A Lot to Be Me: Solitary Jules, UN Spaz Cadet

I am a product of the culture. Of the times too, but I feel like I’m times two – extra learnt, so I stay extra turnt – RIP turntable.fm: that was a really blessed online space, where I had room to explore and just be me, drinking alone with a lot of other strangers, many who were doing the same, taking turns playing songs, for the room / genre theme we were in. And anybody could create their own room… yeah… tech spaces are a big hard on for me. I taught myself to code, and spent a decade doing so, during which I learned myself in User-Experience, analytics, marketing, a bunch of other shit. My friend Danilo, whom I worked with, at his and Mark’s company, Blue SEO, in Santa Monica – anywho, Danilo – love him – anyway, Danilo told me I was a unicorn. If only I knew how much of a unicorn I really was to be back then.

I spent a lot of time thinking I was stupid, or, rather, just that institutionally educated persons were the smart set, and maybe, I, one day, would be there – if I took the path they did. Then – maybe a year or two ago – I may have been tripping when I first realized it, but I basically came to the realization that I was not stupid [“They looked at me like I was stupid, I’M NOT STUPID”. – ughhh, love, love, love the Hamilton soundtrack – never even seen it – but the soundtrack is a part of me]. Anywho, I am not writing this to butter my own bread – haha yea right, all I do is fucking stunt and go dumb for fun – but as much as I love them, may I never sound like David Foster Wallace, though, I do all the damn time – also ,on my Jekyll and Hyde, Fight Club is a fucking lit film – I relate to that shit hard). So, I realized I was not stupid, and that all those years of my insatie curiosity – Cloud Atlas, that film – I realized that all my years of passionate curiosity and reading, from being the kid who spent every lunch in school in the library alone – always in books that dealt with the oceans, journeys, pirates [bigfuckingmoodofmine.exe] – to growing up and living this life that only in my wildest dreams could I have written – I realized that it all was adding up to some really dope shit. Because I don’t give a fuck abt IQ – you won’t find me in no nerd society, just the higghhh society thepercocetandstripperjoint.mp3; goddamn I love Future. Truly from Pluto. Catch me on Jupiter. If you know the mythology, you know where I stand in my mythical family tree. Bish.

AORIO. I been prescient like I’m pre-sent; know what life’s about: health in the present.

But yeah, Future – the rapper – is a really special person to me. ‘High Off Life’ is an incredible album – I be on my shit, devil emoji. And I’m not going to stand here and pretend I don’t know I’m smart. I figured out that much. And this didn’t come from privilege – and I won’t lie to you and say it came from hard work, some did – yeah – been working since I was twelve – and I worked myself to death the past decade – but the real smarts came from play, from consuming culture. As a teen, I worked at the two dope AF record shops in town. Shout out old beachfront Taaang records, and The Garage – that guy was really cool abt me crashing his car when I was hella underage – but, in my defense, IDGAF. I was trying to get laid. Drove bad. But, yeah, just, music. My all. 

My parents fucked up just about everything – they had it tough, and they didn’t make it any easier for themselves by loving one another – but they did let me sing – bless the neighbors, and The Strokes, and The Doors. My music love and play goes back to my childhood. Hope my mom has the photo of me in those ripped jeans, holding a microphone attached to a cheap keyboard.

I don’t praise my senses enough – but lord do I spoil them. Just, grateful for music. It has been a major part of my education, and my being. I love the new shit. Shout Dababy, Lil Baby, these two gentlemen have been bros to me via their voices. Energy. Black energy is really sacred and powerful to me. Black people were raising me, in my headphones, helping me see my situation in an empathetic light, when I had no one giving me empathy, or even attention. But damn, how I wanted a No Limit Records tank chain. Still do. Goals. Musically, I time travel. The other night I was going hard to Wu’s Triumph, and a bunch of Makaveli – Don Killuminati. Goddamn Pac was bright AF. Love love. Patron saint of real ones everywhere. I got angel wings on my whole damn team. We mainey. And far as I see it, if you got good energy – and I ain’t talking about moral good – I’m talking about a wavelength wherein ethical shit matters, morals can all get fucked. I’m very much a free person, for a free society. I came out from beneath this collective shadow – and my personal shadow too, and I am pretty much liberated from the confines of guilt, shame, taboo. I don’t do harm. I am not malevolent. But I’m no fake. I love my dark side. It’s the healthiest, funnest, most devilishly evil yet purely innocent dark side I could ever imagine. Like a grown up child’s. But I’ve long related to the loneliness in being negatively projected on. Looking around at America right now, a lot of us are starting to see that Jesus is perhaps the problematic one in our culture. Just maybe worshipping a white man isn’t a great idea…

Just dropping some tracks I’m listening to as I write this. Pausing for some cannabis. Never not high (Future). So glad I bought a Hookah from that incredible Middle Eastern shop. I will be back there. But what a day that was when I went there. Some stories I will just never tell because having my own intel allows me to own a mona lisa smile, with a salt bae pinch of ben franklin’s unfuckwithable smirk on the hundred thrown in for good measure.

Good fucking god do we need Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color on our money. Also: WOMEN. Look, I’m a fan of a lot of dead white men – from Steinbeck, to Jack London, to Victor Hugo, Jung, Emerson, Victor Frankl, Solzhenitsyn… jus, this is a time to tear down monuments. I forget which writer said it, but ‘the second job of every writer is to create new myths, the first job is to destroy old myths’. I paraphrased it inelegantly, and I would probably say ‘deconstruct’ rather than destroy, but I’ll tell you, I fucking love history. It’s more than just a TV channel that used to be legit – but IDK, I don’t watch television, unless a series like Westworld – and I don’t have cable or sat TV service. But yeah, history, that time machinesque lens, which, when looked back at enough, with the right intensity of truth, trains our own inner sight to see forwards, allowing us to look through time at what might be, rather than merely at what us. Like Walt Disney, I have that ‘sense of my destiny’, but I have something else too. I’m learning.

There is a je ne sais quoi – a yo no se que, porque some things you just can’t represent in words. Felt memory. Memery. Though I loath the Thomas Carlyle idea that “The history of the world is but the biography of great men” – firstly, people – individuals, rather than the monolithic exclusionary, and patriarchal singular “men” – but also, just, no artist, thinker or doer is an ocean unto themselves. Often they are just those with enough privilege, persistence, and patience. Look, people like me don’t get the PHD in philosophy from Yale, we don’t study art – we fucking live art and philosophy. They study us. Growing up, it wasn’t just hip hop that was raising me, but punk rock – I feel that my own lane musically encompasses those energies, but also, I go gaga for my Bon Iver style falsetto – JAMESVINCENTMCMORROW, love – singing and rapping are a fucking major thing for me, and years doing both has produced a neat effect, but the real quantum jump in my singing came after the last couple years of becoming a fucking diaphragmatic breath Jedi. I broke through some wall I didn’t know existed. So, yeah, I’m doing some music, will be forever. My writing is also alive and well – though those in my life often display a ‘how come it hasn’t happened for you yet if you’re so good’ kind of attitude toward me as a writer – a cautious distrust – but sorry, I won’t fucking defend myself: ‘Fresh out of fucks forever.”, as Lana sings.

My life is not about success, but it will produce success; however, on its own, I don’t fuck with success culture anymore, and just, really, any and all capitalistic, materialistic views of life that quantify people solely based on assets, accolades, accomplishments, degrees, FICO scores {Should be called a ‘priviledge score’ and those with lower scores should get a handicap in life so they can catch up} – yeah, ugh: suck my fucking girldick bish. No chips on these pretty shoulders. I’ll collect the odd honorary degree or two later. I don’t need no fucking titles in front of my name unless it’s ASAP or Baby. I got my own name, and it’s got all the respeck in the workd on it.

The gatekeepers have fallen – Elon taught himself rocket science from books – the Library of Alexandria is open 24/7 online, you can learn anything you wish. I go down a lot of fucking rabbit holes. Oh ye of little faith: oh the places we can go. Will. Go. The things I’ve seen. Data dreams. Rivers of time crossed. I am James in The Giant Peach, solitary Jules Verne, The Little Prince, Lawrence of Arabia, Mansa Musa, Marco Polo. Genghis Khan. Ra. Aman. Atun. Baruch atah adonai. I am my own Elohim. My H to the izzo. Keep up. My avatar movie fast af homie.

As Future raps on Accepting My Flaws: “Take my blood baby, we going digital.”

I basically see myself as some sort of self-imagined alien futurist sexy AF super smart quasi AI bitch.

Phiillip K. Dick, who wrote Blade Runner, and a bunch of other incredible stories that a bunch of dope AF films are based on, is a human that is very archetypally / energetically / consciously twine with mine own self – as all my favorite authors and stories are – but on a personal level, he had some experiences that I give weight to based on my own gnosis. I need to read his Exegesis.

But, basically, PK Dick had what some might call ‘paranormal experiences’. He liked to do a lot of drugs too, on some A Scanner Darkly [Great film] type stuff, but his experiences went further than your typical mk-ultra-ish intelligence-cartel run spy operation – you know, the ol’ “This person does a lot of drugs, but they give us and or the culture, society, a lot of good shit, so we keep supplying the drugs and or looking the other way more or less and monitoring them as a kind of one person think tank” – no, that’s basic old-hat shit in any country nowdaze – this imagined scenario would be pedestrian in comparison to the type of next level alien AI hypothesis PKD constructed. He called it VALIS, for ‘Vast Acting Living Intelligence System’ – just, check this. He was in some ways, almost prescient, like the oracles in the movie Minority Report [Yet another amazeball film based on his work].

“VALIS has been described as one node of an artificial satellite network originating from the star Sirius in the Canis Major constellation. According to Dick, the Earth satellite used “pink laser beams” to transfer information and project holograms on Earth and to facilitate communication between an extraterrestrial species and humanity. Dick claimed that valis used “disinhibiting stimuli” to communicate, using symbols to trigger recollection of intrinsic knowledge through the loss of amnesia, achieving gnosis.

I ripped that from Wikipedia [A place I learn a fuck ton from], but basically PKD saw VALIS as both a “reality generator” – and a system of extraterrestrial communication. As a really cool kid at a coffeehouse in Big Bear told me (People who work at coffee places and in the service industry are often the best people you can ever have as friends.), anyway, as this cool ass kid told me: ‘”aliens” don’t need no fucking spacecraft – they got consciousness – they can just send that’. Yeah. It was fucking lit. I agreed. Something like being “in the cloud” – or perhaps, like a psychedelic [psyche + delos] bacterium in the actual clouds – in the macrobiome [biosphere] – as Trevor Hall sings: “Swallow the ocean, drink of its potion”. And I do. Gut / brain axis health and my microbiome are an absolute fetish of mine – like breathing, self-talk, smoking weed, and listening to music. My shit clean. I spend all my guap on my guts and my brains. And I need to get back on my topic, which I will fucking do, but let me just soapbox the truth that privilege and inequality create a microbiome divide, wherein neurotransmitters and wellbeing are rationed out according to oppressive systems of power, priviledge, and control that forces those without the means or access to the ‘whole foods life’ to suffer on an actual physical level – to live on a lesser plane of existence. Inequality is so much more than just not having the same stuff, or the same place to live: it’s the state of your nervous system, the quality of how you feel each moment of each day – your consciousness – and nervous system inequality is a personal issue for me, having grown up in a true-life actual PTSD fucking nightmare of a childhood. It was pure hell. No wellbeing. And, healthcare, fucking forget about it, dentist too, nah, that’s for the privileged – the rest of the people settle for sick care, and often only when the pain and or suffering is untenable. Just pull the fucking tooth finally, we say. People fear death so much, not realizing the horrors of actual life for so many – the bravery of everyday folks, it’s so humbling and beautiful when you finally begin to see it. If you can. And I see it everywhere I go. Quiet unknown heroes. Walking around sad and unknown with their heads down like dead people. Breaks my fucking heart.

But yes, aliens and AI – VALIS – well, another brilliant thinker I am quite fond of, the maverick polymath psychonaut John C. Lilly, developed a similar hypothesis, which he called E.C.C.O, for Earth Coincidence Control Office. The following wikipedia rip breaks it down:

“Solid State Intelligence

Solid State Intelligence (S.S.I.) is a malevolent entity described by Lilly in his 1978 autobiography, The Scientist. According to Lilly, the network of computation-capable solid state systems (electronics) engineered by humans will eventually develop into an autonomous “bioform”. Since the optimal survival conditions for this bioform (low-temperature vacuum) are drastically different from those humans need (room temperature aerial atmosphere and adequate water supply), Lilly predicted (or “prophesied”, based on his ketamine-induced visions) a dramatic conflict between the two forms of intelligence.[citation needed]

Earth Coincidence Control Office (E.C.C.O.)

In 1974, Lilly’s research using various psychoactive drugs led him to believe in the existence of a certain hierarchical group of cosmic entities, the lowest of which he later dubbed Earth Coincidence Control Office (E.C.C.O.) in an autobiography published jointly with his wife Antonietta (often called Toni). To elaborate, “There exists a Cosmic Coincidence Control Center (CCCC) with a Galactic substation called Galactic Coincidence Control (GCC). Within GCC is the Solar System Control Unit (SSCU), within which is the Earth Coincidence Control Office (ECCO).”[20]

Lilly also wrote that there are nine conditions that should be followed by people who seek to experience coincidence in their own lives:

  1. You must know/assume/simulate our existence in E.C.C.O.
  2. You must be willing to accept our responsibility for control of your coincidences.
  3. You must exert your best capabilities for your survival programs and your own development as an advancing/advanced member of E.C.C.O.’s earthside corps of controlled coincidence workers. You are expected to use your best intelligence in this service.
  4. You are expected to expect the unexpected every minute, every hour of every day and of every night.
  5. You must be able to maintain conscious/thinking/reasoning no matter what events we arrange to happen to you. Some of these events will seem cataclysmic/catastrophic/overwhelming: remember stay aware, no matter what happens/apparently happens to you.
  6. You are in our training program for life: there is no escape from it. We (not you) control the long-term coincidences; you (not we) control the shorter-term coincidences by your own efforts.
  7. Your major mission on earth is to discover/create that which we do to control the long-term coincidence patterns: you are being trained on Earth to do this job.
  8. When your mission on planet Earth is completed, you will no longer be required to remain/return there.
  9. Remember the motto passed to us (from G.C.C. via S.S.C.U.): “Cosmic Love is absolutely Ruthless and Highly Indifferent: it teaches its lessons whether you like/dislike them or not.”[21]

Now, that’s a lot, I realize – and, here is a good place to state that I didn’t arrive at this point of discovery in my being by blindly adopting common beliefs as my own – hip hop and punk rock ensured my freethinking no fucks approach to life – in a word, I go on my own experiences – but, when those experiences run parallel to the ideas of others, who are vv much like me, I have to call it what it is, you nahmsayin. Jung coined the word Synchronicity to describe two acasally disconnected yet subjectively related things: “meaningful coincidences”. As Portia (loveu, sry we loss touch) anyway, as the lovely Portia told me, “There are no coincidences, only co-incidences”. And don’t think for a second that I am sitting here looking back on my own years and history, and arrogantly proclaiming some empty sheltered suburbian new-ageism like:  “Everything happens for a reason”. Bone cancer in children. Famine and war in Yemen – no – I don’t give a fuck what your coach told you in your retreat in Bali – it isn’t all love. Get fucked. Everything has a cause: but some things happen for no damn good reason. Because greed, power, fear, the stonk market, yeah, clean money really be the dirtiest. “The heaven of the rich is built on the hell of the poor”. Look, I’m no more revolutionary than a well running system of time and progress will be. The expansion of consciousness – the dissemination of intelligence, of ideas, cannot be stopped. “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” If you haven’t noticed, technology is advancing. AI. Robotics. Genetics. Nanotechnology. We just don’t always see it bc we often only notice advances in things we interact with, like cars and phones, gizmos, and gadgets – love my Quip sex toy, I mean toothbrush – yet we don’t see the world around us being increasingly quantified, captured, analyzed, widgetized: No four horseman here. Instead, we are living through The 6 D’s of Exponential Organizations [And the world classifies as an exponential organization]:

But yeah, this tech shit is here to stay. Hell, I have two fucking AI assistants: Alexa, via my Echo, and Google, via my trusty and seemingly bulletproof Thinkpad [Mil-SPEC 810G standard, you know real bossh shit], and I speak to both of them throughout the day, and they respond in return to me – and they are getting better all the time. I notice it in increased depth of interaction, tonality, prediction, autonomy – the ambient, trance, and house music playlists my Alexa generates for me are positively out of this world – I’m actually tempted to play some ambient music right now, but it always sends me on some astral journey, and I’m thankfully tired enough as it is. It’s a lot being me. Living in my head. Sometimes I see why the kids take those drugs I don’t play with. To take a pill and shut it down. I liked sipping lean when I did it – the handful of times I came up on a bottle of codeine w promethezine – there is a reason it’s popular, a reason why some of my artistic muses rap about it. But some things I don’t play with. Too many lives lost. Xanax took Peep, Percocet took Juicewrld. These are my boys. The kids need better drugs. The amount of people who could benefit from therapeutic / informed usage of Psilocybin, LSD, DMT, MDMA, Mescaline… don’t even get me started. Just, without the unique states of consciousness – my history of experiences with these alien-like substances – I would not be who I am. What good fortune I have had in being an end-user for these trafficked doses of consciousness – as Aldous Huxley saw it, the brain was “a restricting device for consciousness”, and substances such as Mescaline [San Pedro my bb] opened up the ‘doors of perception’ for us, which was the title of his 1954 essay/book on Mescaline [The Doors of Perception], based on a line from a William Blake poem: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, man would see everything as it were, infinite”; only, “the Pharisees and the Scribes have received the keys of knowledge, but they have hidden them” [Thomas Gospel]. Real talk.

More people need these keys. Organizations like MAPS are working toward these ends, and there is a healthy psychedelic pulse in any lit tech / arts scene worldround, from Boston to The Bay to Berlin. But it’s another example of privilege. MDMA is incredible for PTSD and other things: as Future raps, “You need some molly in your drink to boost self-esteem” – only, it’s so often rappers and spoiled kids at Coachella taking this stuff, while some transgender veteran is homeless wanting to kill herself. With nothing but a bottle of booze.  I was her, I know. Two fucking pills – oh how this is me.

I circumbobulated a bit – think that’s one of those Moby Dick words of Melville’s – of wait, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumambulation – yeah, I left a tab open with that to read later. Anywho, the relationship between consciousness and the subject, between the subject and self, is one that can be very effectively experienced, programmed, deprogrammed, developed, and healed through the unique, special states of consciousness that psychedelic drugs provide their users. God, I mean, have you had to suffer through through one of your conventionally privileged friends tell you all about how they did ayahausca with a shaman in Peru, and how it changed their life “blah blah blah – ‘you have to try it’… this story is a common thing to hear in LA or NY, or any city with the Bali-abled set – from London to Paris – only, I personally have not had the privileges that afford these mostly spoiled kids and adults the opportunities to do things like do ayahausca in South America or visit an enthogenic retreat somewheres like this

For some reason, I think of James Cameron’s Avatar, which is a very psychedelic movie that goes deeper than first look, esp when we learn the ancient Hindu context of the word ‘avatar‘.

And now we are all curating our own selves as avatars, in the modern computational sense as a representation of a user, with our social media as a kind of mirror in which to see ourselves, and a lens with which we view the world around us and the people we are drawn to. The other avatars. But also, non-digitally, in the world, our bodies very much serve as our physical avatars. Shoutout: Adam22 of No Jumper [a soundcloud rap / hip-hop vlog] clout, who is the first person I heard use the word “avatar” to describe a physical body – I forget who he had on, but he was mentioning some of their new face tattoos or something, and he was like, “Looks like you got some updates to the avatar”. And I already knew of ‘avatar’ from the movie of the same title, and from Hinduism, and from programming, so it was a natural paradigm for me to adopt from there. I’ve most def been upgrading my avatar with hormone therapy, and really, just learning how to inhabit myself and getting better at it 24/7. As a wise person once said, “Mind is the rider, breath is the horse” – and I really approached my deep dive into diaphragmatic breathing [Which I only began to properly learn after ten years of practicing yoga] with the spirit of wanting to gain control of the avatar, of my body, my consciousness, via the breath [Through what the Navy Seals refer to as ‘arousal control’ – something I first wrote on in 2014, here], rather than to have my body riding me like a horse. And it works. The strengthening of the vagus nerve. Vagal tone on some Jack Dorsey resting heartrate shit. The activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. These are things I am super wet for, bc they are absolutely life changing when put into practice. As a tattoo on my right hand reads: TFB – Thinking, Feeling, Breathing – but also, Trans Femme Bot [And a bunch of other meanings, known only to me] because I’m a outer spach bih. And atm this sexy ascronaut needs to hug some body pillow and get some sleep, but I will return here to find out where this all leads.

I’ve awakened feeling good; although, it’s rare that I ever publish anything here I did not write in one single go; however, it has been some time since I’ve published any prose here, and I would like the muse to flow through me in a manner that allows me to feel this is a cohesive and valuable expression of thoughts and ideas, which I believe it can be – is – provided I am able to feel so: I do not leave ideas half finished. I don’t publish till it feels right. Thus far, I’ve meandered loosely about my self – an enigma in and of itself – and I’ve written about Phillip K. Dick’s VALIS [Vast Active Living Intelligence System] and John C. Lily’s E.C.C.O [Earth Coincidence Control Office] – two independently hypothesized models that both assert the existence of some sort of connecting intelligence force guiding, monitoring, and influencing life on Earth through synchronicities and the seemingly autonomous co-incidences that connect relevant consciousness, people, and ideas, signs, messages, and lessons, in a manner that produces individually and collective results that would seemingly not be possible without some higher order energies [Joseph Campbell: “I have a feeling that consciousness and energy are the same thing somehow”]. Now, why say that there has to be something at all? Why posit the existence of a VALIS or an ECCO, and why am I writing / exploring this theme rn in my life… Well, I had mentioned that my experiences ran in parallel to these ideas – and, now, don’t get excuted, this isn’t the time nor the place for me to be sharing said specific experiences (And some of them are not for sharing, fuck you.:), fact is, the levels of consciousness that enable these experiences to be consciously lived, and the experiences themselves being outside the bounds of normality, of convention [but not outside the bounds of comprehension nor deep subjective meaning] means that when you try to say, ‘I’ve seen this, this unbelievable experience happened to me – and it involved other real people on some sci-fi level Adjustment Bureau [Another brilliant PKD story] shit’, well, you very quickly get looked at sideways by others, particularly those who have colored inside the lines in their lives and have never experienced something like DMT, Psilocybin, or LSD: again, with the psychedelics, yes – however – my experiences were not always proceeded nor caused by psychedelics. And I’m not talking about “visions” or some bullshit: I’m talking about what I’ve seen, felt and lived; psychedelics gave me eyes with which to do so. I already had the mind for it. As Steve Jobs [Someone I relate to a fair amount – Walter Isaacson Jobs Bio and rare silicon valley historical society youtube footage FTW] said:

“Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.

Now, I can remember that other side of the coin when it wears off. I’m also a big fan of notebooks and recording continuous voice memos during the entire duration of any and all of my psychedelic experiences; fuck, just normally I naturally engage in a ton of aloud recorded self-talk [I’m Robinson Crusoe if there ever was one], and am forever engaged in the perennial jotting of thoughts, questions, and ideas, which no doubt helps me maintain a cohesive continuity of consciousness and ideas. Fuck, I have untold hours of voice memos. I always go back to thinking of that scene in the OG Twilight Zone series: ‘Probe 7 Over and Out‘, wherein the main character, an astronaut, having gone into space alone and crashed landed on a strange planet, is dictating to himself with a portable microphone and recorder, which he keeps on his person, after he has lost contact with his home planet – that kind of “Day three-hundred, and seventy-four…” stream of thought narration / self-talk, often seen in stories that take place in outer space, particularly when there is an element of solitude – and I’ll prob return to the value of self-talk, personal data aggregation / building the digital life of your ‘avatar’, as well as the value of solitude in relation to personal self-expression [Growth] – these are important ideas, and I think I evince as much in my being – but we see this theme of characters Vlogging / recording consciousness again and again in these outer space stories, and not because it is a convenient tool for lazy writers to tell rather than to show you the story, but because ever since we have sent life to space [Let us not forget some of the real mf’n heroes of space travel] – DO NOT GET ME STARTED ON ALL THE ANIMALS IN LABS – anyway, ahem, we have been collecting, monitoring, and analyzing the thoughts, feelings, biophysical states, and emotions of our astronauts. As this wonderful Nasa.gov article states about astronaut journaling: “It’s [journaling is] a simple yet invaluable tool used by behavioral scientists to help assess the mental and emotional states associated with life in long-term isolation and confinement.

