Tag Archives: Christ

Perspective

Anything that is written, as this is, must come from some perspective. Something that is created must go somewhere. Must have some meaning. There has to be a reason for why the creator created it. It must come from the vision of the creator. The creator wants people to see his end result. He has intrinsic motivations that he expresses outwardly. This fact isn’t exclusive to “artists”. This is true every second of every day from every person on the planet. I’m not going to attempt to rewrite “Human Action”, but human beings do things in attempts to satiate their desires. This occurs constantly. There is no avoiding this. Along this path, each individual has a different perspective: an overall way of viewing the world, or an outlook.

This outlook is influenced by countless factors. There’s certainly a “natural” element to it: genetics, “fate”, etc. And, of course, experience has a large part to do with it as well: particularly, early on in life. Of course, experience always changes a person, but youth includes a deep impressionability that is unlike any other time in a person’s life. A person’s childhood affects them forever. It doesn’t mean that they will always be “the same”, but one’s first experiences shape the way a person views the world, and these first realized experiences “stick with” a person because of the desperate impressionability of youth, as well as just the fact that your first experiences will be the experiences you carry with you the longest in life simply by virtue of them being “the first” that you recognize.

My first thought is that it is very clear how an individual can become just an absolute disaster of a person because of their earliest experiences. I just imagine a baby being raised in a scientific experiment where he or she is conditioned to be extraordinarily angry, and I quiver. Thankfully, most parents care for their children, I would argue, so this situation is not the majority. There’s certainly a lot of problems that will always exist in the world with regards to parenting, but at least there are many parents that care for their kids, even if there will be those unfortunate souls who are abandoned or abused in ways hardly imaginable to the compassionate mind.

What should we do with our time here on Earth? There is hardly a more important question. This is about what we do. What else is there but “to do”? There’s nothing but “to do”. Life is “to do”. So what to do is what life is. Since “life” is all we have while we are alive, and we do things while we are alive, it is important to know what we are doing, and why. Anyone that doesn’t like the question “why” should be avoided: they have absolutely no sagacity in them whatsoever. You should always ask “why”. Why? That’s the spirit. You get it. Be skeptical of me. I encourage it. Challenge me. You should ask why until you reach your breaking point. For me, that takes a while.

If action is inevitable, does it matter what action is taken, or why specific actions are taken or not taken? From what perspective would these matter? Who do these actions matter to, and why? Quite obviously, it matters to the person taking the action. Individuals take action in an attempt to satisfy themselves more so than they are currently. And we do this until we die. That’s the end of it. That is “life”.

I am tempted to ask why we are different from one another. Why we have different desires, personalities, etc. One might say “Because God wanted it that way”, but I’m skeptical of religious answers. They’re usually a way to fearfully avoid questions. And I try to “avoid” that. “We just are” is probably the best answer, but I can’t get the question out of my head. A sane person would just “move on”, but I never do. I ponder the unanswerable perpetually. I don’t know why. It’s just how I am. That’s just how I see the world.

Everyone that exists has a perspective of everything they can conceive of. This makes something such as “perspective” hard to write about. Perspective regarding what? Whose perspective? Even when discussing perspective “in general”, you have to give examples to illustrate your point. For instance, one of my “perspectives” or “philosophies” is an acceptance of evil in the world. What do I mean by this? Surely everyone knows that evil is an inevitability. Well, this perspective is very prevalent to me on a regular basis. I’m always deeply aware of injustices that I find are important to me, and thinking about them takes up a large portion of my time. I know they’ll never go away completely, in an ultimate sense, but yet, I still think about them. I’ll never “ultimately” satisfy my hunger: I’m always going to be hungry in the future, and I’ll think about food at that time. This is how I feel about “injustice”: there’s always going to be another one to direct my attention to. Injustice will always exist, but it will always get my attention to some degree. That’s the point. I’m always going to notice things, and always going to talk about them. That’s a large part of my “perspective” about life. And, as I said, it occupies a large portion of it.

Another perspective that occupies a lot of my time is: why do I have to be here on this planet with other people? I understand the humor in that question. And, of course, why do other people have to be on this planet with me? The majority of people that I encounter just “exist” in my world. I’m not friends with them, nor enemies with them, but just aware of them. I think this is inevitable for everyone. There’s just too many people to be intimate with them all. And, of course, I’m more grumpy than extroverts who enjoy the presence of other people, so this attitude of mine is “skewed” from the point of view of someone that would consider themselves to be more extroverted. There’s many jokes about how “cold” people are, especially in big cities. I don’t want to go on some moral crusade about it.

There’s so many people that exist today. It’s frightening, in a sense. For one, babies are being born into an imperfect world, and thus, are going to experience suffering and joy, back and forth, throughout their entire lives. Would it just be better for them if they were never born? If they never had to experience the bad? Sure, they’d never experience the good. But what about the bad? Is it worth it to bring another child into this world? I don’t think so, but I’m not in charge of the decision of others to have children. Secondly, just the number of people is frightening. Human ingenuity has a way of finding ways to make things work, but I just envision a doomsday overpopulation scenario when I try to conceive of the number of people that exist on the planet. I truly can’t, so I don’t think about it too often.

Growing up” is a phrase I commonly hear. I want to whine and complain, and already I can hear others saying that I need to “grow up”. And I’m already ignoring them. Whining and complaining is fun. It is going to my grave with me. I’m never just going to “accept” something shitty. I’m going to whine and complain and drag my heels the entire time, and if that depresses you to a point where my very existence makes you feel negative emotion, then all I can tell you is just to grow up.

A less frequent thought pattern that enters my mind is failings in my past. Failure drives me mad. It eats me alive. It cripples me until God has mercy on me and somehow motivates me to act again. This has gotten better over time, but it used to be unbearable. I guess everyone goes through that, though. I’m glad it’s over to the extent that it is, but I still think about present mistakes I’m no doubt making now, and how they are going to affect me in the future. When I feel the most in control is when I make my biggest mistakes, so it really isn’t any wonder that I’ve shied away from independence as much as possible. Of course, this has caused problems of its own. That’s the problem with problems: they always exist.

My career failures eat me alive as well. The more that I hear I can’t, the more that I want to prove that I can. It feeds me. I’m starting to wonder if I’m going to starve myself to death from lack of nourishment, but I can’t give up, because I know that would be spiritually defeating. I’m never going to let myself give up, even if I don’t succeed. That regret would be unbearable. I enjoy the challenge and the ridicule. It makes the dream that much more sweet. My “delusion” is what I live for.

In many ways, my overall perspective is hopelessness. When I notice injustices, I feel hopeless. When I’m working on my career, I feel optimistic. That’s all the more incentive for me to consume myself with it, of course. But I face my own hurdles there as well: namely, getting burnt out. Another struggle of work and relaxation. It’s easy to notice your failures when your eyes are on the goal. If it ever does happen, it is going to be a giant, unpredictable slap in the face.

All of the doubt fuels me. All of the “advice”, “hate”, everything that says that I can’t or that I won’t fuels me immensely. It’s why I do it. I do it just because I’m told I can’t. That drives me every single day. I wake up, and say “What am I going to write today? What jokes am I going to create today? Today is the day I go viral.” I don’t really care if today isn’t the day that it happens. It’ll happen tomorrow. Maybe I’ll be an old man, full of regret for these days. But that’s a chance that I’m willing to take. I’d rather regret trying than regret never trying.

Admittedly, I have a long way to go. The more that I want to write, the more I realize just how far I have to go to get it to a quality that I’ll really be satisfied with. But the thought of being able to wave my paychecks in the faces of my doubters is motivation enough. No doubt, you are looking forward to seeing a 40-year-old me flipping hamburgers. May the best man win.

Keeping with themes already mentioned, perhaps the deepest question one can ever ask is: Why are we here? Why do we have life here on this planet? Man has always had this question. This question is at the root of all of the “what” that I mentioned earlier. Because what you do is largely influenced by why you believe you are here. Many who believe that we are here to serve God live out their lives in accordance with what they believe serving God means. If you believe that we are “just here”, that will influence the what that you do while alive. The “why” is at the root of every “what”. It drives every “what”. “Why” helps create your entire overall perspective of your life: your attitudes, your actions, etc. Perspective is impossible to avoid. Some may ignorantly say “What do you mean ‘perspective’? You’re looking too much into this. I don’t have a ‘perspective’.” But you’re wrong. You have to have a perspective. You have to have some way of looking at the world. It doesn’t mean that you have “rose-tinted glasses”, but you have to have some intrinsic beliefs that affect the way you see the world. This is impossible to avoid. This perspective is altered by countless things. There’s always a reason for doing the things that we do.

What was my reason for writing this? I enjoyed it. Have I said anything “revolutionary”? Have I said anything that isn’t already commonly known? No, I haven’t. I just get pleasure out of writing about truths, and, clearly, the fact that we all have different perspectives, influenced by countless things, is a “truth”. Have I essentially said something as true as “We need air to breathe”? Yes. So why write about it at all? Because it brings me joy. That’s the only reason I need.

I find the need for mental stimulation to be annoying and tiresome. Boredom drives me constantly. It is frequently satisfied, but it always comes back. This will always be the case. My entire life is going to be a pendulum between boredom and being swamped. This constant lack of complete satisfaction drives me crazy. “The world doesn’t revolve around you, Cody. You can’t always get what you want.” I have to wonder why people so proudly proclaim these obvious truths. My first thought is “Well, Cody, didn’t you just admit in this piece that you are writing about basic truths, and that you enjoy it? Aren’t they doing the same thing by stating truths?” Well, I can certainly see that they get some satisfaction from it. But who am I trying to tear down in this piece? People who say these “truths” often do it to make themselves feel better. They themselves feel like shit, so they try to make other people feel like shit so that they feel better about themselves. That’s a major theme that I see any time I see “advice” flying around. That’s not why I started this piece. Am I not ridiculing these assholes? This comes down to “who started it”. If I were to be envious of someone and then tried to tear down what they were doing, this whole situation would be different. That isn’t what started this piece. I’m discussing people that do that frequently, and that doesn’t mean that I’m necessarily doing that myself.

