A man came by the house today. He was a man I’ve known my entire life. And it wasn’t the first time that he’s ever showed up at the house.
He had some cards that he was wanting to know the value of. Some Yugioh, Pokemon, Magic, and some other cards that I’m not sure of. I told him that I had gotten out of cards a while back, and didn’t know how much they were worth. He then started saying some very profound things that I was not expecting.
He’s had some drug problems that I’ve known about. He was on a scooter. And I don’t recall what exactly started it, but suddenly, he started talking about religion. Unprovoked. But it was not like what you might expect when being preached at. Most of the time, when someone is preached at, they hear about how terrible they are as a human being, and all of the things they need to do to alleviate themselves from the consequences of their sin. But this conversation was nothing like that. In fact, one might say that it was the exact opposite.
He started talking about energy. He said that energy is neither created, nor destroyed, but that it just exists. That there’s no time. That there is only energy. That we are energy, and that we all share this common humanity. We all share upon this energy. And we can give good energy, or we can give bad energy. But the energy is always there, and we can’t destroy it. It reminded me very much of a Bill Hicks joke: “All my point is, all my point is is there’s a lot of ways to look at the world. You know what I’m sayin’? Why pick the way you learn over TV? Cause it’s usually wrong. You ever see a good drug story on the news? Never. News is supposed to be objective, isn’t it? Supposed to be the news. But! Every drug story is negative. Well hold it. I’ve had some killer fuckin’ times on drugs. Let’s hear the whole story. Same LSD story every time, and we’ve all heard it: ‘Young man on acid thought he could fly. Jumped out of a building. What a tragedy.’ What a dick. He thought he could fly, why didn’t he take off from the ground and check it out first? You don’t see ducks lined up to catch elevators to fly south. He’s an idiot. He’s dead. Good! You mean there’s one less moron in the world? Wow, what a fuckin’ tragedy, huh? I guess I’m one car-length up in traffic tomorrow. How about a positive LSD story? That would be newsworthy. Don’t you think? Anybody think that? Just once? To hear a positive LSD story? ‘Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration; that we are all one consciousness, experiencing itself, subjectively. There is no such thing death. Life is only a dream. And we are the imagination of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the weather.’”
One connection I made between the two of them was the drugs. But I don’t know if drugs really tell the whole story. Maybe they do in Bill’s case, but I’m not sure about this guy’s. But he continued. And things got really deep.
He said he’d be sitting around, drinking and smoking a bong with some people, and they’d say to him “How can you call yourself a Christian when you do all of that?” And he said to them that they didn’t get it. He told me that he’d tell them that the Ten Commandments aren’t laws which need to be strictly obeyed, but are rather more common sensical than that. To paraphrase, he said “Think about it. ‘Obey your father and your mother.’ That’s just natural, isn’t it?” The thing that struck me about this conversation was that I’ve been thinking some of these very things myself. He continued:
Once again, to paraphrase, he said “Life isn’t about obeying the laws of God. It’s about love. It’s about all of us loving each other. It’s about giving good energy through love. We are all part of this loving energy. And it doesn’t disappear: it just gets transported somewhere else when we die.”
Here was a man I hadn’t seen in months, if not a couple of years. Who I’ve known my whole life. Who just came to my house and started telling me this stuff. He asked a couple of times if I understood what he was saying. And, to my shock, I actually did. I’ve been thinking some things lately, but they aren’t fleshed out enough for writing. But I actually did understand what he was saying. And when I told him so, he’d say “I know you do.” And I could tell that he was being genuine. That he was serious. We shared a very human moment together. I thought “You know, I know people who would’ve asked him to leave. But I’m glad I just stood here and listened to him.”
He could be pretty emotional at times. Not to the verge of tears, but just very excited. I thought about telling him to calm down because I didn’t want the neighbors to check out what was happening, but he seemed to sense it every time without me saying anything. Of course, he couldn’t contain himself at times. He wasn’t sad, and he wasn’t angry, but he was very enthusiastic. Passionate. But he felt completely genuine to me. He wasn’t putting on a show. This man was pouring out his heart. And I could feel that.
He told me some very personal things about himself that I will not ever repeat to anyone. I don’t know if he was high or not. I believe I could smell a little liquor on him. But I swear, in that moment, I think his head was more clear than it had ever been.
He said he’d talk to Biblical “scholars”, to use his term, at nearby churches. Talking to them, presumably, about some of the things he had been talking about to me. He didn’t seem to think that they actually got it. Once again, it was a miracle that I was on the same brainwave as him. Maybe my natural thought processes are just as scattered as his, but I understood what he was saying. For the most part.
There were some things about tectonic plates and volcanoes and the world opening up that I was skeptical of. But I dismissed those pretty easily, because he was back on the loving energy topic pretty quickly. I don’t know if he’s right, if he’s wrong, but I guess time will tell.
He said “I’ve never told anybody any of this stuff. I’ve rarely read any of the Bible. But something just compelled me to come here and say all of this stuff.” And I understood exactly what he meant. It was a very touching moment.
He also said some stuff about seven nations, like America, Brazil, Peru, and others being a “seven-headed beast”. That “liberty” was just a myth. That there was some volcano off of the coast of southwest Australia that was going to open up like a pit of Hell. I was a little skeptical of all of that. He started losing me there. But I agreed with him, and understood what he was saying, earlier about loving energy, so I stuck with him.
He said he loved me, and I told him I loved him too. And we hugged each other. I could tell that he was genuine. And then, he was on his way.
I thought about that moment. I thought about dwelling on it. About trying to force that moment to be meaningful every moment of my entire life from here on out. But that isn’t how moments work. Moments exist within a specific time and place. Forcing them beyond that makes them lose what made them magical in the first place. But it gave me some interesting thoughts about love, and about advantage.
The way I grew up to think about love is incorrect. I thought that one had to love everybody to the fullest extent that one could, so that the world would be a good place. So that we could all get into Heaven. But the first part of that is actually more important than the latter, believe it or not. I treated love as something to always be working toward and striving for. But not just love: perfect love. “Am I being as loving as I could be?” This question always bothered me tremendously. Religion had taught me that I should love my fellow man, but how do I know how much I need to love my fellow man? Well, this was never answered specifically, but I believed that the answer to that “amount” question was the same as other “amount” questions that religion attempts to answer: “As much as you can, but that will never be enough. But you have to struggle towards that goal, anyway.”
So I put a lot of pain upon my heart to try to love people. But it only made me resent them. It made me hate myself. It confused me. I’m introverted by nature, and my idea of “love” (such as always listening to everything someone says when they talk to you, never disagreeing with someone, never getting angry at someone, etc.) was immature and, plainly, just incorrect. My old way of thinking about love put a lot of pain upon my heart that created a lot of hatred. And I don’t think my old way of thinking about love was even correct.
I believe that guy was on to something. I believe that love is a lot deeper than that. Way deeper than that. He said that he was struggling to find the words to explain what it was that he wanted to explain, and I feel the same way at the moment. I’ll bring up a conversation that I had with my best friend recently, Devin Stevens.
I called him up one night cause I hadn’t talked to him in a while. I was thinking some things about religion, and I know he’s been thinking and writing about it for a very long time now, so I just wanted to hear some of his take on religion. I asked him some questions. And he told me some personal things that I won’t break to anyone, but he’s planning on making these public in a giant religious treatise that he’s writing, so I look forward to seeing the complete piece myself. But as we talked, I came to the conclusion that, even among Christians, each person’s faith is different from one another. Christians experience Christianity differently. That was one thing that seemed very clear to me in that conversation. And I was very relieved.
It made me think of politics. In politics, force is used to make everyone “equal”, but it destroys their humanity and makes them miserable in the process. It made sense to me that, much like humans need freedom to experience the fullness of their diverse, individualistic humanity, that this humanitarian diversity and individuality would be experienced with God as well. God has made us individual, and diverse. That’s got to mean something holy. God created the Earth, and made us out of dirt. Despite our sins, I don’t think that God hates humans, nor do I believe that He hates the Earth. He created it, after all. No, most of the things He hates are common sense, I believe, just like that guy who came by my house was talking about. Stuff that most of us just naturally hate, like murder, or theft. Basic, common sense stuff. Yes, that is the stuff that God hates. That is the stuff that a loving God hates. That’s the stuff that love hates.
