I’ve spent a lot of time separating myself from the thoughts of others

I’ve spent a lot of time separating myself from the thoughts of others. There is a comfort in immersing yourself in other people’s words, and there is also a need to get cleansed and re-asses who you are apart from anyone else. I find the process to be only slightly helpful, though. It would seem that is soon as I tear down whatever city I’d built last, I am quickly building a new one. The new city is just as imperfect as the last one.

At this point in my life, you would think that I could accept who I am and get on with it. There are plenty of people I see out there who do just that. They are happy not to continually be asking what will happen to their consciousness when they die. They are happy not to wonder if they could be doing more with the gifts that they’ve been given. They like stuff like sports and television, and don’t feel the need to worry about anything more than what costume they will wear for Halloween.

I see those people, and you don’t know how many times I wish I could just say, screw it, I’m ready to cash out and accept that I can’t change much of anything other than what I consume or wear.

But, I also see people who are extremely successful. The ones who are born into money and networks don’t impress me as much. For sure, they could have simply lived the lives of wastrels and socialites and not contributed much of anything to their world. But, this doesn’t escape the fact that they are successful because they came from well-connected families. Some of them really pride themselves on how they made it on their own without their rich or famous pedigrees. You could argue, though, that they nevertheless had a comfort and security of falling back on independent wealth during the years that they struggled to make their marks. You could also argue that no matter how hard they tried to avoid using their famous family as a means to get places, this must have factored in at key moments when an Ivy League was making an acceptance decision or an employer was making an employment decision.
But, there are also people who are extremely successful who came from less affluence than my own. Not that mine was much, but I did have a father who went back to school and found middle-class, white collar employment that enabled him to save enough money to put me through college. I was always kind of uncomfortable around the other kids whose parents paid for everything, because my dad had little else to give other than the college education itself. And, I was always a little out of place around the kids who arrived on tiny scholarships and multiple student loans, because I had the luxury of knowing I could drop a class here and there without it being the end of the world. But, that’s neither here nor there.

The point is that there are people in the world who become successful with no family wealth or connections. There are some who never go to college, or drop out after very little college. I don’t look at the usual examples who dropped out of Harvard, since they seem to belong in the category of having at least some privilege. The ones who make it on next to nothing are scrappier and more persistent. These are traits that I never had to any great degree, and I seem to have them less and less as I get older.

There is something about getting old that makes you not really care as much about going out into the world again and hustling. After so many years of putting yourself out there and getting little in return, you start to hedge your bets more conservatively, and be content to live with less and less in the way of expectations. Which is not to say that I’m ready to fall into that group of people who content themselves endlessly with pop culture distractions, but I am more inclined to not rush into the next job or opportunity with a certain zeal that this one will be my big ticket to getting somewhere.

The one thing that I would still like to do with my life, above anything else, is radically change. I want to radically change my unhealthy patterns of behavior. I want to flip switches on in my mind that enable me to retain more information. I want to create a persona that is happier and more outgoing. I want more friends. I don’t have any desire at all to keep doing and being the same person that I’ve been, because he is someone who scares away almost everyone he meets.

However, I have yet to find an approach that really sticks, and isn’t just the verbal equivalent of taking a drug that eventually wears off. I don’t want to be happy and personable for the first three hours of the week, and watch myself go downhill after the first crisis of Monday morning hits me, and see myself maybe recovering once during the week before hitting Friday with the mind and will of a slug.

First and foremost, I think I need to retain the momentum of the will to move in the right direction. Even if I have yet to find the right tools to remain genuinely positive, I must keep in mind that I really do want to be a positive person. I do not want to throw my lot in with the negative Nancys and Debbie downers and cynical Cindies of the workplace. You know the people who constantly feel that they are oppressed by management and none of their unhappiness is caused by themselves. It’s always some other person in charge who didn’t listen to them or help them solve their problems. It’s a comfy group to get caught up in, especially when you are really hearing a lot of no’s from your managers.

It’s also easy to fall into this trap away from work. Because it is so much easier to proclaim that the universe is out to get you, or at least the people and circumstances in your immediate environment are out to get you, it becomes that much harder each time to extricate yourself from the tendency to simply throw your hands up in despair and curl up on the sofa with a book or TV show to help you escape. It is also extremely easy to pretend that the book is actually part of your overall program of self improvement, if you are reading something of intellectual heft. Then, you can argue that you are actually still hard at work improving your brain, even as you retreat from the very things about yourself that you should be facing head on.

… and you are a beautiful being.

In the new world, there is room for all colors, shapes and sizes. They celebrate the short, fat and non-white as much as they celebrate the tall, skinny and white. They celebrate the 60 year old as much as the 20 year old. They do not make a distinction. If you are a man who loves men, or a man who loves men and women, they love you just the same.

You are beautiful if you are covered in tattoos and you are beautiful if you refuse to get a single one.

In fact, the only way in which you are NOT beautiful is if you declare yourself to be ugly. Everyone else thinks you are beautiful.