People are obstacles. There will be helping hands, and there will be fisticuffs. I think there is a natural tendency to focus on the bad that is actually necessary to our survival. If our house is burning down, we can’t just sit and watch the T.V. show we are enjoying just so that we “feel” good. We need to do something about the fire. Focusing on the bad isn’t a bad thing. It is crucial. But it goes without saying that we need to be able to fully experience the good when it comes around. My entire childhood revolved around how bad everything was: how bad I was in the eyes of God, how lost the world was. There was a lot of “bad” that has affected my perspective of the world to this very day. But, of course, there were many great things about my childhood that also stick with me to this very day that I’m very thankful for. My life is going to be about fully embracing the good when it comes around. I’m going to still enjoy railing against the bad, because it brings me joy, and it feels important to do so. But that has always been easy for me to do, and it will always be easy for me to do. Enjoying the good will be much more difficult (which is such a fucking irony, on so many levels). It is going to take a reprogramming on my part to fully be able to appreciate the good. Developing a life philosophy takes……….well, a lifetime to do. If I die sooner rather than later, none of this is going to matter as much. But I’m not going to “bank” on the fact that I’m going to die soon to keep me from developing a life philosophy. Death has consumed my mind for long enough. Thinking about Heaven and Hell has consumed enough of my life. Sadly, this occurred early on, and you remember what I said about earlier experiences. It will be tough to move on from this, but it is absolutely fucking necessary for my mental health to do so. I pity those still trapped in a “Heaven and Hell” mindset. And damn you all that introduce that concept to children. Children should never be made to fear. They need to be taught things about life, and they need to experience happiness. That is the role of a good parent. If it doesn’t make their life better, they don’t need it.

Of course, the hard part is explaining why fearing Hell is not something that children need to learn. That would take a lot of time and in-depth explanation to explain. In simplest terms, if God exists, and wants me to go to this perfect paradise, why does He want me to go? The common explanation is that He loves me and cares for me. Well, if He does, why would He make me torture myself while I’m here on Earth? If it is because I am a sinner, why would He ever forgive me for my sins? In other words, let’s say that misery exists on this Earth because we are all sinners. Why should that be our focal point if we are religious? Why must we focus on that exclusively as Christians? Once again, if our house was burning down, we should turn off the T.V. But our house isn’t burning down. Isn’t that the point of being a “Christian”? “Christian”. “Christ”. Obviously, that’s where the term comes from. So who was Christ? Well, there’s a lot of talk of forgiveness of sins, and of love. So if we are Christians, why can’t we accept this? Why can’t we forgive ourselves? If the Almighty has forgiven us, as Christians believe, why would we consider it a requirement for this forgiveness to torture ourselves? It does not compute. If we cannot accept the forgiveness of our sins through Christ, then Christ was pointless. Christ did not die for us simply for after we die: He died for us while we are here. He put us on a planet, not in Heaven (although, admittedly, initially on a perfect planet, but we fucked it up. How could we fuck up a perfect planet? I don’t know. Why do I believe this? At the risk of turning people off, I’m going to say that God forces me to with a gentle force. It isn’t a fearful force, but a loving force. I guess the nature of “believers” and “non-believers” is that there will always exist an incompatibility between the two, but we don’t have to murder each other because of it. “Live and let live”. If it makes you happy to debate, then do so. But you shouldn’t feel a “duty” to do so if you get no enjoyment from it. If that means people condemn you as some religious crazy, I guess you’ll just have to live with it (I’m talking to myself, of course)).

Life is about learning who to listen to and who to ignore. There will always be an inherent incompatibility between all of the ideas that exist: either you believe murder is acceptable, or it isn’t (I’m not talking about self-defense or abortion, but simply murdering someone walking down the street whom you have never met in your entire life before that moment). If you take all of the actions that a human being could take, there will, obviously, exist contradictory actions. Some actions are simply incongruous with others. The same is true for ideas: some ideas are just completely contradictory to others. Some ideas cannot simultaneously be believed. Life is about figuring out which ideas to adopt for yourself, and then, applying those ideas into actions that satisfy you the most. Once again, this is all we do, every single day, of our entire lives, until we die. This is “the struggle”. Living this “struggle” without being able to stop and smell the roses makes the struggle all the more difficult. And I think that’s the lesson here. Don’t ignore your burning house, but make sure that you’re actually focusing on your burning house, and not some other non-issue. Focus on what is important, enjoy the good, but don’t waste your time on struggles that don’t benefit you to focus on. Life is about figuring out which struggles are worth focusing on and which aren’t. It’s a constant conflict, but if you believe smelling roses is “bad”, and should be avoided, or even worse, condemned, you need to reevaluate your life. What good is eliminating the bad if good is seen as a bad? Then, you’re just eliminating the good, and that, by very definition, is not “good”. (Once again, don’t interpret this to mean that focusing on the bad is inherently bad. You must find some good from focusing on the bad, or else, you are wasting your time. The degree to which one focuses on “bad” differs from individual to individual, with there, obviously, being a diverse, individualistic pleasure derived from focusing on the “bad” to degrees, and upon which “bad” is focused).

Sadly, even good news can be perverted with duty. There has to be some naturality when it comes to good. I’m thinking of moralistic phrases like “You can’t always get what you want”, or “Stop and smell the flowers every once in a while.” There’s a dark side to these phrases. I already mentioned one aspect of the dark side to these phrases: the “envious” side. But there’s a more innocent dark side as well. I have found that a lot of these phrases are repeated by people that aren’t very smart. This isn’t a knock on them, but just an observation. I think that when people have a hard time understanding the world, they just repeat these phrases to themselves to help them get through the day. There’s nothing wrong with that: do the best you can with what you have. It’s just an observation, and more reason why I, personally, resent repetitive, “feel-good” phrases.

I am becoming more and more convinced that each person gives his or her life its own meaning. Lives are long. Days add up. We just need things to do. We crave mental stimulation. We crave meaning. We desire things, and try to achieve them. All of this adds up to “life”. We create our lives for ourselves through our actions. We accept the things that we cannot change, but we still take actions to better ourselves. We make decisions. And we desire. We see the world through a “lens” affected by genetics and our experiences. The variety of these “perspectives” is immense. There will naturally be conflicts among various perspectives. But I cannot live your life, and you cannot live my life. I live mine, and you live yours. The best thing to do is to focus on oneself. Do what you want, and do the best you can. A large majority of us care that other people succeed, and we can “live and let live” when people pursue their own interests. Of course, there will be busy-bodies that try to physically force individuals from living their own lives, and they should be condemned as the moral busy-bodies that they are (and there are plenty of them). But, intrinsically, we should all understand the value of the individual will. It should be cherished and respected, because the will is what makes a man who he is. We can’t respect individuals if we don’t respect individual will. This does not mean that people and choices cannot be critiqued and condemned, but will itself is not something that should be destroyed through violent subjection. The human will is human nature. There can be no peace among humans without peace of human wills. There should be a definitive critique of evil wills, and, simultaneously, a heralding of good wills. Life is a constant conflict between these two, and that’s just the way it is always going to be until we die. (I’m not saying that, for instance, murderers should keep all of the rights they had before they murdered. There are, of course, actions that should be dealt with. But humans still need the ability to exercise these wills, and they should not be prevented from exercising their wills in a matter that only affects themselves. “What if their actions affect their family, Cody? What if their family doesn’t like the choices the individual is making?” Why is a “negative rights” philosophy so prevalent today? Why was there an “Enlightenment”? Men have written about this whole concept of “the will”, and of individuality, so I’d suggest you go read some of them, as I’m probably not going to be able to add anything more beneficial to the conversation. But it is “natural” for man to be able to exercise his own will. When a man’s will chooses to do good, peaceful, loving things to and for his fellow man, good, peace, and love increase. Without his ability to choose to do these things, the entire purposes behind good, peace, and love are lost). I’ve spoken a lot about “will” here. But don’t I believe that humans don’t have free will? Well, the question becomes: free from “what”? I’ll write more about this later.

There is a deep, moralistic fear among progressives and conservatives. For conservatives, that fear is facing God’s wrath, and going to Hell. For progressives, it is the fear of not being a good person. Both of these, very obviously, overlap. The differences are in the specific details. But they both miss an important point about life: they do not value happiness. To the conservative, “God” is more important than your happiness. For the progressive, “social duty” is more important than your happiness. I reject both of these ideas wholeheartedly. I’ve already discussed why I think the idea that God doesn’t care about my happiness is nonsense. But as far as “social duty” is concerned, what good is it to hold this “moral” idea if it doesn’t bring you pleasure? What is the ultimate goal with regards to this “social duty”? There has to be a goal at the end. If the goal involves any sort of “perfection”, I immediately reject it. Any notion of completely eliminating poverty, or any other social ill is an impossibility. “Perfection” can never be a goal. This is why I reject “social duty” philosophy: it is all hellbent on completely eradicating, for example, racism, sexism, poverty, etc. “Perfection” is not something humans can achieve. Thankfully, I know this intrinsically. Any attempt at “perfection” is a waste of time. Any goal regarding “social good” must be approached from a different “perspective”: the doer of the “social good” must derive some pleasure from the good he is doing. On an individual basis, it does feel good to help other people. This is why good should be done. It increases the “social happiness” of everyone involved. Of course, the receiver of the charity is, more than likely (and that’s an understatement), going to be happy at receiving the charity, and the betterment of his lot. But, and this is something that isn’t sold enough, in my opinion, the giver of the charity also receives a psychological benefit from the giving. That needs to be stressed. There certainly is a “good” in giving to those that are in need, but doing so without receiving a psychological benefit from doing so is to give in vain. There’s a very crucial piece to the puzzle missing. Some may ignorantly claim that “giving is about more than yourself.” I clearly said the same: it’s not just about you benefiting. Very obviously, the receiver is benefiting as well. But we must accept that we feel good when we give, and we must be able to experience that goodness in full. We must, once again, “be able to stop and smell the roses every once in a while.” Those opportunities are not a constant state of being. Without being able to recognize and experience them, we are cheating ourselves terribly. When we are able to naturally accept good for ourselves, we will naturally want to spread that good to others, and this will be our perspective of the world. It will not be tainted with fear of God, and a fear of Hell. It will be the natural love and goodness that, ironically, God desires. That’s the tragic irony about religious conservatism: is that it misses the point of “religiosity” altogether.

“Happiness” as an end goal is condemned on many fronts, and that’s a damn shame. Truly evil people have contaminated the idea of “happiness”. “Isn’t the rapist happy when he rapes?” Admittedly, that’s a pertinent question. I, personally, don’t think that evil can make one happy. I think that evil just makes one more miserable, and that makes evil all the more tragic. “Why would someone do evil if they didn’t gain something from it? Did you not say, earlier in this piece, that everyone performs actions in an attempt to better themselves? Are not the murderer and the rapist doing this?” Sure. In the case of a rapist, it is easy to see what they “gain” by raping. Very clearly, it should be condemned. But, and this is more controversial, it should be stated that the rapist is, very clearly, missing out on something very important by raping. He is missing out on emotional intimacy, romance, and love. This, of course, is not to downplay the fact that the victim of rape is being cheated of even more than this, and to a horrifically higher degree. The idea of feeling pity on evil people is not a common idea, and I truly understand that position. But I do feel a sympathy for evil people, because they are truly missing out on a lot of life. Having a desire to kill cheats you of healthy relationships. Of course, it cheats the one killed of their very life, which should be vehemently condemned. But to neglect the fact that the perpetrator is cheating himself is disingenuous. It should be said. Of course, more attention should be given to his heinousness, and empathy should be given to the loved ones, with mourning occurring for the victims. None of this is debatable. But evil people are cheating themselves, and this needs to be said. It may fall on deaf ears, and I believe there are truly people beyond rehabilitation, but when discussing serious matters such as these, it is important to recognize all realities of the situation. Very obviously, focus more attention on the victims of heinous crimes, but understand that all involved are cheated, albeit to vastly different degrees. So while it is still true that people try to satisfy their desires, and some of these desires are going to include murder and rape, we must understand that ultimately everyone is getting cheated in these situations, and that, very clearly, there are ideals that we should herald and conditions that we must strive for through our actions. But we must have an effective philosophical perspective about this all.