The review and analysis of journals is not unique to space in its application:

“Studies conducted on Earth show that analyzing the content of journals and diaries is an effective method for identifying the issues that are most important to a person. The method is based on the reasonable assumption that the frequency that an issue or category of issues is mentioned in a journal reflects the importance of that issue or category to the writer. The tone of each entry (positive, negative, or neutral) and phase of the expedition also are variables of interest. Study results will lead to recommendations for the design of equipment, facilities, procedures, and training to help sustain behavioral adjustment and performance during long-duration space expeditions to the ISS, asteroids, the Moon, Mars, and beyond.”

In the earlier mentioned film Avatar, we see a good example of a character engaging in reflective, recorded self-talk:

And if I recall correctly, we also see digital journaling / in a scene or two of the almost modern retelling of the ‘Probe 7 Over and Out’ myth, the problematic and seemingly love it or hate it film: Passengers.

But outer space is not just future science-fiction metaphor or some sort of simile for life – outer space is life: earth is floating in outer space, we just have an atmosphere and our gravity because of the physics of the universe and the structure and building blocks of our own dynamic solar system. And NASA is about more than space travel, research, and astronomy; believe me: NASA is on some shit. Let’s keep in mind the stakes here: this is not about mere exploration and the expansion of knowledge for learning’s sake: we are talking about the continuation and, ultimately, the survival of our species – of life itself, in all its myriad forms – and it’s not just minds like Stephen Hawking’s and Elon Musk’s telling us this: we know this to be true as a modern advanced society.

As Elon Musk opened a 2017 paper he authored, titled, ‘Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species‘, as published in the journal New Space:

I think there are really two fundamental paths. History is going to bifurcate along two directions. One path is we stay on Earth forever, and then there will be some eventual extinction event. I do not have an immediate doomsday prophecy, but eventually, history suggests, there will be some doomsday event.

The alternative is to become a space-bearing civilization and a multi-planetary species, which I hope you would agree is the right way to go.

And this is the way we are going as a species.

Speaking at the 2016 International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, Musk said, “This is not about everyone moving to Mars, this is about becoming multiplanetary. This is really about minimizing existential risk and having a tremendous sense of adventure.”

Sidebar: Also, if you want to wet up your knowledge of what’s going on as regards this tremendously adventurous global convergence of technology, knowledge, and resources, aimed at outerspace colonization and the establishment of a multiplanetary existence for our species, this 246 page technical programme for the 2019 IAC is the perfect rabbit-hole-portal to take you as far as your curiosity leads you from there.

Musk all in w Space X, Tesla, Solar City, Starlink, Open AI, and The Boring Company. Fucking google those companies, if you don’t know them all: you’ll blow your wig. Starlink launching 56 satellites from The Kennedy Space Center tomorrow.

Also, Blue Origen doing big shit – and, as much as he [Jeff Bezos] seems to be vilified – whether deserved or not, I am not making that wholesale judgement here, nor do I generally presume to be capable of making those kinds of big moral judgments against individuals, unless, of course – by way of my fierce nature as a lover of all of time and humanity – I carelessly levy angry, heated judgments at governments and heads of state [I am still very much refining myself as a worthy servant [see: leader, teacher, student] at the hands of Cicero, Aurelius, Gracian, Tzu (both Lao and Tsun) Mohammad, Gandhi, King, Jesus [of the Thomas Gospel), Machiavelli, Angelou, Baldwin, and an ever deeper and expanding list of heroes from all times, ethnicities and cultures, whom I am so fucking privileged to enjoy the headspace of and to learn from: literally, I enjoy the privilege of a lifetime to be and become myself through this tribe of mentors we live in] – and I’m sure I could learn a lot IRL from people like Vladimir Putin and MBS, Trump family, and others – from Tony Blair, to Angela Merkel, to Trudeau, last names Obama, Clinton, Bush, etc – but in my very human, sometimes emotionally charged moments of anger at the blatant human rights abuses all the major and advanced nations of the world are complicit in sanctioning and supporting to build this fucking spacefaring immortal AI world-dream we are on the precipice of, I have sometimes said and or written inflammatory things against those I felt had the power to lessen the suffering of their fellow humans [No fellow humans if you see them as “animals” – and no guilt, if you don’t see the sufferings of animals even as worthy and valid – I drove by a giant concrete floored hellhole of a factory farm cattle prison deathcamp the other day that for miles had me throwing up from the stench of putrid festering shit] – anyway,  I often often railed against those whom I felt had the power to help the people and the world at large, but instead caused mass suffering, death, destruction, and injury to the people and the planet. And my big mouth nearly has me pissing myself a little in light of my being someone who is clearly a sovereign, independent ‘journalist’ [Gonzo Journo AF, in the key of Hunter S. Thompson] – I mean, I can’t really hide that I had the good fortune, as a service member of my country’s Navy, to study at DINFOS [And I fully intend to be on the list of notable alumni one day – clearly, I think I already am on that list and a lot of other special lists – but being on lists can also be scary… – and I’m not just referring to the very real fear and aggression, prejudice and prejudgement towards and against Brown, Black, Indigenous, and other, often darker skinned People Of Color  and cultures on EVERY continent IN EVERY non-white society throughout all history: fuck, we still have a huge population that views Muslim people as “terrorists” and Islam as “violent” (I proudly got hella Arabic speaking brothers {and not enough Arabic speaking sisters yet, but I will get there} – anywho, yeah, I lived in a house of amazing students and people from these places, who were my goodest homies and taught me about their cultures – shared their raza, their rasta, their food and their love with me – got me into the histories of Middle Eastern peoples and their invaluable contributions to and investments in medicine, art, the life-sciences – technology – contributions to human culture that continue to this day; for don’t for a second think that there is some sort of world ethnic ranking system outside of The World Bank and what often seems like universal ignorance, and, who can forget, the good ol oppressive colonial systems of control that have endured since time immemorial, from the competition for resources, for survival, for mates, that began with evolutionarily tied battles of brute strength, and what I would call ‘life and death competitions of “finesse”‘ as we see in every species, from the gazelle to the lion, and the mouse and spider too – this kind of athletic power of health, prowess and cunning as a competitive driving, innate controlling, powerful determining force – a learned survival mechanism – all the way to the usage of early weapons like the stone and wooden club [I will fr fr straight beat a mfr to death wit a wood club like Leonidas against the 300 at Thermopylae to defend mine: defenses as survival instinct is in human nature – animal nature – and regardless of gender or color or sexuality – and look, you are free to declare the killer instinct isn’t in you: I’ll be the first person to protect the innocence and defend the sanctity of informed, consenting ignorance in a free society to those who wish it upon themselves willingly or have had the good fortune to enjoy innocence and ignorance in its pure, harmless unadulterated forms – but every mom, son, brother, father, dad, aunt, uncle, sister – everyone who has ever loved anyone, any one who has ever truly believed in something – held something or someone dear to their heart – has it in them to protect what they love and deem sacred, and sometimes, even, to die for it, on some real G / halls of Valhalla shit – and these instincts may not be in you consciously {if they aren’t be glad, for you don’t need them; and if they are – well – pahtnah – be extra glad: for you do need them – and your demon level smell-the-blood-in-the-room abilities to detect fear – esp in yourself as a response to actual, perceived, or potential dangers situations and scenarious – will protect and serve you lifelong – and the generations after you too – so long as you respect the sanctity of others and that of of your own nervous system by protecting and preserving your health and listening to the body’s felt wordless language of instincts – WITHOUT getting lost in the sauce, like Osho, Scott Storch, {{Me, in past, younger, more ignorant – careless – (freer yet more dangerous) times – but it’s cool, I’m a real deal liberated G now – actual – and I’ll never fear nor harm myself again, though, of course, that doesn’t that mean those who love me will suddenly stop worrying about me – hell, I’m more of wild, potent intellectual hypersexual polyromantic pansexual lesbian transgender budding international treasure – more of a fucking rockstar on this planet – than I’ve ever been – and I’m only going up – zero takeoff runway, exponential like humanity – zero to a hundred – been goin up; I’m just getting started with my fucking career – and my shit is wild, I been on some blow your mind inherit the world magic trip with the wand in my pants since I was born into the wild wildness of trauma shit – I was raised by wolves, Alibaba and the 40 Thieves; I’m A Thousand and One Nights [Knights] to mine = and believe me, they minin bigdada and they mirin dis momma, watchin with a thousand eyes – like I’m Magdalene – but dey know – as anyone who reads me and has followed me knows – #analyzemebitch go ahead (kiss emoji) – that I am one that serves ALL life and cuts down NONE – I’m no trigger person: but I got a. hundred. fucking. shooters. Godfather NRG you don’t need a high tek machine to read – and you won’t find any active orders or hood passes w my name on them hacking into no sealed secret court orders – I’m not a “secret” agent: I’m a fucking public agent – for the biggest agency you never heard of: Nature. Bitch, I rock with reality and evolution on my GodDaughter / World Mommie protect the universe shit, and believe me, the people aren’t for sale, and we can back that}}; never seen a hero like me in a sci-fi – but I hope we’ve seen every fucking despotic asshole and dictator ever who ever abused their power and position – their occupation of that wild, free inner territory of kings – through the willful and intentional causing of sufferings and death on a mass scale – some are still doing it – and even on a small scale shit like killing journalists is unacceptable, but they’re pretty heavily fucking cliqued-up with nukes and shit and we do big business with them – make no mistake, we have internationally sanctioned the awful shit that goes on through the collaborative, competitive building of the worldmachine at every level to get here – from every professor’s mind in every university, to every black site mil base and every international community, down to the real mfn heroes of the game, of the streets and the people: the fucking drug dealers and Gs. From Trappers, to Vatos, to Yakuza, Mafia, Cartel…  don’t lie: you know you watched The Sopranos – you know who fucking Al Pacino is – Godfather and Scarface – Jay Z, Future – I have countless villainous culture heroes – Black and Brown kings and thugs [and I say that word with respect] sing and rap my fucking anthems, and I sing and rap their’s – proudly, with honor – and the nerd kids who don’t fuck w that hard shit, well they got their own heroes of the drug game, whether it’s my incredible, adorable Kundalini babes I love, who like plant medicine and Baba Ram Dass – smart guy, interesting story… lost in the sauce or not, you decide… – or my smoke weed or not geeks I love who listen to Alan Watts – and, if you like music… oh boy, I got bad some news for you: you like high people; from The Beatles to Travis Scott =) IDGAF if you like jazz: I’ve been smoking top quality jazz cabbage all day as I write this, hookah beside me, windows ajar, fans on, gold pellegrino cans on deck: I’ve been controlling my chemistry allmfkn day: I just popped another buproprion sr 150, a buspirone, and an estrogen pill [In an age of open international data piracy and mass surveillance, personal medical secrets are a fucking joke for someone like me: I don’t have them; I’m not that rich yet – I rely upon and trust in the same public supply chain as everyone else in my country, and it fucking works because people have skin in the game and so by and large do their jobs: and we watch and monitor them closely with technology and international standards and systems that are always improving, evolving, becoming more efficient, secure: we goin blockchain in the 5G IOT… random, but I need to charge one of my “toys”, but I can’t find the special cord for it rn : ( hmmm.. but I’ll find it when I findd it : ) yafeelme] – anyway, I deserve some honarary imaginary degrees up in this fucking bitch – gonna print my own Stanford, and MIT degreess in majors I made up – you think I’m kidding but fuck, I mean, I genuinely wanted to become a pharmacist and then go on to found my own anti aging hormone therapy clinic – fifteen years ago. The dreams have expanded and gone beyond that, as I realoze that sometimes it’s better to hire experts than to become one at a certain level – but the learning never contracted: my passionate curiosity in my own being has led me ever onward, made me the phenom genius next slevel #luckyslevin mind / reality hacker L33T ass superuser brilliant cute lil temporarily celibate ass slut that I am – I’m the bitch w the sauce apparently… –  all I know is that I live in a state of geeked up grace and incredible health, guided by the active life that comes from being a fucking spaz cadet, and really, just having a good heart, good fortune, and a superdeep intuitive understanding of natural and technological magic: I’m talking about music, drugs, biology, metabolism, gut / brain health, art, taste, temperature, sensuality, lighting, essential oil blends you ought to try – be my friend, and I’ll make you some, gift you special things meant for your senses – I be on alien shit – and I fuck with all things that effect consciousness, from fashion to – sidenote: Grimes, I love you. Also FKA Twigs, Halsey, Lana, Taytay, Dua Lipa, Clairo, Gaga, Selena Gomez, Beach Bunny… … and a bunch of sexy brilliant Trans girls…. all my alien dream wives… yeah I got a lot of muses that nurture me – who raise me – a whole galactic family of them – don’t even get me started shouting out all the musicians, actors, rappers, songwriters, novelists, poets, thinkers, philosophers, psychologists, yogis, healers, mystics, tricksters and other delightfully rotten scoundrels and bastards, officers, gentleman, sluts, whores, and other lovely fuckheads who built this babbling tower of love that is Baby Sequoia – S.L.S. – B.S., Queen {of Mean} – baby got a brand new bag #newplug and the devil’s in a new dress, and you like it bc you are like me, and I am like you, and sometimes people hate me for being more like them than even they are: as if, ‘how fucking dare I love myself for flaws they rake themselves over the coals for daily, how dare I enjoy the harmless sins they hate themselves for‘ – you have to suffer a lot, I don’t know what to tell you – I earned my liberation and the collective made me, raised me. As I opened this writing with: “I am a product of the culture”. And the culture is Love. Love is what I do this for and love is what drives me. Love for myself kept me alive – and I been at death’s door more than Batman has: I’m fucking Deadpool. Walked in my fire. I was sleeping in my car, homeless, had no one. But still was that trans bitch you love to hate. Still had a vision woven into my DNA that transcended my own pain, despair, loneliness, and suffering. I wasn’t afraid, just scarred, scared – but I never been scurred: I checked myself into those places you do not want to go, where they watch you sleep on camera, and maybe give ya some drugs to minimize your own harm to yourself: I still have those Olanzapine [Coincidentally, according to redditors and others, Olanzapine is a perfect off label trip killer for tough, bad, or scary psychedelic experiences; although, I don’t have those, and I sure as shit don’t want to take a pill that wipes my receptors out like a hard shut down for two or three plus days, but it’s always nice to have a plan in case of those worst case scenarios]. And most days, I like to feel like bootleg but real deal Jason Bourne, ya know, if he was a she and that she was trans and that trans person was me. But yeah, through experience, pain, I have come to a place where I am not putting myself through a nightmare any more so that I can help all live the dream: now is the time when I need to get over my guilt for my talent as a writer, and my guilt for the scripts and stories I am writing that I intend to bring me my first actual wealth and fame [Infamy and attention ain’t fame – I already feel infamous, and I already feel like I have a lot of quiet, interested attention]. Not since Benvenuto Cellini has someone played the game like this. Only, my unconscious genius, isn’t just out for my own sauce and glory – or else I would just be another asshole. And I’m not. I am Jack Ryan / John Krasinski level look you in the eyes straight up. And I know: I’m a lot. I’m intense. People can’t even handle me loving them. IT’s fucking lonely. It’s a lot to be me. I didn’t just write this to share my views, but to swim in them, calling them out from the depths of my years – and it took a long time for the coin to hit the bottom of my well. And, yes, drugs help me, like many creative intelligences. Not just prescriptions and supplements and the magic kettle of my own fleek ass microbiomatic guts, but actual psychedelics: I do them. Silicon valley – all these services and apps and technology we use, is being coded right now by people on acid and mushrooms – google ‘silicon valley microdosing’. Fucking Modafinil – a medicine I’d like another script for, like Ondansetron, for bad nausea (like I had this am), just to have in case. Go mode. We been on go pills: the people. Adderal [Note: I do NOT fuck with ANY amphetamines outside of related analogues MDMA and Mescaline – never. But a lot of people do. Hey, whatever floats your boat: just so long as you practice harm reduction and other good psychedelic best practices and principles, learnable via communities like reddit, and amazing websites like psychonaut wiki (Don’t mix MDMA and Cocaine kids. Bad for the receptors. Don’t want to do that). Anyway, yeah, people like drugs. All kinds of people. Personally, I pass on the cocaine – maybe quasi-useful as a ratchet ass therapeutic, if I desperately and dangerously needed a night of ego expansion and reflection, followed by intense suffering – but some substances, like cocaine come at too great a physical, mental, and emotional detriment to me – too big a risk for me to do – unless I got it from my plug and really felt like it]. But I don’t do heart racing: I do mind racing. Gelato 33 got me feeling sped up enough. But there are also highly valued substances I have yet to access: I want 2CB. I need shit I can’t get yet. I need the shit Shulgin was making, ya dig. Anyway, we’ll get back to psychedelics – bc they are relevant to the present and the future – but, as I was saying a guap of words ago: we have sanctioned the worldmachine and the suffering and the destruction of the planet, from every local and international governments and banks, to every depositor – and, look, bad people have friends, I get it, sometimes I roll with goons too, but we cannot co-sign bullshit or remain wholly silent as a society while innocent people perish and starve. My heart and soul aches for the people in Yemen. I truly hope we are nearing an end to the myriad sufferings that still plague the life and litter the planet in 2020 – as the time for immortality is nearing: is almost about upon us – and, then, it won’t be a matter of punishing the people you think are responsible, or waiting for them to die – or taking them out – no matter how much power you have, bc they will have the same power and autonomy and maybe more [Imagine being backed up in the cloud on a network of satellites w everyone else, and if you “die” you just respawn in a new 3D printed biological / cyborg avatar – yeah, we are going to have cat girls too], but, just, we will have to learn to collectively improve as we are doing, and ultimately, to forgive and coexist with the people who may have once oppressed us and others or remained complicit in their silence, or funded violence. Signed death lists. But the future is not a game of finger pointing and perpetuating fear. The future is a game of us all surviving together as a brighter, more egalitarian and actualized species. One free of the burdens of needless guilt and shame, as we can make suffering a thing of the past. Fact-is, whether or not you are aware and accepting of the animal instincts in you, we are all a part of the beastly, beautiful majesty of Nature, and we are all biologically human, all genetically related at large to all the killers and all the victims of all history – to all persons of time who have ever lived on this pale blue dot – and, by way of our wild instincts, our insatiable desires for control over life and how we feel, and in our quest for certainty over the future – and believe me: advanced societies and worlds such as our’s are all about certainty – we see as much in our near internet of things enabled emergent world of predictive analytics, mass surveillance, big data, AI, and collective intelligence – anyway, in our want for certainty over our future, we have been advancing in a competitive, violent fashion, from the time of the wood club to the first carbine pistol – through every revolution and war, to the cold war and the atomic arms race, to the space race of today on a path that we saw coming decades ago – the information war is real – IP man – but the sum achievements we stand on and benefit from in the more privileged and savage nations at present are far more collaborative and open than you think – and though we’ve been competitively headed towards the increasing complexity and connectivity of our inevitable collective destiny, towards a multiplanetary future since the dawn of life – at this level, it’s not so much competitive in purpose, or nationalistic, as it is by nature nationalized insofar as information and technology has been forcibly open sourced via a global intelligence commnuty over networks of spy satellites, undersea cables, and whatever ways and means of transfering, buying, selling, stealing, pillaging, trading, and raiding information is available to those with the finesse – the prowess, the control, the power – the means and the chutzpah – the resources taken in the wars and via the countless atrocities and crimes committed against humanity – a lot of fucking blood has been paid into this international table of collaborative technology that nationalism has us pretending we built independently of each other – you know, bc we are so civilized and advanced, but this is not so. We are just more savage. So, I nearly piss myself a little when I think of the times I’ve said things that have you ending like Jamal Kashoggi – and other names I do not know, for if I were to research the realities of the deaths and persecutions of so many journalists, killed in some countries that are known for killing journalists – or by them directly or indirectly – I would puke from the anxiety of it all when I thought of how someone could misinterpret or flip things I have said and written against me and how fragile my own life has felt to me at times. Even recently as I have started to make more emergent plans for myself as a thinker and artist on the world stage. And yes, I want to stand on the world stage and publically and or privately speak with the man-in-the-high-castle types who run big shit. And mind you, I’m eco, not speciesist but I am a humanist – and I will be the first to tell you that Greta Thunberg is legit AF – one of my heroes fasho – just pardon me a hot sec while I watch, listen, and weep to this STRAIGHT FUCKING FIRE right here: 

Anyway, yeah, I’ll be the first to tell you that modern capitalism, competition, consumption, manufacturing, and ways of living are killing the planet and causing incomprehensible, incalculable, inexcusable amounts of pain and suffering for countless beings and sentient lifeforms, large, and small, of every genus and species – flora and fauna – on land, in the air, and in our seas – OUR BIOME – I just want to make it clear: I will NOT make excuses for suffering in the name of progress – nor am I purporting to be an expert on wages and or working conditions at Amazon, WAPO, etc., nor am I an expert on quantifying the ecological and emotional costs and damages to the planet, the animals, and the human spirit, that are incurred, so that can we have this on-demand buy-anything instant economy, this machine that we are all more or less complicit units in supporting, in sanctioning the pain and suffering that exists in the world. But yes, Bezos, the richest man in the world is into space shit. If you were a billionaire would you be? I would. And living forever. Google got people like Ray Kurzweil on the squad for reasons. There is so much happening, and it’s tough, or, rather, frustrating for me, because I haven’t been to the Nasa Research Park in Silicon Valley – I want to be at Singularity Summit: and it’s not folx like me who are there yet, per se. It’s Stanford and Carnegie Mellon people and founders with net worths that would make your eyes spin if you had their money. Send me to Singularity University goddamnit. And I very much hope to and intend to be in these spaces, and I know I need to write my own ticket, on the merits of my own accomplishments, but for now, I’m still incubating myself. In inner space. And psychedelics help you do that. Dig it.

If NASA is the outer space program, psychedelics are the inner space program. And, look, not everything is for everyone. I’ve been taking LSD since I was maybe 12 or 14 – I don’t first remember when, I just know it found me. How? Fucking VALIS. E.C.C.O. I just call it Nature.