In the new world, the only thing that is not permitted is non-consensual violence to another being. Children pass into adulthood via a single moment of transition. There is no teenage angst. The laws about hurting children remain intact, but children are treated completely as children until the day they transition into being adults. This prevents them from feeling as if they are already adults with some degree of independence and freedom, which often causes the frustration we used to see in the old world.

In the new world, we don’t care what religion you practice as long as you do not commit non-consensual violence toward another human being with your religion. You are free to openly practice whatever you like. All manner of monitoring technologies are in place so that we make sure you are not being brainwashed into joining a cult, and effectively declaring that the violence done to you was consensual when it actually was not.

In the new world, people openly practice their sexuality in the streets, and may imbibe whatever kinds of drugs they like. Children who may witness these acts are told that they are for adults only, and that they will not be adults until the moment of transition. If any adult tries to practice a sex act upon a child, the adult is put into a punishing cell.

Punishing cells are available for any and all who break the laws. You are quickly tried and convicted based on what the video recordings said you did. You are placed into suspended animation and force-fed traumatic dreams for the length of your sentence, which is based on the severity of your crime. At the end of your traumatic dreams, you are transitioned into an educational period of dreams, being shown all manner of audiovisual presentations on how to correctly live in our society.

Most who return from such punishments have a proper balance of fear for committing another crime and desire to be good citizens that they are able to spread the word of how unsavory punishment cells are to others. Those who might feel themselves to be inherently born with tendencies that would cause them to commit illegal acts may check themselves into the law enforcement offices to receive healthy doses of only the educational period of dreams.

Very few people commit any sort of unacceptable acts toward others, anymore.

In the new world, you will not find eugenics being practiced as it was in the old days. The notion that society would function best if everyone were tall, skinny and preferably white and blonde has been debunked. It was discovered that very few innovations that are beneficial to the future of mankind can be created from trying to limit the expression of the species. As it has been often noted, such geniuses as Beethoven, Einstein and Churchill would not have been allowed to exist in a eugenic-based society that permits only the most exquisite human specimens. Even the Greeks and Romans, who admired the human form at its finest in the great sculptures, were governed and educated by men who had many physical tics and ailments and had not achieved the most ideal physical forms.

In the new world, you can travel wherever you like and transition to any sort of body you like. This has also contributed to the debunking of the value eugenics might provide a society. The concept of land and body ownership has been eradicated. Children are raised by those who feel compelled to raise children, and when there are not enough adults in an area to raise children, then child-rearing robots will move in and take care of the kids.

Most adult humans are incapable of producing children. While we have not perfected the ability to grow children in labs, we have perfected birth control to such a degree that nobody has a kid unless they absolutely want to. Many humans still want to experience childbirth, including a large percentage of those who were born male. During periods where the birth rate has gone negative, female humans are recruited via propaganda, or required if they are prisoners, to incubate new humans.

Most human bodies live for about eight hundred years. Surprisingly, there are many people who want to experience what it is like to be in an eight-hundred year old body, and there are quite a few humans who are desirous of dying out with the body. Some of these humans haven’t been alive for very long. Of course, many more humans attempt to “trade up” with younger bodies as their own bodies age, and are willing to pay a premium to enter a younger human form.

However, all of the movements of a given entity are tracked carefully. As stated above, no non-consensual violence is permitted, so no older human is allowed to kidnap a younger one and enact a black market trade. When there are epochs of larger numbers of older human bodies, those entities who have been extant in this universe are required to enter the older human bodies and make their exit.

Because we have established a much better working relationship with the beings who operate the bardo passages, we are able to facilitate the transition of those entities who have passed out of this universe and get them back into this universe swiftly via newborn bodies, if they are strongly inclined to remain on this plane of existence. Due to this increasingly efficient process, we see fewer and fewer humans come into this plane who don’t really want to be here.

As stated above, you are free to travel into any part of the world, and visit any home you like. Nobody is allowed to deny you entry into their building. Anyone who denies entry is considered a thief. Because all resources are carefully monitored and recycled by automation, there is little actual labor required of human forms. Only humans who want to exult in physical labor will do so. Most humans participate in academic endeavors, as they have lived long enough to get all of their sexual urges and fantasies worked out of them.

But, there are parts of the world that are devoted strictly to baser pleasures. Think of Las Vegas of your time. You can go to these places without fearing any violence done to your person, and participate in as many drug and sex activities as you wish. There are very few entities who wish to stay in these places for more than a few hundred years of their existences.

As we have also perfected technologies to remotely view back in time, we are able to re-create virtually and physically almost any civilization and its architecture that ever was. Physical time travel is not possible yet. But, the more popular times and places of human existence are re-created physically and are quite popular. Many hundreds of versions of Paris, London, Tokyo, New York, etc. exist throughout the planet. If you don’t find one you like, you can virtually drop yourself into one, and the effect on your cosmic entity is almost the same.

