Tag Archives: Faith

Personal Examination of Experimental Repetition

I once had a blog. I guess it was near 10 year ago, now. Would’ve made me 15, 16 years old. Yikes. Glad it’s not still around (although a part of me wishes I could still see what I wrote, and only me). But I’ve always been a scatterbrained little boy, for a multitude of reasons.

This scatterbraininess has its perks, such as giving me a lot of creativity. But it has also sucked very frequently throughout my life, as I either forget or can’t concentrate on important matters because my mind is always adrift. The only way I have found to combat this “driftfulness” is to repeat myself.

The first time I ever recall this happening was when I first attempted to get my driver’s license at 16: the “normal” age. A combination of stubbornness, philosophy, immaturity, anxiety, and obliviousness caused me to be a really late bloomer, as it were. Stubbornness, as I didn’t understand why I needed a car or a license, as I was content with staying at home (“leaving” meant hanging out with people. I was perfectly content with being alone. In fact, I never felt like I had enough alone time at home. A loud TV was the norm. I guess a license could have given me that alone time I wanted, but at any rate); philosophy, because it always bugs me when I can’t get to a real “root” of a matter (I stew relentlessly until I come up with something), immaturity (should be obvious), anxiety (I’ll get into that in a second), and obliviousness (related to the anxiety).

The philosophy and stubbornness overlap. I have always tried to understand things as deeply as possible. Well, at least with certain things. I remember being a kid, on a baseball field (as part of a team, in the middle of a game), in the outfield, picking up flowers, looking up at the sky, and wondering “Why am I here?” I wasn’t sad. Just curious. The contrast between the grass and the sky fascinated me. The color. The fact that I could touch the grass, but not the sky. The clouds moved, but the ground did not. I wanted to know more. And when I couldn’t learn more, I became very, very depressed. (Finally, I gave my attention to the people yelling at me to go get the ball. What in the Hell is going on here? I have no idea. But, to the ball I went. And I’m sure I threw it quite shittily. Yes, I’ll get lost in my own head: surrounding reality be damned).

A quick detour: my love for philosophy was quickly frightened into the deepest recesses of my mind by my introduction to religion. My natural desire to be curious was crushed by teachings (which eventually became my beliefs) of OBEDIENCE. “Curiosity” and “obedience” are on opposite ends of the “philosophical perspective” spectrum. This introduction introduced a whole host of anxieties to an already anxious little boy. I was frightened by inaction. (If you currently feel the need to preach to me about “God’s goodness”, or something, save it. Meaning don’t even say it).

But I avoided getting my license, or a car, because I truly didn’t understand why I needed it. I thought cars were just for hanging out with friends, and I just wanted to stay at home. I couldn’t understand it, so I wasn’t getting it. And that was that, even if it caused Hell on the whole family (which, regrettably, of course it did).

Also, anxiety became more and more of my “norm”. Absolutely tortuous levels of anxiety. A chaotic home life (just a continuance of just about as long as I can remember) and excruciating boredom just made me absolutely depressed. I didn’t care about anything. Suicide was a frequent thought, but I never actually harmed myself. Just stayed depressed. Mom is crazy and fighting with Dad and now she’s gone but she keeps coming back and leaving over and over and over and over. A quick slap in the face. And: whaddaya know! She’s gone again. (I’m not going in chronological order, as a particular slap that I’m thinking of happened before my driver’s permit time, but everything that was shit in my life just feels like one giant blur). The boredom was bad as well. If I would’ve known how to organize my thoughts better, I think writing could have saved me. But the very (and I mean very) few times I tried to write (way back in elementary school) never materialized into anything, because I could have an idea for an alien landing in my backyard, but I couldn’t figure out the words to start it. So the writing came to a halt until I got a Facebook page, and starting writing everyone’s eyes off there. And then, eventually, there was the blog.

I don’t recall what my first few blog posts were about. I’m sure they were a bunch of whining, as they are now. A lot of bad writing. I can’t remember the topics. But I remember letting a girl that I went to school with read something I had written. I was proud that I had written something. But she said it was very repetitive, and I felt devastated. I don’t think she understood the point that I was trying to make in the post, and I barely recall trying to explain it to her, but it didn’t do any good. I thought “What is the point in writing this if I can’t explain it for someone to understand?” I think I took a pretty long hiatus after that point.

I’m not quite sure why I keep jumping around chronologically, and I apologize for it. I guess everything just feels like a blur to me, and I have no rhyme, nor reason, for why things come out of my head in the way that they do. I suppose that’s still one thing that remains true about myself to this very day.

Yes, I was born a very quiet child. A sense of humor finally came out of me. It made me laugh, and made the people around me laugh, and that made me feel very good. There were still tremendous sadnesses within me, as I sometimes wonder still exist, but at least there was humor as well. A humor that provided me with a life and vitality that had been cheated of me at a young age, thanks to a reckless mother and various pastors.

