Tag Archives: Satisfaction

Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Happiness as a Virtue.

Insightful.

Why Express?

Why do we desire to express ourselves with other human beings? What is this desire to “express”? What are we looking for? Why is it so natural, and so human? Why are we social creatures? Why don’t we exist without the ability, nor even, without the desire to express? Why aren’t we isolated atoms, unconscious, incapable of introspection, and without a sense of belonging? Why does the painter paint? The writer write? The musician music? Why is this how we are?

Interestingly enough, not only do we desire to express, but we desire to consume. I think it is fair to say that, for most, the desire to consume is greater than the desire to create: or, rather, that there are more consumers than there are producers. It seems as if there are more listeners of music than players, readers of books than writers, watchers of movies than actors, etc. Clearly, given the fact that we have minds, we desire stimulation for our minds. For some, this comes in the form of sexual violence, or other unspeakable evils. For others, this comes in the form of books. Human interaction of some kind is always desired at some time or another, whether the interaction be constructive or destructive.

Despite how natural this fact is, it still puzzles me. Indeed, it seems as if those facts most “factual” puzzle me the most. Questions with an answer “It just is” puzzle me the most. I ponder those most often. Their simplicity causing the most confusion. “But why?

It would be fair to say that, obviously, considering the fact that each of us as humans is an independent entity, with individual desires, that we have different reasons for expressing ourselves. But yet, we share a common humanity, in that we desire human connection. Speaking for myself, I find most of this human connection unsatisfactory; and I would imagine the same is true for many. Sure, you see people as you drive down the road, but do you really want to converse with them all? Flag them down just for a chat? Clearly, we ignore a majority of people that we are aware of. Because we feel as if we do not need to engage in deeper levels of interaction to achieve what it is we are looking for from human communication. This exists on a spectrum, of course, as most, if not all human desires and actions do. Some are more willing to talk to strangers than others. But still, we all need some form of human interaction. And I just find that weird, even if, admittedly, it is a “given”. We’re all looking for something, and we are all going to experience the ebbs and flows of success and failure in achieving that “something”.

I suppose that expression, at least in my case, is not always about human interaction, nor communication, but rather a desperate attempt to speak. The desire to speak (mainly through writing) often overwhelms me. I don’t know why. I don’t care about the feedback. But yet, I still speak. What am I looking for from other people? Do I not write for others to read? Why do I want them to read? Why do I want them to read if I don’t want to read what they write in response? And is that actually true? Do I hate all responses to my writing? Do I enjoy any responses to my writing? And if so, what kind? Clearly, I enjoy feedback that says the reader “enjoyed” the work. I enjoy any positive feedback, as all creative people do. But that isn’t why I express. I don’t express to say “I can’t wait for that positive feedback.” No, I just have something to say. Something to “get off my chest.” Whether praised or critiqued, I have a desire to express myself.

We all have people whom we enjoy listening to. And we all have people whom we enjoy speaking to. But what of, say, people like writers? Musicians? We don’t write simply for our closest friends. We write to “the world”. To anyone willing to take the time to read, or listen. Why? My first thought is something cheesy, like “Making the world a better place.” Do I really believe that to be true in my case? For one, I don’t think my work is good enough for that currently to be the case. Do I desire for that to be the case in the future? Yes, I would say that I do. Of course, there is an economic aspect involved in expressing “for the world”, as “the world” has money. But I think it is fair to say that many, if not most “artists” express regardless of the money. There’s something about expression that we need. We were given thoughts, and we were given an ability to speak. It may very well be that it’s simply our nature to be expressive, regardless of how we are received.

There’s many different ways I could go with this. The quality of what is being expressed (if, say, what is being expressed is an attempt to convince others what ethics should be practiced). What is expressed at expression (“reaction” to an “initial” expression). The soul is desperate to speak out. I think this is simply a matter-of-fact, no matter how puzzling that fact is to me.

