The Secret to a Successful Business

Some thoughts on evaluating a successful business. There are three aspects to growing a successful business, and all three of these need to be great:

  1. Quality Products
  2. Quality Brand Marketing
  3. Quality Sales Force

I’ll elaborate on each of these aspects in the following paragraphs.

Continue reading “The Secret to a Successful Business”

Cimmerian Shade

You and I, wrapped in the cloven colored sky,

Watch the beautiful twilight floating by;

And the nights shade, left over from summer rays,

Clothes a delightful dalliance.

The heat rushed into my face as I exited my car. I examined the house. It sat on a small hill. The garage and lower floor were nestled into the hillside, and the main entrance sat a top a small set of stairs. The exterior was painted a mellow green, a lilac green.

I inspected the inside of my car, mulling over what to bring in, but my thoughts were absent: they were with her. They were filled with enthusiasm, with joyful expectations. “I don’t need anything at the moment,” I thought “I’ll come out and grab it later.” The truth is, I wanted my arms free: free to embrace her.

I walked towards the house, my eyes to the ground, lost in thought. A subtle smile was perched on my lips. I lifted my eyes, and there she was, smiling coyly through the glass door. Her demeanor was excited and hesitant. She opened it and walked onto the porch as I made my way up the stairs. We extended arms and hugged; and the mightest avalanche of ephoria pounded my thoughts into a placid pool of bliss: my chest lept, my heart fluttered, and satisfaction wrapped itself around me in waves, over and over again. I rested my chin on her shoulder and my thoughts adjusted. “It’s good to see you” I said. “It’s good to see you too.”  I felt like a child all over again. If there was any doubt that I could love anyone, it was dispelled then and there. I was submerged in love: patient, pleasant, warm, kind, pleasing love. And it was all for her.

We unloaded my car, dragging in a cooler of food, a backpack of clothes, and a brown bag filled with bottles of wine.

I walked into the house and was met with wondrous woodwork, daedal designs that weaved their way into every facet of the home. This was no ordinary house built by ordinary men. This was a special house, crafted with keen skill and the dexterous hands of a lone laborer devoted to his trade. My eyes danced from once detail to the next, and then a voice appeared from below me. “Why hello there! You must be Michael!” I observed an older man with a burly gray mustache climbing up a small staircase from the lower sunroom. “Hello! Great to finally meet you Don!” We shook hands and exchanged the usual amicable small talk. A kindness emanated from him; his personality seemed shy and restrained, with only the occasional burst of light that gently escaped whenever he attempted a small joke. I complimented his home and he thanked me humbly in the most unassuming way.

She showed me to our room; I followed behind with my bags in hand while my heart danced in step.

I prepared grilled Salmon for dinner that evening, as well as a medley of vegetables: asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, and pinch of parsley, all sauteed with extra virgin olive oil and seasoning. Don happened to have a “special” teriyaki blend procured from his favorite Japanese restaurant; a real treat, he says, because Japanese Chefs are super stingy with their recipes. I made sure to be impressed, and when I tasted it, I most definitely was: the glaze was exquisite. Sweet, but not overly, and it was nestled with hidden flavors of garlic, citrus, and other herbs. The dinner was fantastic: the choicest wine and salmon and, above all, company.

After dinner she casually suggested that we could take a bath, together, in the hot tub openly situated in the master suite. There was no hesitation in my response. She filled the hot tub. The rest of the night we grew in knowledge. Exhausted from the events of the day, and inebriated from the libations that loomed throughout the night, we fell asleep quite early. I awoke throughout the night several times soaking in sweat: the air conditioner was off for the evening and it was over a hundred every day the past week. I managed to go to bed, but at five thirty an alarm sounded. “Odd” I thought in my sleepy haze. My eyelids cracked and were met with blinding light. I looked at the clock confused. When the hell was it ever this bright at five thirty in the morning? Now I know why farmers manage to wake up so early. And why the hell is there an alarm for this hour? Then she turned and asked me, “I’m going for my twelve mile run. Do you want to join?” While I was unbelievably impressed and fully infatuated with her charismatic discipline, the idea of running twelve miles at that hour left the same reaction as jumping from a cliff onto jagged rocks: the possibility of my muscular one hundred and ninety five pound frame surviving such a task existed only in distant dreams. I did want to run though, but I encouraged her to go alone. She left and I explored the idea of sleeping longer but the summer heat and blinding rays penetrating through the windows prevented that option from ever materializing. Instead I laid in bed and watched humming birds court each other in hypnotic floating displays of majestic brilliance outside my window. After a short period of time I dressed myself and began my three or four mile run. The countryside was invigorating and enlivening: rolling crests of green grass and pastures reamed across the landscape. Wildlife seethed throughout the dense vegetation and open plains and soaring sky. The smells and sounds and sights saturated my senses, and I felt fully alive.

I arrived home drenched in sweat and absolutely beaten with exhaustion. After I caught my breath I journaled my thoughts and read a few chapters of Ender’s Game.

After Don prepared us a breakfast of eggs, hash browns, ham and waffles, we decided to explore the 2,700 person town or, more aptly, “village”.

We happened upon a civil war battle site named “battle of the bridge” and later discovered an estate sale auction in one of the neighborhoods that appeared to attract nearly everyone in the county, including the entire Amish community (I love the Amish!). Cardboard boxes of goods lined the backyard, side yard, and empty lot across the street. Families, children, old and young stood ’round a man dribbling words from a hand held microphone: the auctioneer. He rapped prices with a southern drawl that hung in the humid air. The occasional hand would flicker upwards and he’d raise the price, “five dolla five dolla five dolla we have five dolla do we have five fifty five fifty do we have five fifty… five fifty! six dolla do we have a six dolla now…” and slowly they’d make their way through the labyrinth of goods. At one point he stopped at a mechanical contraption and provided a brief description, “Naw here we have a werkout machine, a walking board,” and there was a laugh and commotion “or I guess they call it a treadmill.” Her and I looked at eachother and smiled with fond amusement. These little folk and their back yard auctions, stuck in prohibition, with their straw hats and thick suspenders.  It was quite a spectacle. And archaic at that.

Eventually we made it to our canoe destination on the river. Barry, as he introduced himself to us, was waiting with a canoe strapped to the top of his large old Tahoe. He was mild mannered and polite, soft spoken and friendly.  “So we have a three hour and a six hour lazy canoe trip” he said. The heat was in full swing and I imagined myself on the river for six hours, wondering if it was possible or enjoyable to canoe for that long in the heat. If anything it sounded like a challenge. “Well six hours sounds a bit long, you think if we trucked it we could get it done in three hours?” I asked. Barry’s face pulled back in distaste. “No no no! You’re not suppose to go fast. It’s called the lazy river. You want to go slow. You don’t wanna go fast, just take your time, enjoy the river. The six hour trip is definitely worth it and the best bang for your buck.” I looked at her and smiled with surrender. “Well then, I guess that sounds good. We’ll do that.” We loaded into his car and we stopped by his home while he ran our credit cards and had us sign waivers. We grilled him with every question we could muster during our short car ride with him: how he got into business, how the local economy was, what the local demographic was like, how he liked his life, where the best restaurants were located. It was only a fifteen minute drive but we were efficient with questions and satisfied with our answers.

We canoed for six hours, about 12 miles in all, in scorching one-hundred and five degree Kentucky heat. It was no joke. There was plenty of scenery to keep our senses entertained. Back woods Kentucky families posted up in the river bed in their lawn chairs, their cubicle sized shacks in the foreground with laundry lines extending from their sides. Gun shots accompanied our tour of the river. We passed the couple, rifle in hand. “A little target shooting?” I said light heartedly. “You bet! It’s my favorite thing in the world!” Her posy pink one piece wrapped over her shoulders and crossed her breasts in a deep V that connected at her belly button. Her dark roots chased after the blonde hair tied in a knot situated on the back of her head. “I don’t blame ya” I said with a twang in my voice “I’d be out here every day if I was you!” I tried to make small talk as we sheepishly floated on by. The river was pathetically slow that day, making its name “the lazy river” well suited. It hadn’t rained in over eight weeks. Though the levels were low, the water was exceptionally cool and clear thanks to the subterranean aquifers pumping continuous supplies of cool water into its currents.

We paddled the red canoed through the blistering humid heat, through the biting bugs that chased and bit throughout the duration. We talked about everything. Life. Love. Jobs. Happiness. Family. Children. Friends. Relationships. Six hours is a long time to canoe a river. And talking in the heat while your slowly growing more and more exhausted from beating the insects in between paddle strokes would be a challenge, except I was in her company, and that thought alone dissolved any penetrating distractions that would otherwise detract from having the best of times.

We had lunch on a river bank. An Amish family sputtered away from the bank in a small motor boat (Odd, I know!). A small fire crackled and white smoke rose over the river and into my nostrils: memories moved within me, memories of my youth, and camping, and my early pyrotechnic fascinations.

We pulled the canoe on shore and pulled out our sandwich bag from the dry sac. She brought the bread. As we were making sandwhiches earlier in the morning I noticed that the bread she brought was peculiar. Why? Because it was made for midgets: each slice was slightly smaller than the size of my palm. I could easily eat two or three or more of these small sandwiches. But I had to give it to whoever thought of restandardizing their loafs: they definitely make you eat less, and think twice about making more than one.

We ate raspberries with our little sandwiches. Mine was tuna. Her’s was hummus and vegetables and maybe turkey, but I couldn’t be sure.

We arrived home around five pm. Don had offered to make us his “special” Mexican burritos which, he mentioned, were quite good by his standards, and something of a specialty of his. We inquired earlier that day with the locals about where good restaurants might be and found that there were, in fact, no good resturants. Save, of course, the Mexican resturant, the only resturant anyone would recommend that we visit. We decided that we’d rather have our wine (it was a dry county!) and have Don grace us with his cooking abilities. He was making Mexican for us anyway, so why not.

We arrived home early and Don hobbled from his sun room in cartoon boxers waving his hands (or hand, since he had but one, but that’s a minor detail) and saying “Don’t worry, I’m not in my underwear!”, but it was clear that he was. He pulled over his shirt. It was backwards. “I didn’t expect you to be back so soon.” We explained how we annihilated that “lazy” river with our exceptionally intense “go-get’em” attitudes and finished slightly early. “I was only having a few cocktails and didn’t expect you to be back so soon!” Don continued apologizing. “Don’t worry,” I said “we’ll join you after we refresh ourselves, get some water and fill our stomachs with a bite to eat.” Don liked that idea. You could tell he was lonely, sharing the company of a twelve pound Lhasa Apso named Sophie. There was no significant other in his life, and none that could be guessed from his past. He was alone. Him and his dog. And his beautiful home. With no one to share it with save the wayfarers that stopped in for bed and breakfast a few times a month.

We talked over wine. Don had himself a bloody mary. We discussed a spectrum of topics, from his favorite bloody mary mix, to his travels abroad, to his real estate aspirations, and finally, at the peak of our intoxication, to his finances. He went so far as to show me all his investments and explain his savvy investing strategies. I entertained his enthusiasm.

Don soon began making dinner, but after all the alcohol, her and I faded to sleep on the couch, nuzzling close to one another. Don must have saw us while making dinner and caught some inspiration, for he fell asleep as well. We awoke several hours later to Don in a panic. “I completely fell asleep in the middle of making dinner! I’m so sorry! I don’t know how that happened!” It was a goofy scenario, as she said. All of us, tired, drunk, passing out, the dinner half cooked, the kitchen steaming, the TV murmuring in the background. How funny.

We quickly ate dinner and went to sleep.

We awoke the next day and had Don’s breakfast, but this time instead of waffles he made sourdough french toast. I was gorged.

The original caves we were going to visit happened to be completely booked due to the holiday weekend, so we engaged plan B and decided to visit two other caves, and meet her best friend at the second, more southern location.

We stopped at Diamond Cavern for the first part of our trip, and the Lost River Cave and Valley for the second, where we met up with her friend.

I drove back with her an hour north at the end of the day. My car was parked in the small town we had stayed at. I opted to ride with her. I missed her company already.

Brain Dump

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.

My Life Plan

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. 