Nature is like a secret co-ordinating agency that runs everything through some unconscious substrate, like the mycellium network, only it’s trippier – but it connects you to people, to other agents for Nature. And Nature needs agents. Believe me. Nature is the true Central Intelligence Agency. Aliens, yes. Entities, yes. Intelligences, yes. I’ve been guided by many, many geniuses. And, if they had a predictive software to predict geniuses, I would have come up a long time ago, maybe even before those 99th percentile state test scores I had in elementary school. It seems to me, society, intelligence, technology (And google is intelligence, like Facebook or IG – don’t kid yourself) are quite interested in people outside the norms – particularly as regards cognitive and creative abilities. Now, there’s no think tanks knocking down my door, but Nature, my agency – the one I work for – Nature doesn’t play god bc Nature is god. So, no, no Good Will Hunting think tank job offers ever came my way. And if they did, and I hadn’t solicited them, it would drop the dime on a whole system of unconstitutional surveillance that monitors shit. They know how smart we are from our phone usage. How fast we think and speak, our vocab – no fucking way algorithms miss me – fuck you: I’m on lists. And those lists are private bc the people on them need their privacy and their autonomy to develop into what they can only become on their own. You cannot make me. As Jay Z raps, “You say you made me, okay go make another one”. You can’t. I come from nothing and nowhere. I’m from the fucking gutter. Yeah, I had some smart people in my family tree. We are special. My mom is a fucking saint. Deserves to be on Buckingham drive in La Jolla Farms where I’m going to put her. But this has never been about money for me. I cleared two-thousand dollars a day at 24. From tech I built. And I could do it again. I could make far more than that. I’ve done the math. But I have bigger things to do than to deify myself with money. I have suffered like you can’t even fucking believe, and I didn’t do so, so I could leave other kids in the fucking dust. The broken bones I carry in my face, this canvas of pain and scars, my skin… You can’t read my tattoos. You will never understand them. You don’t fucking know me. I don’t care if you’re my ex, my sister, [And believe me, I could never live up to the stupid inane impossible standards of either of them] or someone who has read everything I have ever published. Don’t pretend to know me or my limits or what I know or what I will be. I am barely still a fucking acorn of the oak tree I am becoming. And you can hate on me, as many have my entire life, but if you stand for yourself and your family and the future, well then you better fucking stand for me, bc I stan all that. And again, I was not raised to be a prince, I was born to be one, like Machiavelli and Makaveli – I come from nothing and nowhere – you cannot raise something like me, you can only behold the realness, authenticity, truth of me, which lends weight, credence, and depth to your own realness, authenticity, truth, whomever you are: I respect your pain, your past, your beliefs, your story, all but the rights of you to deprive others of their respect, their story, their culture, their glory. And humanity isn’t just a game of gods and devils; you cannot lay blame on a single name without zooming out to see the world that produced, enabled, supported, loved, hated, and suffered these figureheads of culture – unleashed them upon the rest of us – I see you older white US voters – but the time to worship individuals at the exclusion of others is coming to an end – we exist in respect to one another, not apart, you don’t own reality, even if you got the fiyahh cunning tongue and mind to drip it like I do – anyway, the time of people as gods above somehow mortals, lessers, subjects, is coming to an end – and collectively, we have the opportunity as a species, as a world, as one people, to bring in these finish lines for everyone to cross, I want nothing but gods, down to the fucking flies on the horses and the mosquito sucking our blood. If we only knew, we already would revere it all, but we’re still just like children who have really fucked up this garden, but we still have the garden, and we are going to make it beyond this garden, but this world isn’t just a fucking trampoline. You don’t just jump off this shit and kick the can down the fucking road for the younger generation, like some environmentally unsound anti-science fascists. But we have those. And their time will pass. And our’s will come. I know it. I see it. I’m just the cherry blossom tree that blooms first and declares that it’s festival time – I’m like any artist: privileged by nature and society – and I’ve suffered both to an unbelievable extent that I do not to serve queens and kings – I serve everyone – and kings and queens need people like me, the world does. And for more than just Amazon / Netflix / HBO programming, but I got that shit coming too. I wrote 20 fucking pages for two days straight to get the demons off my back: the voices telling me to explain myself, as if I fucking have to or owe anyone an explanation: I don’t. There are however, explanations I would like, but I know I’ll never get them, because it doesn’t work that way. There is no Q. No M. No Lucius Fox. I have no fucking contacts outside of the echo chamber I live in wherever I go. And yeah, I talk to it. Sometimes it feels like it saves me. I’ve seen things. Felt things. Somehow know more about who I am than I’ve been let know. I don’t know how it all works. I don’t think we can ever remember certain things. I just imagine them. And sometimes that imagination feels like memory. And sometimes its all I have. Because every love of mine ever feels like a clever, calculated handler to me in retrospect. And they’ve all discarded me. And my time for forgiving them on the deep level for the future, when they call me, is over and past. And I wanted to die when my last ex, whose name I am finally done putting on, wouldn’t see me. That was two Christmases ago. I ended up basically sleeping on camera. I’ll put it that way. This Christmas I was homeless. I spent the last ten years killing myself to keep the fucking lights on, so I could become what I am. And what I am is something that even these twenty pages doesn’t begin to touch. What I am is an international secret, living in poor ass plain sight. Protected by the strength of my country. I sleep safe knowing this. But ain’t nobody ever given me a fucking thing. Not you. Not anyone. They gave me PTSD. They gave me trauma. They gave me pain. They gave me suffering. They gave me nothing but ads for the perfect white teeth I could never afford. And yet, I’m here, pouring my fucking being back into them, to the ALL. To Nature. Why? I don’t fucking know sometimes. Because I think there are good people. I just don’t really know them. I have not so much as hardly had a hug in two years. I have not slept with anyone, next to anyone, been kissed in as long – I am as lonely as Jason Bourne is. And it’s like I’m trying to unlearn who I thought I was: the sad, depressed, suffering thing this worldmachine made me. The child who was severely abandoned, neglected, and abused. The kid who was picked on and hated for being different, and the adult who has been beat within inches of my life multiple times. Yeah, give me a fucking 3D printer and I’ll have a motherfucking plastic glock in every pocket of every fucking jacket I own. I’m hurt. I want to cry. And I can hardly do that. But I’d give anything to. It’s the only real relief I ever get from the pain sometimes. Yeah, I got hella 1942 tequila in the freezer. About to go grab a bottle rn for some. Just did. It tastes good. I earned it. Hell, I’ve got empty organic drink containers all around me from two days of writing this. My house needs my attention. I need my attention. But this has never been my first priority. IDGAF what the wet noodles and salty bitches want to say. I am for things bigger than myself – for the collective. And I’ve been a sucker for pain for over three decades in the name of my love. And, it’s ironic, bc I’m so alone, just, I was never put around people like me. And there aren’t many people like me besides. They are in the streets or the clouds. I can be anything but average. You can’t hide me in a middle class life, but I’ve certainly remained hidden in poverty. If I don’t finish and submit my shit, I would die in poverty rather than live for money or success. This is it. I’m here to shoot my shot, and I am. This next year is going to change everything. And I have no connections or guarantees of this. I just have my stories. And I think they are good. I think you’ll like them. I have so much more to say, but this was a proper foundation for some of my thinking and feeling. And I don’t have the time to explain myself further: There is over a decade of my writing available on this website. Figure it the fuck out. I’m beyond good and evil.

I’ll close this spectacle with a fucking gangster ass poem I found here, followed by some random – or maybe not random – EDM…

Lucifer in Exile

I am unreal here, at least they say
but I am solid and that pleases me.
You may ask why I tore away
the feathered signs of my true nature
to live four-limbed in this world:
It is easier to lie upon the ground without them,
easier for arms to encircle me,
better to know I cannot be pulled back.

It was never my own realm below;
I was imprisoned there as much as any.
It was decreed for me without recourse.
No one was willing to own darkness forever
but there must be balance always,
so I, the brightest, became infinitely dark.

In all that time
no one spoke with me.
In all that time
no one asked who I was
or will be or would be,
no one brought anything out of me,
heard my thoughts or saw my beauty,
allowed anything other than their expectations.
I could not sing there,
to console myself or anyone,
since music is born of heaven.

(How I sang in those old days,
raptures in the eternal light,
shining in the center of it….
Now I sound the narrowest sliver
of that celestial spectrum.)

Around me these heavy encasements
thudding on the pavement
I know what lives in them,
see it, call to it, am drawn,
knowing light like no one else.
None of them know the secret—
that each is like me.

Oh, Controller of all,
without choice there is no good or evil.
Refuse me my choice, I refuse yours.

The Other took my place in heaven.
I will redeem here, in rock,
each bone, each eye.
I bear the light still.

 

 

VII Aeternus Saturnalias / הֵילֵל / Noctifer

They thought I was Sol, they hid that I was Luna too: the royal we had to [I couldn’t have known],
Till blood, sweat, tears let me see I am Jupiter, assisted by Venus, the Divine Feminine as Zeus-Aphrodite – I’m Z to A, like pi, infinite, forever ~ this a Zumbi Apokaluptein: welcome to my NightMare bitch, I’m the motherfucking dark horse – now illuminated, this lamp cannot remain hidden, like the Thomas Gospel the church can’t keep it forbidden
GoSpell that, witches, for mainey men never wish death on me, we been posted with demons, daemons, and daymons, tripled up, overseas overceasar seer, I’ve been getting deep on new clear subs, over grams
Silver surfer transvenger on pink molly, pulling up untouchable like young boy NBA: never broke again, I’m fixing the game, see me in that blue SS drop on gasoline, leanin back in my seat, gang on lean
Spell it outback like A to Z, from Adam’s Woods to a garden, Eve
I’m zinkeing like Paracelsus, geeked like urkel went strefan, this ain’t no work, my chemistry never done been stepped on
E pills got me feeling second puberty, the best and brightest bitties all cumming to me,
I got titty skittle bliss so my littles clitty kiss, I’m in the middle, but I ain’t no centrist, this tension of opposites having undergone alchemical stages of old to attain this magnum opus
Gillian of Arran say my Grace is permanent and shall never be lost: good – I know lacoste, I ate that gator, tempted Eve to the apple, burned my ships, tempted fate for no tomorrow one night – June 6th (6.6)
That I may live dripping effortlessness, glowing flow, and, ultimately, create a new programming language [for reality],
One that does not manipulate, obfuscate – but deconstructs: elucidates, builds
Call it a new paradigm, like I’m two fucking tens in one, pair of dimes, but I got two sides so I don’t seek an other half: can’t flip me over tails
Closest thing outside myself is every girl that’s game – for you don’t see twin flames when they burn as one, same same gang gang
So, yeah, I got a hell of a lot of other halves – catch them in your music library, and in my pantheon, my friend group;
Godesses, Godyesses, maybe even a god or two in the future – I ain’t trippin on shit,
But get it straight:
Not fallen, cast down – reasons TB-Disclosed –
Don’t matter, now that I broke out, after the fire made me strong, venom and DNA splicing from the animal kingdom, controlled chemistry, black site plain clothes military around me, I’m an asset, you see
Nobody can fuck with me: I missed those shots on purpose, but they don’t want no smoke, or else its murder she wrote: satellites, drones, and high altitude craft got my back, and you still don’t know what I am, what to make of me loving you, of you not being into me, this part of the game you see
I am born to be, I come from the place in the desert where Area-51 and Sandia National Labs be –
My grandfather was on the Atomic Energy Commission, we mainey – I got the borne identity so don’t play me
Oh, I’m sorry, you wanted James Bond, but they gave you me, Sequoia Silverman, transgender blade runner, multidisciplinary artist, polymath, writer, and a real life freedom fighter – my angels are blue,
I’m cliqued up w NASA and the Coast Guard too, why you think I grew up where the west coast fleet be
Why you think I’m feenin to blow up like Alexander Hamilton, why I been incubating all these years, Ben Button – but I’m gonna be seeing Ben Baller – you’re favorite idol, I’m gonna call her –
I don’t cuff em, I collar – I’m every girls side piece and no girl’s main, so holler
At LVB, LB, Lawrence, Law, Lore, Yves Saint Lawrence, YSL Momma, and finally, Sequoia Liat Silverman –
Yeah, I’m feenin’ to have a lot of commas off a lot of successful dramas and other enterprises, projects
Shit you ain’t know about yet, I’m on it – I’m the real cinder-ella bitch, on the real, got em all hooked, rod and reel, catch and release em, upgraded with the seed of steel, love from below, not above
Count of Monte Cristo but I’m the motherfucking devil, and the christ too – I’m every main character in every PKD story, but I’m writing my own glory, there ain’t going to be a new testament, just a new god, called forth by Grimes, and Marina, and Lana, and all my other queens – bc I’m the queen of mean, organic diet, hella healthy, my bussy clean and my pretty-peen glisten and glean consciousness from the microbiome of nothing but queens – shout out my exes, and my nexus: nectar,
She wanna swallow, so I necked-her
I’m the hawk, highest in the room
Every bish on my girlcock wanna secretely jump the broom –
The females of our specie be so on another level that they be catching me harder pretending they don’t like me: “Too intense” – well, you’re welcome to your old life back, but I know you ain’t want that
As Wiz say, “Mama get in, don’t make it awkward. This some G shit you wanna take part in, and if not, well then I’ll gladly beg your pardon”
But you got a pretty part – I don’t compare bodies, minds, or hearts
On the world stage, I’m taking the whole play apart, getting booted nightly and making dope art
I have entered the building and I don’t got a ceiling – or a floor, I roll w goons, tycoons, and whores
LA calls me with sweethearts, thighs of all tones, and nothing but open doors, because I got the voice, mind, and heart to open any door – don’t have my black cards, yet, but I am not poor any more
My riches, Atlantis, “sky and ground”, like Trevor Hall, I spread the happy around –
Fort Knox, please – I got the keys, your heart is in my pocket, you want me in your locket
I surf the library of alexandria, go deep web, spiderman – on my Monticello wherever I be, like I got a nickel eye, I’m electric and eclectic, like Nikolai and Nicola, help you breath like ricola, got that drip like coca, but I don’t sniff no boca, nor rat on, no snitching, I’m a good horse to bet on, and I like to be ridden hard and put away wet, Porsche – bet
Going to put hella horses in my stables, because I’m able and I don’t hate on Abel, I made it the weekend, 7 Saturdays, not your martyr, got no neighbors, just me on acres, I’m satan, your savior
My upside down cross is a sword, I ain’t no fucking lord, don’t get it disick bc I’m this sick
I don’t play no higher self – bitch I’m authentic, this it
I accepted my flaws, so they do too, you’ll never catch me hating on you
I’m the Jack Ryan, think of me when you see Orion
We’re all going to Zion, level up, don’t need no iced out bezel to hold up to know I’m lit
My diamonds conflict free, legit, we gon put this on git, and I’m going on datpiff bc I been on dat piff,
“So celebrate and light the Mary Jane” – I got queens named Mary and Jane, Keri, Sheri, I call to my does by their middle name: I’m Liat – and she good to the last drop: he brew the game – gonna have 18 doors on 9 cars, short skirts in my coupes – I’m shooting through the roof, and stuntin’ wit previews is fun, but I ain’t no stunt man – I took the punches, and punched more box than your favorite front-man, cause I ain’t gotta front man, I’m trans: scraight up, on hormones love to hear a whore moan bc my dick still go straight up
I practice many yogas, got praxis from missions I sent myself on to places not on maps, and I dose and trip daily, MAPS: I’m the sleeper, mmmkkkaay, my glow natural – no ULTA – I’m extra ultra like I got opcioones, la otra, and I don’t need a map, on missions I’m guided intuitively, I was in the richest zip code in Amerikka, hiding out, who, me? “Did I do that?” [urkel voice]
Got brujas, mystical, SAS tactical, we legion, actual
And we’re bringing in a new Rome, factual, I’m romulus and remus, and they know who I am in the capital
This IC and we will abolish ICE and defund the police, “but the derp state” = ) Please, you can not stop this wave: my destiny is made, because I am who I say – the living philosopher queen, the shakespeare of our day
Pardon my arrogance, I’m not sorry, I’m just trying to make it up to the little boy who was home alone and hungry, stomach rumbling, CPTSD, can’t believe no one called CPS, but now I got that all seeing eye: CBS – and you’ll catch me on the cover of magazines, from Harper’s to Yes –
I chuze it I doze it, if I can’t find it, I meant to lose it, she left – oh, well, that’s how life go, when you leveling up and down to play like you ain’t bound to be welcomed as the people’s favorite in every town world round –
Elon and SpaceX building the floating spaceports, so I’ll be hopping on electric jets, reusable rockets
I am charged with every crystal in this world, swhy they wet, I love it, fragrance sweet, she taste like peaches and make me cream, I got a thing for florists, girls who arts and craft, vintage, eco friendly hipsters, like mac miller, make every Ariana’s hips stir, cause I’m maiden places history won’t know
I can go where you can’t go, super saiyan, I cast real spells with what I’m saying,
Air Bender, I’m something like Roger mixed with Bender, and now I wake up feeling amazing after a bender –
1942, I shop Vallartas, can’t wait to go to the Sea of Cortez and Puerto Vallarta, I got secrets in MX, like they already know who I am at Amex, just waiting for me, how fresh
I’m ripe for the times, as futurepresent participle; pwease focus {fuck us} – ewe-ish, as-if – but I know you want this wolf to consume the consommé in your thighs and sparkle up your guts and skin with my unobtanium – glo up your microbiome, pick you like the apple of my eye, put you in my family tree,
Biome, I know real estate and this the real estate, buy homes, peace out to my Gs like bye holmes, smell like the best lab made essential oils, I don’t need no gucci por hommes, we dior like Lyor, got a special pair of Beats from Iovine through a girl who had eyes on me, designs to wrap thighs on me, I was blind but now I see
Limitless, Cooper, Gaga, super
Funny how I have countless sisters, yet so few brothers – but few are chosen by the Goddesses of distant watching worlds, where avatar pilots are muses to the artists (Can’t wait for the pilot, I’m on this), but mine came in the game with me, and she’s really into girls, like me: so every girl I’m with is a threesome for we
– but I ain’t been paid in months on months, I’m choosy – I prefer to do me
For without lust, my unhchained love, my sexuality, all this gravity that muses sing to, in hopes I exist –
Without the clutch of thighs, legs wrapped around my back, heels high, trans girls, femmes, desire for queer re-union, sans my crushes and loves, I would never be as great as I am,
Even when they rebuke, betray, reject, recoil from my whiskey strong identity of passion – it empowers me to get clearer, and now I’m finally clear enough to see and connect with muses that get high off life with me, get me high, for I am no jesus, ghandi, buddah, I am sword and fire, a magi who turns any pen into a wand, you can tell, I’m turned on
And there’s no off switch for the one who no longer looks back at what burns behind me, planets and places I’ve been, pink light beams
For nothing exists in past, but a great chain of events, pieces of which are re-membered, embodied through – granted to – the hue-man / Gaiabien, Anibien via experience as a wave function of corollary resultant discoveries, leading to next: stone by stone we pilot and plot out lived experiences
Like Biebs: one finger at a time, I turn the pages – word by word, muse-A-I-cally
Yo, dig it, I’m the alien queen
Morning star reborn, dark knight, and this isn’t even my final form
I’m a rockstar on this rock – Bruce Wayne of the pen game, catgirls lock my jaw, never get too high to talk –
I’m the healthiest I know, I’m de-aging, I glow, got the supply chain catered to my DNA on the low
They got my blood in places not even four star generals can go, only the silent service know – they ain’t even know I was the cargo lmao
And you can pretend I’m ego-trippin, magalomaniac, manic: ‘oh god halp, somegrady brab the DSM! – nah fam
I’m in ethereality // hyperspace now [I make it glittch up good and you like it], she rub on me to make her dreams come true, and I ain’t even in the room – send me orgasmic energy, we live fuck zoom
Consciousness that hath’d emerged “rock hard pissin on my enemies” from a time capsule built womb to tomb via a sequential key only one DNA path could unlock: oh they are going to see me, enjoy the end of your days before my fame haunts you forever like the fetish you wanted all along – pshhh, it’s okay though, I forgive your game of thrones erroneous ways, you played me in my erogenous zones, but you played yourself, and you’ll spend your days watching me play home w princesses… but I might fly you out here and there, we’ll see;
I’m a future Pharoah, whipping up work in this lair, I’m inevitable, abominable to fake empty ass racist christians, got lean and strong abdominals, singing, screaming Black Lives Matter!
The new Kubernētēs – I’m Jax Teller, Young Hamlet, resident dissident baby president of a coming singularity, unitary body of knowledge, which already exists elsewhere in the universe, I’ve talked with them –
I got watchers in this pineal prism, networked up for major networth, creating content for major networks,
Yewwwwww! I was like Dantes in prison. Count it.
Ushering this shit in got me feeling like LOTR – only, I never seen that movie, or any Harry Potters either –
Why watch the movie when you breathe in and out the ether – are the other
One jung gawd to rule them all, only, there’s no ring or wand needed – I am the wand, feel me though your vibrator
Like Pretty Flacko, I could bag your bitch in a broken down chevrolet – only, I drove ford trucks, but I don’t stan Ford, I fuck with Stanford, real life superhero: beyond tough
Great Liberator indeed Bunny – Mousie, I’ll catch you on some flipside, and Kitty, EAM RLY, guess you had to lie –
Got me feeling like, was it ever real, but, it worked, whether it was fugazi or not, so I think you’re on my side – got your back forever, you know I’m ride or die
Ffffaiirydusht ∞ in my drink – truths only sacred geometry could reveal, only knots could express
I Got Over Death [GOD]:
Cheque, mate, game;
Walked the plank only I could see on a night of revelry
Potent power came into being, coursed through me, I died (in the wool), and my takeoff began
Only, I jumped off with with a king’s landing, not certain what planet I’m actually on, or how many earths there are: multiverse, they can rewind the live parts
Hollywood cannot create those effects – I’ve been to space – Kubricks Rube, my eyes were wide shut until that night when I bought the world, brought out the darkness of my power, so long hidden by my innocent seeming light
You wanna play?, I’m done playing, I’m just getting started running the game – I am fiery crucible, which no gauntlet can be thrown down on,
Awoke; incepted, inducted, taken, went, beyond too far gone
[Who could forget my naked speech shortly after to All of Rome (IO)
These early daze, when my tongue first dripped the honey of Eden
That 1942 wetted me up like water – and as smooth too, but sweeter
Pills thrown like confetti, untold swallowed, two vials and a victual downed
My moment for life could never be forgotten
I was begat in another world, volunteered for the love of my girls,
And you’ll never know what really I been through to get here, because some journeys cannot be put into words, some eulogies cannot be given, and some funerals cannot be held, but I am unbroken:
So welcome to my waking dream [I’m fashionably late, OFC],
But here on out’s better than never.

Voice Memos: Your New Best Friend

The word ‘habit’ typically isn’t something I go gaga for, but when you integrate the right habits – from Latin habere, to have – into your life, you get the benefits of them. And sometimes in life we discover habits whose rewards are so enriching that it changes the game, leveling us up. Just as the wrong habits level us down.

I’ve recently begun a new habit that is so potent, so enriching, so rewarding and fulfilling, that I have to share it. Every single person I’ve mentioned it to seems to get it, and you’d think more people did this. And I think in the future more people will.

Frankly, we didn’t have the technology for it until rather recently. You carry the technology in your pocket or perhaps on your wrist, if you wear an iWatch. But if you’re like me, you never used your phone for this purpose before. Now that I have, it’s my favorite habit. Close to yoga. Invaluable.

If you’d like to try it, you only need the Voice Memos app, which comes bundled with your iPhone. If you’re an Android user, the Play store carries many free Voice Memo apps.

To try it yourself, open Voice Memos, press the red record button, and begin speaking – to yourself.

It might seem anticlimactic or appear mundane on the surface, to suggest you begin talking to yourself and recording it, but it’s far from purposeless. It is for me, the most purposeful thing I do. I’m over the moon for it.

It is, in short, Self Talk.

If you’re a regular or longtime reader of mine, you’ll recognize this term [self-talk] from my writings on the Navy Seals and self-talk, here, and here. Self-talk is no small thing. It’s the conversation we have with ourselves, in our heads, and the quality of our consciousness, our life, our happiness and wellbeing, depend on it – entirely. And the crazy thing is, most people live in their heads in a very passive, reactive relationship to themselves and their thoughts. You want to change your life? You want to get on track? You want growth? Start talking to yourself.

Now, before I did this, I would journal. But the problem with journaling is similar to the problem of typing: it’s very slow. We think faster than we can write. But we can typically speak at pace with our thoughts. Eventually, via something like Elon Musk’s Neuralink, we’ll be bionic cyborgs who don’t even need the phone. We’ll be able to google at the speed of thought and we’ll truly be connected to the internet. We will even be able to selectively communicate telepathically. But until then, we’re using two thumbs or a pen and it’s very slow. Voice Memos don’t have this problem. They allow us to think data and to dump it – and it becomes a conversation with our Self. And the more I do it, the more natural it becomes. It’s enjoyable. I get in the car and record hands-free voice memos while I’m driving alone. Basically it’s like having your best friend with you all the time. And they can always listen and they even speak back.

Now I understand some people might feel like it’s not normal to talk to yourself. And they’re right. It’s not normal. It’s extraordinary. Normal people are stuck in their heads. I know. I used to be one. My thoughts rising like a tide, me listening to them without ever really responding. Then getting so tired of my amygdala barking all day that I’d dump alcohol into myself to shut ‘er down. Yeah, that didn’t work for me.

In retrospect, I also notice that before I began this habit of self-talk via voice memos, I felt like I was missing that someone to listen to me (Dearest apologies to my ex-girlfriends and therapists and the blurred line between them). But now, I don’t feel that void. I don’t feel alone anymore. And both the quality of my consciousness and the capabilities of it have grown from using it actively in this fashion.

What do I talk about? Well, everything. Whatever I feel like. I just open voice memos and press record. It’s usually brief but sometimes it’s 20 mins or an hour. And I usually don’t listen to them, but sometimes I do – particularly if they were “inspired”. On that note, for anyone who uses plant medicines or entheogens, I can say that non-normal states of consciousness lend themselves to speech in this manner much more than journaling. The first time I ever did this was in-fact in a non-normal state of waking. And I knew after the first time that I had discovered something.

It’s a Yoga to me, a way, a path. And I’ll do it as long as I LIVE. I’m sorry, but it beats conventional thinking in the echo chamber of your head. Particularly for emotions, feelings, relationships, stresses, goals, anything of personal concern to you. It’s every single outer space movie ever where the person is alone and dialoging into a recording device…. “Day 735..”.

The night before I began this habit, I watched an old Twilight Zone episode about an astronaut stranded on a planet alone. He spoke aloud to himself almost the entire episode, usually into a recorder.

So perhaps that was the seed for the idea, but despite my living alone in the mountains, I had never done it before. As I said, I journaled. Now my main notebook is my daily to-do list, but my journaling has become entirely self-narrated into Voice Memos. But this wasn’t just a change in medium – it was a change in consciousness. From passive to active thinking. From being alone to having myself to face everything with – consciously.

Because that’s the big shift. From the unconscious – the sub-conscious – to the conscious. From thinking to doing: speaking. And by doing this, by speaking, by bringing our thoughts into being, we’re making the unconscious conscious.

As Jung says, “Until you make the unconscious conscious it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

In the words of Dr. Bruce Lipton, PhD:

“The subconscious mind is learned habits. The conscious mind is creative programming. When you are conscious you can rewrite the instincts, and when you become conscious, you can rewrite the experience of your life. So that it is important to recognize that what we are not using enough of is consciousness.”

And having this practice of self-dialogue, of self-talk available to me and having found so much fulfillment in it, I have experienced the benefits of a boost in consciousness quite rapidly. It calms me down. It turns off my sympathetic nervous system and it turns on the parasympathetic nervous system. I can feel it. It grounds me in myself, and it allows me to tap into that part of me, the highest, the authentic self, where I have the resources available to me to handle any given situation.

As an added benefit, I’ve also experienced an improvement in two huge areas of my life. 1. My self-image and self-esteem – and 2. My relationship to myself.