People risk their lives for expression. Many value expression more than their life itself. When one is deprived of human rights, the desire to speak out against that is overwhelming. The victims are letting the oppressors know that they are not going to take it anymore; that they are going to take a stand. Of course, their masters are expressing themselves as well: telling their slaves that their own slavery is good for them. Once again, expression is not necessarily ethical. There are various motivations for expression. But, nonetheless, the desire to express remains, whether one be introvert or extrovert; criminal, good Samaritan, or both.

In addition to, in my own case, being interested in my own reasons for being expressive, I am interested in how “expressions” are “received” in general. Everyone has types of music that they dislike, or artists, or songs. The musician has reasons for creating the music he or she does. And that music is either liked or disliked by any particular individual. It’s weird to me. Individualistic diversity will always puzzle me. I accept it as a reality, but it bothers me that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to truly understand it.

Why speak if few listen? Why speak if you ignore the listeners? Human interaction is a very weird, intricate thing. Musicians create songs that people love. And people buy albums, memorabilia, go to concerts, etc. Sometimes, millions of people are involved (more than that, if you consider the people who aren’t “fans” who are aware of the band’s existence, express that they don’t enjoy their music, etc.). And, typically, the musicians are very thankful to all of the people who financially support them. But, clearly, they can’t have a “one-on-one” conversation with each and every one of them. However, I guess, in some ways, they do have a “one-on-one” conversation with each of them. They sing the songs that the listeners enjoy, and the listeners voice their support of the music either by cheering or by purchasing their products. But yet, I think you get what I mean. It isn’t the same as sitting at McDonald’s with your best friend, talking about religion, financial situations, etc. The communication is a bit weird, but at the same time, is natural. Assuming that the song was not created simply to sell (meaning the musicians derive some independent, artistic pleasure from the creation itself), they sing. Whether they be rich or poor, they sing. They express. What are they looking for? Money is an obvious first answer. But there’s often more than that. There’s something else. A receiver? Who, and why? Why does the writer desire readers, and the musician listeners? If you take money out of the equation, why would we write? Why would we make music? We could make music that we enjoy, and try to share that joy with others. Perhaps that’s what it is, to a certain extent. “This makes me happy: does it make you happy too?” An attempt to spread “joy to the world.” Maybe it truly is an attempt to “make the world a better place.” Of course, there is a way to spread “joy to the world” that isn’t self-fulfilling. You can be unhappy while “making the world a better place.” Say, you’re a doctor, and you do good work. You can still hate your job despite the fact that your work is helpful, and “makes the world a better place.” But, I think often, expression is simply meant to make the expressor feel good; and who could say no to the others that happen to enjoy it as well? I think that’s as simple as it comes down to: basic joy. I’m not willing to ask the question why it creates joy, nor why joy is a desired result (especially as the latter question is absurd: one of those “it simply is answers, even though I typically do enjoy asking those questions. I’m done with it here, however). One of these days, I attempt to have a body of work that fully explains my philosophy regarding happiness and the purpose of life.

Time to get back to the next piece of writing, whatever it is, struggling to find the best words to convey my thoughts that I feel worth sharing.

A Philosopher’s Mind.

Highly Sensitive Mind.

Writing.

Personality Development.

The only purpose that I EVER wish to have with my work.

My Youtube channel.

Post-Holiday mindset.

Welp, the holidays are officially over.

Back to the daily existential crises of lethargy, dreams, dead-end shit jobs, failure, confusion, ideological opposition, advice, uncertainty, boredom, conformity, pessimism, fury, doubt, dissatisfaction, stupidity, deceit, entrapment, and all of the other beautiful fucking things on this planet that we are blessed with that are all somehow supposed to be fixed with “a wife and kids”.

What a life.