My Creed

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

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)
    • Books
    • Literature
  • Travel
  • Marriage
    • Family
      • Kids

Career goals:
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

Weekly Goals

  • Touch base with my mentor
  • Every Sunday evening: evaluate goals and progress; plan and prepare, modify approach

Monthly Goals

  • Meet with my mentor, e.g. meal, drinks, etc.
  • Network: e-mail a list of important contacts
  • Create new monthly budget.

Semi-annual Goals

  • Reevaluate Goals/ Life Plan.
  • Receive the BEST performance reviews each and every round

One Year

  • 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.

Five Years

  • 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

Ten years

  • 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

Fifteen Years

  • Make $500,000 a year by 35 y/o
  • Have 2-4 Children

Long-term career goals:

  • Investor
    • Business?
    • Real estate?
  • Consulting
    • Personal?
    • Management?
    • Financial?
    • Health care?

Consulting Goals
General Goals

  • Learn every position and skill
    • Accounting
      • Billing/ Acct. Receivables
      • Time and expense, invoice, etc.
    • Contracts
    • Sales
    • Consulting
      • Ask to shadow consultants in the field
      • Take PTO to do so if necessary
    • IT
    • HR
    • Training

Skill Goals

  • Learn/ master office and industry software:
    • Spring Ahead/ peoplefluent/ etc
    • QuickBooks, etc.,
    • Visio
    • Access
    • iWorm
    • Business Analytics/ Intelligence
    • IT Workshops/ courses/ classes

Day to Day Goals

  • Respond to e-mails; Answer questions
  • Complete:
    • 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
  • NYC
  • San Francisco
  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles


  • Workout a minimum of 30 minutes three days a week
  • Eat Healthy

Financial Freedom

  • Start/ Found and own a business
  • Start a website
    • Generate revenues?
  • Be financially free by 35


  • Finish Memoir
  • Finish Novella
  • Poetry
  • Journal
  • Blog


  • Seek out certifications and courses that will increase my knowledge, authority and value.

Study for GRE and GMAT

Apply to graduate school:

  • Decide:
    • MBA
    • Economics
    • Physics/ Math/ IT/ etc.

Monkey Business

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.

The Scourge of Bird Mites

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: 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.

Student-Professor Dialog: Creativity and Society

The following is a series of (ongoing) exchanges with my professor on the subject of creativity and innovation in society. I felt that it was worthwhile sharing the dialog. 

April 17th
Hello Professor,

I apologize if my comment today came off as a tirade or diatribe. That wasn’t my intention. You commented that our generation may be a bit cynical, and that may be true, but that’s not how I like to think about my attitude. Instead, I like to think of myself as being critical, specifically a critical thinker who criticizes and seeks to deviate from the status quo in favor of gleaning new insights and gaining new potential solutions. I believe our problems are a result of a society who seeks perpetuating the status quo, similar to the silo or echo chamber effect. I believe this is a result of people who willingly accept ideas, problems, and solutions presented to them, or that reinforce and reaffirm their beliefs, rather than inquire for themselves, critically challenge their beliefs, and generate their own solutions, be it through reflective thinking or collaborative dialog.

That being said, I love your class and I think you’re a fantastic professor who is doing great things. I’ve had a passion for creativity my whole life, and it’s a pleasure to explore the topic in your classes. As a result of the many readings and discussions presented throughout the semester I’ve arrived at a few revelatory insights that I’d like to share with you.

First, I believe that creativity is a product of struggle, of problems and the suffering it produces, and the passion it generates when people apply their “will” to overcome that struggle. Nietzsche has been a tremendous influence for re-framing how I conceptualize the human condition as a continual overcoming. I learned that the root of creativity in Latin is creo, which translates as “belief” or “produce, choose, put into existence”, and that the root for creo in Indo-Proto-European is cor- which translated as “heart”, as in coronary or cordial. Hence my conviction that all creativity is an enterprise of heartfelt passion generated by struggle, or problems and suffering, to overcome circumstance, whether they are imposed by nature’s absolute values or society’s relative values.

Throughout time the greatest civilizations collapsed at the peak of their opulence, the pinnacle of their immoderate greatness. I attribute this to the fact that these civilizations, among other things, grew increasingly complacent with their level of comfort, and as a result experienced none of the struggle necessary to diagnose problems and apply creativity and innovation for their resolution. I observe this in our current culture where imitation and conformity are the rule, where everyone talks of freedom, equality, and autonomy but it is very rare to witness these qualities being demonstrated. Authenticity and autonomy, in my opinion, are absolutely necessary for acknowledging and individuating problems in our world. The Greek prefix root of these words is autos meaning “self”, and the respective suffixes are hentes meaning “doing” or “being”, and nomos meaning “law” or “the structured ordering of experience”.

The greatest creators, innovators, and thinkers, I argue, operated outside the norm, deviated from convention, and existed on the periphery of society. They acknowledged that if you do what everybody else is doing, you’ll get what everybody is getting. As a result they lived according to their own being or doing, their own law, and solved problems no one else acknowledged or saw. I think of William James who said “Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.” As well as Schopenhauer who said “Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. With people with only modest ability, modesty is mere honesty; but with those who possess great talent, it is hypocrisy.” In this way we see that it’s not what we look at that counts, but what we see. Hence da Vinci’s reply to the secret of his creative and inventive genius, “saper vedere” or “to know how to see”.

That being said, my comment today in class arose from my latent frustrations regarding our society. Politics is a touchy subject because if affects everyone. I have a desire for people to critically engage in things that matter most, specifically the preservation of our freedom, equality, and autonomy, rather than indulge in the mundane and mainstream. But it seems that most would rather appeal to authority, the status quo, or convention, and acquiesce to empty political rhetoric propagated by the “superiors” rather than looking at the facts and coming up with their own opinions. That is what a democracy with cognizant and active citizens should embody.

Once again, thanks for all that you do. I hope this email has found you well, and that I articulated my thoughts with enough clarity, and I look forward to talking with you more. Also, here is a link referencing the phenomenon of inequality and creativity I mentioned today in class, titled The Inequality Puzzle in U.S. Cities by Florida. Thanks again.

Sincerest Regards,


April 17th

Thank you for this very thoughtful and smart email message. I would love to talk to you more about some of these ideas.

A few very quick responses.  Yes, struggle is a major component of creativity (part of the theme of creativity and crisis) and individual passion and the authentic desire to improve a situation are the fuel that drives the creativity train.  As a sociologists I would say the tracks are not of the creators own making.   Society structures what we take to be a legitimate problem in need of a creative solution. So, creative people certainly operate outside norms but they are also bound by those norms and it is incumbent upon the scholar/critic to see the creator as both heroic and also as constrained and to understand how these two facts interact to produce, limit, or otherwise influence creative development.

I also agree with the relationship between complacency and creativity, although I think you need to acknowledge that one man’s complacency is another man’s struggle. So, the piece that you need to take into account is power.  If the complacent have absolute power, then you get decline. But, if the powerless and the outsiders have some access to politics, resources, power, then you can have great undercurrents of creativity even while the fat cats get drunk.

Finally, I was going to write and thank you for offering your insights today in class about politics. I agree with your points and don’t think you were delivering a tirade.   Many people are dissatisfied with the state of our political system and its capacity to deliver innovative solutions to our problems. As you suggest, old ideologies crowd out critical reflection and creative response.  Both parties are guilty.    My own opinion is that rhetoric matters and when one party has, for more than 3 decades, told the American people that we can not collectively solve problems and that our government (which is us) is always the problem (and never the solution), then we have stacked the deck against tackling the biggest problems of our times.   The market can facilitate solutions but it does not “believe” anything — it is through politics and democracy that we decide what type of society we want to live in and how to achieve these goals.   By turning a people against its government, I believe, we have undermined the process that we depend on for creatively engaging collective problems.  Single creative individuals acting alone without the tracks (to refer back to the earlier metaphor) can not solve our problems.  Government is part of the process of setting down tracks (not the only part).   As a “creative pragmatist,” it is hard to watch political tactics (the smart use of rhetoric) succeed at electing candidates while undermining their capacity to govern at the same time.

Sorry for my diatribe!



April 24rd,
Hello Professor,

I appreciate your response! We could talk for days– and I’d love every minute of it!  I have some thoughts regarding society’s role as a facilitator of change and revolutionary progress. I’d love to hear any feedback or insights you could provide.

Regarding society and creative change: in my opinion institutional structures, such as government or education or religion or corporations, are economies of scale for ideas (values), and as such they are subject to organizational inertia. I believe as these structures grow, they reinforce themselves on top of themselves through a process of normalization, specifically as a means of increasing cohesion and improving efficiency. That is, the structure self-perpetuates itself due to various self-preservation mechanisms explained in psychology and sociology, like herding, cognitive bias, the echo chamber/ silo effect, etc.

The consequence of these structures and the “typological” normalization they demand is that the structure begins to crystallize and become increasingly rigid. Deviations from the structure’s systematic process of normalization are looked down upon and rarely rewarded. What is rewarded is conformity to the “standards” typifying the accepted structural norms. In the end the structure, say as cultural custom or societal convention, becomes the largest barrier of change and inhibitor of progress. These may manifest as laws, or standardized testing, or rituals, or work processes– any formalization based on a set of premises or principles dictated by the structure’s authority or gatekeepers. Initially these premises may or may not reflect changes within the natural and social environment, but as time goes on and the structure grows, change inevitably takes place and I’d argue that these premises become increasingly abstract and irrelevant to the changing demands within the empirical landscape.

From what I observe in creativity and innovation on a sociological level, and evolution on a biological level, change occurs organically; it begins with a single individual, a single gene. Perhaps environmental demands cause the retention of a swath of genes, similar to the way societal demands cause a retention of a group of individuals, like those witnessed in collaborative circles, like the Fugitives, or the Vienna Circle and the like. This bottom-up population thinking contrasts with top-down typological thinking. Change can take place with the top down typological thinking (Platonic), but it must work within the bounds of its established premises. Eventually demands change to such a degree that premises need to be discarded in order to usher in revolutionary change.

That being said, I’m skeptical of institutional structures. I believe that so long as they represent the dynamic will of free thinking individuals who seek collaboration for mutually beneficial ends, these institutions work on their behalf. But because of organizational inertia and the mechanisms of normalization that functionally preserve the status quo, I do not believe that the governing authority representing institutions are capable of addressing the changing demands in the long run. This is especially the case when those in authority are the pinnacle product of the normalization, embodying the most abstract conventions established within the structure (culture).

However, my biggest frustration does not lie so much with those in positions of authority as it does with the individuals embedded within the population. Normalization has occurred to such a degree that abstract theory and “ideals” become the end for society, resulting in a populous devoid of independent thought, lacking a critical consciousness. We have denounced personal experience, and the accompanying opinions about that experience, in favor of societal standards to such a magnitude that people have grown blind: incapable of sensual inductive thought. Instead they defer to authority, to ideals, to norms for their answers, like sheep.

There is a dark corollary to this story that manifests symptomatically throughout society as a cultural malaise. When the individual experience is oppressed to such a degree that authenticity becomes the exception rather than the rule, people become sick. In proportion to their openness to change, I believe societies manufacture mental illness: body dysmorphia, depression, anorexia, substance abuse, criminal activities, and the list goes on. Other examples are increased emphasis on grades and testing rather than learning and understanding, an absence of mutually vested dialog between teachers and students, and lack of communication in general as people defer to authorities or professionals to solve problems that they should otherwise work out with others within the relationship of their context.

I hope I’m not being too harsh. I honestly and earnestly want the best for people, my fellow man and society at large.

I read two articles recently that have embodied much of my thoughts on the matter and I’ve been eager to share them with you to hear your thoughts. One is titled The Creative Monopoly and discusses a lecture by Peter Thiel at Stanford. Relating back to my thoughts on society as a self-perpetrating structure, the article discusses the negative flip side of competition and proposes an alternative approach for creating value within the context of business and markets. I recommend checking out Peter Thiel’s lecture notes linked in the article. The other article is titled Stop Telling Students to Study for Exams. It relates to my sentiment that ideals and social norms become a means rather than an end.

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow. I’m eager to hear your thoughts. I know your probably pretty busy grading papers and what not, so don’t feel any pressure. If you’re available, I’ll be around until graduation and would like to catch up and listen to some of your thoughts on various subjects I’ve been thinking and writing about, such as sociology, creativity, and the like. Thanks again!

Sincerest Regards,



The whirlwind.

