This is a really good talk. But it’s also Jordan Peterson, so that’s no surprise.
To be human is to be individual. Although all humans share a common humanity (that’s why they’re called “humans“), and this fact is used to consider individual human beings as part of a collective, the truth of the matter is that each human is an individual at the core of his or her being.
To be an “individual”, one must have a mind, which creates thoughts, desires, and plans and takes action. Among these desires is a sense of belonging among fellow humans. Humans have an intrinsic social need: a need to be accepted on some level. We are created in such a way as to need communication, both in speaking and in listening. The thoughts, desires, plans, and actions among humans differ. This is another characteristic of humanity, and a byproduct of the fact that humanity is composed of “individual” humans. If humans were not individual in nature, but were rather homogeneous, such as atoms sharing the exact same molecules and molecular structures, then concepts such as the ones mentioned above would be mute.
But, as it stands, humans are individual in nature; and individual with a desire for sociability and beloningness.
With the individual nature of the thoughts, desires, plans, and actions of humans, comes many influences. Although each person has his or her own will, that does not mean that our wills are not influenced by external forces (forces outside of our bodies). Other humans influence through their words, actions, etc. We react to each other. And we are reacted to when we react.
But despite all of this complicated interplay among humans, there is still a desire to be individual. To be independent. To be one’s own person. And this is not to say that in order for one to be an individual, one must not be influenced by outside forces. For this would be impossible. In that case, babies must not learn, because almost all of the knowledge that they obtain comes from outside forces.
And, in fact, it is impossible to not be independent. This is another aspect of our humanity: being individual in nature, we are inherently independent.
So what is all of this about?
To preface this, I would say that given all of the concepts and ideas that very intelligent people have communicated throughout mankind’s history, I have no expectations that my own ideas will have any influence that I would deem significant. Sure, if one person is influenced in a manner that we both deem positive, it could be argued that that would be “significant”, because the well-being of each and every person on the planet is important.
But you get my point.
However, for whatever reason, I have a natural desire to think and express my thoughts.
My thoughts, as are everyone else’s, are independent.
And one of my desires is to write my thoughts down.
I have no explanations as to why my thoughts may be of superior objective quality to anyone else’s thoughts, so I’m not going to attempt to argue that here.
And if you were to ask me how I could characterize my thoughts generally, I could only come up with vague descriptions such as “unique” (which isn’t very unique, by the way).
However, I have them, and I think them. And they exist.
Next, I have a natural desire to express those thoughts. I have a feeling that my thoughts have enough quality to be shared to others (and some agree with me and some disagree with me). And so, I share them. And I share them and I share them and I share them, in the hopes that someone can receive them and say “Hmm…he’s got a good point. I never thought of it that way.” Or “You know, I’ve always thought the same thing, but he elaborated upon my original thought in an effective way.”
Don’t misunderstand me here: I’m not simply looking for praise for praise’s sake. If you will recall what I stated earlier, I have thoughts which I think are worth sharing, and a desire to share them. It’s not so people can tell me how smart I am. It’s more than that. It’s just who I am. It’s just me. It is me to think, think that my thoughts are of fairly intelligent quality, and then attempt to share those thoughts with others in the hope that people can make sense of them and, even perhaps, learn something.
And, once again, this isn’t to try to “prove” to people how smart I am.
It’s just naturally who I am.
Once again, you may be asking yourself:
What is his fucking point?
I’ll try to begin explaining that to you now.
I have always struggled with being mentally independent. At least in some ways. There are some ideas that I would say I have “independently” (meaning void of any anxiety-peer pressure driven acceptance), and some that I do not. I have no way of describing any defining criteria between the two, because I’m not sure if there is any, besides just a recognition that one is one and the other is the other.
But, at least for me, it is extremely difficult to be mentally independent in a way that I would consider to be “independent”. I have always attributed this difficulty to two things: a desire to understand objective truth, and assuming that people are well-intentioned.
Let me explain what I mean a little bit further. I’ve always loved learning. I love knowing truths. I think many people share those same loves. So, I’ve always tried to absorb knowledge, from whatever I could. To be mundane, this would include anyone speaking to me (as a child: keep this in mind); basically, any form of information that I absorbed through multiple forms of media (books, magazines, etc.). And, I always assumed that people were telling the truth. Or, at least trying to. But I encountered a couple of problems along the way, which I couldn’t begin to comprehend until I got older.
The first problem that I encountered was that some people are just fucking stupid. I kind of knew this when I was younger, but I almost felt bad for knowing this truth (sympathy for them because they were stupid), so I tried to ignore this truth so that I didn’t feel like a bad person. But the truth is the truth. Acknowledging that a stupid person is stupid is simply that: an acknowledgement that a stupid person is stupid. That in and of itself is not necessarily a value judgment upon said person. It is simply an undeniable fact. This was very hard for me to accept when I was younger.
I always wanted everyone to be the best at everything, but people are just different, and differ in ability, desires, etc. I felt bad when I felt like I had an advantage in, say, intelligence, as opposed to someone else. Just a general sadness. It wasn’t fair that they were born less intelligent than I was. And I didn’t think it was fair because I knew of the advantages one would have when one is intelligent, and neither of us really had any control in our respective intelligences. We were created that way through genetics and our environment, and didn’t have much (if any) say so in the matter. That was always soul-crushing to me.
Likewise, I felt bad for people who were physically disabled. I could go on and on and on about the things that I felt sorry for.
And although I still feel that sympathy in many different respects (nowadays, it more manifests itself towards criminals), I, through what I can only attribute to age, experience, and various lessons people have tried to teach me along the way, have learned to accept (at least, more so than I used to) the differences in advantageous and disadvantageous traits and life experiences from one human being to another.
But one thing that I’m not content with my grasp on is my own personal mental, ideological independence.
I realize that, at the time of this writing, it is only 5 days until my 24th birthday (it, apparently, took me over a year to finish this). And I realize that’s a pretty young age to expect “complete mental independence” (for lack of a better phrase due to laziness). But still, one area of my life that I would like to develop is mental independence. All humans, as they age from children, to adolescence, to adulthood, wish to be mentally independent. Once again, it’s part of our nature. But I think I have a way of expressing this more effectively than most (although there are surely writers who could communicate this more effectively than I).
I realize this is a very humorous thing to say, but the thing that scares me the most about independence is the responsibility. I just don’t fucking trust myself. I know how I am. I remember my history. I remember my mistakes, and how devastating they were for me. The more I tried to control a situation, the more shitty it became. Once I “shirked responsibility”, the shit was still there. But it was more manageable. I could just ignore it until it went away. The idea of being in control never appealed to me. There were several things outside of my control (such as the relationship between my parents), and the more I tried to control something, the more shitty I felt when things didn’t go my way. So, I just accepted the shittiness. And that was really hard to do. There is nothing more devastating than feeling like you have done a good job, only to find out that you hadn’t. I feel like this was the case for me in school a lot. I was a smart student, and I wouldn’t say that this disappointment was the majority of the time, but when it happened, it seemed to cripple me. For instance, reading the wrong chapter for homework. That type of failure was always crippling to me. Why? Why couldn’t I just say “Woops”, and move on? I think a part of it had to do with always being told how smart I was by teachers, and hearing my mom talk to other people about me. I just set my own personal standards too high (especially for my age). I couldn’t tolerate mistakes. And it all ate me alive.
The carefree attitude saved me, although it also caused a lot of problems. Instead of feeling like shit for not getting the grade I wanted, or for making a mistake, I just stopped caring. I stopped caring about my grades. Luckily, I didn’t flunk everything. But straight As went to Bs and Cs really quickly. And I was content with that. I didn’t care about school anymore. The subjects were boring, and I already knew what it was like to “Ace” everything. Why did I need to continue doing that? I didn’t know. And, so, I stopped trying as much.
But even when I did try, I still made mistakes. And it made me angry. So, I “ragequit” again. That has been my modus operandi for a long time now: just quitting everything. Barely getting by. The idea of college was terrifying to me when I was in high school. “You mean I’m going to have to decide what I’m going to do with my entire life? I can’t even remember what page I was supposed to read for homework!” I had zero confidence in myself as a decision maker. I believe, knowing my history, this was justified. My “decision” was to coast, and I know I got pretty lucky along that coast. But still, I made the “decision” to coast, and it seemed to work out (in some areas). Of course, every decision will lead to mistakes somewhere, and this was certainly the case for me.
Coasting has worked out for me, but I think it is, at least to a significant degree, at its end. “The writing is on the wall.” I can see, pretty clearly, what my main option is for the future. It is in contrast with what I dream to do. I will probably have to do both simultaneously, and it is very probable that my dreams are going to be opposed to what it is that I ultimately have to do. My only option is to try to do both simultaneously until the dream can become the job, and that is uncertain (unlikely, most would say. I know I won’t succeed without optimism, however). All of my thoughts need to develop over time. I have to figure out how I want them to develop. I’m still so anxious about what it is that I want to do that this anxiety freezes me. I want to write about “big” things. And when I try to go down the path of thinking about them, I become anxious. Either because I don’t have everything that I want to say figured out, or I start thinking about after the piece becomes completed, and what is going to happen. It is hard to concentrate. In my opinion, I think this is a good thing in several ways. I am cognizant of the sands of time ticking away. I realize that the journey is long. Doing what I want to do is going to be really fucking hard. And it is all for an uncertainty. It is hard to concentrate when these factors constantly occupy your mind. The only saving grace from this as far as the work is concerned is the joy that you obtain from doing the work. But I don’t want to treat my work as digging in the sand with a stick. I treat my work as a future career. That’s my attitude. “How is it going to work?” “How can you expect to-” blah blah blah. I don’t care to listen to your concerns, regardless of your motivations.