I could spend a lifetime, and indeed, think I just might, thinking about why I am the way that I am. I believe that it is easier now than it has ever been; as youth provides one with a sense of depression at one’s, for a couple of examples, lack of ability, or “uniqueness”, that, it seems, can only be alleviated with age. The shortcomings of my youth, at the time, felt insurmountable. The only “answer”, it seemed, was to be depressed. And so, life sucked. Until, by divine intervention, it was alleviated. Not completely, but to a noteworthy degree. It comes and it goes, but I’m not sure that it has ever consumed me the way that it did back then. Isn’t that interesting? Although this certainly isn’t a certainty, it certainly does seem like the teenaged years are the worst years of the lives of most. Only the most unfortunate of us experience the worst years of our lives earlier or later than at teen age. That is quite fascinating to me. It is interesting. If I hadn’t spent so many years clogging up my ears with hymns, and would have paid more attention in biology class, I’d understand hormones, and puberty, better than I do now. But, as it stands, I can only speculate as an ignorant philosopher who has devoid his intellect of scientific understanding, and thus, here I remain, with but a small interest in science, and of such a variety as isn’t biological, but more of the physical. Alas, such is life, I suppose. Thanks, religion. I’ll move on and let go of my grudges some day. With some help…

Yes, I, like so many other children, although to a much lesser degree than a lot, learned of being cheated at a young age. And absolutely nothing I could do would fix it. I was absolutely helpless. To a careless mother. Sadness engulfed me tremendously. I shudder to think of creating a child as sad as I was, and I hope my mother shudders from it from this day forth. It’s the least that she deserves. I trust, and hope, that she has been in Hell from it since its inception. If she has, then I suppose I will forgive her in due time, when I deem fit. And if she hasn’t been tormented by it, and only provides crocodile tears, well, I suppose I will still forgive her when I see fit.

Yes, although sadness engulfed me, reality did not care. I still had schoolwork that I was supposed to do. Things that I needed to learn how to do for my own betterment; especially in the future. I was a confused and depressed mess of hormones. Oh, teenaged years. I pity the one who looks back positively at that time of his life. The poor bastard must be more wretched now than I have ever been (if God is as just as Christians say, at least. At least, if His justice is to be distributed equally among us all (which I don’t believe, exactly, is the case; for if it were, we should all be in Hell at this very moment)). Thankfully, I was blessed with such an intellect as to make most of my schoolwork quite easy, with little effort needed to complete the assignments, and with “good enough grades”. But boredom became introduced with the depression. And the self-examination and self-judgment socially grew as well. The latter grew, but was alleviated both with other “misfit” peers, and a growing apathy of socialization which I can only understand through my current introversion now. I suppose it was always there, to a certain degree. It was there very young, disappeared quite a bit, and then returned, mercifully. But the boredom wore on my soul, for what felt like an eternity. I never thought I’d see an end to the boredom. A bored 14 or 15 year old, with nothing to look forward to but a job: much like his parents had, and hated. His parents, who had always told him to do something different, and better, with his life, than they had, would soon be living the very life that they had lived. I was, and to this very day, still remain, a giant failure in that regard. I accept it now more than I did back then, but I have to wonder if I made a mistake by taking my parents at their word. I have to wonder if their desire for me to have a better life, and my believing in them, didn’t set me up for tremendous failure. At the very least, I suppose it supplanted within me a desire to succeed. Time will tell if that will remain enough in the face of cumulative errors. No, back then, more than ten years ago now, there was nothing to look forward to in the future but lots of hatred, exhaustion, and misery. This, and the boredom, introduced another wave of depression.

But, reality did not care. Back to the driving. My aloofness got the best of me. In more ways than one. The driver’s ed “course” bored me, and I couldn’t take what was being taught and think about it “in the real world”. The only experiences I had with driving were few, and they involved me slamming on the gas while a bunch of adults screamed at me. It wasn’t the most pleasant experience. So I was already not a fan of it. I didn’t understand the importance of a license because I didn’t want to drive anywhere, and I didn’t want a job because…well, jobs suck, of course. My dad always told me to “do something” with my life. He worked in a basic plant for all of his life. I respect him a helluva lot more than I ever did in the past. Especially, when I consider the Hell that I frequently put him through. Or, rather, I empathize with him more effectively than I used to. If I ever do “make something” of myself, he’ll be the first person I thank. (And I thank him, anyway). But I put a lot of anxiety upon myself to make sure I “did something better” with myself. I interpreted a “job” as a failure. Because I felt like I was going down the same road as my father, and, to the best of my knowledge, that wasn’t what he wanted for me. I felt like I was letting everyone down, because I should’ve been able to succeed. At 16, mind you. A little early, in hindsight. Did I have any skills? Of course not. At least none that I could actually get paid for. But Dad wants better for me, dammit, and I’m doing this shitty ass job already. I’m a failure. And the job sucks.