Most people graduate from participating in drug and sex activities to traveling through many of these virtual worlds and seeing all of the great moments in history re-created exactly as they happened. After this kind of experience is exhausted, they move on to seeking out greater forms of knowledge, usually mathematical in form.

There is really no reason for you not to be happy in this time period. All of the old problems have been solved and ways of preventing them from appearing again have been put in place. Many interplanetary and interstellar robotic ships are now going out into the universe to mine more natural resources that may have been depleted. The Moon and Mars have had special mineral cores implanted in them so that they have atmospheres to make them livable places. All that is wonderful about Earth is now available on these spheres, and many choose to live on them because they are less crowded.

All told, there are about 10 billion souls that are considered potentially fit to be human. As the earth became an easier place to live, more of them came in from the bardo passage, asking to be reborn. This created a lot of problems in the form of depletion of natural resources. It was also clear that many of these souls were looking for simpler forms of gratification that could be achieved by simply being a domesticated animal. Because for over eight hundred years no animal has been put to death for food, sport or some other cruelty, it is very popular for many souls to become the pets of human beings. The comfort of the home and hearth with little exercise of the body or brain is often all these souls need.

In short, we are really trying to take care of you and make sure that you do not feel the least bit alarmed about your existence. You can still ask all of the weighty questions about God and the devil and angels and Time, because we don’t have a full grasp on them yet. We do know that there is a higher dimension of existence beyond this one, and we routinely interact with the entities who guard the bardo passages. Like we said, we have a good working relationship with them, even if we don’t fully understand who they are or what their ultimate purpose is.

You are almost completely free to do whatever you like here. You don’t need to worry about funds for your food, or be concerned about not finding an attractive sexual partner. If there is a certain type of human you wish to make love to, then he or she will be somewhere on this planet waiting for you and available almost instantly. We recommend that you do some exploring, and then begin considering who you are beyond your human form.

As we’ve already stressed, your human form can take on any shape or size you like, so you must begin to think about your identity differently. You are not who you are because of how you look on the outside, but because of the work that you’ve done thus far on the inside. That is to say, the imprint or etching that you’ve left upon your true entity, your soul.

Stripped of any adornments of clothing or body, you might discover that your soul is rather ugly. Again, you are ugly because you think you are. You should think a little bit harder about why you think you are so ugly. Is it because of some terrible think you did or said to another human being in a past life? Is it because you had a past life where you were repeatedly told you are ugly? Is it because you’ve yet to spend any time seeking out things that are beautiful and lovely to delight your soul, and nurturing your soul by seeking out other souls to connect with and help?

It’s entirely possible that you are simply not as advanced as you’d like to be. You’ve spent millenia being born again and again to learn some specific trade or skill set that becomes defunct by the next time period. You think you are participating in self improvement by learning a skill or trade, only to find in the next go around that you are no longer needed.

How can you change that?

A lot of writing, but no themes or meaning

I wrote a lot since I last published anything here. I jotted down notes on physical and virtual paper–my Samsung Note devices. I started and stopped a lot of things inside my Google Drive. I didn’t write anything earth-shattering, but I did start to move in what I think is one direction for myself.

I am not sure how I would describe it. It is a direction that comes out of necessity after you get to be almost 40, and you have yet to make your mark in life. At this point in time, the people who are making their marks, from the Kardashians to the President seem caught up in an absurd pretend world that doesn’t matter to you if you didn’t get sucked completely into it before the age of 30. The pretend world of hashtags and stock prices, fantasy football scores and fashion faux pas. But also, the world of nation states and world leaders, political parties and people screaming about progress start to seem to be part of the pretend world.

Only History itself will tell us who of all these was more than just an ephemeral wad of cotton candy on a summer’s day, and actually had the meat and the bones to be worth digging up many centuries from now. I suppose you have to at least make it to the stage of national awareness before you can be a contender for being remembered by History past the first generation following your death. I am not one to say whether Kim Kardashian or Kim Jong Il will be more recognized by my grandchildren.

The direction I started to describe two paragraphs above comes from this intense feeling that I am still worth more than simply being a DNA donor, more than being an office grunt trying to shovel away enough money so that his kid will at least be able to go to a state school and not a community college, and he will at least have the fighting chance to be another office schmuck like his dad and grandfathers before him so that he isn’t living one step ahead of his landlord and the utility company.

I am worth more than this because I say I am, not necessarily because I can prove that I am. If you administered an IQ test to me, you would find me to be of slightly above average intelligence, but no real genius. If you reviewed my resume, you would be impressed if your standards were that I haven’t had to ask anyone if they wanted fries with their burger since college. But, you wouldn’t see anything remarkable enough to make you want to hire me to work at your Mountain View or Madison Avenue office among other clean, perpetually happy people who get their pictures posted on the society blogs.