I suppose that I am very blessed. I am very good at introspection. I’m, typically, good at figuring out why I think or feel the way that I do. I have a high ability to observe myself, and analyze myself. This, of course, makes writing about myself easier to do. And while, rightly so, many will dismiss me as just some young jackass that can’t stop talking about himself as if the world cares, I think there’s value in what I say. Maybe not to you, or to “successful” people, but I’m sure there are people out there that will say “Huh. That’s pretty good. I never thought of it that way. I like that.”

It is tragic that I could not fully understand my past perspectives as I was experiencing them for the first time. It makes me sad that I couldn’t recognize the worthlessness of my past religious philosophies. It has affected me for the worst. I am thankful that I can see it now, but I can’t help but wonder what might have been. Once again, injustices eat me alive, and I can’t help but think how much better my life would be today if I would’ve never been introduced to religious conservatism. I’m no longer “as”, I suppose I’ll phrase it, religiously conservative as I used to be. But I still remember what it was like, and I lament at the fact that I, as a child, thought the things I did. It pains me to a great degree. I’ll never get those years back. No one that is cheated in their youth, in a variety of “cheats”, ranging in degrees, do. That’s very sad. This never-ending conflict between good and evil is exhausting.

I still see religious conservatism in my perspectives today. My rational mind will ask “Why am I doing this?” And then, I’ll realize it is because of a past religious belief, and think “Oh. This goes deeper than I thought. This is a whole can of worms here.” It’s hard to really know what to replace it with. I don’t want anything to do with it. I want it all gone. I want a new way of looking at the world. And that’s the hard part. Realizing that I’m doing it is now happening. But it is hard to find a new way of looking at things. My entire life has revolved around avoiding “pleasure” in order to obtain “Heaven”. “Pleasure” makes me emotionally uncomfortable. But that attitude has always made me fucking miserable, so I want it gone. I want to learn how to value pleasure. And that’s hard to do when you have years and years of crippling emotional baggage of sadness and anxiety. It really is hard to teach and old dog new tricks (thankfully, I’m changing at a relatively young age. I wasn’t “conservative” for 50 years, or so).

I’m constantly looking for new things. I’m always trying to learn. Frequently, I learn a little about many different things, but they don’t interest me enough to continue really learning about them in any detail. My mind is too consumed with philosophy to care about much else. I don’t care about zoology, or whatever. I learn a little bit here and there, but there’s always something missing. Besides attempting to pursue my interest in philosophy, the thing that has satisfied me most to-date from an educational standpoint has been economics. The subject has taken over my life for the past several years, and I am very thankful for it. It truly has made me see the world in an entirely new way. It is a very satisfying way. (It only depresses me when I realize the way so many others view economics. Education is an uphill battle, but how do you “educate” people out of wanting to rule the world? How do you “educate” people out of envy? It seems as if many problems are insurmountable, even if they are deadly problems).

My perspective is now one of valuing my personal individual happiness. I am always looking for something to make me happy. Ultimately, I think everyone does this. But I don’t think they understand the value of what they are doing. It is very easy to tell yourself that other things matter more than your happiness. But I think this is a superficial understanding of happiness. As I said, it is important to recognize that giving not only helps out the receiver, but it gives the giver satisfaction as well. This is not stressed enough, in my opinion. This is valuable. Giving increases the happiness of the giver and the receiver.

My “happiness perspective” affects me constantly. I remember, being a child, and having certain ways of viewing the world. You adopt the prejudices and attitudes of your superiors, whether they be parents, teachers, or whatever. I remember, very early on, acting like my father, and having people not respond well to it. My father wasn’t a “bad” man, but he was incredibly sarcastic. “Stubborn”, “opinionated”, what have you. Clearly, these traits were passed on to me. But (and this is quite humorous to say), I learned, quite early on, that not everybody liked me. Not everybody enjoyed sarcasm as much as me. People just thought differently than me. I certainly changed my mind about many different things over time. Changed the way I acted around people, and what I said. (And this has, quite obviously, “corrected” itself over time to a more “normal” and “natural” way of being for me (where I settled to a level of sarcasm and stubbornness that I’m content with, even if others deplore it)). But I never had a sense that I mattered. In a metaphysical sense. I was insignificant “in the grand scheme of things”. First, God didn’t care about my happiness. Then, my happiness didn’t matter because I needed to make money. And that was it. “Your life shall be making money until you die and go to Heaven.” That was an awfully depressing outlook of the world: especially considering the fact that almost everyone I knew hated their job. Their had to be something more: there had to be a deeper perspective than this. I’m glad to say that, for me, there was a deeper perspective. I’m not particularly proud of everything I did to lead me up to adopting this perspective, but I don’t see how I can live without it now. My outlook from my teenage years to now is drastically different. Now, I think this is true for almost everyone. But, in my opinion, I think many adults are missing out on an effective perspective about life. I still interpret adults as miserable people. I know there are countless exemptions to this rule: many are parents, whose kids bring them the ultimate joy. Some are optimists, who are able to stay positive regardless of what happens around them. Many find joy in the countless ways they distract themselves from the mundane. Once again, there’s countless exemptions to my “rule”, but I still get a sense that many adults don’t think that happiness matters in a “universal” sense. I still think there’s many adults that say “God doesn’t care about the happiness of man”, and I’m not just talking about atheists saying that. I’m talking conservatives. Once again, I reject that wholeheartedly. There are, of course, “realistic constraints” in the world. I’ve spent several years learning about these “constraints” (and I think my education is better than the way the “average person” sees these constraints). But they are missing very obvious pieces to the puzzle.

Reality truly is terrifying at times, and it is easy to ignore the writing on the wall. But that’s dangerous. Most people live in ignorant denial about what their governments are capable of. And this is how Holocausts happen. Through my own personal education, I can see countless people trying to ring the warning bells to the American public. In some ways, I think history is still on our side, particularly in the South. As much as I hate the religious conservatism of Southern culture (as well as other things I dislike about the culture), I think there still exists a vibrant skepticism of government that is crucial and healthy to the survival of freedom. They ain’t takin’ our guns without a fight. I want to believe that’s still an attitude that runs through Southerners, but I sometimes doubt that when I see how often they worship the politicians of whatever political party they “belong” to (for whatever reason; or, more often, police officers and soldiers) no matter what they do. It is hard to tell what the future will bring, but I am hopeful. Sadly, evil people will always attempt to encroach, and it takes a brave people to retaliate: a sense of justice isn’t enough. Many in the past have known that what they were doing was wrong, but they didn’t have the courage to confront it. I worry about that today, based on certain trends that I see regarding worship of the American State, but hopefully, our history is still alive and well. Hopefully, our history of revolting from Britain still remains. Sadly, I think the revolution of the South is all but dead, except for very small pockets. I think it is growing, but the growth is so small as to seem impossible to amount to any change in the status quo. But that’s just my personal opinion (it’s hard to accurately gauge any “trend”). It is hard to tell how “the Left” views government. Clearly, they are against cronyism and war. But their assault on capitalism itself is worrisome. Communism isn’t a viable solution to capitalism. “Capitalism” isn’t the problem. But an education can’t really “solve” envy. And it can’t really “solve” evil. These facts are always worrisome. I’m not saying that a communist can’t “convert”. But, inevitably, there are aspects of human nature that can’t be completely “eradicated”: there will always be another murderer, etc.

But, I am an introspective, driven person. I know what my goals are. I am beginning to learn not to state what those goals are, because the main thing that is going to happen is that other people are going to tell me how “unrealistic” they are, how I’m “wasting my time”, etc. I think it is time that I make a choice: a choice that I just don’t even tell anyone what my goals are. It, more than likely, isn’t going to benefit me in any way. More than likely, it’s just going to create more hurdles. I think it’s best to keep my goals private (even though I’ve already written them a billion times on this blog), and focus on myself, and not so much what other people have to say to me.

I look forward to, as I live, writing about all of the different ways in which religious conservatism has affected my perspective. I’ve already done that to a large degree, but I hope there will come a day when it feels like it has disappeared altogether. When it becomes a distant memory instead of a subconscious reality. I don’t know how to rid myself of it: I think it is just going to take time.

Life is a constant ebb and flow. “[We] get knocked down, but [we] get up again.” I want to have as much fun as I possibly can, and I want to learn as much as I possibly can. If I think I have learned something valuable, I want to share it. I want to keep off the boredom and misery as much as possible, even though they have already taken up significant amounts of my life. I guess I’m just like everyone else.

I’m very blessed to have ever been rid of my past conservatism to any degree. The fact that I’m able to criticize it at all is a miracle. I’m extremely pleased with my overall perspective regarding life. I’m looking forward to learning more, and writing more, but the uncertainty of many aspects of the future, including the prospect of negativity, in all of the various forms that it could exist, will always keep me up at night. I’m looking forward to analyzing myself throughout the entire journey, and writing about it.

I’m looking forward to seeing where my perspective goes from here. I know there will be pain involved in the process, but I’m hopeful that the end result will be something that I’m happy with.

I think the most important aspect of my perspective to-date is about my own personal will. As I’ve already stated, in the past, I viewed my will as something to completely ignore. But my interest in politics has lead me to believe in freedom. It truly is just an idea that rings out: people are free. Who wouldn’t want that? I know many don’t, but I still it is still an intrinsic idea to many of us. We have wills, and to not be able to exercise these is an injustice. We need the freedom to be able to make mistakes. We should be reprimanded if we impede upon the freedoms of others. But I value the rights of others to be free. I enjoy learning about how the world works, sociology included. But I need to continue developing myself. My past failings still eat me alive, as I will always wonder “Why didn’t I know that back then?” I fear this will be a lifetime process. I will always look back and say “Why did I think that?” Lamentation will be frequent. But I want to develop values and find joy in what I do. I want to make myself as happy as I can possibly make myself, and that might not be a helluva lot. But I’m looking forward to continue developing and exercising my will, and I hope that nothing to catastrophic comes my way. Like most other people, I just want to be happy, and I’m going to continue practicing to get what I want, and exercise my own personal volition.

My nature.

Highly Sensitive Mind.

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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 Brief Piece About Language

The hardest part of starting a piece of writing is starting it. (I hope I’m credited for this quote some day). It may be noted that the hardest part of writing is coming up with an idea. But the hardest part is actually reigning them in.