This weekend I visited Panama City Beach, Florida for our fraternity’s formal weekend. I arrived friday evening with the rambunctious excitement you’d expect anyone to have after an eight hour car ride. Drinking in the car a few hours prior to arriving certainly contributed to my enthusiasm. Unfortunately everyone had driven through the night the morning prior and participated in a full day of drinking on the beach, so they were exhausted and less than receptive to my springing excitement to start drinking, especially at two in the morning when we arrived. Exercising some judgment, I decided that I should restrain my passion and save my energy for the following day, which I expected from prior experience to be a long and exhausting extravaganza. So I passed out. I woke up around eleven a.m. on the pull out mattress as everyone filed out of their air conditioned caves. I rallied my date and immediately took six shots. I then visited my roommate’s hotel room and produced three hits of acid from my backpack. My one room mate and his date decided that they didn’t want me having all the fun, so we each took a hit. I began pounding beer. Miller High Life. We then gathered ourselves up, filled our coolers with all the necessary beverages and ancillary paraphernalia for a hard day’s drinking in the sun, and walked a mile to the beach. At this point I was beginning to feel numb and thoroughly intoxicated, despite only an hour’s worth of wakefulness. Rather than walk around a strip of beach front property, we made an executive decision to climb over a locked gate which, as things would have it, was covered in maple syrup, presumable to keep people from climbing over. The brothers acquired a generator and speakers, and permission from one of the beach front homes to use their outlets and beach yard to place them, and we began blasting music to commence the festivities. It was a gorgeous day. Hotter than hell and zero clouds. While I never black out, I do drink to the point where no memories have been reliably made to recall, and that was definitely the case this day. We drank and carried on for at least six hours under the excruciatingly relentless Florida sun. The group began dispersing around six thirty and we were the last to walk back to our room, but not before I, in my deviantly responsible drunken state, cleaned the beach of trash, towels, and other belongings left for loss scattered in the sand.

Dinner was at seven thirty. I finished about twenty beers throughout the afternoon, in addition to countless shots. I was obliterated. Everyone made it to the chartered buses on time and we traveled a dozen miles to the catering hall. The trip felt like five minutes. I ate food. I drank beer. I watched a senior slide show. I may have lost my camera. At one point I wandered into the catering hall storage closet and grabbed six bottles of wine that I decided to deliver to tables throughout the room and, presumably stolen, everyone happily drank them. I gave a speech after my ol’ pledge buddy had a few words. Everyone thought I was going to say something deep, and I had planned on producing a compelling narrative, but I did not want to give into satisfying everyones expectations, so I mostly rambled about how awesome the frat was, how drunk I was, how much I enjoyed being the center of attention when giving a speech, and then I stepped down, or I was forced to. Either way.

I ate a lot during dinner, consuming three chicken breasts that tasted like smoked cedar, and eating multiple portions of a potato cheese scallop casserole. I made sure I consumed the vegetables as well with the idea that I was somehow countering the intense abuse I was wrecking on my body. The ride back was even quicker than the ride there. I went to my room, got changed, met up with my room mates in their room, and looked around for fun. I talked to three black guys from New Orleans and I introduced myself. Coincidentally, they introduced themselves, in full seriousness, with the same name. All four of us. I almost thought it was a joke if it wasn’t for the friendly casual nature of the encounter and the seriousness with which they replied.

I received news that the seniors were gathering on the beach for the ceremonial get together where champagne and speeches poured forth, and sentimentality could be shared in appreciable company. I gathered some people and set out to find it, but I was far from coherent. I got distracted by the sight of a Domino’s and decided to order a pizza which I proceeded to carry with me to consume as we ventured towards the beach. Unfortunately we weren’t able to locate this gathering so we decided to return to the hotel to revel with the rest of the group.

I made phone calls and eventually found out that my room was apparently hosting the party. I returned, but not before gathering people along the way and doing my best to persuade a young security guard to join us. Out of professionalism he politely indicated that he was working but, as a result of my genuine interest in his company, he compromised and rode the elevator us with us, indulging in the pleasant vibes of our group’s intoxicated camaraderie. Upon returning to the room the party was in full swing, making my entrance pretty disorienting as I tried to reaffirm whether this was indeed my room. In my drunken haze I had consumed a stimulant that was just starting to work its way through my blood stream and I could feel the boost of energy swell over me and out of me in enthusiastic gab. I’m not sure where the night went really, but I was talking about everything with everyone, and I distinctly remember conversations revolving around philosophical thought and my reputation for “being deep” or “philosophical”, which I made a point to rebuff as nothing more than a natural result of being curious, and that everyone would be considered deep if only they were more curious. We also talked on more trivial matters, such as the habit of periodically shaving one’s body, which I argued was a habit that was no different than any other arbitrary hygiene dictated by social convention of the like we typically take for granted, such as cleaning your ears, or shaving your legs or armpit hair, or brushing and bleaching your teach, or haircuts, or tanning, and the other multitude of inane grooming procedures that signify a status of class and care.

I recall spending a lot of time of the porch, probably with an agenda to snag cigarettes and hits of the maryjane circulating around. Whatever the reason for my preoccupation with the porch was, I don’t know, but I spent almost the entire evening out there, for better or worse. At one point I distinctly remember finding myself surprised that my alcohol consumption was increasing, rather than decreasing, and I decided to attribute the phenomenon it to the stimulant.

While on the porch I found myself in the company of a good girl friend whom I always admired. When we met she was young, a freshman, and in my mind naive, simply due to lack of experience. Due to my age I couldn’t reconcile the disparity in experience. But my attraction was definitely pronounced, specifically because of her exuberant personality that exuded an air of honest abandon, a happy casual disposition that seemed all too pleasant. The result of this disposition was an alluring mystique, a veneer that indicated there was more than meets the eye. She shared a curiosity for life that I equally cherished, and consequently chose to study philosophy which I, for obvious reasons, admired and revered. Whatever the case was, we talked on the porch, standing side by side and leaning on the balcony railing in tandem, staring into the evenings dark open air. In my haze I felt a rush of affection warm over. It was probably due to our conversations which, while I don’t remember the theme or details, I assume was genuinely thoughtful. I allowed my inhibitions to unhinge and embraced the attraction pulling my towards her. Those moments always contain the most bliss, a complete euphoric abandon. We kissed, and continued to kiss, and I yielded to the impulse to utterly absorb her presence, kissing and hugging with playful poise and affection. I explained that I hope she didn’t mind, but I was intensely attracted to her, and I couldn’t keep myself from indulging in the feeling. She didn’t mind in the slightest and reciprocated with equal fervor. Needless to say, we continued reveling on the porch, talking with our fellow drunkards, kissing and touching whenever the urge presented itself. It was humorous that, in the midst of sitting around in circle and conversing with others, discussing the nature of philosophy, its rule and duty, as well as the significance of etymology, we continued to kiss, blissfully unaware or unconcerned with appropriate conventions. Our interlocutors would interject that, if we wanted, they would leave so that we could continue doing our thing, but I was totally content sharing in the moment with everyone and that there was really no need to worry about any intrusion on their part. I was enjoying it all the same. It was comical really.

Eventually I decided I wanted to seek refuge in a bed with this girl. We ended up growing in knowledge. I was exhausted when I woke up. I felt like death. The ride home was pretty miserable. My date is an adderall crack head and she consumed countless pills on the way home, which prompted dilatory rambling that I was not in the mood for. She was also a huge fan of Glee, musicals, country music, and acappella covers, all of which I disdain ad nauseum. I tolerated it, however, out of courtesy for her driving. But I felt like hell. Sweating, fevers. Our first meal we ate at Wafflehouse, which was mediocre, as expected, but appropriate hangover food nonetheless.

Streaking Canopy

I can’t sleep. Insomnia has plagued me. Not insomia, per say, more of a total lack of diligence. I’ve been observing myself from afar the past few months, and I can’t help but think I’ve degenerated into a raving lunatic. There’s something of a compensatory malaise that’s settled on me, a disease of the imagination, one of the heart. I’ve succumbed to old vices, justified desultory behaviors, yielded to impulse, all in the name of fulfillment. And while I can’t say I’m in a state worth complaining about, I’m not exactly sure I feel any more fulfilled because of it.

Where is the self-discipline? I rationalize my passions, these unpredictable tyrants, with aphorisms like “reason must be a slave to the passions” and other nonsensical speak. What is balance? Before the structured society, nature imposed her rule, through time, the seasons, the setting sun. I’ve lambasted society’s strict structure as a pathetic excuse to escape responsibility from her order, all in the name of wildness. But am I an animal? Where is my personal narrative, my imagination? Why can I not call on a thread of story to sow meaning back into my life? I find myself with fading preoccupations that come and go with the tide, and I proclaim my evolution. But all the while the shore recedes and I am left with less than when I started. Am I too harsh? I have declared the reclamation of merit to live on a whim, but at what cost? Have I regressed? Have I grown into myself, or out of myself?

Change is something of a comfort. I’m tired of these thoughts, these stagnating feelings, these perduring words that have etched themselves into my psyche, that beat incessantly at my consciousness like a dripping faucet. Stillness breeds pestilence: placid pools choked of a streaming consciousness. Familiarity has evaporated fresh thought, leaving me with more of the same. Where are the revelatory insights? Do they come and go? Do I implore the world for more of her wisdom? or do I dig and mine for it from within? And what of the world and my proper place in it? Do I tell stories? do I listen to stories? or do I create them?

I am surrounded by enablers. People that feed my ego, that affirm the worth I continually seek to discard. I need to molt, to metamorphisize into something grander. Can this happen in my current state? Should I seek new frontiers? How should I employ my experience? How should I demonstrate my value? Where might I find something that doesn’t reek with past association? What is it that I am trying to escape? Where does this restlessness arise? Do I stab at it with self criticism? Do I strangle it with satisfaction?

But I want to do great, I say, want to change the world in an unprecedented way. I keep my eyes cocked, one pointed outward toward the world, the other inward toward my soul, to achieve balance, I say, but I only become disoriented. What will salvage this soul of mine? Is it literate? Do I leverage words over the minds of men, persuade them to embrace the clairvoyent alms I offer, the values I impart to the world? Do I act as a torch to light the way? And who will light my path? Is that for me alone? Or do I light the torches within other men, one by one, so that they become their own beacon, their own true north?

There are only questions, endless seas spanning leagues and chasms and planes. If I was a bird; I would have a voiced graced by divine inspiration and wings to carry me above the rising currents that bake the earth. I could soar across new landscapes, traverse valleys and streak up the hills, catch secret shade in towering canopies, and greet frontiers of wide open blue. Where is my place in this world? Is it in words, in symbols, in relations? Do I steep myself in meditation, in reflection? Or do I act with unrequited abandon and throw myself into the world? But the balance, you say, the moderation that beckons every stable being, where is that in this wide open dream?

Facebook, these digital landscapes, falsifies reality. The updates. The information. We are drowning in information. Do we need more knowledge? Does this world need more knowledge? More abstracted meaning? More stuff to fill our minds, to clog our souls, to muddle our mental machinery? I believe we are overflowing with information. Do we need more scientists? What of all the science we have? Are we getting any closer? What is the end, here? What have we achieved? Is our society any better off? Are we any better off? Do we have any more answers than when we started? So what is the goal? Should we make more of an effort to learn more? To stuff our brains with more symbols, more words? Will that provide the meaning, the answers? Will that suffice? I believe we have reasoned from the wrong premises, and our conclusions, natural as they may be, will fail us. I want to start over. From where?

I will secure a j-o-b soon. I type it like that because it’s often said like that, as if the word contains a frightful taboo, a terrifying reality that we should shield ourselves from. Upon securing this job, what have I to do then? Apply myself, earnestly produce value for my employer, all in the name of a paycheck, in the name of some core values and mission statement coined in a conference room by men wearing pin striped suits whose aim is to devise a moral incentive to maintain company performance. Workers are numbers, applicants, positions: faceless and nameless in the sea of business, in the market of operations. Performance is dictated by necessity, and beliefs are formed accordingly. We have bills to pay, mouths to feed, cash to accumulate, things to buy that extol our worth and achievement, and suddenly work becomes meaningful. But when all of that is provided, life suddenly becomes meaningless. The only outlet is pure self-expression, artistic screams that cry for some transcendental worth to imbue activity with meaning. But the crowds are fickle, and appealing to them for direction and value is a fruitless endeavor. No, you must dictate direction and value to the crowds.