Because I am worth more than simply being an office grunt and a DNA donor to a future generation, and because I say that I am, I really only have to prove this to myself, don’t I? I don’t have to prove it to God or Man or Society or History or Time or some other weighty entity of great import beyond whatever entity they say matters on today’s date. However, I am still holding myself to very high standards, therefore, what I do to prove that I am worth more must be something incredibly “big,” if merely measured in terms of its quantity.

So, the thinking has always been, that if I want to keep my brain focused on things of a grand nature, and write about big, important things, then I should never allow my brain to become too focused on any one single thing. Indeed, when I am trying to focus on a single subject for an extended period of time with the hopes that I will make this “my thing” and go back to school and get a degree in it, I lose focus after only a month or so of study. However, if I am trying to write in such a way that my writing leaps from topic to topic and avoids getting too narrowly focused on one thing, I inevitably find myself sitting here thinking of nothing but one single theme.

The other unsavory thing that tends to happen when I start trying to think big all the time, is that I unconsciously start to enlarge my ego while I am trying to enlarge my scope of thoughts. The next thing I know, I am looking down on pretty much everyone because they are too small in my petty view of things. I am completely convinced that archaeologists will dig up my skull and proclaim that I am among the first of the species that evolved past Homo Sapiens, and these archaeologists will look to Homo Sapiens the way they looked to Neanderthals. Except, I can get even more out of control than that.

It’s not that I am seeking a Godlike status, but I am seeking a path to knowledge and being that is among the most exulted of all those taken by mankind through the ages. In other words, I want to understand or at least admire the best mankind has offered in terms of great painters, mathematicians, philosophers, musicians, leaders, etc., and throw away all that is unsavory about any of them. In this pursuit, you could argue that I am hardly even close to being alone. There are plenty of people who give TED talks and create amazing startups that are trying to make humanity an exulted uber-race of beings. You could argue that I in my haphazard approach to books and the Internet am not even fit to have a conversation with the brightest minds who live in my own small Texas town. Fair enough.

Except, I would then simply ask you to look more closely at other arenas of those individuals’ lives. Are they really pursuing the creme de la creme of everything? Is the guy who founds three exceptional companies and is the darling of the business media, but fails to keep his first marriage together due to his insistence on pursuing those businesses, participating in the same pursuit that I am? Maybe. I am not trying to cast stones, but am simply questioning whether some areas of a great person’s life may be merely storefronts or shells of potentially deeper and broader self development. As far as they are concerned, that is not for me to decide, but it is for me to make sure that for myself, I am not pursuing the enrichment of one area of my own mind, body or soul (which, for me, includes householder responsibilities) at the expense of another.

There are more books on myself than I can possibly hope to read in my lifetime, and probably just as many links to books on Amazon saved in my bookmarks. Yet, I find on almost a daily basis even more books that I think will contain the magic keys to unlocking the great secrets of life. Not a single one seems to be quite live up to that billing. There are, of course, many great books out there to help me obtain a different perspective on history, reality and my own identity. Even at 38, I occasionally read one that has somewhat of an impact upon me. But, for the most part, the journey of self improvement is an internal one. It has become so non-linear and ineffable that no amount of writing can clearly capture and reflect what I am accomplishing internally on a daily basis.

But, writing can at times help me restate what my goals are, and help me re-clarify my sense of what matters in a way that a constant internal dialogue with myself cannot. Yes, it is a dialogue and not a monologue, because I make the effort to play devil’s advocate with ideas that seem to have merit, not because I am especially crazy and talk to voices in my head.

 

 

It is easy to suggest that things are better or worse than they were in a different time period

It is easy to suggest that things are better or worse than they were in a different time period. The argument ends up devolving into anecdotal examples. For every older person with common wisdom who swears that folks were kindlier to each other back in the day, you will find a college educated young person who can cite an example of something equally bad happening when that said old person was a child.

This, of course, does little good to arrive at any definitive conclusion.

For the older person, she may very well have had a better life, based on her own impressions and personal experiences, than the lives she is watching her grandchildren lead. She has, of course, forgotten the painful diseases for which there are now cures and vaccinations, or perhaps she was lucky enough not to experience too many childhood illnesses that were common in her day. She may have experienced WWII and the Korean and Vietnam wars as a proud, patriotic spectator. Perhaps she lost her first husband in WWII, but thinks of the loss as a great, noble one. Maybe her second husband beat her a few times, but eggs, milk and butter were cheaper, and her children obeyed her without question while her grandkids seem to mouth off to their parents every chance they get.

The educated young person, who thinks he is much smarter and wiser than that old granny, can easily find examples on the Internet of new stories where children were sent to early graves by psychotic parents, and it isn’t hard to search out history for examples of people of other races being beaten and murdered by townspeople and complicit police with a press that reported such terrible things as if they were completely natural and commonplace. Today, the media by and large raises at least some faux outrage at the unfairness and inhumanity people of color experience. And, of course, what about all of the diseases that have been eradicated, and the simple fact that almost every household in America has a television set and automobile, and unemployment and other social safety nets prevent anything approaching the Great Depression from happening?

