in a constant state of boredom, and, typically, I have to rely on myself to get myself out if it. I am a consumer of the works of others, but no one can entertain me like me.

I already wrote an article about my laziness, but my laziness causes a conflict with my boredom. I said in that piece that I typically create things when I’m at my most bored. And I’ve stated that a main reason for my creativity is to entertain myself. But, I believe I’ve said before, something is missing. My work ethic and time commitment to my projects is lacking. Part of this is I like relaxing, having fun, and consuming the works of others (as long as they entertain me). But sometimes, the well runs dry, and I need to do something for myself. But I’m lazy about my work. My ideas require a lot of skills that I currently don’t have, and that’s what is most frustrating about this. I work on the simple things, which are fine. But the really good stuff is the stuff you put more work into. But that would require me knowing how to use my software editing program more than I do, which means I need to learn it, and it aggravates me to have to learn certain things that I don’t already know. I don’t know why that is. Maybe it pisses me off to be stupid, so I remain in ignorance to somehow pout? I don’t know. All I know is that I’m too lazy to learn how to do it to the level that I need to create what I want to create. But I think there’s something more to it as well.

I think a great deal of it goes back to my own personal history with religious conservatism. For some reason, I have always seen working towards a goal as something to be avoided. I think it has to do with being taught that I should focus more on Heavenly rewards, and not Earthly ones. I think I have trained myself, over the years, to hate “Earthly” rewards. And if working is what gets you those Earthly rewards, then I don’t need to work. It sounds stupid now, but I really believe that I have trained myself to do this over the years. And when I finally realized that I needed a job so that I could have money so that I could have a car, etc., I started studying economics to give myself a perspective about money that wasn’t the religious one that I had developed prior. Although I’m naturally a lazy person, religious conservatism taught me to hate working for goals (unless those goals were religiously-oriented). But now, I have so many different things that I want to do, and I need to find a way to get over this pious hump.

I realize to many people, all of this “religious conservatism” talk is gobbledy-gook. And, for your sake, that’s probably a good thing. You don’t want to be able to intimately relate to my words about religious conservatism, because all they do is stunt you, and make you feel like shit. So you aren’t fucking missing out on anything. Consider yourself blessed.

So I have this bias against completing goals. Like I said, if the goal wasn’t “God-oriented”, then it was sinful, worldly, and should be hated and condemned. I don’t believe that today, but the problem is that emotionally, I’m still stuck back in those old days. It’s similar to knowing that McDonald’s will kill me, but eating it anyway. And hating myself for it afterward. Something has to click for me to stop eating at McDonald’s. Maybe it’s a heart attack. Maybe it’s actually learning about how the body works, and ignoring my religious history with the body and medicine, which, for some stupid reason, was me repeating stupid phrases about God in an echo chamber within my head instead of intently paying attention to the body, how it works, and how to take care of it when I first learned about these things as a child. Seriously, anything “worldly” I ignored. I know that’s fucking stupid. And I know not everyone can relate to that. But fucking welcome to religious conservatism; welcome to the fear of God.

So now, I sit. Full of ideas. Videos that make me laugh, things to write. But I don’t fucking do them. Because it involves sitting and thinking; starting, elaborating, and completing. The biggest hurdle I have, in my opinion, is the religious conservative hurdle. Once again, I know not everyone can understand this. But the idea of putting so much time, energy, and passion into a project triggers my old “that’s a sin” reflex, and I have to train myself to stop doing that. Because nothing is getting done. It’s so fucking stupid. And disastrous. And I hate the conservatives that put those thoughts into my head. (Hell: maybe they were my own brand-spanking new shit ideas. I don’t know). But I have got to find a way to dedicate more time and energy into my works. I’ve got to find a way to organize all of this shit, ignore the previous religious fear, and dedicate all of the time that I want to into my works. It will typically occur when I am the most bored, but I’m tired of only skimming the surface with my work. I know I have the potential to create more work at a faster pace, and create more meaningful work. Better work. I know it’s in me. And it’s going to take a lot of work to get it out of me. But I fucking want it. And I need to find my own, healthy perspective about my work, so that I have goals in mind, and can work towards them. This is going to take some time, as unraveling prior shitty thoughts is always hard (I think of poor people raised in an Islamic world, and realize that they have, perhaps, a harder time than anyone unraveling the shit taught to them, as they are taught violence to a degree unlike anyone else in the world: absolutely senseless, deplorable violence). But I want to dedicate my life to writing, and comedy. I really do. Of course, 10 years from now, I could change my mind. But right now, all I want to do is write, and make myself laugh. That’s it. And I’m fucking tired of not doing it.

As I have always said, I need more practice sitting, thinking, organizing, and I need to find a way to dedicate myself to all of this full time, so I can get it all done, and so I can stop being so fucking bored and miserable all of the time, because this is the shit that makes me happy.

I don’t have anything to add about getting paid for all of this garbage at the moment. Although, I think there is a part of me that gets discouraged that my work is not as popular as is my goal to make it (only for financial purposes), and that prevents me from working as fast or as hard. But that’s a topic for another piece.

I’ve got a whole life of work ahead of me, and I need to figure out how to actually fucking do it……

Insightful.

McDonald’s?

More McDonald’s?