What happens when you don’t care about someone, but would like to care, and you show them you don’t care by not reaching out to them, except in rare occurrences, in which case they respond, but only to find that they equally don’t care? What if you want someone to care but they really don’t care, and you want to show them you care without caring too much, but every effort to show them you care even a little bit in order to retain their interest comes off as caring too entirely?
Do you know what a rat race is? It’s when a bunch of animals compete in a game in which they all lose.
It’s like a horse race, or a dog race. These animals are incentivized either by pain, through a little whip on the rear, or a little reward like a rabbit. They run around a circle as hard and as fast as possible. They compete with eachother like it’s a matter of life and death. They’ve been trained to do this, afterall. Some of these animals even die from exhaustion at the end of the race.
And what do they get at the end of it all? Do these little animals ever get what they’re racing for? Does it ever occur to them that the race is rigged? That the incentives are bullshit? That the only people making any kind of reward off their painstaking efforts are merely spectators betting on their performance?
This is precisely how business and economic markets operate. There are millions of people competing with eachother, wading through the cesspool of meaningless work and routine trivia, while wealthy people spectate, speculate, and place bets on their pathetic performance. They call these bets “investments” and buy and sell at the slightest whim, never minding the consequences.
The businessmen running the companies are the trainers. They’re not the ones making the real money; that is, until they’ve accumulated enough capital to make bets themselves on their animals and other animals, their company and other companies.
A rat race is inherently a losing competition, for all competing participants. The rats are placed within an arena, a track, a maze, and they compete with one another for the cheese, for the gold, for the green.
The walls have been erected for them, the incentive has been placed before them. They’ve been conditioned their entire lives to respond to cheese, like a drug, so when given the opportunity, these rats go wild with competition. They do everything they can to outrun and outsmart the other rats. Only a few get the cheesy rewards.
Almost none of these rats question the rules of the game, the situation of glass cages and cardboard mazes that they compete in daily. None of these rats think at all. They accept their circumstance and call it “duty” or “honor” or being a “good citizen”.
But one rat has developed quite a distaste for cheese. He’s won plenty of cheese in his life and it’s always left him feeling dissatisfied the next day. He observes all the competing rats, and even when they win and eat the cheese, they’re no better off than any other rat. They’re just fatter. They still live in glass cages.
This one rat, this one exception, has an aversion to his other rat friends. He’d rather play by himself than compete and run in circles all day with all the other rats.
One day, while all the other rats are scurrying around the maze, looking for the cheese that’s been placed or hidden somewhere else for the day, this lone rat looks upwards. He notices fluorescent lights. Although he’s never seen anything other than these artificial lights, today their appearance strikes him as odd. Something inside of him doesn’t sit right, but he can’t be sure what exactly. He notices that the walls of this maze are wearing at the edges. He peeks his nose through and is greeted with an all consuming, over powering aroma of otherworldly scents.
His curiosity grows hungry and his mouth becomes moist and drips with saliva. The cardboard grows soggy and loosens with every drip of hunger. He wedges his head through the opening and his eyes are greeted with dry air. And more scents. And sights.
So strange. What is this place?
He spots giant figures bent over the maze. They don’t notice him, but their large appearance and rapacious grins startle the small deviant rat. What are they looking at?, he wondered. He pushed until his body wiggled the cardboard free and he popped onto a white enamel counter, into the open air for the first time in his life. He kept his eye on the giants looming above him. What are they staring at? Why are they so preoccupied, so transfixed? The little rat crawled stealthily behind the maze and then on top of a large stack of green bills.
Then he saw the horror: these giants, with their snarling grins and veiny noses, were staring at his fellow rat friends. But his rat friends did not notice that they appeared to be in the maze, that they were sealed in a glass box. They were too consumed with competing. It never once crossed their little rat minds that they were not free. His poor little rat friends hadn’t the slightest little clue.
Sadness overtook the little rat. He thought of his rat friends toying along day after day. He thought of all the stories of rats winning and making it big and achieving the “big cheese” and how it had been all a game. But his sadness was temporary. Soon he grew resentful that none of his rat friends possessed the same curiosity to follow him, that they were too busy running the rat race. He felt less and less bad, and soon he decided that he would stage his own rat race and own his own rats.
If they’re so willing to be slaves, then let me be their master. Better a rat running rats than pigs, no?
But that’s not the end of the story. Just the beginning.
“Not to be born is, beyond all estimation, best; but when a man has seen the light of day, this is next best by far, that with utmost speed he should go back from where he came. For when he has seen youth go by, with its easy merry-making, 1230what hard affliction is foreign to him, what suffering does he not know? Envy, factions, strife, battles, 1235and murders. Last of all falls to his lot old age, blamed, weak, unsociable, friendless, wherein dwells every misery among miseries.” —Sophocles, Oedipus
Who am I? What should I be? What is this life? What’s happened to me? Is this a dream? and will I wake?
Is this my only life?
Dr. Patch Adams is wise beyond his years. And he has many.
Today I woke. My room was saturated in sunshine. The air was crisp.
I made myself some eggs and potatoes— with all the vegetable additions, naturally. And black coffee.
I’m going to the farmers market in a bit. I read some NYTimes articles. One on “The Science of Illusion”, the other on the atrocities within the US prison system wrecked by privatization.
I need to pick up some Kale, tomatoes, avocadoes, broccoli, spices, and maybe a few other things, like fruit. I need more fruit. I’ve been great with vegetables and meat, but fruit has been absent from my diet.
Read, read, read, read. Read today. Smash your brain into some unfamiliar words, into some sinewy stories and precocious plots.
I am not one of you.
I thumb my keys as I walk to my car.
Her blonde hair falls across her forehead, down her shoulders.
I am not one of you. I am isolated. I am reserved: self-sustaining.
There is always more than meets your eye. Life is a dance, after all, a charade, an act; and I am the lone protagonist.
Don’t expect to be disappointed. Remember that it’s all a play.