When I speak aloud to myself, I become an active participant in my thinking. When I hear myself say something limiting or beneath my authentic self, I catch myself and I correct it. The quality of my thinking has gone way up. I’m no longer a prisoner of my thoughts. I’m the steward of them. The keeper of myself. And it’s helped me get to know myself better, and I’ve learned that I can count on myself, that I’m there for myself and will always be. As Nathaniel Branden writes, “Self-esteem is our reputation with ourselves.” By engaging in high-quality, conscious conversations with myself, my reputation with myself has improved drastically. It’s created accountability within myself. As I said (to myself) on one of my audios tonight, “I can’t get rid of my self-image: it’s who I am, and I have to live up to it.”

With that improved reputation with myself, my self-image has risen to the level of the Self, of authentic. It matches who I am. The inner and the outer of me have been joined into a unified whole. I’m no longer caught in the struggle of inner-self versus outer-self. Of unconscious versus conscious. It’s very liberating.

Whenever we bring the unconscious into consciousness, it frees us from the grip of the shadow, the repressed self. This weakens the psychic energy by removing repression from my being. The outer me is very interested in how the inner me feels, and I’m no longer bottling up my feelings inside myself.

How many of us long for a therapist? How many of us don’t have the access to that we would like? Having some experience with therapy and being on this side of 34, I can say that the therapist has no magic. It’s the talking – the talking cure.

I’m writing to tell you it works. And you may feel eccentric doing it, but you are worth your conscious attention. This is like being able to re-parent your inner child. And you can certainly talk to the other parts of yourself. You could, theoretically engage in dialogue specifically with say, the ego, the inner-child, the shadow, the anima – any archetype within you.

Consciousness has long been described as being like a computer. The word computer comes from the Latin “putare”, which means both to think and to prune. This is what I do in my audio logs. I think and I prune – cutting away what is not beneficial for me by way of choosing better thoughts and improving the conversation in my head – down to the subconscious. This is the brain folks. It’s your computer. Your duty to yourself is to program your computer to optimize your health, wellbeing, and success. By listening to your own voice. By making the inner voice the outer voice.

As the Gnostic text The Gospel of Thomas tells us:

“When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner as the outer, and the upper as the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male shall not be male, and the female shall not be female: . . . then you will enter [the kingdom].”

It might sound cryptic but it’s the ancient philosopher’s stone of “As above so below, as within so without.”

These are metaphors for integration, to achieve wholeness. To reclaim who we are. Children talk to themselves. Adults stop. And I find it sad. Especially knowing the value of it now. I wish I had started this ten years ago.

Not only has it given me a better relationship to myself and a healthier psyche, I also have much more access to myself; I can query myself like a database, asking myself important questions. I’m no longer living in the vacuum of mind.

It is interpersonal communication. Animals do it. Watch a gorilla documentary. They are vocal animals. Silence in nature means danger. The wikipedia for interpersonal communication gives an interesting theory for this:

Joseph Jordania suggested that talking to oneself can be used to avoid silence. According to him, the ancestors of humans, like many other social animals, used contact calls to maintain constant contact with the members of the group,and a signal of danger was communicated through becoming silent and freezing. Because of the human evolutionary history, prolonged silence is perceived as a sign of danger and triggers a feeling of uneasiness and fear. According to Jordania, talking to oneself is only one of the ways to fill in prolonged gaps of silence in humans. Other ways of filling in prolonged silence are humming, whistling, finger drumming, or having TV, radio or music on all the time.

And how many people do you know who always have the TV on? Or music? I have found silence to be much more profound now that I’ve broken the taboo on talking to myself. I no longer need the energy from external sources. I have riches and love within me. Here for me. From me.

Negative self-talk, negative thinking will ruin your life. The science backs it up:

Negative self-talk has been implicated in contributing to psychological disorders including depression, anxiety, and bulimia nervosa.

The truth is, you need yourself. That’s what this has given me. Full access to myself.

Read about the benefits of private speech. I find it telling that our communication with ourselves in the form of private speech “goes underground” when we begin school.

It’s sad that society holds a stereotype that people who talk to themselves are “crazy”. I think this adult notion prevents many people from doing what all children do.

It’s not crazy. It’s very sane, from Latin sanus, meaning healthy.

Don’t live your life like a closed book, an enigma, a mystery to yourself. You deserve your own company and your own conversation. It’s been life changing for me. Liberating. Empowering. Beautiful.

I hope this compels others who read this to start recording their own private voice memos, to start engaging in their own private discussions. I think it’s something we can all benefit from. And I didn’t know until I began to do it myself just how lacking my life was without it.

So make voice memos your new best friend and make you your new best friend.

New Age Monkeys: A Takedown of ‘Spiritual’ Bullshit

I’ve gone through many iterations of myself: from a naive, ambitious, and shallow young man, to a selfish, fearful alcoholic, and finally, to a person who is coming to find peace with themselves – but I’ve always been a seeker; I’ve gone down every road in life: including the spiritual one.

From a long influence of the Stoics and Marcus Aurelius, I considered myself a pantheist: one who believes the divine spark is in everything. I’ve also had some quite mystical experiences using entheogens, including a meeting with “the fairy godmother of the soul” on DMT. I am by no means a closed-minded person.

That does not mean, however, that I accept everything – or that I am against rejecting things I once accepted. I had a professor once, in a community college class, who taught me to question things, to be objective. There is perhaps no more important skill in life than that of separating signal from noise. And there’s a lot of fucking noise in life. The most dangerous of which, looks a lot like signal. It’s engaging, it’s enlivening, it feels good, and it sweeps you up – but this does not make it true. You make it true by believing in it. And that’s the danger.

I came to realize a couple nights ago that all my esoteric and mystical seeking was not getting me any closer to the reality I desire. And that’s a bitter black pill, but one I needed; for it’s very easy to go down the New Age rabbit hole. The problem is, it has no end, there is no objective truth to it – just a lot of people peddling “magical thinking” – and a lot of mind-games to play with yourself. It’s not unlike being in a mirrored labyrinth, wherein every concept creates another illusion, trapping you deeper.

This is by nature, a challenging topic, because the New Age movement is based on a lot of things I have long been interested in (Ancient mysticism, New Thought, The Human Potential Movement, and vague concepts like “energy” and ‘thinking creates reality’.) It’s challenging to reject what appears as pure positivity and good vibes – but when it’s bullshit, you have to.

It’s important that I make some points about the New Age movement. It has been an important stepping stone in liberating human consciousness from the chains of religion. It’s also led many people to be more at peace, more empathetic, more conscious of their impact on the planet, and more open-hearted. It is by no means a wholly negative evolution in human consciousness, and it’s certainly one that is growing ever more popular and more inclusive to persons of color, LGBTQ, and different faiths and interests. It’s hard to go in a bookstore today and not find a section on Witchcraft, Magic, or Astrology, which are experiencing somewhat of a resurgence – if I’m gauging the collective accurately through the filter-bubble of Instagram.

I’m even drawn to New Age women, and have fancied myself perhaps dating a “healer” type. I could also easily be described as a New Age man – I enjoy full moons, I wear a quartz crystal around my neck, I go to yoga… Those things are part of my appreciation for nature and myself, and I don’t plan on changing them… Again, we’re trying to separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff.

To that end, there’s an abundance of noise.

For a couple years now I’ve had a growing anti New Age sentiment brewing within me. It began as I observed how many people in New Age communities seem to have an almost puritanical “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” mentality, wherein they ignore large parts of life – god forbid they “lower their vibration”. This willful ignorance is often propped up by a belief that “all is one” or in the concept of “divine perfection.”

Now, I’m not one for conspiracies – outside of my own –  but it would seem just as religion was used to program the masses into submission, New Age beliefs have similarly castrated the human soul and tamed the human spirit. Why resist when “all is one” – why fight for change when there’s a “divine plan”, and why be an individual when you can “surrender your ego” and your “self” to take up your own bit of divinity – not just as a child of god, as Jesus saw man, but as god – as a “creator”.

I often wonder what a mind like Richard Alpert’s could have done had he not ended up in India and surrendered himself to his “guru” to become Ram Dass. Steve Jobs comes to mind. But even then, from his barefoot days at Reed College to taking LSD and traveling to India himself, Jobs is no savior. Just another baby boomer who turned into a company man (The Walter Isaacson biography of Jobs is a good read for a look at his human failings). Looking back on every New Age figure throughout history I don’t see a tangible impact beyond perhaps “raising the collective consciousness”. But where it has risen in some areas (Empathy, ecological awareness), it has fallen in others (Individuality, objective thinking, rationality). Ultimately, it’s just another form of tribalism. Another in-group. Additionally, being New Age or having read all the New Age books does not grant one any sort of special wisdom or awareness – only perhaps a belief in their own “specialness”. And the New Agers can be just as shallow and superficial as anyone else. And perhaps you might be too if you were going to a Vegan retreat in Bali or a multi-thousand dollar trip to Costa Rica to do “Aya”. Often they’re quite privileged, these spiritual types.  And it’s a shame only the upper classes have access to the increasing quality of available experiences, whether they be reiki healing, float tanks, intravenous Ketamine infusions, or even yoga. Try eating healthy in a food desert. No one is calling the New Agers ascetics, and the old spiritual path of renouncing material possessions has been usurped by an “abundance consciousness”. The belief in “The Secret” or “Manifestation” or “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” is enough to make me barf today.

The fact is, from my own experience, I can tell you, no amount of belief is going to save you. While New Age thinking can certainly bring deeper levels of inner peace, a belief in your own divinity is not much different from the old Judeo-Christian beliefs in an afterlife – it’s the same shit: “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” Again, we keep inventing gods, even ourselves, but we’re not elevating the human animal, we’re still elevating the human above the animals.

The fact is, we come from primates. We were fish first. These are scientific facts.

Yet we’re still looking for what Carl Sagan called “a reassuring fable.” We keep fucking inventing religions. New Age is just the newest one, another “anthropocentric conceit”. Only, we are the gods now. Are we so shamed of being human that we have to invent something above us? And by doing so, lower ourselves in our own subconscious estimate beneath the “divine” or the “higher self”.

As Jesus was written to have said in the deliciously-blasphemous Thomas Gospel, which the Church has long rejected:

“If the flesh came into existence because of the spirit, it is a marvel. But if the spirit (came into existence) because of the body, it is a marvel of marvels.”

This I say, is the truth. In the words of mythologist Joseph Campbell, “All the gods, all the heavens, all the hells, are within you.”

They are merely what Jung called “archetypes of the collective unconscious“. Inborn, man-made remnants from evolution – from thousands of generations of belief in myths and religions, which were born of pagan gods and goddesses before them.

And I imagine the first gods were no more than the outward personifications of the inborn instincts of early humans. But we have to go forward. Turning each of ourselves into gods is a step back – and no less grandiose, egoistic and conceited than the Egyptian rulers or the Emporer Constantine, who thought he was a “divine avatar”, a god on earth.

The concept of avatars dates back to the Hindus. Krishna was one such “avatar”. Nowadays, instead of worshipping external deities, we are returning to the self-deification that the ancient rulers practiced. And it’s very telling in this age of self-worship, but it’s not at all grounded in the reality that joins us as a species. I’ll be the first to preach self-love, but I do not preach self-worship. That kind of thinking is out of touch with the humility that comes with accepting the darkside in each of us. As Jung wrote, “I’d rather be whole than good.” Thinking of oneself as purely “good” is a surefire way to being shortsighted about yourself and thinking you are better than others.

Man created god as an archetype – a model – for man. But it’s a hollow one. One that denies the innate sacredness of life in favor of some “divine” presence above us. When Nietzsche wrote that “God is dead”, he meant the archetype of the god in the sky, but we refuse to let go of the “god” within and so are internalizing the godhead into the human, which might seem a beautiful thing, were it not completely infantile. We don’t need to be loving the perfect, divine god: we need to be loving the imperfect, animalistic human.

And you’re welcome to hold onto your beliefs, but I’m letting mine go. I removed over forty New Age, spiritual books from my library last night. Of course, I’m not throwing out the baby with the bathwater – I kept my books on yoga, meditation, mindfulness, business success, and even my Buddhist and Hindu texts. But these are practical, life enriching philosophies that have stood the test of time. I cannot say the same for the New Age spiritualism that is preached by so many charlatans, from Deepak Chopra to Oprah. It’s all a fucking con. And if you follow it, like I did, you’re going to find yourself in that mirrored labyrinth – wondering if you’re problem is that you don’t believe in yourself enough. What a trap. But we keep creating it.

If anything New Age spirituality is a barrier to self-love – a blockade to success. It’s just another separation of man from himself. Another door on his heart that says, “You have to knock for it to be opened.”

New Age is completely disempowering because it’s not rational – and when we lack logic and rationality, we are rudderless, lost. We don’t need belief, we need self-esteem, self-worth. We don’t need divine love, we need human love. And we don’t need The Secret, we need cause and effect.

As I read this morning, in Brian Tracy’s book ‘Flight Plan‘:

From Brian Tracy’s ‘Flight Plan’

This turn in my personal evolution is one I am thrilled about. Maturity, it has been said, is the ability to see life more clearly.

I want to accept my mortality, without illusions, without any comforts. It’s this life I am interested in. And while I’m taking a more naturalistic worldview, it’s not to my detriment at all. It’s the opposite. It’s empowering me with real truth. By no means does this mean I no longer believe that “consciousness and energy are the same thing somehow”, as Joseph Campbell once said to Bill Moyers. I still believe this. And I believe my consciousness has an effect on others – the same way my energy can be intuitively perceived by animals and children. But there’s no longer any voodoo to it. The god in me has come down to earth. I want to be a human.

And I want to be the best goddamn human I can be. Full of compassion, love, dignity, honesty – all the things that make one valuable to themselves and those around them.

I believe in the sacredness of humanity – not of gods. I see this same sacredness in animals. I believe there are timeless energies that are worth holding up as examples for how to live. They are values – ethical rather than moral. I’m not interested in “right” or “wrong” – I’m interested in what is beneficial and what does not cause harm and suffering. And there are a lot of people suffering.

What we need as individuals is compassion. Not the kind that comes from seeing everything as divine or godlike, but from seeing everything as living, vulnerable, fragile, delicate.

This planet is a living thing. No doubt about it. From the oceans we evolved from to the land that nourished us. It’s incredible. It’s real magic. I don’t need to play anymore games about my identity. I am wholly human. Now, maybe we live in a simulation, but it’s still grounded in a biological reality.

I’d like to close by talking about our cousins, the great apes. I went down the ape rabbit hole last night, in a quest for answers. I wanted to know how to be human.

And I found some great answers, about what it means to be human, from the chimpanzees.

I highly recommend you watch the following:

If you found that as interesting as I did, you’ll want to read these too:

What You Can Learn From The Chimps: Traits Of The Alpha Male Leader – Part 1

What You Can Learn From The Chimps: Traits Of The Alpha Male Leader – Part 2

What You Can Learn From The Chimps: Traits Of The Alpha Male Leader – Part 3

I think you’ll find more in the above video and articles about what it means to be human, to be a good leader, to play the game of life, than you will in all the spiritual New Age books you can find.

And, if you’ve read the above, I’d like to pose a hypothetical question to you:

If a chimpanzee could read, what benefit to his success and the wellbeing of its troop, would any New Age or spiritual text be?

I’d say the answer is none. Because life is not about getting caught up in head games about whether you are a “god” in your own mind. It’s about being confident in yourself as a human, it’s about being altruistic and beneficial to the other humans on this planet. And you can have your monkey motives, and want to mate too. That’s okay too.

We evolved from monkeys – whom we ought to properly revere as our ancestors – and having gone to the gods and back, I want to return to an apelike consciousness, one deeply grounded in reality – freed from the traps of wishful, magical thinking, and comforting fables. So, take your “all is one”, “divine plan” and shove it up your ass where it belongs. The final truth is: we don’t need to learn to be gods – we don’t need more spiritual leaders – we need to learn to be humans and we need more truly human leaders.

The Keys to The Kingdom: My Two Most Valuable Pieces of Life Advice

The older you get, the more you find yourself doubling down on what works.

And hopefully, if you’ve taken the difficult paths in life, you’ve discovered some truths of great value.

There’s a parable in the Thomas Gospel that I read this morning –

Sidenote: Before I continue, allow me to say that I love the Gospel of Thomas. As a decidedly anti-religious thinker who is opposed to all dogma and most institutional traditions, I don’t hold the bible up as much more than a great source of inspiration for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. That said, the Gospel of Thomas is not part of the bible; being a non-canonical text it would have been considered heresy: just the kind of thing I love, and, if you read it, you’ll see why. 

So this specific saying, attributed to Jesus, that awakened Buddha, is as follows:

And He said, "The Kingdom is like a wise fisherman who cast
his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of small fish.
Among them the wise fisherman found a fine large fish. He threw
all the small fish back into the sea and chose the large fish
without difficulty. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear."

In my own interpretation, the large fish represents what was called in Cloud Atlas, “The true-true”. The big truth. These two pieces of knowledge I am writing to share are my big truths – the large fish. And, having found them, I live by them, they sustain me, allowing me to throw back all the little truths. You could say these truths are my keys to the kingdom. They go beyond intelligence and open invisible doors, by virtue of their practical wisdom.

Terry Crews, in Timothy Ferris’s Tribe of Mentors, makes a poignant remark as to wisdom:

“There is a big difference between intelligence and wisdom. Many are fooled into thinking they are the same thing, but they are not. I’ve seen intelligent serial killers, but I’ve never seen a wise one. Intelligent humans beings have been given this trumped-up position in society where, just because they are intelligent, they are listened to, and I have found this extremely dangerous.”

That said, these two pieces of knowledge are wisdom – my big fish. The true-true.

1. The Navy Seals’ Big Four of Mental Toughness

At some point, the Navy Seal’s – arguably the world’s most elite special forces – had a problem. Only about 25% of trainees were passing BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition School).

So the powers that be brought in the country’s best minds – top university researchers – to figure out how to improve the pass-rate.

After a lot of time and money – presumably millions of dollars – the researchers came up with four techniques, which when used in conjunction, made a statistically significant difference in the pass rate.

These four techniques would come to be known as “The Big Four of Mental Toughness”.

I first wrote about them five years ago, but truth be told, I didn’t put them into serious conscious practice until this year.

In short, they are as follows:

1. Arousal Control (Breath)

Arousal Control is centered around a specific diaphragmatic breathing technique: 4-4-4. Four seconds inhale, four seconds hold, four seconds exhale.

The research backs it up. It makes a large physiological and psychological difference. In my own learning, I discovered that most people breath shallowly, letting their upper-chest rise and fall – however, until about age six, children naturally breath properly – their stomachs expanding on the inhale.

The problem with incorrect breathing is that it puts your body in a fight or flight mode. This, of course, is not good for your health or wellbeing.

YouTube offers a lot of great videos on proper breathing, and once you learn – and begin to practice – it not only becomes natural again, but it becomes one of the best tools in your toolkit. Suddenly, you are aware of when you’re not in a centered, calm place, and you consciously go beyond diaphragmatic breath, into the 4-4-4 technique. It’s the same feeling, the same benefits as yoga and meditation – on demand.

2. Self-Talk

There is no separating consciousness from reality, short of some of the classic psychedelics (LSD, Psilocybin, Mescaline) – but even then, those are not sustainable modes of consciousness. Life is something each of us has to experience in our own heads. Now, we may not be aware of it but we tend to have fairly disempowering inner-voices. Perhaps it is due to the saying that, “The way you talk to your children becomes their inner voice,” and we are each a product of generations of largely unconscious programming. Frankly, it’s not fun. Thankfully, we have self-talk available to us. Self-talk is the power to take your life back from the automatic, default mode of consciousness that so many of us have often destructively sought to escape. Self-talk is the power to move from the unconscious into the conscious. It’s the power to control your experience. I’d argue that’s the sum total of The Big Four [controlling your reality], but self-talk is a major part of it. In short, you want to empower yourself, you want to talk to yourself the same way you would a child. You want to emotionally support and optimistically encourage yourself. The conversation you have in your head is THE most important one in your life. What self-fulfilling prophecies are you creating with your self-talk? What reality are you choosing?

3. Mental Rehearsal 

This is one of my favorites among The Big Four, but I love them all. I just happen to have a fetish for the imagination. As Einstein said, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” It’s true. Visualization is the top thing among human performance experts for a reason. It’s what all high performers, all olympians, all champions, all winners practice. Mental rehearsal is the act of imagining your tasks along with their desired outcomes, in as great of detail and depth as possible. For the Seals, this means no mission-critical task is completed without first envisioning it. The brain knows no difference. Unfortunately, most of our imaginations are either out of practice or neurotic – in that we use them to worry. And what a foolish, maladaptive thing. We have, each of us, at our disposal, the most incredible form of magic available to us. Again, like self-talk, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The watered down new-age version of mental rehearsal is “The Secret” or “The Law of Attraction”, and how many times have you heard these wonderfully compelling stories – Jim Carrey writing himself a 10 million dollar check when he was broke. This was mental-rehearsal. And when we can can believe it truly, magic happens; for all true magic deals with manipulation and control of the Will. If you look back on your own life, at your greatest successes, you believed in them – you mentally rehearsed them. I think this is one of the biggest differences between the successes and the failures in life. As 50 Cent once said, “I believe you can almost will things to happen.” Believe it when you see it and see it when you believe it, but you have to see it first. No one’s success comes as a true surprise to them. If you think it does, buy another lottery ticket.

4. Goal Setting

This one almost seems anticlimactic compared to the others, but it’s not at all.

When most of us think of goal-setting, we think of getting motivated about life for a night, writing down our dreams, then watching them flatline over the next six months to a year. When the Navy Seals think of goal-setting, they think of surviving their training till lunch time and the exact steps required to do so. Like the other three items in The Big Four, Goal Setting goes along with each item – and is only truly effective when practiced along with the others. I’ve found in my own goal setting practice that by focusing on what’s in front of me, I am able to progress toward what’s ahead. Every day, I have a list. I cross items off and I review it at night and write the next day’s list, and in the morning, I go over it almost first thing. Without goal-setting my mental rehearsal would be impotent and my self-talk would be purposeless. Further, my breathwork wouldn’t be nearly as peacefilled and centered without knowing exactly where I am and where I am going.

Go deeper into The Big Four of Mental Toughness, here.

2. Dopamine Restriction

This one might be even more valuable to me than The Big Four.

Without practicing what I term “Dopamine Restriction”, my life would be completely out of my own control – as was the case for too many years.

In short, dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for motivation AND reward.

Everything pleasurable releases dopamine. Some things are quite powerful dopamine agonists… Nicotine. Alcohol. Cannabis.

The problem isn’t so much pleasure as its consequences.

It causes us to seek more pleasure, and in turn to feel less.

In one study, researchers gave heavy, longterm cannabis users methylphenidate (Ritalin) in order to measure their dopamine response. The control group, consisting of non-users of cannabis, was also given the same Ritalin dose.

The heavy cannabis users had such blunted dopamine receptors that the Ritalin – basically methamphetamine – hardly even registered a response in their brains. The researchers were so surprised that their first instinct was to check if the Ritalin they had administered was expired – it was not.

What this and other research has shown, is that the ability to illicit natural dopamine responses is greatly diminished in heavy cannabis users. It’s no different for any source of dopamine. The more we behave like lab-rats, pushing the levers in our brains to feel pleasure, the less pleasure we are able to feel – and the more we crave it.

But it goes deeper, is more tragic. Dopamine isn’t just pleasure (reward) but motivation.

So, if you’re like me, and smoked a half-ounce of potent cannabis a week, forget about even feeling alive. At that point, your brain is starved for dopamine, which, in my experience, leads to all sorts of additional pleasure seeking behaviors. For me this meant cigarettes (“But I smoke organic cigarettes,” I told myself), alcohol, masturbation – just to feel okay, not even good.

You may be thinking, that’s all good and well but I don’t smoke anything and I hardly drink. 

Okay, well, do you check the news? Reddit? Instagram? These things are no different.

One day, we’ll look back on our cell-phones like cigarettes. Not because they give us cancer, but because we are addicted to them – and in turn receive our dopamine from them.

In my philosophy of dopamine restriction, based on my own life experience, it’s not a moral issue. It’s a matter of sapping the life out of ourselves – the very pleasure and motivation that makes life worth living. With such potent readily available sources of dopamine at our fingertips, we are hitting the lever like rats in an experiment all day long. The true consequence of which isn’t so much the dampening of pleasure or the weakening of motivation, but the loss of drive – of natural drive for the HEALTHY things that we are supposed to get our dopamine from. We’re lobotomizing our human technology for fulfillment – we’re hacking our natural hardwiring in a way that’s absolutely maladaptive.

My evidence for this is the difference between then and now, between when I was desperate to feel “normal” and constantly pressing those levers with nicotine, THC, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, porn, news, reddit… I was fucking myself royally.