I want to write my thoughts down. This means that they need to be developed. This just takes fucking time. Learning takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of labor. It’s just hard to learn something. It’s even harder to write about something. I think that all writers are “teachers”. When you write something, you want to impart ideas to the reader. You want these ideas to be beneficial to the reader. You don’t want to have the reader say “Yeah yeah yeah, I already know this”, and stop reading what you wrote. You want the reader to say “Huh. That’s good.” That’s hard to do. There’s so many good writers out there that the prospect of you being a good teacher is slim. But, once again, that’s where the love of the work comes into play. In a sense, it doesn’t matter how good of a teacher I am. Even if I’m a shitty teacher, I’m going to keep writing. I’ll keep getting bad reviews, but I’ll keep fucking writing. Because I love to do it. I firmly believe that persistence is what I’m going to need to succeed as much as I can succeed, whatever level that ultimately happens to be. I would encourage everyone to write about how shitty I am as a “writer” or a “teacher”. Start your own blog called “Cody Alan Reel SUCKS”, and lay forth your arguments as to why I’m a lazy fucking sexist neckbeard who lives in his mom’s basement and is going to be flipping hamburgers (1, 2) his whole life. Maybe you’ll end up being right. Don’t you want to be among the first to be able to take credit for your predictions?
Of course, if one is going to take action, one must assume responsibility. There’s always some difficulty with this. Even when one takes responsibility, there is a guilt that comes with it. Or a somberness, when facing punishment. I can’t say that I’ve ever had, nor kept, many responsibilities in my life. The fact that I’m struggling to think of them really signifies that to me. I would characterize myself as a “weasel”: I’m always able to “weasel” my way out of things. I’m thinking something like chores. I never really did them. For one, some of them didn’t make sense (and still don’t). For instance, making one’s bed, or cleaning one’s room. Making one’s bed makes zero sense to me. It gets messed up every night. It doesn’t matter how it looks in the morning. And as far as one’s room goes: well, it’s my room. Sure, my parents owned the house. But it was still my room. The toys are going to come right back out the next day. So why not just leave them out? It still doesn’t make any sense to me. Authoritarianism is not a valid argument. Why should I put the toys away? “Because I said so” should never suffice for a youngster. If you can’t explain why something needs to be done, then it doesn’t need to be done. Teach your child how to reason: not how to fear authority. I’ve weaseled my way out of many other things besides chores, but I won’t get into them all now (chores were certainly a significant part of it; especially early on in life).
I suppose I should talk about things that I was “responsible” for in the past: namely, times in which I got in trouble. There were plenty of fights with my brother that I was responsible for. But the main thing I can think of for getting in trouble and being “responsible” for is porn. I don’t recall a time where I felt like I was “in trouble” before it came to porn. Looking back on it, there was definitely an overreaction. So I drew some pictures of boobs as a kid. Why do I need to see a guidance counselor because of that? So I planned on bringing some porn over to a friend’s house. What’s wrong with that? I can’t describe the embarrassment when I was “discovered”. I can’t even remember what was said to me at the time, I was so embarrassed. All I remember was the porn fell out of my shirt, I didn’t get to go over to my friend’s house, my mom called my friend’s parents and apparently he was asked about the porn, and I don’t know what else happened. I think they really made a big stink out of nothing. Maybe that was just my young mind overreacting due to embarrassment, but it seems to have been made a bigger deal than it actually was. So I was “responsible” for drawing pictures of boobs and trying to take porn over to a guy’s house. Big deal. (I can’t remember exactly how old I was at the time. I think I was in my very early teens: maybe even 12). I think this is partly why I still have a problem with “responsibility”: inconsistent, nonsensical parenting. My mother certainly provided a lot of that, and confused the Hell out of me. Then, there was the parents fighting, pitting one against the other, then, as a kid, I had to “take sides”, yadda yadda yadda. Except it wasn’t like a regular divorce with two “normal” parents: at least one of them was insane.
I seem to be finding it harder and harder to write about anything. I would hope that I become a better reader and editor as time goes along, but I continually find that things that I wish to write about overlap so much that distinguishing between things to separate them into “pieces” becomes very difficult. It truly feels like I just want to write about my life, my one life, and it is hard to write about my “life” in separate pieces. It is hard to decide how to frame each piece, or to keep it “on track”, when I feel like there are so many things that I want to say that intertwine.
One of the hardest things for me to deal with with regards to mental independence is how to handle other people. I envision someone screaming dumb things at me an inch from my face. Or punching me in the face. I desire to express myself honestly. And I accept that there will be people that hate it. But some of those crazies will think it is a good idea to stab me in the stomach. That’s the risk you have to take when you wish to speak honestly. (Or when your sense of humor is as fucked up as mine is). But it certainly occupies a significant portion of my thinking when I desire to write something, or do something.
One good thing about getting older is that you start to learn who, in your past, was wrong. As I write this, I think of the times that I tried to write in my mid-to-late teens. Writing was so much harder back then. Who was I writing for? I didn’t know. Well, myself, obviously. But who was going to read it? I had no idea. The few that did read it made me feel very self-conscious. I don’t think the small sample size understood what I was trying to say (and clearly, my inability to articulate myself had a significant role in this). But what changed in those 9, 10 years? Why am I so much different today than I was then? It bugs me that this development is “out of my control”. It just happened. Naturally. I just naturally became a better writer because I got older (and practiced a little bit). My language skills got better just because I had more experience, my brain chemistry is different, etc. That’s such an annoying, hopeless position to be in. To just be stuck as a shitty writer, with the only “saving grace” being time. That’s so fucked up. Why can’t I be the best writer that I will ever be right now? Sure, that thought frightens me. But why can’t I be at my max level all of the time? Why must I grow? Why can’t I control my growth? That tortures me. There are some things that become worse the more that you try to control them. That is a significant theme throughout my life. I have accepted it, and have become moulded by that philosophy. And, in my opinion, it is completely justified based on my history. It is how I have found my personal level of “contentment”. But it eats me alive sometimes to have development out of my control. Sure, it isn’t completely out of my control: because I desire to write, and thus, write, it will inevitably get better over time with practice. So what I’m getting better at is within my control. But so many things aren’t. And it is those that bug me.
I deplore when I realize that I was wrong in the past. I’ve had some pretty weird viewpoints about life that are really hard to put into words. I think that is what my mission shall be: trying to explain my past ways of looking at the world. I think they’re quite interesting, and I don’t care if you disagree with me. It is really weird, the things you think when you are extremely mentally dependent. Some really fucked up things can happen very easily. It is quite frightening.
Once again, there are so many different directions that I could take this that I find it hard to decide which way to go. I had certain mindsets in my past that I maintained, even if all they produced was failure. My mind was constantly focused on Hell. And so, naturally, the thought of Hell affected almost all of my perspectives about everything. I don’t really need to lay them out here: it’s the same old suspects. But some of them truly are odd. The way it affected my overall perspective is so strange. It produced this deep skepticism that still remains to this day. It was an ethical skepticism: “Is this person a Christian? Is this person a Christian? Is this person a Christian?” The skepticism that remains today isn’t about whether or not a particular person is a Christian. But my cynicism definitely remains. And it is so odd to me. Over and over, I find people to be trustworthy. But I’m still painfully cynical. I’m content with quite a bit of my cynicism, but I find myself in situations often where I’m asking myself “Why am I being so cynical right now? What has this guy done to me?” It is a conservative hangover. It’s very fucking odd.
I am looking forward to my confidence building over time. “Coasting” has been my saving grace. I’ve been very lucky. I don’t handle failure very well. And it has always seemed like the more I have tried to fix something, the worse it made it. But my philosophy has changed over time, and I’ve “settled in” to something that works for me. That’s what we all long after: just that way of moving throughout the world that satisfies us the most. I think I’m pretty good right now with what I have. I want to explain it and elaborate on it more throughout time. And, of course, I hope to be able to write about more subjects, and just get better overall. I’m confident that it will happen with time and practice, even if there are many things that I write that I end up not happy with, for various reasons.
I love writing, and I just look forward to becoming a better thinker. I accept the fact that I’m repetitive, but I believe it is all related. In my heart, I believe that every “repetition” is a building block upon an entire life’s work. I can’t ask someone “Hey, do you think this builds upon this? Or did I just repeat myself?” I have to interpret my work how I wish. And I need to make my work fully my own, to my full potential. That’s (one of) the lifetime challenges……
I want to be a good thinker. And I want to be able to say “Hey, here are my thoughts.” I hope they can be received honestly. And that’s all that I can hope for from them (besides the dreams of them somehow paying the light bill down the road).
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.
(I may update this if there are any other interesting developments. I love how freedom finds a way to be productive. And the elites will have you believe that (relatively) free speech on the internet is a bad thing. I can’t wait to observe them in Hell from Heaven).
Youtube commentor “samthepoor“: “This is a metaphor for the obsession with happiness and optimism that overtook the west in the 70s and 80s (and alive now more than ever). People today are convinced that if they’re not happy, they’ve failed, which is one of the most important conditions for the vicious cycle of depression that many are stuck in today.
Ren and Stimpy was right on the money. The methodical, mathematical dancing alludes to the way in which we’re all made to conform to that standard. The part about the shooting in the song is about the psychosis that can occur when someone is stuck in the contradiction of today’s ‘happiness standards’. The painful sight of seeing Ren smash himself with a hammer is an example of the self-destructive tendencies that result from the contradiction.