To put it bluntly, “writers” who say that “I want to write, but I don’t know what to write”, are not real writers. In my opinion. Sure, technically, once they put words down in some form, they are a “writer”. But they aren’t “natural” writers. It’s very forced. Very superficial. “Real” writers, to piss people off, know what they want to write, but struggle with the how (and, of course, the “when”, as time is always a constraining factor).

It is very easy to cut a piece off before it’s finished. Very easy to not say all of the things that you really want to say. It’s very easy to write for an imaginary reader, or for “simplicity’s sake”, rather than writing for yourself. And it’s especially easy to do that once you receive the first least little bit of negative feedback.

I am not a fan of communication. In fact, I abhor it. Every single thing about it. I hate hearing the thoughts of others (the majority of the time). I hate talking to other people (most of the time). I just fucking hate every single thing about communication. Do you want to know why? Well, let me gripe about something that started this idea that I had to complain about language by writing about it.

There are many things that I hate about language. Once again, reigning in a piece is really fucking hard. So goddamn hard. And what word do you choose next? What sentence? Do you read to find it out for yourself? Or do you want to come up with it more “completely” on your own? Who and what do you read if you wish to “read” to learn, in effect, “how” to write? There’s so many goddamn choices that it can drive one fucking mad. And I’m really fucking mad right now.

There’s nobody telling me what to write. I wish there were. But at the same time, I know I’d tell that person “No. No. No. I’m not doing that.” And I’d crave independence. Well, here I have it, and I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. And I suck. And that fucking sucks. It breaks my heart to know that there’s room for improvement with my writing, because that means there’s things wrong with it now. I know there will always be something “wrong” with any piece of work. But I don’t care. It bugs me, and I want it to bug me. I want it to drive me crazy. I want it to push me past my breaking point. I want writing to, night and day, make me lose sleep, and obsess over every goddamned word; every string of thoughts. I’m already fucking at this point. And that’s why I can’t get any writing done. There’s too many choices, too many options, and, to be honest with you……I actually love it.

I don’t like thinking about “professional” status. I fucking hate wasting time thinking about “selling pieces of writing”. It’s just that: a huge waste of time. But yet, I desire it, so I think about it. It doesn’t do a goddamn thing to help me get anything done. But, at least sometimes, it makes me happy. And I am a huge fan of “happiness”. Happiness motivates every single action of every human being on the planet, whether they say so or not.

Let me stop right here for a moment. Here’s what started this whole fucking idea I had for this piece. Because now, I need to explain to you my philosophy about “happiness”. I know people are going to argue with me about what I said in the last sentence of the previous paragraph. (I also know there are going to be some people that have a hard time reading this, and that’s another thing that I hate about language). Every single sentence will start an argument with another human being. Every. Single. Fucking. Sentence. That is ever said. Every fucking thought. That becomes communicated. Will be argued. And I fucking hate it. “Why? Are you afraid your ideas are wrong? Don’t like to be ‘challenged’? Just want to live in an echo chamber?” No, that is why. What I just fucking did. I wouldn’t mind arguments if I didn’t already know them beforehand. But I fucking do, and it drives me mad. I already know what is going to be said, and I have for a long fucking time. And I know people hate to fucking hear that. So communication is always conflict with me. And I really fucking hate conflict. I just want to fucking relax. And it makes me wonder why I write any goddamned thing in the first place (I’m obviously not talking about physical fighting when I talk about “conflict”. But debating is exhausting. “Why, because you don’t have any evidence to support your claims?!” No, because I have to explain shit like this to you. This is stupid. A waste of time. Why am I fucking answering your argument? Now, I’m thinking about the dumb readers who will say “Who in the fuck is he talking to in this piece? He’s a crazy person.” This communication thing is just fucking exhausting. I don’t like people, and it makes me wonder why I write). But I have points that I want to make, and I just want to communicate them. But I fucking hate everything that comes with it. Every fucking thing. Grammar. Sales. Vocabulary. “Points”. Word choice. Organization. I mean, I pretty much fucking hate writing to be honest with you.

I can’t tell you why I do this, because I don’t fucking know. Once again, this is a problem with writing: in order to tell you, I’d have to think about it. I want it to be honest and thorough. But that means I’m going to have to think about that instead of something else that I want to think about. That something else starts off the way this piece started off: ok, I know what I want to say, but how in the fuck am I going to get there? I have 15 million different ideas, but how in the fuck do I start them? How do I organize them? Where am I going to go with them? The entire writing process really is fucking futile. It’s incredibly masochistic. “Go to school for it!” FUCK you. That would defeat the whole fucking purpose of this. “Don’t you want to know how to write?” I don’t want to be taught how to write. I want to be my own teacher, deciding who to read and for what reason, and deciding what I find valuable in the words of others (and, thus, what I will adopt from them for myself), and what I don’t particularly enjoy about other writers. I don’t want to be taught things that are very subjective and personal to me. That’s the whole reason I write. Writing isn’t mathematics, where there’s concrete, exact answers to objective physical phenomena. Literature is, to put it simplistically, “a lot different”. I want to leave my personal mark on my writing. As much as I would say I’ve historically been a very gullible person, I’ve also been a very skeptical person, especially of people “in charge”. I can just hear a sociologist saying “Problems with authority, huh? That kid is going to end up in jail some day.” The dumb voices always stick out to me, for some reason. There’s something about that level of stupidity that I can’t ignore. It feels like a duty for me to point them out, if only for my own “ethical cleansing” (make sure you don’t read that as “ethnic cleansing”. I know some dumbass probably did). I’m skeptical of the idea of someone telling me “how literature should be”. I’ve always been skeptical of people in charge, and I think that’s always warranted. People who blindly follow orders are terrifying.

“Do A.” “Do B.” “Do C.” Anytime you have any uncertainty, you best believe there’s gonna be words of others coming. (in Archie Bunker voice) “But don’t you see that that just compounds the problem, Edith?” In order to communicate this to you, I have to think about it. But the problem is that, most of the time, the effort is spent on explaining things instead of actually making an argument. That, perhaps, is what I hate most about writing. I want to fucking make points. Interesting, thoughtful points. I don’t want to explain every little goddamn detail. But, of course, that’s what readers need. “Duh, Cody, if you’re going to make a point, duh, you need to explain it.” No fucking shit. Readers like you drive me crazy. Stating the obvious to such a degree that it’s a waste of energy to say “Yeah, I fucking know that.” It would be easier to ignore them, but it’s not that easy after all. Explanations take up so much valuable point-making time. Take this paragraph for example. It’s “explanation”. Is it really an argument? I guess it could be argued that it is. But it isn’t the fucking argument that I want to make. “Then why are you writing it, Cody?” Because it will help make my arguments make sense; that is the point of an explanation. I mean, Jesus fucking Christ, do I have to explain this shit to you? (You see my point).

Hopefully, you do see my points. But if you just think me crazy, I’ll fucking live with it.

Don’t read me. Don’t read this. Go read something from someone else.

(If everyone’s got their demons, then why do we envy?)

…Don’t mind me. Just talking to myself again. (Do I insert humor here does that make sense does it flow well does it distract from the point too much…) (To beat a dead horse, recall previous paragraphs).

It’s easier to be bad. I love being bad. I’ve learned to thrive from it. Sure, it means that you’re bad. But c’mon. Being good is really hard. (Let’s talk to yourself for a little bit, Cody. Don’t you love being insane? Don’t you love talking to yourself in everything you write nowadays? You’re bobbing and weaving as you write this. You want people to think you’re crazy, huh Cody? Are we having fun? Are your readers laughing at you now? You’re truly a madman, aren’t you? Look at you go. Some readers love this. I wish I could have his mind for a day, they say. But haven’t you been reading what I’m fucking writing?, you say. Stroke that ego. Ah, yes. You’ve ratted yourself out to your detractors now! It’s all about your ego! They knew it! Ha! It all makes sense now! Now they’ve got you! Ahhhhh!!!! What are you going to do now? How will you ever get out of this fucking corner they’ve backed you into yet again? If only they could see the way you’re bebopping around now. Like a fucking madman. Like the fucking madman you’ve always wanted to be………. But you fucking love it).

It’s easier to be repetitive. It’s easier to stew on the same issue for a very long time. I’m a very gullible person, so I need to spend a lot of time with the same ideas to make sure I grasp them enough to actually believe them and defend them (even though I hate communication). I’ve always taken the easy way out with writing. I’ve always taken the easy way out with communication. Just keeping my mouth shut. It’s usually easier that way. But sometimes, it isn’t. And that’s, obviously, when words start coming out. But without the practice, they just don’t make sense sometimes.

I want to contribute good ideas to humanity. I don’t want to be famous simply for the sake of being famous (I want to be famous because I know I could become rich through fame, and I want to be rich so I can “retire”). But I want to contribute good ideas to humanity. Ideas that are smart. Meaningful. Significant. Not for praise; not even for money. But because it feels good. Feeling like I have contributed something intelligent and thoughtful makes me feel good. That’s the only reason I need to try to do such a thing. I realize that there are countless people who have contributed “better” ideas than my own, and this trend will continue with future “idea shapers”. But it’s just in me to think and write. And that’s what I do. Even though I hate everything else about it.

I just wish I didn’t have to spend so much goddamn time explaining everything. But I can tell that it helps me become a better writer, and I still have a lot of “thinking” to do to get better at “thinking”, so I’m hopeful for the future, at least from a “quality” standpoint. As long as I don’t become “evil”, I’ll be good. (That was obvious, Cody).

The important part of all of this is to feel honestly. That is something that has frequently escaped me. I’ve written about religious conservatism enough for now, but being completely honest and comfortable with my emotions is very challenging for me. Perhaps there’s some truth to men in general being less comfortable with accepting their own emotions as compared to women, but religious conservatism has made this task so much harder than any role biology (probably) has played. It’s hard when every single emotion leads you back to “fear”. It, surprise surprise, makes you not want to feel any emotion at all. And I think that made me angry for many years. That, and some other things that made me angry for many years took over my life. Anger and sadness seemed to be the only things I felt before I started getting into comedy. I’m only 25, so I suppose “anger and sadness” during the teenage years are normal. But still. My emotions during that time period shouldn’t be completely dismissed.

(So much of my writing is about my struggles with writing. It’s weird, but I’m ok with this).

And then, of course, there’s the soul-crushing aspect of putting your heart and soul into something just to have it demolished. That’s always hard. “But Cody, you open yourself up to that stuff by writing in the first place-” Jesus fucking Christ. You goddamned stupid people. You’re so dense and naive. “Aren’t we all-” Go fuck yourself.