My old conservative ways of thinking about love and God, I have now come to believe, were wrong. There was too much emphasis on “completeness”. Too much emphasis, in effect, on the impossible. Which led me to failure, which led me to fear. But the emotion which plagued me the most about love, the old way I thought about love, was guilt. When I was younger, if I would’ve heard a story like that man told me today, I would’ve felt extremely guilty. My life has been nothing like his. And yet, this man was showing me love, and saying that we had a common bond. I would’ve felt guilty about that when I was young. But the truth is that I’ve had a much easier life than he’s had. It does make me feel bad for him, although I hope he can turn his life around, and I hope that what he said in our meeting today continues with him throughout the rest of his life. But I didn’t feel guilty today. I didn’t feel guilty for not having the troubled experiences that he has had. I just felt lucky. I felt blessed. I didn’t feel like a “better” human being than him, but I felt absolutely blessed. I said to myself “I have been lucky. I have been advantaged.” But that didn’t make me feel any need to bring myself down to any level that he has been at. Rather, it made me realize, or rather, it made me continue to think what I’ve been thinking about for a while now, that life is about taking advantage. It isn’t about “taking advantage” of someone else, but it is about “taking advantage” of yourself. Life is about taking advantage of your natural, God-given abilities and desires. That’s how human progress moves forward. That’s how things get better. When people experience the fullness of their humanity, and become the best that they can be. Not out of fear, but out of love for the world. Striving for improvement, maximizing their natural skill-sets. Bringing other people joy. The key is to accept what you have. Accept whatever it is that you have. And the key is to eliminate false humility. The key to love is accepting it when other people give it to you, for whatever reason that they do. Accept it, and move on to the next thing in your life.
For me, I’m pretty smart. Halfway decent with words. I can’t feel guilty about these things simply because I’m smarter than someone else, or a better communicator than someone else. And that lack of guilt on my part does not mean that I don’t love someone else. Advantage and disadvantage aren’t signals of love. Guilt isn’t even love. Love was that moment when this man told me very personal things, I listened to him, and then we hugged each other. The differences in our lives, past and present, had nothing to do with love. I shouldn’t feel guilty for having a much easier life than he had, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t wish him the best of luck in the future, and feel sympathy for his past.
That’s the biggest thing I need to continue developing in my life: how to take advantage of myself. How to remove anxieties and guilts, and be the best goddamned Cody Alan Reel that I can fucking be, with whatever it is that I have been given.
I’m sure I’ve heard this a lot growing up, and I’m sure I’ve dismissed it frequently, but all of those phrases about “Life being about the experience”, and “Living life to the fullest”, make a lot more sense to me now. The lesson didn’t come from the church. But I’m going to continue to take full advantage of myself, and figure out how to feel emotionally about myself as I go along. There has been a large transformation on that front as the years have gone on. A complete 180. A lot of blessings, and a lot of introspection. It’s a process. It’s an odd mixture of myself and things outside of my control. I’m going to think about it and write about it as much as I can stand it. As much as it brings me satisfaction to do so. But that’s part of my individual journey here on Earth.
I wish everyone the best of luck, and I hope that everyone can take full advantage of themselves.
“If men were like ants, there would be no interest in human freedom. If individual men, like ants, were uniform, interchangeable, devoid of specific personality traits of their own, then who would care whether they were free or not? Who, indeed, would care if they lived or died? The glory of the human race is the uniqueness of each individual, the fact that every person, though similar in many ways to others, possesses a completely individuated personality of his own. It is the fact of each person’s uniqueness—the fact that no two people can be wholly interchangeable—that makes each and every man irreplaceable and that makes us care whether he lives or dies, whether he is happy or oppressed. And, finally, it is the fact that these unique personalities need freedom for their full development that constitutes one of the major arguments for a free society.”
I don’t feel like this is “done”, but I’m tired of fucking looking at it, so I guess that means it’s “done”. I’m tired of considering it “not done” and spending time trying to think of what is wrong with it when I know that so much other work that isn’t done remains undone. It’s time to move on.
What does it mean to be insane? How does one know if one is insane or not? I have wrestled with the status of my sanity for many years. My eccentricities have often been the source of great anxiety. I attribute this to just being young. But my eccentricities have only matured and moulded me. Increasingly, I long to lose my sanity. I deeply desire to be maniacal. It is, because at that point, I will no longer have any fucks to give. Social stigma will be a complete thing of the past.
It is so odd how the viewpoints through which you receive information about the world shape how you yourself view the world. I recall news interviews, where the interviewer thought the guy at the fair or protest or wherever that he was interviewing was a little weird. I then thought the guy was a little weird. I didn’t care to hear what the point of view of the weird guy was. Because he was weird. Who cares? You adopt the prejudices of your superiors, and then you grow out of them. I realize that it is a “normal” process, but “normal” things are very often weird.
I learned at a young age that being a little crazy was fun. It made people laugh (even if they were laughing “at” you). I typically welcome any laugh. I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule. But I like acting like an idiot, knowing that I’m going to be harshly judged because of it. That doesn’t mean I’ll find every criticism levied against me funny, but I do enjoy finding humor in a great many of them. I enjoy playing the “game”. Serious gets hard real fast. Before you know it, you’ve got cancer. (I don’t, thankfully).
My craziness has matured over time. I want it to mature even further. I want to see how far I can push it. It brings me great joy to be insane. Once again, I feel like I am on the other side of that interviewing microphone. I’ve done a complete 180 as far as perspective is concerned, and that’s quite a shock to the system. I don’t long for the previous viewpoint: in fact, it is the old way that is most shocking to me. “Why did I ever think that?” I find myself asking constantly. I certainly don’t think I’m unique in this case. I think it is quite common.
My entire life revolves around entertaining myself. I got tired of always being bored. So many things “out there” weren’t stimulating enough for me. There was always something missing, it felt like. “I’d do that differently,” I always thought to myself. There were certainly, for examples, movies that stuck out to me that made me happy. But it would be hard for me to explain why those did, and why so many others didn’t. I’ve always enjoyed being a “class clown”, and this has helped me deal with crippling existential boredom. “You could be a nurse.” “You could join the military.” You don’t understand. I fucking can’t. Something is going to be missing in my life if I don’t develop my own world. Much like Bob Ross discussed “worlds” as he painted, I have my “world” with regards to writing and entertainment. I want to create my own entertainment “world”. I want to build my own amusement park, even if I’m the only one riding. That brings me joy, and that’s what I want to do. I have always admired comedians because they aren’t afraid of acting like idiots (in fact, it actually helps them out) and having fun, and bringing that fun to others. I realize that doctors “are the real heroes”, but there’s no one I’d rather emulate more than comedians. My heart yearns to create a crazy world of my own.
There’s always that point where someone “gets” what a crazy comedian is doing. I can’t imagine a more thrilling feeling. I don’t want to come right out and say “Ok, here is the point of this piece of comedy.” I like dragging the audience (however minute it is) along. I have fun messing with them. But the thought of someone saying “Huh. I actually get what this guy is doing. He’s a fucking lunatic, but he’s a genius.” I love that thought: the thought of someone getting it. That’s a great thought.
I hate how it seems so often that maturity only comes over an extended period of time. As I said, my desire to be funny has been with me for a long time. But the social anxieties of youth are almost always unbearable. It feels freeing to be able to say “I don’t care” and dance around like a fucking jackass. Why did it take so long? Who knows. Maturity and biological growth are just one of those mysteries of the universe that we are subjected to, and there’s nothing we can fucking do about it. Oh well. At least it happened.
Peer pressure made me shut up. When I made people laugh, I felt good. When I didn’t, I felt bad. But, I eventually decided to make myself laugh even if no one else was laughing. In fact, I taught myself to find that fact humorous. I’m going to do something to make myself laugh, even if it irritates you. It is much easier to get what you’re looking for from an audience when your audience is yourself.
It is going to take time for me to build my confidence up. Certainly, I’ve made tremendous strides. But I am still very anxious. I still fear being incoherent; being stale. Failing. I want to put myself in a longevity mindset. I’m going to act like an idiot as long as I find some joy from it. I anticipate doing this for a very long time. I suppose “anything could happen”. I can look at past and current tendencies and use those to say where I’m going to be at in twenty years, but one truly never knows. My goal, at least currently, is to continue along the path I have started, and have been going down. At present, I would love to say that I’d still have fun acting like a jackass at 60. But maybe in 20, or 10, or even 5 years I get tired of what I’m doing. I don’t know. I don’t anticipate that happening, but anything is possible.