These motherfuckers were smart. There’s a lot of examples from old Disney cartoons containing deep cultural commentary.
‘Mankind does not strive for happiness; only the Englishman does that.’ – Nietzsche”
Youtube commentor “Shogun Melon“: “You might be overthinking a ‘kids cartoon.'”
Youtube commentor “ZizzTheCREATOR“: “While I don’t like Neitzsche, I basically agree with your analysis…however I’m pretty sure there is no deliberate message with this cartoon since John K admitted on his blog that he’s pretty much a crass entertainer who isn’t fond of social commentary or preaching this or that through his work. Case in point, his beloved George Liquor character, a no-nonsense Bible-thumping ‘conservative’-type, isn’t made out to be a straight mockery but has a certain sympathetic quality.”
Me: “I don’t think it’s so much about being happy or striving for happiness as it is what should make one happy that is the problem. It’s the idea that regardless of what the situation is that we should be happy that is the problem. Of course, it is perfectly healthy to experience sadness, anger, and the litany of other human emotions (I would argue that experiencing those emotions are simply attempts to take unfortunate circumstances and become happy (sadness as an admittance of pain, which one must accept before one can move on and truly be happy instead of delusionally believing that there isn’t a problem at all, which only makes the matter worse internally; believing suicide to be a ‘relief’ from the pain, and an attempt to be ‘happy for once’, etc. etc.)). But happiness as an end goal isn’t the problem: indeed, I think that’s what, ultimately, motivates all human action.
But the obsession with moralistic cliches like ‘Money can’t buy happiness’, for example, makes you wonder why you hate your own poverty, and then you suffer an existential crisis: ‘If I’m not supposed to care about money, then why do I hate being poor?’ (Or you’re told what should make you happy (such as having a family, devoting yourself to God, etc. etc.), and then, when those things actually don’t make you happy, you feel flawed. That’s the problem).
And, of course, you can adapt. You can go after something which you think will make you happy, and find out that it doesn’t. That’s very common. But, in my opinion, the belief that pursuing happiness is the problem is false. I think that’s what motivates all human action, past and present. Of course, that poses problems, such as those who seem to be devoid of emotion, like serial killers (perhaps they are so lost that they genuinely can’t experience happiness, but will try anything in a desperate attempt to achieve it, like murdering someone. I don’t know. Or, of course, perhaps a murderer is genuinely happy when he or she murders). But, in my opinion, the pursuit of happiness is simply ‘human nature’, even though ‘absolute happiness’ is impossible to achieve. I personally think that’s our ‘purpose‘, but that’s a much harder belief for me to attempt to ‘prove’.
The idea that we can achieve ‘absolute happiness’ (that’s, essentially, what the culture problem we’re talking about amounts to) if only we ‘adapt our expectations’, ‘our desires‘, etc. is the problem. ‘Moralism’ is the problem: strict adherence to ‘moral’ ideas that are contrary to one’s own nature and impossible to perfectly abide by (‘stop complaining and just be thankful’, ‘look on the bright side’ (stated as a divine edict), etc. etc.). It’s the attitude of taking advice that can be sound in certain circumstances, and expecting to abide by that advice, at all times, or else you are failing (pretty much the basis for the attitudes of, specifically, much Christian theology) that is the problem.
The idea that just because a ‘work of art’ is sold as a ‘kid’s cartoon’ somehow means that its creators didn’t have intrinsic motivations separate from the ‘selling point’ of the cartoon is ludicrous, Shogun.
You gotta love Youtube, where you can have a philosophical conversation about Ren and Stimpy.”
Another day of pondering the political future. Another day of wondering how much longer the freedoms will last.
Another day of very little reading. Another day of disappointment. Another day of comparisons. Another day of longing.
Another day of exhaustion. Another day of lethargy. Another day of uncertainty. Another day wasted.
Another mundane day. Another routine day. Another hopeless day. Another day with a limited mind. Another day with stupid.
Another day with junk food. Another day with hypochondria. Another day of apathy. Another day of worry.
Another day with uncertainty. Another day with boredom. Another day with uncertainty. Another day with repetition.
Despite the fact that, as a writer, I wish that I spent most of my “writing” time actually physically writing, the truth is that, as I am painfully learning, that a large percentage of a writer’s time is sitting in silence, thinking. In some ways, this has always made me feel very uncomfortable. Uneasy. Although we all spend all of our time thinking about something, the truth is that, of course, there is clearly a difference when it comes to writing. Thinking about what I am going to eat for the day doesn’t take as much “effort” as thinking about a piece of fiction or non-fiction. Thank God, for if it did, I would probably starve to death.
I don’t have a lot of patience. I have a sense of urgency to always be working on something. If I’m going to succeed, I need to work now. In my head, I know that thinking about my work is a large part of my work, an essential part, but I don’t feel productive when I just sit and think. I can tell that my writing has suffered as a result. Too often, particularly with fiction (as coherency in non-fiction is easier for me), I write something just to get something down; finished. Even if it doesn’t make any sense.
As I sit here, I realize that anxiety has a lot to do with my disdain for just “sitting and thinking”, even though “sitting and thinking” is extremely necessary for writing. I love writing, perhaps more than anything in the world (I try to refrain from speaking in absolutes regarding my feelings if only because I don’t want to delve into my feelings so deeply as to give an absolute answer to someone else. Why should it matter to me that I let someone know my absolute feelings about certain things, such as whether there’s anything I love more than writing? I don’t really think that question is important enough to answer, so I answer rather ambiguously). I write the “easy” stuff to keep me from sitting and thinking too long. There is a lack of confidence on my part to speak out honestly. I’ve worked hard at changing this for the past several years, but there has been a reluctance on my part for a lot of my life to speak honestly. People think you’re weird when you speak out. Stupid. Sometimes, it’s more peaceful to just keep your mouth shut, even if the internal turmoil is great.
Thankfully, due to what I can only describe as brain chemistry, the anxieties of social judgment are fading. I think it will be the greatest thing to happen to me when it feels as if it has “completed”. Is “over”. I am confident and hopeful that that day will occur in full in the future. Peace, Heaven, and tranquility on Earth. I have practiced “speaking out” for several years now. Depending on what I’m writing, this is easy (the obviously extreme stuff, like very offensive jokes, violent fictional characters, etc. are easy). A lot of of more honest personal feelings are quite easy. But there’s still an anxiety to write at the detriment of sitting and thinking, so that the writing suffers as a result. The anxiety is often about “right and wrong”. Every thought has had to be measured against “right and wrong”. “Right and wrong” become your new thoughts. Everything is either right or wrong. If you aren’t thinking about right and wrong, then you are wrong. Is that fictional story idea you have right or wrong? Right or wrong, right or wrong, right or wrong. It pains me to remember this fact; or, rather, to realize it for the first time. Or, rather still, realizing for the first time that this is a problem. A huge fucking problem. Gargantuan. Destructive. Terrible. Never being able to admit that you fucking hate that way of thinking, but telling yourself you loved it, as if trying to keep up a facade to God, that you loved His “holy blessing” (as, clearly, choosing “right” from “wrong” was a blessing). A part of me hopes that I don’t piss any of you, the readers, off. But a part of me hopes I do. Some of you need to be pissed off, because this conservative ideology is fucking disgusting. Horrible, evil, sadistic trash. Fuck it.
The weird thing is that I haven’t thought about this stuff for years. It becomes a way of life, and you can’t see yourself from an outsider’s perspective any longer. You can’t realize there’s actually a problem. It was never introduced as a problem. It was introduced as Christianity. What’s wrong with Christianity? But it’s truly a problem. The ideas are a problem. Right and wrong, right and wrong. It’s a big fucking problem. It destroys you. Destroys peace on Earth, and then laments at the sins of others. How fucking exhausting it is. I hate it, and I wish I could single-handedly destroy it. But I can only write about my past experiences with it.
The moral battle never ends. You cannot win it. You cannot fucking win it. But you feel morally obligated to fight anyway. “I know I’m a sinner, but I’m trying.” What? What the fuck does that mean? If you accept your own sinful nature, what can you possibly do to fix it? How can a sinner live “Godly”? I don’t think “divine intervention” means what many think it means, but I’ll have to save my complete thoughts on that for another piece.
Throughout my young years, “sitting and thinking” has led to me envisioning Hellfire engulfing my bed. “Sitting and thinking”, at around eight or nine years old, led me to think about sex, and then led me to think about how bad it was to think about sex. It made me hate women. I hate admitting that, because I know how people will react to that. But it’s true. Almost all of the problems that I have with my emotions about the opposite sex stem from conservative Christianity (it’s not really “Christianity”, but I’m going to call it that simply for simplicity’s sake). This current culture is very progressive. I know what people will say as a result of what I’ve just said about women. Hell, I know it doesn’t matter what you say, people will always be outraged by it. But that has always bothered me. I’m not a bad person. I’m not a bad guy. But I’ve always felt like people perceive me to be that way, and that has always bugged me. I have finally decided to play it up, and just say “You know what, if people are going to think that anyway, I’m going to give them a reason to do so.” And so, I continue to have fun with people’s fears. I’ve tried writing honestly about these things in the past, but I didn’t have the patience and introspection to sit and think, which is what I’m attempting to do with this piece. I can’t write until I understand myself. Introspection always comes first. Introspective writing must come before any other type of writing for me, regardless of how long it fucking takes to get everything done.