We have nothing in common. No memories. The past exists only in the present. Recreate it for yourself. You’ll see it’s as bad or as good as you’d like to remember it. Or not at all, which is I how prefer to exist: adaptable, with expectations suspended.
I walk through the streets. The scent of oil hangs in the air. A motorcycle is parked. Clubman handlebars. The helmet hangs from the seat. Shiny and new.
Suddenly I hear a buzzing melody, a song, and I catch the stream with my senses; a string duet, a cello and violin, is serenading the streets with its mellifluous movements. The passion pulses through these string artists: their mannerisms, strict and controlled, heartfelt and exact. The violinist’s face is blissful, flickering with the occasional exertion of effort: escaping, but only momentarily visible.
I stand across the street, away from the crowd that had formed. I lean against a bent tree, arms crossed, and listen. My gaze turns to trance, and soon worlds unfold. Scents emerge. Laughter erupts from the background. The bars are busy. The chimes from the ice cream shop ring with every visitor that passes through its flapping doors.
I sit in the theater, alone. At least for a good 20 minutes. No phone. No noise. Alone.
I observe this cavernous cultural artifact. It’s long, hollow corridor, its high walls. Above me giant, circular, metallic vents are spaced evenly among the checkered ceiling tiles that extend along the length of the theater. Only a few lights are on. I can hear the film operator changing reels, adjusting audio, turning nobs.
The movie is moving.
Beautiful woman, Brit is.
There is nothing in common with you and I. That is my reaction to a world, an all consuming world. A world that consumes not only things, but people, personalities, character, whole boat-loads of individualism.
I hate to break it to everyone, but there is no such thing as individualism if you’re doing what everyone else is doing. Ah. I suppose that means: having your own visions of the world. Let’s not be too free with our secrets. Let us keep some dreams to ourselves, lest someone treads on them. We need to cherish ourselves, our imaginative fantasies like they’re the last flame of the human spirit, the last and final torches that have been past down throughout the ages. We need to keep these lit, else the human race becomes a caliginous ink stain on time, a blob, a gelatinous, amorphous blob, like our brains. Then our hearts.
Let me rule my life.
You are disgusting: copy.
You smile, but you do not know me. I know those who know themselves. Who are you? Do you have thoughts? Opinions? Authentically generated and created impressions of the world? Do tell. I don’t even mind if they can’t be articulated with words. I want feeling. Tell me how you feel, by feeling. And let me bask in the honesty, such a refreshing bath. Take me where you are, how you are, with feeling.
Don’t stop; keep it up.
Memories. Noises. Lights pass, of varying intensity and hue; cars roll. I can see through them, through the windshield, and right out the back. And I can make out the occasional face among the sea of silhouettes.
Oh, how I love the happy eyes. They catch mine. I probe. They smile. I greet them with emotion. They melt. And we merge.
“He who is born with a silver spoon in his mouth is generally considered a fortunate person, but his good fortune is small compared to that of the happy mortal who enters this world with a passion for flowers in his soul.” —Celia Thaxter
I need to breath. Slow down. Calm. Don’t get a head of myself. The tension can be too much to bear sometimes. I think about my future. The jobs. Long lists of jobs. The various websites.
I think of my job. I think of my coworkers. Do I want to be in their company? I don’t think so. Maybe I over estimate my worth? The very question makes my skin crawl.
I walk into the room. He flexes. We have nothing in common, you and I. Nothing in common at all. I sip my coffee. His jaw is chiseled. He is tense. I resent him. Animal.
I need to slow. I give up. Nothing makes sense. Nothing. I have arrived at a dead end. I have arrived. I am working now. I work and I sit there like a fool. Toying away. I smile. I retort. I follow commands, like a dog, like a child. Happy and smiling, asking for more. Too stupid to reconize that this is no game.
What. I want to live somewhere where I can feel alive. Is this a city? Is this the country? Do I want to escape? What am I sick of? Myself? I need positive thoughts. I need the more positive thoughts. Only they will help me.
I need to reconfigure my speeech too. I’m starting to grow tired of my language. The words I use need to be revamped. I am alone. I love being alone. I want someone to love. I want a family. Maybe.
I am a fool.
There is nothing worthwhile for me to say now. It’s all been said. I have nothing interesting to say. I am tired. Let myself feel alive.
No poetry from these lips.
I want to say “fuck youuu!” and take a bow. Take a deep bow, in front of the stage. I collect dust. My thoughts melt. Brittle edges.
I despise. Pity. Don’t plea.
I drive. I scramble.
Everyone at work takes their job so seriously. “This is the worst day ever!” They’ll say. I am puzzled. Is life really that pathetically boring where you have to create a bad day for yourself?
These people must live pathetic lives. Pathetic and uneventful. “This is the worst day ever!” They refer to the days they need to click a few extra boxes and print things out. What difference does it make? I just stare at them and smile gently in agreement. “Sure” I indicate, “it sounds real bad. I feel for you.” But inside I am blank. I have no idea what it’s like to consider a day “bad”.
I cannot remember the last time I had a bad day. I can’t even remember the last time I had a problem. Like, a normal problem. Most of my problems are inside me. They stay with me through the days. The rest is just life. Shit happens. Stuff blurs all around me. People are phased. I take note. Usually I don’t. Whenever I react, it’s usually out of custom. I’ve found that people find me odd when I remain passive and indifferent in the face of conflict. It’s almost unnatural, like I don’t care. And the reality is, I don’t. The trivialities of life are lost on me. So I act like I care. Just like I act like I can relate to my coworker who is telling me how bad her day is. You were on vacation for five days. Yes, you have work to do. You’re not against any deadlines. You can finish it. It’s not that big of a problem. It’s just data. You sit in an air-conditioned office. You listen to Spotify. You have multiple monitors. You answer text messages. You can manage the work. You can manage some extra work. I promise.
I need to stop complaining. And stop judging. And stop criticizing. It’s not really that good. I just have this mentality that everything is bullshit. My student debt looms over head, its ominous tentacles restrain my efforts to build.