To illustrate one of my points: it’s a shame that if you say something like “I can’t wait to go to Heaven“, people worry. “Oh my God, he’s going to kill himself!” Just one of the things that I’m talking about that occur regularly that bothers the Hell out of me. I’m not saying they are completely unjustified. Context has a lot to do with it. You can see what I mean if you read suicide notes from certain people. But hearing this anxiety from so-called “Christians” after I say something like this makes me cringe, because clearly, they are more unsure of where they are going to go when they die than I am sure of where I’m going to go when I die. I know exactly where I’m going, and I can’t wait to get there. I will wait (sadly; In my opinion, although you can clearly be happy while living, compared to Heaven (or the Garden of Eden), this life can’t help but make one feel dissatisfied. I think that’s why I am dissatisfied: because I have at least some small idea of what I’m missing out on, and I actually believe I’m missing out on it, instead of simply providing “lip service” to Heaven like many other so-called “Christians”) (Personal Happiness as a Virtue)). But taking care of my health does not interest me at all. I do not want to live 80 years on this planet.

Everything involved in this “daily existential crisis” feels, ultimately, trivial to me. Sure, my life is all that I have in the moment (of which, these things are a part of). So why not make the best of it?

Firstly, I have a problem with cliches like that, and it will take me a very long time to fully “get into” why I have a problem with these cliches. I guess, to be brief, there is a moralistic attitude behind these cliches. These cliches are treated like The Ten Commandments, whereby your every breath and action should be spent towards conforming to these “life cliches”. I have tried to do this in the past, and all it does is set you up for failure. You will always fail to live by these cliches. Period. It is inhuman to attempt to make these cliches divine edicts in your life. Cliches are true through the natural process of human action: much like The Ten Comamndments are divine edicts that we can never perfectly obey, even if what is in The Ten Commandments and perfectly living by them would make us have better lives. I’ll have to further analyze my past history with these “cliches” (and larger implications regarding them) at a later date. “But Cody, you say to let the ‘natural process of human action’ take place. Isn’t that what these so-called ‘moralists’ are doing? Clearly, they are humans acting. So how can you support the ‘natural course of human action’ as opposed to what they are doing if what they are doing is also a ‘natural course of human action’?” I’ll have to elaborate on this much deeper in the future. But the main point is that what they do just doesn’t work. It conflicts with what I mention in the next paragraph.

Secondly, I have my own personal philosophies that I want to live by (largely influenced because of what I mentioned in the first part), because the philosophies of others, very rarely, make me happy. In the past, I never thought that my happiness mattered. But, thanks to a religious transformation, triggered mainly by my best friend, I think my happiness actually does matter. Not only does my happiness matter in a spiritual (after death) sense, where God sent His Son to die for my sins, forces me to believe that through love, and provides me with an eternal paradise for no other reason than His own grace and love. My happiness actually matters on this Earth. (Personal Happiness as a Virtue). That, sadly, is a very revolutionary, rare thought; and thus, my “back to the daily existential crisis” paragraph. But I think that’s why I’m so dissatisfied. I’m ready to go to Heaven. I’m not going to hurry it along, but in spirit, I’m ready to go, enjoy my paradise, and be freed from the human condition, which enslaves us to labor, heartbreak, anger, broken families, abuse, government tyranny, nuclear war, and just the difficulty in doing something so necessary as producing food. The human condition has weakened my spirit, and “a wife and kids” isn’t going to fix it. That’s only going to make it worse. I don’t want to listen to this “make the best of what you have”, “enjoy the little things”, and all of this other crap. I’m making a conscious decision to ignore this, for the “moralistic” reasons I mentioned above (it conflicts with my nature).

There is a mindset that equates “maturity” with “misery”, and I don’t believe that (much like the atheistic “misery” that is “scientific” and “inevitable” “in nature” that I no longer believe). I believe that God cares about my happiness. Indeed, we were put on this Earth in a paradise, so clearly there was some purpose to our happiness. I personally think we were created to be happy for that reason (and then we fucked it up and lost it as punishment). So, in my opinion, when we are truly happy, we are as close to God as we can be. And, to put it shortly, I, therefore, do not personally believe that, for example, murdering someone can make the murderer “truly” happy. (Can we be happy in sin? Sure. But I think it’s complicated, and I think there are miseries that come about as a result of our sins that we don’t often think of when we say “Can’t we be happy in our own sin?” It’s complicated, I grant you. I’ll have to elaborate in a future piece).