It’s no wonder why I don’t like “sitting and thinking”. Honesty is scary. Tough. Social criticism is hard. “What if? What if I am a bad person? Everyone says I am. God thinks I am, and He knows eeeeeeeverything. And He’s never wrong. If I’m evil, and murder is evil, does that mean I’m capable of murder? What if I’m a liar? What if I’m evil? Just run away. Get away from it quick. Do anything else but get lost in thought. You’re going down the road of suffering and fear. Don’t think deeply. Run away. Run away.” And that’s exactly what I’ve done all this time. But I need to start thinking deeply again if I’m going to be a writer. And this means coming face-to-face with Hell again. It’s different this time, as instead of actually being in it, I’m an observer, while Hell sits behind the thick glass of God’s intervening grace. But still, I can see it. I can remember it. And it is still terrifying. A breeze compared to what it used to be, however.
It isn’t just religion that has hindered my “sitting and thinking”. I believe I have a natural disposition that tends toward anxiety. External stimuli have always affected me more than people I’ve been around. Bright lights, loud noises, etc. Of course, I’ve had to learn to accept them and ignore them. But I think it’s harder for me than a lot of people. Things have always deeply affected me. I’ll give a particularly embarrassing example of this. Once, when I was a child, taking a bath, I noticed what I thought was a cut on myself. I can’t remember if it was on my arm or leg. It didn’t actually hurt, but because I thought it was a cut, and because I thought it was going to hurt or sting, or thought it should hurt or sting because I was in the tub, I started screaming and crying. Bathwater in a cut? That has to be bad, right? So I cried and screamed. My father, bless his heart, came running in: “What’s the matter?! What’s the matter?!” I held up the “cut”. And he pulled the red string off of my arm.
Mental illness? Who knows. Clearly, insane. But is it normal? Don’t kids just do things like that from time to time? Isn’t that part of how we learn? Maybe some kids overestimate danger, some underestimate it. As embarrassing as that story was, it was real. And it was me. I’ve always been an emotionally sensitive person, and, for once, I accept that fact and am willing to freely admit it, accepting that I will be ridiculed for it (and the ridicule isn’t even completely unjustified, which is the worst part about it).
For whatever reason, anxiety has always been a part of my life. My “nature”? Environment? Genes? I just know that it has always been there. It has changed, in form and scope, but it has always been there. Fear has hindered me. Thanks, in part, to having mainly only dumb peers in my youth, I have often feared my own sanity. Saying smart things around dumb people with no other frame of reference, or check-and-balance system to bounce your ideas off of (along with the sharp judgment of the idiot your talking to), especially when you are a “highly-sensitive person”, can only make you feel stupid. Despite the fact that I’ve pretty much always known I was smart, I’ve felt stupid. I’m not even talking about times where I actually did something stupid. I’ve just always had this fear that what I say doesn’t make any sense. That I only think I’m smart, when I’m really not. This scares me as a writer. My biggest fear is that I become hugely, emotionally invested in a piece, thinking it is perfect, and, objectively, that it doesn’t make a lick of sense. That scares me. And it keeps me from sitting in silence, really thinking about any particular piece. I just write frantically in an attempt to “complete” something, even if it isn’t good. The strange irony, of course, is that my fears have actually come to life because of it. The writing actually is bad because I’m afraid of sitting and thinking about it to make it better for fear that it might actually be bad. The thought of being a bad writer angers me and scares me more than anything about this craft. It isn’t the thought of never making a living off of the writing (although that does produce its own fear). It is that I write away, feeling good, feeling like the piece is good, but it is actually fucking trash. I don’t think, at least at the current time, that my heart could take that level of dejection, especially considering the fact that I just ate a couple of slices of pizza before writing this.
You start to believe that you are what people tell you that you are, for better or worse, when you are a child. I’ve written about intelligence before, but I’ve always felt bad about being smart. But as a “young adult”, I’m very thankful that I am as smart as I am. It’s just a case now of developing more self-esteem, mental independence, and actually doing something with it, which I am trying to do. The more quiet and peaceful I feel, the more I feel a drill sergeant yelling in my face. Perhaps due to having a very chaotic, unfortunate upbringing. Clearly, experience has a lot to do with my conditioning in this regard. You can never get too happy or high without something really bad happening to you. At least, this was the case for me. My childhood was filled with tragedy. Like the childhood of so many others. It is very painful to think about when it seems as if the one who caused the pain is delusional, even though that individual had their own “Hell” growing up. Very tragic.
Tragedy motivates me more than any other emotion as a writer. It’s honestly no surprise to me now. It all makes sense, as long as I come to grips with it. As a kid, “positive thinking” didn’t help me. It didn’t matter how positive I tried to be, one particular individual in my family wasn’t coming home (at least not for very long). It didn’t matter how long I sat in the yard at night, by myself, waiting for this individual to come home, it never happened. Of course, I grew very bitter and depressed as a result. (Honestly, considering the way things were when this individual was at home, maybe it was best that this individual was gone). And this individual did not seem to acknowledge the problem for a very, very long time. I feel as if this individual greatly regrets their actions, which I’m very thankful for. They should. But tragedy moulded my mind at a very young age, and I’ve never looked back. I think I have avoided “sitting in silence” to keep this stuff from coming out, but now is as good of a time as any to write about it.
Clearly, a part of the reason I don’t sit in silence is the pain involved. If you aren’t careful, you’ll cry. And I absolutely fucking hate crying. I hate it. I absolutely hate it. Crying as a child gets you a slap in the face around these parts. Parenting in this part of the world is absolutely cringeworthy and disgusting. Dark comedy became my way of getting out of the funk. Making jokes about really horrible stuff made me happy. I wasn’t taking pleasure in the pain or misfortune of others, but making a shocking joke for the sake of catching people off guard so that they couldn’t help but laugh. “Dark stuff” became my way of dealing with the poor parenting I received from one of my parents. And I grew to love it. Of course, it has always made me “weird” to people. People think you’re a little off. Strange. They worry about you. But when you’re laughing, you really don’t care as much. It truly is beautiful, and I desire to grow more into comedy, as it makes me very happy. I scare myself, because I compare myself to Robin Williams. Although I know comedy is a common device to deal with tragedy, every time I think of my own situation, where I have taught myself to deal with tragedy in a comedic way, I always think of Robin Williams, and I get scared. Is the comedy enough to outrun the demons? I often get scared that it isn’t. But my work makes me very happy, so I hang my hat on that fact, and I don’t draw probably unfair comparisons between Robin Williams and myself.
A large reason I don’t sit in silence and write is because it becomes much more personal when I do. The shocking humor is great, because it isn’t real. I present an image to people that isn’t me, so I don’t care how they react to it (of course I’d prefer they like it, but as long as they don’t kill me, I don’t really care how they react to it). But, as I’ve said, people in the past didn’t understand what I was saying. So few have. I’ve been told that I have delusions of grandeur simply for stating that fact. There is no escaping the idiots, no matter how hard you try. You just learn how to deal with them with age, sadly. You can never escape them. They will always make their presence known, and you just have to learn to ignore them the best you can. That’s very hard for me.
People hate you for expressing things honestly. They judge you, and other stuff. And, as I said, I have worked hard on not caring about this, but I still have a lot further to go. I have always worried about being a bad person. Being an evil person. Knowing that there was evil in the world from a young age, taking it to heart, and being told that I was also an evil person through religious messaging, I have always been in fear. Fear of myself. Fear that I was going to snap. But you can’t say that, because people don’t get it. “Why would you fear snapping if you aren’t actually going to snap?” Oh, if you only knew. If you only knew the heartache that religion caused me. I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface in that regard, and I want to delay that for as long as possible, because that’s really going to hurt. It’s going to make me angry. And I want to be calm and peaceful. But I’ll have to deal with it eventually, and boy, is that going to be a bittersweet day…
I have always caved in to others. Always silenced, changed my ways to “keep the peace”. To keep the people at bay. Keep the teeth from gnashing. Even if I died a little on the inside. Despite the fact that I’ve been rebelling against this for years, the honesty is what is most difficult. It’s easy for me to write about serial killers, because I’m not a serial killer. But it’s hard for me to write about those things that are most deeply me. Like, for example, my intense fear of being a bad person. “Why are you afraid of being a bad person if you aren’t a bad person?” I fear it because, on some deep level, I understand just how “bad” bad can be. And I couldn’t live with myself if I was “bad”. I don’t want to be bad. I’m desperate to be good. I have always been told how bad I was. A sinner. Had a weird, twisted sense of humor that only a serial killer would have. A darkly fictitious mind that only a violent monster could have. And that has always eaten me alive. My own sense of morality has always eaten me alive. I have always compared my personal convictions to morals; to “good and bad”. Everything has led to the “bad”, but I don’t believe this any longer. I drove myself insane trying to prove my own “badness”. “Surely I must be evil. I must be corrupt. My sin. My perverted, fictitious mind.” I didn’t have a good frame of reference for what “good” and “bad” actually were. Sure, I knew what manners were. But what’s real good and what’s real evil? I didn’t know. I only had conservatism.
Everyone has felt “good” and everyone has felt “bad”. My own sins hurt me. Creep me out. Aside with youthful fights with my brother (“normality”), and some not-so-normal fisticuffs with my mother in my youth, I haven’t really ever been “violent” (the fisticuffs with my mother went as follows (You need to be called out on this): my mother, father, and I (and maybe my brother) were playing cards. Phase 10 or Uno, I can’t remember. My mom, smoking a cigarette, always used to (jokingly) insult my dad (I assume she was joking). I remember on one particular hand, he had a better hand than her, and she yelled “Fuck you!” in what I assumed to be a joking manner. I later said the same thing to her, and she slapped me in the face. Her hypocrisy infuriated me. The incident ended with us both on the ground, hands full of each other’s hair, yanking. She once (and still to this day, probably) lied about cutting my ear while cutting my hair. After years of being told that nothing she did was right, she couldn’t admit wrongdoing. It was too painful. I’m sure that’s what it was. I apologize if you read this, and don’t want this out, but I need this for my own sense of self-therapy (and you really don’t like to listen, anyway. We’ve tried to go down this road many times, and you just won’t)).