I am starting to realize the importance of independent thought. That truly is a beautiful thing about life: that we all have our own separate wills. We all have individual traits and desires, and that leads to a lot of diversity. I think that’s wonderful (and no, some college professor isn’t forcing me to write this: I actually believe it). My childhood way of looking at things was that things followed very specific blueprints. Maybe I was just a dumb kid, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that idea is “common” among kids. You follow the rules, the “adults” have a lot of similarities with each other (especially to the child mind), etc. And then, of course, you start to gain independence when you get older. Start thinking about things, choosing your sources of information to absorb, your ideas change, etc. There’s always going to be countless things that frustrate everyone. We all have our individual troubles that we have to try to fix. But I’m starting to truly realize that there is no blueprint. I live my life, do what I want, make my choices, deal with the negative consequences, and I value learning, so I try to learn as much as possible about things I am interested in. When I have a thought that I want to develop that sounds interesting, I write. And I have many life circumstances that I’m unhappy with, but I’m working on those. As I’ve written before, the key to me is feeling like I’m independent. I know I’m going to have many troubles throughout my life: problems that could’ve been more easily resolved or avoided altogether “if I only would’ve done this”. But who doesn’t have that? Once again, I keep hearing these hypothetical voices from others in my head trying to direct me, and I just have to think “Where did you get this magical fucking blueprint of what I should be doing, and who ordained it?”

I can tell just how long of a “long-term” project writing really is. I’m desperate to write good stuff, but I’m so stupid. I’m so ignorant of so many different things: technical linguistic skill, knowledge of topics, etc. But I can tell that I need an overall perspective. I need to have a deeply personal, independent, overall perspective about things that I do. There’s no blueprint to be handed to me about where to go, either with writing or with anything else. I’m pretty sure confidence will come with age. It’s just a waiting game, in many ways: being a biological slave. But that isn’t a bad thing as long as you’re having a good time on the ride you’re “trapped” with.

I’m not looking forward to being critiqued. I don’t like it. I know, you’re fucking entitled to your own opinion. I fucking get it. I know I’m not perfect. But I just fucking hate listening to most criticism. There’s always a fair-share of just dumb criticism. And, as always, there’s people telling you stuff that you already know. There’s people that don’t get what you say. And the minority of criticism is actually valuable criticism. Stuff that you can use. Stuff that you hadn’t actually thought of before. Most of it is either envious bunk because you’re trying to do something or it’s a strawman or any other stupid shit that people do. There are plenty of times where people bring up valid concerns, and you go back, and forth, and back, and forth. And many would find that “productive”. But anytime I think of “debates” or going “back and forth”, I think of religion. How many fucking years do we have to “debate” religion? I’m so sick of the “debate”. I’m fucking tired of it. I’ve heard it over and over and over and over and I just want to say “Why in the fuck are you people still debating? Just fucking live and let live! Let go! Who fucking cares if you ‘save’ an atheist?” Why can’t we just agree to disagree, and surround ourselves with people that agree with us? This idea that we should always “challenge” our beliefs is so prevalent now, and I don’t get it. Once again, “let me explain”.

This is what I don’t understand about the idea of an “echo chamber”. The idea of an echo chamber is that you just listen to people that confirm “what you already believe”, or some stupid shit like that. I can certainly understand how that’s a “thing”. A “negative” thing. But I’ve, personally, had more experiences in what my friend and I call “ambiguity land”, where there’s so much conflicting information that you go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth in your own fucking mind so much that you start getting bags under your eyes because you can’t figure it out. Trying to weigh all of the different factors, etc. etc. Who fucking cares? At some point, you just have to make a fucking decision. You don’t need to justify that decision, you get to decide who you are going to debate with, and when, and what about, and you need to accept that people are going to say whatever the fuck they want to about you. It’s going to anger you at times, and you’ll probably feel the need to defend yourself often, but this is how it is. This is just how it is. The back and forth is fucking exhausting, and I hate it. I don’t want to do it. Everyone does it from time to time, and sometimes I enjoy it. But overall, I’d say that I don’t. I’m tired of it. Especially something like the “religious debate”. People just spin their wheels over and over and over, and I’m done listening to “the argument”. I want my religious experience to be more personal and meaningful than the traditional “Christian vs. atheist” debates.

Biology and experience help out a lot. I know they’ll help me out with a lot of issues I have with writing. It’s going to be like ripping my fingernails off one by one, but I know the end result will improve. Practice and genes. And just learning in general from the sources that I wish to learn from.

Deciphering truth and “Why” questions is a whole nother matter entirely (that consumes me).

What’s the Point?

Inspiration.

A Philosopher’s Mind.

Highly Sensitive Mind.

Sitting in Silence.

The Apparent Disconnect Between Thinking and Acting.

How I Can Become A Better Writer

Behind every good piece of writing are good thoughts. Writing is a series of thoughts strewn together. A writer hopes that his thoughts are coherent, unless he intends for them to be humorous; in which case, he writes an absurdity (with either a grain of truth in his absurdity or a presentation of truth as through the eyes of a fool) in an attempt to get the reader to laugh. But one must be a thinker to be a writer.

To think is to be human. Humans think (I think). Thoughts are consciousness, and, along with desire, drive human action. Action is the manifestation of thoughts directed towards the satisfaction of a desire.

So, to reiterate, in order to write, you must think. I desire to write. Therefore, I must think, and then I must write. However, in order to write “quality” words, one must have “quality” thoughts. But what is “quality”? What is a “good” piece of writing, and what is a “bad” piece of writing? When one likes a piece of writing, one says that the piece of writing is “good”. But is it really good? Can it be objectively good? Is a piece of writing good when a majority thinks it is good? If I think it good and you think it bad, can it objectively be good or bad? Can I be a “good” judge of “good” writing, while you be a “bad” judge of “bad” writing? And, if it is possible to objectively determine whether or not a piece of writing is “good” or “bad”, then what of someone who doesn’t like a “good” piece of writing, or who does like a “bad piece of writing? Can said person be “wrong”? Can their preference be “incorrect”?

Obviously, a lot of what makes writing “good” or “bad” depends on the countless preferences of the reader. Writing involves, if fiction, a setting, character introduction and development, actions, conflict, and a resolution (to put it elementary; I’m sure you literary scholars will inform me of what I’m leaving out). I’m not sure if you can posit an absolute that any particular piece of writing is “good” or “bad”. I suppose, however, that one universal sign of good writing is how effectively you can communicate to the reader. In other words: can the reader understand your words? Readers vary in their reading comprehension, so suppose someone comprehends your writing and another doesn’t. Once again: can you say that the writing is either good or bad? And can someone who can’t read at all be a good judge of good and bad writing? If an illiterate person hates reading, and thinks that all words are “bad”, are they?

Perhaps this question of whether or not writing can be objectively “good” or “bad” is mute. If that’s the case, then, as a writer, why should I care if my writing is “good” or “bad”? Instinctively, I want my writing to be “good”. I want all of my creative works to be “good”. So what is “good”?

The best definition of “good” that I have come up with to date, which has satisfied me the most, and which I apply to all of my creative endeavors, is how I feel about the work.

There is a trend in American society which stipulates that there are no such things as facts, and that all whims are absolute realities. This, of course, is ludicrous. But just because not all whims are absolute realities doesn’t mean that desires are meaningless. As I’ve stated before, desires are the root of action. All action is taken in an attempt to satisfy a desire, with thoughts being the specific course taken en route. It is important to distinguish the importance of facts, and the importance of desires.

Facts are existential givens. Accepting them makes our lives easier. It is simply a fact that one must accept facts. If one is not aware of a fact, then that does not mean that the fact doesn’t exist. Facts are there, and understanding them helps us figure out which course of action to take to satisfy the desires that we wish to satisfy (or that we think we can actually satisfy). We as humans exist within the boundaries of an immutable reality, whereby certain things are absolutely true. That we exist is absolutely true. If we didn’t, then, quite literally, we wouldn’t be here.

As you can see, this is quite complicated. I have a tendency to be a big thinker, and it makes it a nightmare for me to write. In fact, I, quite often, resent writing. I love it, and I hate it. I love the ideas and the potential that I have in my head; I love the physical act of typing. But organizing, making sure I include all of the facts that I wish to include, and concluding the piece are nightmare experiences to me. “But isn’t that what writing is? How can you love writing if you hate all of that?” I don’t understand it, either.

I know that I need practice. Lots of practice. Lots and lots and lots of practice. I’m realizing this more than ever before. I would say that I’m an above average thinker for my age, but my lack of experience makes it difficult to write. What do I know? Not enough to be an expert on anything. I’m still in a mostly-learning phase; not a “teaching” phase, if you wish to call it that. But I still have this desire to write. So what do I write when I don’t know anything? I begin with a piece like this: a critical self-analysis which is intended to give me practice in areas I’m lacking (cohesion, vocabulary, etc.) and which the piece itself is both a genuine question on my part and an attempt to get the answer.

I’m a terrible reader. My disdain for reading came in elementary school, when there were deadlines to reading. Most of the books were rather boring, so I didn’t read. And I haven’t read much since then, which is a shame, considering that I loved reading before school. But I digress.

I’m still not a huge reader. Besides my past experience with reading, I don’t know why. Why don’t I like to read? It’s not that I dislike reading everything. There are certain topics I’m interested in reading. Economics, for example. I love reading Murray Rothbard. But I don’t read his works everyday. In fact, I take long breaks between reading sessions. Why? Because I simply have other things that I would like to do which take precedent over reading. It’s a matter of time-constraints and desire hierarchies.

That being said, I love writing more than I love to read. But, as I’ve said, how can I become a better writer if I don’t know anything? Reading is a great way to learn, and learning makes writing easier. So if I don’t like to read, but I like to write, then what?

Honestly, I think the answer for me is just writing. Just practicing. Going through the motions of rereading, editing, grabbing a thesaurus, etc. And patience. My God, am I an impatient writer. I hate how long it takes to bring ideas together. I hate that it can take page after page after page to prove a point. Perhaps, with practice, I can make my writing more succinct. But, still yet, considering the gargantuan nature of the ideas that I wish to write about, the lengths of the pieces could still be devilishly long.

I have a tendency to be in a hurry. I don’t like sitting around, feeling like I’m doing nothing. At least not when it comes to writing; which is hilarious, because I don’t think I’m like this in many other areas of life. I live a very vegetative lifestyle. So why am I in a hurry when it comes to writing?

That comes down to disorganized thinking. When I was younger, I was raised in a religious household. Not that my father was very religious, but my mother went through a religious “phase”. She believed that the religious ideas that she wanted to introduce to us (mainly through pastors, etc.) were the best things for us. In my opinion, they weren’t. They stunted a lot of educational growth. They just did. Religion has a tendency to do that sort of thing, and I don’t think I can unravel the world’s ensnarement by religion. I can only focus on myself, analyze my past, and write my way through it towards a conclusion. But many of the desires that I had when I was a child to be intelligent were squashed by religion. Many people, tragically, are going through this today. If there were scientific facts I wanted to learn, I felt afraid, and that I should just “chalk it up to God” instead of understanding chemical and biological processes. It just made me tragically ignorant.