Of course, there is a certain healthy maturity in accepting what you cannot change; particularly, if what you cannot change is negative. But I think that most people’s attitudes about “maturity” is not this, although maybe I’m wrong, and will be proven so in the future (or, perhaps, I’m wrong and will never become aware of it and it will make my life more difficult. Once again, there’s so many “what-ifs” that are considered when making decisions, and I’m not going to elaborate all of them involved in my own personal decision-making processes to justify them to others. I’m simply going to live for myself, in my own way, deal with the consequences that come, and enjoy the rewards, as all of us humans do).

But it seems to me that many people equate “maturity” with giving up. I don’t think this is completely unfounded: indeed, I think it is often sage. You have to eat, you need a house, etc. And, of course, you need money to buy these things, and most people get this money by providing services to others (services that they typically hate to perform, but do because they need the money). I am perfectly aware of all of this. But I am not going to hurry the process along. My mindset is to avoid this. There is a bare minimum, of course. But the day I accept “my job” as my life, and no longer dream of turning what I naturally enjoy doing into a career, is, at least for the time being, the day that I spiritually die on this Earth (I realize that sounds drastic, but I want to do what makes me happy. This dream makes me happy, so I keep it. For the time being, I don’t see anything that could effectively replace this dream on my “happiness” scale). I will either work on writing fiction, insightful articles, dark pieces of art, making myself look like a jackass for comedy’s/satire’s sake, and financially succeed, or I will work on writing fiction, insightful articles, dark pieces of art, making myself look like a jackass for comedy’s/satire’s sake, and financially fail (such as I’m currently) doing. But clearly, either way, you see what will remain (and I might as well dream big if I’m going to do it anyway).

I’m aware that if money is an issue, I could attempt to learn a job that would give me more money. But, once again, I have to do what makes me happy, and even if it ends horribly for me in the future, I have to try. It is within me to try to make it all work. I would not be able to live with myself if I didn’t try all of this, even if it means I forego other financial opportunities, valuable experience in a skill, etc. (I’m going to write an article called “What’s the worst that could happen?” to address exactly that (I hope that I can remember to link it here)).

I want to embrace the difficulty. I want to embrace the obstacles. I want to take the valid (and unfounded) opposition head on. I want to use all of it as fuel, turn it around, and give the world a giant “I told you so.” Failure simply means that I never succeeded when I was alive. And that isn’t that bad to me (once again, I’ll write a “What’s the worst that could happen?” article later to satiate those of you eager to tell me the worst that could happen, and also as a way to fully accept it and understand it for myself). If I try to make money doing something I love to do, and never do, but instead end up working at McDonald’s in my 40s, have I failed? In some sense, yes. I didn’t succeed in making my “dream job” a reality. But I succeeded in never having to wonder “What if?”, and I think that’s one of my biggest motivators. I refuse to put myself in a position where I will ask myself, 20 years down the road, “What if I would’ve started writing in my mid-20s? What if I would’ve started to try to make people laugh regularly in my mid-20s?” Of course, you can turn it around: “But Cody, ‘What if’ you wonder, down the road, ‘what if’ you had chosen a different career path that many people told you was a better guarantee?” Once again, I’m going to make my own personal decisions because, right now, the only thing I see making me happy is enjoying my job, so I’m going to try to take what I enjoy and turn it into a job. I will have to deal with the consequences as they come.

It is about success, but it’s mainly about being satisfied in this life. As I said, there’s a lot of talk about equating “maturity” with accepting the fact that you have to work a job you hate in order to survive. Once again, I’m not saying this is invalid. But 1) I am not going to put myself in that position sooner than I have to (thankfully, I don’t have to at the moment), and 2), I do not anticipate ever adopting the “Welp, this is my job for the rest of my life” attitude, so I might as well work on my “dream jobs” NOW. Spending time and energy towards creating a career that I enjoy NOW. Even if I change my mind down the road, I need to work on this NOW, while I want to, and while it invigorates me. That’s what I want. I just want to be happy; and right now, working on this makes me happy. I think that’s, ultimately, what this comes down to (and I can’t help but think of the people that give me “advice“, and what they did at my age (drinking, partying, etc.), and feeling like I’m different than they are, so maybe my outcome will be different).