Come to think of it, I wonder if my parents played favorites. My brother was allowed to play football while I was not (in hindsight, I guess that does make sense. I, admittedly, have always been a delicate flower (I mean, just remember my fucking “red string” story)). My brother got to pick the color he wanted for his room, while I did not. That will never make sense to me. My brother got to select the color that he wanted his room painted, but I did not. I don’t understand that. I don’t know what I could be possibly missing from that story, but I’ll grant the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe I’m misremembering, and that he didn’t get to choose his own color. (Come to think of it, I’m starting to realize why I doubt myself so much. Why I’m so unconfident. Constantly second-guess myself. Why I feel so crazy. Sadly, it’s all coming together…). But I swear that he did. My room got painted, and his never did, which is weird. But still, I’ll never forget that. I remember him getting the color he wanted, while I did not. I don’t think I’ll ever know what actually happened in that case. She was not able to admit specific instances of her faults. Nowadays, she’ll say that she made mistakes. But how can I believe the crazy lady that wouldn’t admit them as they were occurring? I think that’s enough of that for now.
One time, my mother got pizza for my brother, me, and our two best friends at the time. If I recall correctly, half of us wanted pepperoni and half of us wanted cheese. My thought process was if you buy the pepperoni, those that want cheese can just pull the pepperoni off. But those that want pepperoni can’t add pepperoni to the cheese. I think that still logically makes sense. Sure, the pepperoni has cheese on it. So if you eat a plain cheese, you’re going to get the cheese you would get from the pepperoni pizza. But you’re not getting the pepperoni. The point was that if you bought a pepperoni pizza, half could pull their pepperonis off and have a “cheese” pizza. But she ordered the cheese pizza, I assume, just to get us to “shut up”. Her faulty logic infuriated me. I still think my instance makes more sense. I think that’s a common theme in my life: my way makes more sense, but I allow people to bulldoze me over just to “keep the peace”.
Why hold a grudge over pizza? It’s just like the cards. It’s fucking dumb. Adults are supposed to be smarter than that. Your parents are supposed to be smarter than that (or so I thought at the time). The lack of logic was unacceptable to me, and it still is. Sure, you can apologize. We can move on. But you were still wrong, and that is still unacceptable.
I’m not going any further into family history than that.
A lot of this is embarrassing, but honesty is therapeutic. Perhaps, if I ever become more “famous”, I will regret how candid I have been. But I value honesty, and I value expression. I value expressing negative emotion. I value making myself look like an idiot. Making myself look like a fool on purpose is also very therapeutic to me. There’s just something freeing about not taking myself very seriously. Laughing at myself. It makes me very happy. They say your joke isn’t very funny if you’re the only one laughing, but my response is: who fucking cares?
Sitting in silence hurts me. It really, really does. When bad things are happening to you, you don’t know when and how good things will happen. So often, when I have been depressed, I have wondered what was going to be my saving grace in that instance. I’ve never physically harmed myself, but I just sit in emotional pain, and think of things to relieve that pain. I don’t think I could ever act on them. Clearly, I’ve never been so unhappy that I’ve killed myself, as I’m alive right now, writing this. Despite how much I may think of death as a way to ease the pain, I don’t think it is in me to actually kill myself. In the past, I thought “I don’t know if I’m going to Heaven or Hell, so I might as well stay here because it might be worse when I die.” That is truly a hilarious thought to me. “I’m not going to kill myself because I might go to Hell.” You might think that is incredibly sad, but that is hilarious to me. I imagine a movie character, horrifically depressed, drunk, who has a line: “I’m not going to kill myself because I might go to Hell.” Depending on the context, that could be fucking hilarious.
I don’t talk about my history of depression very often, for obvious reasons. People feel compelled to “help” you. But I’m an introvert. I just want to be left alone. This isn’t something that I can’t fight off myself. I already have. I accept that I will have spells of depression from time to time. I think everyone does. I’m not actually going to kill myself, despite how bad I may feel in any one instance. And, especially over the past two years, I’ve learned that suicidal thoughts actually don’t help. In some ways, suicidal thoughts may help somewhat, as, clearly, sadness can feel very therapeutic. Crying helps. But, in the long run, I’ve learned it just makes you feel worse. And so I try not to do it anymore. You can say I’m mentally disordered, but I think I’m fine. I’m human. I get sad. I’ve been really sad in the past. But I’m good now. I’ve got stuff to do, things to keep me busy, goals to achieve. The past is gone. It went by like dusk to dawn.
Like I said, I have avoided writing about my past with depression for many reasons. But it feels good to write about it now. I desire introspection. And I desire to write about myself. I feel the reactions that I’m going to get. “Oh my God, are you ok?!” This is what I hate about writing. I want to write honestly, but I also want to be left alone. And I hate the fact that when I write, and share with an audience, they’re gonna tell me what they think. So many times, I don’t want to fucking hear it, for reasons that I just mentioned above.
I still have not truly figured out what I’m going to do with writing. Just recently, I was impressed with the number of articles that I currently have on my blog. It, at that current count, was 247. I was shocked at that number. Pleasantly surprised. I know that as I keep churning away, as I do here, that, eventually, I will have a massive amount of work done, and that makes me extremely happy. It encourages me to keep going. It is just a matter of getting (good) pieces done which poses the problem.
I wish that I could say, right now, exactly how I’m going to get to that point. Of course, I’ll have to read more. Practice writing more. But that feels so general to describe. This is going to take some intense, personal thought. This is going to take extreme confidence that I can write well. This is going to take a lot of isolation. A loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooot of isolation. I have always felt guilty for my desire to be left alone. Anxiety and guilt have motivated so much of my action in my life thus far that it feels weird to take any action that isn’t motivated by them. But my love for writing, and my desire to be the best at it motivate me to write. And I am extremely happy about that.
Sitting in silence, thinking of words, is going to be very hard for me. My brain has always been interrupted in the past. As I said, the more calm I feel, the more I feel like a slap in the face is about to occur. I think there is a large reason for this (multiple, obviously. I’ve discussed some of them above. But I think there’s more to it as well). I think my religious past has most to do with this feeling of getting slapped in the face when times are good.
Just yesterday, at the time of this writing, my best friend and I went out for pizza. Oh, did I feel good. I was calm, and at peace. We were on a particular stretch of road, with clouds covering the sky. An extreme feeling of deja vu overcame me. It was Sunday. And I was reminded of the past. That time when you felt free, away from church. Free from the prison. Except you were always guilty, even when freed. Regardless of your play, or whatever activity you were doing (in retrospect, I think this is why I didn’t read very much) you better be thinking about God. Are you playing in a Godly way? When you read that book, are you thinking about it Godly? Everything for me had to be through a “Christian” lens, and that’s most unfortunate. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface, but I feel it necessary to include in this piece, as it is a large reason why I have so much problem with “sitting in silence”. Fire is going to engulf my bed because I’m masturbating, and I’m never going to be more fearful than when I cum; lightning means that God is looking for me, and He’s going to take me if I don’t avoid the lightning. His lightning is saying “I see your sins. Watch out, boy. Do you see me?” Once again, I don’t want to say these things because I don’t want to hear your points of view about religion. This isn’t a debate. This is catharsis. My desire for peace was destroyed by religion, and tragedy was introduced into my life thanks to a negligent parent. Sadly, that sums me up quite a bit. Now, it isn’t completely fair. I’ve left out all of the parts that were actually good. But the bad still existed, and I felt like writing about them today.
I have been running away from my religious feelings for a long time. My best friend is inspiring me to delve into my past a little bit more than I otherwise would have. I become afraid when I go back and look at it. Not as afraid as I was back when I was actually experiencing it, but still afraid, nonetheless. There was absolutely no religious satisfaction back then. Everything was misery and terror. “And thank God for it!” The message was perverted; completely backwards. You should thank God for the peace, not the misery. When things are good, and you are happy, and genuinely thankful, that’s how you thank God. You don’t thank God by going up to the altar because you’re afraid of not thanking God. That isn’t very thankful. It’s like being a wife of an abusive husband. “Thank you, for not hitting me today, husband. I thank you for it.” What? That is what so much Christian theology teaches. If you don’t thank God, He’s going to slap you. Uh, thanks, I guess? If the only definition of love is conditional and based solely on a lack of violence when one is prone to it, then we’re missing out on peace and prosperity that love actually naturally promises us. Love is not merely “I’m not hitting you today.” Love is deeper than that. More meaningful. It is selfless, at times. It puts others before itself. It desires goodwill, and creates it. “It is patient. It is kind.” Any Christian teaching that doesn’t teach “God’s love” from this point of view is missing out on the entire point of the message. Missing out on the entirety of the “good news”, a.k.a., the “Gospel”.