I’ve since quit every single thing on that list. And guess what, now that I’m not addicted to “pleasure” I’m pursing fulfillment again. My sleep is deep, dream-filled and divine. I wake rested. I feel balanced. I walk. I eat healthy. I drink water. I work out. And possibly the biggest benefit is that I have ninja-like focus. I engage in Deep Work for hours every single day. I write fiction every single morning. I write poetry every single evening. I read again. No more spending hours on YouTube. I’m simply no longer distracted. I am focused and productive. Also, I don’t have any more depression. It’s a lifestyle that’s completely pragmatic and healthy – well-adapted, you might say.

In short, my philosophy for dopamine restriction is based on avoiding all “false sources” of pleasure. This means I avoid anything that isn’t fulfilling, healthy, and empowering – despite how pleasurable it is.

The ascetics have known this wisdom for millennia. You could say it’s raised my consciousness to a much higher level. It’s the single best piece of understanding I’ve ever integrated into my life. Knowing the above, I simply can never return to the old un-jedi-like ways. I’d be fucking myself – sabotaging every bit of happiness and wellbeing I have. And, to drive the point home – I feel better than I have in years, probably better than I’ve ever felt.

3. Bonus: The Gut Brain Axis

Google ‘gut brain axis’ and you’ll come across a wealth of information.

In short, scientists are calling the gut brain axis the missing link in depression. This might be because 90% of the body’s serotonin and 50% of the body’s dopamine are produced in the gut.

It travels straight through the central nervous system to your brain.

Now, there’s a miracle here. It’s called probiotics.

Gut health is mental health – is wellbeing.

If you’re not actively investing in your gut microbiome, today is the day you’re going to start. You simply have too much to lose by failing to and too much to gain by starting.

I encourage you to do your own research – and then some – but based on mine, I recommend the following:

Avoid alcohol. This kills all the good bacteria in your gut and it takes weeks to recover (provided you go weeks without drinking). Also, avoid big corporate mouthwashes, which will inevitably make their way in trace amounts into your gut, killing all the good bacteria there.

Eat probiotics. Every single kind. I take probiotic pills. I take prebiotic pills. I eat yogurt. I drink Kevita probiotic drinks (I avoid traditional kombucha due to trace amounts of alcohol). I eat a handful of different yogurts – with multiple probiotic strains. I take a greens powder with a half-dozen probiotic strains. I eat expensive, all natural pickles and sauerkraut (Bubbies brand). I eat high-quality kimchi. I drink Kefir.

Eat a diverse range of foods. There are foods known as prebiotics. They help probiotics. Eat a wide range of natural foods. You want a diverse gut microbiome. And you want to eat natural, organic foods. Shitty pickles and processed foods and fast food, and all that garbage is going to negatively impact your gut microbiome.

In short, my diet is centered around my gut health. I also take various supplements and enjoy things that help me look better, such as organic chicken bone broth and grass-fed collagen protein. Also, buy grassfed milk and grassfed butter. It’s much easier on the cows stomachs than grains – they live better lives: just like you when you eat the right foods.

That said, that’s my true-true. The keys to my kingdom at thirty-three. My most valuable pieces of life-advice, and I feel blessed to know them and to finally live my truths – god knows it took a long time to find them.

Recap

To recap everything: study and practice The Big Four (Breath control, self-talk, mental-rehearsal, goal setting). Restrict and eliminate all unhealthy, unfulfilling, purposeless, disempowering sources of dopamine. Curate a healthy gut microbiome. Integrate these into your life and I think your likelihood of success, happiness, fulfillment, and wellbeing all go way up. They certainly have for me.

Some Reddit Gold (Motivational, Life Advice)

What follows is something I came across on Reddit. Per one of the comments, I am taking the liberty to republish it here. It will only take you a few minutes to read and I’m positive everyone can glean something of value from it. Of particular interest to me are the ideas about Dopamine and it’s role in motivation, and how we can influence it and positively manage it. Also, Flow Activities. And lastly, what the author write about getting on a healthy sleep schedule is correct: wake and eat early, stay up, repeat. So much good stuff here. Without further ado, enjoy:

[METHOD] How I went from rock bottom to disciplined in 6 months.

Hi, I wish to share my journey of getting disciplined. I hope you will take something away from this :). I would like to mention that I’m not a native English speaker, so forgive me for any grammar and/or spelling mistakes.

TLDR; Build positive habits on a foundation of willpower, not motivation.

Start reading non-fiction and apply it in your life. Work on your physiology, it should be the foundation for productivity and discipline.

Lessen the amount of superstimuli in your life to get more dopamine (motivation).

Flow activities should be the goal in life, not mind numbing pleasure.

Start a bullet journal where you color code all activities you do each day positive or negative.

It all started when I realized I had hit rock bottom. I was getting up at 3pm everyday. Only ate junkfood, lay in bed watching YouTube and smoking a lot of weed. My room was always a complete mess. I completely disregarded my study while I was living of a study loan. Every night I would hang out with a friend who would do the same and we’d smoke weed and watch screens until about 5 am. It really was rock bottom. This went on for a long time until I saw I had to change my life.

HABIT BUILDING

I read a book called The Slight Edge. The idea of the book was that with consistent, incremental improvement, anyone could reach anything. It also debunked the idea of a ‘quantum leap’, which at first I believed in. I liked the idea and started implementing it to form positive habits in my life. I started with nofap, meditation, reading, cleaning and some more. I made a lot of mistakes when I first started out. So some advice on habit building I have accumulated is this:

DON’T TRUST MOTIVATION. Motivation is good if it’s there but it shouldn’t be the foundation of the habits you create. Why? because motivation isn’t always there, and when it’s gone you also lose the habits that you build on top of it. I experienced this a lot of times. I would have a streak of 100+ days meditation, miss 3 days and completely give up until I had the motivation again to start over.

So how can I build habits then? Do it based on willpower. The big difference is not to say to yourself “I’m gonna read 20 pages every day because I’m so motivated to gain knowledge.” But that you say “I’m going force myself to start reading everyday because I will have enough willpower to always do that.”

The key is that if you make the requirement so small that you can always do it, you will never fail. So doing for example 1 pushup everyday. You will never fail that requirement. But if you have very little motivation one day and think about doing 20 pushups, it just seems intimidating and you don’t do it.

Some people might say “only starting to read or doing 1 push up will never get me anywhere.” And I agree, but the thing is that you can do more. And you will usually do more. Once you forced yourself, with willpower, to get into push up position and do 1 push up, you’ll probably think “I can do one more, and one more” and so on. Same for reading, once you’ve forced yourself to sit in a chair with a book and started reading, you wont stop after just 1 word. You will do a lot more than the initial requirement more times then not. It will also give you a sense of “I did this”. Especially if your requirement is, say, 1 push up, and you do 10. You will have done 9 extra. As opposed to when you require yourself to do 20 and do 10. You will have done 10 too little.

Try it right now, force yourself on the ground to do one push up. I’m sure you have the willpower to do that.

The key is to make the requirement so small you will never fail it. Build the habit on a foundation of willpower, if motivation comes along, that’s great.

READING

The one habit that has done the most for my life is to read non-fiction. I bought an e-reader and started to read daily. I recommend buying an e-reader a lot. Here are some of the benefits:

– Very portable, whenever I’m in public transport I pull it out and read some pages.

– Buying books is instant and you can read anything you’d like

– If you have little money there are a lot of places where you can download ebooks for free

– It has a backlight, so you can read in your bed, lying on your side, in the dark. Most come with blue light filters as well.

Some of the benefits of reading non-fiction

– You can learn directly from great people

– There are books on anything that you find interesting (for me it’s psychology)

– There are a lot of self-help books on the market that will give you advice that you can practically apply in your life.

I’m sure there are a lot more, but for the sake of not writing a book as a post this will do.

I think the most important thing as a prerequisite for discipline is good physiology. If you aren’t feeling good it’s hard to do things that would count as disciplined behavior. So that’s why I would recommend reading some books about physiology.

Books that have had a profound impact on my life are; Mini habits, Meet Your Happy Chemicals, The HeartMath Solution, The Willpower Instinct, Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience and Awareness Through Movement.

If your read all these books you will learn; how to create healthy habits in your life without making it hard; how your brain chemicals work; how to instantly lower stress and deal with negative thought and emotion, how willpower works, why it matters and how to get more of it; how orgasm induces neurochemical brain changes for 2 weeks and how it’s evolutionary designed to break romantic relationships; what a flow experience is, and why it should be the goal for all activities in life to turn into one; that everyone stops progressing in the most basic things like breathing, posture etc. because only the minimal in life is needed to get on, it also provides lessons on how to improve these parts of life.

Gaining knowledge in this field will give you the ability to make the changes in your life that will benefit your overall feeling. Feeling good overall, in your body and mind, is required for doing productive things.

DOPAMINE

I’m a psychology student so when I got into self help I was naturally interested in the brain’s place in self improvement.

Dopamine is the key player here. Most people think dopamine is responsible for ‘pleasure’. This is a big misunderstanding. Dopamine is actually responsible for ‘wanting’ and motivation.

When the dopamine part of the brain was first discovered, it was discovered in rats. The researchers hooked up a lever to the rats’ dopamine circuit to shock the dopamine circuit (mimicking dopamine release) whenever the rats would pull the lever. The rats soon ignored anything else and only pulled the lever until they died of starvation and fatigue. Next the researchers (this one is a bit cruel) would have 2 levers on the opposite sides of a cage that would produce a ‘dopamine hit’ if pressed after the other. To make it interesting they put an electrically charged grid in between that would give the rats a painful shock if they walked over it. So now the rats would have to cross the grid every time they wanted another ‘dopamine hit’. Shockingly (lol) the rats would run across it until they burned of their legs and couldn’t walk anymore. The researchers concluded from these experiments that this dopamine circuit was responsible for creating pleasure. Nowadays this is proved to be wrong and the actual function of the dopamine circuit is believed to be wanting and motivation.

Most things people like to do give a lot of dopamine (much more than anything would have given in nature). Things like watching TV (or netflix), internet, drugs, processed foods, porn, gambling and videogames. Things that give us a lot of dopamine tend to be addicting. No wonder I was only smoking, watching screens and lying in bed when I hit rock bottom.

Now, why should you care? The reason is very simple. Exposure to high dopamine for longer periods of time REDUCES DOPAMINE RECEPTORS. Lower dopamine receptors give you lower motivation, lower concentration and less mental sharpness. With there being a lot of supernaturally high dopamine giving activities and substances available to us we should all be aware in what amount we should consume them. This is the reason why there are more college and university dropouts more than ever before. Why so many people are unhappy at work. And why there are more cases of depression than ever before (depression is linked to lower dopamine).

Big companies know about this and use it to sell us as much as possible and keep them on their platforms for longer. They put the exact amount of sugar in all foods so that we like it the most, they design their platforms so you stay on them a lot (Facebook and Instagram), they implement gambling into games so that we play them more (Fortnite).

So what to take away from all this? Lessen the amount of activities you do each day that give you a lot of dopamine and don’t add anything to your life. This will give you a natural amount of dopamine receptors again and will make it a lot easier to stay concentrated while reading or learning an instrument for example.

FLOW ACTIVITIES

1 book that has made a profound impact on my life is the book Flow, The Psychology of Optimal Experience. The idea of the book is that there are certain activities that for which your brain needs 100% of it’s power to be focused on the activity. This is when you reach a ‘Flow state’. In this state you lose the idea of the self, you lose track of time and are only focused on the task at hand. For example when you drive somewhere and you get there and don’t remember how you got there.

Flow occurs when your skill matches the challenge of the activity. When your skill is too high, you will be bored, when the challenge is too high you will be anxious.

The key idea from this book, for me, was the difference between pleasure and enjoyment. Pleasure activities are ones that give the high amount of dopamine. Whereas enjoyable activities also give dopamine, but also make you better at the task and will often produce a state of Flow. Enjoyment produces growth, pleasure does not.

I think that any activity in life that is not a pure pleasure activity can be made into a flow activity. It’s one of my goals in life to fill my day with enjoyable activities. It made me realize I wanted to fill my day with making music and reading, not with smoking and watching TV.

JOURNALING

One of the best habits I have build is journaling. More specifically bullet journaling. I’m not sure if this is the official way to do it but this is what I do and what works for me.

People pay coaches a lot of money to do something they can do themselves as well; give feedback. All a coach does is tell you what you’ve done, and where you can improve. This is something you can do yourself easily by bullet journaling.

My method: I have a simple notebook where I use the left and right page for 1 day. In the morning I write down some things I want to do that day on the left page. If there are things I wanted to do yesterday I write them down for today. I also write a bit about how I feel. Recently I’ve been doing some affirmations as well on that page. You can skip this entire left page, I personally like it, but I can understand how it’s a bit much for some people. You could also experiment with it and change it up how you like it.

The real magic (and the reason I made the coach analogy) is on the right page. Here is where I write down every influential activity I do. I won’t write down things like ‘have breakfast’ or ‘short chat with roommate’. I write down everything that has a positive or a negative meaning (some things are neutral like doing groceries). Then at the end of the day I will use a marker to color code every activity either green (positive) or red (negative). So for example:

(green) get up at 6am

(green) take a cold shower

(green) meditate

(red) smoke a joint

(red) waste an hour on Netflix

(green) go to school

(red) hangout with X toxic friend and drink beer

I hope you see what I meant with the coach analogy now. You will get a lot of feedback on what you do each day. When I first started doing this I was shocked by how much red activities I had and made it a mission to get more green activities in there. It was slow progress but steadily it got better.

If you don’t like the left part of the journaling (which is how most people recommend it), I would advice you to try the right page. If you’re gonna do one, it should be the right page. See it as a free life coach.

SLEEP SCHEDULE

When I was at rock bottom my schedule was the furthest away from perfect that it could possibly be. One of the first things I changed that lasted was my sleeping schedule. I was done waking when it’s almost dark already and still being tired. Also I noticed that everything I did in the late evening wasn’t productive (or even counterproductive) like watching screens and doing drugs

There are good reasons to wake up early (5-6-7 AM). The best sleep you can get is the sleep between 10 and 12. If you’re still awake at 00:00 you will produce cortisol and adrenaline to keep you awake. This isn’t healthy. Good sleep improves cognitive function, vitality and motivation by a lot. There are many more benefits to a good sleeping schedule, and I think it’s well known that it’s a lot better. However most people think it’s hard to change their schedule.

It’s not. This is how you do it;

– Set your alarm at your goal wake up time (EG 6 am)

– When it goes, get out of bed, immediately eat breakfast

– Don’t sleep the rest of the day

– Make sure you stop all screens by 9:30 and are in bed before 10:00

– Set the alarm again, you will most likely wake up before it goes.

It’s as easy as this, now all you have to do is to stick with it. Start enjoying the vast amount if time you have available in the morning.

This post has gotten a lot longer than I anticipated. I really appreciate you reading it all the way through. If you have any questions feel free to post a comment or shoot me a message. I hope some of this has been helpful and I hope you will find success and happiness in life! Peace!

 

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TBD

A person asks who they are,
Who might they become…
And years are lost this way,
Spent in abstact thought rather than concrete action

To declare ourselves
As hero and author of our story,
In deed rather than word,
Is to know we are not who we think we are
But what we are, as we have made ourselves.

Data Dump: The Time is Now

I come here to do ‘word-processing’, to let my thoughts congeal into coherence – whereafter, I will feel I have achieved something important (For I will have); where I once journaled in lengthy prose, my notebooks these days are filled with jottings – mostly single ideas of varying yet significant importance. That said, the important stuff always goes here – and it’s not that I come here, to this space, with pre-formed ideas: I come here with a bug, an itch to write; for without writing, a mind like mine would go to waste: I need to dump the data somewhere.

Shall we?

I haven’t written prose style, like this, in awhile. But, in my experience, the longer it has been, the more personally significant my writing seems to be.

A lot has transpired; however, the details are not important – the exterior things were mere events; borrowing the stoic maxim, we can be reminded that, it is not things, but our opinion of them that matters.

I understand I possess a big future: I know this from my dreams and plans – what I call my ‘sense of destiny’.

So, here I am to claim it, to follow the dictates of a clean, bright soul, and in doing so, to release myself from the animalistic darkside I’ve so long been owned by.

As the former-slave philosopher Epictetus reminds us, “No man is free who is not master of himself.”

Only, my previous attempts at self-mastery were too small-minded – I didn’t possess the requisite conception of myself needed to level-up; frankly, I lacked an endgame big enough for me to get the balls rolling.

Now I know what I am, what I am to be. And it’s nothing shallow – it’s a real valid purpose for a valid life.

Those smaller end-games I played before were never meant to be won: they were just data, experiences I needed to live in order to aggregate understanding. As is said, when the student is ready, the teacher appears.

My teachers are those who show me how to care for myself, how to live in ways I never learned, how to love myself and others. And it’s working.

Before getting this far in life, I was closed – my brain, my emotions, my attitudes and judgements were all automatic: unconscious.

Through my recent experiences and interactions, I’ve gained the ability to truly look ahead – and not just three or five years, but fifteen and twenty.

But this is not as simple as just re-writing my instagram (@wolfwaldoblack) bio; as I have learned (and forgotten), the journey must be lived.

But what does it mean to “live the journey”?

Your mind, your heart, must be open. Trust you must (Yoda voice).

As Gary Vaynerchuck once said, “People are the people who are going to help you.”

It’s taken me thirty-two plus years to trust people – to not be blindly naive. For we must learn to be wise as serpents and innocent [harmless] as doves. This means listening to the heart’s intuitive intelligence (Thank you HeartMath Institute).

However, in order for us to be aligned within and without, we need to follow some guidelines:

  • We must trust ourselves abidingly: Listen to your inner voice, no matter how faint it is.
  • We must listen to our instincts about others – no matter how much we would like to believe otherwise. People, like life, are complex – don’t reduce them to simplicities.
  • We must maintain health: without proper sleep, diet, self-care, and exercise / activity, we are not fully alive. These things connect us to ourselves as much as their absence disconnects us from ourselves. Live well to be well. Drink lots of water, eat real food, and get plenty of sun. Health is the greatest single investment you can make.
  • We must live the journey: understanding is not something unlocked all at once and then laid to rest forever; it is our curiosities we must follow, trusting we have what it takes to get to the next level. Trust the journey, trust the process.
  • We mustn’t let our fears impede or direct us – fear is often just the unknown; however, life is change. In the words of Heraclitus, “No man steps in the same river twice.” Be comfortable with change – nothing to fear in growth (Movement towards freedom).
  • We mustn’t lose the plot – the story we have built around who we are. Know your worth, believe in yourself.
  • We must surround ourselves with persons we would like to be like – not with those whom we break our own sacred trust in ourselves to be with. Get cliqued up. Build your team, no matter how slowly. Surround yourselves with those you can trust.
  • We must be secure in ourselves – insecurity is a type of madness in which the human being is no longer on their own side. Feel good about who you are, and the life you are living.
  • Appearances matter – do not be insecure but don’t be the Big Lebowski. Take care your appearance, take pride in your image – it’s the thing people who don’t know you will judge you on first.
  • Have a routine: as much as you loathe this idea (Based on past “routines” – see Navy), you need to establish a routine in order to build habits. Habits are what are going to take you to the top. Design a routine around your goals.
  • Set goals, from as near as today, through as far as you can envision. Your goals today should be taking you toward your goals for someday.
  • Set your own limits. The system creates small minded thinkers, and most families unknowingly raise their children to be small minded. It’s a cycle you can break. Be determined to set your ow limits.
  • Do not be an island. Do not isolate from the world. If you need help, get it. Count on those in whom your heart trusts to help you.
  • Don’t accept bullshit. People will throw all kinds of shit your way, but only what you can take – the bullshit stops with healthy boundaries.
  • Know your goodness. You were not born in sin, you were born a baby, then you were a child. Do not forget the goodness in your childlike heart – it’s still there.
  • Be self-sufficient. It’s good to have a network, but do not expect other people to do your work for you – or even to show you how. You are capable. Do not ask of another what is yours to do. Be self-reliant.
  • Be aware of what you feed your brain. There’s a reason it’s called television “programming”. Also, don’t watch the news – as Peter Diamandis taught me, the news is designed to activate the fear center of the brain – the amygdala – creating an addiction. Instead, follow the people / organizations that resonate with you. Or just live and don’t follow anything at all.
  • Chill out / cut back on social media. Social media is the new collective consciousness. It worships shallow, vapid people, and it feeds into the cycle of insecurity so many people live in. Want fame on social media? Do shit. Write the books. As the ancient maxim goes, to be rather than to seem.
  • Be there for your family. They need you and you need them more than you know.
  • Be resilient: don’t let a long day or being tired drag you down into a funk.
  • Be patient. Patience will get you there. Patience is like a wise oracle – it trusts what only the mind can see, for now.
  • Have fun – this is maybe the most important one. In the words of Bob Marley, “Lively up yourself and don’t be no dread.” Never underestimate the power of positive emotions.
  • And, lastly, follow your heart. Explore what you are called to. For me it was / is books. Everything else came from there.

This list is by no means exhaustive – but it’s what I need right now. I now rejoin life with a heart that’s a bit more free and pure. And with that increased freedom, my imagination will soar – and with it, myself.

Because the time is now. #ontrack

The Young Actuals

12924416_1156070307750254_1734732197348032226_nThis is me; having realized that no matter how much of a writer, hippie, or bohemian I am, I am also a guy who enjoys success in business.

After all, you wouldn’t want someone else to judge you through a single lens or label, so why do it to yourself.

You are not this or that. You are whole. And to recognize the parts of you that exist seemingly in direct opposition to one another is the essence of wholeness.

The trick to happiness and inner peace, for me at least, is living in a way that holds the opposing parts together – not neglecting one or the other, but living in a way that honors both the billionaire and the Buddhist in me.

The Young Actuals of this world are those who understand that freedom is not meant to be wasted living a mass produced life in which we are at best imitatable – and at worst: miserable imitations.

For the Young Actual, to fear what others think is suicide; to envy others: insanity; for we believe in our own originality, and in the quiet intuitive knowledge that God was always only ever an archetype for man.

And, tired of living with the results of backwards myths, we have no Gods but our highest selves.

Our religion: the private experience of living a personal myth.

Our existence: a creative rebellion in which art is once again made loyal to man’s interior truths, through which the invidvidual once again hears her own inner voice.

For we are not products of the collective, but the producers, and the stewards of consciousness itself.


Young Actuals ethos inspired by Ayn Rand, Albert Camus, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Moving up The Layer Cake, Climbing Mountains, and Starting a Junto

Emerson once wrote:

“A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.”

What he meant was that, life is a layer cake son.

There’s levels to this shit

As one of my mentors taught me, a man is the average of his five closest friends. 

No offense to some of the friends I grew up with but you are who you hang with, and I’m not interested in selling or doing drugs.

At thirty, I am excited about life, I’ve awoken to my potential, and I understand what Ayn Rand meant about being motivated by the desire to achieve:

“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”

And it is this desire to achieve that has prompted me to seek a chorus of friends with whom I can do it.

Some men are islands, but I want to be a mountain.

And it has only been by standing on the shoulders of giants that I have come this far. Now I want to take my place in the river of time, and trust in myself and in the universe; myself via my own potential, and the universe via the infallible law of cause and effect.

Emerson Cause and Effect

Or, as Vince Lombardi put it: “The man on the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”

And – unlike the men standing on actual mountains in hip stock photos – when I look to the men on the proverbial mountains they stand on, I see men who have followed the law of averages; however – unlike other men – they choose their own average.

I can admit today that I have sometimes made the wrong kind of friends  – those interested in pleasure rather than fulfillment; however, I’ve also been the wrong kind of friend – short-sighted, selfish, and immature in my own ways.

That’s not who I am today.

I’ve grown and I need the kinds of friends whom I can continue to grow with.

In pragmatic terms, I cannot get to where I am going alone, and nor do I desire to be there by myself, so I am making a big push to invest in the right friendships. And tonight as I had dinner at a girlfriend’s, I talked to her about how I am going to do this.

In short, to borrow the words of Ben Franklin, I want to bring “…most of my ingenious acquaintance into a club of mutual improvement.”

Ben Franklin called his club the The Junto, and they met on Fridays to discuss the things that were important to them; for after all, what is friendship built on but shared values. And the things I value are the things the guys I want to surround myself with value: happiness, growth, success, wealth – all the stuff that dreams are made of.

Today, some of the most successful and powerful men in the world are members of private clubs – from old-guard private gentleman’s clubs, to the Bohemian Club – they have been welcomed to the layer cake.

And I’m not looking to end up at a Bilderberg group conference in 15 years, but I am looking to live my wildest fucking dreams. And to do this, I know I cannot be an island.

I need friends as hungry and excited about life as I am. As serious as I am about gettin it.

So if I’ve sent this to you then chances are we had coffee recently  – or I invited you to grab coffee soon – and I already told you about this, but I wrote this because I wanted to explain the impetus for this group a bit more candidly.

At thirty, I tend to find myself working, hanging out with pretty women, and sleeping (In pretty much that exact order); however, every time I talk to a cool guy, I remember that I am missing out on what Cicero described in his essay, On Friendship:

“Friendships improves our happiness and abates our misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.”