But, the educated young person, who is now demanding that the older person think on a larger scale and more statistically, is probably not seeking out statistical examples on a global scale. He may be blissfully unaware of just how increased industrialization and globalization is causing more widespread unrest, poverty, genocide, disease, etc. It is hard to say if anyone could confidently put forward a believable comparison between the overall quality of life people are having today vs. a hundred years ago on a global scale. Are more people in places like Africa and Southeast Asia happier because some diseases have been eradicated, apartheid has been removed, and billions of dollars in aid have flowed into these areas? Or were they by and large happier people back when they were able to farm or hunt without worrying about being displaced by territorial conflicts? Were more people dying back then and it just wasn’t recorded, or were more people at least able to happily live off the land with full bellies, even if they did lose some children to infectious diseases that are now easily treatable? Did more people in these areas have access to potable water a hundred years ago than they do today?

What possibilities are there in improving information retention

What possibilities are there in improving information retention and making meaningful connections between concepts that don’t involve traditional learning methods? These methods may even employ tactile/symbol/sound/image combinations that exist largely outside of language, or restructure language to behave in a completely different way?

Why bother studying this one?

It is clear that traditional ways of trying to memorize, retain and put together useful information are not working for me. I can read the news for hours at a time, and make a concerted effort to recall names, places, events, etc. and recall very little of it.

Possible ways to attack the problem:
build connections that may not be the most meaningful, but are, nevertheless connections that mimic connections in the brain
build a top-down hierarchy of rules regarding what is or isn’t important to me, and attempt to classify in a taxonomy different pieces of information so that I can clearly retain “how they fit”

The problem with the first approach is that it provides no bigger picture for how or why something is important, and the problem with the second approach is that it will inevitably discriminate what is retained and what isn’t.

***

What will happen to the better parts of Western Culture? This requires me to necessarily declare what is good and what isn’t, but this is for me and future civilizations that I think will appreciate what was good or what wasn’t in a similar fashion. For example, John Coltrane was good, Lil Wayne was not. The primary differentiator is the artist’s desire to work with their art for its own sake vs. using art as a means to obtain a certain kind of lifestyle. Was it wrong of our society to be set up in such a way at that time and place so that John Coltrane could never become as rich as Lil Wayne? Would John Coltrane have made less interesting music if he could see a clear path to becoming a multi-millionaire by producing uninspired garbage intended for short-term consumption and gratification?

These are secondary questions, and the more pertinent question is the first one asked. It is my opinion that there were plenty of highly commercialized (mostly white) jazz musicians capitalizing on a certain sound that they knew their audiences were comfortable with, and the very fact that they did have access to a money and power structure that Coltrane didn’t is what made their music forgettable while his is not.

However, what I would like to explore is more tied to the Western world as it began with Constantine, with the premise that Christianity as an underpinning gave our culture the stability it needed to evolve into the highly materialistic, humanist one of today. Plenty of empires came and went where the role of religion was minimized or non-existent. Christians conquering the New World were as barbarous in their slaughter as Genghis Kahn, but they brought something that enabled their conquests to have a longer shelf life.

Once the U.S. and Western Europe have become eclipsed by China and other burgeoning superpowers in the East and Latin America, will our greatest achievements live beyond mere technology and catchphrases that the new conquerors have already adapted? Or, will no other superpowers arise, and the fate of the global population is already too closely tied to ours–and, we will see a complete collapse in civilizations after major wars and plagues, with it taking another thousand years or so for us to rise again out of the dark ages?

Or, while applying a strictly fundamentalist approach to the future, will much of our culture simply be swept aside by a God who is not especially impressed with it? Perhaps God doesn’t see a need to preserve classical texts and Rennaissance art, and finds most Western literature and art to be nothing more than glorified pornography. What does that say about me if I am still in love with manmade things that do not please God?

***

How do I get to know myself after having spent a lifetime believing too many myths (most but not all of them self-created) about myself?

I must persist no matter what, but I must persist honestly.

I can’t keep believing that I will one day live in an overpriced condo near Central Park if I am incapable of convincing any employer that I am able to move just one step up in the Sales and Marketing food chain.

I can’t keep thinking that I will one day soon reawaken my creative imagination and come up with a great startup idea, or that the part of my brain that was somewhat good at math and physics is just going to “snap out of it” one morning.

I can’t keep pretending that I am going to wake up one morning after reading a lot of news in Spanish (and understanding 30% of it) that I will wake up one morning and be fluent.

I have to be persistent and focused at the things that I know how to do, like write and think and read and occasionally make art. I have to be aggressive about trying to retain more of the information and concepts I consume online, but I also have to be less inclined to let myself go on autopilot and simply surf the news.

I still admire the idea that I have a wealth of subconscious ability and knowledge that is going unused, but I also have to work with reality.

Since I do not have the intellectual or social skills that I thought I would have by this age, I must begin to work more diligently and focused on studying deeply how other people have faced the same problems that I face.