A part of me does feel like this desire to be insane will become more mild in the future. Currently, I actually have the time and energy to work on my insanity, but this won’t be the case in the future. I will probably “mellow out” into something more mild. I can’t even analyze the past. I don’t have a clue how I’m going to analyze the future.
I do believe I will always admire successful, insane people. People like John R. Dilworth. People like him are admirable. This guy has made a living out of just being “a little off”. I love that. I’ll probably dream of that while doing my factory job in the future. It may just end up being a dream, but the alternative is just not having one. What in the fuck would I do? Why is not having a dream somehow more noble than having one? Why does it matter whether or not I succeed? Why should I give up? What good does that do me? I don’t understand that attitude, and I think most proponents of that attitude just like to hate on stuff.
I think the biggest motivator behind how “insane” I become in the future will be my level of boredom. I don’t anticipate it becoming any less than it has always seemed to be. Boredom has always been a problem for me. It initially was crippling. Entertaining myself made it bearable. Can I say that I will be less bored when I get older? I, personally, don’t see it happening. I see the future becoming more mundane, as years and years of repetition take hold, and, thus, I will need something stronger to relieve myself from it. I anticipate this to be insanity. Insanity induced by repetition. But more purposeful than happenstance. A conscious decision rather than a trap. That is my hope, anyway.
I anticipate that the more that I do what I want to do, the better I will become at what I do. If I want to do something, and, thus, do it, I might as well have the highest possible goal for myself. There’s no downside, if I’m going to be doing the thing regardless. The biggest stumbling block that I foresee is war. Only because war is the biggest stumbling block to pretty much everything. However, I certainly believe that I should exercise freedom when it exists, so I’m going to try to write and become more insane for as long as I can. I know there are going to be many growing pains, but at least they will be something different.
I know that as the years go by, I will become more and more of a turtle: less influenced by outside factors. More “stubborn”. I’ll get better at things until I start to hit a decline: and, even then, I’ll still get better at certain things while becoming worse at others. At least for the time being, I look forward to getting better at the things, even if there’s a downside that comes with that. At least for the moment, I’d rather be old and confident than young and anxious.
I fully embrace the challenge. In many ways, I enjoy making things harder on myself. Just to be able to say that I am my own actor. The satisfaction of succeeding in ways everyone said you couldn’t is enough for me to desire to blaze my own trails, even if they are dead ends. I don’t want to travel common roads when I can see where they go.
I truly hate it when I start to second guess myself. I have these “mad” plans, and how I’m going to achieve them: the building blocks I’m initially going to choose, and how I plan on developing them. It is extraordinarily intimidating. I’m an island. It’s fucking hard to be an island. It’s hard to be your sole motivating factor. It’s hard to get better “by yourself”. But that challenge makes the joy that much sweeter. Sure, you may enjoy playing with that rubber paddle and ball attached to a string, just hitting it around. But do you want to get better? How fast do you want to be able to hit the ball? How fast and how accurate do you want to be? Do you enjoy improving?
I enjoy piling things onto myself. A big problem that I see with everything that I’m doing right now is that I just don’t have enough experience. The only way to gain experience at doing things is just to……do it, but it’s hard to do it when you’re figuring out what exactly it is that you are doing: when you’re still figuring out what your goals are. My heart desires for a finished product. But this truly is an experience. This is about growth. I’ve heard many people say growth never really ends, and I don’t have a good reason to not believe them.
Confidence is a big stumbling block at the moment. I enjoy a healthy amount of “My writing is shit.” It gives me something to work on. But I so often find that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew at the moment. I’m confident that at some point I can chew it. But the problem is that it just takes a long fucking time before I feel like I’m ready to chew, and the even bigger problem is that by that time, I’ve discovered that the initial bite was fucking disgusting, and I want to toss it out completely. Then, I’m back to the beginning, except more time has passed. So I fall behind. Or, the bite just still isn’t ready to chew. How much fucking longer will it be before it is ready to be chewed? For better or for worse, one of my philosophies that I have developed through my relatively short life is to “Let it be”. I don’t handle “control” very well. Some people can effectively take charge when things fall apart, but I become frustrated as to try to ignore the problem for as long as possible. I am not interested in changing this. But I do struggle with writing because of this, in my opinion. The problem is that in the past, control didn’t work out. But I do need control now because I am writing. I am now completely in control, I need to be, and it is a whole new world. “Remember those other times you took control? Well guess what, fuckhead, what makes you think things are going to change? Sure, you’re older. But you’re still the same person. What makes you think you got better? What gaul. What evidence do you have that you are any better than you used to be, huh? Prove it. Oh, you’re choking up, are you? Look at you: talking to yourself in third person. ‘What will the people think?’ your second voice asks you sarcastically. ‘Shut up’, I say, as my armor glistens, and I raise the sword of self-esteem against the dragon with sarcastic fire. ‘Did I leave the oven on? Why am I in this cave? Fuck this dragon, that’s for sure. How big is this cave? How am I going to die? What shitty things are going to happen to me in the future? Fuck. Stay on task. You left your home for a reason. Let’s go. Fuck. Where am I going? Bah, who needs a map. I don’t want no goddamned map. Fuck. I don’t have any idea of where I’m going. I know where I want to go, but what do I want to do to get there?” And on, and on, and on. I could elaborate on this metaphor, but fuck it.
The reality is that, to this day, there are still so many things beyond my control. There always has been, and always will be. The “magic” is figuring out that balance between control and acceptance. But I want to do that as an island, and it’s still fucking hard. Dreaming of the rewards makes it all worthwhile, as well as just the love of the journey itself. But those demons sure do love to tap on my shoulders. (And, honestly, I need them, at least to some degree).
I long for insanity because, as I have said, it will mean I have tuned out the world. I won’t be listening to people tell me that I’m wasting my time by writing. That I should do something else with my life. That I should take classes, or whatever other advice I could be given. My desire to be insane is as much intrinsic as it is to reflect externally: I want to enjoy my own insanity, but I want others to think me insane as well. Because I feel like they will finally leave me alone. No more trying to help, because I’m a “lost cause” in their mind. I love that thought. It makes me want to become crazier and crazier to drive people away, just so they’ll leave me alone. I welcome anyone that enjoys it. But as soon as someone tries to change my course, I want them gone. Scaring them off seems to be a good way to do that.
The problem with freedom is the people that try to take it away. Offensive speech is the hardest speech to keep free. This is because people are babies and are willing to attack people that say things they don’t enjoy hearing. That’s never really going to change. There will always be significant pockets of those people. There’s nothing we can really do about that. All we can do is speak out and try to deal with them when they become violent. But that doesn’t mean you’ll survive. It’s a sad fact that people will always be murdered, and it’s a sad fact that people will always be murdered for what they say.
Regardless, I long to be widely considered as insane. To me, being insane is the ultimate freedom. You aren’t caging me up, drugging me, destroying my free and independent mind, violently beating me into submission. At least, not yet. Tyranny always exists: just to different degrees. Innocent people face unjust punishment all of the time. I honestly kind of expect it at some point. There’s nothing stopping a rumor from being started that, say, I have drugs, or am running some kind of child-trafficking ring, and then the police break my door down and search my entire house to find nothing. That wouldn’t surprise me in the least. I just expect that type of tyranny. I expect people to be that hateful and stupid as to try to “get me” by calling the cops on me, and then, for my house to be raided, my computer probably stolen (which I’ll never get back), then I’d have to pay money in court (which I’d never get back), and then, I still have the potential to go to jail: all because of a rumor, with no evidence. It happens. It could be 25 years before I was exonerated, or it could be never. That type of shit happens, and I just sort of expect it to happen to me, because I enjoy “offensive” speech. Some people just can’t handle it and retaliate neurotically and inappropriately. “The justice system”, government, should never be trusted. But I think that ship is sailed. I think trust of government is too ingrained at this point. There’s pockets that aren’t, but talking and listening to a statist is a great way to feel hopeless about the future.
I’m not a doctor, or anything “important”. All I desire is to entertain myself, and being crazy is one of the most effective ways I’ve found of doing this. My heart needs it desperately. It recharges my soul when evil wears it out. I look forward to seeing just how insane I ultimately become.