This, of course, isn’t mentioning my disastrous philosophy of money. Interestingly enough, later on in life, I had a “religious experience” when I had a breakdown about money. In the “Christian” faith, money is often seen as evil. Everybody, including non-Christians, complain about rich people. They complain about “greed” being sinful. That “the love of money is the root of all evil”. Well, I had accumulated a good bit of money (a couple hundred dollars) over the course of a couple of birthdays and Christmases. And wouldn’t you just know that I actually loved it? Ah, yes. Here we come to a gigantic contradiction between “faith” and “the real world”. Once again, save your preaching, please. I beg of you. But I hated money. My damn soul depended on that hatred! Sure, it buys me stuff! But at what cost? I can’t have this stuff! So laziness and anxiety kept me from getting a job longer than it should have. I finally reached a breaking point when I realized that “the world revolves around money”, and I knew I needed to make it. I decided to start studying money, and jobs, and all of it, right at that moment.

So I was very reluctant to finally go get my learner’s permit. Of course, the first time I went, I failed the computer test. It was all gobbledy-gook because I didn’t pay attention in class. So I had to go tell my dad I failed. And we went back the next day. And the next day. And I kept failing, and feeling like shit, because I still didn’t care about driving. Finally, I thought “Cody, you need to learn this. Dad ain’t gonna stop taking me here. Just focus and pass the goddamned test.” Of course, I have to thank my dad for not enabling me, as embarrassed and depressed as I was. He stuck with me, even if it was out of necessity for his own mental health. Some tough love was what I needed, even though I don’t suppose I ever really took it. Lamentation.

And, I believe, if memory serves me correctly, this was the first time that I had ever written anything upon my own hand. I wrote myself a little reminder on my palm in black Sharpie. The letters “LFE”. They stood for “Learn From Experience”. I, clearly, was not learning from the experiences of failure at the driving test. And I needed to learn from the experiences of my driving test. So, knowing that I am naturally a very stubborn, philosophical, immature, anxious, and oblivious person, I gave myself a little note, a little reminder, which was to serve as a self-helping contradiction to my own nature. I, philosophically, didn’t understand why I needed my license. But my dad wasn’t going to let me stop until I got it. Once I finally got it, I thought my troubles were over. But my father wanted me to drive him around to gain more experience. I, of course, resisted this as much as I could.

At one point, he bought me a car: a Nissan, either Altima or Maxima, I’m not sure, and I recall not the year. It had a manual transmission. I believe he got it for me for my high school graduation, as that was when he first told me to drive it (I do not remember if he had the car prior). He drove me to the nearest convenience store (much to my own personal inconvenience: especially, as you will soon find out), then told me to get in the driver’s seat. I think I was trying to back up, and killed it. All I really remember from this instance was another car pulling up to the convenience store and yelling at me (I guess I was taking too long to back up, or something), and my father, who very rarely lost his temper, ejected from the passenger seat and commenced to yelling with the driver.

I was absolutely overcome with embarrassment. He got back in the car and tried to commence with the lesson. I told him that I couldn’t do it. That I wouldn’t do it. I was already scared as it was, and that person losing their temper at me further recluded me into my shell. Finally, my angry father relented. He drove me back home, and told me, in so many words, that I needed to “develop a shell”. To let stuff roll off my back. I scoffed and went inside the house: no doubt, fueling my father’s anger more. Or maybe sadness or helplessness. I’m not sure. But even though I couldn’t take his advice back then, I still hear it in my own head today. I still struggle mightily with it, and I feel like I work on “developing my shell” constantly, but that is one area of life that I have a very long way to go before I can say I’m “done” with it, if I can ever say that.

That experience wasn’t my first time behind the wheel. No, successive failures led me further and further away from the steering wheel. This is where my obliviousness came into play. Changing lanes without checking mirrors, driving too close to mailboxes and trucks on the interstate. My mind could not have cared less about driving. I was only doing it because I was told to do it (yes, Cody, sometimes a little blind obedience will do you more good than your daydreaming curiosity, eh? Oh well). I did not care about it. Even if it endangered both myself and my father. And the more he attempted to correct me, the more it scared me away from driving. I clearly didn’t know what I was doing, and it scared me away from the wheel. I suppose I could’ve just…oh, I don’t know…listened to him. But I was a know-it-all, as I was always accused of being, so I basically never listened to much of anything (other than what I wanted to hear). It remains to be seen how that’s going to play out long-term. Some of it has worked, other things, clearly, have not.

I wanted to think about other things: not driving. I didn’t understand its importance. So I avoided it for as long as I could. Until I realized that I couldn’t avoid it any longer, and needed to get my license, and a car. Thus, the “LFE”.