Words are stale. My mind is stale. I want to kill myself. Or do something that jolts my senses alive. I need to move. I hate my living situation. I’m tired of being somebody I don’t want to be. Who the hell is that. I don’t have shit figured out. I’m no closer than where I started, just a lot more confused. I have these bullshit degrees, and not a fucking clue what the fuck I just did with my life in the meantime.
What the hell is a job? A job. 8 to 530 every day. What the fuck did I sign up for?
Emerson, where are you? Teach me again. Where is love? Poetry, my mind, come.
I am dead.
I tell you what you want to hear. And you eat it up. You’re a glutton. Too indulgent to take a breath and examine what it is your consuming. You hang on my lips, dangle on my tongue. I know nothing. Stop listening. Go your own way.
Too much. Too much noise. Soft. Whispers.
I vomit. Words spew. Sundered pieces of thought, fragmented feeling, dribble on.
I wake up at six a.m.
My eyes snap open. My chest beats. My eyes strain to the sound of my alarm. Snooze. They relax. I begin thinking about my day and my heart quickens with excitement. Carpe diem. And my mind begins to cull the appendages and the haze burns away. Thoughts race and I rise up from my bed. Coffee is made. I grab the book next to my nightstand and step onto the porch. The morning hue greets me. I feel the suns warmth increase as it creeps over the horizon. The highway is hushed. The occasional car passes, their engines whiz as they whoosh away. I grab my coffee. Sip lightly. Its bitter aroma saturates every corner of my stale mouth, wakes it from sleep, heightens my senses, the burn, the bitter, the crisp curves emanating from its steamy surface. I inhale the aroma and it relieves me.
The pages peel open and I loose myself for the next hour. I set the book down and pick up my journal. My thoughts are nimble now, awake and shaking with excitement. I pen my thoughts. I explore the events of the day prior. Minor reflection. I dream about the day to come. I project outward a day, a week, a month, a year, five years. I stare at her face, the visage of my wife, that future love of mine. My heart grips. Motivation is restored. Passions pours from my pores, courses through my veins, churns within me. The day is mine.
I am one of the first to arrive. Only the head of operations has me beat. What times does she arrive? Should I arrive before her? I glance at my watch: 7:45am.
The rest of the day I work like a machine, tracking expenses, entering data, sending emails, responding to emails, sending invoices, bills. Lunch time. We gather and I opt out of going out for lunch in favor of eating my bagged lunch: saving money.
Work ends: 5:45pm. I drive home. The traffic is light.
I arrive home and head for my room. I do not speak to my roommates except for a “hello!” or “good afternoon!”. I undress, discarding the tight layers of business clothing. My skin breaths.
I fall into my bed. My eyes close.
An alarm sounds for 6:30pm: Gym time. I dress, prepare a shake, pop my ear buds in, and begin my jog to the gym. I grab light weight and lift it with ease. Slowly my muscles begin to warm and my mind tightens as I focus my will. The weight increases. I lift heavier, and heavier. Sweat beads on my forehead. I wipe it and examine it as I would examine my efforts: more.
I leave the gym short of breath. My insides are weak. Walking and breathing is difficult. It’s been a good workout.
I pull chicken from the fridge and season it with a medley of spices. I switch the Foreman grill on and throw the meat on the grill. I chop vegetables. I fry them. Season them. Balsamic. Olive oil. Meat is finished. I eat. Alone.
My roommates are watching cartoons. Or playing guitar and singing, howling, moaning. Straining. I can’t tell the difference. I try hiding in my room, in my book. I write in my journal. Tension is released. I dream and release my moods onto the blank pages. Mellifluous imagery bleeds from the backsides of my eyelids. My fingers dance, recording their pleasure through my pen. I pick up a book. I read. My eyes grow heavy: 10:00pm.
Real value never exists at the surface. You must always, always, always dig. If you don’t have to work for it, it’s not worth anything.
I don’t want to be cool. I don’t care about showing off nice things. I want my wealth to be vast and hidden. I don’t want to be smart or clever, I want to be wise and cunning.
I met with my mentor today. He took me out to lunch. He’s only four or five years older than me, but he has a family and is financially free. No debt. He sets his work hours. He doesn’t owe a dime to anyone. Whether or not he’s professionally where I want to be is debatable, but he’s the ruler of his life and that’s the advice and wisdom I aim to glean from him. He’s always a great, genuine, caring, kind, and passionate human being. I need to surround myself with those people.
I want to work towards something, for someone. Not just myself. Whenever I think about “love” a passion wells up within me and I’m overtaken with an all consuming “will power”, with a concentrated focus to accomplish anything and everything. Nothing can stand in my way when I recall the desirous love I have within me. What is this love? Where does it come from? It’s seated in a place where memories merge with many people, but it focuses on a very specific person, or at least a very specific type of person: the type of person who commands me to be better than myself. Those people are all but the rarest.
I don’t want glitter and shimmer. I want weight. I want artistic craft. I want something worthwhile, something enduring, that lasts. It won’t be material.
The wisest people continually evaluate their influences. They maintain an acute self-awareness. It’s second nature, a natural habit.
Are my relationships healthy? Are those around me going where I want to go? Do they possess the values I admire in others? If not, get new friends. I have no oath to a friend other than to be the best I can be. If a friend ceases being the best to himself, he’s failed himself, and he’s failing me. He doesn’t have to be the best to me; only to himself. I need those people around me: people who are true to themselves. I get one life. I need to choose my friends wisely. Some people don’t even choose me. I choose them. For some reason I make up my mind that a certain person is going to be my friend forever. And I do whatever it takes so that they’re the best caliber person they can possibly be. And I do my best to be the best person I can be. In this way we lift each other towards our dreams.