It pains me to say that conservatism hindered my ability to read. It destroyed natural relationships with the opposite sex. It pretty much destroyed everything. I don’t harbor any ill-will towards any family member involved in introducing me to it. I empathize greatly with any individual desiring to get closer to God, so I don’t hate anyone who was trying to bring me closer to Him, even if it, effectively, ended up sending me in the opposite direction. But the old conservative message was deplorable at best; intolerable at worst. Sadly, so many know that religious fear all too well. I wish that I could explain it to you under the assumption that you have no idea what I’m talking about. But I know that many of you have those conservative scars from those deep psychological wounds. There, obviously, is a constant anxiety associated with religious conservatism. It is demanded by many pastors. Many pastors say that God demands this anxiety. So, of course, many, including myself, believed it. And, of course, being anxiety, it caused a host of various, intricate mental problems. Just sitting and reading a book has often proved too much for my anxiety. “I’m going to Hell; I just know it. What is the Godly way to do this thing that I want to do? What does God think about this book? Is it a sin if I read this book?” What I’m talking about is obvious, but the damage that causes does not seem to be talked about enough. Maybe I’m not looking in the right places. But the ones writing about that damage seem to be too few in number. Perhaps that’s because there can never be enough people writing about the damages of religious conservatism. (It should be mentioned that, as I stated at the very beginning, I have a natural propensity towards anxiety. So my nature, combined with my raising, and my religious upbringing, make it crystal clear to me why I’m always so anxious).
I am very thankful that the past is gone. But is it ever truly really? The events of our past shape how we are today. We may forget about what caused us to be certain ways, or influenced us, but their influence remains, for better or worse. In this case, I’m obviously referring to the worst. I long for peace, and relaxation. Anxiety consumes me, and a large reason for that is conservative religion. I would not consider myself a conservative any longer, but when you have trained yourself to do something, a part of it remains inside of you. You develop habits; certain trains of thought. You do things without even realizing that you’re doing them. But I’m thankful I’m aware of this now. I don’t know how I’m going to move past this, and be able to relax, and write. For years, I believed my honest feelings didn’t matter. God’s way was important, and what I wanted didn’t matter if it didn’t match up to “God’s way”. So, desperate to live, I tried to find out what “God’s way” was. And boy, were there people willing to tell me.
But I have rarely felt alive. I have rarely felt like my life was my own. I have been on the roller-coaster of anxiety. I haven’t even been able to walk. I could see the good times below from my roller-coaster, and I smiled at those good times. Sometimes, I even magically left that roller-coaster, in ways that I truly don’t understand. But I still rode it. Rode it for God. Rode it for Heaven. Oh, the ups and downs of life. They toughen you up. Get you ready for Heaven. What a bunch of fucking bullshit.
Despite my overwhelming desires for comedy, which have helped me conquer the tragedy in my life, the anxiety is a much tougher one. The peace and quiet of reading and writing is very hard for me to experience. I have only just begun to realize what all of this truly is. I have ran away from this anxiety for so long, despite the fact that it has desperately clung to my brain, and hasn’t really let go. I pray that one day, I can read in write in complete peace, away from conservative anxiety. I don’t want that goddamned anxiety. I don’t want the fucking conservatism. It pains me that readers of this will defend it. I wish I could explain to them why they are so tragically wrong. But at the moment, I can’t. And that really hurts me. It hurts me conservative readers won’t understand what I’m saying, and will try to defend that goddamned pain and suffering. But there’s nothing I can really do about that at the moment, except live within my own peaceful world regarding the subject, hoping that the truth is revealed to others whom are blind from it currently. The desire to respond to opposition is strong, but sometimes, I wonder if it’s worth the mental effort, and if it would just be easier to let the critics be critics, ignore them, and let them judge me. Eventually, I think it will be.
At the moment, I know that peace will help me write better. It will help me read. It will help me become better with literature. And I don’t want to hurry it along. Hurriedness makes me anxious, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid. So that while, of course, I’m desperate to become as good of a writer as possible as soon as possible (and, now that I think of it, this explains why I do many of the things that I do, and why I’m in such a hurry to “succeed”), the key to good writing is good thoughts. And good thoughts take time, effort, and a fuckton of patience that I’m currently lacking. I desire to write, and I know that practice will help me sit in silence, and become a better writer. How I long for the day when I achieve a level of contentment in my own mind, in the deafening silence I know I need.
Let’s continue. I mentioned it briefly, but other people responding to what I say limits my desire to speak out. I speak out a lot. I’m very honest when I do so. But there are still times where I think “Is it really worth speaking out in this instance? What do I have to gain from this but a bunch of people responding?” That’s a big thing that I dread about writing. It’s not that I hate criticism (there’s such things as valid and invalid criticism). I just want to be left alone. I want to speak out, but at the same time, I want to be left alone. Read what I write, and leave me alone. I accept the fact that people will respond, give their insights, etc. I read what other people have to say. But it is very exhausting for me. Us introverts are weird; especially if we’re writers. We want to write for the world, but be left alone. Instead of trying to figure it out, like I’ve always tried to do, I think I’ll just accept it now, due to mental exhaustion (some things just aren’t worth continuing to think about any longer, thank God).
I suppose, in some ways, I speak to myself. I express myself regardless of who listens, or what they say. I can understand why people would find that odd. But at the same time, when you sit in silence for so long, absorbing the words of others, you start to make up your own mind, and naturally desire to express yourself. There is something about expressing yourself that just makes you feel good. That just makes you happy. Satisfied. It doesn’t matter who hates it, who ignores it, or even who is unaware of it. Sometimes, just expressing yourself is enough to make you happy. I find this to be the case almost constantly for me. Even though I am an introvert, I desire to express myself creatively. The most common way I desire to do this is through comedy. I don’t care if you find me humorous or not. I just desire to express what I find funny, and I desire to do this very often. And, so, I do do it very often. It makes me very happy. I’ve said this before, but I do this out of boredom. When I’m bored, I try to entertain myself. Because I’m always bored, I’m always trying to entertain myself. So I’m always telling jokes. I don’t care if you hate them, think they’re stupid, think their offensive, whatever. I don’t care what your negative opinion is of my jokes. Of course, I appreciate positive feedback. But the negative feedback isn’t going to change a thing about my comedy, and my desire to make myself laugh. It keeps me going from day to day. I think I live for it. I don’t know what I would do without it. It simply is just me. It is just simply me to try to make myself laugh all of the time. Nothing else makes me happy like making myself laugh does. So, of course, I’m going to do it as much as possible, regardless of how it annoys others, or whatever else it does to them. So why share it when people hate it? Catharsis. That’s the best answer. And self-entertainment. That’s what I care about.
One thing I’ll add is my personal financial philosophy regarding artistic expression. This desire to express myself, particularly comedically (but also through other forms as well) does not exist because I think it will make me money. It just exists. It just simply is that I desire to express myself. That I desire to make myself laugh, express what I think is funny, express articles such as this, express fiction, etc. Those just exist within me. Those are just how I am. Who I am, in fact. I do not do these things because I think they will make me money. However, if I’m going to do them without making any money, then why wouldn’t I operate under the assumption that I will make money someday? I literally have nothing to lose. In other words, if I am willing to write for free, why shouldn’t I charge for writing, even if I don’t make any money? Since I desire to write anyway, I have nothing to lose by charging for writing. In other words, I have nothing to lose by dreaming of becoming a professional writer. I’m not “wasting my time”. I’m not being “unproductive”. It wouldn’t “benefit me more to choose another line of work”. Because even though there is a monetary aspect to writing, it isn’t about the money. It’s deeper than that. It’s more than that. Despite the fact that I do desire to reach “professional” (a.k.a. “full-time” (a.k.a. “take extended vacations”)) status, that isn’t the only reason for writing. Hell, it isn’t even the main reason. I write simply because I want to. I just do. But I literally have nothing to lose by dreaming of achieving the most success possible. It makes me happy, gives me something to work for, motivates me. And I already love to write, so that might as well be my dream. Of course, I do have financial situations to deal with presently. I’m not stupid. I’m always aware of this fact, and I’ll act accordingly. But I might as well dream of being a rich, successful author. I don’t care what anyone else says about it, I don’t care how unlikely it is, how many people are like me and dream of it that never get there, none of that fucking matters. What matters is that I’m already doing it for free, I love it, I have nothing to lose, so I might as well try to become “professional” at it. I hate that so many people exist out there that will try to “convince me otherwise”, but I’ll have to deal with it. At least I’m finally able to express this, as I don’t feel like I have been able to prior to this point. I’m not going to care if I never succeed before I die. Obviously, there will be many factors that determine how happy I am financially, and that determine my financial status at any given time. I’m not stupid. I’m aware of this. But even if I never become a “professional” writer, and die without that ever happening, I still will have nothing to lose by writing, and only everything to gain. That’s what I want people to understand about my work, and my philosophy surrounding it.
For too long, I have been content. If I impressed someone, I was content with stopping there. But honestly, the writing has been very stale to me. Repetitive. I’m at the point where I just want to sit and think about what I’m writing. Now, it isn’t that I normally don’t think when I write. That would be impossible. But the key is ridding myself of this anxiety that I have discussed in this piece. I imagine that most writers are calm. When they write, they sit in peace and quiet. Nothing can disturb them from their work. And they create masterpieces. That’s what I really fucking want. Peace, and quiet. And masterpieces.
I have always taken the easy way out when it comes to writing. I hope there will be a giant shift in my writing life. I think I’ve written some smart things to this point. I’m not comparing myself to any great writers or anything (even though I believe I can be a very good writer at some point in the future). But I want my writing to be more intimate. Instead of only writing when something really bugs me, I want to write just for fun. Carefree. More relaxed. I still want to write when something bugs me, of course. But I don’t want the only time I write to be when this is the case. I want to do it more often. And I can’t do that if my brain is as disorganized as it has been. I’ve had to go through this introspection to figure out what was preventing me from doing this. And, as with most things I’ve written up to this point, I think I did a pretty good job with the introspection. It’s all going to come together. Everything I’ve written is going to come together to form a “life work”, and it will all make sense in the end. Its popularity will not determine its value. It makes me very happy. Each individual piece has meaning, and the thought of bringing them all together into one coherent “piece” or “body of work” makes me very happy indeed. Of course, I hope they are (and will be) entertaining and insightful. And, of course, I’d love to become rich through it. That dream will never die, for reasons that I’ve already stated. But the joy is what it is all about.