Figures in authority ask the questions. It is not your place to question me if you are inferior, they say. Who do you think you are? I ask the questions, and you provide the answers. Let us educate our workforce in this way, silly complacent children.

The boys come and go. They are preoccupied with the thoughts of others. They seek approval of their worth, so they act the part, play the role, pander to the appraisal of others. Their lives, like most others, are empty; their own thoughts do not stay close but pass through them like a sieve. What is retained is a shallow film scraped from the sides of their hollow canisters. It is the same grime, the same soot, the same slime that festers across the airwaves, that penetrates the media madness, that trickles across the ticker, that dawdles down the twitter. The same information, reaffirming our crumby selves, our empty selves, devoid of self imposed rule, of self affirmed value. We become machines, with machine minds and machine hearts, latticed with everyone else’s ideas, with everyone else’s dreams, pipe dreams.


I’m tired. My sleeping patterns have wavered the past week or so. It all started with those books. Books. I buy books, then I read for hours, well into the night and the early hours of the morning, then I wake up for class, pound a coffee and do it all over again. It’s wearing on me, I think.

My eyes are burning. I feel used. Spent. Maybe I thought way too much today. Maybe I’m just tired. Maybe I’ve been thinking too much lately. It’s just that I’ve been over joyed with learning. I feel like I’ve been so honest with myself, with my progress and shortcomings that everything seems clearer. I know this is likely a short lived phenomenon, but I appreciate it none the less. I love feeling enthusiastic. I love possessing the stamina to read or write twelve, sometimes fifteen hours a day. But I know it’s not sustainable. I’m likely to crash. But I suppose that’s avoidable if I just sleep when I’m suppose to and get my enthusiasm under wraps. I just can’t help myself. When I get excited about a topic I become utterly possessed by the idea, it prevades every aspect of my thought and feelings. It literally consumes me. I read about it, I study it, I meditate on it, I talk about it with just about anyone that will listen. Then I write it out, in my journal, in this here blog, in notebooks or post its or napkins or my iphone. I just let ideas pour out of me, and they’re seemingly endless. It’s an amazing feeling and it goes on just about as long as I continue letting myself read and think about it. If I get distracted or drink excessively or do dull monotonous things, my brain slows down and my interests dampen and everyting seems to squeal to a halt.

Anyway. I’ve been thinking about so much lately, so so much. I’ve been feeling extra perceptive and I love it. I must have read four or five books this month, in addition to my eighteen credits of class.

I’m going on road trip for Spring break. My room mates and I are trucking it clear across the country. Destination: Venice beach. But we plan on taking numerous stops along the way, state parks, dive bars, exotic wonders, with plenty of local lore hunting. We’re borrowing a top notch camera so that we can document and capture all the thrilling adventures. It’ll make it more of a fun project in addition to just being memorable.

I’m tired. I’m feeling… alright. Mentally, I feel fantastic. I literally can’t get enough of life. I love it. Physically, well, usually I feel great.  It’s… holy shit. 2:30 in the morning. I need to sleep. I also need to exercise.

I haven’t spent a tremendous amount of time reflecting generally. My thoughts have mostly been preoccupied with sociological phenomenon, cultural ills, or economic problems. I’ve been trying to figure them all out, trying to crack the code, as they say, and arrive at some brilliant insight. We’ll see. I just keep reading and thinking and focusing and it’s bound to do me some good.

Many people would look at me and ask themselves what it is I’m looking for. They would try to pin point some feature in my past that would explain my eccentric, erratic, passionate, and sometimes crazed obsessions with various ideas. And they’re bound to come up with something. I mean, Freud did an awfully good job coming up with plenty of theories. Granted, they’re completely unscientific and mostly crap. But entertaining.

So to those who think I’m “looking” for something, I’m sorry. I’m sorry to disappoint you because, honestly, I’m not. I have found what I am looking for: my self. What you are observing is me getting to know myself through the process of learning, of mind expansion, or fervent feeling. We all spin our wheels some how or some way, whether it’s watching TV or exercising or pursuing careers. In the end the result is all the same. The difference is, however, learning expands the consciousness, it allows the mind to unfold and emerge in a wholly original way. My exploration is not in the world, it is within me. With or without the books this will take place. I will continue reading, continue writing, continue challenging assumptions, continue gleaning understanding of the facts and more importantly, of the relationships that govern interaction among things and people.

My eyes feel heavy. Not my eye lids. The actual globe, the fleshy pocket of purple fluid suspending my vision. It sinks into the socket as I lay here, gravity’s grip, that unrelenting force.

I watch myself age. Twenty five years old. Twenty five years on this planet. There is no arriving, there is only passing. Life passes us by. Some of us are busy moving, some busy thinking, some busy sitting or waiting or watching. The effect is all the same.  Society is cruel to some, especially the uneducated. The have no power, no language to leverage, no assets with which to will, to assail others with. But education takes place in reflection, not in brick and mortar mortuaries, what we call schools, but in the citadel of our mind, where language resides, the seat of being. And we educate by having discourse with ourselves, by practicing that proven mark of higher order consciousness: reflection. Text may facilitate some thoughts, and I would argue that it is one of the best ways, but books don’t do the work for you. They don’t make the connections for you. They don’t synthesize with past information and learning and make new material in the mind. That is reserved for reason. So I argue, any man can be educated so long as he reflects, so long as he meditates on his thoughts, not the new age nothingness, but dwell in substance so that new connections and relationships arise and are strengthened.


Myopic Zeal

To the Zealots:
— which may include the Religious, Pious, Orthodox, Evangelical, Fundamentalist, Dogmatic, Scriptural, Ecclesiastical, Sectarian and the like–

I don’t identify with a single myopic vein of thought, and any hopes of converting me into the herd would not only be regressive and detrimental to a healthy flourishing mind seeking wisdom, it would be futile.

I do love you, and I love that you always think of me and share these little bits of biblical joy you come across, but I’m not looking for answers. I’m looking for understanding. So while these may contain little nuggets of biblical wisdom and feel good rhetoric, they will not be an end for me. As an evolving creature it is my duty to adopt all the wisdom of the world so that I may adapt to and overcome challenge and flux and obstacles most appropriately.

Contrary to religious ideology, understanding the human condition is the beginning of all wisdom. But this requires that we consult not only external sources, but explore our internal sources as well. In Greek culture religion was not an individual journey nor a spiritual encounter but a collective enterprise to create a uniformity of experience via the dissemination of a consistent historical narrative which detailed social values and collective moral agreement. The gods of the pantheon were not seen as real or existing, but only as anthropomorphic representations which preserved aspects of the human condition; that is, they were the idealized values and virtues incarnated into typological beings and symbolic situations (myths, fables, parables) that could communicate and explain the world to each generation in society through oral or written language.

The preservation of this culture and its order was predicated on a cultures ability to retain this language, which they called nomos. In Greek nomos means “law” and refers to the structural ordering of experience, specifically relating to daily living and normative activities. Religion was simply an institutional vehicle that served as a way of preserving and perpetuating nomos, or social order and law. The nomos provided explanations and resolutions in the face of anomos, or chaos, conflict and turmoil. The individual appealed to this collective social law for explaining and handling problems arising in their conscious experience that was outside their ability to resolve themselves. In this way individuals sought the advice of the priests or prophets who knew the oral or written tradition exquisitely and offered their personal or propaedeutic interpretations– interpretations that would be absorbed into the tradition for later consultation, much like a contemporary judge’s ruling becomes canonical common law.

Language is all important. The limits of your language dictate the limits of your world.

Man is not made in the image of god: God is made in the image of man. “In the beginning was the word and the word was with god and the word was god.” (John 1:1) Interestingly, ‘word’ here is Gk. logos derived from the Proto-Indo-European word *leg- meaning “to collect, bind, gather”. The word ‘religion’ is a combination of the words re- “again” + lego “choose, gather” or “I go over or go through again in reading, speech, thought, read, relate or recite again, revise, recount”. In this way we see the intimate connection between repetition in binding words to the mind in order to create a consistent world view, a structured ordering of experience. Religion is the institution charged with the preservation and diffusion of a language via enculturation. Throughout history religious institutions have been replaced by various community organizations and governing bodies, most notably Academic institutions that actively inquire about the world with a more precise and thoughtful methodology.

On an interesting side note, the first institution of higher learning, Plato’s Academy, was established in the olive gardens on the temple grounds of Athena, the goddess of wisdom. It is no coincidence that the first school of philosophy– the love of wisdom– and the first institution of higher learning (beyond the gymnasium) was affiliated with the cult of Athena. The Academy derives its name from the legendary Greek Attic hero Akadamos who defected to the aid of the Tyndarid’s Castor and Pollux when they invaded Attica to liberate their sister Helen. As a result, the Lacedaemonians devoted a plane of land in homage to Akadamos planted with Olive trees in the spot where he revealed to the Divine twins where Thesus had hidden Helen of Troy. This plot of land was located just outside the walls of Athens and was later the site where Athena’s temple stood throughout the Bronze Age.

Through this brief sketch I hope it becomes obvious of the potential trappings of cultural institutions like religion. As their perfunctory duty to society, they seek to preserve the status quo, to present man to himself through a slanted portrait of the past. In a “stable” society the only people who can offer legitimate interpretations are those in positions of authority, i.e. priests, professors, professionals, politicians or any other title. Every so often a prophet arises from the herd and expresses the collective opinion in a fell swoop of the pen or brush or voice. These are the artists, the leaders, the creators, the visionaries– all subversive forces of established authority, all necessary agents of evolution and change. These are the disestablishmentarianists, the revolutionaries, the rebels, the terrorists. They are impelled to express the change they see around them, to lead the blind into the light. They are called by nature to tip the scales in favor of progress, despite the howls from stagnating pools of thought and undeterred by the biting guilt of defection, of desecrating antiquated tradition and custom.

The Greeks maintained that the past contained the understanding necessary for adapting to the present. What is important is that, like the Greeks, we view our culture as an instrument of understanding and ordering experience and maintain a tolerance and openness to other cultures and veins of thought. All language, all culture, all knowledge aims at providing explanatory power and utility for navigating through the world. To remain prejudice is to retain a myopic view of the world, deficient in variegated color and devoid of curvaceous depth, and we rob ourselves of another instrument for charting our world.

Sincerely Yours,



When asked as a child what superpower I would possess if I could pick any in the world, my response was always wisdom. While this doesn’t seem too imaginative or come across as a terribly fantastical response that you’d expect most children to provide to such a question, looking back it’s probably the most imaginative of all.

Growing up in a “Godly house”, my parents emphasized the role of the Bible as the leading narrative in our home. From an early age one particular story struck me so profoundly that it shaped me forever: the story of King Solomon (1 Kings 3-4; 2 Chronicles 1; Psalm 72). The parable involves two women arguing before the King in an effort to win ownership over a infant child. These women gave birth just days apart, but one woman rolled over on her child while sleeping and killed it, and now she was claiming that the other woman’s child was her own. King Solomon, being the wisest man who ever lived, listened to these women intently before he requested his sword. He reasoned, if both the women claim ownership over the baby, let them both have it: cut the baby in half!

At this the real mother fell before his feet and begged him to spare the child, to give her son to the other woman. The other woman was ambivalent, saying to cut the baby in half so that neither would have one.  At this Solomon stopped the baby’s execution and pointed at the first mother, saying “She is the real mother, give the baby to her.”

Though simple, this story struck me powerfully in my youth. What was most curious about the stories of Solomon was that because he requested wisdom and judgment over riches and power, he was rewarded with all of these and more! In my youth I reasoned that wisdom was the key to achieving all other desires. More fascinating is that the motivation for his request of wisdom sprung from his desire to be a servant, to serve god.   Being a servant requires humility, it requires that the subjective ego disappears in favor of another perspective, a more objective perspective devoid of bias or valuations or deires. This attitude of being a servant is necessary for learning more generally.