“To forget one’s purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.” —Nietzsche
How true. How many people even have a purpose? How many people float on? Listless and idle. If you can’t see where you are going, you’ll never get there. And I’m not talking literally, I’m talking figuratively. You need to have an idea of where the finish line lies if you’re ever going to navigate across it. You need to know the name, or at least the location of the destination if you’re set on accomplishing anything in this life.
My purpose? To exert my influence onto the world by empowering others to empower themselves. I do not want anyone to think as I do. I want them to feel as I do, and think whatever they want. How do I feel? I am in love: with the world, with people, with myself, with possibility and potential. My time is limited and, as a result, so are my thoughts. This moment will not last forever. But feelings? Ah! They endure, in the hearts and minds of others. Ideas: feelings bursting with thought. Live with character and thoughts will blossom upon circumstance, upon command.
Are my friends good for me? Not really. I mean, they don’t want what I want. My dreams are too wild. Yes, too wild. How can I say that? Because no one has gone where I want to go. There is no existing map, no role model, no vanes pointing in the right direction. It is uncharted territory. And I’m willing to make the sacrifices I need to, the changes I need to, in order to accomplish these dreams. Because I know that my dreams will never happen any other way.
“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.”
Most of my friends drift, like most people. They ride on habit. They cruise on custom, on convention. They never take real risk. They would prefer to stay comfortable, to reaffirm what they already believe. They would hate to be wrong. They would hate to fail. So they do things that justify themselves to themselves, and the change they experience is so subtle, so gentle. It’s almost no change at all.
I buck this lifestyle. There is no growth without change. If you want radical growth, you need radical change. Patience is good too, but never underestimate the power of change: changing friends, changing environments, changing interests, changing mindsets, changing lifestyles, habits, intensities, addictions, you name it. It will provide a renewed perspective, one that can open you up to unforeseen opportunity. Change breeds empathy because all change, all good and healthy change, brings a level of adversity that requires you to be greater than you’ve been before.
Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships.
Who wouldn’t agree with such sententious speak? It’s cliche. No one understands what it really means: figuring out which friendships are right is where the real wisdom lies. Most people read this quote and think “Ah yes! My friends are great! I choose such great friends!” and they never consider how mediocre their friends are, how mediocre they allow their friends to be. But this all depends on where you want to go. And that all depends on the quality of your dreams, or whether you dream at all, whether your aspirations ever take flight. Most people imitate, they mimic, and their lives reek of desperation, of mediocrity. Such poor dreams. Where is the defiance? Where is the boldness to pursue a higher calling?
Mirror neurons: these little bastards keep us behaving in ways incongruent to our deepest convictions. We simply reflect what other people are doing, and we feel so comfortable, like we fit in. We never realize how much injustice we’re doing to our dreams by socializing with people who aren’t going where we want to go.
I woke up this morning well before anyone else in our apartment.
I went to the gay pride festival today in Nashville. I felt like it was a good experience, to experience the fringe. I support everyone, I suppose.
A discursive rant to a distant part of humanity:
We have nothing in common.
Your pride is most malignant. It is puerile and reckless, and I can’t be around it. You are a weak imitation, a sad mimicry. Who are you? Do tell me! No? Fine, then I shall tell you: You are other people. You chase after approval, you feign confidence to hide your insecurities. Who are you? What are your passions, what are your dreams? I want nothing of them. I have no interest in hearing mine, nor do I have an interest in hearing the dreams of the herd, both of which you have shamefully adopted. There is no authenticity, no originality. And I can’t blame you, for you stand with the majority.
You never understood me because you never understood yourself. You are a facade. A weak facade. I am not fooled. I have never been fooled. How can I be so sure? Because you are a poor judge of yourself, and self- deception is the most deceitful form of deception, for it is the only form of deception that covers its own tracks.
A strong man is open with his weakness, knowing that by being closed he risks deceiving himself of his limitations. Pride comes before the fall. You see, a man who thinks of himself too great will have no rivals. And that is the greatest deception of all.
You don’t get it do you? I have nothing in common with you. And what commonality you believe to perceive is a product of your own delusion, evidence that my position is all the more accurate.
Throughout the duration of our relationship, I debased my own dreams in an effort to elevate yours, to implant within you a desire to sow originality into your life. Time and time again I have grown distressed, tired of hearing myself. My desire is not to ingratiate you with my conversation, not to sell you on my ideas. It is to instill a desire to be original, a yearning to be something more than yourself. But I have failed myself and in turn failed you.
I don’t know you. Away from me: I never knew you.
Pride is cancer: all consuming auto destruction; deceptive and illusive.
My own pride has led me to believe that by catering to your insecurities I have done you a favor. In the end, I have only sabotaged myself.
Voluntary vulnerability is a sign of strength. Your lack of vulnerability reeks of weakness. That is why I no longer associate with you.
If I have to tip toe around people, I know that they are lying to themselves, that their sensitivities to other’s opinions keep them from the truth they seek to hide from themselves.
I know myself to be a fool.
I tell people things and wait for them to be challenged. If my words are not challenged, then those with whom I converse are not thinking, or simply absorbing my opinion.
I feed you what you want to hear in order to test your susceptibility to influence. I have found that you are the most susceptible. I don’t need more of me in my life. If I am to become what I was born to be, then I should first discard what I have always been. This requires shedding roles I have tried on in the past.
You do not know me, because you do not know yourself. You wait for others to tell you your dreams, you nurse the values of others in order to sustain yourself. As a result, you are kept a mere toddler attached at the breast of the herd.
You are everything I seek to turn away from in this world. You are everything I pity, and despise, and more. Our friendship was a contrivance out of mere convenience. You are a child, and I treated you as such. In the same way we act when a child happens upon some new found fact in his mundane world, we dramatize the enthusiasm we share with the child, we play to the child’s affections out of sympathy, knowing that this child has much to learn, that he is hopelessly lost without our approval. I prod and prattle children in this way. And you are a child.
A man wrapped up in himself makes for a very small bundle, and small you are.