The same is true for my vocabulary and writing ability. It’s extraordinarily depressing, considering how much I desire to write. Perhaps it can be undone with practice. That’s what I’m hoping, anyway…

So all of this is just practice. How do I decide when a piece is finished? I need just as much practice thinking as I do the physical act of writing. The religious ideas of my past have fucked up my ability to think; to retain information; to sit and stew, and ponder. I don’t think religion is the sole perpetrator, here. I think that a lot of it has to do with being born smart around stupid people. Not that my parents were stupid people, but I don’t think that they knew what they were getting into with me. I don’t think they knew how to raise a smart kid. They loved me, but I don’t think they knew what they were doing. I can’t really blame them for that. At this current stage in my life (I’m as old as my father was when he had me, and older than my mother was), I wouldn’t know what the fuck I was doing, either. And I’m pretty sure that if I had a kid, he wouldn’t turn out as well as I have.

But to get back to the topic at hand, this piece, and many other pieces in the future, are just practice. This is practice in organizing thoughts, word selection, cohesion, but perhaps, most importantly, just doing the goddamn thing.

I need more practice thinking, and I need peace and quiet to do this. But, when I’m in peace and quiet, religious fears pop back up within me of not thinking about “God” enough. More educational stunting. I have to find a way to let go of this religious fear and feel confident in sitting in solitude, thinking, and organizing my thoughts effectively enough for writing. And this is going to be fucking hard.

But I really want it. Never before in my life have I realized how important it is to practice this. My best friend, who is also a writer, has told me for years the importance of reading and writing. But I had too many mental blocks to take his advice. Now, mainly due to growing restless of a barely-above minimum wage job, with no good (satisfying) alternatives in sight, I think it’s time to start practicing on what I love. I need to practice more isolation; more getting away from the ignorant ideas of this small, southern town. I need more isolation, more peace, more thinking, more analyzing, more reading, and more writing. A lot of these are the opposites of what I was taught that I should do: that I should “stop thinking so much”, that I should “stop overthinking” or “overanalyzing”, and that I needed to become a “social butterfly”. Horribly, horribly ignorant advice for me. I’m not questioning the love with which that advice was given. But it’s completely contradictory to my nature, and isn’t going to work for me. And I’m not going to force it to work. I’ve done enough of that in my lifetime, too (mainly through…take a guess? Religion).

I’m not using this to say that I hate my parents. This is merely an exercise in independence, and practice of the skillsets that I wish to improve upon.

Peace and quiet are crucial for writing. Considering how little writing I’ve done in my life, I’ve always considered portrayals of writers needing peace and quiet in movies or cartoons to be stereotypical. But it is very, very true. And due to the isolatory nature of being a writer, one is alone with one’s own thoughts constantly. One has to be. And that can be quite terrifying. You have to be comfortable with yourself to be a writer. My hands tremble as I write this. You really, really have to be comfortable with yourself as a writer. You have to write down your weaknesses, and know yourself frighteningly intimately. I’m a very introspective person, and it is hard for me to function in anything without understanding myself. I analyze everything to understand my motivations and my decisions. I do this towards other people as well. I’ve always loved doing it, even though my parents and peers have always tried to teach it out of me. But it didn’t work; it’s too intrinsic. It just got slowed down for a little bit (tragically).

On a little side note here, another thing that I’m realizing is that I need more confidence. Depending on the issue, I can be pretty confident and outspoken. But when it comes to defending myself, I tend to rather avoid conflict altogether. I’m a naturally non-combative person, but I do like telling people when I think that they are wrong or stupid. It is fun. But I do need more confidence. I need more confidence so that I can become even more outspoken through my writing. I have a lot of things that I want to say, and a lot of popular tangled webs that I want to unweave, and I need to be able to defend myself. I need more self-confidence and self-assurance. I need more logic. But at the same time, I also want to avoid some conflicts that I know are inevitable. I want the defending of myself to come incrementally. I don’t want to go insane with idiots, or even smart people. I don’t care about debating that much, but I do need a little more practice at that if I’m going to get all of the thoughts down that I wish to get down.

One important thing that I have only briefly mentioned here is learning how to edit. I have an aversion to going back and reading my writing. Untangling some of the messes that my horrible language skills create just gives me a huge headache. It’s just easier to set the piece aside for months (or even years) at a time and do something else. But I can’t get anything done that way, and if I wish to get things done, I need to start developing the willpower to edit.

Once again, a large part of my unwillingness to go back and reread my work and edit it is the same religiousintelligence problem that I discussed earlier. My thoughts were constantly interrupted with fearful religious thoughts about God, so the idea of relaxing, sitting down, and dedicating time to something “without thinking of God” (or whatever this ignorant feeling is) is (sadly) foreign to me. Relaxation can’t be part of your repertoire when you need to analyze your every thought and action for fear of going to Hell.

It’s fucking ignorant bullshit.

But I need to learn to relax and get lost in my thoughts. I need to rekindle my desires to learn, and to think. I just hope that the emotional damage hasn’t been permanently done, and that I can untangle it. I can’t be like the majority of people in my hometown who have had their mental facilities retarded by religion. It’s tragic, and I don’t want to be an ignoramus forever. It is still very emotionally uncomfortable for me. But, once again, I think I just need to practice it. I need to practice thinking in peace and quiet, and unraveling all of the conservatism from my mind so that I can say everything that I wish to say. This will prove most difficult…

It really is depressing to think about how much religion has hindered me in my life. It has destroyed a great deal of my self-confidence, self-expression, and self-improvement. It hindered them for many, many years. My heart weeps over it. I’m far behind where I could’ve been, and I can’t go back and relive my life. It’s most depressing.

All I can do is unravel it from this point in my life, then move on and learn all it is that I have missed out on over the years. Sure, there are scientific prodigies who will go on to make lots of money from curing various ailments in the world, and sure, maybe I missed out on that possibility because of religion. Maybe my interest could’ve led me to be one such person (probably not). Or maybe I would just be more educated about science. But regardless, I’m not happy with where I am, and it is depressing.

Religion is a way of lying to yourself. Not that God doesn’t exist, and you’re lying to yourself by believing that He does. But religion is repression. It’s a repression of humanity. It’s a repression of natural human desires and abilities. And that’s why it’s so destructive. All for a bunch of lies; that if I do x, y, and z that I will get into Heaven.

Your actions do not get you into Heaven;

Christ does.

And Christ’s forgiveness cannot be earned.

It is only given freely by the grace of God.

So, to sum that up, my old religious beliefs retarded me quite a bit. It’s depressing, and I’ve been cheated of great opportunities to learn; but I will work on unraveling all of this and becoming more learned in life, and in writing.

It really is a tragedy that religion has destroyed my ability to sit in peace and think. I need to be able to sit in peace and think if I’m going to be as good of a writer as I can be. But it’s hard to do that when you have trained yourself for years to feel afraid when you feel relaxed; to feel compelled when you feel comfortable. I’ve repressed a lot of these terrible religious ideas I’ve had over the years, but if I were to actually go back and try to analyze them, I would break down into tears. It’s horrible human torture to go through religion the way I did. There are many people that have had it worse, but it is still inhumane to adopt the religious ideas that I adopted. It’s one big heartache. It destroyed peace and comprehension; as I’ve said before, it destroyed my ability to think. My ability to be confident, and well-spoken. It destroyed my mind…(although not completely, as evidenced by this (and other things)).

So, although you may feel this is an unnecessary tangent, I must now attempt to unravel my religious past in order to better understand why my writing is the way that it is so that I can attempt to improve upon it. As I’ve said, I grew up believing that intelligence was the ultimate sin: why rely on sinful humanity instead of a perfect God? And the perfect God was going to church, living by the Ten Commandments, etc. etc. Writing this is most difficult, as it brings back those most dreadful terrors within me. But I must press on to move on and develop as a human being.

The fear of Hell is one of the worst experiences. It cripples you. It grips you, and shakes you to your core, and doesn’t let you go. It causes you to do things that you never would believe you would do. It makes you lie to yourself. That’s one of the worst things about it. It makes you afraid to admit things about yourself. It makes you afraid to be yourself. It makes you afraid to admit your weaknesses; it makes you afraid to admit your interests; it makes you afraid to admit your abilities; and it makes you afraid to admit your desires. It just makes you afraid on one of the most primal levels ever. And people that preach at others to fear for Hell without giving them any hope are, quite frankly, terrible people. And people who give those afraid of Hell bad advice are doing something tragic. Perhaps it’s well-intentioned (I think that most of the time, it is). But in practice, the whole situation is depressing.

I do not understand God’s justice. I may not ever understand it. On the one hand, I can understand how, because Adam and Eve shed light on evil, and this evil thus afflicted us, that God would be upset (to put it lightly; I’m not quite sure exactly how to describe God’s (feelings?) about this). But on the other hand, it feels like an overreaction. An eternity of pain and suffering? It does feel a little bit extreme. I accept it deep in my core, but, at the same time, I almost disagree with it at my core. It does feel a bit too harsh. But, although atheists will crucify me for this, perhaps there’s just more to the picture that I don’t understand.

However, although I do not understand just how just God’s justice is, I can say, through personal experience, observation, and frequent discussion for years with someone who became my best friend during this process (you shall eventually, in the coming years, know of his credentials on this subject) that self-condemnation is not the way to go.

Self-condemnation is the belief that one must condemn oneself for one’s transgressions by becoming aware of them and feeling guilt for them. Then, the doctrine goes, one must accept Christ into one’s heart so that He can forgive you for all of those transgressions. In practice, what this means is a lot of “beating oneself up” for one’s sin and a lot of repetitive acts to (try go get into Heaven when one dies?) It is almost as if these people are whipping themselves so that they can see the streets of gold and flowing milk and honey when they die. But the problem is the whipping.

If Christ died for your sins, then that’s it. That’s all it took to get into Heaven. And if you believe that, then that’s as far as you need to go. It doesn’t involve going to church every Wednesday and Sunday; it doesn’t involve being a good person; it doesn’t involve fear. It’s just simply done.