However, one must not stay a servant. Eventually, after accumulating enough knowledge and wisdom, one must become the leader, become the intrepid visionary who creates alternative realities for others to hope in; future worlds charged with the character of progress. George Bernard Shaw said it best: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself; therefore, all progress depends upon the unreasonable man.” Be reasonable while you are learning, but tenacious and unrelentingly when enacting a vision. Being reasonable is a static state; being unreasonable is a fluid state. Adaptation requires the fluidity of change. The span of life is unreasonable and changing– only moments are reasonable, but there are far too many moments to reason.

Ironically, the downfall of Solomon was pleasure. It’s the same struggle told throughout history between mind and body. His lust for women, for pleasurable indulgence of the body, caused him to undermine his wisdom, his mind, and use poor judgment. This is a timeless parable between being caught up in the tangible short-lived things of the world and being obedient to the external qualities of mindful wisdom.

Now, I’m not a religious man. I consider myself very worldly, recalling the Socratic wisdom “I am not an Athenian or a Greek, I am a citizen of the world” and the quote by Thomas Paine “The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.” I believe in experience, not abstract symbolism and language with no immediate or demonstrable footing. I will not feign the metaphysical, the supernatural, the spiritual. There is one spirit, one universal consciousness that imbues all experience with meaning and power, and that is possessed by me alone. The Other minds aid as intermediaries in my journey, but no single Other nor text nor image nor experience will provide the answers I seek. It is the collective combination that yields wisdom; the synthesis of history with the present. And this task is reserved for me alone.

Psychiatric Evaluation Age 14
Psychiatric Evaluation Age 14: My sagacity quickly devolved quickly beyond number three.

The above screen shot is from a psychiatric evaluation conducted when I was 14. Though my fascination with wisdom began when I was much younger, it has persisted throughout my life, leading me to study philosophy (love of wisdom) and economics (law of the house).

Know Your Enemies: Insecurity and Threat

You can always spot those who are threatened by you because they will be the first to compete with you. Anyone who sees you as a threat is an enemy. The surest way to crush your enemies is to avoid competition. This does not make you weak; rather it makes you superior. Those who want to compete are attempting to bring you down to their level, to their preoccupations, and judge you according to their inferior criterion of worth. To preserve your prestige and remain impervious to your enemies, stage all competitions according to your rules and only your rules. By acquiescing to another standard of competition you compromise your integrity and forfeit the very values used to justify the individual greatness that they view threatening.

Your enemies suffer from insecurity; therefore they are threatened. Their lack of self-confidence is a lack of responsibility, a lack of faith in their ability to rise to the challenge or overcome or equate to external values. If they possessed faith in themselves, they would be secure. They would not be threatened by anyone or thing, nor would they compete in a test to measure their worth against another man.

Men of greatness compete with themselves and themselves alone, never compromising their self-generated criterion of worth. When someone extols their personal achievements, you can be sure that they struggle to possess an authentic sense of self. If the measures of greatness are self-generated and self-imposed, what need is there to publicly announce your achievement? The only hope for this announcement is an external affirmation of self.

When you live authentically, self-worth is derived through a process of becoming. Each man lives according to his own ends, as each man possesses his own set of demands afforded to him by life. He becomes more of what he embodies, of what values presuppose his every thought and action. It is vital that these values bolster the purest and greatest sense of self, the highest self-esteem possible.

Competition is death. Domination is the elimination of competition through sheer superiority of values. Would any competent man compete with an invalid? This is how the superior man, the over-man, must think. His values place him above such competition, out of sheer pity or principle. In this way he is morally superior: any competition must occur out of charity alone. I maintain that charity is the gravest form of oppression as it leads to domestication and enablement. Charity is a false generosity that ensures conditional dependency and establishes a hierarchy between the self-sufficient and the self-deficient.

Do you want to maintain superiority? Never compromise your values through competition except when you dictate the rules of the game. Otherwise, let the success of your self-guided actions speak for themselves. Never compromise your integrity, your authenticity, by playing to the rules of another game. Other’s will pine for your competition, but you must never stoop to their level unless the guarantee of winning is indisputable and inevitable.

Recall: familiarity breeds contempt. If you wish to know your enemies, see how they behave when they are lead to believe that they know you. Present yourself plainly as if there is nothing more than meets the eye, nothing deeper below the surface, and see what reaction this elicits. If there is insecurity, your enemy will capitalize at first chance to highlight the superiority they believe to perceive. Do not let this sway you into competition or emotion. Your self-worth, your value, is internally generated, not externally imposed. Any insecurity they voice through comparison or judgement reveals a chink in their sad suit of defense. Capitalize on this error at a later time.

Remain quiet. Do not speak of your achievements. Genius is often seen and seldom heard. When other’s pass judgment, do not flinch in their direction: remain stolid and steadfast. If need be, recalculate the rules of your game and press on toward self-mastery. Those who continue living in competition never reach heights of greatness because they fail to realize that greatness is attained from within. Greatness is demonstrably true, not by way of judgment, but of effect. Your impact on the world will be proportional to the original value you create within yourself.

Clubbing to Death

Troves of two legged animals roamed the street, in all sorts of colors and shapes. We came into view of the bar and took our position among the other patrons patiently waiting for entry. Women waltzed through the corridors of open sidewalks and streets as if they were at a cattle drive. They wore their Saturday nights best, exposing as much of their bare bodies as their conscience would allow. Their heels offered them up like a stage, elevated as they walked, so onlookers could appraise their worth with sensually seasoned eyes. My thoughts muted as I observed the frenzy all around me.

We arrived at the front of the long line and the doorman did his usual inspection of fake ID’s. Our posse of girls passed the oral exam, where they were from, how old, height, weight, and we continued to the cash register where entry cover was collected. As it often happens, the girls didn’t bring cash. Convenient. Against my usual judgments, I decided to pay for them, whipping out some bills and motioning to the cashier that they were with me. They smiled for a moment, as if that was the appropriate response for such a favor, and ran inside. I got my hand stamped and followed their invisible trail.

The room was sultry and thick with moisture. The lights were pulsating, the music was heavy, pounding. I surveyed the crowd. The glistening corpus appeared soaking in sweat; their dermis drenched as their dithering bodies danced and gyrated. I felt an aversion, a maladjustment as my retina retained the wallowing waves of sybaritic splendor. I shouldered my way between the squirming masses of moist flesh. I observed females on all fours thrusting their asses into protruding pelvises. The men gripped these wantons at the waist and together they massaged their genitals back and forth, in rhythmic trance, with predictable pendulous motion. I felt hands grab my ass, women threw their arms around my neck and smiled salaciously, bearing their teeth in apelike submission, tugging for me to join in the contorted carousal. In the corner a midget stood slaking an over sized malt forty as he bobbed to the beat.

I felt removed. I couldn’t get into it. This ball of flesh. Soaking. Pure carnal desire, effete fantasies, reveling with a group of strangers, their soulless eyes emptied the room of any warmth.

Don’t think, I told myself. This is not the time to get cerebral, to make value judgments about the state of your fellow man. My thoughts traveled backward in time with celerity, recalling the events of the night, roaming over memories of weeks past and years beyond at light speed, until my perceptions unhinged from their consciousness, and that familiar nausea began bleeding into my awareness. That sickness, that strange friend, was freedom. And I asked myself how the culmination of my life’s choices led me to this moment. And suddenly I felt responsible. And the warmth returned.


Working Dreams

I’m looking forward to entering the workforce. Living by myself in a one bedroom apartment in some new city, working for a company who sets my goals and pays my bills, was exactly the dream I’ve been working so hard for. That’s a lie, actually. I haven’t actually been working that hard, and that was definitely never a dream of mine. Life’s easy when you believe in what you’re doing. What’s hard is doing what you don’t believe in. That’s the position I’m finding myself in now.

As a child I always wanted to be a ‘businessman’, the one with the sharp suit, slick tie, shiny shoes and silver watch.  I wanted to hold the leather briefcase, wear the million dollar smile, eyes gleaming with confidence, and walk into work knowing that my decisions that day would change the world. Of course, you don’t consider the years in between, the entry level positions, running yourself to the bone for someone else’s promotion. Nor do you imagine the lonesome tired nights spent standing at your apartment window, staring over the suburbs and city, searching memories for the last time you’ve shared an intimate experience outside the workplace. I didn’t exactly dream of the dinners by myself, the long commutes, the coworkers that I affectionately love and hate, because while I chose the job, I didn’t choose them. I didn’t think to conceive what it would be like starting over again in a new place, time and time again, and how it would feel to cultivate new friendships, new conversations and tastes, new social networks in alien cities with every new promotion and transfer. I didn’t choose them, and I didn’t choose my loneliness. I chose success, the harder work and longer hours, the lack of leisurely weekends.

So nice to see you! I pull my cheeks upwards and release a smile. We talk about their new job, about the company they’re so excited to work for, about their entry level position that they didn’t see themselves in, but now they love it. Now they love it, because the dreams they once had didn’t consider the dull reality that was waiting for them. Disappointment is hard to swallow.

We were told that our education, our hard work, makes us special, gives us a life of opportunity. Sometimes I believe it.


Lots of unrefined, undeveloped rambling:

I believe that oppression is man’s greatest asset. I believe that when man is not oppressed, he has no need to adapt, no need to grow and acheive and strive and thrive. I would say that oppression is the ultimate good. Since I can think of nothing pleasing about actively undergoing oppression, I would say that it is tantamount to suffering. But like suffering, oppression presents an opportunity to tap into previously unknown potentials in order to endure and survive.

What is oppression? More or less, it is “the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner”, or “the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety, etc.” If man is to live as a truly free and autonomous being, one can argue that there is no such thing as just authority and that all authority is a burden.

The etymology of oppression? Coined mid-14c., as “cruel or unjust use of power or authority,” from Fr. oppression (12c.), from L. oppressionem, noun of action from pp. stem of opprimere. Meaning “action of weighing on someone’s mind or spirits” is from late 14c.

Oppression is nothing more than demands. Demands are the effect of some initial cause. Demands instantiate voids to be filled, or requirements to be satisfied, with a response such as thought or action. Humans respond to these voids by exercising human ingenuity, innovation and invention. These responses exist as conceptualizations, systems, meanings, or structures where they inhabit the mind and manifest as through our action.

I believe that our efforts to escape from oppression, from physical or mental demands and the duress they may cause, provide us with the ultimate salvation by rescuing us from our previously cramped conceptions of human possibility and forcing us to expand our horizons of what it means to be fully human. When we commit to escaping oppression we commit to adapting, we commit to conceding outdated paradigms and belief systems for a novel, alternative perspective.

Where does oppression take place? It can occur to the mind and the body. I believe civilization has capitalized on the venture of oppressing the mind. Nature imposes its own form of oppression. Natural, or environmental, oppression, was much more of an issue in the past due to our failure to capture the nature of cause and effect as well as our frail ability to leverage physical laws to alter or overpower the course of physical phenomena. Throughout our evolution, however, we’ve managed to innovate and invent ways of overcoming the oppression of natural physical constraints.

Body and mind are inextricable, so that what oppresses the mind manifests simultaneously in the body, and what oppresses the body manifests simultanesouly in the mind. In this way, as man alleviates physical oppression, he simultaneously frees his mind. But where does that leave the mind?

All life wishes to not only survive, but thrive. Existence depends on ensuring a continuity. Life does not want equilibrium. Life wants the power to create its own equilibrium, to impose its own balance, its own demands, on the world.

The oppression that occurs in the mind originates from abstractions generated and perpetuated by culture, from power relations vying for authority and dominant influence.  What are these abstractions? They are belief systems, language, meaning, conceptions like truth and law, etc. What are these power relations? The forces generated by competition between opposing ideologies. These forces present themselves as the will, or the emotional driver reinforcing every form of action.

Culture is a conglomeration of these abstractions and power relations. Culture shapes and programs individuals with the systems of abstractions and relations necessary for navigating, acting and reacting, within the culture.

Culture produces individuals and these individuals produce new physical boundaries that expand or contract oppression.

Was man ever a blank slate? There was never a garden of eden. The first oppression was natural environmental oppression. Out of human’s adaptation arose social relations and ultimately oppression.

Does scarcity drive oppression? When there is plentitude, is man oppressed? Only when social oppression continues to persist.

Oppression forces you to make a choice between fighting to anhiliate and overpower the oppression or acquiescing the mind and body under its force. One is active, the other is passive.

Education is oppressive. This oppression, when actively overcome, is positive. When this oppression overcomes, it is negative.