I really want to become a better writer. I’m going to do it my own way. No “school”. No doing it anyone else’s way but my own. Freedom is beautiful. There are problems in life that are beyond our control. Circumstances and realities that we must accept. But those instances where we are free: those are the good times. I want to grow through my writing. My career dreams. My work. My art. I want them all to grow and get better, in my own way, without “formal teaching”. I want to teach myself, through the words of others, introspection, and practice. And I want to do it at my own personal pace. So, I will. Writing, for me, is mainly about personal growth. Followed closely by money. Everything else is just an added benefit.
I need to become a bigger reader. The anxiety that I have discussed ad nauseum up to this point has been a large reason why I haven’t been a “big reader”. I enjoyed reading when I was a child. I’ve written about my own feelings about reading before. But there is a certain mindset that you have to have to be a reader. It’s a mindset that I’ve rarely had. It’s a mindset that I’ve already discussed: one of relaxation. I just have never been able to relax. For multiple reasons I’ve already discussed. But you truly have to be relaxed and calm to read a book. Well, if you want to read a book effectively. As a writer, I feel like I have a new appreciation for reading. My appreciation for other writers is growing as I write. “Hey, I like this. Aren’t there a bunch of other people out there that do this as well? Oh yeah, they write books. Those things I’m not reading.” The anxiety has a large part to do with it. Thankfully, I have been in the process of developing new personal and religious philosophies that help me relax. It’s very hard to do. It is very hard work to relax. It takes a lot of effort for me to relax. I just need a good philosophical framework (which I’m working on developing), and practice. I’m confident that I’ll get there at some point, even though, as I say that, I imagine getting shot in my 30s. This is what I’m talking about. It may ultimately be a losing battle, but I need to try to fight it regardless. I just hope it doesn’t turn out to make my writing more optimistic…
I need to practice relaxation. I need this for multiple reasons. Mental health. Becoming a better reader and writer. Just being happier. But there’s another thing that I want to touch on, even though I feel like it is a losing battle. As I sit, thinking about other authors to read, I think about ideological conflicts. “Right and wrong” again. Not only from an ethical standpoint this time, but from an objective standpoint. It gives me a headache. Sadly, there exist unethical people who are willing to compulsively lie for their own gain. And these people write books. Books on political and economic theory. These people run for office. Work in the media. Fighting against them feels futile, when there’s so few “libertarians” that exist (or, at least, that it feels that way). Fighting an uphill battle against evil is always hard. The only reason it isn’t pointless is because it is evil you’re fighting. It’s worth it, but it exhausts you. And it isn’t even guaranteed that you’re going to win.
Lamentation is a common theme in my life. Even though I don’t read very often, I wish others would. There’s a deep compassion that most of us share to make the world a better place, even if this means “polarization”. It’s very complicated. Who is right, and who is wrong? Why is this popular, and why isn’t this? I’m learning that instead of trying to “save the world”, the best you can hope for is personal contentment. I just learn for myself, write things like this from time to time, and then…that’s all I can really do. I’m only a man. I can’t ask “WWJD” as some sort of blueprint for what sort of action I should take. Age is a great guide.
I want to go on a quick tangent for a second. I’ve written about offensiveness before, but considering my love for it, I know I will have to continue writing about it in the future. I’m not completely satisfied with my original “Offend the Fuck Out of People” piece. There’s something missing, but I’m not quite sure what it is yet. Perhaps my mental skills weren’t as developed as I feel they are now (which should really indicate the poor status of my communication skills when I initially wrote it). At any rate, my offensiveness has been my way of teaching myself that things are ok. That things aren’t as bad as I may believe them to be. This stuff? This is bad: not that stuff that I used to think was bad. The “immature”, “vulgar” abrasiveness has been my way of growing up. I know I’ll be critiqued for that, but that’s how it has been. I don’t ever want that to change, but I reserve the right to do so in the future if I desire so then. There is an overreaction to portrayals of offensive things in art. Thankfully, this appears to have died down throughout the years. But has it really? Has anything really changed? Romeo and Juliet committed suicide together. That was written in 1595 (thanks, Google). But even still, there are people today that think that certain things just “shouldn’t be expressed in art”. This typically seems to happen when the medium changes, such as with video games. But I enjoy taking this hypersensitivity and offending the fuck out of it. It is important that a culture does not become antagonistic to freedom. Constantly pushing freedom to the maximum point is, my opinion, one of the best ways to keep tyranny from gaining ground. I think, deep down, that’s what motivates me the most about “offensiveness”.
Most of this has been about writing (fiction and non-fiction), but I want to address comedy for a second, because it relates. I just have a funny way of looking at the world. I crave comedy. I crave making myself laugh. I just get fucking bored easily. Always have. Comedy has been the primary way I have alleviated this boredom. No matter how much comedy I consume from others, there is always a void. It’s never enough. Or never good enough, in my opinion. Doesn’t make me laugh hard enough. So, I have to roll my sleeves up and do it myself. I don’t mind it. I love it, of course. But this means that I spend all day every day entertaining myself. Simply out of boredom. And, once again, as with the writing, why wouldn’t I “sell” my comedy? I have nothing to lose by attempting to do so, because I will do the comedy anyway. I already am. I hate that I have to spell this out for people, but I hate getting asked the question “Why do you do this when your chances of being successful are infinitesimal?” (I have one particular gentleman in mind when I write this word. He was quite fond of it. He was fond of expressing his intelligence with certain vocabulary words that he clung to. Even if he pronounced it wrong, like “infinitisimal”. But he was actually smart). It’s called “passion”. It’s called “purpose”. It makes me feel alive. Satisfies me. Drives me. That’s why I write and tell jokes and share them when no one else is listening. It’s just who I am. “So you’re that insane person that talks to himself and has delusions of grandeur?” Sure, if you want to put it that way. That’s who I am.
I don’t care if you don’t like it. In fact, that kind of feeds me to keep going. Reinforces to me that I’m not doing it just for money. I’m doing it for me. Because it makes me happy. So hatred of my work just makes me want to work all the more. Gives me all the more reason to do it. In fact, I feel like if I started making money, that I’d do less of it. But that’s easy to say when the money isn’t rolling in. I’m sure that I’d keep the moneyball rolling, but I don’t think I would sellout all of my personal convictions.
Of course, I have to prove myself. I have to prove that I can write. Create engaging stories. Tell good jokes. That’s where all of the work comes in. And the practice. Getting better. The passion. I don’t think this drive is going away any time soon. My love for comedy isn’t going away. My love for writing isn’t going away. So I’m not going away. My dream is not going away. I’m here to stay, whether I succeed within the next year, twenty years, or never.
The keys are patience and practice. Thankfully, I’m good at introspection. Then, it takes judicious practice to go from observations to change. That’s what I’m attempting to do. I’m confident that, in the end, I will have a body of work that speaks for itself, even though I will have been the one that has spoken through it.
One of these days, I’ll be “good”.
Let’s end on this note: I want to address “praise” for a second. I’ve written about this several times, but I want to add something about it here. Despite my desire for fame as a writer as a means to achieve financial security and happiness, there’s a part of me that desires privacy. Once again, as an introvert (albeit a particularly expressive one), I desire to be by myself. But at the same time, I desire fame. I desire fame solely as a means towards financial ends. And the desire for financial ends are easy to understand. Once again, why wouldn’t I choose another line of work to obtain financial ends? I’ve already discussed it in this piece. In a sense, I’m going after what I don’t desire. I desire fame, but I hate the thought of having it. It is quite confusing. But, in another way, don’t those that have already obtained wealth desire peace and quiet? Aren’t there “famous” people that avoid the limelight as much as possible? Don’t they enjoy their wealth, even though they aren’t constantly being hounded by the press?
Welp, the holidays are officially over.
Back to the daily existential crises of lethargy, dreams, dead-end shit jobs, failure, confusion, ideological opposition, advice, uncertainty, boredom, conformity, pessimism, fury, doubt, dissatisfaction, stupidity, deceit, entrapment, and all of the other beautiful fucking things on this planet that we are blessed with that are all somehow supposed to be fixed with “a wife and kids”.
What a life.
To illustrate one of my points: it’s a shame that if you say something like “I can’t wait to go to Heaven“, people worry. “Oh my God, he’s going to kill himself!” Just one of the things that I’m talking about that occur regularly that bothers the Hell out of me. I’m not saying they are completely unjustified. Context has a lot to do with it. You can see what I mean if you read suicide notes from certain people. But hearing this anxiety from so-called “Christians” after I say something like this makes me cringe, because clearly, they are more unsure of where they are going to go when they die than I am sure of where I’m going to go when I die. I know exactly where I’m going, and I can’t wait to get there. I will wait (sadly; In my opinion, although you can clearly be happy while living, compared to Heaven (or the Garden of Eden), this life can’t help but make one feel dissatisfied. I think that’s why I am dissatisfied: because I have at least some small idea of what I’m missing out on, and I actually believe I’m missing out on it, instead of simply providing “lip service” to Heaven like many other so-called “Christians”) (Personal Happiness as a Virtue)). But taking care of my health does not interest me at all. I do not want to live 80 years on this planet.