Despite the small number of “success stories” that float as an island on the ocean of failure, the exceptions speak out to me louder than “the rule”. “The rule” makes me want to drink. And I don’t want to drink. I want to work on becoming an exception, using all of the “daily existential crises of lethargy, dreams, dead-end shit jobs, failure, confusion, ideological opposition, advice, uncertainty, boredom, conformity, pessimism, fury, doubt, dissatisfaction, stupidity, deceit, entrapment, and all of the other beautiful fucking things on this planet that we are blessed with that are all somehow supposed to be fixed with ‘a wife and kids'” as fuel and motivation to succeed in my own way.

I’m not giving up. I’m either going to become an exception, doing it my own way, or I will fail my own way. But, I believe more than anything (well, aside from, maybe, the financial success that I dream of) I want to feel free. And I’m currently exercising my freedom to the best of my ability, and I feel very pleased thus far (at least in some ways. Obviously, I’d be happier if I was already successful).

At least for the time being, I anticipate that, without a job that fulfills me, regardless of the pay, I will be dissatisfied. Currently, I will not adapt to any other choice than making my passions work. Could I “learn to live” with the job, and adapt myself around it to be happier? Of course. But I do not ever want to give up on this dream, regardless of how shitty my job is. I want this dream to be the reason that I wake up in the morning. At least for the time being, I want this to be my life, because it makes me happy, and I anticipate that, even though it will be a roller coaster, it will, ultimately, make me happier than I would be without it.

A steady job (at least in another line of work), although necessary, is not the end goal for me. I want to be so committed to something that I love that I will go to my grave trying to make it happen. I think that is a purpose that will fulfill me. I don’t want to accept spiritual death, and I think that without a purpose, I will spiritually die. And, currently, the only purpose that makes me happy is trying to make a living through writing and people laughing at me. Subject to change in the future, but, currently, it makes me happier than anything else in my life. I love dreaming and working on it all. It’s been a great experience thus far, and I can’t wait to see how it all shakes out in the end (whenever “the end” is).

A Declaration of Independence.

Free Will Contradictions.

Christianity.

A Philosopher’s Mind.

Highly Sensitive Mind.

Inspiration

Are you a creative type? If so, under what mental circumstances do you create? Do you wait for inspiration? Or do you go out and seek it? Does the inspiration come quickly? Or are there long gaps in between? Do you have to work hard to get the idea? And if so, under what circumstances do you begin to work on it afterwards? Once you have what you believe to be a good idea, what makes you work on it? Inspiration? The prospect of the final product? How often do you work on it, and at what interval?

As I sit in my room, at 4:30 in the morning, awaiting another afternoon shift in retail, I can’t help but ponder my current position. I think of all of the work that I must do, and how uninspired I feel to do it. Although I should be sleeping, I can’t help but want to do something. But at the same time, I don’t really want to do it.

I don’t want to feel like I’m not working on anything. I always want to feel like I’m doing something productive: something that will make me money down the road. But I’m not willing to compromise and do something that doesn’t make me happy in order to make that money (besides, apparently, retail). The idea of “selling out” or doing something that doesn’t make me happy in order to make money does not appeal to me. I’m only willing to “sell out” at the bare minimum: sure, I’ll stock shelves for some money. But, personally, I’m not willing to do much more than that.

Friends and family think I’m crazy. And maybe I am. But if the political philosophies that I have been studying for the past few years actually mean anything to me, then I need to make my own decisions in my life and live it.

I always dread hearing what someone else has to say in response to something that I have said. Most of the time, I just really don’t want to hear it. My life may spiral downward because of forces that I’m currently unaware of. Perhaps, others will gloat, or at least say “I told you so” while lending out a helping hand. But I’m just not happy. I’m just not happy with the common words that I hear, so, I believe that the only solution to this problem is to create the words that make me happy. Hmm…that’s good. Please don’t steal it. I’m in that terrifying stage of young adulthood (honestly, you’re always a byproduct of your decisions) where my life could go in many directions, with the majority of them seeming to be shit. Well, it probably will be shit. That is my expectation: that my life is going to be dreadful. I don’t want to hear a goddamn word about rainbows and sunshine. It’s my life, it’s my perspective, and I want it to be dark, if only for the laughs that can come out of it.