I had kept my permit even when I was finally able to go and obtain my license. It took me a very long time to care about driving. To realize why it was important. Interestingly enough, my mother was the same way: at least that it took her longer than “normal” to get her license. Neuroticism runs in the family. And, I guess, some other things that are actually good do as well.

It’s also fascinating to remember being in the car with my mother and father while he tried to teach her how to drive a “straight-drive”. I do not remember how old I was, but I remember my mother attempting to drive a straight-drive while I was in the backseat, and my father in the front, with her. That’s very fascinating. I was born a couple of months before her 20th birthday, so she must have been in her early-to-mid 20s in this memory of mine. I remember where she drove. I vaguely remember her, seemingly, buying several different cars in the course of a short time period. I’m not sure if I was in a car that we had already owned, or was in a car that she just recently bought, or was planning on buying (but needed to learn how to drive). I just recall my dad trying to each her how to drive a straight-drive while I was in the back seat. Interesting how the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. That tragic tree, perhaps with a relation with the one which bested Adam and Eve.

It makes me hesitant to think about having kids in the future, as I am afraid that I will, inadvertently, treat my children the way my mother treated me during my youth. I don’t expect to slap my child, or abandon its home and stay out all night, only to return briefly to talk to my wife, and then be gone back out of the house again, even as my child sits in the yard, crying for attention from me, only for me to leave again. I certainly don’t anticipate being that negligent. But I get the sense that most parents want to parent differently (and better) than their parents, but seem to fall within certain traps. If that is the case, I don’t want to have children just in case I start falling into traps that my mother created for me. I’m not going to take a chance at torturing a small child like that, even if I wish that I’d not torture the child at all, even as I’m inadvertently doing it.

But, to continue (and repeat myself), life sucked for a very long time, and I sucked right along with it. I did not handle challenges well at all. Reality hit me in the face, and I had a hard time dealing with it. And the only thing that I could think of to do was write down what it was that I needed to do to overcome what it was overtaking me. Writing “LFE”, for “Learn From Experience”, was the first thing that I remember doing that seemed to work. I wore it on my hand through high school (I remember not exactly how many years of high school that I wore it). I’d try to keep my palm from public view, as I didn’t want to explain what I have explained here. I remember one girl, whom I always sat with on the bus, noticed it once, and grabbed my hand to look at it. She asked what it meant, and I told her it meant “Learn From Experience”. I don’t think I explained to her exactly why it was there. She was interested in it, however, and said “Cool”. (Don’t worry: I’m not projecting the interest that I wished she had upon her. She actually was interested in it).

So I kept “LFE” written on my hand in black Sharpie. I soon discovered that “LFE” wasn’t going to provide me with all of the answers. I couldn’t apply it to every issue I faced. So: what to do now? I had to start making decisions. I had choices that I was going to have to make. So I changed the letters on my hand. I began to keep a Sharpie in my pocket, just in case something that I thought would be more effective came to my mind. I decided upon “MMOD”: Make My Own Decisions. I knew I had to. I didn’t know how to gauge my decisions, but only that I had to start making them. Very quickly, this “MMOD” changed to “MMODAL”: “Make My Own Decisions And Learn”. It was a bit unwieldy, and didn’t look as tidy as the blockal “LFE”. But I felt like it had to be done. Once again, I tried applying this to every area of my life, with, obviously, mixed results. Some holes are round while your peg is square. But I tried to do the best that I could, remaining depressed all the while…

I watched science programs on television, and would go outside and stare at the stars. I’d go for walks around the local school in the evenings (the school had a walking track where people could walk after school let out), and just think. I’d look at one of the Dippers, and in my head, see a traffic light. A traffic light in the sky that I had seen ever since I could remember riding in cars. This is one of those scenarios that seem to exemplify my creativity and ostracization, but I shall tell it anyway, for catharsis. Three of the stars, nearly perfectly aligned, in one of the Dippers, looked like a traffic light to me. Now, I’m sure that the top star wasn’t more “red”, the middle star more “yellow”, and the bottom star more “green” in reality. But in my mind, that’s what I saw. Perhaps I was bending reality. But I saw a traffic light. I saw it every time I was in a car at night time. I began to look for it. And I would just stare at it, and think about it. A bit bothered that they weren’t in a straight line like an actual traffic light (I suppose that makes me “obsessive-compulsive”. I’d had an “interest” in traffic lights for as long as I could remember). Around this time, also, I developed a new message for my hand which I shall only mention briefly, simply because of how asinine my message was. It was “Understand Everything”. Yeah, right. I’m not even going to get started on how fucking terrible that path went. I took my desire to learn just a little bit too far, to say the least.

My brain was still scattered, and my words were still poor. I was still very depressed. But the stars, and learning about them, and space, on television, brought me a little happiness. The atheistic side of things began to take a toll on me, as I felt myself becoming an asshole. Or, rather, a different kind of asshole. I was an asshole during my younger religious days as well, condemning all of those who didn’t go to my particular church, with a little red in my face. But although I felt like an asshole as an atheist, I also felt a little relief. I still had problems, but at least they weren’t the old problems. At least, some of them were different. The fear of what would happen to me after I died still remained.