Mythmaking itself is not to be completely derided, because everyone does it to get by–but it should be studied carefully and understood as such when it is happening.

I must study how to always be vigilant around lapsing into my states of whiny self entitlement, and constantly be of a mind that I am really the one in charge of certain aspects of myself.

It’s like I’ve spent a lifetime blaming outside forces for things that I should have taken personal responsibility for, and pretending that I am in control of certain things that I am not.

Each morning, I should get up and ask: what about me could I change today?

***

What are some things that humans would be capable of doing in a perfect world, but they have resigned themselves to believing they can’t them because science (or the status quo) says they can’t?

Psychic things — faith healing, mindreading, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, remote viewing, astral travel, interstellar travel, time travel, teleportation, alchemy (in a general sense, being able to produce one element from another easily and cheaply)

World Peace (or conversely and perversely, each human has his or her own world in which they are completely in command of all other humans)

Most of these would seem to require a Faustian bargain of some kind.

But what about more superficial things, like regrowing hair and keeping it from growing gray? Or, extending one’s prime of life period out by a few hundred years — not necessarily with any expectation of true immortality…

Or, what about the things that humans keep thinking are right around the corner for science to discover and develop, but they never happen — cheap abundant energy, a cure for cancer, a way to grow humans outside the womb, interstellar space travel, a way to create completely new ecosystems from chemicals in a lab that rise up to have the same complexity as the one here on earth?

***

Along the above lines, dive into all of the complex systems in the human organism and the ecosystems here on earth. Attempt to map out an understanding by which all manner of great complexity and human intelligence could have simply evolved by way of godless, cosmic accidents. Take the atheist’s logic to its natural extremes. How do people re-organize when the rule of law breaks down and no more moral underpinnings from religion exist? How much will be accomplished in the way of human achievements if people are constantly fighting for survival? Or, alternatively, what will it look like if humans develop a “fail safe” method for governing themselves in which computers correct their mistakes and everyone is born with a chip pre-grown into them? Will the concept of free will be able to survive–and if not, what would that mean for the so-called humans in this kind of world?

***

What is the importance of the written word? Does it still hold a potential to have the same kind of power that people once thought it did? Back when few were literate and the written word seemed like magick, this belief was often accompanied by an idea that words written a certain way or repeated a certain way had the power to transform the soul or even the material world.

I for one have slowly given up on this notion, just because I’ve tried for so long to use written words exclusively to transform me.

It could be, though, that I am simply not structuring my thoughts correctly.

***

Nostalgia. I long at times very painfully for pasts both real and imagined. Sometimes the feeling is almost unbearable, especially when the seasons change into spring or fall. Does this feeling have any value? Should it be completely eradicated and suppressed with a hyper-realistic sense of the here and now, or should it be cultivated to the point where I can completely convince myself that I have escaped to another world?

***
Friendship. A constant review of past friendships reveals that most of these relationships would never have gotten to the point of being friendships if I had been fully aware of things that I believe or don’t, and if I’d been as critical then of people as I am now. Also, I think I am more in touch with my “true self,” which is somebody who would have scared off most of these past friends.

So, what makes some people so successful at establishing friendships with other people who they know are not necessarily aligned with them very closely in deep ways?

Is friendship in an honest pure sense even attainable? Are people always going to believe that the other person, namely myself, is seeking ulterior motives for the friendship? Am I too demanding and exacting about who my friends should be? Am I too impatient with those who would otherwise become my friends? Do I keep too much of myself hidden from others?

***
Fatherhood. Was I ready for it? Is this going to be half as great as everyone says it is? If the relationship ends up like the one I have with my dad, then what am I left with? Do I have the energy left to go another twenty years working these random office jobs so that my son will have enough money to keep up with other middle class kids? Will the world remain reasonably stable so that ISIS or Zombies aren’t outside our door in the 2020s?

More importantly, what does fatherhood mean in terms of allowing me to provide another human being with an oral instruction manual and does it give me any karma points for the afterlife?

***

Meditations on identity. Will I ever completely identify with one group of people on this earth? Everyone I meet now, and everyone I learn about through various media, seems to be not quite “my people.” If I were sent back as a female, would I thrive more? Or, have I learned enough important lessons as a male that I need to keep going in this direction, and my next life will be crisper and more focused? Can I ever completely identify with Christianity?

***

Mentors — where are they and where were they? I’ve never had a real mentor–someone who thought I was worth the time to take aside and teach a thing or two. Of course, my father taught me a lot of things, and my aunt and uncle beat some social graces into my head that I was lacking–but, a mentor in the classic sense of there being an older person at the office who really was wiser and smarter and more successful than me, and saw my potential and wanted to help me achieve something great — that kind of mentor has never come along. Perhaps I am overly optimistic about the opportunities that other people receive. It could be that most people do not ever get any sort of mentors, and that the ratio of successful people who had mentors to those that didn’t isn’t significant enough to make them seem truly worthwhile.

