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).

The Nature of Artists

It’s been a long while since I’ve read a passage that resonates with my soul as powerfully as this passage does:

But fortunately, artists do not have to be morally admirable people. All that matters is that they create great art. If his own art is to come out of the more contemptible side of himself, so be it. Flowers grow best on dung heaps, as Shakespeare never tires of saying. Even Henry Miller, who presents himself as a straightforward fellow, ready to make love to any woman no matter her shape or size, probably has a dark side which he is prudent enough to conceal.

Normal people find it hard to be bad. Normal people, when they feel badness flare up within them, drink, swear, commit violence. Badness is to them like a fever: they want it out of their system, they want to go back to being normal. But artists have to live with their fever, whatever its nature, good or bad. The fever is what makes them artists; the fever must be kept alive. That is why artist can never be wholly present to the world; one eye has always to be turned inward. As for women who flock after artists, they cannot wholly be trusted. For just as the spirit of the artist is both flame and fever, so the woman who yearns to be licked by tongues of flame will at the same time do her best to quench the fever and bring down the artist to common ground. Therefore women have to be resisted even when they are loved. They cannot be allowed close enough to the flame to nip it out.

—YOUTH, by J. M. Coetzee

White Nights

“I am a dreamer. I know so little of real life that I just can’t help re-living such moments as these in my dreams, for such moments are something I have very rarely experienced. I am going to dream about you the whole night, the whole week, the whole year. I feel I know you so well that I couldn’t have known you better if we’d been friends for twenty years. You won’t fail me, will you? Only two minutes, and you’ve made me happy forever. Yes, happy. Who knows, perhaps you’ve reconciled me with myself, resolved all my doubts.

When I woke up it seemed to me that some snatch of a tune I had known for a long time, I had heard somewhere before but had forgotten, a melody of great sweetness, was coming back to me now. It seemed to me that it had been trying to emerge from my soul all my life, and only now-

If and when you fall in love, may you be happy with her. I don’t need to wish her anything, for she’ll be happy with you. May your sky always be clear, may your dear smile always be bright and happy, and may you be for ever blessed for that moment of bliss and happiness which you gave to another lonely and grateful heart. Isn’t such a moment sufficient for the whole of one’s life?”

– Fyodor Dostoyevsky; White Nights


“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Last week I ran an errand for the office to deliver some time-sheets to the medical payroll office. My director told me to make sure they were time stamped before I submitted them. When I arrived, there was no one at the window so I was a little confused as to how to do this. I lingered for a moment, trying to figure out what she meant by time-stamping. The next moment a girl walked up with a stack of envelopes. With my attention was elsewhere, I watched as she began processing her documents. I casually asked her if she knew how to time-stamp a time sheet. She showed me with thoughtful instruction and I proceeded to process and submit the time sheets before walking away. As I walked, my thoughts returned and it struck me: that girl was breathtaking. Although I didn’t take time to appreciate it in my busied state, her beauty was instantly apparent the moment I looked into her eyes. I walked down the hall and reflected. Beauty moves. It tugs at something deep inside you. Whether it’s art, nature, complexity or simplicity, it transports you to a better place. Her physiognomy held a child like innocence. Her blonde hair was wispy and pure, streaming and sun kissed. She was tall, but not overwhelmingly so. There was a delicacy in her figure, womanly yet youthful. Her eyes seemed to capture the simplicity of life. As I was reflecting, I felt compelled to do something, to obey those unwieldy passions. Her presence incited an irrational passion within me. I wanted to recapture that. I had the urge to turn, walk up to her with a decisive confidence, and ask for her name. I wanted to revel in another moment of her presence and ask if she was free that evening for dinner. While my reserved judgement told me to tame such responses, my youthful zeal demanded that I act now, that the opportunities of love beg not to be overlooked. Hume said that reason must be a slave to the passions. Since when did I begin believing otherwise?

As I walked, I continued to think about our exchange. I held her image in mind and let the pleasant and uplifting emotions it generated pour over me. I told myself that I would see her again, that I would not forget such a face and that I would work to find her again. I believe, and life has taught me truly, that we attract what we think about. I know from experience that what the heart desires most, if we act honestly, it attains. As predicted, I did find her again.

I write this because it’s not often that a girl has this kind of affect on me. I admit that there are many beautiful girls out there, but it’s rare that I’m left with a longing that lingers after such an encounter.

quick post

I’m not happy with my lack of journaling lately. In fact, I’m not happy with my current all around lack of reflection. I have much homework and studying and so little time and energy to get it done. Here’s my brief update:

Tomorrow marks the third week of school. I’m taking 17 credit hours, working roughly 15 hours a week, developing a KLICK project that focuses on researching social entrepreneurship in third world countries, participating in Alternative Spring Break (ASB, community service work during spring break that includes service work and training throughout the semester), and I am pledging a fraternity- zeta beta tau.

That brings me to my next point. I have no life. Why? Well, I wasn’t planning on pledging and now that I am, my expectations and demands have skyrocketed. I have class or work from 8-330ish everyday. From 4-6 we clean the zbt house, 6-7 we eat together as a pledge class, 7-10 we have mandatory study hours, 10-12 we get hazed. We have to memorize copious amounts of information, not to mention running errands all day every day.