One thing that brought me happiness during this time in my life was basketball. Basketball became my escape. I’d shoot for hours by myself. I’d either shoot in the backyard, or down at the school when it let out, sometimes well into the dark. It gave me something to focus on and work on that I could actually do (putting the ball in the basket), and gave me an escape from all of my failures. My failure of struggling so hard to get my license, which was eating me alive. My failure to rid myself of my depression. My failure to comprehend money, and jobs, and the universe, really. I was depressed and bored and failing. And basketball seemed to be the only thing that made me feel any better about it.

I continued looking to my palm for messages. I kept “LFE” for a while, and tried to apply it to as many things as I could. I remember staring at light bulbs, and wishing I could understand the “science” behind light. Now, that requires a lot of mathematics. I’m philosophically-minded: not mathematically-minded. But I’d stare at them, and wish I could really understand them scientifically. I wanted to learn more science. The cool kids in school were atheists, and “worshiped” science, and didn’t believe in God. I wanted to be that cool. I was also tired of being afraid of God. So I started shedding myself of my old religiosity, and I embraced the cold, depressing realities of scientific atheism. It actually was not as terrifying as being a Christian had been to that point. I was afraid that abandoning God would bring the worst upon me, but the truth was that I had already been through Hell religiously. I had already spent my youth envisioning Hellfire engulfing my bed as I masturbated, and believing all lightning strikes to be God warning me of my own sin, so becoming an atheist, although still difficult, and anxiety-inducing, actually produced less anxiety within me than I had experienced prior. It was still there, to a severe degree, but provided me with a relief, as I tried to think about science, and absorb it as a philosophical manner of being to replace my prior terrors. It wasn’t that I wasn’t afraid, but it still provided me with some relief.

In truth, I found science classes to be very boring. My mind always drifted. Experimentation and taking notes and the like bored the fuck out of me. That wasn’t my idea of “science”. My idea of “science” was more of an anti-religiosity. Interesting to see this in other people today. I still tried to think of, say, light, and I thought “What’s the science behind that?”, with no mathematics to guide me. “How did they create those rafters from which the lights hang in the gym? Why does it get dark outside? Why is there artificial light at night time, and why is there sunlight in the day time?” (Sidenote: I associated artificial lights with creepiness. Instead of being scared of the dark, I associated that common fear that children have with the only sources of light around. I don’t know why. Perhaps I’ve always been obsessed with light, and couldn’t stop thinking about them, even among my fears which are normal to all children. Although, my fear “of the dark”, I guess you could say, was magnified by my past learnings about evil things in the world, which I had absorbed both through television news, my church, and, more than my church, sermons on the radio on the way to church). “How did they create these artificial lights? How does electricity work? Who are these teachers here at this school? Why do they come here everyday? What are we all doing here? Why does this person have this ‘job’ and this person has this ‘job’?” Yes, one constant in my life has always been the questions (once again: thank God).

I transitioned into what I believed to be a more “scientific” mind. In truth, I had always been curious about why things worked the way that they did. I recall being in a booster seat in a car (I had to have been four or five, at the oldest), and facing the windshield, and seeing the yellow lines in the middle of the road. (Then again, maybe I’m confusing a time that I remember being in a booster seat with another time that I recall looking out the windshield and seeing those yellow lines. I’m horrible with exact chronology. Everything just runs together for me). They fascinated me. I also saw the white line on the right side of the road. I wanted to understand what they were. I tried to follow the lines, but they moved too fast. I tried looking out the side window as they passed, but I was too short to see them (maybe I was sitting in the middle instead of sitting beside the door), and the blur of the outside made me very carsick. It is quite remarkable to me that I remember these details so vividly. (Like remembering a time a guardian accidentally clipped my thigh between a seatbelt and its holder). Whenever I can remember something vividly, I get scared. Scared that I haven’t made any progress from that day that I remember. But I think that’s a topic for another piece.

On a small tangent (which is actually related, so I guess that means it isn’t actually a tangent): I went for a small drive recently near my home. To roads that, much to my amazement, I hadn’t yet been down. They led me to familiarity, but it was the roads themselves that were foreign to me. I had known they existed, but had never traveled down them. And as I did, some interesting memories came to me, as sometimes happens.