One day you just wake up and you look around, and realize that you have nothing in common with the people surrounding you. You look at both sides of the coin for the first time. You see yourself maintaining these relationships, and you grow sick, nauseous. You realize that you have been suckered into the same sick mediocrity you proclaim to avoid in others.
A great men must never close the gap between himself and the group. If he does, he is no longer what he must be.
I aim to avoid judging a man’s actions until I know his motives. You have made your motives clear, and only then did I pass judgement.
We have nothing in common. What we do have in common, I want to make uncommon. What is it that we have in common? Pride. And I seek to rid that nefarious delusion of perfectitude from my soul every waking day. Pride is the greatest of evils.
Why don’t I want to be friends? You represent everything I hate in myself. That is your reward for emulating me.
You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about himself. I have told you much about myself.
Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be. ~Thomas à Kempis
The wise man doubts often, and changes his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubts not; he knows all things but his own ignorance.’ — Akhenaton
“Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position” —Mahatma Gandhi
“A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.” —Oscar Wilde
The following is my life plan. I’ve decided to share my aspirations and my plan to achieve them . I’ve kept this plan since 2007. Due to recent changes and life developments, this particular plan is currently in the process of being revised/ reworked.
I strive to be as genuine as possible. To do right in the midst of adversity. To be a gentlemen and a leader. To expect success and embrace responsibility. To keep an eternal perspective on the good things unseen, and be wary of being caught up in the tangible, short lived things of this world. To have an eye for beauty and goodness; a heart for people.
My “Why”: Marry a woman, a companion, with similar values and affections; raise a family.
Long-term life goals:
- Financial freedom and security
- Residual investments
- Own a company
- Write (on the human condition)
Day to day goals
- Early to bed, early to rise: First one to work, last one to leave
- Wake and write in the morning: 5am
- Read at night: 8pm
- Bed by nine
- Hustle while I wait: Work with deliberation, focus, and joy
- Embrace additional responsibilities whenever the opportunity presents itself
- Do not over commit; know your limits
- Set new goals daily: Plan and schedule every day, week, and month beforehand
- Look and meditate on your goals: keep the prize before you.
- Prepare the night before
- Daily Health and Wellness
- Work out 5x a week after work at 6:30pm; eat healthy, balanced meals regularly
- Budget finances every month: allocate every penny before it is spent.
- Live on minimum expenses
- No unnecessary expenditures
- Save 10%: Property and emergency fund
- Invest 10%: Match 401k; Match IRA
- Debt 10%: Pay off student loans
- Pleasure 10%: for fun activities; travel/ trips
- Remaining expenses and bills
- Review and visualize goals every morning and evening
- Touch base with my mentor
- Every Sunday evening: evaluate goals and progress; plan and prepare, modify approach
- Meet with my mentor, e.g. meal, drinks, etc.
- Network: e-mail a list of important contacts
- Create new monthly budget.
- Reevaluate Goals/ Life Plan.
- Receive the BEST performance reviews each and every round
- Receive the BEST performance reviews each and every round
- Join local professional business organizations
- Join a speaking organizations, e.g. Toast Masters
- Travel out of the country at least once per year
- Visit family at least once a year
- Incorporate personal L.L.C.
Two and one-half years
- Take night classes for: Math, Physics, IT, Computer Science, Management, Accounting, etc.
- Work in the health care and investment industry
- Work as a consultant, or office manager
- Make over $120,000 p/y (or savings?) by 30 y/o
- Via: Salary, or investments
- Own at least one property: make money on property
- Pay off college debt: $50,000
- Work as an executive
- Earn a graduate degree, e.g. MBA or MAC, etc.
- Own a successful, profitable company
- Make over $250,000 a year by 35 y/o
- Make $500,000 a year by 35 y/o
- Have 2-4 Children
Long-term career goals:
- Real estate?
- Health care?
- Learn every position and skill
- Billing/ Acct. Receivables
- Time and expense, invoice, etc.
- Ask to shadow consultants in the field
- Take PTO to do so if necessary
- Learn/ master office and industry software:
- Spring Ahead/ peoplefluent/ etc
- QuickBooks, etc.,
- Business Analytics/ Intelligence
- IT Workshops/ courses/ classes
Day to Day Goals
- Respond to e-mails; Answer questions
- Time and Expense
- Billing & Invoice
- Additional projects: 30min-2 hour
- Op. Manual for new analysts
- Model Workflow Processes: identify inefficiencies and submit suggestions with potential solutions
- Nashville/ Franklin
- San Francisco
- Los Angeles
- Workout a minimum of 30 minutes three days a week
- Eat Healthy
- Start/ Found and own a business
- Start a website
- Generate revenues?
- Be financially free by 35
- Finish Memoir
- Finish Novella
- Seek out certifications and courses that will increase my knowledge, authority and value.
Study for GRE and GMAT
Apply to graduate school:
- Physics/ Math/ IT/ etc.
For a long time I’ve had qualms with our modern education system. My biggest complaint is the impersonal, dry, rigid, and seemingly irrelevant approach to memorizing and reguritating information. I often argue, as many people do, that formal education isn’t practical, that if fails to instill true comprehension and understanding, to fully engage a students mind and passions. I had an epiphany today that shed light on what this means exactly.
When I take tests, it’s typically in a hollow classroom on stiff chairs and cold desks. My ability to recall information with proficiency depends on massive inundation with a text, repetition of words and concepts, until I’ve drilled them far enough in my skull so that when I see a question with a certain combination of words, my mind retrieves the appropriate associated content. But this is not learning, per say; it’s regurgitation. My body and mind exist in a single state, an “academic” or school state, where all the information goes in and comes out the same way.
On the other hand, I often find myself in a certain context, a specific situation or circumstance, and I’m able to recall and converse and argue and expand on information and knowledge that many would be hard pressed to guess was residing within me. The ability to perform these acrobatic feats of comprehensive cognition requires that I’m in a specific state of mind which is engaged with the moment, the situation at hand. In every new circumstance, with every new set of problems I encounter, my perspective, and therefore mind, shifts and I enter into a state of consciousness that is perfectly adapted to produce solutions due to previous experience in that state.