I was introduced to the concept of “evil” at a very young age. It was introduced to me through religious conservatism, as well as through television news. Both were saturated with incessant talk of evil things that people were doing all around the world. When my religion taught me that I was evil, when I watched “the news”, I equated my evil with their evil. I equated myself to the murderers on the television, even though I hadn’t killed anyone. If we’re all lost as sinners, then who cares about comparisons?
Just thinking about evil is exhausting. There is no way to create a perfect man. How do we “measure” ourselves as good? Or, better yet, is there value in measuring how “good” we are?
In the past, I would’ve said “Yes”. I measured my good (as well as the good of the whole world) to see who among us, including myself, was going to Heaven. But I never knew what that amount of good needed to get into Heaven was. But I measured away anyway, completely dissatisfied, as the only result I came up with was that “None of us are good enough.”
Well, my religious beliefs have changed over time. And so have my ideas about “good”. But evil still bugs me. I still notice it everywhere. I seem to notice it all of the time. I don’t think it is really possible to ignore it. Throughout the day, I think everyone will, at least one time throughout that day, say “Damn. That isn’t right.” Evil is simply too prevalent to ignore. Sure, when we’re playing with our kids, or reading a book, we aren’t thinking about someone getting raped or murdered in the world. But surely it’s happening. There will be no “end” to it until we die.
Since none of us are sure when we are going to die, and surely we don’t want to think about death constantly, what do we have to look forward to? Why does “looking forward” matter? What do we have but to “look forward”? We look forward as well as looking back. We pleasantly reminisce about the past, while being thankful for getting passed the negative times. We dread the future, while looking forward to what we believe we will enjoy about it. There’s no “constant settling point” with regards to the past and the future (besides the fact that we are alive in the present). There’s no “perspective” that ultimately takes precedent. The past, the present, and the future engage all of our minds. But there’s something special to be said about “moving on”. To hoping. And to just being thankful. You can’t be thankful for anything when your whole life is spent anxiously lamenting and condemning the lack of perfection in the present. Sadly, even this can be taken over by anxiety. There’s nothing that anxiety can’t ruin. It’s a shame.
I should state that, once again, I’m not against lamentation completely. Of course, I’m not completely (there’s that word again) against anxiety. Both serve important functions. But there’s a difference between compassionately bringing up a serious subject that needs attention, and being an asshole about it that no one wants to listen to (being an asshole, I should know this). The latter ultimately boils down to a fear of the lack of “perfection”. I think, ultimately, the motivation comes into play, as well as the “soundness” of one’s argument when one brings up an issue. Is it objectively an issue? That should be argued. After that, why are you bringing up the issue? That should be discussed as well. After those are discussed, it can then be determined whether or not the issue being put on the table is worth “tackling”. Even with this, there will, ultimately, be breakdowns in communication, as ends will conflict with ends, means will conflict with means, etc.
My solution to this is: do what you want. If you want to argue, then argue. If you don’t, then don’t. One can try to bring to the attention of others as many wrongdoings as one can. My measurement is “However many one wants to”. Does it bring you some sense of joy to bring a problem to light? Do you receive something from it psychologically? If so, bring it up. But if you do not gain anything from it, I think the whole situation is fruitless. The nurse that tends to others as a “duty” without getting any pleasure from caring for others is missing the point of her helping others. Of course, they are being helped. That’s important. But the issue is: why wouldn’t that bring one joy? That is the even deeper issue at hand. If one is compassionate, wouldn’t helping others out bring that person joy? (Personal Happiness as a Virtue).
I’m not being stabbed right now. That’s a good thing. I focus on doing things in the present. And that’s what we all do. We all go through our day, working our jobs, reading books, doing a whole range of actions without thinking of the people getting violently attacked throughout the world.
Many would see this as a bad thing. Many people spend their whole lives pointing out these wrongs. Indeed, I would have to say I’m included among these “Hey, this is bad” pointer-outers. Should it not be the case that each and every single one of us should point out each and every single wrongdoing that we are aware of constantly? Wouldn’t this be a good thing?
In the first place, most “moral” ideas never take into account man’s limited nature. Man has to sleep. Poop. I’m not going to be able to help a man getting stabbed while I’m asleep. Nor when I’m pooping. What if the murder is happening hundreds, if not thousands of miles away? What if I have to poop? Not only that, but even if I didn’t have to poop, am I really to fly all the way around the world, only to risk my own life to save someone else? I’d certainly find it noble if someone decided to do that themselves. But should I do it for the “overall good”?
I have reasons for not flying to Africa to help out, for example, someone getting murdered, or for not flying anywhere to help out anyone suffering any kind of injustice. Why? Well, I don’t want to spend the money on a plane ticket. Nor drive to the airport. Figure out where I’m going to stay once I got to wherever I was going. Not to mention, I’d, more than likely, be putting myself in danger. What if I, for example, get kidnapped? Who will help me? My point is that when it comes to “good” and “action”, there has to be some other way to think about it besides the “perfection” attitude: that everyone must spend all of their time and energy to combating every injustice in the world all at once until every justice is eliminated. That is impossible. But, more importantly, I don’t want to do it.
This, of course, does not mean that I am completely against helping out people in need. I, personally, am not going to go out of my way to search for people in need (I commend those that do), but if I see someone get hit by a car, I’d, of course, have no problem with dialing 911. It isn’t that I’m against any person receiving help at all, but I am against an attitude of “moral perfection”. Words like “perfect”, “complete”, etc., really can’t be applied to humans; especially when “good” is involved (this, of course, does not mean that punishment should never happen).
I learned a long time ago that nobody is perfect (I don’t think I learned it in a particularly healthy way). But I was asked “WWJD (What would Jesus do?)” I was taught that I should live a “Godly” life. I spent much of my life being worried over “doing enough.” But enough is enough.
There comes a point when we have to accept our own limitations. I certainly don’t ever think we should say “Welp, that man raped that lady and stole her purse. Oh well. What are ya gonna do.” In an immediate circumstance, when one becomes aware of a wrong, it is certainly commendable to try to “right” the wrong. And there’s various different ways to go about trying to “right a wrong”. But the key to this and what I mentioned earlier is anxiety. Anxiety relating to “perfection”. Of course, it is perfectly natural to feel anxious if one witnesses an attack. But why do you feel anxious? You feel anxious for your own safety, anxious about the health of the one attacked, anxious about the safety of anyone else that may happen to run into the attacker, etc. Anxiety isn’t the problem, but why are we anxious, and what are we anxious about?
“Moralistically”, “good” must be done because one is unsettled by the lack of perfection or perfect good. Any philosophical axiom based on “perfection” must be rejected. We are not God. We don’t have the strength of Superman, the speed of The Flash, etc. Perfection is a destructive goal. It becomes counter-productive. The purpose of doing good is that…well, it is just good. It spreads good will throughout humanity. Compassion is natural and genuine. But the idea of “perfection” waters down “compassion”. Imagine you are a nurse. There are one-hundred seriously injured people under your care, all wailing out in immense pain. “Good perfection”, besides being the case in one definition that no one would ever suffer anything negative ever, would require you to be able to at least completely alleviate the pain of all one-hundred patients instantaneously. This simply isn’t possible. The “ultimate good” would be that no one ever experience pain. The “perfectly good” action would be helping everyone at the same time. But these are, quite obviously, impossible. Striving towards an impossible goal is pointless. Life is not about “the struggle”. “The struggle” just exists: we don’t have to manufacture it. In fact, our whole lives are spent alleviating “the struggle”. If “the struggle” is such a noble idea, why do we all spend so much time trying to relieve ourselves from it? We naturally hate our human condition. Conservatives exacerbate this problem by perverting the human condition, and telling us that we must enjoy it: that God is “testing our faith”, and that we should “be thankful for it”. That our suffering gives us credit that we later redeem to God when we die to get into Heaven. (In addition, according to these same conservatives, there’s a billion little things that will take away this “credit”. I think the fact that we all naturally hate “the human condition” says a lot about these perverted conservatives). Liberals exacerbate the problem of the human condition by striving for perfection to pursue the good. They equate compassion with perfection: if we don’t spend every hour of every day fighting poverty, rape, and racism, then we aren’t doing enough good. And, once again, “enough” is only a complete elimination of poverty, rape, and racism.