Everything involved in this “daily existential crisis” feels, ultimately, trivial to me. Sure, my life is all that I have in the moment (of which, these things are a part of). So why not make the best of it?
Firstly, I have a problem with cliches like that, and it will take me a very long time to fully “get into” why I have a problem with these cliches. I guess, to be brief, there is a moralistic attitude behind these cliches. These cliches are treated like The Ten Commandments, whereby your every breath and action should be spent towards conforming to these “life cliches”. I have tried to do this in the past, and all it does is set you up for failure. You will always fail to live by these cliches. Period. It is inhuman to attempt to make these cliches divine edicts in your life. Cliches are true through the natural process of human action: much like The Ten Comamndments are divine edicts that we can never perfectly obey, even if what is in The Ten Commandments and perfectly living by them would make us have better lives. I’ll have to further analyze my past history with these “cliches” (and larger implications regarding them) at a later date. “But Cody, you say to let the ‘natural process of human action’ take place. Isn’t that what these so-called ‘moralists’ are doing? Clearly, they are humans acting. So how can you support the ‘natural course of human action’ as opposed to what they are doing if what they are doing is also a ‘natural course of human action’?” I’ll have to elaborate on this much deeper in the future. But the main point is that what they do just doesn’t work. It conflicts with what I mention in the next paragraph.
Secondly, I have my own personal philosophies that I want to live by (largely influenced because of what I mentioned in the first part), because the philosophies of others, very rarely, make me happy. In the past, I never thought that my happiness mattered. But, thanks to a religious transformation, triggered mainly by my best friend, I think my happiness actually does matter. Not only does my happiness matter in a spiritual (after death) sense, where God sent His Son to die for my sins, forces me to believe that through love, and provides me with an eternal paradise for no other reason than His own grace and love. My happiness actually matters on this Earth. (Personal Happiness as a Virtue). That, sadly, is a very revolutionary, rare thought; and thus, my “back to the daily existential crisis” paragraph. But I think that’s why I’m so dissatisfied. I’m ready to go to Heaven. I’m not going to hurry it along, but in spirit, I’m ready to go, enjoy my paradise, and be freed from the human condition, which enslaves us to labor, heartbreak, anger, broken families, abuse, government tyranny, nuclear war, and just the difficulty in doing something so necessary as producing food. The human condition has weakened my spirit, and “a wife and kids” isn’t going to fix it. That’s only going to make it worse. I don’t want to listen to this “make the best of what you have”, “enjoy the little things”, and all of this other crap. I’m making a conscious decision to ignore this, for the “moralistic” reasons I mentioned above (it conflicts with my nature).
There is a mindset that equates “maturity” with “misery”, and I don’t believe that (much like the atheistic “misery” that is “scientific” and “inevitable” “in nature” that I no longer believe). I believe that God cares about my happiness. Indeed, we were put on this Earth in a paradise, so clearly there was some purpose to our happiness. I personally think we were created to be happy for that reason (and then we fucked it up and lost it as punishment). So, in my opinion, when we are truly happy, we are as close to God as we can be. And, to put it shortly, I, therefore, do not personally believe that, for example, murdering someone can make the murderer “truly” happy. (Can we be happy in sin? Sure. But I think it’s complicated, and I think there are miseries that come about as a result of our sins that we don’t often think of when we say “Can’t we be happy in our own sin?” It’s complicated, I grant you. I’ll have to elaborate in a future piece).
Of course, there is a certain healthy maturity in accepting what you cannot change; particularly, if what you cannot change is negative. But I think that most people’s attitudes about “maturity” is not this, although maybe I’m wrong, and will be proven so in the future (or, perhaps, I’m wrong and will never become aware of it and it will make my life more difficult. Once again, there’s so many “what-ifs” that are considered when making decisions, and I’m not going to elaborate all of them involved in my own personal decision-making processes to justify them to others. I’m simply going to live for myself, in my own way, deal with the consequences that come, and enjoy the rewards, as all of us humans do).
But it seems to me that many people equate “maturity” with giving up. I don’t think this is completely unfounded: indeed, I think it is often sage. You have to eat, you need a house, etc. And, of course, you need money to buy these things, and most people get this money by providing services to others (services that they typically hate to perform, but do because they need the money). I am perfectly aware of all of this. But I am not going to hurry the process along. My mindset is to avoid this. There is a bare minimum, of course. But the day I accept “my job” as my life, and no longer dream of turning what I naturally enjoy doing into a career, is, at least for the time being, the day that I spiritually die on this Earth (I realize that sounds drastic, but I want to do what makes me happy. This dream makes me happy, so I keep it. For the time being, I don’t see anything that could effectively replace this dream on my “happiness” scale). I will either work on writing fiction, insightful articles, dark pieces of art, making myself look like a jackass for comedy’s/satire’s sake, and financially succeed, or I will work on writing fiction, insightful articles, dark pieces of art, making myself look like a jackass for comedy’s/satire’s sake, and financially fail (such as I’m currently) doing. But clearly, either way, you see what will remain (and I might as well dream big if I’m going to do it anyway).
I’m aware that if money is an issue, I could attempt to learn a job that would give me more money. But, once again, I have to do what makes me happy, and even if it ends horribly for me in the future, I have to try. It is within me to try to make it all work. I would not be able to live with myself if I didn’t try all of this, even if it means I forego other financial opportunities, valuable experience in a skill, etc. (I’m going to write an article called “What’s the worst that could happen?” to address exactly that (I hope that I can remember to link it here)).
I want to embrace the difficulty. I want to embrace the obstacles. I want to take the valid (and unfounded) opposition head on. I want to use all of it as fuel, turn it around, and give the world a giant “I told you so.” Failure simply means that I never succeeded when I was alive. And that isn’t that bad to me (once again, I’ll write a “What’s the worst that could happen?” article later to satiate those of you eager to tell me the worst that could happen, and also as a way to fully accept it and understand it for myself). If I try to make money doing something I love to do, and never do, but instead end up working at McDonald’s in my 40s, have I failed? In some sense, yes. I didn’t succeed in making my “dream job” a reality. But I succeeded in never having to wonder “What if?”, and I think that’s one of my biggest motivators. I refuse to put myself in a position where I will ask myself, 20 years down the road, “What if I would’ve started writing in my mid-20s? What if I would’ve started to try to make people laugh regularly in my mid-20s?” Of course, you can turn it around: “But Cody, ‘What if’ you wonder, down the road, ‘what if’ you had chosen a different career path that many people told you was a better guarantee?” Once again, I’m going to make my own personal decisions because, right now, the only thing I see making me happy is enjoying my job, so I’m going to try to take what I enjoy and turn it into a job. I will have to deal with the consequences as they come.
It is about success, but it’s mainly about being satisfied in this life. As I said, there’s a lot of talk about equating “maturity” with accepting the fact that you have to work a job you hate in order to survive. Once again, I’m not saying this is invalid. But 1) I am not going to put myself in that position sooner than I have to (thankfully, I don’t have to at the moment), and 2), I do not anticipate ever adopting the “Welp, this is my job for the rest of my life” attitude, so I might as well work on my “dream jobs” NOW. Spending time and energy towards creating a career that I enjoy NOW. Even if I change my mind down the road, I need to work on this NOW, while I want to, and while it invigorates me. That’s what I want. I just want to be happy; and right now, working on this makes me happy. I think that’s, ultimately, what this comes down to (and I can’t help but think of the people that give me “advice“, and what they did at my age (drinking, partying, etc.), and feeling like I’m different than they are, so maybe my outcome will be different).
Despite the small number of “success stories” that float as an island on the ocean of failure, the exceptions speak out to me louder than “the rule”. “The rule” makes me want to drink. And I don’t want to drink. I want to work on becoming an exception, using all of the “daily existential crises of lethargy, dreams, dead-end shit jobs, failure, confusion, ideological opposition, advice, uncertainty, boredom, conformity, pessimism, fury, doubt, dissatisfaction, stupidity, deceit, entrapment, and all of the other beautiful fucking things on this planet that we are blessed with that are all somehow supposed to be fixed with ‘a wife and kids'” as fuel and motivation to succeed in my own way.
I’m not giving up. I’m either going to become an exception, doing it my own way, or I will fail my own way. But, I believe more than anything (well, aside from, maybe, the financial success that I dream of) I want to feel free. And I’m currently exercising my freedom to the best of my ability, and I feel very pleased thus far (at least in some ways. Obviously, I’d be happier if I was already successful).
At least for the time being, I anticipate that, without a job that fulfills me, regardless of the pay, I will be dissatisfied. Currently, I will not adapt to any other choice than making my passions work. Could I “learn to live” with the job, and adapt myself around it to be happier? Of course. But I do not ever want to give up on this dream, regardless of how shitty my job is. I want this dream to be the reason that I wake up in the morning. At least for the time being, I want this to be my life, because it makes me happy, and I anticipate that, even though it will be a roller coaster, it will, ultimately, make me happier than I would be without it.
A steady job (at least in another line of work), although necessary, is not the end goal for me. I want to be so committed to something that I love that I will go to my grave trying to make it happen. I think that is a purpose that will fulfill me. I don’t want to accept spiritual death, and I think that without a purpose, I will spiritually die. And, currently, the only purpose that makes me happy is trying to make a living through writing and people laughing at me. Subject to change in the future, but, currently, it makes me happier than anything else in my life. I love dreaming and working on it all. It’s been a great experience thus far, and I can’t wait to see how it all shakes out in the end (whenever “the end” is).