What it all comes down to is recognizing the importance, nay, the all encompassing relevance, of state dependent learning. This is where school fails.
The ability to critically think requires engaging different perspectives. But school doesn’t necessarily teach diferent perspectives. Sure, they may encourage studying abroad and joing extracurriculars and what not, but real learning takes place within a specific state produced by a specific context, and all knowledge is born out these contexts and the problems inherent within them.
What modern education needs to emphasize is state dependent learning. Teach philosophy by philosophizing, by asking questions, by creating dialog and conflict and then seek resolution through thoughtful discourse. Teach math by providing postulates and propositions, then a problem, and have them prove the problem. Teach economics by evaluating a real company. Teach communications by role playing a real problem or agenda with real unpredictable variables. Teach accounting by throwing a person into a company and having them learn by going through and asking questions.
The reason for experiential learning is that all knowledge is procedural and therefore state dependent.
When education learns how to provide an environment that effectively presents material in this fashion, students will thrive.
They say, “If you are not with me you are against me.” As I grow older this becomes an increasingly salient feature in my life. It surely doesn’t mean those who are not with me are my enemy. Rather, it refers to those who aid in resisting my progress. I must free myself from influences that chafe and chide. No one knows my best but me; no one wants my best more than I want it: not my parents, not my friends, not even my higher power. All these things act to restrain my spirit, to place irons on my imagination, to hamper the flow of possibility from escaping.
The herd mentality is alive and strong. If you are not with me, you are against me. This could not be truer for those wishing to seek the highest peaks of progress. No worthwhile goal can be set for you. You may achieve a level of prestige, of status, but you are fawning after idolized approbation. To follow a path, a goal, an aim already carved out and inscribed by someone else is mimicry: a mockery of your being. No authentic mind can tread on familiar ground without losing himself.
All around me I find mockery. I sometimes believe that followers seek truth. But the individualism of authentic being cannot be apprehended by following. We must learn to lead ourselves, and only then do we follow truth.
Fear. Those lowly creatures: they spot a speckle of soot and run, afraid of what lies beneath, not realizing the gold that glows if they had only the courage to rub.
I aim to carry the world, all of its contents, its feelings and fabrications, upon my back; so that one day my body will bear the weight of something greater. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, said Aristotle, but a habit. Let us practice the art of tempering our capacities so that one day we may meet challenges with greatness.
The world is falling apart. Words are empty. Speech writers study tantric texts rather than human hearts; and the disconnect grows. Individualism and freedom are deceptive devices for herds and slaves.
People fear, so they find the familiar.
Stop fearing the unknown; that is where all the answers lie: deep within, in the untrammeled darkness.
There is nothing to fear when fear has been found; the outlines of limitation become the visible netting that catches your most precious dreams. Set your dreams free; snip the threads that surround you.
Take a risk, damnit. If you do, you may grow spiritually, emotionally, psychologically. If you don’t, you’re guaranteed not to. You must live for yourself. Quite a feat nowadays. Let me capitalize on this growing malaise.
My aim in life is to be unknown to others. If I am known, I have died. My status and state has been estimated and calculated. That should never be the case for an evolving being. Change must be a priority, but let us not put limits on what this change might look like.
Acting in accord with my life plan, I’ve decided that at this juncture in my life I’ll be devoting myself entirely to growing professionally, 1000%. This includes personal growth, of course, since all growth is personal.
The company I work for is a health care consulting company. The partners have dozens of years of experience at the largest, most successful hospital systems in the world. Their experience, combined with their incredible access to networks and hospitals, makes this firm lethally successful.
When I took this opportunity, the exact nature of my job and responsibilities were hazy. I wasn’t sure what exactly what I was walking into. All I knew is that the company was incredibly well positioned, and experiencing outrageous growth, and I knew I needed to be apart of it.
So I’m not doing any client facing work, the consulting work. My work is at the headquarters, in operations. Initially I was skeptical since many of the positions I was applying for were client facing and consulting in nature, but as I learned more about the company, I realized I couldn’t be in a better position.
There are a dozen people working in the head quarters. The opportunity to make lasting impacts, to shape and mold the success of this company is greater than it would ever be anywhere else. Larger companies have their unwieldy structure, their hierarchy, their bureaucracy. Not at this firm. Everyone is receptive, everyone wants to grow. They want success. They plan on hiring like crazy over the next two years. They expect to grow from 200 to 500 consultants within the next year. Even if you’re a mediocre employee you’re guaranteed to receive greater responsibilities and promotions as the company grows.
What are my goals at this company? First, learn every position inside and out. Learn every work process. Create work flow diagrams. Make recommendations to streamline financial/ accounting/ auditing procedures. The business is functioning fine as it is, but I can already identify obvious inefficiencies and ambiguities that are bound to be costly as the company grows. I’d like to work on monthly projects and submit them as recommendations. This is how I will get noticed, how I will earn respect and favor and rewards. There’s plenty more to write about but I just wanted to get that out.
My long term goals are investing. I plan on living parsimoniously, budgeting every dollar I make to pay off debt and make investments. I’m young and bills and responsibilities are at a minimum. There’s no need to show off money, to conspicuously consume. I must think long term: investments and saving. I plan on living extra lean the next five to ten years. These habits will be vital for preserving my wealth when I have much. If I can’t manage 100 dollars I certainly won’t be able to manage a million dollars. My plan is to be a financial savant, living on only what I need, and never taking money for granted. My ultimate goal is to be financially free, to have my money work for me, whether that money is in owning a business, or owning real estate. And I should mention that living lean certainly doesn’t mean I’ll be living unhappy. It means that money will not be taken for granted, that I will be utilizing my creativity for pursuing happiness rather than relying on all the mainstream machinations for promoting well-being. My well being will be generated from within. And I will prosper, financially, emotionally and, for what it’s worth, spiritually.