My thoughts on Christianity have changed in recent years. My earliest experiences with religion were my mother reading from the Bible to my brother and I, and many trips to a couple of different churches. There were also sermons on the radio on the way to these churches. I suppose that my mother reading from the Bible was harmless enough. It was boring as sin, and I viewed the exciting stories as just that: exciting stories (I think I was too young to grasp the significance of God), and I viewed the “begats” as insufferable, tortuous boredom. I do not think these Bible readings really instilled any fear in me. At least not any fear that I can consciously remember. These readings were more boring than scary. The church sermons were also boring. I would want to sleep, but my mom wouldn’t let me. And just when I was about to doze off, the pastor would start screaming and clapping in rhythm to the inflections of certain words that he decided to emphasize, and I would wake up, wondering what in the world the man was doing. All of the old people seemed to enjoy it, however. Once again, I can’t recall any specific sermons that made me take something from them; good or bad (thankfully). It was more boredom. There were also television sermons. The late-night television sermons occurred during my middle-teenage years. During this time, my mother “moved out” and we stopped going to church. There was a spiritual void (perhaps no different than when I was going to church), so I started thinking for myself. And I started to realize some of the ignorance of conservatism; things such as the avoidance of modern medicines to cure ills, condemnation of scientific facts, etc. I was finally old enough to (at least on the most basic level) understand some of these basic scientific facts, and they made me happy. I was happy to learn (about space in particular). It was fascinating. It captured my imagination. And it turned me into an atheist.

I wasn’t particularly happy when I was an atheist. In fact, I was miserable and depressed. Science was making me happy, but something was missing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. But, to briefly mention it here, I later discovered that the missing piece for me was philosophy: how to view religion, science, and everything else in the world. That’s the direction my mind has decided to go, and I am very pleased with the result thus far, and look forward to seeing where it leads me next. I’m sure it will be most wonderful…

During this time that I was an atheist, I seem to remember one particular night at my grandmother’s house watching a late-night sermon on television in a separate room while my grandmother was asleep. My, how I hated that sermon. I believed that he was full of shit, that God wasn’t real, and that the scientific facts of space would tell me all that I needed to know (even though I didn’t know how, and even though that wasn’t quite fulfilling to me enough; oddly enough, physics were tied into this philosophical belief of mine as well. Only recently have I discovered that physics, astronomy, and everything else in life brings me no satisfaction without some philosophy regarding the subjects accompanying it. It’s complicated, and topics for other pieces). And my atheism continued for many years. I became a bitter asshole, but also, felt somewhat comforted by the cold, emptiness of space. At least there were some facts in the world. It wasn’t the same anti-intellectual ideology that conflicted with my nature that I had been subjected to for so long…But, on somewhat of a tangent, physics always confused me. I would stare at the lightbulb in the bathroom, knowing that there were things to learn about it, but I had no idea what they are. I never thought about going to a library and picking up a book about the nature of light. I didn’t understand how physics could relate to a philosophical framework that would make me happy. Currently, I view physics as immutable realities which we as humans can use to make ourselves happier by making the naturally difficult processes of our everyday existence easier. I think that’s a pretty good way to view physics, even if I (at least currently) know very little about the math.

Also, to go on one more tangent here before I continue the religious discussion: I want to briefly discuss something that has always plagued me. This topic will be it’s own separate, complete piece, but I want to mention it here. Very seldom am I satisfied with the way information is presented by others. Very seldom do I feel like information is presented to me by others in a way that I can understand it. I often find myself having to “take their word for it” without actually understanding it. Sometimes, this has to do with them not explaining the topic in depth, and sometimes, it has to do with my lack of knowledge regarding the subject, and not understanding what they are talking about. But I am particular in who I like as a “teacher”, and most often I am not satisfied with said “teachers”. I do not enjoy teachers who dumb things down. I want the brunt of it. But the lesson of the topic must exist within some type of philosophical framework: why are telecommunications so important? What is the role of business? Who is more right when it comes to ideas regarding business: conservatives or liberals? What philosophical positions can be taken regarding business, and why did telecommunications develop in the first place? Why is faster communication among humans important? Why is it important for more business transactions to take place? Why do people have problems with wealth? Are they justified in having problems with wealth? How did these geniuses develop technologies before anyone else did? Why did no one else do it before them? Why do people disagree on the nature of government? Why do people disagree at all? What is man’s individual nature? What is the appropriate balance between leaving nature alone and transforming it? Why do some people believe in the existence of God, while others don’t? Why are there sub-branches of the same religion? These are types of questions that I almost never get the answers to when listening to various subjects…At least not satisfactory answers. I get many bland responses, or very vague answers regarding these questions, with no elaboration. And this isn’t even considering deceit…that’s a whole nother topic entirely. Many lesson plans are philosophically lacking, and this brings me sadness. But, perhaps, if I read more often, I would find what I’m missing, huh? And, as you can imagine, much of the education I have received is insufficient considering how I think. And it’s tragic that attempts have always been made to teach my way of thinking out of me, but I digress…Sadly, many debates regarding issues and positions will continue on forever, with the same arguments being used to support each side. And thus, the Eternal Struggle continues on…look for a (hopefully) giant piece about this subject coming sometime in the future (only God knows when…)

To get back to the topic at hand, let’s keep discussing my religious past. Let’s talk about the radio sermons on the way to church. I think that the radio sermons affected me more than anything else. The radio sermons occurred during the time that I was going to church during my childhood; during the time my mother was reading from the Bible to my brother and I. I took things from the radio sermons. Things that, in retrospect, were insignificant spiritually (regardless of what significance the pastor took from them). I kept them in my mind, and repeated them. Various points that the pastors were trying to make that, looking back on them, were so devoid that they were never worth listening to in the first place. They became the standard by which I measured myself spiritually. The ideas stuck with me, and I applied them to myself and to others. And, sometimes, I would make up my own interpretations that I’m sure the pastor was not even trying to convey. It is very strange how, when you are afraid, particularly of going to Hell, you don’t even need to listen to someone else to adopt specific ideas about what is sinful and what isn’t. The imagination does a great (well…horrific) job of conjuring up all different ways of sinning and fucking yourself up in the afterlife. I don’t even know if I can remember all of my imaginings here…

But, to continue, I’ll begin explaining how I applied some of those ideas that I listened to that stuck with me to others (this is most dreadful). I spent a lot of time condemning other people in my mind. “What do you mean you don’t go to church?” “Oh, you go to that church? You should go to my church!” “What do you mean you aren’t a Christian?!” Sometimes, I would even express these thoughts to these people. Not my finest moment; I’m not proud of that. Besides applying it to others that I went to school with, I would apply it to people I saw on the television as well. They were subjected to more internal, mental vitriol than the kids I was educated with. The more money they had, the more I condemned them. If they were famous, I condemned them. What was my logic? That’s a great question. It goes back to my prior belief that there is the earthly world and the spiritual world. The earthly world involved all of those good things that I mentioned earlier; all of the things that were not related to going to church every Sunday, and thanking God for every single thing that happened every single time that it happened. So if you enjoyed it, it was probably “earthly”, for that level of religious scrupulousness can only create misery. It’s hard for me to define what I would consider “earthly” because I spent so much time thinking about “spiritual” things instead of “worldly” things. I avoided thinking about “worldly” things, so it’s hard for me to explain what it is that I ignored for so long. As I mentioned earlier, it involved learning (particularly of the sciences); it involved language and vocabulary, and speaking well; it involved feelings of attraction towards the opposite sex; and, of course, all kinds of “violent” movies, television shows, etc. I really thought that the entire world was evil, except for those religious people I surrounded myself with on television, on the radio, and in the church. If you didn’t go to church (or if you went to the “wrong” church), or if you were a scientist, or if you were rich or famous, or even fucking physically attractive (somehow, I viewed being physically attractive as being “sinful”. Probably something to do with “vanity” or lust or something…). All of these people were “sinners”, and instead of listening to what they had to say, I would ignore them while repeating to myself variations on “they are sinners”. I cannot currently express the depression and regret I feel about this. I feel like I owe someone (or some people) an apology, but I don’t know who or whom to direct it to.

I (sadly) feel as if I do not need to explain how religion affected my mental grasping of the sciences. It’s so common that I feel as if everyone already knows what I’m talking about. The argument is still raging today, and, sadly, it always will. The only conclusion I can find to this debate for myself is that conclusion which brings me personally inner peace; I can’t get involved in the Eternal Struggle.

I’ve mentioned how religion affected me linguistically. I’m sure you can imagine how it affected my relationships with the opposite sex. Perhaps I could elaborate upon that in another piece. And, again, you can imagine how it affected my perception of popular movies, T.V. shows, etc. You don’t have to look very hard to find someone who currently has the worldview that I had back then (sadly)…

To continue elaborating upon my previous perceptions of various things in the world, here’s a line of thought that I would’ve had back in the dark day: rich people were greedy; didn’t they know they couldn’t take their wealth with them when they died? Didn’t they know that Jesus hated wealth? Well, by God, I’ll hate it, too! Fuck them! Fuck those sinners! And many of the rich people were also famous, so fuck the famous, too! Honestly, it would be much more difficult to explain why I currently don’t feel these ways than to explain why I felt those ways in the past. When you are, at an early age, introduced to the idea that religion should produce fear in you, you do ridiculous, idiotic things. The religion introduces the fear to you that you never had before, and then tries to give you the remedy to that fear. It seems to me that the remedy to the fear is not introducing it in the first place…

The fear of being “cocky” or “prideful” has really hindered my vocabulary. It has also hindered my ability of being a very logical, sequential thinker. If you accept the fact that this fear hindered my vocabulary and logical thinking, then it is easy to see how it has and is hindering me as a writer. How could religion hinder my vocabulary and logical thinking? Does that mean that my vocabulary is limited to “thous”, and my logical thinking magical, with men walking on water? Not quite.

The language was limited due to fears of being “cocky” or “prideful”, and even fears of being intelligent in general (as, remember, I considered human intelligence to be the opposite of divine existence). Being called a “know-it-all” or “smartass” or “nerd” or whatever at a young age, especially considering my sensitive nature, decreased my vocabulary as well. But, rather than lament at what might have been, when it comes to that, I’m just going to accept it as a “normal” part of growth that I must accept, move on from, and grow from. Even as I say that, however, there is a deep depression in me about words and linguistic development lost…Practice makes perfect, I suppose…

How was my logical thinking affected? The same way. Being a “super logical person” or “too literal” or “too logical” disrupted my natural thinking process. My earliest memories of myself are of me being somewhat logical. But years of being around unsupportive peers made me try to become as chaotic and disorganized as they were in order to fit in. And that’s the shitty situation that my writing and my thoughts find themselves in today, sadly. God help me unravel this piece of shit…My dad always did the same thing to me as well. I always felt bad around him when I tried to be smart. Looking back on it, I don’t think he was purposefully trying to make me feel bad. I think he was just trying to be joking. But at the time, it made me feel like shit to hear him ridicule me when I tried to be smart. To be fair, I probably did bring some of it upon myself, as I’m sure I was cockier than was justified. But also, a lot of my natural intelligent expression was hindered. It was a complicated mixture of both, as human experience, messily and muddily, always is…

So now, as I have a desire to write, and am trying to become better at it, and practice it more often to get in the swing of things and make myself happy through my work, I accept that my vocabulary must improve, and so must my logical thinking. And that is what this (and, I’m sure, other pieces in the future) are working towards. The next, horrible, painful step in this process, is the organizing. Please wait a second while I go get my throw-up bucket.