Perhaps, I truly only am writing this because I’m tired of hearing the words of others. Honestly, I don’t want to hear anyone’s thoughts on this. But this doesn’t do me any good if it stays on my computer, never published on the internet. It only does me good if it causes someone to say “Hey, that was good. I need to read more of what he writes! And then, give him money!” Once this is completed, that’s the only way this will do me any good. While I’m writing, it’s all good. It’s all therapeutic. But once it’s written, it only has value to me if it is marketed or sold. Because I don’t need to reread what I have written to know what I already think.

I respect advice. I’ve respected it for a lot of my life. I didn’t always take advice, and often, I either found it poor or later on found it to be helpful. But I don’t want it anymore. I’m not happy with what anyone is saying to me. And, personally, I find this to be a problem. Right about now is when someone would say “You can’t always hear what you want to hear.” And I understand your point, but you’re missing mine. You can control a good deal of it if you want to by doing what I wish to do at this point: just tune it all out.

For some reason, I’m just a terrible independent decision-maker. I’m hoping that this is only due to my youth, as the majority of my life has been spent in it, and I’ve made some terrible decisions up to this point. I know that I will always make poor decisions, but I’m hoping that they just become more sporadically spaced as time goes along. I hope that I’m not a “social degenerate”, someone who has “thrown his life away”, who “should’ve learned something worthwhile when he had the chance”, who, instead, lived a grandiose life of dreams regarding-what was that comedy bullshit he wanted to do again? Oh yeah, who cares. Never heard of him. And yeah, he ain’t a King or Rowling, that’s for sure.

The point of this is that I don’t want to seek external validation for my decisions anymore. I spent more time trying to get my father to believe in me like I believed in myself than I can recall. And I understand that he knew a lot that I didn’t. But I don’t think my dreams are completely unfounded. I don’t think my self-confidence is delusional. I don’t think my desires are childish. But I need to figure out what the fuck I’m doing. I have a small sense of it, but I think something is running deeper in me than I’m currently comfortable admitting to myself.

Perhaps I’ll be working in retail on into my 40s, knowing no other career than cereal stocking. That’s a good possibility, from my current perspective. Perhaps if I had only taken the advice of x, I could be making five times more money in my thirties than I’ll make by not taking their advice. Perhaps I’m the only fucking person in this world who doesn’t understand my life direction. Maybe everyone else is right but me. But I can’t listen to them.

I may be delusional, but I’m not stupid. I may be overconfident, but it’s not completely unjustified. I’m a terrified individual. I’m terrified of a tire blowing out as I cruise along the interstate. I’m terrified of my teeth falling out due to drinking too much soda. I’m terrified of my window of opportunity closing as I age, wondering if I’ll regret ignoring the sagacity of my elders. I’m terrified of what type of person I will be in the future. I’m terrified of becoming the type of person I hate. I’m terrified of spiders. I’m terrified of not knowing how to function as an adult. And it wouldn’t be the fault of my parents, because Lord knows they tried to teach me. I just ignored them, for the most part. I listened to them (at least somewhat) when it came to being a good person, but not when it came to, for lack of a better term, “life skills”. Practical skills involving physical labor. My laziness today is the same laziness from when I was a kid. It’s just there. Perhaps it will chain me to a life of minimum wage jobs, but I think I’m good enough at something to escape that life. But what is it? I think writing is part of it, and I think comedy is part of it. It better be, because that’s all that I have.