The problem, once again, is one of “perfection”, or “the perfect good”. “Perfection”, “completeness”, etc., are words that should not be part of one’s ethical vocabulary. One can never be “completely good”, or “perfect”. “Good”, “helpful” action should never be based on perfection, but should rather be accepted as they are: as “good”, and as “helpful”. One man being saved from starvation is good, even if there are countless others that are, at the same time, not being saved from starvation. We must not lose sight of “the good” simply because we can never achieve “perfection”.
Of course, it is true that, in the Christian belief, perfection is required to be saved from eternal damnation. But it is also true that, in the Christian belief, Christ died as a forgiveness of sins as this perfect requirement. That is Christianity. Christianity is “Perfection is required. Welp, here you go. With love.” That’s it. That’s the “extent” of the “perfection”. A nurse can’t alleviate the severe pain of one-hundred patients simultaneously. I suppose God could. But what if He doesn’t? What is the nurse to do? Should she sit around “believing” that she can simultaneously alleviate the pain of all at once? Or should she focus on each patient, one at a time, doing what she can with compassion?
The thing “to do” is what you want. Eat what you want, read what you want, do what you want. If you want to do evil (besides the fact that you’d do it whether or not you had my approval, or anyone else’s), people are going to want to bring you to justice. I think that is the ultimate point of all of this. Expecting everyone to be a sheriff, an executioner, etc., is impossible nonsense. It is an impossible “moral” goal. Someone will want to bring murderers to justice. Someone will want to be a nurse. The key word is “want”. People’s wants will find a way to meet people’s needs; whether people “want” to get paid, or “need” medical care, things find a way to get done. Never perfectly, nor completely, but they happen enough to be significant enough to garner well-deserved positive attention.
This diversity of values truly is a testament to how peaceful coexistence can happen at all. We’ll go back and forth, arguing over how to increase “the good” and decrease “the bad”, but a perfect, complete elimination of “the bad” will never work.
True compassion does not need an anxious duty to ignite action.
“Perfect love casts out fear.”
The hardest part of starting a piece of writing is starting it. (I hope I’m credited for this quote some day). It may be noted that the hardest part of writing is coming up with an idea. But the hardest part is actually reigning them in.
To put it bluntly, “writers” who say that “I want to write, but I don’t know what to write”, are not real writers. In my opinion. Sure, technically, once they put words down in some form, they are a “writer”. But they aren’t “natural” writers. It’s very forced. Very superficial. “Real” writers, to piss people off, know what they want to write, but struggle with the how (and, of course, the “when”, as time is always a constraining factor).
It is very easy to cut a piece off before it’s finished. Very easy to not say all of the things that you really want to say. It’s very easy to write for an imaginary reader, or for “simplicity’s sake”, rather than writing for yourself. And it’s especially easy to do that once you receive the first least little bit of negative feedback.
I am not a fan of communication. In fact, I abhor it. Every single thing about it. I hate hearing the thoughts of others (the majority of the time). I hate talking to other people (most of the time). I just fucking hate every single thing about communication. Do you want to know why? Well, let me gripe about something that started this idea that I had to complain about language by writing about it.
There are many things that I hate about language. Once again, reigning in a piece is really fucking hard. So goddamn hard. And what word do you choose next? What sentence? Do you read to find it out for yourself? Or do you want to come up with it more “completely” on your own? Who and what do you read if you wish to “read” to learn, in effect, “how” to write? There’s so many goddamn choices that it can drive one fucking mad. And I’m really fucking mad right now.
There’s nobody telling me what to write. I wish there were. But at the same time, I know I’d tell that person “No. No. No. I’m not doing that.” And I’d crave independence. Well, here I have it, and I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. And I suck. And that fucking sucks. It breaks my heart to know that there’s room for improvement with my writing, because that means there’s things wrong with it now. I know there will always be something “wrong” with any piece of work. But I don’t care. It bugs me, and I want it to bug me. I want it to drive me crazy. I want it to push me past my breaking point. I want writing to, night and day, make me lose sleep, and obsess over every goddamned word; every string of thoughts. I’m already fucking at this point. And that’s why I can’t get any writing done. There’s too many choices, too many options, and, to be honest with you……I actually love it.
I don’t like thinking about “professional” status. I fucking hate wasting time thinking about “selling pieces of writing”. It’s just that: a huge waste of time. But yet, I desire it, so I think about it. It doesn’t do a goddamn thing to help me get anything done. But, at least sometimes, it makes me happy. And I am a huge fan of “happiness”. Happiness motivates every single action of every human being on the planet, whether they say so or not.
Let me stop right here for a moment. Here’s what started this whole fucking idea I had for this piece. Because now, I need to explain to you my philosophy about “happiness”. I know people are going to argue with me about what I said in the last sentence of the previous paragraph. (I also know there are going to be some people that have a hard time reading this, and that’s another thing that I hate about language). Every single sentence will start an argument with another human being. Every. Single. Fucking. Sentence. That is ever said. Every fucking thought. That becomes communicated. Will be argued. And I fucking hate it. “Why? Are you afraid your ideas are wrong? Don’t like to be ‘challenged’? Just want to live in an echo chamber?” No, that is why. What I just fucking did. I wouldn’t mind arguments if I didn’t already know them beforehand. But I fucking do, and it drives me mad. I already know what is going to be said, and I have for a long fucking time. And I know people hate to fucking hear that. So communication is always conflict with me. And I really fucking hate conflict. I just want to fucking relax. And it makes me wonder why I write any goddamned thing in the first place (I’m obviously not talking about physical fighting when I talk about “conflict”. But debating is exhausting. “Why, because you don’t have any evidence to support your claims?!” No, because I have to explain shit like this to you. This is stupid. A waste of time. Why am I fucking answering your argument? Now, I’m thinking about the dumb readers who will say “Who in the fuck is he talking to in this piece? He’s a crazy person.” This communication thing is just fucking exhausting. I don’t like people, and it makes me wonder why I write). But I have points that I want to make, and I just want to communicate them. But I fucking hate everything that comes with it. Every fucking thing. Grammar. Sales. Vocabulary. “Points”. Word choice. Organization. I mean, I pretty much fucking hate writing to be honest with you.
I can’t tell you why I do this, because I don’t fucking know. Once again, this is a problem with writing: in order to tell you, I’d have to think about it. I want it to be honest and thorough. But that means I’m going to have to think about that instead of something else that I want to think about. That something else starts off the way this piece started off: ok, I know what I want to say, but how in the fuck am I going to get there? I have 15 million different ideas, but how in the fuck do I start them? How do I organize them? Where am I going to go with them? The entire writing process really is fucking futile. It’s incredibly masochistic. “Go to school for it!” FUCK you. That would defeat the whole fucking purpose of this. “Don’t you want to know how to write?” I don’t want to be taught how to write. I want to be my own teacher, deciding who to read and for what reason, and deciding what I find valuable in the words of others (and, thus, what I will adopt from them for myself), and what I don’t particularly enjoy about other writers. I don’t want to be taught things that are very subjective and personal to me. That’s the whole reason I write. Writing isn’t mathematics, where there’s concrete, exact answers to objective physical phenomena. Literature is, to put it simplistically, “a lot different”. I want to leave my personal mark on my writing. As much as I would say I’ve historically been a very gullible person, I’ve also been a very skeptical person, especially of people “in charge”. I can just hear a sociologist saying “Problems with authority, huh? That kid is going to end up in jail some day.” The dumb voices always stick out to me, for some reason. There’s something about that level of stupidity that I can’t ignore. It feels like a duty for me to point them out, if only for my own “ethical cleansing” (make sure you don’t read that as “ethnic cleansing”. I know some dumbass probably did). I’m skeptical of the idea of someone telling me “how literature should be”. I’ve always been skeptical of people in charge, and I think that’s always warranted. People who blindly follow orders are terrifying.
“Do A.” “Do B.” “Do C.” Anytime you have any uncertainty, you best believe there’s gonna be words of others coming. (in Archie Bunker voice) “But don’t you see that that just compounds the problem, Edith?” In order to communicate this to you, I have to think about it. But the problem is that, most of the time, the effort is spent on explaining things instead of actually making an argument. That, perhaps, is what I hate most about writing. I want to fucking make points. Interesting, thoughtful points. I don’t want to explain every little goddamn detail. But, of course, that’s what readers need. “Duh, Cody, if you’re going to make a point, duh, you need to explain it.” No fucking shit. Readers like you drive me crazy. Stating the obvious to such a degree that it’s a waste of energy to say “Yeah, I fucking know that.” It would be easier to ignore them, but it’s not that easy after all. Explanations take up so much valuable point-making time. Take this paragraph for example. It’s “explanation”. Is it really an argument? I guess it could be argued that it is. But it isn’t the fucking argument that I want to make. “Then why are you writing it, Cody?” Because it will help make my arguments make sense; that is the point of an explanation. I mean, Jesus fucking Christ, do I have to explain this shit to you? (You see my point).