It was late, and I had my bright-lights on. A car passed me by in the other lane, and I had forgotten they were on, and turned them off as the car was passing me. I turned them back on, and looked at my dash. And I recalled, seemingly, for the first time since it happened, seeing that same blue icon in my father’s old Plymouth Horizon. As a kid, I guess, partly, because I was tiny, and couldn’t see out the windows that well, I stared at the dash. I saw the green lights flashing (those were the turn signals). And I saw the blue light. It looked like something. I couldn’t figure out what it was, or what it meant. My dad kept flicking a switch constantly (for what reason, I did not yet understand), and the blue light would disappear and reappear. And, occasionally, the green lights would flash as well. I recall looking at the “Hazard Lights” button. Those three triangles (or however many there are). I think I wanted to touch them. Of course, I couldn’t. I remember seeing the defrost buttons. Why do they look similar, but are also different? And why is there heat coming out of these things? And why is there ice on the front windshield that you have to scrape off? And why do we have to get up for school today? Ah, yes. It all blends together. And the “whys” still remain (once again: thank God).

I remembered, as I took this night drive, thinking, at one point, that the blue lights looked like a jellyfish: or, rather, the first time that I saw a picture of a jellyfish (it might have even been on Spongebob), I thought of that blue icon. I’m sure the latter was the case. I saw a jellyfish “on its side”. Likewise, the first time I saw a house drawn, a triangle on top of a square, I thought of those green turn-signals that I had first seen in my father’s Horizon. Yes, on this night drive, I was consumed by my memories of my own creativity. I missed it. It had been taught out of me by peers and adults alike. “Hey, this looks like this!” “That’s nice. Have you got a car yet?” Yes, the creativity has always been something that has ostracized me (not even just the example I just mentioned, but in conversations with my peers for as long as I can remember), but, being an introvert, I’m ok with that, to some degree. I tried to train it out of myself to become better socialized, but on that night drive, I continued to realize that now is the time to let back out my creativity. That I am a creative man. That I need my creativity. I need to let it all out, and let it all flow. There will be plenty of criticisms, good and bad, on the road ahead. But I am happy when I am creative. I am happy when I experience deja vu. I am happy when I write. And so, thus being recently invigorated, and feeling justified, in expressing myself creatively, I have desired to write this here. It was begun before this particular moment of inspiration, but I have realized that I need to accept my creativity, and not run from it. I have ran from it forever, for several reasons. I’m sure that all of them felt justified at the time. I’m sure, if I really wanted to sit and think about it, some of them would be justified now. But my best friend is always in “imagination-land”. He can’t concentrate on anything other than the fantasies within his own head. He desires to be a fiction writer. And he dreams constantly. His dreams, and the written word, both reading and writing, are how he “escapes” the monotony of his work that pays his bills. But, in truth, these dreams of his were sparked long before he became an adult who needed to make money. His persistence, despite his struggles, inspires me. He desires to be creative, come Hell or high water. And he frequently struggles. But he doesn’t give up. And that inspires me. It inspires me to tap in to my creative nature that has been defeated. And to see what all can come out of it. I look forward to it, and can’t wait to see what all is in store for me as far as my creativity is concerned. One result that I am most anticipating is a tremendous level of happiness.

So now, as my desire to read and write have increased, I become aware of my limitations in both of these regards. Particularly, when other obstacles, not related to either of these, present themselves to me. I was driving, and thinking about something fictional that I wished to write, being inspired by the mountains that I saw before me. I couldn’t write it down, as I was driving, but I desperately wanted to remember it. So I started repeating a mnemonic in my head so that I could remember it when I actually had a chance to write it down. And as I was repeating it to myself over and over in my head, I realized a lot of different things. I realized that some things never seem to change about oneself. That repetition was just a tool that I was going to have to use for my benefit, regardless of how “weird” it seems to others. That words have significant power for me, in that words help me remember to do things which better my life. And if words have this kind of power over me, perhaps I need to invest more to them, even if that includes writing words that only I can understand. I’ll have to take that chance of social ostracization if it means that I can repay back the words that have benefited me so.

I need to have repetition in my life. I can’t live, or function, without it. My need to repeat things in my head in order to remember them has not changed. And they are still, if not more so, approaches to challenges, instead of, say, remembering to buy milk (which, considering my love for the drink, I never forget). I’ve been very lucky thus far in life, even if I haven’t realized it. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that it is a miracle that I am where I am today. I’m sure that friends and family members have thought that far back in time. I must say, I have to join them in that surprise. I’m pleasantly surprised, no doubt, but I have definitely been lucky. In large part, thanks to my hard-working parents (yes, even my mother, who helped me out later on in my life while she had abandoned me in my youth), who picked up my slack when I was too stupid and lazy to do it myself (and I can’t forget stubborn). Even if I should have been more proactive, I just want people to know why I wasn’t. Whether it is justified or not, I want to be honest with my feelings and my thought processes with the world. That makes me happy. I don’t look forward to the feedback, but the catharsis is fulfilling.

