I’m 1 day, 20 hours and 18 minutes away from my thirtieth birthday and it’s not so much the birthday that matters, but the milestone; as a man hits thirty he realizes: there is no stopping this train.
I realize I am in time.
As Albert Camus writes in his 1942 philosophical essay on Absurdism and the human condition, The Myth of Sisyphus,
We live on the future: “tomorrow,” “later on,” “when you have made your way,” “you will understand when you are old enough.”…Yet a day comes when a man notices or says that he is thirty. Thus he asserts his youth. But simultaneously he situates himself in relation to time. He takes his place in it. He admits that he stands at a certain point on a curve that he acknowledges having to travel to its end….Tomorrow, he was longing for tomorrow, whereas everything in him ought to reject it.
So, here I am, taking my place on the curve, looking out to the end, yet living in today – and no – this is not the same as the idiotic notion of YOLO, I’m merely accepting my place in a mortal life and thus accepting the power I have over it; the power to acknowledge – yet revolt against – what Camus calls The Absurd, that is, the contradiction that exists between man’s search for meaning and his place in a seemingly meaningless universe.
In The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus suggests that man’s only real option is to become completely free, leveraging “…a humans natural ability and opportunity to create their own meaning and purpose; to decide (or think) for him – or herself,” as opposed to the alternatives, which are essentially to kill yourself or to believe in G-d as a means to give your life meaning, which, the latter, Camus sees as “philosophical suicide,” since, in doing so, man is rejecting absolutes and evading the truth by resorting to a supernatural solution to a human problem.
Life, Camus says, can “be lived all the better if it has no meaning.”
How can that be? Because, according to Camus, everything is permitted. Not that the free man, who creates his own meaning, is immoral, but, instead, amoral; he lives according to his own integrity, this is part of what makes him free: he creates his own code to live by.
I agree largely with Camus – we all search for meaning – most of us either placing our meaning in a predetermined solution [the church] and then going on to live fairly meaningless lives, or we choose to reject the church but nonetheless adopt banal answers to the question of life’s meaning that rationalize the decisions we have made: the meaning of life is family, or – if you are particularly young – the meaning of life is to enjoy yourself, and, of course, these stock answers change with our life story. To someone for whom the meaning of life is love, once their heart is broken: their world is shattered; life has ceased to hold meaning – thus, they can either kill themselves or they can choose a new answer.
In choosing to create my own meaning and purpose I am by no means stating that there is no G-d, but, rather, I am deciding to conceive G-d as part of my meaning – instead of the meaning. I personally believe in ones personal mythology as a means to the sacred and a life lived according to my meaning and purpose as a means to the holy – originating from the word, whole.
Thus far this has been a sort of stream of consciousness, but this is my blog and I want to document the evolution of my inner world, which, to me, holds the key to the outer world.
Per Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung: Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
In this same thread, Jung wrote something in The Red Book, which I find complimentary to the views put forth by Camus, as well as my own:
My path is not your path therefore I cannot teach you. The way is within us, but not in Gods, nor in teachings, nor in laws. Within us is the way, the truth, and the life. Woe betide those who live by way of examples! Life is not with them. If you live according to an example, you thus live the life of that example, but who should live your own life if not yourself. So live yourselves. The signposts have fallen, unblazed trails lie before us.
My path is not your path therefore I cannot teach you. The way is within us, but not in Gods, nor in teachings
Putting this all together – along with the work of Joseph Campbell and others – I’m gaining a sense of my soul’s journey: my life as a product of the myths I have lived. These myths have often corresponded to archetypes, i.e., The Hero, or The Puer, according to my surroundings (In those cases, the military and a codependent relationship, respectively) but we all have one central, core myth; although, it too may correspond with an archetype, such as The Martyr (many of our mothers); however, 99% of us are unaware of our core myth – our personal mythology; our inner story.
To quote Jung again, “Until you make the unconscious conscious it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
Our personal mythology is almost always unconscious, and, as such, our lives are a product of the (often bullshit) stories we tell ourselves. Thankfully there are many good books on personal mythology, my two favorites being, Change Your Story, Change Your Life: Using Shamanic and Jungian Tools to Achieve Personal Transformation, and Carol S. Pearson’s The Hero Within. While I’ve finished the latter, I’m still doing the story work within the former, but as I become aware that my myth controls my purpose(s) and my meaning, I’m increasingly compelled to discover my personal myth – a question Jung referred to as: “The task of tasks”.
My purpose and my meaning are the key to me living a meaningful life – and while I essentially know the two, I must ensure I am living a myth that is congruent with them, as, to fail to do so would be to live a completely inauthentic life. It would be akin to a mother who knew her purpose was to write therapeutic children’s books; although, subconsciously, her guiding myth was that she was a martyr who had to work to put her son through school, and, thus, never lived a life true to herself (Most people realize this kind of thing right before they die.)
That’s what we really want, right? We want to live our soul’s purpose. However, so few of us ever take the soul’s journey – opting instead to live a very outwardly centered life.
Awhile back I wrote something here about only publishing my journal entries thereafter, but as of my last post (a poem) – and now this – I have contradicted that intention; however, I’m totally okay with that. If you read My Purpose (see menu), you will understand why. I don’t just want to write fiction and I don’t want to write spiritual fiction. I want to write fiction that serves as myth and philosophy. To do that, I need to live and breathe my own.
I’m one of the lucky ones. Last year, I neared the limits of my mortality when I got blood poisoning while on a business trip. After a very scary ten days and three hospitals, I pressed pause on my life. I stopped living and I began to live. Through fate, serendipity, kismet, G-d, synchronicity, a lot of meditation, and a couple inward journeys, I discovered who I was. I wasn’t a lot of the things I had been – despite being them, or at least pretending to (And believing it). Thankfully – my soul, my subconscious; the unconscious forces that guided my life fucked everything up for me. The wrong career, the wrong relationships, the wrong road.
This is the first time I have written about what happened [my blood poisoning]. Few outside my family know. When the nurse told me, “Just so you know, G-d is real,” I knew I was I was in peril. But today it’s nine months later, and although my life was completely changed by it, I’m still processing it.
On that note, good morning. I’m going to publish this (unedited) and go meditate on my souls journey. It’s been a long road to find this path.