One day I became so discouraged I decided to quit…
I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality… I wanted to quit my life.
I went to the woods to have one last talk with God. “God”, I asked, “Can you give me one good reason not to quit?”
His answer surprised me… “Look around”, He said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?” “Yes”, I replied.
“When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor.
Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.
In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. He said.
“In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit.
In year four, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. I would not quit.” He said.
“Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant…But just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall!
It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive.
I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.”
“Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots?”
“I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you.”
“Your time will come”, God said to me.
Ahh. A sigh of relief. But the sigh seems at ill ease.
I have a job. A jay oh bee. They call me a “financial analyst”, but I know what I really am: a monkey. Yes. A monkey. And there are lord monkey’s that rule over me. There is an order to this troop of baboons. Sure, I love these monkeys. I love how they adore their plush threads, the way they discuss their fictional television heroes with such compelling fervor, the manner in which they describe their vehicles, those traveling trinkets indicating a monkey’s base status and wealth. And I laugh. Nay. I scoff. All monkeys.
They prune each other with every compliment. They tease out the insecurities with every flattering gesture. The monkeys like me. But I am a new monkey, and slightly different. You see, upon my interview, I performed like the very best monkey. They would give me lines, and I would retort with monkey precision. I pantomined all the monkey values back at them, and they smiled, showed their teeth, and clapped with joy. Be our monkey! they said, and soon they proffered a letter inviting me into their clan. I hesitated, seeing my duties, my potential monkey antics, but necessity called and I could not hesitate to answer: a monkey I shall become. But only for a time. I need to figure out how the lord monkey, this king ring leader, corrals the others with such commanding ease.
I learned about a monkey on a type writer when I was a boy. They taught the statistical chances that this monkey would type an entire dictionary, or something like the works of Shakespeare, by pounding on the keys at random. The told me how many years it would take. It was trillions upon trillions, I’m sure. That’s how I feel about my monkey business. Numbers and letters and keys. Type type type. Monkeyyyy!
They still need to enculturate me. I haven’t been fully socialized by these monkey’s yet. In time, in due time. They are nice monkey’s.
The moon slips behind the vibrant blue hue: night shade. Streams wrinkle across my forehead, of therapeutic thought. Where will I be? I ask.
Must I be a monkey? No. But I can pretend.
I must write, and write, and reflect, and think, and turn my thoughts inside out, and sharpen their contents into spears that I can thrust at the enemy, those impeding perceptions, those perverting pensivities. I must think. I must possess desires and goals and dreams that extend through time, beyond material matters, into the future, where mind imbues blossoming satisfaction with beauty.
I have goals. I have clear goals, clear as the crystalline concrete lining the roads to Rome.
I will write. Why haven’t you written lately, sir? Because I have been drunk. Drunk as hell, and looking for jobs. Applying, interviewing, lying through my teeth. Lying that I love these companies, that I possess a desire to subjugate my passions in exchange for a meager paycheck, a pathetic allowance to incentivize my passions towards perversion. I have been drunk as bloody hell. And I have been searching. It’s the only way I’ve been able to forgive myself for this terrible abuse of conscience.
But I am never without a plan. The cunning are wiser than the clever. You must never make yourself too obvious. You must appear a one-sided dolt: dull on one side, sharp on the other. But I am two sided and doubly sharp. I cannot be prodded from behind, lest I slice you mercilessly with my wit while I lick you with my charm. It is true. I cannot be pushed from behind. Do you want something done? Give me something worthwhile to slice, to sink my sly sapience into.
I think I’d like to read more fiction. Or maybe not. I have a ton of non-fiction I’d like to catch up on. Physics reading and what not. Light reading that fosters the all seeing eye inside, that sempiternal gaze that penetrates the unknown; I beg it to focus and stare on.
And I fall on hushed ribbons that smear the cheek with velvet overtones.
Goals. Those bastards. Those nuggets, those gems, those precious pieces of wonder that keep my mind musing, my eyes oozing, my fingers fidgeting: all for something brighter, bigger, better.
For many months my roommates and I have been suffering from a variety of deleterious and mysterious symptoms. Last fall I suspected a flea infestation but, as we have no animals, this seemed like an unlikely candidate. As winter approached the symptoms grew less severe and we brushed it off. However, when spring began approaching and the weather warmed, symptoms grew unbearably worse. Initially we suspected dust mites, but the itching, biting, and crawling sensations were too persistent to cause the simple allergic reactions they’re known for. We consulted some associates and they concluded that a more accurate diagnoses could only be scabies. However, after some time, this seemed unlikely since we did not have the visible burrows or markings characteristic of scabies.
Allow me to digress momentarily and mention some salient details: About a month or so ago I noticed some birds outside my window. It was typical that they congregated around this window due to the trees situated directly adjacent. As I would walk to my apartment from my vehicle, I would notice one or two birds perched at an opening of some sort, like a vent, just outside our apartment windows on the third story, but I thought nothing of it. Every now and again my roommates and I would hear some noises emanating from the exterior, just outside the windows found in our bedrooms and my bathroom. These encounters were not particularly problematic, just some scratching noises hear and there, but nothing to indicate any reason to be alarmed.
As time passed the symptoms grew more persistent and increasingly more severe, with the past two months evolving into an intolerable and unthinkable nightmare. We have cleaned, scrubbed, dusted, washed, vacuumed, rewashed, recleaned, revacuumed and sanitized over and over again. We’ve been at our wits end for some time now and even considered the possibility that we simply might be going crazy.
However, this evening I was seated at my desk when I noticed a dot crawling around on my computer screen. How odd, I thought. I seized the particle and inspected it in the light, taking pains the determine its exact nature. I deposited it on the white counter-top and watched it amble haphazardly about. I picked it up again only to accidentally crush and immobilize the dot, at which point it turned into an indistinguishable speck of dust. I suspected this small critter was involved in our plight, but a tedious search of the area around my computer desk failed to yield another creeping dot, so I remained puzzled and moved on.