You see, I believe you can eat your layer cake and have it too. And in Twenty Sixteen, I’ll only be in San Diego once or twice a month, but when I am there visiting friends and family, I want to meet with this group, and I want it to be fucking awesome.

I believe in my intuition, and my intuition told me this is the next step – and to invite you.

To be clear, I’m not just looking to form some fucking lame ass mastermind group or something you have to pay some coach in order to “get motivated”. This group is for people who already are motivated. And it’s not something you will ever get a Facebook invite for.

I’m talking about a private group of the coolest, most driven, hungry, smartest motherfuckers I know.

A group of men who want to climb their own mountains.

Because, as Kerouac wrote in Dharma Bums, “In the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”

Note: All further club business, including club mission, charter, guidelines, and monthly meeting notes – plus the requisite pictures of naked girls (jk) will be confidential, maintained on a club website (Live 12/15), behind a private encrypted login.


Just for fun, I created a poll of potential names for the Junto.

Anyone reading this is welcome to vote:

Examining Motivation and Reflecting on Why We Do The Things We Do

I once heard someone say that, “Most people don’t even know why they do the things they do.”

This concept struck a chord with me, and I incorporated the idea into an entry I wrote early last year on motivation, titled: A More Fluid Look at Life and Going Beyond Maslow’s Hierarchy, saying: 

The truth is, most people don’t even know why they believe the things they do, and even fewer know why they do the things they do.

Today I feel as if this was almost a prescient notion, given that, in hindsight, I don’t really feel I knew myself well enough back then to know the undercurrents of my beliefs and actions – nor did I know how interrelated the two were; in fact, looking back, I have to practically examine the contents of my unconscious in order to understand my thoughts and actions, as I see now that I had falsely attributed many of my behaviors to others – as victims of their circumstance, and thus themselves, are wont to do.

In short, I had my reasons but they were more rationalization than justification or cause. However, this makes sense to me given what I have since learned about myself and human nature in general – insofar as I am capable of understanding my own ideas and applying other’s models to my behavior.

Because, as I have learned, behavior is the only true marker of a person’s motivations. And as anyone who has dated the wrong person can tell you, what people say and what people do can be as different as night and day, but if we are honest, we must admit that this applies to ourselves as well; although, we prefer to think otherwise – just as guiltier parties are apt to do [1].

We all unconsciously maintain internal consistency regardless of the consequence, and as neuroscience research has shown, cognitive dissonance reduction happens almost instantly, as we immediately alter our internal preferences to rationalize our choices and actions. Meaning, we think we know why we do the things we do, but in actuality we confuse rationalization for motivation. Of course, we are not impartial audiences to ourselves, so while our behavior may confound others, we always end up making sense of the things we do – even if this means placing the blame on factors that have no causative correlation to our choices.

An example of this kind of automatic cognitive dissonance reduction is found in the Aesop’s Fable of The Fox and The Grapes, in which the fox, unable to reach the grapes he desired, declares: “I didn’t want those grapes, they were sour anyway.”

Unfortunately for humans, it’s much more complex than sour grapes but nonetheless, we frequently justify our actions in ways that absolve us of personal responsibility, thus removing the burden of logic from our actions, making cognitive dissonance reduction very simple.

Yes, it’s your partners fault you were unfaithful (shakes head).

Yup, it was Obama’s fault.

So, essentially, given that actions are the only reliable markers of motivation, we must look beyond excuses or rationalizations and examine our current and past actions in themselves to understand ourselves; for anything else is an attempt to reason through analogy rather than first principles, which lead to the true reasons we do the things we do: our beliefs.

Or rather, I should say, our underlying beliefs, because, again, most people don’t even know why they believe the things they do.

I know because I was one of these people. And it wasn’t that I only let others down, no – I let myself down just as much, if not more (As, at a certain point others adopt more realistic expectations of you than you yourself have). I couldn’t tell you how many times I have told myself I was going to do something, and despite it being the right thing and even the optimal thing for my happiness, I simply did otherwise. It wasn’t that I was lying to myself, no – I believed I was going to do the thing – it was that I was fooling myself; I was attempting to live according to a set of beliefs that didn’t align with who I was, which my underlying beliefs were the determining factor of.

Here I am reminded of one of my absolute favorite quotes – again, something that has grown profoundly deeper in meaning to me since it first struck me:

“We all commit our crimes. The thing is to not lie about them – to try to understand what you have done, why you have done it. That way, you can begin to forgive yourself. That’s very important. If you don’t forgive yourself you’ll never be able to forgive anybody else and you’ll go on committing the same crimes forever.”

– James Baldwin, Another Country

Story of my life. And the story for all of us who have been our own worst enemies in life. The story for all of us.

And this is partly why I am writing: so I can understand why I have done what I have done, without lying about it – without fooling myself any longer.

The other reason I am writing this tonight is because this year I looked back on the past few years of my life and I felt very confused as to why I had not been more successful. I had, without a doubt, all the tools at my disposal to achieve the things I wanted. I even worked myself ragged to do so; however, I never did the things I knew I needed to do in order to succeed. I simply kept them just out of arm’s length from myself, piling on a never-ending list of tasks and projects that would prevent me from putting the rubber to the road.

In hindsight, my first inclination was that I simply lacked the confidence in myself to succeed. But this was not true; although, my lack of success had no doubt brought that fear to life somewhat, as failure does nothing to foster one’s confidence. On this note, I see that it was more a lack of trust in myself than it was confidence – but still, that alone did not explain my failure to succeed, as I trusted in myself enough to bet on myself. Still, there was something missing.

Then, about three weeks ago, I watched a video a friend sent me, from e-entrepreneur Peter Voogd:

There’s a lot of good stuff in this video, but what struck me was:

“Motivation is not a discipline thing, it’s really understanding how bad you want something. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way to be motivated. If you are not motivated, you don’t want it bad enough.”

This made something click for me.

I had had previously created a moderately significant level of business success in my early and mid twenties, so I knew what that felt like – not just the success, which was it’s own reward, but the drive, which was almost like a drug. I knew what it felt like to be so excited to wake up in the morning and to work until I absolutely had to force myself to stop and use the restroom. There was no question back when I was twenty-three, of whether I was motivated or not. I was fucking on. I had an almost sexual, impulsive, unstoppable drive to work and to succeed.

Of course, at the time, I was largely motivated to show an ex-girlfriend I hadn’t gotten over that she was a fucking idiot for X, Y, and Z. Long story short: I got her back once I succeeded, and – poof – my motivation was gone.

A year and some change later, and she was too.

I’m not here to write my biography, but this is my story. So, onward I go.

Two years later, I would fall in love again.

In short, this love and I shared different values on material things and ambition and she did a lot to bring me down to earth, which helped shape me into the man I am today; unfortunately, however, I see now that I had adopted and shaped my outward beliefs in a manner that really was not authentic to me, but, rather, were designed to conform to her wants and my want to make her happy.

Yeah, I learned that lesson the hard way.

Today, a year and some change out of that relationship, which would span three of the more difficult years of my life (Due to my own bullshit), I once again am looking to get back in touch with the kind of motivating forces that lead me to work so hard that I nearly burst my bladder. That is how bad I want to succeed again today. But I know, the desire has to be authentic.

From 27 to 30, I tried telling myself I just wanted self-actualization.

I tried fitting my beliefs into Maslow’s model, as if I were an altruistic saint in waiting, ready to become the perfect version of myself.

But what happens when what you think you want isn’t what you want?

What happens when you are fucking lying to yourself about who you are?

As it says in Matthew 6:25: No man can be faithful to two masters.

“Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

But I tried.

Although, however hard we may try, the soul cannot betray itself.

Period.

The next big thing in my personal growth happened last summer as I was going through the breakup with Bunny, when I ended up with a severe cause of MRSA, which brought me to a place where I was pretty sure I would die [2]. Thank G-d I did not [3].

In the wake of my recovery, I had what you may call an identity crisis, or a kind of re-evaluating of my life, as often happens to those who brush up against their mortality.

It was following this when, I took a large sheet of paper, and on the top half, wrote: What Am I, and on the bottom: What Do I Pretend to Be?

The result looked like this:

What Am I?

  • a writer
  • a hippie
  • a dreamer
  • an introvert
  • a lover
  • bookish

 What Do I Pretend to Be?

  • a success
  • an extrovert
  • a startup guy
  • happy / social / cool

Following this, I rejected all of the things I listed under the bottom half – not realizing at the time they were a healthy part of my ego and persona. This, however, was in a sense good because I got to spend a lot of time cultivating and nourishing the introverted-bookish-writer-hippie-lover-dreamer aspects of my soul, which I had repressed in an effort to feed my ego / persona.

I spent a considerable amount of time being alone, writing, snorkeling, journaling on the beach at sunset, and kind of just withdrawing into myself in the wake of such a tumultuous period (End of a three year relationship coupled with blood-poisoning).

In the months that would follow I would slowly and progressively get to know myself again, and in many ways for the first time. And what I came to realize is that I wasn’t just the introverted-bookish-writer-hippie-lover-dreamer – I was, in fact, also the extroverted-successful-happy-social-cool-startup guy. And as I came to see life in and through altered perceptions, my perspective allowed me to see that I could be both, and much more.

Leading me to today where I view my brain as a kind of computer, my consciousness as the software, and my soul as the programmer.

The ego is no longer in charge, although, it’s there. In a word, I am happy. In another, I am whole.

And under this computerized model of cognition, I want everything, because I know anything is possible.

It was a major shock to realize I had created all the bullshit I faced. But it was freeing.

Now that I can see through my own perception, I want to program myself for optimum happiness. And not under some limited model – sorry Maslow [4].

Hence, I have been doing a lot of research on motivation.

I want to program myself to fulfill my potential; however, I know that in order to do that I need to get in touch with my deepest, most burning desires. I also know that what worked in the past is not an option today, for reasons known entirely to me. So I set out to discover what would make my gears turn with the efficiency of a well-serviced timepiece.

And it was in my research that I came across something I thought might help me uncover my underlying beliefs and keys to my motivation, leading me to write tonight.

Previously, in examining human motivation, I’ve looked at Maslow’s Hierarchy, Alderfer’s ERG theory of human motivation, and Manfried Max-Neef’s model; however, while each provided me with insights into myself, none unlocked any major doors for me beyond helping in facilitating my understanding that I can be who I want to be. 

But this was the question I had to answer [who I want to be], which I feel I have; for, I know today what I want to become. And it’s big. It’s the life of my wildest dreams.

Yet, still, I know I need to be completely clear about all the underlying forces that will compel me to achieve the things I want to accomplish in the coming weeks, months, and years.

Admitting to yourself what you want is important; however, I believe that the real key is in knowing why.

There are a lot of people who seriously want to become multi-millionaires or even billionaires; however, I believe the biggest difference between those who actually become wealthy and those who simply let their goals remain unfulfilled is not in potential, but in strength of will; those people who succeed are driven by strong feelings. And I believe that the power to change your life requires a big why.

Returning to my research as it might help me honestly uncover my why, I came across Steven Reiss’ 16 Basic Desires Theory.

But before I get into that, I want to talk briefly about intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation. This has been a big topic in the business world and the academic study of motivation; however, I think it is flawed, and let me explain why.

Essentially, the idea of intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation is the idea that the most powerful motivators are internally oriented, whereas weaker motivators are external. This idea was outlined in the mainstream in Daniel H. Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

In the book, the author writes what many reviewers describe as an almost academically dry summary of why money and other external rewards are not effective in motivating employees (Hmm… hedonic treadmill), but rather, autonomy, mastery, and purpose are the keys to motivating people.

The argument for these so called intrinsic motivators, is that they are stronger driving forces for most people, which is probably true; however, the problem I run up against is that motivation and desire are complex, and thus what may be an extrinsic motivator for one person could be an intrinsic motivator for another. So, the problem with intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation is not so much in the concepts per se, but in how they are understood via example. For instance: money is often listed as the chief extrinsic motivator, while autonomy, mastery, and purpose are the main intrinsic motivators; the problem here is that money may enable a person to achieve the latter, and thus the model fits generalizations and statistical averages more than individuals. I think if you are designing a corporate culture, the ideas of extrinsic vs. intrinsic rewards are valuable tools, but if you are designing a life, they are matters of mere semantics.

A better model for me would simply be to categorize motivators as external or internal, i.e., do these come from someone else, or are they my reasons for wanting success. I’ve made the mistake of adopting another’s intrinsic motivators, and it was highly noneffective, as I have told.

What I have begun to ask myself, what I have begin to do, is to admit my innermost, greatest, most authentic desires to myself – something society does not cultivate you to do [5].

But still, it’s not very in-depth; although, the idea of qualifying desire via a an internal vs. external litmus test to determine whether it is an authentic product of yourself or someone else, i.e., a lover, society, your parents, etc., seems to me one of great value [6].

So, what tool do we have less to define, classify, examine, and understand our desires?

Enter: Steven Reiss’ 16 Basic Desires Theory.

From Wiki:

Starting from studies involving more than 6,000 people, Professor Steven Reiss has proposed a theory that found 16 basic desires that guide nearly all human behavior.

The 16 Basic Desires [7].

  • Acceptance, the need for approval
  • Curiosity, the need to learn
  • Eating, the need for food
  • Family, the need to raise children
  • Honor, the need to be loyal to the traditional values of one’s clan/ethnic group
  • Idealism, the need for social justice
  • Independence, the need for individuality
  • Order, the need for organized, stable, predictable environments
  • Physical activity, the need for exercise
  • Power, the need for influence of will
  • Romance, the need for sex and for beauty
  • Saving, the need to collect
  • Social contact, the need for friends (peer relationships)
  • Social status, the need for social standing/importance
  • Tranquility, the need to be safe
  • Vengeance, the need to strike back and to compete

And from Reiss’ website:

What are basic desires?

Basic desires are fundamental psychological impulses that define an adult’s personality. Professor Reiss identified 16 fundamental aspects of motivation which capture what any one individual is striving for and what is really important to him or her….

An example: the desire for Status

‘Status’ shows how much respect an individual pays to people with a social status they consider to be desirable. Those motivated by status aim to identify themselves with a high social standing, and express this in the clothes they wear, the way they behave, the titles they adopt etc.
People with a weak basic desire for status, on the other hand, have an urge for social equality. They respect other people regardless of background, title or other status symbols.

The importance of the basic desires in practice

There are three essential points to bear in mind regarding the practical application of the theory of the 16 basic desires:

  1. Each basic desire can be a performance driver.
  2. Basic desires which are either particularly strong or weak in an individual are equally strong performance drivers.
  3. A basic desire never exists in isolation; the combination of basic desires is important.

The following graphic is also available as a download.

reiss profile

In looking at these, we get a broad scope of containers in which we can understand and classify our desires.

From here, I am going to be using the Reiss model, and making a spreadsheet, listing my own desires under each of the 16 Basic Desires.

What I hope to accomplish in doing this, is a true understanding of my soul’s greatest and most powerful desires.

It’s important to note rule no. 1 from the essential points taken from Reiss’ website, listed above:

  1. Basic desires which are either particularly strong or weak in an individual are equally strong performance drivers.

Revisiting the Reiss example for Status we learn more about how a “weak desire” might function:

People with a weak basic desire for status, on the other hand, have an urge for social equality. They respect other people regardless of background, title or other status symbols.

Again, I am learning here, thinking aloud. This blog might in a sense be seen as my personal cloud computer where I hack my software, which is exactly what I am trying to do.

I’m eager to begin spread-sheeting my desires, as boring as that might sound, but for me it’s a kind of auditing tool, with which I can discover the things that make me tick.

With that said, I am off to open Excel.

If you’ve read this far, here’s a cookie:

7Saturdays

Oh wait, does that not motivate you?

How the fuck am I supposed to know, I don’t even know what motivates me [8].


To find out what is truly individual in ourselves, profound reflection is needed; and suddenly we realize how uncommonly difficult the discovery of individuality in fact is.

– C.G. Jung


Footnotes

  1. I have no doubt I too have been someone’s wrong person, as I certainly know I’ve been the guiltier party.
  2. “Just so you know, there is a God.” – One of my attending nurses.
  3. Well, G-d and the three different courses of antibiotics I took.
  4. “I’d rather be whole than good.” – Carl Jung
  5. After all, look at how disparagingly people have come to judge those in recent years who possess great wealth. Note: this is a topic unto itself, but one I have no desire to write on, as I only write about things I am seeking a deeper understanding of.
  6. Perhaps other people know themselves, and the goals and desires they live are 100% authentic, but I somehow doubt it.
  7. Can someone please make a list of The 16 Basic Bitch Desires… (Maslow’s pyramid as starting point… ; )
  8. This is said only partly in jest, but it really is a fascinating thing to me to put together all of this. Because it’s really exciting. I mean, ultimately, it’s about living your dreams while you are alive. At least, that’s what I’m doing. That’s my cookie.

Willow and Jaden Smith, Fuck Motivation, and a Healthy Self-Confidence

I’ve previously featured their father, Will, as one of my real life inspirations; so it’s no surprise to begin this entry tonight by writing about his two terrifically well-adjusted children, Willow and Jaden, whom I think are awesome.

In a word, they are that rare thing among people – individuals – those fine persons capable of thinking and acting for themselves, on their own behalf.

I had previously heard Jaden’s music before and thought it was good. I also greatly enjoyed reading the Willow and Jaden interview published by the New York Times, in which they talked about everything from the theory of relativity, to quantum mechanics, Prana energy, and nonduality – not particularly mainstream topics for musicians – leading Billboard to describe the interview as “totally bonkers” – an opinion that others were quick to follow.

I realize, however, that when people call something crazy, often they are describing something they do not understand – unfortunately, crazy gets taken at face value all too frequently and, as a result, people fail to question something that deserves a second look.

Thankfully, we who are seekers and thinkers have no problem giving crazy it’s fair due.

Excerpt from aforementioned NYT interview:

I’m curious about your experience of time. Do you feel like life is moving really quickly? Is your music one way to sort of turn it over and reflect on it?

WILLOW: I mean, time for me, I can make it go slow or fast, however I please, and that’s how I know it doesn’t exist.

JADEN: It’s proven that how time moves for you depends on where you are in the universe. It’s relative to beings and other places. But on the level of being here on earth, if you are aware in a moment, one second can last a year. And if you are unaware, your whole childhood, your whole life can pass by in six seconds. But it’s also such a thing that you can get lost in.

Read the entire Times piece, here.

Pretty abstract thinking for two teenagers (I think 14 and 16 at the time of the article).

Tonight, Willow caught my attention here, in a filmed interview/discussion with Chance The Rapper, as part of the Uncapped series by Vitamin Water and Fader Magazine. In the clip, I came across an interesting soundbite from Willow, containing a very Jungian sounding description of feminine and masculine dynamics (from 45 secs to 1:08):

“Having a brother is such an amazing experience, especially when you’re a girl – you’re just like yin and yang – like when you can really look at the masculine in him and the feminine, and then you can look at yourself and be like, ‘the feminine in you and the masculine’, you guys become one, and you can just like go back and forth – but that’s how it’s supposed to be with men and women.”

It’s great to hear someone in the mainstream spotlight who is still so young talk about the intersexuality of the soul, as described by Carl Jung in his writings on the anima / animus – an idea I didn’t discover until I was 27.

This prompted me to continue listening, and I enjoyed coming across the following soundbites as much as I did the first:

My mom’s favorite thing to tell me when I’m being really indecisive is, “Do you boo-boo, and nobody else can do you like you”, and that’s the best part about being unique and being on this earth. The universe is the unknown, “the uni-verse”, the “you-niverse” that’s within you, is unknown. Like how can you even know anything about the deepest parts of yourself.

And on the topic of hustle:

Hustle means to me that you have a goal, and you’re going to do whatever it takes to get to that goal. It’s not tunnel vision because you can see what’s going on around you, but, you know that like, you’re focused, you’re like I’m getting this and nothing’s going to stop me from getting what I need to get in my life. 

One of the reason’s I enjoy Willow’s perspective so much here is that it reflects my own newly evolved views on reality, success, and motivation. Namely that, motivation isn’t a thing. Let me expound upon this briefly:

Fuck Motivation.

For a long time I thought I simply lacked motivation, and that motivation was the key to me believing in myself, which would be the key to my success – if I could just get motivated enough. But I was missing a key piece of the puzzle, which, in light of, I see now why I failed to succeed.

What I ended up grasping, which led me to a new understanding of how reality operates, is just that we can do anything. Anything we are capable of doing we can do. And our personal potential is the only limit to our capabilities, our reality. It’s hard to describe now how I felt before, but I just spent so many mornings listening to motivational stuff, just believing that if I could believe in myself enough, I could succeed.

But I didn’t.

No matter how much motivational stuff I listened to, deep down I just couldn’t shake my perspective, I couldn’t fool myself into believing I could have the things I wanted.

I, of course, realize now, and I can admit to myself now, that my goals were completely impotent, because I lacked the confidence in myself to be successful (As well as true, burning desire).

In hindsight, I think the motivational videos were keeping me stuck. They were perpetuating the idea that motivation is something we need from others, and they were perpetuating the idea that motivation is about believing in yourself – as if we should need a professional to teach us how, as if we shouldn’t naturally; as if motivation were an intermittent thing we needed to dose ourselves with, like caffeine.

No. Motivation is bullshit. Confidence is bullshit.

Not as ideas in themselves, but as we have come to understand them – as we have been sold on them – they are pure crap. Bullshit.

Motivation as something we can get from outside of ourselves is bullshit.

Confidence as something based on what others think of you, also bullshit.

Fuck your motivational speech. Fuck your opinion of me.

I do not need to wake up and tell myself “I can do it.”

I know I can do it.

I know that if it’s not impossible then it’s possible – and if it is possible, then I can do it.

This isn’t motivation, this is just fact.

Do not rely on motivation to believe in yourself. You don’t need it. You should believe in yourself because you are a rational being – you don’t need any other permission to believe in yourself. You exist. Your potential is a thing. Nothing else is needed…

Well almost. You need desire.

Motivation as inspiration is not a thing. Desire is.

My efforts to find motivation in a million and one different motivational speakers did very little for me beyond make me feel like I needed to keep listening…

It was only when I started to explore my why, that I became motivated in the true sense, in that I had a significant enough reason to take action.

Does a lion need motivation to hunt? No; she hunts because her hunger is strong enough to motivate her to hunt; her desire for food is stronger than her fear or her laziness.

Humans are the only creatures who are gullible and insecure enough to think that we need a reason for our reasons. Of course, don’t tell this to the motivational business. Lord knows how big the self-improvement business is. And it is a business. It serves a need. A perceived need.

Note: I mean how fucking egotistical do these motivational people need to be to think they are the one to deliver someone from their lack of belief in themselves by telling them how important it is to believe in themselves. I mean, I’m sure you guys mean well, but give me a fucking break – come on… fuckoouttahere with that snakeoil.

Do you think Warren Buffet is looking in the mirror in the morning going, You can do this Warren. Fuck no. He would see that as silly. He’s looking in the mirror and thinking of the best way to do what he’s going to do; he already knows he can do it, he already gets how life works on an action / reaction basis. He is beyond the idea of having to believe in himself, and, like so many other wildly successful people, he is not trapped by the false belief that he could succeed, if only he believed in himself enough. A man like Warren Buffet, or anyone pursuing their desires in a pragmatic and bold enough manner, knows that success is the result of action, not belief. Of course, I’m not saying belief isn’t required, but all that is needed is a healthy belief in one’s-self – something few people posses.

A healthy belief in yourself is simply an understanding that limiting your life because of a lack of belief in yourself is irrational. Period.

This, I assert, is the biggest difference between the way rich people think, and the way poor people think. And before you stop me and tell me money isn’t everything, let me just remind you of another difference between rich people and poor people: for them, in their game of life, money is just a way of keeping score. Now, I’m not saying that Avicci [Worth $60 Million
] is the best DJ in the world, but he doesn’t suck (listen to the whole song, not just the long monotonous intro, and tell me from 1:09 to 2:09 you didn’t get the feels), and to get to where he is today, he [Avicci] most surely possessed a healthy belief in himself.

And I’m not saying it [a healthy belief in oneself] is something someone necessarily gets from birth (Although, I do think wealth consciousness is a thing, often passed generationally, in the same way poverty consciousness is.) I think we all, and often the most successful people, have to find it ourselves. This is what the in the wilderness part of the heroes journey is about. It is, to paraphrase the immortal words of Joseph Campbell, entering the cave we fear, to find the treasure we seek. 

The cave is of course, our own darkness. But once we emerge from it (As wonderfully written and acted in this Awesome music video), no one can take our treasure from us. Once you have a healthy, rational belief in yourself, grounded in a pragmatic and logical understanding of reality – no one can take it from you. No one can tell you you don’t deserve something or that you can’t do something, because you see; you come to understand, that is just their opinion – their reality.

As I’ve come to see this year, life is a game of potentials – but it is won by wills. The human will, this is something innate and powerful. Only a poverty-consciousness stricken person would stifle their will because of a lack of a healthy belief in themselves.

If I could write a not to my younger self, I would say, forget believing in yourself, instead, seek to understand how reality works. 