I love my family to death. I love my father, my mother, my friends. But I don’t want to take anyone’s advice. I’ve done that enough. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t, but I don’t want to do that anymore. (I repeat myself so much from piece to piece. Oh well). I want to stay up past 7:30! I want to…no, I’m kidding. But I don’t want to take anyone’s advice right now. I don’t know when I will want to again. But I don’t right now. I appreciate it, but I don’t want to take it. I suppose this piece is a real bellyacher, but maybe it’s just self-therapy. If it is, then I don’t understand why in the fuck I’m publishing it.

I try not to write unless I have some stuff pretty well formed in my head already. At least when it comes to non-fiction. Fiction is a much more spontaneous process. And when I’m not doing something productive, I’m dreaming of future spoils. Isn’t that the life of the creative? You either create, and dream of spoils, or you create and have spoils. Very rarely is there any middle ground in that regard. I spend more time dreaming of fortune than working on what I wish would obtain said fortune. So I guess I have a pretty good ratio going.

The “problem” is that I believe I can do it. Deep down, I believe I can do it. I blame my parents for that one. I was always told that “I could do whatever I set my mind to.” And dammit, I believed them. For better or worse, I fucking believed them. And I have my mind set on becoming wealthy through writing and comedy. And that’s what I’m going to do. Nothing else will satisfy me: my mind is made up.

I’d love to tell you that I spend countless hours, days, and even weeks working on something. And I guess, in some sense, I do. It isn’t always writing. Sometimes it’s a comedy video for Youtube. But I would like to believe that I spend a large majority of my time observing. Observing people who do or have done what I wish to do, and trying to take something from them. Something valuable. Something that I can apply for myself. Seeing what I have in common with those that are doing or did what I dream of doing. I listen to their life stories, looking for similarities to my own. Looking for anything that makes me feel like I’m on the right track; that I’m on my way to doing what they do. And I would like to think that I’ve already learned a lot along the way while doing this, with a lot more to learn coming up in the future.

But one thing that stops me is my own financial failures. Time and energy are very valuable, precious things. And unless you love to do something for it’s own sake (or even for someone else that you love), you aren’t going to spend a lot of time and energy (or even money) doing something. A large part of my dream is dreaming of wealth. And the longer it doesn’t show up, the more my dream changes (or the more depressed I become). Right about now is where you’ll tell me not to care about money, and right about now is where I’ll tell you that I’m ignoring you. Also, right about now is where you’ll tell me why my work isn’t any good, and tell me that’s why I’m not making any money. I’ll refer to you to a previous sentence as to what my response will be.

But something that runs deeper than all of this is a personal conviction that I have that states “Do what you want to do.” This message, in all honesty, may have nefarious roots, but it has become an ingrained part of me for so long that I don’t think I can truly think any other way. I made up my mind at a young age that I was going to try to get paid for something that I wanted to do. I decided this, honestly, in part due to television news broadcasts which scolded CEOs for the amount of money they made. I decided that I wasn’t going to care about money (plus, I believed these same newscasts which stated, in effect, that making money was “ripping people off” (something I now know to be a lie)). Also, an even bigger part of this conviction came through the constant coverage of celebrities. I wanted to become a celebrity…

I wanted to become rich through becoming famous. This is still true today. I saw a bunch of people making a bunch of money by doing things that I thought I could do, and I wanted to do it. It took me several years to figure out exactly what I was going to do, and how I was going to do it, but that’s where I stand today. “I can do that.” That’s been my mentality. Everything that I wish to do for a career began with “I bet I’d like to do that” and “I can do that.”

Of course, I’ve learned along the way that it is harder than I expected. But another part of the reason that I decided to “do what I want to do” is because I had a feeling that only doing something for money when you don’t enjoy what you are doing will suck the soul out of you. Of course, this is what most people with a job do. But I’m only willing to do this to a bare minimum. There are people out there who get paid for doing what they love, and I know I can do that, too.

I don’t need anyone else to believe in me. This, I guess, all started that way, but I don’t need it anymore in order for it to continue (although it does feel good when someone does). I have enough confidence now to believe I can make careers out of everything that I want to make careers out of. The seed has been planted, for better or worse, and I can’t foresee it coming out of the ground anytime soon. Perhaps I’m objectively overconfident. But I’m going to make a choice to determine that I’m just-the-right-amount confident.