Hopefully, you do see my points. But if you just think me crazy, I’ll fucking live with it.
Don’t read me. Don’t read this. Go read something from someone else.
(If everyone’s got their demons, then why do we envy?)
…Don’t mind me. Just talking to myself again. (Do I insert humor here does that make sense does it flow well does it distract from the point too much…) (To beat a dead horse, recall previous paragraphs).
It’s easier to be bad. I love being bad. I’ve learned to thrive from it. Sure, it means that you’re bad. But c’mon. Being good is really hard. (Let’s talk to yourself for a little bit, Cody. Don’t you love being insane? Don’t you love talking to yourself in everything you write nowadays? You’re bobbing and weaving as you write this. You want people to think you’re crazy, huh Cody? Are we having fun? Are your readers laughing at you now? You’re truly a madman, aren’t you? Look at you go. Some readers love this. I wish I could have his mind for a day, they say. But haven’t you been reading what I’m fucking writing?, you say. Stroke that ego. Ah, yes. You’ve ratted yourself out to your detractors now! It’s all about your ego! They knew it! Ha! It all makes sense now! Now they’ve got you! Ahhhhh!!!! What are you going to do now? How will you ever get out of this fucking corner they’ve backed you into yet again? If only they could see the way you’re bebopping around now. Like a fucking madman. Like the fucking madman you’ve always wanted to be………. But you fucking love it).
It’s easier to be repetitive. It’s easier to stew on the same issue for a very long time. I’m a very gullible person, so I need to spend a lot of time with the same ideas to make sure I grasp them enough to actually believe them and defend them (even though I hate communication). I’ve always taken the easy way out with writing. I’ve always taken the easy way out with communication. Just keeping my mouth shut. It’s usually easier that way. But sometimes, it isn’t. And that’s, obviously, when words start coming out. But without the practice, they just don’t make sense sometimes.
I want to contribute good ideas to humanity. I don’t want to be famous simply for the sake of being famous (I want to be famous because I know I could become rich through fame, and I want to be rich so I can “retire”). But I want to contribute good ideas to humanity. Ideas that are smart. Meaningful. Significant. Not for praise; not even for money. But because it feels good. Feeling like I have contributed something intelligent and thoughtful makes me feel good. That’s the only reason I need to try to do such a thing. I realize that there are countless people who have contributed “better” ideas than my own, and this trend will continue with future “idea shapers”. But it’s just in me to think and write. And that’s what I do. Even though I hate everything else about it.
I just wish I didn’t have to spend so much goddamn time explaining everything. But I can tell that it helps me become a better writer, and I still have a lot of “thinking” to do to get better at “thinking”, so I’m hopeful for the future, at least from a “quality” standpoint. As long as I don’t become “evil”, I’ll be good. (That was obvious, Cody).
The important part of all of this is to feel honestly. That is something that has frequently escaped me. I’ve written about religious conservatism enough for now, but being completely honest and comfortable with my emotions is very challenging for me. Perhaps there’s some truth to men in general being less comfortable with accepting their own emotions as compared to women, but religious conservatism has made this task so much harder than any role biology (probably) has played. It’s hard when every single emotion leads you back to “fear”. It, surprise surprise, makes you not want to feel any emotion at all. And I think that made me angry for many years. That, and some other things that made me angry for many years took over my life. Anger and sadness seemed to be the only things I felt before I started getting into comedy. I’m only 25, so I suppose “anger and sadness” during the teenage years are normal. But still. My emotions during that time period shouldn’t be completely dismissed.
(So much of my writing is about my struggles with writing. It’s weird, but I’m ok with this).
And then, of course, there’s the soul-crushing aspect of putting your heart and soul into something just to have it demolished. That’s always hard. “But Cody, you open yourself up to that stuff by writing in the first place-” Jesus fucking Christ. You goddamned stupid people. You’re so dense and naive. “Aren’t we all-” Go fuck yourself.
I am starting to realize the importance of independent thought. That truly is a beautiful thing about life: that we all have our own separate wills. We all have individual traits and desires, and that leads to a lot of diversity. I think that’s wonderful (and no, some college professor isn’t forcing me to write this: I actually believe it). My childhood way of looking at things was that things followed very specific blueprints. Maybe I was just a dumb kid, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that idea is “common” among kids. You follow the rules, the “adults” have a lot of similarities with each other (especially to the child mind), etc. And then, of course, you start to gain independence when you get older. Start thinking about things, choosing your sources of information to absorb, your ideas change, etc. There’s always going to be countless things that frustrate everyone. We all have our individual troubles that we have to try to fix. But I’m starting to truly realize that there is no blueprint. I live my life, do what I want, make my choices, deal with the negative consequences, and I value learning, so I try to learn as much as possible about things I am interested in. When I have a thought that I want to develop that sounds interesting, I write. And I have many life circumstances that I’m unhappy with, but I’m working on those. As I’ve written before, the key to me is feeling like I’m independent. I know I’m going to have many troubles throughout my life: problems that could’ve been more easily resolved or avoided altogether “if I only would’ve done this”. But who doesn’t have that? Once again, I keep hearing these hypothetical voices from others in my head trying to direct me, and I just have to think “Where did you get this magical fucking blueprint of what I should be doing, and who ordained it?”
I can tell just how long of a “long-term” project writing really is. I’m desperate to write good stuff, but I’m so stupid. I’m so ignorant of so many different things: technical linguistic skill, knowledge of topics, etc. But I can tell that I need an overall perspective. I need to have a deeply personal, independent, overall perspective about things that I do. There’s no blueprint to be handed to me about where to go, either with writing or with anything else. I’m pretty sure confidence will come with age. It’s just a waiting game, in many ways: being a biological slave. But that isn’t a bad thing as long as you’re having a good time on the ride you’re “trapped” with.
I’m not looking forward to being critiqued. I don’t like it. I know, you’re fucking entitled to your own opinion. I fucking get it. I know I’m not perfect. But I just fucking hate listening to most criticism. There’s always a fair-share of just dumb criticism. And, as always, there’s people telling you stuff that you already know. There’s people that don’t get what you say. And the minority of criticism is actually valuable criticism. Stuff that you can use. Stuff that you hadn’t actually thought of before. Most of it is either envious bunk because you’re trying to do something or it’s a strawman or any other stupid shit that people do. There are plenty of times where people bring up valid concerns, and you go back, and forth, and back, and forth. And many would find that “productive”. But anytime I think of “debates” or going “back and forth”, I think of religion. How many fucking years do we have to “debate” religion? I’m so sick of the “debate”. I’m fucking tired of it. I’ve heard it over and over and over and over and I just want to say “Why in the fuck are you people still debating? Just fucking live and let live! Let go! Who fucking cares if you ‘save’ an atheist?” Why can’t we just agree to disagree, and surround ourselves with people that agree with us? This idea that we should always “challenge” our beliefs is so prevalent now, and I don’t get it. Once again, “let me explain”.
This is what I don’t understand about the idea of an “echo chamber”. The idea of an echo chamber is that you just listen to people that confirm “what you already believe”, or some stupid shit like that. I can certainly understand how that’s a “thing”. A “negative” thing. But I’ve, personally, had more experiences in what my friend and I call “ambiguity land”, where there’s so much conflicting information that you go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth in your own fucking mind so much that you start getting bags under your eyes because you can’t figure it out. Trying to weigh all of the different factors, etc. etc. Who fucking cares? At some point, you just have to make a fucking decision. You don’t need to justify that decision, you get to decide who you are going to debate with, and when, and what about, and you need to accept that people are going to say whatever the fuck they want to about you. It’s going to anger you at times, and you’ll probably feel the need to defend yourself often, but this is how it is. This is just how it is. The back and forth is fucking exhausting, and I hate it. I don’t want to do it. Everyone does it from time to time, and sometimes I enjoy it. But overall, I’d say that I don’t. I’m tired of it. Especially something like the “religious debate”. People just spin their wheels over and over and over, and I’m done listening to “the argument”. I want my religious experience to be more personal and meaningful than the traditional “Christian vs. atheist” debates.