There, I’m back. Please excuse the smell. It should be obvious to you how organization is crucial to good writing. It’s important in basic conversation. It’s important in linguistics. Sentence creation, idea development, etc. So how could I, over the years, have developed problems with organization? Please see some of the previous causes of my previous problems.

Good organization is a byproduct of good intelligence. And when my intelligence was interrupted, so was my organization. And my intelligence was interrupted by religion and by ignorance, or envy, or whatever it was. And, thus, my organization was affected in the same way. So I won’t bore you with the details of how my organizational abilities became depleted. But how, now (brown cow?) can I fix them? What steps can I take to improve my organizational ability? I’ll express for you a few ways that I’ve thought of that I think will help me out.

One way I’ve thought about doing this is writing down all of the various points that I wish to make in a piece (whether fiction or nonfiction) in a diagram tree, plotting down the major elements that I wish to discuss, and distinguishing between them by differences that I see in the natures of each of the elements. Putting them in order in the tree may help me, also, with elaboration, as I think I may be able to look at the organized tree, look at one piece of it, and begin elaborating upon said idea. Then, when I feel as if the elaboration is done, I can look over at the tree and begin the next portion of the tree, not forgetting where I wanted to go.

Another way I’ve thought about doing this is just through practicing. Just practicing writing, as I’m doing now. Suffering through all of the problems that I have with organizing, and accepting the fact that a large percentage of my writing will be shit. Shit vocabularily, and shit organizationally (and conceptually, etc. etc.). Practice will be the name of the game when it comes to improvement in all of these areas. It won’t occur as quickly as I would like, but I must stick with it, and keep practicing, if I want to improve to become as good of a writer as I want to be.

It’s quite daunting…

But, practice practice practice

Sigh…

On to the next step.

After organizing, what could be next? If I’m confident with the content conceptually, I’ve accepted that I need to work on vocabulary and organizing, what could possibly be next in the writing process?

That god damned editing.

So, in the spirit of this piece: what are the mental blocks that I have with editing? Aye aye aye…More intellectual problems. The same thing as I’ve stated before, but geared towards editing. But, in addition to the intellectual problems, there are a couple more problems that I have with editing. One of them is a type of perfectionism problem: I can’t stand the thought of not doing something right the first time. It aggravates me. I accept that I am not perfect, but there is a limit. There is a limit to the amount of garbage that I am willing to accept from myself. And if I become too aggravated with my “first draft” (I don’t really do “drafts”, but for lack of a better term), I become frustrated. I don’t like the idea of spending time rereading, rewriting and editing. I would rather do it correctly the first time I write it down. I know that sounds strange, but it’s just how I am. I don’t know why, other than I like to progress and move on to other projects, and I don’t like feeling bogged down by any one project. Although I do wish to spend more time on current projects to make them better (in my opinion). If I can’t do it perfectly the first time, I’ll have to accept that, and learn how to get better through progression. And how do I do that? As I’ve said; through pieces like this. But let’s try to elaborate on this a little bit further.

So if you understand how my religious intellectual problems have affected me, what does this have to do with editing? It comes down to the exertion of intelligence (the sin), back to the language problems (which come back to the exertion of intelligence (the sin)), and back to the cockiness problems. They all overlap and coexist. They all have to do with humanitarian expression of intelligence, manifested in different ways. It’s terribly difficult to move on from, and that’s what this is all about. I think it’s going pretty well so far.

For this piece, at least.

After this piece is published, however, and how I apply these things to myself on a regular basis is another question entirely.

So now that you (hopefully) understand (at least a little) my problem with editing, how do I get better at it?

Practice.

How do I let go of my mental blocks regarding intelligence?

Practice, and the grace of God, I guess.

Enough with editing. Let’s try to conclude this piece. What are the final pieces to the complicated mental puzzle? Self-esteem. What problems do I have with self-esteem? Do I really need to answer this question for you? Surely, you’ve caught onto the theme by now. However, this self-esteem problem is perhaps the deepest spiritual problem that I have presented today. It goes along the same humanitarian vein mentioned before. The self-esteem was related to the intelligence, the desires to learn things such as the sciences, the desire to express onself intellectually through intelligent vocabulary, being a logical thinker, and being a good organizer. Hopefully, I need to elaborate no further on this. Why is it the most important part of the puzzle? Because it is the one aspect of my personality which drives my actions. Without confidence, even the best of facts can’t help me make good decisions. I have been swayed by others for far too long, and it has kept me from expressing my individuality, and being comfortable in my own skin. Well, how in the fuck can I be a writer if I’m unconfident in expressing myself and am uncomfortable with what, why and how I’m saying it to boot?

So the next question becomes: how do I boost my self-esteem? What caused my low self-esteem? I think that I was born with a very sensitive constitution that swayed very easily in the winds of opinion. A large part of this problem has to do with my father. My father did not seem to like the fact that I was very opinionated, and didn’t like to listen to others. He would always try to give me advice that I should be more open to listening, but I never took it. It did lead to some problems, but I’m pretty content with my decision thus far. And I don’t blame him for what he did, either. As Travis Tritt once sang, I know he had the “best of intentions”. However, it made me very unconfident when I felt like he was very unsupportive of my decisions. But, as “Free” once sang, “It’s alright now.” It’s still a learning process for me to be more mentally independent and confident. It’s always been this way, and, through practice, I can limit myself from being subjected to self-doubt as frequently as I have done to myself in the past. It just takes a lot of practice. It takes time to figure out all of the things that have limited me in the past. It takes time for me to practice learning what I wanted to learn previously, but never did, because of what I’ve mentioned before. Practice makes perfect, and this is no different when it comes to my writing, my personal growth, and my self-esteem.

Another large part of self-development that I must work on when it comes to my works (writing or anything else that I decide to release to the public that I have put effort into) is accepting praise. “But what about criticism?” I’ll get to that shortly. Yes, the acceptance of praise was affected by the same religious factors that I’ve kept stating over and over and over. It was related to pride, etc. etc. But, currently, I don’t feel that way about praise, or self-esteem. So how do I feel about it now? And how does that currently help me improve as a writer now?

I’m still uncomfortable with accepting praise. I don’t know what to do with it. I just sit there, anxious, uncomfortable, and dissociated. But I’m beginning to think that I really shouldn’t be. If writing and other forms of art are going to be as important to me in my life as I think they are and will be, then I must become accustomed to accepting praise. And, at least, accepting the fact that I will be critiqued. Let’s start with the praise.

What should I do with the praise? Well, I can do whatever I want to with it. I think that I need to do with it what makes me the most happy. And, I suppose, I should just accept it. But then, what social interactions should I have with the praiser? Good question. Once again, I feel as if the answer is whatever social interaction I want to have with the praiser. And what is that? Not much. It doesn’t make me very comfortable, and a “thank you” should do nicely. It doesn’t need to go much further than that, depending on the “fan”. But, of course, I’m always willing to accept payment.

And what of the critic? What should I take from them? Well, once again, whatever I feel as if I should do; whatever makes me the happiest (that’s a theme that I’ll have to discuss in a future piece: the philosophical position that you should do what makes you the happiest). Most of the time, I don’t care what critics have to say. Bad language? Bad editing? Bad form, sentence structure, elaboration, etc. etc.? Well, considering how I already know those things, I don’t see the point in reading it, or taking anything from it. So, I just ignore it. (And boy, it is humorous to observe these people’s reactions when you tell them what I have just said). And what about the unjustified critic? Well, obviously, I can just ignore him or her. But what if a critic brings to light something about my work that I hadn’t considered before? Then what? Well, I suppose that I will just have to cross that bridge when I get there. I don’t have to have everything figured out at the moment, you know 😉

One final point, and then I will conclude, is how to start accepting positive feelings and positive occurrences and experiences in general. When I experience something pleasant, I have trained myself though the religious torture device that I mentioned earlier. “Don’t get to happy or high: remember, you’re a sinner, and God has His watchful eye upon you. REPENT!!!” All for saying something like “This ice cream is delicious.” Not that this is an exact example of something that has happened to me, but in principle, it is pretty close. I have put myself through this ringer more times than I can count. My eyes well with tears as I write this. No good comes from religious fear. Just, none. Nothing anyone can say will ever convince me otherwise. I hope that everyone is free of it someday. A large part of our existence is happiness. It is living, and experience, and good things, and enjoyment. You have to be able to accept these things to be happy. Being happy is the purpose of life. It just is. Everything we do on a regular fucking basis is an attempt to maximize our happiness. Even if we are doing something for someone else, we are doing it for ourselves. Our lives are lived individually, and are meant to make us happy. No one can effectively convince me of this otherwise. I will not be able to explain it all here, but I hope you’ll continue reading my works in the future so that I can elaborate upon my position. Those “Christians” who say that “holiness is greater than happiness” are the biggest liars walking the face of this planet today. The two are not separate. They are not distinct. They are one in the SAME. “But what if sin makes you happy?” Sorry to disappoint you, but I’ll have to elaborate upon my religious beliefs in other pieces at later dates. It’s too much to include in this piece, which is going in a different direction (believe it or not, it is going in a different direction than a philosophical piece about the religious role of happiness would go, despite how much religion has been included in this piece).

So how will this piece help me in the future? Once this is completed, then what? What happens to me next? How do I improve? Maybe if I write enough of these pieces, I will develop the skills necessary to be a “good” writer.

Or, at least, a self-satisfied one…

We’ll see how it all becomes received by others later.

And those are my humble, poorly-developed thoughts about how I, personally, can become a better writer.

Maybe you can relate to these words, and they will help you out, or maybe they won’t.

But I’m currently satisfied with the state of this.

More practice to come…

Better writer.

Excerpts from my fiction.

My poetry.

Where you can financially support me if you so desire (T-shirts included; please share all of these links).

A Philosopher’s Mind.

Highly Sensitive Mind.

Offend the Fuck Out of People.

Modern linguistic problems.

Having an open mind is the worst thing you can have when, among the (say) two messages that are being taught, one is correct and one is incorrect.
 
Without a stubborn mind, you can not only never know what is correct, but you won’t even be able to make a decision at all, and will be stuck in uncomfortable ambiguity.
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Conflict between Freedom and Restraint in Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray

My best friend is a literary genius…

Christianity.

Moral.

Devin Stevens Presents Literature

In the last few decades of nineteenth century Victorian England, the moral disposition that Queen Victoria had ushered in with her rule began to be challenged. Individuals questioned the authenticity of morality in both public and private life. It is not a mistake that two literary works close in time, Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) both present characters who fail miserably to control the evil inherit in their own hearts.

Stevenson’s work presents a man named Dr. Jekyll who concocts a potion that transforms him into a hideous being: Mr. Hyde. Up to this point, the local officials, including the narrator, Mr. Utterson, have searched for Edward Hyde, wanting to prosecute him for crimes he’s committed in London (the beating of a little girl and murder of an old man). One night, they…

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