What is value? What determines value? Does all value maintain an equivalent price? Is value determined by emotional attachment? Utility? One can say that anything that is useful possesses an emotional attachment, since our emotional reflexes arise from deep primal impulses to survive.

What is value? Clearly utility has something to do with it, but then again, hardly anything at all. One can agree that just about anything can be useful to someone at sometime, but not someone at just anytime or all the time. So value has something to do with utility. Is art valuable? It produces an emotional response that aids in your well being. Love is valuable because, in some other degree, it does the same.

Because we cannot use every useful thing all the time, we must consider how we use our time. In this way we establish a hierarchy of values that serve us according to the proportional time we spend in any given activity.

Some abstract, qualifiable values are information, experience, feelings, thoughts, and I’m sure the list goes on, but these seem to be the most basic.

More Time

‘To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour.’
— Robert Louis Stevenson

Sometimes people will look down on the wanderers, saying they have no direction. I laugh at these people. I would rather travel everywhere and arrive nowhere, than travel somewhere just to arrive there and there alone. How bland. I would rather my cup overflow with experience than fill it up once and savor it drop by drop while never knowing anything else.

Although, I can see how it cuts both ways. Direction is good. Arriving is good. What gets me is ‘settling’. Or thinking that there is one direction, one path, one way, that we deem best or best for us. We are infinite creatures. Thus, we are strangers to ourselves. Experience is the best mirror for showing us to ourselves. Better yet, experience that was unplanned, uncharted, unexpected, and- best of all- uncomfortable! Only then are we given the opportunity to grow- or whither if we choose to shirk.

There is no ‘arrive’. Let’s discard this notion. Success is the continual realization of a worthy ideal. Who said you need just one? Can’t I have many? I want them all! Too bad my time is limited. It forces me to make choices; or, more specifically, sacrifices. But choices are good. They are a reflection of our selves, our values: the culmination of past experiences that have shaped and molded my present being.

Reflexivity. Second-order cybernetics. Now that’s an interesting study.


So. There are about 7 billion people on this earth. How can you make a difference? How can you make change and lasting impact? I know not everyone wants these things, but I do. You have one life, ONE LIFE. Then you die. Sure, you can talk about afterlife and the like, but the bottom line is, we have one life. This life. What makes ours any more unique or worthwhile than the other billions of people? I don’t want to pursue the masses and their meek or grandiose delusions. God. It’s so damn easy to adopt the cultural imprints we’ve been handed. It requires no thought. We touch a flame, we get burned. We learn. We do something a certain way, we’re told that’s wrong. We learn. But why don’t people challenge their behaviors more often? blah. Same ol’, same ol’. There’s utility in doing what we’ve always done, I suppose. But I need to get deeper into this issue. Need to study Path Dependence.

“The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a wide-spread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible”
—Bertrand Russell

Tomorrow I’m gonna read and study and write a lot. I have a lot of thoughts that need hashing.

I have a pet peeve: People who don’t communicate well. More precisely, people who refuse to communicate and fail to seek mutual understanding or compromise through dialog. I guess we don’t really need to communicate to everyone about everything. We can pick and choose our battles.  But I guess I’m referring to the people with ego or pride issues. They refuse to compromise because it freightens the shit outta them. It’s like it reveals a chink in their egos armor, a devastating weakness that leaves them vulnerable. Drop the ego, dammit. Or, if you’re gonna keep it, be confident enough to retain a sense of self that doesn’t vaporize every time it’s challenged.

That’s the other thing: The best way to win an argument is to avoid it. The best way to win a fight is to choose fights you can win. You want to beat a competitor? Do it on your own terms, not on theirs. Look at all the successful companies and people in the world. They were revolutionary and they succeeded because of it. They were not successful because they beat someone at their own game. These people rarely get the same acclaim and recognition as someone who dictates their own battles and rules of the game. I think of apple. There are so many companies who can do what apple does, but apple did it first.  Or Microsoft, or GE, or any great company or philosopher or leader. You can’t very well be a leader in anything if you are pursuing a standard someone else set. You can’t beat them at their own game. Everyone else becomes a sad copy, a weak imitation, no matter how great or hard they try. BUT, it’s often the case that if you want to make your own rules you must first master the existing rules.


“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose.”
-Henry David Thoreau

I need to simplify! My thoughts, my goals, my life. And ELEVATE a purpose, make it the sole and central focus of my life!

Anything to Anyone

(Unfinished excerpt)

“…There’s a point in everyone’s life when they realize their talent. For some this occasion arrives sooner than later, but nevertheless it arrives. If you were to ask me how I it is I came to acquire this talent, I might begin by giving you a breezy account of my upbringing, of the tumultuous transitions that marked my meandering life; or I might start off with a detailed account of my fascination with self mastery; or I might illustrate the parental influences that indelibly pressed upon my conscious. Whatever story I end up telling is more myth than fact. It may serve to inspire you,  kindle your fascination with me, feed your imagination; in the end they all serve an act of false generosity. False in the sense that it is the very talent in question that renders these myths.

To say my talent is people would be a gross underestimate. The more accurate telling would capture something supernatural and transient. You see, I am amorphous. I have no character that stolidly weathers the winds of time and the tides of change. But I am much more than my nebulous nature. I am a mimicking mirror: reflective, to a greater or lesser degree, of your exacting desires. There are no constraints, no guidelines, no rules, no method to this madness. It is a poetic perversion, a pantomime of subtle revelations mixed with mystery and madness, and nothing regular.

I work out of curiosity, out of the competitive challenge of can’t. I overcome these hurdles by moving myself towards a suit of interests. And when interests cannot be uncovered, it is my job to sow them.

You see, I can be anything to anyone. But surely, you say, this is manipulation, a farce of fabricated facades. I may disagree with fabricated facades, for they are surely fabricated and surer still facades, but I am by no means manipulative. On the contrary, my interests lie in you and you alone. There is no one else I hold in higher esteem. Your well-being is my well-being.

My vocation may be untraditional, but it is nonetheless legitimate and requires respect. It is not easy being other people. It demands constant work and attention, for people and their tastes are always changing. Fickle people. Fickle and flaky, but nonetheless predictable. If you do the thinking for them, that is. People begged to be swooned, to be lulled into a comfortable complacency. Defenses are an exhausting expenditure if there is no threat to counter or reward to reap. These walls always come down in time. Persistence is the key. Persistence and planning. If success is to be secured, you must increase probability with planning. Memorizing the mechanistic behaviors of man is just half of it. You must understand context, conventions, values, motives. Where are they from? With who do they acquaint? How do they behave? What do they value? Why do they act? To understand these is to understand the harrowing heart.

First and foremost, keep their best interest in mind, always. This must never escape the attention of your work. To absolutely achieve this, you must deny the self. You have no self. Subjugate whatever ego that sits at the window of your consciousness. He must observe from a far, with patience in mind. Every action is calculated for its long term returns, not the short term satisfactions. In this way the ego must sit idle and wait. His opportunities to whittle a path come at night, in solitude, under deep reflection.

A smile is the most disarming gesture you can offer. Let it

When you are something to someone, you become them. Their desires must be sought as if they are your own. More accurately, they are your own.”


Advance Confidently in the Direction of Your Dreams

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favour in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
-Henry David Thoreau

The Rational & Intuitive Struggle

There are ages in which the rational man and the intuitive man stand side by side, the one in fear of intuition, the other with scorn for abstraction. The latter is just as irrational as the former is inartistic. They both desire to rule over life: the former, by knowing how to meet his principle needs by means of foresight, prudence, and regularity; the latter, by disregarding these needs and, as an “overjoyed hero,” counting as real only that life which has been disguised as illusion and beauty. -Friedrich Nietzsche

What is it about life that I just can’t get a grip on? Where is the consistency? Do I give life ground? Or does it just float, to and fro, out of reach? I’d like to say my life was whole, was coherent and clear, but that simply isn’t the case. I envy those with naive dreams. I long to be whisked away into ethereal imaginings, but that simply will not do.

What is nauseating is routine. What is terrible is the familiarity. It breeds boredom. The stale nature of permanence. Tradition. This is why I yearn for adventure, for chaos, for the unpredictable. I want the painful, the scary, the out of control. I don’t want to get a grip. The harder you squeeze, the more it escapes through your fingers.

I wish I could write about something important. I wish I could produce a novel insight that actually leaves me feeling inspired. I’m tired of talking about flames and fire and passion and mind and wit. Its stupid. I just want to wake up. Wake up forever. How do I shake myself out of it? Sadness, the despairing shadow that keeps in step, follows me. It lurks on the other side of the sunshine. How do I ignore its bleak contrast? It elucidates nothing. It gives depth, but it obscures and blurs.

What is important? I can’t figure it out. I can’t seem to see past the same old thoughts. My identity? It fluctuates. It is never regular. Not inside anyway. Success today? How about sadness? Deep? Trivial? Adventure? Security? Why oh why can’t I find a balance. Why can’t I ingest some illusions that allow me to transcend this skepticism?

Normally I’d find something wrong with this situation, but what criteria would I judge it by? I am not ‘sad’ per se. Nor am I ‘happy’. I am constantly overflowing, and this leaves me feeling incomplete. Why can’t I fit anything more into my world? Where is the color? I don’t know how else to describe it other than color. Color incites the senses. It is phenomenal. It actually moves you into a mood. Moods are powerful. Temporary as they are.

I think I know what my problem is. The will. My will. I have lost control of myself. My vision has faltered. My body has slowly settled. Settled with what? Demands. Expectations. Routine. It kills me inside. But I know these are permanent facets to life. I cannot escape them. School, work, whatever, the real world, they will persist and remain. I must learn to direct myself, master the sub conscious, and overcome the will.

Deciding is the issue. Having a self generated purpose seems so fabricated. I’d like some spiritual, transcendent calling. But why? Just so I can escape the responsibility of individuating my own being? Of declaring an original voice?

I’d like to wake up with a bolt of lightning. I want it to zap me and keep me charged all day and when night comes, I soar into open dreams.

There is something wrong with my thoughts. With my conception of self, of the identity. I don’t have to acknowledge everything. I am biased anyway. My current perspective is not whole. It is mostly lies. I don’t see the whole picture. In fact, I’ve got myself believing that there is a whole picture. There isn’t. Us humans can only indulge in slivers at a time. Our perspective is a simple slice of possibility. We need to flow from slice to slice accidentally, free forming our experiences from the vast material of the moment.

I need wonder. WONDER. SMILE & WONDER. Do I generate it? I also need justification. It provides a confidence in my intention. I need a strong intention. A wild imagination. I want to throw myself onto the world. At the world. With the world. I want to preserve what’s mine. I don’t want to become one with them.

I feel totally out of my mind. Something needs to give.


I have a tendency to sound sententious. Forgive me.

My generation, and all those proceeding mine, have me embarrassed. I have been born into a time and place where people are no longer hungry to survive, nor are they hungry to thrive. The great majority of my peers are no longer hungry. What scintilla of hunger remains is reserved for idleness. They are pathetic, passive, consumers, hungry for leisure and ease.

Daily I delve into a commotion circulating society, void of zest, void of passion, void of purpose.

Advertising, academics , entertainment, all woo the willful intellect into a lullaby, a deep slumbering recant.

Our lives are not our own. We have lost ourselves, our traditions, our roots, our history and heritage, to the media, to the experts. We are no longer fit to brave life’s excursions without a guiding figure. Uncharted territories exist in a space beyond us and our imagination. We are not fit for such adventure. So we suspend the will to live, forfeit the alms for something greater. Where bridges would be, we spend our lives building walls and cling to our emaciated dreams.

There is no personal history, no family, no origin. We are nationals, Americans, raised by television, the Internet, our schools, our jobs. Starved of new light, our conscience shirks in the penumbra. We are drones.

How do you wake up a nation cultivating and perpetuating its own poison? How do you lay claim to an intellect defined: circumscribed and standardized. What is will? what is freedom? Notions lost to the strong and gifted, a chance missed by all but a few.

In a word, Emerson said ‘A man is what he thinks about all day long.’

Given this description, what state do we find ourselves?

I talk to young minds who have never developed the ability to question. They never ask whether they are on the right path, whether their beliefs are toxic delusions, whether their behaviors and habits will reap negative consequences, or consequences at all.