Biology and experience help out a lot. I know they’ll help me out with a lot of issues I have with writing. It’s going to be like ripping my fingernails off one by one, but I know the end result will improve. Practice and genes. And just learning in general from the sources that I wish to learn from.
Deciphering truth and “Why” questions is a whole nother matter entirely (that consumes me).
I have a tendency to write about “human nature”, but for this piece, I will try to focus solely on myself. Sometimes, I feel brain-dead. I feel as if no stimulation is entering my brain, or that the stimulation that is still, for all intents and purposes, is not enough to alleviate my “brain-dead” status. And it isn’t anyone’s fault but my own.
It isn’t that I don’t have things to do. I have plenty of things to do. But I’ve written about this problem before. It’s partly a commitment issue. A fear issue. An independence issue. I am fully aware that my decisions now will affect me forever. And that weight often produces a crippling anxiety within me that freezes (or, at least, limits) my decision-making ability.
It isn’t that I’m not making decisions because I’m anxious. I’m just making anxiety-induced decisions. It’s a type of homeostasis: a comfort level. A security issue. This safety net conflicts me. On the one hand, I have set routines which, although not perfectly ideal, are, at least for the moment, tolerable practically. There are still bigger hopes and dreams, but the routines are tolerable. But, at the moment, I find myself asking what my purposes are. I don’t want to get caught in a routine where I don’t think about my life and what I’m doing. I don’t want to become an automaton: I want to actually think of what purpose my actions have, and what I wish for them to lead to. And the best way for me to do this is philosophically. A big part of this, I believe, are three things: independence, commitment, and acceptance.
I am becoming better at the “independence” part. I do not feel as gullible as I did when I was a child. I’m making progress. I’m writing my own independent thoughts. Trying out various things to gain internet attention. Listening to the advice that others give me, but still making decisions that I feel like are my own, whether I apply their advice or not. There’s a lot of creative independence in my life, but even this has started to become “automatic”. A large part of this has to do with how few people care about my work. I’ve already decided that I do my creative work for myself, and whatever I enjoy doing, but I still dream of making my creative endeavors a career. Laugh if you wish. Suggest all you want. But I can’t get this idea out of my head. I can’t get the thought of writing and making people laugh for money out of my head. I don’t want to know what my life would be like without these thoughts. I don’t care about making more money if it means I hate my job (there’s obviously a bare minimum amount of money which I must make to sustain my life, and if it fulfilled what I’m looking for in this piece, I obviously wouldn’t be writing this). It’s obviously “about the money” to a certain extent, as I’d like to get paid for what I like to do so that I don’t need to do anything else to sustain myself. But that figure may simply be as much as I’m currently making (which is on the low-end of five figures). So it isn’t about being rich (although who could reject that?): it’s more about the labor. Enjoying the labor. Feeling a sense of purpose with my life’s work. That’s what I’m after more than anything.
I’ve written about my lazy nature here. And it is difficult for me to feel independent when everyone gives their advice. Of course, I listen to most of it, even if I don’t take it. But it never feels like something I need to do. The problem is the uncertainty factor: the future is always uncertain, to varying degrees. Although some people are better at predicting certain things than certain others, there’s still no “perfect blueprint” that everyone must live by in order to be “best prepared for the future”. If that were the case, then we, as humans, would not feel free, but would rather feel like pawns in the “grand scheme”. We, as humans, have wills, and make decisions. This is what we do. This, indeed, is a large part of actually being human. When faced with an uncertain future, we combine our desires and our forecasting abilities to make decisions to maximize our level of happiness, and then we gauge the results as they come in. That’s all we do, every single day, for our entire lives.
Leaving “desires” aside, and not trying to say which desires are “more valuable” than others, how do we determine whose decisions are better than others? In other words, how do I know whether or not my decision-making process is better or worse than anyone else’s decision-making process? First off, I have my own desires, which I will use my decision-making ability to try to achieve. And sure, I’m sure there are people whose decision-making processes would be better suited for me to achieve my own desires than my own decision-making processes. But how do I know? How do they know, and how do I know? How do they know they are right, and how do I know they are right? How do they know I’m wrong? The only answer, in practice, is to test the hypotheses: do it my way, and do it their way.
This poses some problems, however. There’s time constraints, as using multiple complex methods to achieve complicated ends can take more than a lifetime to achieve. There are people who spend their entire lives mastering crafts and skills to achieve their goals. If they are already spending their entire lives doing this, why should they listen to anyone else, and do it their own way and the way of the one suggesting the new way? The time and effort that it would take to do this for even two different ways can take too much time and effort to do effectively. But what about the individual desires of the one acting? What if he doesn’t want to do it the other way? Why are his desires seemingly neglected in almost every single piece of advice given when it comes to making decisions, career choices, etc.?
Of course, there are many people with lots of life experience who know things that others don’t: people with skills in various industries, who have had enlightening experiences that have guided them positively throughout their entire lives, and who are simply wishing to share that positivity with others. But the point is that each decision ultimately comes down to the person making that decision, and he or she will have his or her own reasons for making that decision; indeed, each individual has their own desires, and this is the most important part. Each individual is born with desires, and these desires happen to be diverse. Therefore, there will be no “universal blueprint” to satiate the desires of everyone. So what is one to do? That is up to the individual: one must decide, for himself or herself, what he or she believes to be the best course of action for him or her.
…And that’s that. There will be regret, mistakes, triumphs, and jubilation to be had along the way, for all participants in “life”. That, I think, is the ultimate point. There will be “ups and downs”, and the point is to figure out “Why am I here? What am I doing? What is my purpose?”
That is the eternal question.
I see that I have failed in my initial goal to talk more about myself than “human nature”, so I’ll close with this: What is my purpose? Why do I feel like I am here? What do I want?
I can’t say that I know what my “purpose” is. I can give what my purpose is for particular actions, but not for my overall reason of existence. Obviously, the purpose of my actions, as stated above, is to attempt to maximize my happiness. What makes me happy? Dreaming of getting paid for what I love to do. What do I love to do? That’s a deeper question that I don’t think is completely answered yet. At the moment, I enjoy writing. Things like this. I like making myself laugh, and sharing those thoughts with others to try to make them laugh as well. How do I get paid for these things? And can I? I have no idea.
But it is my purpose to find out.
How do I know when to “quit”? How and when will I know whether or not I have “succeeded” or “failed”? Once again, I do not know. I will only know that when the time comes, and right now, my only purpose is to dream of having a career that makes me happy, do what makes me happy, and then work on making money at that by, somehow, getting people to care. It’s very tentative, as, as I’ve said, I don’t really care if people like it or not. There’s an obvious conflict: if I don’t care, then how do I expect to get paid? For one, I don’t think that me caring has anything to do with whether or not people find the work “good”: they will find it “good” or “bad” independent of how I feel about them (although perhaps if I said “I hate any fans I may have”, they may decide to hate my work from that point on). But I’m confident in my abilities to create work that people will like. What evidence do I have to justify this claim to you? My response is: I don’t care about justifying my response to you. My goal is to make it happen in order to prove to you that I can do it. I simply want to prove “everybody” wrong. More than anything, that is what I want. I want to do it simply because of the voices that tell me that I can’t, or that I won’t. They are as big of a motivating factor as any, if not more so. I want to prove everybody wrong. That is a major purpose of my work.
Obviously, I want to enjoy my work, and I want to get paid to do it. I enjoy work like this, which is simply a writing down of my thoughts, which are too complicated to organize in this piece (I can’t tell you “what my thoughts are”: you simply have to read things I have written). I enjoy making myself laugh. I suppose I’m simply looking for “like-minded individuals”. If I can’t find that, then I’ll settle for vitriol, as long as I’m known of (you can’t get paid if no one knows who you are. “You also can’t get paid if no one likes you.” See, vague phrases like that are dumb. It is very rarely that someone is universally hated. Even someone “universally hated” like Trump (Trump parody 1, Trump parody 2) is beloved by many. This is simply hateful, stupid language to use by miserable people who want to bring others down (I know this from intimate experience)). So, as I have said many times, and will say again, my purpose is to get paid for work that I enjoy doing. I enjoy writing jokes, making myself look like an idiot, and, from time to time, trying to sound intelligent (like I’m trying to sound in this article). I still have a desire to write fiction, but it is so much work that I don’t want to exhaust myself by bringing it up in this piece, so I’ll end my discussion of fiction here. I don’t know when or if I’m going to “call it quits”. I don’t know when or if I’m going to change careers. I do not know. All I know is that I want this, and I’m going to do it and see what happens.
