I’m very much human. All too human. I am flawed. Deeply flawed. I may come across as having it figured out, but I have no idea what I’m doing. I am frail. I do my best to spot self deception, to identify self interested motives. But I care, and I love people, and I have a desire to understand others, and myself, and my relationship to them. I’m eclectic, I’m intense, and I’m not normal. I have no idea what normal is at this point, but I’ve given up the idea of appealing to it. Love and truth are my masters. Life is a journey of growth. A continual metamorphosis of self discovery, where we are forever entering new seasons, and shedding old habits and insights, and adopting new attitudes and frames of mind for the present, and all its challenges and joys. This is the ultimate aim of life, I believe, to forever grow and flourish, shed the old to make way for the new, and lovingly assist others in our life to do the same.
I have always been a risk taker. I live without fear. I’m not sure if this was an innate trait, or something I picked up early on from my eccentric father, or something I developed in response to moving, or perhaps a response to the oppressive home I was raised in and my desire to rebel without thought of consequence.
I have a keen desire for novelty, but not in the sham sense of the word. I seek out experience, preferably quality, calculated experience, but I understand that fear is often based on inadequate information or knowledge, and false assumptions, so my rationale will typically work against me, and the only way to TRULY know anything is to experience it first hand, and not take anyone’s word for it. Nullius in verba. So thats something I’ve always striven for, for better or worse.
I’ve confronted death at an early age, with a couple friends suicide and drug overdoses, and I’ve almost taken my own life many times. There was a time where I lost all fear to live, because I convinced myself that I have already died, so any hurdle such as shame or any threat of annihilation of the ego was no longer a threat. I have no ego. I have already died. I have nothing to lose. So what is to fear? I’ve been alone, ostracized, homeless, failed out, drugged out, broke, etc etc. I survived. I can survive again. The threat of death has no power over me, so there is no challenge that threatens or discourages me. On a long enough timeline we all die. If I try and fall short, what of it? I will always try try again. I may bend, but I will never be broken. My will always remains intact, so there is no losing, there is nothing to fear. This is what I know.
We’re all addicts to something. Some vices are more socially acceptable than others. Substance abuse is a bitch. Not a productive vice. Definitely one of the more destructive ways to cope with negative feelings and cognitive dissonance.
I’ve done pretty much every drug. I have a whole philosophy on pharmacology, i.e. consuming substances that alter our physiology for medicinal purposes. I don’t condone substance abuse or self medicating for trauma or boredom or whatever other reason a person uses to escape.
But I also have no moral judgement on anyone who uses drugs for therapeutic purposes, or for personal development. I’m a huge advocate of responsibly using psychedelics for this reason.
I agree with the attitude of treating addiction from a human connection model. The greatest joy we experience is ego-less ness (is that a word?). It is the ultimate spirituality. Love does not exist where there is an ego. And when I speak of ego, I speak of this “reaction formation” that develops due to pain or trauma or neglect etc. The ego is the “self”. And the idea of “self” develops humans drive for self-preservation. When something hurts us, that memory of pain is impressed upon us, and we develop ways of coping, of defending, of avoiding, of escaping. Perhaps we gain knowledge to prevent that pain again. Perhaps we create a psychological guard that insulates us from being vulnerable and sharing our honest feelings with another person. And these habits develop from a young age. And they form the basis of how we handle relationships later in life, such as how easy we trust, and the basis of a lot of fears, such as abandonment etc. Theres more I could elaborate on about the nature of self or ego.
But love can only exist in the moment, without the ego. The ego separates us from the moment. It is on guard, poised and ready to react and deflect any potential pain or insult. It is worry, anxiety. It exists in the past, or the future, and not in the present.
When we are alone, and hold onto historical pain or worries, and don’t embrace the moment, and experience the joy that “being present” has to offer, we suffer. When we connect with another human, another spirit, in a way that allows us be present and honest about who we are and vulnerable about the depths of our feelings, the good and the bad, that is when we experience true joy.
When two human spirits/ bodies come together, two egos cannot exist. There must be a dissolution of ego, and in a relationship of true love, I believe, as with a life partner, those two egos become one, and there is no boundaries, because the other person, their feelings and needs, become an extension of our own. There’s a book titled The Road Less Traveled by Scott M Peck that discusses how necessary it is to relinquish this ego, this drive to self preserve at the cost of alienating others and the support we gain from letting people in.
No relationship can flourish where there is an unhealthy ego. Rene Brown writes about the power of vulnerability in her book Daring Greatly.
Going back to Addiction. Most addicts struggle with a deeply flawed sense of self. (The development of self is most universally the product of the relationship dynamics one has with their parents. We can get into what is “normal” vs what is “healthy” behaviors, and the generational consequences that result when normative yet unhealthy behaviors are passed down from generation to generation.) Addicts are in pain, and uncomfortable with themselves, existing as they are, in a sober state, and so they seek to escape, or numb. Love and community are, in my deeply held opinion, some of the most deeply therapeutic remedies for addiction and rehabilitating their self worth. This is why Alcoholics anonymous has been historically successful. A. There is an appeal to a higher power, which consequently requires you to submit yourself and lose the ego, and let go of the need to control and try to do it on your own. And B There is a supportive, loving community around you that reinforces a positive sense of self worth.
Recently I’ve been reading a bunch of books. The past week I’ve been deep into The Sacred Canopy, by Peter Berger, an iconic sociologist. I’m also half way through Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg. It’s about writing. I love writing, as evidenced by this nauseatingly long email, and my endlessly dizzying journal entry diatribes. I apologize ahead of time for writing novels/ epics/ really long responses/ emails.
I’m always reading something. Lots of philosophy, sociology, history, biographies, anthropology, psychology/ personal development, business books, economics, behavioral psychology/ influence/ charisma/ persuasion/ anything that will make me more convincing.
I’m fascinated by the human condition. I have always wanted to get to the bottom of everything, and find a common thread, that universal wisdom tying it all together. I want to be able to adapt to any situation, and succeed at any challenge, and assess any circumstance with the wisest judgement. I want to understand as many perspectives as possible. I want no ego. I just want to be wise, and excel at whatever challenge or moral duty is before me. And I’m constantly learning how to live within society, and choose those challenges and moral duties wisely.
Being an adult.
It’s only recently that I felt like an adult. By that I mean, I can look any human being in the eye with confidence, and speak with conviction about my knowledge and experience with a sense of responsibility and integrity and worthwhile perspective.
One thing I realized pretty early on in my journey is that everything is mostly bullshit. So you can’t take anything too seriously.
But you can’t just make up bullshit and expect to get along in the world. You gotta learn how to master the rules before you can make the rules. You gotta get comfortable consuming other people’s bullshit before you can effectively convince other people to consume yours.
So that’s that. Working for a corporation is apart of that mastering the rules. It’s been good experience. One day I’ll take what I learned and build something of my own. Maybe. Or not. Maybe I’ll be write. Or maybe I’ll find a girl and we’ll have a baby and my whole life will be turned upside down and everything I ever knew about anything will be radically overturned, and I’ll start anew. Maybe.