I have always needed some pen and paper, or electronic device, handy, so that I could write things down. I feel a great relief when I write, and feel much pressure when I desire to write, but am physically unable to, either because I am driving, or am at work, or have forgotten my phone with which I take notes, or whatever. Lately, I have discovered a great many internal roadblocks that I won’t even begin to mention in this piece. Look forward to them, God only knows how long from now. But this is something within me that I was just born with. It has been a struggle to do it over the past several years, and those times that I have done it haven’t been masterpieces. They’ve barely been amateurish. But I did them. My heart desired them, and I did them to the best of my meager abilities. And I expect the world to judge them harshly. But I can’t let that stop me. Regardless of how hard the world laughs at them, or how viciously they hate them, I can’t stop writing them.

And the next time that I am faced with some difficult task, in which I must repeat something to myself over and over in my head, to remember the specific task, or to remember a certain way of approaching the task, I need to remember that all I am doing is repeating words to myself. (Or, in some fucking way, that I’m actually thinking clearly. Calm down, Cody. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Breathe. Manage your fucking anger, Cody). Isn’t that that writing is? Thoughts and words. So if I desire to write, what’s wrong with keeping thoughts in my head? If repeating things to myself constantly helps me to remember to do tasks, and helps me remember things to write down the instant I can do so, why would I feel embarrassed at this? Yes, once again, youth shows itself. “Won’t people think you’re crazy for, say, talking to yourself? Or repeating some weird phrase in your head constantly? Or writing on your fucking hand, for God’s sake?” In truth: yes, of course they will. As many people have said, I must develop letting other people “roll off of my back”. It is challenging. But words are how I have always dealt with difficulty. I don’t anticipate this changing. I know not how difficult the future will be, but I know that I am going to need all of my words to conquer that future. I should not be embarrassed of anything which helps me improve as a writer, because that will help me improve my lot in life; and, indeed, I believe that it will help me become a better person as well. I welcome all of these possibilities with open arms, and will try to dedicate myself more to my own personal thoughts, and my own words, and getting better at communicating them in writing. This paper was very difficult to write, but that makes it very worthwhile. I know not if it will be received as my previous blog post was by that girl that went to my school, who said that she couldn’t understand what it was that I was trying to say, but I don’t anticipate that it will, and even if it did, I think I’m content enough with it to deal with that. My words are going to be with me forever. I want to use them as much as I can see fit. I want to improve upon them on my own terms, the best that I can, until I’m as satisfied with them as I can be. I want to write down all of my thoughts, and hope that my thoughts are of good quality, and that if they aren’t, I can fix them somehow. And if they are, that they will be received as such, and that the world is not in such a state as to hate that which is good quality (a state which, I fear, is upon us at the moment). I don’t look forward to any feedback, as that isn’t the point of any of my writing. None of my writing is for “approval”. If you approve, you approve. If you don’t, you don’t. My writing is my catharsis, and how I cope with my problems. You do with them what you will. (I’m still learning how to deal with feedback, both positive and negative, in case you couldn’t tell by my last outburst here. I can’t get ahead of myself. One step at a time. I need to love it before I incorporate feedback. God, help me).

Sanity has been a thought that I have been obsessed with for a long time. I’ve thought myself insane for many different reasons over the years. I used to get dizzy, and the room would spin, when I would try to go to sleep at night. My thoughts would race at times. I spent many years worrying about whether or not I was sane. I spent many years obsessed with what my peers thought of me, despite the fact that I also tried to fight against this. The truth of the matter is that, at the current time, I wish to do what makes my heart happy. This makes my heart happy. Honest expression makes my heart happy. I don’t look forward to mischaracterizations, which I know will be forthcoming. I don’t look forward to critiques, whether they be justified or unjustified. I don’t look forward to anger from others. I don’t look forward to any of this. I desire peace. But I learned a long time ago that the world doesn’t care. Someone out there doesn’t care. There will always be someone out there who wishes to destroy you, and would be gleeful if he does. That’s just something I have to accept as I continue to write honestly and openly, and attempt to improve at it the best that I can, and know how to. Lord, help me. Please. I’m desperate. I know You already know this, but I’ve announced it publicly. Will that help me?

I will stew on a problem until I have a solution, and sometimes, even after I’ve come up with a solution. Sometimes, I have a hard time getting my solutions to stick. I naturally have a restless constitution, for some reason, so am always looking for the novel. I’m always looking for the homerun. Thankfully, family has helped me realize recently that my expectations are far too high. That I’m too hard on myself. I only realized this because my anger almost got the best of me. I almost snapped. I was really angry with myself. But I have to work on managing my anger. Lowering my expectations. And a bunch of other shit that I’m not going to put into this piece.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say, and I have no idea if this came out as I wanted it to or not, is that I’m trying to mature. I’m too hard on myself. I’ve got problems. I get ahead of myself. I need help, and I’ve got friends and family to help me when I need them. I can’t do everything by myself. But when I do start to find out how to deal with myself, it will involve talking to myself: repeating things to myself. I guess everybody thinks, and thinks in words. So repeating things to myself are just ways that I remember to do things to make myself better. I have to accept that. I can’t feel socially anxious simply because I’m talking to myself. I need to keep my expectations low, and not be so hard on myself, and slowly, very, very, slowly, learn how to deal with myself and the rest of the world. This will involve rumination, but it also has to incorporate other coping mechanisms if I’m to not lose my mind, instead of having my mind and only having others think I’ve actually lost it. Pray for me. Thank you.