What becomes of a man who does the minimum in school to get by, who watches TV in his free time, who absorbs societies prescriptions for his health, wealth, future, happiness? Four hours of TV a day? Six hours of TV? Never mind the trash, the propaganda, celebrated on television as glorified miscreants who are impoverished in spirit. Hours of mindless internet surfing? Playing mindless video-games that envelope the consciousness, sucking its attention into a digital world of no consequence?

What will become of our future leaders? Who will follow them? The zombie fascination is a prescient of our future condition.

TV, Mass media, even the beloved science community, has led us to believe a lie. Everywhere we move but rarely do we progress. We adorn our external lives with material fixtures that fade with the fads. Never to do we exercise reflection to look within, to ratiocinate about the barren pallid walls of our world, home to the human spirit, private to us. Instead we chain ourselves to the flux of the masses, the appeal and approval, and overlook the function, the utility of our laboring aims.

Time has become an inconvenience, not because we have so little time, but because we have too much.

I despise the corpulence, the venery, the stolid and dull, all foibles born out of the American malaise.

We need to grow radical. We need to act now, but within. Our fight should exist internally and should be waged endlessly in the name of freedom and imagination, of humanity.


I visited the doctor this afternoon. The psychiatrist.

We met for roughly an hour.

He was a gentlemen in his early fifties with an opinionated air to him. Dr. Chris White I believe. Approachable and easygoing, but always ready with a response.

I sat down in his office and, for the first time really, I began to consider why I chose to make this appointment. The obvious answer was medication for my distractability… a crutch to aid my attention. But as I sat there, I realized that simply handing over some IQ tests and explaining that I thought I was a candidate for medication wasn’t going to convince him to write a script.

Since I’ve come from a long history of psychiatric therapy and evaluations, I began weighing my options: I could manipulate him and play the role I knew would satisfy his clinical diagnostics, or I could be straightforward, transparent and honest about my history. I decided in a split second decision to let him into my life.

This is not without risk, however. I am painfully aware of a psychiatric system that is inherently flawed. It approaches humans as simply a sac of DNA that secretes neurotransmitters that contribute to our personality and mood. I disown this philosophy. Obviously they are aware of environmental and nurture factors, but genetics take center stage when chemical therapy is sought as the solution. I also knew how dangerous it is when doctors label you with these mental disorders. The reasons might be far removed from the reality, but they hold the MD so they decide. Its actually scary when you lose your rights and the ability to advocate for yourself because they told you what and who you are.

Anyway… I decided that I was safe at this point in my life. I had gone years without any sort of depressive relapse… or any severe mental relapse for that matter. I continue to succeed and am mentally at peace with myself and the world that I create using my thoughts. (Attribution theory and explanatory style is my modus operandi).

So I began… the story of my life… told soo many times. Starting with first grade… mentioning the suicides, the thirteen moves, the six elementary schools, two middle schools, and three high schools… along with my stint in home school. I went over my psychiatric history with doctors and over all the diagnosis I was labeled, and the medications I was prescribed. I talked about the oppressive and destructive relationship I held with my parents growing up. Then we got into a little of my most recent history with my revelations about life… my turnaround. Then we proceeded to recap in detail all the events… mutilation, suicide pacts, overdoses, substance abuse, moves and transitions, etc.

After an hour all we got through till about my senior year than had to call it. He told me to set up an appt in two days… and to bring back additional ADD testing… and if I was up for it any of my past medical history and documentation(and I’m probably not… cause I’d rather not having too much of this crap on a file… insurance reasons etc).

The doctor was an uppity doctor. He definitely exuded an air that said “I’ve got it figured out”. Throughout my retelling he would interject with an explanation as to why something turned out that way… sometimes I corrected him with additional information and my own explanation and he would appear thoughtful and say ‘Interesting”… other times I just nodded and agreed…mostly to boost his ego and build an receptive relationship. I’ve heard so much of their explanations that I could practically be a psychologist.

The whole time I was telling this story I was trying to imagine what exactly he must be thinking. I mean, if you heard my story you would think that I was clinically insane. Based on my adolescent history, there is no logical reason why I made it out of all that with my mind and emotions still intact. He was asking me if I was bipolar, depressed, or suffered any of that stuff… I stolidly replied no. Not in the slightest. I could tell he wasn’t convinced… he was fighting to believe it.

He was like… “its important that we talk about all this so I can help you… so if you have another depressive relapse I can set you up with the right doctors and get you help.”[sic]

My reaction was like… um… that is the farthest thing I could ever imagine. No way could I go back to that place. He, of course, reminded me that those with depression have a 50% chance of relapse. Although I didn’t say it, I was thinking “… that is impossible. I choose my world… it does not choose me.”. In the end I had to agree with him… i mean… there is a statistical chance that my whole family is tortured and dies a horrible death, and I am forced to watch, and I have to bear that burden for the rest of my life…. and even then I still believe I’d make it out alive. Other than that, I am not a victim of circumstance, my world, my past, my feelings. I choose thoughts… and they make up my world.

Anyway… It was sorta funny. He was extremely fascinated with my whole story… often pondering after one of my responses to his questions and responding with “Let me be selfish for a moment… and when I say selfish, I say that as a joke really, but let me be selfish and ask you a question…” and he’d ask some question to satisfy he personal curiosity.

I won’t lie, the last doctor I saw about medication simply wrote me a script 15 minutes after I introduced myself and told her my academic history with ADD. Probably illegal, or unethical, but I was happy. Expedient drugging.

Dr. White told me at the outset that pretty rigorous ADD testing is done to protect the phenotype…. or people who have are legitimately disposed to ADD. I was fine with that.


I’ve been mentally drained lately. I slept 15 hours yesterday… took a 4 hour nap today. I’ve been putting off all stress and shrinking from all academic pressure. I feel so confused. Confused in the sense that I’m at a loss. For words; for thoughts; for novel ideas. I feel empty. Like I’m lacking the necessary fuel to push me along. The fuel that helps me deduce my world and come to viable conclusions. I feel that all the knowledge I’ve gone out of my way to accumulate means nothing. Other times I feel that this isn’t the case. The optimistic side of me starts to speak up, telling me that everything I take into my senses, if I really took it in and it meant something to me, is still in there. Its in my brain somewhere, just waiting to come out. I just need the right stimulation. The right environment, or challenging problem to rub me the right way so my neurons can fire off and recall all that ‘knowledge’. I don’t know why I get so caught up in knowledge. I want wisdom. Knowledge comes and goes. Wisdom is what makes this world keep going. Its what to do with knowledge. Knowledge is just about equivalent with information. Its just stuff to recall and do. Wisdom. For some reason it rings divine. I feel that wisdom inspires and magnetizes. It draws people in and points you in the right direction. Its apart of your character.


Need to go to bed. Busy day tomorrow. I can feel the pressures of life… i feel like they’re beating on the windows of reality. I can hear them far off in the distance, like a roaring zombie mob. I just ignore it. I feel so cool. Collected. Calm. I know that I will be great. I need to push on. I feel reinvigorated. Life is taking on a new form.

I don’t even think when I type. I don’t know what the hell comes out of these fingers half the time. I have a judicial hearing tomorrow. Spooky. With the big dogs. Hoping that nothing will come of it. Petty petty stuff. Responsibility calls. Consequences await. Bed!

Meaningless Existence

Do the laws of the universe create life? Do the forces that act on all matter inevitably lead to reactions causing organization that begets more organization? And begets organization to the point where the molecules begin to question themselves and their intent? Organized states of matter drawing from the universe around them that produce something out of nothing? Ideas? Truth? Philosophical concepts and laws to live and govern by? I would rather say we are gods. If we are not, we are made in God likeness. A consciousness exists within us that is more than the resulting whole we’re composed of. If we were solely matter, we would be no more relevant in the scheme of time than dust in the wind. Our experiences would be lies. Lies would be lies. There would be no right or wrong. The evolutionary reaction would persist until it fizzles out. All of these thoughts, however personal we make them, attached with sentimental penchants to make it worth understanding, are nothing. Do not convince yourself they are more than the reality you accept them to be. You swallow lies if you think you are worth more than the ashes that construct and guide these inclinations. If there is no real meaning to life, and everything is meaningless- aside from the lie you’re convinced it to be- than knowing this is meaningless. Getting to the bottom of anything, the truth about something, knowing everything- is pointless. You will not be any better off.

I suppose people, once they’re convinced that there is no origin, no God or purpose or real plan, they can begin to make life whatever they want it to be. They are masters of their fate. The opportunity chance has given them allows them to be a god for a brief moment in time. They infuse their decisions with the illusion of meaning, deciding and believing in a fabricated existence. They declare their own laws and morals and philosophies to be paramount to anyone around them. Even if they’re tolerant, they’ve arrived at the conclusion that everyone can believe whatever they want because there is no meaning, and they are right because they believe it to be so. This is called existentialism. This is the current state mankind has found for itself. Because there is no truth, and all is relative, everything is debatable. True meaning is vapid.

Is there a God? If he is, why are we separated from him? If all that is can be measured and calculated before our eyes, where is this God? What is love? What is faith? What is honesty? What is truth? What is compassion? What is empathy? What is kindness? What is a will? Are they mere reactions? behaviors? patterns? How can these things be measured? Is right and wrong measurable by a definite scale? If not, why do be place faith in such things as hope?

If God is real, why would he allow people to suffer? Is it his will we suffer or, like a father’s love for his child, does his heart break to see us struggle? Does he pain and weep when he sees us scrape by in life, accepting pathetic answers for help instead of looking to him? Does he want to know us? Does he even care? Did he make us for the insignificant novelty of it all? Little beings hurting, hurting others, suffering to survive, questioning life and existing, crawling through life on their hands and knees to spread themselves over as much material or immaterial gains as possible, only to find themselves on their deathbed with the cold reality that it was all for nothing. The suffering, the joy, the relationships, were for nothing, and they slip into oblivion. Or do they find themselves in other place, confronted with answers to the questions? Are they blinded by the radiating perfection of a just God who they’ve reserved as an afterthought? Does this God accept them to a place they never wished to seek? Does a door open to those who don’t knock? Is there a place where a relationship with a perfect God exists? A God who you never desired to look for or know? Where would a perfect justice place the blame? On God or us?

Is Life Really What They Say It Is? Life or Bleak Beginnings.

Ebbing and flowing. I stare off, too encumbered to think anymore than necessary. I don’t need to question why, although I spend all day thinking about the answer.

Do I have to lie to myself to get by each day? Is life really what they say it is? Meaningless and void. My personality, my will, all a product of evolution. I am not me, I do not have free will, I am the result of unbelievable chance. Matter in the universe totally coincidentally organized to a place that is now my current condition. My thoughts are not mine. I am merely matter that has evolved. I am the result of chance reactions. I can lie to myself to instill meaning behind my actions that lead to my circumstances and the current circumstances that man has faced throughout history… but it’s a lie. Me thinking it’s a lie is meaningless. Knowing anything is meaningless. Why do I say this? If this life is how they say it is, a freak evolution in the course of time, defying all odds- but maybe not- or anything that would cause matter to stray in disarray, what is the point? Who I am? What I am doing here? Is it enough to accept that by chance we arrived to a point where we dissect the very fragments of space and time we’re composed of? We turn and pry and poke at matter and energy and calculate predictions with Godlike accuracy. If we are just matter… where is it in the laws of nature or the evolutionary scope of man that he questions what he is? Does a rock question its origins? Do we, composed of trillions of seemingly innate molecules, as more organized states of matter, have any greater place in space and time? If my thoughts are motivated by mere molecules simply happening by chance, programmed to respond from a long line of genetic codes that have been constantly victimized and molded by chance circumstances and mutations, am I void of a will? Do I even have a choice?

Recently I’ve been trying to entertain the idea that there is no God. This concept is so foreign to my inner being that when I look for reasons to do something, apart from knowing there is a purpose and a plan and perfection behind it, everything is for nothing. Lies? What is reality? Who can prove it to me, or themselves, any more than what they are willing to accept? I cannot run from the reality I swim in every day that needs answers.

Why does man create? It’s not for survival. You don’t need to create to survive. You need to do whatever you can, but you certainly don’t need to create. Why paint? Why build monuments? Why is man so hungry for power?