*insert “Not everyone gets what they want”, “Sometimes, you have to compromise”, and other pieces of advice here. My secretary will be ignoring you shortly.
Commitment is very intimately related to independence. Indeed, if I commit, it will be me that does it. What am I talking about here? What am I wanting to commit to?
I’m wanting to commit to the work that makes me happy. I want to work on my projects at my own schedules, which I do. I’m typically lazy, but, as I stated above, my routines are becoming stale, and I need a change. I think this is going to involve becoming more committed to my work. My work exhausts me, and I hate that. No one cares about my work, and I hate that. But I still want to do it. It almost feels like all I want. I can’t describe the rate at which I want to work on my work: all I can say is that I don’t want the load to drive me crazy, but I also actually want to get things completed. I don’t know how to pinpoint it more than that. Most days, I don’t really want to work on it. It’s exhausting, and I think “Why would I do this right now? I won’t be getting paid for it. So why put that much effort into it?” And so, I don’t. And I consume the works of others instead. And I do this until my routines become too boring, and then, I start to write the things that are on my mind, like I’m doing here. Or, I bring that thing that made me laugh to life. And then…that’s it. Again and again, over and over. I haven’t figured out how to commit to this yet. It feels more like a hobby, when I feel like I want it to be my life. But I’m afraid of committing and later finding out that I don’t really want it anymore. That fear prevents me from committing to a lot of different decisions. I believe my raising has a lot to do with this, as my parents always told me to “do something different” than they did. I interpreted this to mean actually liking my job, even if that isn’t what they meant. And I’m going to keep this interpretation.
Although, in the previous “chapter”, I discussed how I want my own independence (and I’ve written about it here), I’m still terrified by it. The truth is, many of these routines are comforting to me, as I feel like I know what to expect, even if what I expect is less than desirable. There is something terrifying to me about committing more time and energy to writing, acting, and comedy. A large part of it is the unknown factor. And the regret factor. What if I become elderly, and regret and lament all of the years I spent doing this stuff? It’s a very complicated mess that I haven’t quite figured out, regardless of the gusto with which I wrote the first “chapter” “Independence”. I get bogged down with the amount of time and effort it takes to complete something, and then, I “take a break” (or “quit”). But then, once again, the routines bore me, and I come back.
Something that terrifies me is maybe I’m not as “committed” to all of this as I wish I was. Perhaps none of this work truly is a “life-or-death” matter. I think I wish it were; that way, I would feel more compelled to actually do it. But the truth is that the work exhausts me, and I don’t want to do it. But then I get bored, and want to do it. It frightens me that maybe I’m not truly a writer, because then, that begs the question: “What the fuck am I?!” And that triggers the immediate post-high school graduate existential crisis of “What am I going to do with my life?!”
As I’ve stated, my purpose is to make a career out of what I like to do. And I’m doing what I like to do. I like to write, make people laugh, etc., which I’ve stated ad nauseam. But how committed am I to all of this? Is this just some hobby? What is it? At the moment, it is a way for me to pass the time and not feel a crushing level of boredom. But will it ever be more than that? The lazy side of me wants to make it a career, but I don’t know if it ever will or not. But my perspective about that is that if I like doing it, then I might as well adopt the “I’m going to try to make this a career” attitude, because I’m going to do it whether or not it becomes a “career”. So, from my perspective, adopting the “I’m going to make this a career” attitude gives me nothing to lose (although, of course, people will say I could be learning a more marketable skill, etc. etc. I’ve addressed all of this above in the “Independence” “chapter”).
I’ve written an article on laziness called…”On Laziness”…, but there is another aspect of my laziness that I want to write about here. As smart economists know, being productive is not the same thing as working hard: you work harder digging with a spoon than a shovel or a bulldozer, but you aren’t as productive. And I realized that early on, working hard wasn’t really all that it was cracked up to be. This was particularly apparent to me in school, involving reading. Due in part to the fact that I was intelligent, and didn’t need to put in a lot of effort to get the answers “right”, I never really “worked hard” in school. At one point, I tried to make things harder because I was bored. But that felt stupid to me, so I stopped. But the work became so boring, and never fulfilled my “philosophical side”, that I stopped caring. I barely passed, and started to fail more. But it didn’t matter to me, because the subjects sucked. It still doesn’t matter to me. I only wish that I had been around subjects that I actually cared more about, but educational reform is a topic for another piece (and for other people). Once again, this goes back to the “desire” portion of this piece, its individualistic nature, and why or why not some desires are “more important” than others.
But why work hard on something that you don’t care about? For a long time, I didn’t really know what I cared about. I just went through the motions (as I feel like I still do most of the time). But I didn’t care, so I stopped working hard. When it was easy, I tried to make it hard. And when it actually got hard, I just stopped caring. I don’t have any regrets about this, as, as I’ve said, the subjects were boring and uninteresting to me (I know you are going to tell me how I should’ve paid attention to things I didn’t care about, but I’m going to ignore your advice by ignoring you right now, other than this small response sentence).
I don’t really know what I’ve cared about. I’ve cared deeply about philosophy. I care about economics. I care about money. And I care about being happy. I care about maximizing the time that I do things that I enjoy. Other than that (and, of course, friends, family, and a general wish for good for mankind), there isn’t much that I care about. I’m still figuring out what I like do to, and figuring out what sticks.
The final “chapter” of this piece is acceptance. My first thought is people saying that I need to “accept” that I’ll never become a professional writer, that I’ll never make it big on Youtube, etc. etc. But, once again, none of their alternatives make me happy, and why in the fuck would I purposefully make myself less happy than I am currently? Don’t we all live to be as happy as possible? Isn’t that what we want? Isn’t that why we work? Isn’t that why we want families? If it isn’t, then why in the fuck are we doing what we’re doing?!
I’m not so naive to suggest that absolute, complete happiness is possible. You’d be an idiot to suggest that that is my point. However, if we do not take actions to maximize our happiness, then why are we even fucking alive? What is it that we are actually doing if we aren’t trying to make ourselves happy? And what’s the point of what we are doing? Few people I’ve encountered have a satisfactory answer to those questions. Indeed, few people I’ve encountered even truly understand those questions.
So if I’m not talking about “picking a different career” acceptance, what type of acceptance am I talking about? Well, it isn’t “picking a different career” acceptance yet. The first acceptance is accepting that I am not “famous”. My work is not renowned around the world; my words are not “massively influential”. I stock groceries for a living. That is my life. (Yes, these words are coming from a grocery stocker. If that makes you more impressed, I’ll gladly reveal that to you. And even if they don’t, I may find your response entertaining, so I’ll let you know, anyway). My hobbies include watching Youtube videos, and…eating. I get too mentally exhausted to read as much as would probably be beneficial to me. Same with writing, making videos, etc. I watch content from other people that makes me laugh, post a few jokes every now and then, play some video games every once in a while, and act stupid for 10 seconds at a time in internet videos. And that has been the “routine” for a long time now. And it is becoming stale.
The solution to that, as I’ve said, is writing more like this, figuring out how to make my fiction better (on my own accord: I do not want to be “taught” from someone else), and working on making more (and funnier) funny videos. Of course, I have to accept the fact that if none of it ever goes “viral”, I will be putting a lot of time and effort into things which will never make me the money that I wish would. And I will have to decide if I will do something different, or stay the course. In my opinion, it is too early to tell. I believe very deeply that I can get people to pay attention to me. I believe that I can get people to find my words insightful, as I believe some people will find this. I believe that I can make some people laugh, through Twitter hashtags and Youtube videos. I believe these things deep down. And doing them makes me happy. So I have incentives for doing these things, even if I’m missing out on “truck driving money”, etc. I accept the fact that no one but me really cares about what I’m doing right now. I accept the fact that nothing I’m doing is making me any money. And I need to decide how much more time and effort I’m going to invest in these things that I enjoy doing. I don’t ultimately know the answer, but I want to keep doing these things if they make me happy; and the thought of seeing my creative visions come to life, and adding more and more completed visions as time passes, and thinking of the possibility that some people might actually like them, and that enough of those people will eventually give me enough money to live off of, is enough for me to keep doing it, regardless of how “realistic” any of these dreams actually are……