So I believe that I have the talent, and I have the desire. So one would think that I work nonstop. And in a sense, I do. But there’s so much work that remains unfinished that I felt the need to explain it for myself in this piece here. Why do I have so much unfinished work? Well, for one, many things “take a back seat” to other things. “That’s a good idea. Write that one down, so you don’t forget it. But I’m actually in the mood to work on this. Now I’m bored with this, I want to work on this. Now this is completed, but here’s a new idea. I don’t want to work on that one now, either, so I’m going to work on this new idea.” It kind of comes down to waiting to be in the right mindset to get something done. Perhaps it’s an extreme application of “Don’t do what you don’t want to do.” I’ve never liked the idea of forcing myself to write when I didn’t feel inspired. When I didn’t already have something to say that I wanted to say. I felt like the writing wouldn’t be as good, it wouldn’t be as fun, and I didn’t want to do it, because that would defeat a large purpose of why I wanted to do it in the first place: because I wanted to do it. And I still feel this way today.

So the way I work is that I work on smaller things while making a note of bigger things to do, and putting off many things while working on a wide variety of things. I have projects that are now years old that have nothing done on them more than “Hey, remember to do this. This is about this.” I think a part of that is waiting until I know what I’m going to do before I start to do it. I don’t want to start writing when I don’t know where something is going to go. Then, once I do, I let the creative process take me away until I at least get some semblance of that, even if unexpected things occur along the way. I sit around, waiting to feel “inspired” (something that financially successful writers probably hate, telling hopeful writers to “keep writing even if you don’t feel it, and finally something will stick”, or something like that. Something about putting in your dues…)

But instead of telling myself to write x amount everyday, and instead of telling myself to work on one specific project before starting on another, I let myself wander. I work on many projects at once, and few of them get done in a timely manner. And I’m kind of ok with that. A part of me wants to get more work done, but I don’t think my work would be as good if I treated it differently. I enjoy being overtaken by inspiration, and then not being able to control my desire and my execution of writing, and perhaps this is dickish of me, but something seems dishonest (at least to me) about forcing words to come. If you have to force words to come, you aren’t a writer. Well, at least, probably not a good one. Perhaps that’s unjustified, but it’s my feeling nonetheless. Writing is very spontaneous for me, with only an idea of what a piece is going to be about. The rest comes through inspiration (and, usually, immense boredom with everything else around me). But the question that I want to ask myself is this:

Why doesn’t inspiration come to me more often? I have enough ideas to keep me busy constantly. But I never feel inspired to do them. Once again, right about here is when an “established writer” will tell me that I need to put in the “elbow grease”, that everything isn’t going to be “squeaky clean”, and other cliches that I want to ignore. I don’t understand inspiration. I feel like I’d love to be able to write as much and as well as “greats”. And I’m sure that a lot of those writers are up to their necks in “elbow grease”. But I wish that I could do that spontaneously. I almost don’t want to work for it. Maybe that means that it never comes. But this is the process that I’m going to abide by until further notice. It kind of does suck, because of the amount of unfinished work. But I want my visions to overtake me; I don’t want to pick them out, because it doesn’t feel good to me. I believe that my best work comes when I’m inspired, and can’t control myself, and it just comes out. I don’t envy writers who sit staring at a blank screen, waiting for an idea to come. Fuck that shit. I’m only pulling out the screen when I can’t keep the words from flowing. And I hope that never changes.

But what causes the inspiration? Boredom. A lot of pondering. Desperation.

I can’t think of any other way to create good ideas…

I prefer organic ones as opposed to manufactured ones.

So I’m not going to be as productive as some.

But maybe I can compete with quality over quantity…

Well, at least I believe I can, anyway…

Now, we’ll let the market decide my fate…

…I’m no longer as optimistic.

A Declaration of Independence.

The Rantings of a Crazed, Lunatic Writer.

How I Can Become A Better Writer.

The nature of writing is that you have to do it: the exhausting nature of the work which I wish to accomplish.

Boston – Foreplay/Long Time.