However, I can attest to the fact that when I am reading a writer who is full of real and not hackneyed wisdom, I can feel myself growing as a human being. Thomas Merton was one such writer who provided this to me until I read his diary where he had the affair with the nurse. I wish I could find another writer like that. Even Tony Robbins kind of seemed like that for awhile, but he is a little too over the top with the focus on being successful on the material plane. Most of the New Agey folks like Eckhart Tolle seem too much like they are trying too hard to write for a certain kind of audience that is primed to be in a state of constant expectation of insights that are just around the corner, and they tend to rehash a lot of ideas that have appeared elsewhere.

I would like to find someone who feels more like a down-to-earth friend without coming across as a complete countrified bumpkin.

***

The value of information as an openly traded, free-market economy within one’s own head. Not the market of ideas in the outside world, but the market of information that you trade in yourself each day. Which things did you learn matter the most? What happens if you assign a value to them, and look at things you learned and retained vs. things learned and forgotten as a kind of economic tradeoff scenario?

***

A society that embraces art, literature and music made up until 1960. Not the schmaltzy pop stuff, but fine art and music by classical composers. Culture that was deemed highbrow by great institutions of learning. But, this is not an elitest society, per se, but an attempt to reclaim some of the finer things of Western culture, as well as promote the finer things crafted by other cultures. It is not exclusive by economic class, race, sex, etc., but simply extolls the virtues of great craftsmanship. There is clearly a difference between opera and pop rock music, at least for those that can hear it. It is NOT just a matter of what I like vs. what you like but the INTENT of the people making the music and the TIME and EFFORT put into their work.

***

A decade-by-decade analysis of the last 100 years, from 1910 – 2010. What was the “meaning” of each decade? What did we gain or lose in our collective memory with each passing decade? What did each generation give to or take from us?

The 1940s was the most important decade. WWII and the technological advances that it accelerated are responsible for almost every facet of our lives. The intertwining of shifting cultural norms and rapidly changing technology go hand in hand. People who consume mass market media are now in some ways better informed about the world around them, but they are also rendered stupid by so much black box technology and vast government/corporate machinery that seems to be completely out of their control.

***

The continuum of history, family, foundations. The destruction of institutions leads to primitive things plus chaos. Each generation tries to reinvent anew things of art and literature by destroying or rejecting all that came before them. Or, they try to assimilate everything indiscriminately.

What the 1960s destroyed and built anew — was it more valuable for the future of humanity than what was completely lost in the process?

A descent into tribalism removes certain aspects of civilization and our heritage that we enjoy and take for granted, but a strict adherence to institutions of the past yields dogmatic thinking at best and cargo cult mentalities at worst.

Many times over, I myself have rejected everything I know in an attempt to start anew. Sometimes I yield promising, fresh results and other times I bring forth chaos. The older I get, the less inclined I am to reject everything completely. Or, I only do it temporarily, and the rebuilt house contains many of the same motifs that were there before.

The older I get, the more I dislike the way recent generations have chosen to revise history and make past legends and heroes out to be monsters. They are respectful of other cultures spatially, but temporally they cannot see their own past culture as something relatively different. For example, someone of the 1950s is rejected for being too racist or sexist, but someone living in a tribal culture that marries off young girls is simply following cultural norms relative to their own cultural millieu.

My generation and the generation that followed it have been born into a time and place of relative abundance. We are among the 1% wealthiest when you consider all of human history worldwide. Even some of our lower middle class can probably fall into this category. We seek incremental changes because we know enough about what happens when you rock the boat too much–you lose your head.

We don’t even know what we would demand of big government or big corporations if we could hold them hostage and have them meet our every demand. More for us and less for those who are really wealthy? Less for us and more for the 3 billion or so people who live in starvation? Less for us and more for the environment? More for us and even less for the developing world who are ecologically doing to their countries what we have done?

There are, of course, win-win situations that don’t leave some people with less at the expense of others. It is also possible that if everyone got more, we would eventually all be left with nothing.

Perhaps I am too old now to even care about socially-sweeping changes. Changes that happen to large numbers of people due to the violent or benign activities of a few. Perhaps I am only interested in carrying out a complete revolution in my own heart and head, to the point where I am certain I will die a completely improved person from the soul that arrived inside my little baby body some decades ago.

But, I do find that I am not happy unless I am part of some kind of group activity, where I am helping a group of more than a few humans accomplish something. My happiest moments are when I am certain that I am definitely helping others change for the better, and usually I am happier when I am working with a larger group of people instead of the 1-1 tutoring/mentoring experience.

You are living in a box.

You are living in a box. The box is the size of all walls, ceilings and floors you’ve always hit when you tried to get out.

You’ve always wanted out, but you have often denied this and told everyone that you were happy being inside your box.

At any rate, you didn’t want a compromising sort of freedom. If you couldn’t live wherever you wanted and travel to wherever you wanted at a moment’s notice, then you clearly were compromising in your freedom.

But wait.