My classes are enjoyable so far… I suppose. I haven’t been spending as much time as I would like. I should be journaling every night. I need to practice better time management. By the end of the week I am completely exhausted- mentally, physically and emotionally. Why am I pledging you say?

Because at Vanderbilt, 50% of the school is greek, and if you aren’t involved, you are deprived access to those networks, relationships, and exposure. In reality the greek scene dominates the school. If you would like a social experience on any level beyond studying with a group of friends, getting wasted with hall mates, attending sports or theatrical events on campus, then the greek scene is your only avenue. It could be argued, of course, but I’m being realistic. The pain in the ass, however, is this bullshit 8-10 week pledging period where 19-21 year olds bitch me around because I’m a “pledge” or “New bitch”. Its all a game to me, really. And I know how to play games extremely well. When I say game, I mean its learning to abide by the myriad of social expectations and pressures until you are received as having a genuine and legitimate place as a “brother”. Initiation, whatever you wanna call it, is really a tradition of retribution passed down to each new pledge class, all in the name of brotherhood. I had no idea it would be so serious. And painful. And a pain in the ass. I figured we just worked and ran errands. Getting hazed by a bunch of kids younger than me is just a humbling pain in the ass.

I like to evaluate it as a psychological experiment. I’m not one of the 18 year old freshman in my pledge class desperately willing to perform fellatio for friends, booze, and women. I’m a 23 year old recovered addict who has indulged in more debacle and bacchanal gratifications than these kids will ever see in college. While they’re participating in the stereotypical greek life, doing the best they can to live up to the illusory images of what greek living should look like, I have run out of inspiration for such things. While kids were doing this in college with responsibilities, i was doing this as a bum, with no responsibilities. I could have a hangover for a month straight, getting high morning, noon, and night. There was no reason to preserve my brain cells. I took it to the extreme and I know what it leads to. Most of these children haven’t a clue. They manage to juggle academics and the occasional community service hours and boast about their valiant contributions as a member of the Vanderbilt community. That being said, the more I spend time with these kids, the more I love to appreciate them. All the seniors are a year or more younger than me. They have their cool card, checked out from the silly ‘sophomore’ activities of their past. They’re beyond that now, too cool. I laugh at myself because, shit, that’s what I do.

I have so much to say right now. About social animals. About people and how they function. Learning their ticks.

I will tell you something beyond value. We humans love people who make us feel good. Period. If you can do that through a smile, through genuine compliments (because we all know what is bullshit and manipulation and what isn’t… timeliness, accuracy, whether we think its true, whether that person has a stake in gaining your approval), or simply by your association. That last one always sticks out in my mind. If you exemplify the traits and characteristics that people admire and value in life, or simply think are cool and worthy, then simply your association with that person adds value to their life. Most people don’t come out and tell you they think highly of you, so you need to be keen to watch for their interest, otherwise they might grow resentful that you don’t give them the time or day. When this happens they put up walls. They get defensive. You need to make people feel good, feel that when they are around you their life has improved for that moment or simply thereafter. If you can do this, people will gravitate and orbit around you.

Anyway. I have much work I need to finish. I should write more often. I will write more often.

oh yea…. ohh yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

oh yea…. ohh yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
so yea. Ive been chillin. no school. yea. no school. no college? yea. fuck that. I dont have the money right now- NOR do i have any clue as to what i want to do with my life. Im not gonna go to college just to “party it up” cause really ive already done shitloads of that. Why didnt i jump on the bandwagon and go to college like every other teen. well honestly-and if you were one of those people that jumped from highschool to college, thats great. godspeed and many blessings.- but im really not like any other teen. Oh wait. You didnt wanna go cuase you werent smart enough. Thats it. ok. I can do whatever the hell i wanna do. I can get whatever grades i wanna get. I can excel when i want to or i can not give a shit and just not care. Does this mean im not capable. um.. fuck that. I never wanted a generic lifestyle. I never want an ordinary life. I want to squeeze every bit of experience i can get out of it while im alive. I just moved to florida. i want to chill the hell out. I am smart. i do know what is going on in my life and the world. moreso than alot of people. So im chillin in my free time. guitar and reading . Im also working full time like slave and im glad like . Im saving money. I really wanna chill and get my priorities straight. And you know what? its working. I can go to school whenever i want. am i justifying the situation im in? fuck yea.

I want to travel. My goal is to save enough- and go to europe for…awhile. maybe go to school there. I dont know. I really dont know. I plan on interning at a realtors office, while getting my realtors license. make more money. but the possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005, 2:52 PM



Im sitting next to dead air while there is a garden of life outside my window. With this wooden chair sapping the life out of my body, i ask myself how much longer ill live. Ill walk and rub my face into the the wind. Skipping the cracks that divide my steps and grabbing onto passing trees. Humming myself a melody and look toward the setting sun- green lawnchairs are great for resting i mumbled. i found that lying in wet grass is more comforting than most feeble arms.

10:35 AM