An hour or so later I was once again suffering the symptoms, particularly the crawling feeling, when I noticed the smallest mote, a near invisible particle, crawling on my left thumb! I plucked it up again and once more deposited it the counter, this time in my bathroom, the one situated near the location of the birds. I watched it dawdle and crawl like I had done before. However, as I watched it move I noticed it crawl towards other specks on my white counter-top. My eyes began to inspect the length of the white plane when, to my absolute horror, they discovered that I was looking at thousands of small dots, some moving, some stationary, scattered sparsely or in concentrated clusters all over the counter. I followed the dots to the densest clusters which were located around the bathroom window sill. At this point I suddently grew ill and the realization took hold that these were small, living, mites. And there were thousands of them. On the counter. On my walls. On the windows. I started to imagine other, less conspicuous areas where they might be, such as the carpeting and bedding and furniture.
I immediately began doing my research and discovered that, based on their physical characteristics and our symptoms, these were a very specific kind of mite: Bird Mites (For concise info: http://birdmites.org). Everything made sense: the tormenting symptoms, the birds, the location, the weather; I mean everything. It’s a relief to finally identify the source of this heinous scourge. The past many months have been quite literally unbearable, a complete torment, and I really wish I was speaking in dramatic overstatements.
Fascinating: The Book of Giants from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Read it in the translation that reflects the original Aramaic/ Hebrew word translation, so that instead of the word “angel” replace it with “messenger”; instead of the word “giants” (Hebrew: Nephillim) replace it with “sons and daughters of the king (god)”; instead of the word “demon” replace it with “harmer” (one who harms).
I think that the world and events are far simpler than we like to believe. We imbue what we don’t understand with irrational fantasy in order to make it comprehensible, if only to ameliorate our shortcomings in order to grasp an obtuse reality as a feeble interpretation of what’s actually going on.
For curiosity’s sake, I have to ask a bunch of questions:
What if there was an incredibly sophisticated civilization in pre-recorded history that mastered mathematics, geometry, astronomy and the like?
What if these “people” inhabited the entire earth, mastering sea and land navigation, establishing colonies or a kingdom all over the world?
What if these people predicted a flood, a glacial flood, that would cover the earth?
What if this flood occured around 10,000 years ago around the last ice age?
What if these people were called “messengers” (or translated, “angels”) by the civilizations they met and came after them?
What if there were some messengers that brought disharmony to the other cultures they encountered, much in the same way imperialism and cultural hegemony has worked throughout history?
What if the people that adopted the new knowledge subsequently destroyed themselves, their culture and identify, in the process? (think South American civilizations)
What if these messengers or angels were considered bad, or “evil” as a result of importing their knowledge?
What if these messengers (angels), or demons, were simply outsiders, simply people, or conquerors from other lands?
In Aramaic the Nephilim (plural), or giants, are the offspring of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men” in Genesis 6:4, or giants who inhabit Canaan in Numbers 13:33. Maybe these “sons of god” or “sons of the kind” were taller in stature than other people, and thus we considered “giants”? I’m curious how this translation occurred and why…
Also, regarding demons:
Rabbinical demonology has three classes of demons, though they are scarcely separable one from another. There were the shedim, the mazziḳim (“harmers”), and the ruḥin (“spirits”). There were also lilin (“night spirits”), ṭelane (“shade”, or “evening spirits”), ṭiharire (“midday spirits”), and ẓafrire (“morning spirits”), as well as the “demons that bring famine” and “such as cause storm and earthquake”
Although I haven’t checked the relationship between demons in Hebrew texts and Greek texts, there is a fascinating insight if we assume some sort of relation into the Greek word demon. In Latin “demon” is translated as “genius”, our modern day word for people that show exceptional creative problem solving abilities. It literally means spirit, or spirit of insight, or internal inspiration of knowledge.
Heaven in Aramaic refers to the firmament.
The word “firmament” is used to translate raqia, or raqiya` ( רקיע), a word used in Biblical Hebrew. The connotation of firmness conveyed by the Vulgate’s firmamentum is consistent that of stereoma, the Greek word used in the Septuagint, an earlier translation. The notion of solidity is advanced explicitly in several biblical passages. The original word raqia is derived from the root raqa ( רקע), meaning “to beat or spread out”, e.g., the process of making a dish by hammering thin a lump of metal. Raqa adopted the meaning “to make firm or solid” in Syriac, a major dialect of Aramaic (the vernacular of Jesus) and close cognate of Hebrew.
I have to ask if our conception of heaven is accurate: could heaven refer to a place of technology, or engineering, or a city that has high buildings made from earth?
Regarding the text of The Book of Giants: it reads like a typical drama. Someone smart comes in, corrupts your culture with their knowledge, takes your women and has sex with them, and just dominates you. There are other nuances which I find compelling and relate back to my intuitions that the human condition has remained relatively the same for hundreds of thousands of years, and what has changed is simply the degree of stability within a culture or the length of time a civilization has been able to grow due to geological periods of stability in the region. The consequence of my intuition is that great civilization’s have existed throughout time with similar degree’s of knowledge and understanding about their world (and maybe even greater?). Human warfare, vices for power, entropy and other normal geologic events and catastrophes have limited our access to ancient knowledge, artifacts and evidence of civilizations. The only remnant we have left are enduring megalithic structures and a very tainted, biased historical record.
I would not be surprised if there was a massive civilization with great knowledge living in some pre-glacial time period that sent messengers to warn of a destructive geologic event and educated them on how to prepare, such as building boats and what not (Noah, Gilgamesh, Easter Island, etc, etc). I also would not be surprised if after this flood these messengers traveled the world looking for survivors so that they could teach and educate people about what exactly happened, as well as endow them with their ancient history, knowledge, and technologies that they could in turn carry on. Hence we find ancient myths and statues of African, Caucasian, and bearded white Mediterranean men in South America long before any recent common era colonialism.