Even the wealthiest jetsetter has compromised. They can’t cheat death, aging, and the all-encompassing force of Time. The man who has declared that he is in complete command of his destiny had to work off of a hand that was dealt to him by somebody else.

As a matter of fact, complete freedom is only in your mind, and you have chosen to bring the walls of this world into your otherwise completely free mind, instead of trying to find a way to introduce more of your free mind to this world.

There were years where you gladly took the box of this world and imposed it upon your mind, and then let your misshapen mental box impose itself back upon the world. In a vicious cycle, this repeated, until you were excited about breaking out of a comfort zone that saw you in an urban park ten miles from your neighborhood.

If you couldn’t have your freedom, then you were going to retreat into the safety of a tiny, well-trod routine. All people became strangers, even people you once called friends. Any sign of a person displaying a differing opinion to yours was a sign that this person needed to be cut from your life, and never allowed to enter your conscious domain again.

The opposite of behaving this way, as hinted in an above paragraph, is to be constantly finding ways to keep your mind as free as possible in spite of how much the world wants you to remain inside a box. And then, the second part is to always be looking for ways to introduce your especially free mind upon the world, no matter how much it wants to resist the concept of freedom.

This could be poorly interpreted, or at least made as fuel for those who would argue for anarchy and the Thelemic law. At some point, you will find yourself participating in abominations and acts of pure inhumane degradation, if you are only doing it mentally. Even some of the most hardcore freedom-loving souls will balk at suggestions of acting out certain kinds of filth and depravity. Everyone has their ideas about where freedom’s limits should lie.

You know better than to go down that road, because you’ve already dabbled in such devilment.

You know that those who will do what they will and have no other moral compass will do things that will see them in hell for all of eternity.

You know that the kind of freedom you are seeking is the one in which you learn to push pass artificial barriers imposed by yourself out of fear, and imposed by others who have sought to control you and lead you to believe that they are smarter, stronger–all-around better than you.

This is the freedom to stop saying things like “well, I guess I will never do that–that ship has sailed,” and “I am too old, too young, too fat, too dumb to ever do that.”

But while it is utterly simple to grasp, it is not so easy to implement.

Your entire collection of mental processes and structures came together following a program which dictated that you find ways to accept less freedom, not more freedom.

The only way to survive is to specialize, and once you specialize, you forget everything else there was to know about being.

Once you take on the role of being a human in a timespace environment like this one, you have begun the specialization program.

Once you gain some possession of self control, you want to keep gaining more and more control over your environment. You will either become a ruthless dictator, or you will become a lonely hermit who refuses to associate with anybody for fear of being unable to have complete control over the environment and its inhabitants.

The more control you gain over your environment, either as a hermetic sort or a megalomaniac sort, the less freedom you know.

The key to getting more freedom is first and foremost one of seeing you let go. You have to let go of everything that you hold onto as yours and yours alone, and that includes all of the comfortable thought patterns that help you survive and remain under the illusion that you have a lot of control over things.

You are in a similar situation to an animal in a trap where he must drop the shiny pretty thing to get out of the trap, but he doesn’t want to drop it.

Your shiny pretty thing happens to be this idea that some day you will invent something special that nobody else thought of, and you will become very rich and powerful. You have, of course, reduced this idea many times over to be a pale compromise where you are simply valuable to an organization that is doing something vaguely important.

The reluctance to let go of it comes from so many encounters with people of your culture who insist that you cannot be a real somebody until you prove yourself to the world that you are capable of doing something extraordinary, preferably something that makes you especially wealthy.

Your culture will be eradicated from this earth one day, and that day is not so very far away.

Think about that.

Your culture will one day be no more relEt to the people who are members of the dominant culture than the classical world is to you. You know a few things about the ancient Greeks and Romans and their culture, but you have gotten by mostly without directly applying anything you learned about them. Sometimes their writings come into vogue as nifty little instruction manuals for how to excel in business or politics, but those are all fads, and anybody who knows anything about being successful in this culture knows that we can do just fine without the Greeks and Romans.

The same will take place in ten to two hundred years, when the West finally collapses under its own rotten foundation, and China then Africa rise up to introduce their own ways of being and thinking to the world. The West will still be around piecemeal, but nobody will take it seriously at all.

This means that any sort of trendy startup that you create, or name you make for yourself in media or fashion will evaporate almost as soon as it appears, even if you get to be as big as the wealthiest titans of the tech industry.

So why not let that shiny bauble drop so that you can free yourself from that tiny little trap that is only bound to leave you disillusioned with life itself?

You begin to try to understand

You begin to try to understand more deeply what is going on inside your head.

We are not talking about the bad and the unwanted stuff that’s been there for awhile.

We are talking about the way your brain works, and why it refuses to remember much of anything you tried to learn. On day one after completing the exam in college, you could recall 99% of what you studied. Today, you can recall next to none of it.

You tried to revive math two summers ago, and you succeeded up until the day you stopped studying it. And now, it is all an impenetrable morass of an alien communication system, much too complicated for the likes of your brain.