I look around and I see meaningless. I see people who are sick of the lies they swallowed. Everyone thinks they’re going somewhere. That they have it figured out. They need to in order to move on. But is anyone any closer to substantial understanding? People accept delusions, deceive themselves by settling for cheap answers, and continue delve into this world of matter and molecules that we create as a playground for itself. We are the molecules organizing molecules. For what purpose? There is none. We are a bubbling, frothing, chance reaction of minuscule matter in the universe that’s miraculously persisted to churn on. Somehow the random and unorganized matter managed to find a way to organize, and produce more organization, and even predict patterns of organization and devise ways to see into itself and ask about the origins of itself, only to arrive at the conclusion it was all a random chance. The fact that order exists at all amazes me. Laws?

Do the laws of the universe create life? Do the forces that act on all matter inevitably lead to reactions causing organization that begets more organization? And begets organization to the point where the molecules begin to question themselves and their intent? Organized states of matter drawing from the universe around them that produce something out of nothing?

Do I have a soul? Is that what resides within me?

Do the laws of the universe create life? Do the forces that act on all matter inevitably lead to reactions causing organization that begets more organization? And begets organization to the point where the molecules begin to question themselves and their intent? Organized states of matter drawing from the universe around them that produce something out of nothing? Ideas? Truth? Philosophical concepts and laws to live and govern by? I would rather say we are gods. If we are not, we are made in God likeness. A consciousness exists within us that is more than the resulting whole we’re composed of. If we were solely matter, we would be no more relevant in the scheme of time than dust in the wind. Our experiences would be lies. Lies would be lies. There would be no right or wrong. The evolutionary reaction would persist until it fizzles out. All of these thoughts, however personal we make them, attached with sentimental penchants to make it worth understanding, are nothing. Do not convince yourself they are more than the reality you accept them to be. You swallow lies if you think you are worth more than the ashes that construct and guide these inclinations. If there is no real meaning to life, and everything is meaningless- aside from the lie you’re convinced it to be- than knowing this is meaningless. Getting to the bottom of anything, the truth about something, knowing everything- is pointless. You will not be any better off.

I suppose people, once they’re convinced that there is no origin, no God or purpose or real plan, they can begin to make life whatever they want it to be. They are masters of their fate. The opportunity chance has given them allows them to be a god for a brief moment in time. They infuse their decisions with the illusion of meaning, deciding and believing in a fabricated existence. They declare their own laws and morals and philosophies to be paramount to anyone around them. Even if they’re tolerant, they’ve arrived at the conclusion that everyone can believe whatever they want because there is no meaning, and they are right because they believe it to be so. This is called existentialism. This is the current state mankind has found for itself. Because there is no truth, and all is relative, everything is debatable. True meaning is vapid.

Is there a God? If he is, why are we separated from him? If all that is can be measured and calculated before our eyes, where is this God? What is love? What is faith? What is honesty? What is truth? What is compassion? What is empathy? What is kindness? What is a will? Are they mere reactions? behaviors? patterns? How can these things be measured? Is right and wrong measurable by a definite scale? If not, why do be place faith in such things as hope?

If God is real, why would he allow people to suffer? Is it his will we suffer or, like a father’s love for his child, does his heart break to see us struggle? Does he pain and weep when he sees us scrape by in life, accepting pathetic answers for help instead of looking to him? Does he want to know us? Does he even care? Did he make us for the insignificant novelty of it all? Little beings hurting, hurting others, suffering to survive, questioning life and existing, crawling through life on their hands and knees to spread themselves over as much material or immaterial gains as possible, only to find themselves on their deathbed with the cold reality that it was all for nothing. The suffering, the joy, the relationships, were for nothing, and they slip into oblivion. Or do they find themselves in other place, confronted with answers to the questions? Are they blinded by the radiating perfection of a just God who they’ve reserved as an afterthought? Does this God accept them to a place they never wished to seek? Does a door open to those who don’t knock? Is there a place where a relationship with a perfect God exists? A God who you never desired to look for or know? Where would a perfect justice place the blame? On God or us?

learning to live.

everyday I’m learning to live. It’s no wonder I feel so inadequate from day to day. At the moment I’m trying to flush some imagination into my life. I have trouble dealing with doubt and fear of the unknown. This is why I read and explore and yearn experience. I find myself too serious. Whats the other alternative? I suppose balance is a good thing, and recognizing when to do what. I have an open mind that always me to see as far ahead as I’m willing to delve, but it ends there. There is no deviation that allows me to surprise myself with serendipitous happenings. Whenever I talk to myself I’m reminded of how much more there is to learn about life, what I want, what I need to give, and what’s rightfully mine to claim.


Where ever you go in life there will always be those defining moments with those defining people. I suppose you seek them out and allow the the definition to take place when you’re most comfortable. I can also imagine a willingness to forget a place and time that’s uncomfortable or possibly painful, with the hope that you might be able to escape the grasps of regret. What’s sad is, if you never deal with with those moments, you’re left with a big hole in your heart. Who are you if you aren’t all there?

It’s 1:43pm

Here I am. In the library. My heart is definitely in my chest. I can feel it surge to the top of my throat, ebbing and flowing with feelings as I search for meaning within myself. 

I feel routine. I want novelty. I was laying in bed last night, eyes open and locked on the ceiling, thinking about my life. When you recognize you are in control, and you ask yourself what you want, and you don’t know, or you’re doing everything you can pretty much ask of yourself, what can you do? Where does that leave you?

I’m writing a paper on a radical environmentalist. Correction: I’m suppose to be writing a paper on a radical environmentalist. Instead, I’m typing away, trying my best to allow some thoughts to escape as a means to relieve the pressure within my head.


Last night, I was in my bed, thinking many thoughts about matters of significant value in my life, yet these thoughts, that seemed so valuable, failed to lead me to any answers. No. I refuse to acknowledge my faulty perspective. The truth is, I was tired, slightly burnt from typing non-stop throughout the day, and my mind wanted rest.

Do you ever feel that you sometimes lack the working material to craft new ideas? I suppose that’s what they call inspiration. Where do we look for this inspiration? Where do we gather the material that usually seems to be right beneath our noses?


Snow hills, steep and slippery. The walkways are platted in a brown slush. I skip over the puddles of mud and ice, walking with my head down. Some days I look up and smile at a passerby. I like smiling. I like smiling with my eyes. It makes them smile. People know that which is real. Today I look down at the puddles. The trees are frosted with a light snowy powder. Chimney’s breath gentle clouds of steam high into the air. The sky matches the dull look in my eye, gray and lifeless.


Be the change you see in the world.

I had a good night tonight. I can barely feel my fingers as I type this out. Later than expected, I found myself wondering if I could manage the colossal mountain of work I’d been over dramatizing in my head. I found myself doing my best to catch up on sleep throughout the day. Minutes and hours here and there. Nothing too worthy to be called a recovery. Eventually I found myself eager to change what was starting to become a daily routine of ideal wishing.  I sat there at dinner and talked of motivation with other desperate bodies longing for some kind of intangible compulsory that would inspire them.  I felt a rush of invigoration and began talking with a tone of hope. Dreams and aspirations… the people that I live amongst. The people inhabiting the world. The vast majority. What do they think it takes to be successful? To exist in ideal circumstances? Everyone has their own conception of what that is of course, but I find it pretty sad when they attribute the magnificent powers of success to factors outside their control. How depressing. They scrounge and crawl to these dreams. What kind of dream is that? Where crawling and feeble begging and lost hope intertwine all together as a means to fulfill the desires residing in the depths of their soul? I call it soul. Its whatever you are deep inside- Who you are. What’s sad is the lack of faith. They contain the power they long to feel. It resides in them, untapped. Like a spring waiting to give life to all who put the energy to dig deep enough. So sad.
So I sat there this evening, dwelling with ever flowing surges and waves of thought. I refused to drown in my own state of helplessness. I decided to remind myself, and anyone that would listen, of our potential; using words that could penetrate their weak excuses for a state anything less than ideal. Perfect is my state. I began talking about faith. Not hope. Beyond hope. Hoping is wishing for circumstances that are beyond your our immediate control.  That’s another excuse to lay back and be victimized. Everything it takes to be successful resides within you. You have what it takes. You don’t have to wish or hope any longer. No more sadness. No more waiting for better days.
I talked. They listened with eagerness. “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”(Emerson).  Whom we always wanted to be. My desire is to provide a sliver of inspiration that induces motivation.
I talked and their eyes became fixated on words that transcended their immediate listening and penetrated their hearts; to a place where they dwelt where they were alone, where they wished someone would provide the comfort of an idea they could believe would rescue them. A breath of hope that blows gently on the embers of their desires so they could see the flames that give the light they need to travel on, far beyond the shadows of doubt.
I want to offer that as much as I want to hear it. I talked. They listened. They heard what I said. Human experience is something far more powerful than any book; than any of the scholarly text that lead us to believe this or that. Scholarly writings only exist to confirm universal human experiences. When you haven’t experienced, you cannot take the words of another without leading yourself into a realm where you have no agency of understanding. You are blind and grabbing at abstracts. The words of human experience resonate deep and wide and can be universally translated even through the gaze of the eyes. They hit you deep and you understand.
As I exchanged these words of penetration I myself began to realize what I often neglect as relevant human experience. How foolish. We know the answers yet we struggle to find the strength to believe in them, even when they lay within our reach.

I went out tonight. I found myself churning through pages and pages of essays. One by one I flipped the pages of readings, gently tapping away at my keyboard with every insight I overturned. I managed to produce a four page research paper in a matter of no more than four hours. I was pleased with my work and debated the possibilities of exploring some social activities this evening. My intentional better half longed to finish all the homework scheduled for the lengthy weekend ahead, but my wise yet understanding social half decided otherwise. I would make a phone call to casually inquire about any nightly activities ahead. I struck fortune and no longer than an hour later I found myself laughing and conversing with other jubilant comrades who were just as thrilled as I.  The temperature dropped well below freezing. My estimations lead me to believe we hung out in a range far below negative fifteen degrees. Maybe single digits. It didn’t matter though. Valentine whiskey, Budweiser and Coors light beer? Any combination calls for a party. And we did.
A wonderful array of personalities collided into a beautiful hum of snickers and hugs and pictures and smiles. It was nice. Relationships blossomed and a strange comforting security swept over the usual anxiety.

I had a good time. it was cold. It was pretty much equivalent  to anything you’d encounter in anything north of 50deg latitude. I felt like an Eskimo. It was good though. There were a lot of people I was glad to talk to for a change. A lot of people i hadn’t had the chance to converse in serious dialog with.

All day tomorrow is homework and study day. Accounting and English. 🙂

Divinity tonight

Life is interesting. You control the very reality you live in. If you don’t think so- that’s because you’ve led yourself to believe that. YOU need faith- faith in something above yourself- and you can do anything and be anything.

It’s amazing how so many people can relate to life’s certain hardships, whether it be mentally or emotionally or physically. I talk to people, tell them my ordeals and struggles, and it strikes a familiar chord within their soul that vibrates in unison with mine. We connect and share and explore the struggle together. It’s different, vastly different, yet so universally translatable.

I went to a concert tonight, went to a few bars, talked with a few people. It was a good time. I love lovin life. I love bein all over the place, nothing inhibiting the positive feelings of genuine love for random people. I don’t care what they look or talk like, I like them if they can smile with their mouth and their eyes.

I am totally stoked off the two weeks left of school. I’m all about studying. I feel like an awesome nerd. Study, study, study.

I’m trying to get another band to perform at the first concert this college has ever had on campus in February. We’ll see how it goes.

I studies alot today. I actually thought alot more than I studied. I’m very happy with my progress, but I wish I did alot more than I thought. I love thinking, but I like doing more. I drew up alot of goals and organized alot of thoughts and plans which is great. I can implement them tomorrow. Two papers to finish. One Exam. One Project. One thematic synopsis.

I like feeling convicted of certain things. I know that truth will shine through every time. Like gold. Truth is constant, unchanging, reliable, functional, genuine, and always there when you look for it. It’s just about knowing truth. Examining what works. If it works, no matter how crappy you implemented it, there is a hint of truth to it. Somewhere.  You just need the desire to search for it, and desire to seek truth, and have faith that truth is what you’re looking for. Really believing that it is an genuine and fulfilling as you imagine it to be and it really it.