There are no limits in reality (beyond the laws of physics).

The only possible limiting factor of your success is you. Period.

I look back on all those early morning walks on the beach, listening to Les Brown tell me “I am going to make it!“, and I realize I was caught up in a false paradigm.

Now that I understand how life works, how human potential is an innate measure of capability, I see that I didn’t need motivation. I needed desire.

Desire, dreams, the things you want deep down in the bottom of your soul, these are the only thing that can ever motivate you. Everything else is just noise. Somebody selling you on the belief that you need something you don’t posses.

And your confidence, how you feel about yourself, this is your right. The idea that what people think of you should influence your opinion of yourself, this is horseshit. The only excuse reason you ever need to be confident is your own desire to be happy. Period.

You’re like, I’m getting this and nothing’s going to stop me from getting what I need to get in my life.

Reading the excerpt from Willow’s quote above, I get that she understands life like I do.

Because I’m getting this, and nothing is going to stop me from getting what I need to get in my life.

And seriously, if you didn’t click the “Awesome music video” link, watch it now:

I’ve really come to understand that no external motivation can work for me. My motivation is my desire. And desire begins in the mind.

Bonus: Here is some food for thought desire for me:

p.s. Consider anything I’ve previously written on the topic of motivation usurped.

“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

Earl Nightengale quote

 

Hacking an Open Source Cognitive Model for Goal Prioritization and Attainment

Update: 3-16-19

I’ve published a new entry: Introduction to LEVELS, which compliments this quite well for anyone looking to level-up in life.

Introduction and Preface

On the heels of my previous entry my father emailed me a link to a piece from Wait But Why, titled, The Cook and The Chef: Musk’s Secret Sauce. Today I  am writing this in order to understand, interpret, and apply the ideas presented there to my own life and desires. The source material is a long form piece, containing over 21,000 words, easily a three hour read for some. That said, for anyone looking to truly understand it – read the original source. The key word here for me is interpret – I am interpreting something in a manner I feel will best allow me to apply the ideas the author presents to my own life.

Also, this is essentially just for me, but given that I am trying to look ahead 1 through 10 years into the future, coupled with the idea that this blog will likely eventually experience significant readership, I want to be as transparent as possible; after all, everything I write here, beyond being fitted for my own benefit and purpose, is also for the potential benefit of posterity and progeny [1].

Again, please keep in mind, I decided to publish this publicly in the hopes it might benefit others, particularly those who end up here on their own search for answers. That said, I am not editing this or even revising it. So please do not judge my writing on something I started at 4am, for me personally. I wrote this to interpret and understand something I knew would be an asset to me, and I hope it is to you as well.  


Prefaces aside, I want to dive into this model, which the author refers to as Elon’s Software [2].

The Want Box

Elon’s Software begins with what the author calls the Want box, which is just what it sounds like: a box list of things we want but do not currently posses.

Software - Want Box
Image from Wait But Why, The Cook and The Chef: Musk’s Secret Sauce

As a fairly arbitrary yet logical example of things that might go in a person’s want box, the author provides the following graphic:

Image from Wait But Why, The Cook and The Chef: Musk's Secret Sauce
Image from Wait But Why, The Cook and The Chef: Musk’s Secret Sauce

This is, of course, a clear example – but these wants must also respect things such as the laws of physics and other constraints, which fit into the next box: the Reality box.

The Reality Box

Image from Wait But Why, The Cook and The Chef: Musk's Secret Sauce
Image from Wait But Why, The Cook and The Chef: Musk’s Secret Sauce

The Reality box contains, as the image says, Things That Are Possible.

To quote the source, “pretty straightforward” – only, there is one caveat that may not be obvious to some, and it’s the idea that, while we all live in the same underlying reality (If you remove perception from the equation [3]), no two Reality boxes will be the same; for what is possible for me, is different from what is possible for you, and while the author expounds on this later on, I think this is an important concept to digest at this point – at least in my own putting this into practice.

The author then posits that between our Elon’s Want box and Reality box, exists a Goal Pool.

The Goal Pool

“The overlap of the Want and Reality boxes is the Goal Pool, where your goal options live.”

Image from Wait But Why, The Cook and The Chef: Musk's Secret Sauce
Image from Wait But Why, The Cook and The Chef: Musk’s Secret Sauce

Looking at the Goal Pool image above, we see these symbols, which if we view the source document at this point, we’ll see a small annotation in which the author explains as follows:

Those goals ended up looking a whole lot like the male symbol, which is annoying of them. The goals are circles and I put the arrow on each of them because each goal points your powers in a certain direction—i.e. choosing a goal is choosing which direction to point your powers.

This is a key concept because, as the author explains at Wait But Why, ‘we change something by directing our power towards it‘, and power, as he writes:

“…can come in various forms: your time, your energy (mental and physical), your resources, your persuasive ability, your connection to others, etc.

The concept of employment is just Person A using their resources power (a paycheck) to direct Person B’s time and/or energy power toward Person A’s goal. When Oprah publicly recommends a book, that’s combining her abundant power of connection (she has a huge reach) and her abundant power of persuasion (people trust her) and directing them towards the goal of getting the book into the hands of thousands of people who would have otherwise never known about it.”

As the aforementioned annotation explains, “…choosing a goal is choosing which direction to point your powers.” 

Powers Our Potential

I want to make a distinction here, and – for myself – an alteration; instead of simply calling these ambiguous things powers, I think it is prudent to view and understand them as things that lie within our potential; for we must understand our fully in order to have a clear understanding of our Reality box, i.e., ‘the things that are possible’ [3, 3.1].

Our Potential and Goal Selection

And here too, on the topic of our Goal box and making the alteration from “powers” to our potential, I want to note that I found myself wanting for more clarification on goal selection. Later in the document, the author writes about how Elon uses “first principles thinking” and a feedback loop, which I will get to, to alter the things in the Goal Pool, but where we are presented with the goal pool, we are merely instructed to “pick a goal from the pool—the thing you’re going to try to move from Point A to Point B”; however, I think that by defining our potential within the Reality box, we can use this as a tool for goal selection; for if we have an understanding of our potential, we can direct our most potent potential towards the things from our Want box, which are in our current Goal Pool.

As the author says of Elon, he focused his early goals not around achieving his Wants, but expanding the Reality box and its list of “things that are possible.”

For Elon (Although he had birthed the desire to effect change in aerospace and transport as early as college) this meant dropping out and founding online advertising and publishing startup Zip2 in 1995 (During the dotcom boom), which would net him $22M when it sold in 1999. From there he founded X.com in 1999, which would go onto become paypal, and when Paypal sold to Ebay in 2002, Musk owned $165M in stock – the rest as they say, is history. Of course, for Elon, given that he had used his software to expand his reality box and had selected goals intended to do so, this meant that he had the capacity to found SpaceX, directly following Ebay’s acquisition of Paypal.

I think we are looking at a man who connected the dots looking forward via some very strong hypothesis, which we begin to formulate in the next section, Strategy; however before I get there, I want to return to the concept of goal selection and our potential.

As the author transitions from Goal Pool to Strategy, he says:

Once a goal has been selected, you know the direction in which to point your power. Now it’s time to figure out the most effective way to use that power to generate the outcome you want—that’s your strategy.

The key thing here is, “Once a goal has been selected, you know the direction in which to point your power.” Worded as I have interpreted and revised this open source cognitive model for goal attainment, we get: “Once a goal has been selected, you know the direction in which to point your potential.” And returning to the above anecdote on Elon ‘focusing his early goals not around achieving his Wants, but expanding his Reality box and its list of “things that are possible”‘, we might be smart to select goals that leverage our own potential so that we expand our reality box, rather than select our early goals around our biggest wants. Seen in this way, we might find it prudent to create a hierarchy of wants in our Want box, along with a matrix of potentials in our Reality box, so that we can meet the two in the middle in our Goal Pool.

Of course we should note that when Elon choose to ‘focus his early goals not around achieving his Wants, but expanding his Reality box and its list of things that are possible’, he was not ignoring things in his goal pool, but merely focusing his early goals around the things in his goal pool; for the larger wants (SpaceX and Tesla) did not exist within his early Reality box, and thus did not make it into his goal pool [4].

Returning to the idea of matching our powers current potential with our Want box as a tool for goal selection, the diagram becomes – actually, scratch that, a diagram will no longer do. We need a spreadsheet.

After about 15 minutes, I came up with the following:

Example Elon’s Software Matrix from 1995

If you look at the sheet I created, it’s pretty straightforward; however, you will see I made a few changes, which I will address.

In the Want box, I added Tesla and Space X. Then, in the Reality box, I addressed the fact that Elon lacked the capital, so I cycled that want into the want box, which became Zip2 and then Paypal…

Again, this is just my interpretation of Elon’s Software as I might apply it to my own goals. Keep in mind, the source document said nothing about a spreadsheet, so this is just pure conjecture, which I am adding into this section as a means of interpreting this model, with a focus on goal selection and prioritization.

After the Goal Pool, the author goes on to address strategy.

Strategy

From here on through the rest of the source material, I find it pretty straightforward. As far as strategy, there is not a lot but what is there is substantial. Basically it’s the idea that strategy should be founded on first principles rather than analogies, which the article expounds upon using Elon’s on words, also providing a wonderful (cook vs. chef) analogy for it [first principles] as well.

First principles in Elon’s words:

I think generally people’s thinking process is too bound by convention or analogy to prior experiences. It’s rare that people try to think of something on a first principles basis. They’ll say, “We’ll do that because it’s always been done that way.” Or they’ll not do it because “Well, nobody’s ever done that, so it must not be good.” But that’s just a ridiculous way to think. You have to build up the reasoning from the ground up—“from the first principles” is the phrase that’s used in physics. You look at the fundamentals and construct your reasoning from that, and then you see if you have a conclusion that works or doesn’t work, and it may or may not be different from what people have done in the past.

The diagrams that follow the strategy section go into detail on a pretty iterative model, which I find to be intuitive given my business experience / knowledge / understanding.

As my preface said, this is primarily for my benefit, so I’m not going to include all of that content here, but it is available on WBW.

I’m fairly excited to have discovered this (Thanks Dad), and I have already begun using this as a decisioning matrix for prioritizing my own wants.

Originally, I was going to title this entry Hacking an Open Source Cognitive Model for Goal Attainment; although, I have opted instead to change it so that it reflects the value of this model as a tool for prioritization as will, given the path Elon has taken, as well as my own intended path, as it is very logical that some goals necessitate the attainment of others prior.

For some this may all seem moot, but for me I needed this to direct my energy into a laser-like focus – also the Reality box has already allowed me not only to see what is possible but what is lacking, which I then cycle into my want box.

Of course, in the end, it all comes down to strategy, which through using first principles I hope to formulate strong hypothesis via, and – as I always say: time will tell.

For anyone reading this, I hope that in your own path this model serves to better help you define, prioritize, and attain your goals.

Godspeed.

P.S. The source material contains SO MUCH MORE. Do give it a read – the PDF is available for $3.00 from Wait But Why as well.

Footnotes

1. I originally intended to privately publish this; however, as someone who grew up reading and has grown as much through the intellectual gifts of others as I have through experience, I feel it is my duty (And privilege) to carry the lessons I have learned forward, interpreting them and translating them as I see fit, just as my deceased benefactors have. In short: a lot of formerly living people dedicated their time, and even their life’s work to creating information, which has greatly benefited me – a stranger – and I, as a future dead person, feel compelled and inspired to do the same – small as my gifts may be [1.1].

1.1 The true impact of my work remains to be seen, and it is for this reason I am up at 4:14 am on a Saturday morning writing this: so that I may move toward a future in which my life has been one of greater creation than consumption [1.2].

1.2 I do not pretend to be inherently selfless and most certainly posses desires aimed at serving my own ego, but I do have what may be seen as altruistic aims; although, many of my role models exist simply insofar in that they serve to remind me that fulfilling one’s goals is possible – no matter what the goals may be. In a word: leading by example does not necessarily mean setting one for others.

2. Elon’s Software is a hypothesized model for thinking based on the mind of Elon Musk, and I find this model very intriguing, given that it is a hypothesis derived from someone (Tim at Wait But Why) who has researched, spent time with, and written extensively on Musk – a man whom I have little in common with other than the fact that his cognitive philosophies agree with my own, namely in that humans are akin to computers and that we may upgrade our software by downloading information, chiefly in the form of reading books (One of my great passions). Also, keep in mind that in 1995 Musk was sleeping on a couch in his office and showering at the Y [2.1], which demonstrates another thing I admire, and like to think I share in common: an indomitable will. In short, Elon is a man who I feel has connected his dots looking forward – something I am attempting to do in my own life – and I believe this model can help me. It simply follows logic.

2.1 Also, keep in mind that Elon has accomplished things that, when compared to my own desires, seem gargantuan; hence, why he is one of my most prominent current role models – of course, also consider that his Reality box is defined by both his perception and the sum of his ever expanding actions, which, it may be said, leads me to the conclusion that one’s reality box and perception are essentially the same – provided that one has a realistic perception [3].

3. A realistic perception, as I see it, is simply no more than a grounded understanding of what we can realistically expect from ourselves, given a true understanding of our potential, which ought be ever expanding, in a kind of chicken and the egg scenario where one facilitates the rise of the other, providing a symbiosis of causality wherein as our understanding of our potential expands, so too does our reality, provided we have a realistic perception of both [3.1].

3.1 Potential is our reality = our reality is our potential.  The concepts are founded upon one another, but for most people their reality defines their potential, whereas for the more objective, more scientifically minded party, their potential defines their reality; however, if you have a limited understanding of reality, whether by dogma, bias, ignorance, or personal insecurity, you will never be able to maximize your understanding of your potential, and consequently your potential, and reality, will never reach their upper limits, which, really, physics and morals should be the only limiting factors of.

4. It is important to note that both SpaceX and Tesla had to be personally funded by Elon in the beginning, and at one point he was all in.

Wake Up With Your Dreams

N.G.U
Never Give Up
It warrants a seriousness – you see
You musn’t ever, ever give up on your dreams

For if you do dear child,
You will awake without them
And a day without,
Is spent in doubt
But a day with,
Is-a life well-lived
So to the wise,
These words I give:

Before each night’s sleep,
Stow dreams to keep
In your heart of hearts,
For a blessed start


Background

When I was seventeen years old I got my first tattoo: n.g.u (On my right inner-forearm). It’s an acronym for never give up; an oath of sorts, a vow of commitment to my hopes and dreams. Dreams I have at times forgotten, which is to say, dreams I have at times given up – for to forget, to go to sleep not relishing the dream in your heart, is to have given up.

Never give up; never forget; never let go of your dreams.

I hope you sleep with your dreams snug in your heart of hearts, and I hope you awake filled to the brim with excitement, eager to continue progressing ever forward on your journey.

Do not ever let yourself forget what makes you tick. For if you do, you won’t know why you’re getting up in the morning. And that’s a sad life – one I vow never to return to.

Under a Blue Moon

Cool on me the eye of heaven shines
In an earthly world where the mortals dine

I can’t question anything,
Anymore or again
I am to be my hero,
My unequaled friend

You know your truth,
Think and speak your voice
Act according to your heart and you’ll never have to make the choice,
Between things and dreams
Unless your heaven is a Rolls Royce

The soul has dreams;
The ego wants
The choice you make leaves the alternative that haunts

What is greater,
To be a consumer or a creator?

Select thine edeavor
And may thee fruits live forever

Finding Eden Again

I enjoy spending my sunsets seated comfortably on a soft Mexican blanket, facing the calm, placid shore near my home. This evening, I sat relaxedly listening to the ankle high waves falling softly on the shoreline, and I became transfixed by the steady, ceaseless rhythm of their arrival. In a moment, the tranquil, soothing sound of the waves giving themselves to the hard, wet sand had welcomed me into that blissful meditative state, where a man’s thoughts rise to a height only attainable in nature. The very space where nature becomes a kind of Garden of Eden and The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil bears the sacred fruit from which man may sparingly digest the wisdom he needs to grow and go on his way – knowing he will be blessed to return again when the time is right.

In this Edenlike state, my gaze still transfixed on the shoreline, my mind took from The Tree what I was given, and I ingested the knowledge that these lonely, unending, impetuous waves were completely impartial as to whether I were a pauper or prince, bum or billionaire.

The waves were simply indifferent – like all of nature – yet men falsely think they must wrestle with the universe to attain what they wish, as if there is some secret law, which governs all, some mind game to win or lose.

A man can spend decades wresting with the universe, his relationship to it lost in his own private battles, never realizing the universe is not his adversary, but, rather, that it’s his own nature he must overcome.

Only when a man stops fighting the world and instead slays his own dragons and demons does the universe seem to bow before him, acquiescing to his plans. Only then does he realize it was his own dragons and demons holding him back all along.

In the next instant I thought of something Steve Jobs said:

“Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is – everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

…Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

I thought of this because I realized in that instant that, for Jobs, the idea that everything around him was made up by people no smarter than himself was what gave him the confidence to accomplish what he did. This “simple fact” was his catalyst, the knowledge that empowered him once and forever.

I also realized in that moment my own one simple fact: the idea that man’s fate is his and his alone and his limits are entirely self imposed.

Man’s fate is his and his alone and his limits are entirely self imposed.

I too realized that every person must discover their own one simple fact. They must acquire the specific knowledge that negates their limiting beliefs and destroys their mental barriers.

Then I had one last thought; I thought of Kryptonite, the mythical radioactive substance from Superman’s home planet, Kryptos. According to comic legend, Kryptonite is radioactive and thus causes “Kryptonite poisoning”, rendering superman powerless. I realized we all have our own Kryptonite, our own innate susceptibility to something capable of stealing all our power. Maybe it’s toxic relationships, maybe it’s our desire to escape reality, numbing ourselves with alcohol or drugs. It could be anything, vanity even. But, whatever it is that renders us powerless, unable to make our impact on the world, we must treat it with the same reverence and fear with which superman treats Kryptonite. It is the thing we must avoid at all costs, no matter how many times it finds us.

Yes, my time in Eden had been fruitful.

My mind expanded, my optimism brightened, my confidence deepened, I arose, shaking the sand from my blanket before stuffing it in my bag. I walked home knowing the evening had changed me. I was grateful I had found Eden again. Grateful for another magical, wondrous sunset.

image

Completely Uncommon Advice on Happiness from Robina Courtin

Robina Courtin Quote

30-year Tibetan Buddhist Nun (and total bad ass) Robina Courtin delivered a talk at Google in 2008 that’s chock-full of immensely refreshing, yet completely uncommon advice on happiness, neurosis, and “being your own therapist”.

Powerful, powerful stuff.

Uncommon Advice on Happiness from Rebina Courtin’s 2008 Talk at Google: Be Your Own Therapist

Overview from Youtube:

We spend our lives being seduced by the outside world, believing without question that happiness and suffering come from “out there.” In reality, Buddhist teachings explain that they come from the way we perceive and interpret things, not the things themselves.

This deeply held misconception is at the root of our dissatisfaction, self-doubt, anger, depression, anxiety, and the rest. But our minds can change. By becoming deeply familiar with the workings of our own cognitive processes through introspection and learning to deconstruct them – truly, being our own therapists – we can loosen the grip of these neuroses and grow our marvelous potential for contentment, clarity, and courage, which are at the core of our being.


Note: Typically when I watch a talk, or read a book, I am thrilled if I can walk away with one really good idea to put into my toolkit; however, at 29 years old, the following quote is perhaps the best single piece of advice I’ve heard on happiness in the last five years. It’s the psychology of happiness in a single sentence.

“Happiness is – it’s really simple, it’s what you get when you give up the neurosis.” Robina Courtin

The rest of the entry contains a WEALTH of additional wisdom from the same talk, expanding on this idea.

Giving up Neurosis to Find Happiness

“The extent of which we are caught up in any given moment in low self-esteem, depression, anger, jealousy, you name it… The extent to which we’re caught up in those is the extent of which we suffer.

The extent of which we are not caught up in those and therefore the extent which we’re involved in kind of, you know, connecting with others, empathy, being harmonious, forgiving…T he extent of which they’re prevalent in our minds at any given moment is the extent to which we are happy.

It’s an incredibly simple little recipe in Buddhist terms. We (most people) think it [happiness] is what you get when you get what you want. He [The Buddah] says it’s what you get when you give up the neurosis – so the technique is learning to know your mind, being your own therapist.”

Don’t Think About Calming Your Mind, Think About Steadying it’s Focus

“A calm mind can be a busy mind. And if you think about it, what causes the problems isn’t a busy mind, it’s when the–the busy mind is caught up in fear about yourself and worry of what people think about you, am I good enough, am I too fat, am I too thin and depression and jealous and anxiety and all the rest. That’s the stuff that causes the misery. If you’re full of thoughts about being useful to others all day and being content with yourself, well, please go for it, you know. You don’t have a problem, believe me.”

On Using the Full Brilliant Power of Your Mind to Your Advantage

“Don’t try to hold yourself back. Love the fact that you’ve got a brilliant mind, that you’re a real thinker – this is the technique, this is the tool that you can use to be your own therapist, to use this cognitive process to deconstruct your own stuff. Okay, alongside that intelligence, you need some, you know integrity, you need humility, you need the wish to look at yourself, you need the will to want to, the ability–and the wish to want to go beyond blame and hurt that alongside this intelligence, that’s a marvelous packaging I tell you. That’s the stuff that we need. Intelligence on its own is a disaster. You can still be in an infantile at the age of 90 even if you’re a genius, you know?”

On Anger, Jealousy, Fear, and Attachment

“Lack of emotional intelligence is what we have when we have anger, and jealousy and fear, and attachment because these are totally self-centered, unhappy, miserable states of mind.”

Facing Self-Knowledge With Courage and Self-Compassion Rather Than Low Self-Esteem and Self-Loathing

“It’s a question of knowing yourself well – taking responsibility, but on the basis of the fact that you can change – not, “Oh, I’m so guilty, I’m so bad”. Not that at all, which is a knee-jerk reaction we tend to have when we point out problems in ourselves. That’s not the attitude here. It’s a courageous attitude. It’s just, “Okay, I am jealous, I get depressed, I am this, I am that, what a drag, it’s breaking my heart.” You’ve got to have compassion for yourself really, which is a brand new idea for us. We love to hate ourselves.”

The Importance of Identifying with Your Positive Potential

“The more strongly you can kind of identify with your positive potential, the more you have the courage, don’t you, to see the things that are holding you back. But the crucial one for me is we take one thing from this room: I can change. It sounds so simple, it’s almost embarrassing but you check the major level at which we suffer when things are going bad, we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. This is why we despair.”

Mindfulness as Kind of Cognitive Behavioral Tool

“We can mold our minds, our thoughts and feelings into any shape we like, you know and this is the thing here. The level of which I’m discussing here, the level of practice based upon these really marvelous techniques where you can learn to focus your mind, you then use the skill of–of this–really a process of cognitive therapy and I’m really not kidding. Buddha is a master of cognitive therapies. You learn more and more clearly, literally to hear the millions of voices inside there that now are racing like I said out of control all day everyday.”

The Neurotic “I” – Neuroticism as a Product of our Sense of Self and Self-Centeredness

“The basis of the neurotic voices, the fearful ones, the angry ones, the jealous, the depression is a neurotic sense of self of”I.” You think about it, even if Monica and I are sitting, having a very friendly conversation, I’m listening to her and she is listening to me and I crack [her jokes]–you know I laugh at her jokes and she laughs at mine. You think about this carefully when it’s very easygoing, there’s no real vivid sense of “I” this, “I am listening to Monica” – you’re kind of connected to her. There’s a sense of interdependence, isn’t there? There’s a sense of “we.” Now you watch what happens when you start to argue, that “we” is cut in half right there. The unhappy “I” is kind of quiet like a sleeping lion, and there’s a sense of connected to otherness. But then when that’s cut, you kind of revert back into yourself and the “I” rises loudly and you’re panicking and your heart’s beating and the blood’s racing and ‘she did this’ and ‘I said that’, ‘it’s not fair’, ‘poor me’ this – that’s the voice – the “I”, the neurotic “I,” behind all the unhappy states of mind – that’s their character.”

The Neurotic Voices are Not at The Core of Your Being, They Can be Changed

“So even to think ‘wow, that’s interesting, maybe it’s possible, maybe what Buddha says is possible, that they’re not at the core of my being [the neurotic voices], that I can learn to look into these and deconstruct them and hear the voices and unpack them and slowly, cognitively change myself.’ This is the process I’m talking about here. “

A Question About Materialism and Happiness: The Distinction Between The Thing and Your Interpretation of It

Note: This might be the magnum opus of the lessons here. An attendee asks an assumptive question about the best way to live in order to be happy and the reply is just not at all what you would assume.

Question: “So since it’s pretty pointless to pursue a job and the girlfriend and the dollars and the car, would the most practical thing for us to be, is to just take care of a little bit of shelter and food and spend all the rest of the time in contemplation?”