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The Wonder in Astronomy

Devin Stevens Presents Literature

“There, totally immersed in a bath of pure ethereal colour and of unrelenting though unwounding brightness, stretched his full length and with eyes half closed in the strange chariot that bore them, faintly quivering, through depth after depth of tranquility far above the reach of night, he felt his body and mind daily rubbed and scoured and filled with new vitality. Weston, in one of his brief, reluctant answers, admitted a scientific basis for these sensations: they were receiving, he said, many rays that never penetrated the terrestrial atmosphere.

But Ransom, as time wore on, became aware of another and more spiritual cause for his progressive lightening and exultation of heart. A nightmare, long engendered in the modern mind by the mythology that follows in the wake of science, was falling off him. He had read of ‘Space’: at the back of his thinking for years had lurked the dismal…

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“Am I a good person?”

Going through life, questioning whether or not you are a “good” person, is the wrong question to ask. “Am I happy” is a more important question. “Have I cared for someone” has the potential to treat your own happiness as always less important than that of others to the point of your own happiness not being important at all. The fact that loving someone makes you happy is the part that is not stressed. Loving someone brings you joy. That is the main point. If the main point is for me to give love to someone else, then that must mean their main point is to give love to me. Who in the fuck is able to accept it and enjoy it? Therefore, that is important and crucial to the whole idea of “love”: accepting it and enjoying it for oneself.

Love is treated as a commandment instead of just being natural. And that’s the problem.

Sitting around waiting for death is a horrible way to live. I do not believe that God put us here to “test” us. I think He put us here just because He wanted us to be here. I don’t know “why“, but I don’t think it was to test us. I think it was more like “Hey, I want to create something that can enjoy something. Here you go, humans. Here’s LIFE.”

Personal Happiness as a Virtue.

Christianity.

Why Am I Not A Murderer?

Free Will Contradictions.

The time to speak out is NOW.

Wants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Happiness as a Virtue.

Insightful.

Science and an internal conflict…

The fact that there are scientific laws to the universe is frightening to me.

Something intrinsic tells me that nature should be mystical; not predictable.

Religious upbrining, no doubt…

But the precision of, say, the rate and trajectory that a ball falls when a particular force creates a particular trajectory, and the fact that this can be predicted time after time, is enough to bring a tear to my eye…

Insightful.

Christianity.

Conserv.

Moral.

Intelligence.

Intellect Equals Cockiness?

The Apparent Disconnect Between Thinking and Acting.

Conflict.

Free Will Contradictions.

The Apparent Conflict Between God’s Sovereignty and Human Action.

What is the point of intelligence?

One has to wonder what the point of intelligence in life and for life is. If the point of intelligence is to obtain it all, that doesn’t explain why some people aren’t as smart as others or why we forget things. So what does intelligence do? Is it always good? Why do we have a desire to understand things within the world? It’s almost like from a spatial point of view: intelligence helps us understand ourselves through space. I really don’t know why a lot of religious people preach that intelligence is evil, because it seems to me that the more we learn, the more we are learning about the omnipresent. However, I don’t think it’s possible for us to learn about Him perfectly. But that also doesn’t mean that He doesn’t give us things to learn. Why it is limited, why we learn at all, these are questions that I don’t know the answers to. But I think that the fact that we learn at all, retain knowledge and intelligence has something to do with connecting us to the supernatural. Besides, the Bible talks a lot about knowing God. I think our very nature was created to learn and have knowledge, but then there’s the devil’s advocate of us learning about what happened by eating the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil destroying a lot of good. So it appears that knowledge, in this case, was not a good thing. So then one continues to ask what is the point of knowledge, and why do we do it. The irony of these questions is that I’m asking what the point of knowledge is so that I can have knowledge of knowledge, and I’m asking for knowledge of why we have knowledge. So perhaps knowledge is in a way like God: it’s cyclical, and everything leads back to it, and it leads back to itself: knowledge leads to knowledge. And perhaps it has something to do with being beneficial to life: knowledge seems to be more beneficial biologically than lack of knowledge. Perhaps this is why there are Revelations as well, and the ultimate point is for us to have knowledge. A revelation seems to suggest a moment of obtaining knowledge, so certainly one of the points of God’s plan is for us to receive knowledge, so certainly the importance and role of knowledge can’t be understated. What that is exactly, I do not know.

July 14, 2013

Things that I have for sale on Kindle.

Where you can financially support me if you so desire.