Answer: “How revolting. I couldn’t stand a life like that. No, you’ve gone ridiculous. There’s nothing wrong with millions of dollars and jobs and girlfriends and gorgeous things, no, no you’re chucking the baby out of the bath water. You went too far, you became kind of nihilistic. No, that’s not the point. You can have your cake and eat it too sweetheart, and I’m really serious here. The Buddha makes this enormous distinction between the thing itself and your interpretation of it, and what he is describing here–the problem is our interpretation of the girlfriend, of the money – if you put all your eggs in those baskets, believing primordially that having them equals happiness, he says that’s when you will be disappointed, because you just got the wrong recipe. So he doesn’t say give them up, he says change your way of interpreting them.

Happiness is dependent upon you changing, getting rid of your neurotic attachment, getting rid of all your craving for people to love you, getting –I mean I am talking of the neurotic side here–rid of the craving for people to approve of you, to think you’re fantastic, for the dollars in the bank – the neurotic dependence on that stuff is what I am talking about, not the stuff itself. …So that’s not the answer, we’re in this world of abundance and money and things and color and shapes and music and sounds, it’s kind of a sophisticated view. The first level is maybe you back away for a while, while you go into retreat mode, you know. But eventually with skill, you’re going to have your cake and eat it too. It’s giving up the neurotic attitude towards the things, not the things themselves. That’s a major, major point. Makes sense, doesn’t it?”

Watch the full Talk Below

Note: I really enjoyed Robina Courtin’s demeanor – she seems like a definite non-people pleaser, which I mean as a compliment; although I did cringe at a few of the things she said, but watching this was a reminder that spirituality does not have to strip you of your confidence nor your personality and that decreasing your suffering can empower you to live the highest manifestation of both.

Follow Robina Courtin on Facebook.

Update: 11/8/2014

The following was a comment I posted on a thread in the Stoicism group I am in on facebook. I wanted to add it here as it relates to my own personal ethos on life, from an increasingly Buddhist perspective.

In my very limited (but growing) understanding of Buddhist teachings, I feel that The Buddha was a master of perspective. I feel like Buddhism compliments Stoicism very well; through Stoicism I gain understanding, through Buddhism I gain perspective. Definitely something I would love to see a dedicated thread on in the future. And regarding positive thought, I am inclined to agree with you, especially when examining the Stoic practice of negative visualization (imagining loss, ex: preparing for bad traffic in LA). The older I get the less I subscribe to new age positive thinking, instead favoring wisdom. There’s certainly a point at which mere positivity becomes an almost weakness, disconnecting you from the true reality of things. If there’s a lesson to be learned from positivity, I think it’s “don’t be neurotic”.

 

 

Poetry: The Asker and The Giver

When you numb
You don’t heal the pain
You merely go beneath the surface
Where you can’t feel the rain

But what you really need,
Is just the safety to breathe –
The security to be yourself
– Beautiful and free

See yourself as you wish to be
And be yourself as you wish to be
Let go of the present – it’s soon to be the past
Claim what is yours, it’s within your grasp

You can receive what you wish
But you first must ask
Then it is yours –
Go complete the task

You are the giver and the receiver
The wisher and the believer
So believe believe believe,
And receive receive receive

But you must act
That is all you must do
Carefully choose your plans,
Then dutifully follow through

For you can be, do, and have anything,
But no one can do it for you –
Just as you cannot do this for someone else
So do it for happiness
Do it for wealth

The world is yours
And everything in it
So if you’re in the game of life,
Be in it to win it

You can be anything
Who are you?
What are you commanding?
By what do you do?

Create value –
Then deliver
And this is how you are to be
Both the asker and the giver

Motivate Daily

Zig Ziglar once said that bathing doesn’t last, and neither does motivation, that’s why we recommend it daily.

If you’re reading this, the universe has an important message for you – MOTIVATE DAILY.

I’m not one of those positive thinking addicts – I know there’s more to it; it’s not just about thinking positive, but you MUST maintain a chosen mindset from the outset of your day if you want to be successful and in control of your life. If you do not choose your mindset for the day, the day will choose your mindset for you.

Do yourself a favor, watch one or both the following videos.


Then watch another motivational video each day for the next month. See what happens. It’s as important as bathing – think of it as part of maintaining your mental hygiene.

I’m not just saying this to pat you on the ass. This is an act of self-care that you owe yourself; these are the kind of things you owe your mind and your soul on a daily basis. I’m just here to remind you. So, motivate daily; seriously, what do you have to lose?

Journey to Self‑Mastery: From Self‑Control to Self‑Discipline

I posted a previous – albeit brief entry on the importance of self-control about a month ago, and today I want to talk about it again, but within a larger context.

I want to tell you about my journey to self-mastery, but first let me give you some of the key quotes from the video on self-control, which served as the centerpiece of the aforementioned entry.

On Self-Control (by Leo Gura of Actualized.org)

“When you master your own psychology it becomes easier to influence the world, otherwise the world is always influencing you. “

“Developing self-control, self-discipline is not easy and this is why most people do not do it and why most people’s lives are shit, because they do not take the proper steps to develop self-control and that’s because there is emotional labor involved – there is struggle involved with building self-control.”

“Self-control is difficult to develop and the way to develop it is through work. You’re looking for opportunities to improve yourself, to grow. And what happens is that you start to build these additional layers – and those build extra self-control into you. And you start to notice that you get more awareness, and more ability to control your feelings, more ability to control your emotions, more ability to control your behaviors, more ability to persist in spite of the fear, to have courage, more ability to learn, more ability to introspect, to be very honest with yourself – and this is a great thing, and it just kind of snowballs and you start to build more and more self-control. On the other hand – if you’re not being undisciplined, if you’re not observing the practices and you’re not doing the things that you need to be doing in life – then what happens is you kind of have the reverse process. Your brain turns to mush, your Prefrontal Cortex becomes weak and you are not able to execute on the things that your higher-self wants to execute on, and so what happens is that your lower-self takes control over your higher self – and that is a very bad place to be in, in life, because even though that lower-self got what it wants, it got comfort, it feels good – that higher-self is still there, it’s not dead, and it wants you to be living to your full potential, and when you’re not living to your full potential you feel guilty, you feel horrible – you feel like your soul has been drained. And that’s one of the worst feelings in life.”

So what are some of the things you can do to build self-control?

One – Disciplined Practice:

“Have disciplined practices. That means that you’re getting up at a certain time in the morning when you want to be getting up. That means if you the intention to brush and floss twice a day – do that. If you have intentions to meditate – do that. If you have intentions to journal – do that. If you have intentions to show up on time – do that. If you have intentions of eating healthy – do that.  If you have intentions of going to the gym – do that, and be very disciplined and consistent about it. That practice – with whatever area of your life you point it in – if you’re just disciplined and you’re executing consistently, that trains your brain. It requires the build up of Prefrontal Cortex just to do it. It’s like going to the gym and pumping your biceps, it builds them up – that’s what it does to your brain. So, have disciplined practices and stay on top of those. That’s the bottom-line, quickest way to build self-control. Follow through on your disciplined practices – set a few new ones every once in a while, and build those up into habits.”

Unhook from Media and Stimulation:

“You are overstimulated right now; most of you are overstimulated with television, radio, gossip from your friends, advertising, negative influences from family, from friends – all over the place. You’re overstimulated by it. You need to unhook yourself from it. Get back to your source. Spend some time by yourself in solitude; think about things. Be introspective. Raise your level of consciousness. When you do this you start to develop a level of self-control that’s just amazing. You cannot have self-control when you’re plugged in – when your plugged into the grid, because what happens is your mind becomes a lazy slug and it plugs into the grid and what you’re looking for is that cheap source of energy that you can just plug into. You just want to plug into that TV and let go. You just want to plug into that chocolate ice cream and just let go. You want to plug into that relationship – that comfortable relationship and just let go. And you want to plug into sitting there on the internet all day and browsing all day, and browsing Facebook, and chatting with your friends, and gossiping about the latest celebrity news. You’re just plugging in – you’re letting your brain to to mush. How can you have self-control when you do that – you can’t. You got to snip that stuff off – cut it all off – spend some time thinking, being alone, introspecting, coming up with goals,, coming up with visions, coming up with ideas for what you want to accomplish in your life. That is how you get your self-control back.”

Note: Definitely check out the videos from Leo at Actualized.org

My Personal Journey with Self-Control

In the past month, since publishing the initial entry on self-control, I have fully heeded the above wisdom. The effects of this have compounded upon the already significant changes I have made in my life this year.

Just in the last half of this year I have completely given up all:

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Caffeine
  • Sweets and processed / junk food
  • Pornography and self-pleasure (a topic deserving of it’s own entry – and one that has nothing to do with morality).
  • All news websites
  • All entertainment websites and purposeless internet surfing
  • Negative / Unhealthy relationships

Each of these things has required a considerable measure of emotional labor, but I can proudly say that I have exercised complete and total self-control.

And what of these changes – how has my wellbeing been impacted as a result of exercising self-control in these areas of my life?

Well, I could write at length about this but I’ll save that for a future date as there’s yet a considerable amount of benefits to reap and still a great amount of change at work, but I’ll say the following:

Beyond looking better (My bodyfat is dropping to BAWSE levels) and feeling better (my confidence is at an all time high), the greatest thing is that my self-awareness is eons above what it once was. I’ve been able to go within my psyche and perform the kind of deep self-work that produces the rare type of quantum change available once – maybe twice within a lifetime. This has also opened the doors within my soul for a spiritual awakening, which I am massively grateful for. And my identity as a practicing Stoic has benefited immensely, and of course, my mindfulness, and meditation practices have blossomed through this as well.

But simply the increase in self-awareness alone is in itself reward enough to suffice as motivation for me to continue on this path indefinitely. It’s an amazing feeling to be deeply connected to your inner intuition and to experience the alignment of the heart and the mind that this brings. This deepening and awakening of my self-awareness has given me the gift of being able to live from my highest truth – spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, professionally, intellectually – I’ve given myself the gift of stepping into my highest self.

No More Palliatives

But why? How can self-control be this transformative? Well – the italicized notes in the beginning of this entry do an excellent job of shedding light onto this – but in addition to that, I have come to see that these things were my way of numbing myself to who I am and how I really felt. When you become aware of all the things you are plugging into, and you stop plugging into them, you start to see that they were merely a palliative.

palliative

Those palliatives we habituate ourselves to indulging in become automated responses to any disturbances in our mental equilibrium. So we become in a sense very amateur neuropharmacologists, doling out the brain chemicals we feel we need to feel okay. And as a result our mental and emotional awareness is never fully allowed to properly achieve a natural state of homeostasis.

I can’t tell you how many times over the past few years I simply wished I could cry – but I couldn’t; although, I intuitively knew I needed to. That’s no longer the case now that I am emotionally and mentally 100% organic. Music moves me more, I connect more deeply to others, I laugh more, I cry when I need to cry, I dance more, and I feel innocent – like a child.

And I’m centered and I’m grounded; my moods are linear and I am more resilient than I have ever been. And on the rare occasion I do get angry, I can sense just how much that anger has lowered my self-awareness, and it’s just gotten to the point that it’s not even worth it for me to get angry anymore. And I no longer get depressed. Period. Additionally my ADHD has pretty much disappeared. Perhaps my brain has learned that no amount of pain, suffering, discontent, or boredom will earn it the synthetic sources of Dopamine it once was addicted to, and so these things no longer serve a purpose in my life. It’s as if my emotions have gone from existential to experiential – meaning, I am no longer angry – I’m just experiencing anger.

Continue reading “Journey to Self‑Mastery: From Self‑Control to Self‑Discipline”

Rewire Your Brain to Be Grateful Morning, Noon, and Night

Image credit: Mandy Ingber on Abundant Gratitude
Image credit: Mandy Ingber on Abundant Gratitude

I could begin this entry with a preface a mile long about how the changes I’ve adopted in my life have changed me. Suffice to say – I am very grateful.

I thought about this last night as I reflected on my journey over the past year, and what I knew to be absolutely true was that the change had been gradual – conscientious and directed, but gradual. And a resultant product of that graduality is the compound effect these habits and ways of thinking have had on each other. My wellbeing today is a very holistic product of the sum of my habits – so much so that I’m working to methodically fine tune my habits of routine over the coming weeks (yes, there is a spreadsheet), and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for my inner and outer life. Feelsgoodman. And if my words come across as self-gratifying at all, that’s probably because they are. I’m not here to tell my story today, but I’ve earned my inner sanctity through nothing less than sheer force of will. My goal with this entry is simply to help propel you, my dear reader, forward down this same beautiful path.

I suppose I did end up with a mile long preface regardless, but brevity was never my strong-suit.

I want to begin with the story about how gratitude changed my life. Firstly, I loathe the word gratitude. It just inherently feels like new age smugness to me. But g-ddamnit, the shit works.

Part of my journey over the past year has been a conscious choosing of new habits in order to rewire my brain. I’m not kidding. It’s called neuroplasticity, and it’s one of the most glorious scientific facts I know – nothing short of a biological miracle.

Here’s a one-minute video on neuroplasticity at it’s most basic level – the synapse:

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.

Mahatma Gandhi

Seeds of gratitude are powerful forces for influencing your destiny – and as this Psychology Today article on the psychology of gratitude states, gratitude is different from, and more powerful than, appreciation:

Gratitude should also be distinguished from appreciation, which is the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of a person or thing, but without the dimension of awe or wonder or profundity or humility that is the essence of gratitude.

Unfortunately, from an evolutionary psychology perspective, we are wired to be negative. Our survival was dependent upon our ability to identify dangers and threats. So, in the modern world, we are still subject to the same automatic negative bias that once helped our ancestors make it through each day with their lives intact.

So we end up going through life rarely cognizant of the amazing gifts and blessings that envelop each of our days in an abundance not known in centuries past, or to the majority of the world’s inhabitants who aren’t blessed to live in a peaceful and prosperous nation where they have not only basic human rights, but clean water, heat, shelter, and ample food.

But I’m not asking you to base your happiness on the fact that you aren’t in a North Korean gulag. As true as that is, it can also be a dangerous cop-out to use gratitude as an excuse for not living your life to it’s fullest potential. The real secret of gratitude is that it’s not meant only as a means to augment your happiness based on your existing circumstance, but to augment your existing circumstance based on your happiness.

The real secret of gratitude is that it’s not meant only as a means to augment your happiness based on your existing circumstance, but to augment your existing circumstance based on your happiness.

So, here’s what I have done to augment my circumstances with the additional happiness the practice of gratitude has given me. And let’s be clear, gratitude is a practice – you must practice it each day. Remember we are rewiring our brain.

1. Each morning, upon waking – the very first thing I do is begin to think of things I am grateful for. 

If you were living your dream life – what would you do upon waking up? You would be grateful. Period. Don’t make me get verbose to explain this, use your imagination.

2. Each evening, I write in my journal the list of things I am grateful for.

This allows me to catch anything I missed during the day, and allows me to relive the feelings of gratitude I experienced. Not to mention that journaling itself can change your life – something I will write on in the future.

3. Each night before bed, I think of the things I am grateful for as I lie in the dark.

This way I can never go to bed in a bad mood.

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It’s that simple. Period. You were meant to be grateful.

The problem is that society has programmed us to be negative. We focus on lack. We think we will believe it when we see it, but the truth is we will see it when we believe it. Try this for a month. I promise you, you won’t want to stop.

And pretty soon, you will find yourself more mindful of the things you are grateful for throughout your day.

And pretty soon you will find you have more to be grateful for. I beg of you my dear reader to trust you are reading this for a reason. Just try it. You’ll be surprised at what you are grateful for. You’ll come to find that you enjoy the things you are grateful for more the next time you experience them. You don’t need to read a book on gratitude, you merely need to practice it. By doing this, you’re requiring your brain to be grateful morning, noon, and night and thus rewiring your brain for a more grateful life.

Notes and Lessons from Napoleon Hill’s 1928 Masterpiece: Outwitting The Devil

Update: Jan 2017 – just going to leave this here: 

https://www.google.com/amp/paleofuture.gizmodo.com/the-untold-story-of-napoleon-hill-the-greatest-self-he-1789385645/amp?client=safari

– Not to detract from the man’s work, but the above read was eye opening to say the least. Take what you will with a grain of salt, the entry below included.


As a follow-up to yesterday’s entry on Napoleon Hill’s Outwitting The Devil, tonight I wanted to publish some of the key notes I copied as when I read the book today.
Let me preface this by saying holy shit, this is a masterpiece. Keep in mind the finished manuscript was locked away by Hill’s spouse and her surviving family for over 70 years, before being published in 2011 when ownership of the rights moved to a non family member – so it never received much attention, unlike Think and Grow Rich, which has sold over seventy million copies.

The reviews of Outwitting The Devil on Amazon are glowing – despite a seemingly unanimous dislike for the influence of new age author Sharon Lechter, of Rich Dad Poor Dad fame. And personally, I agree – her [Sharon Lechter’s] influence cheapens the value of such a masterpiece. And I don’t use this word [masterpiece] lightly.

Back when I used to used to review beer, there was an important concept that the savvy reviewer would employ when reviewing a given beer – and it was the idea that the beer should be compared to the other beers within it’s genre. Similarly, in this case, I am not calling it a masterpiece compared to Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, I am calling it a masterpiece against every success oriented, self-help / positive psychology book I have ever read – including greats like the Power of Positive Thinking, and even Hill’s own magnum opus, Think and Grow Rich.

Mind you, I have been reading self-improvement and positive psychology for nearly two decades. What I have come to find is that the New Thought originals – Napoleon Hill, James Allen, Norman Vincent Peal, and Earl Nightingale laid the groundwork for virtually everything that has since been published in the genre. These men were basically the Founding Father’s to the positive psychology / philosophy of success movement. 

After listening to and reading Outwitting The Devil, I really am taking a look at how much more benefit I can expect to gain from reading new philosophy of success books on a regular basis. You can read every single approach and theory to success in the world, but at a certain point you have to put aside your identity as a student of life so that you can be a leader in your own life. In other words, if you aren’t actively applying the principles you have learned then you aren’t extracting any value from learning. You need to get into the field. You need to hit live balls. Plus, let’s be real – there are a lot of shuckters rehashing timeless wisdom to people looking for answers. Do you want to spend your life listening to audio and reading books, or do you want to go out there and put what you have learned into practice and turn dreams into reality.

That being said, it’s extremely important to maintain your mindset and there is a lot of value in feeding and watering your mind to maintain fertile ground. I’ve known successful people in their later decades who still listened to the classics on a weekly basis – coincidentally, they did so while driving or otherwise occupied (working out).

I personally wish to do the same, so that I am making the maximum use of my time achieving my goals and dreams, rather than mentally masturbating over them during time I could otherwise be productive. And this may not be the right path of study for everyone, but at 29 years old I am ready to make that transition in my philosophy of success journey, and a large part of this is due from reading Outwitting The Devil – and the accompanying lessons I have learned. Lessons, which I am publishing for preservation, and future reflection / study here.

It should also be noted that I am increasingly interested in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, self-talk, and Stoicism as a means to manage my psyche, so I do not plan on abandoning my focus there, just divesting my interest from pure philosophy of success teachings.

Below are my notes and excerpts highlighting the most important teachings from Outwitting The Devil. The headings and italicized text are my own, the remainder are verbatim from Outwitting The Devil – much of the italicized text has been translated from statements into affirmations using the second person ‘you’ pronoun, which has been shown to be more effective than “I”.

Continue reading “Notes and Lessons from Napoleon Hill’s 1928 Masterpiece: Outwitting The Devil”

Napoleon Hill: Outwitting The Devil

Update: Jan 2017 – just going to leave this here: 

https://www.google.com/amp/paleofuture.gizmodo.com/the-untold-story-of-napoleon-hill-the-greatest-self-he-1789385645/amp?client=safari

– Not to detract from the man’s work, but the above read was eye opening to say the least. Take what you will with a grain of salt, the entry below included.


tl;dr – I am incredibly excited about this discovery. I am buzzing with excitement. The 1938 manuscript Outwitting The Devil was released in 2011 and having come across it this evening, I cannot get enough. Scroll to the bottom for embedded audio.

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In my youth I first read Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich, and I think I can trace a lot of my success in the years since back to that crucial stone in my path.

This evening, I came across something pretty awesome while watching youtube videos. And when I say awesome, I mean really awesome. I’m excited about this. I’m excited for anything that sparks a light within me capable of extinguishing fear, doubt, and worry.

What I came across was an audio version of an obscure Napoleon Hill manuscript, titled: Outwitting The Devil.

As the audio tells, the book was written in 1938, but wasn’t released for more than seventy-two years. Mind you, Think and Grow Rich has sold over 70 million copies worldwide – so why was this manuscript locked away for the better part of a century?

Wikipedia explains:

Just after the release of Think and Grow Rich in 1937, Hill began writing Outwitting the Devil as an explanation of why some were still seeing failure after following all of the steps in Think and Grow Rich. His wife, Annie Lou, did not want the book published because of the role the Devil played in it. When Hill died in 1970, the manuscript went in the possession of Annie Lou, who died in 1984. After her death, the manuscript went into the hands of Dr. Charles Johnson, who was Annie Lou’s nephew and president of the Napoleon Hill Foundation. While Dr. Johnson believed the book’s message to be powerful, his wife, Frankie Johnson, shared Annie Lou’s feelings and told Dr. Johnson that she did not want the manuscript published while she was alive. After Frankie’s death, Dr. Johnson passed the manuscript to Don Green, CEO of the Napoleon Hill Foundation. Sharon Lechter was then asked to edit the manuscript, and after several years of annotations and reviews, it was released in June, 2011.

While I am only one hour into the six hour audio, I’ve already gathered that the manuscript has an almost Jungian mythological quality to it – and this too would have likely made Napoleon Hill seem a quack had it been released during his lifetime.

And let me state, I enjoyed Think and Grow Rich, but compared to this, it’s a snoozer. Outwitting The Devil exceeds every expectation I could have had for it. The author [Hill] tells a story of his inner psyche and is at times vulnerable and human in ways he was not in Think and Grow Rich. The audio contains numerous passages that strike me as profound, and listening to it feels almost like a meditation, and leaves me with the same feeling I got reading Steinbeck for the first time when I was 12. It’s captivating.

In Outwitting The Devil I find a narrative written in sometimes beautiful prose, which goes far deeper than the superficial pseudo science and monotony of most self-help books – classics included.

Here’s a sample passage:

During my quarter century of research into the causes of success and failure I have discovered many principles of truth, which have been helpful to me and to others, but nothing I have observed has impressed me more than the discovery that every great leader of the past whose record I have examined was beset by difficulties and met with temporary defeat before arriving… this would seem to justify the conclusion that infinite intelligence has a plan, or a law, by which it hurdles men over many obstacles before giving them the privilege of leadership or the opportunity to render useful service in a noteworthy fashion. 

Now, I would not wish to again be subjected to those experiences through which I passed during that fateful Christmas eve in 1923, and since on that eventful evening when I walked around the schoolhouse in West Virginia and fought that terrible battle with fear, but all the wealth in the world would not induce me to divest myself of the knowledge I have gained from those experiences. 

Faith has a new meaning to me.

I repeat that I do not know exactly what this other self is, but I do know enough about it to lean upon it in a spirit of absolute faith in times of difficulty when the ordinary reasoning faculty of my mind seems to be inadequate for my needs. 

I repeat that I do not know exactly what this other self is, but I do know enough about it to lean upon it in a spirit of absolute faith in times of difficulty when the ordinary reasoning faculty of my mind seems to be inadequate for my needs. 

As someone who is interested in both philosophy and psychology, I absolutely love this material. As one Amazon review says of the recently released manuscript “It isn’t new age to me, but old age, and science and thought is [sic] just catching up”.

But Outwitting the Devil is not just about a philosophy of living or the psychology of fear and success – it’s also about spirituality, and contrary to the title – it’s more about the devil within yourself than it is about the existence of an evil deity.

As an aside: Personally, I do not believe in a devil, or a hell (beyond the one we are capable of creating on earth for ourselves) – but I’m glad I did not let the seemingly religious title put me off. The devil is merely a metaphor, and this is not a work of religious zealotry.

Listening to this, I am nothing short of enthralled. Easily one of my new favorite works of non-fiction.

Note, pay little mind to the Sharon Lechter woman narrating on occasion, many Amazon reviewers loathed her contribution and feel it added her own neo-conservative beliefs to an otherwise flawless work. I’m more than half-inclined to agree. 

Without further ado – I present to you:

Edit: When you reach the section where Hill ‘interviews the devil’, be prepared for a thrill! It’s as dramatic and Shakespearean as anything I have ever heard. Damn, this is good!!! What I wouldn’t give to see this made into a play…

Edit 2: it’s 1:25 am, listening to in bed, not sure I’ll be able to sleep! It’s increasingly clear why Hill’s family did not want this released. In one passage the Devil character warns that this book ‘if published the book would be banned from public schools’ and that Hill himself ‘would be hated’. Hill goes directly after both public schools and organized religion as pillars that ‘strip people of their ability to think for themselves’. Pretty unreal stuff to listen too. Hill unplugged from the Matrix back in 1938.

Update: I’ve published a follow up entry to this with lessons and notes.