The Redeemer

I feel anxious for the future tonight, as if I ought to be working on a story or my business; yet, it’s late Saturday night and I’ll be working tomorrow – besides, Kitty and I stopped by the dispensary earlier and we are laying in bed watching Radical Something videos (“One Soul”). To add to this, our youngest Jack Russel, Felix, is laying across me. 

In short, I’m chilling hard; however, the muse being restless, I am called here – to the place where I come to commune with my soul and program my consciousness. 

It’s a rarity, in fact, that I ever open this app with an idea or specific thought; mostly, the muse just calls and I answer: ready to receive. 

Perhaps the muse is my anima: after all, Jung viewed the anima as one of the sources of creative ability (Thanks Wikipedia); although, it should be said, when it comes to depth psychology, I am much more versed in the shadow, which I confronted post Bunny, post Mousie. 

Why I’ve given my long-term girlfriends animal monikers, I know not. I suppose it is something of a projection of zoomorphic traits upon them, something in the face and the personality that allows me to transcend the limitations of my love for otherwise mortal humans; for more than once I have found something worth really loving. I am quite a lucky duck. 

Ironically, I just remembered, Bunny would call me that [duck]. And I was [a lucky duck] – always have been – I just didn’t always know it. 

Life’s like that though: we waste much of it lost in comparison, wishing on another star, aware of neither the power of wishes nor the toxicity of comparison, the great thief of joy.

I just want to be here now. 

That reminds me of something said on Johnathan Nolan’s Westworld to that effect, something along the lines of: ‘You all want to escape and come here and I just want to be here, right now, where I am.’

Because that’s really the finest art of life: being comfortable with the now. 

As I posted to Facebook a few days ago:

I am:
Calm
Comfortable
Capable
Confident 
-with –
Change
Challenge
Choice

The seven C’s in life. 

Isn’t that happiness? That calm, comfortable, capable, confident feeling of ease, which all healthy  adults are capable of experiencing. 

Life happens entirely internally, doesn’t it; it’s all inside, and that’s ultimately what counts, and particularly to the Stoic, who knows that only her own thoughts are under her control, all else being as free and wild as the seven seas. 

I’ve had the great benefit of losing love – some of it I longed for years for after, while some, I didn’t began to long for till years after. 

But we have only now. And that’s really the key to life: abiding to the now, living in something like a state of grace – I just didn’t imagine it would take 30 years for that state to be an abiding presence in my life; but, of course, it’s nothing religious or magical, just rational: the product of years and mistakes and the long goodbyes paid to bunny, mousie. 

Imagine if we knew our relationships would end, surely we would appreciate them more; although, I am not sure I could live that way – this despite the fact that at 31 I am well acquainted with the temorary nature of life. 

I guess I’ve just always tried to live a fairy tale, a never-ending story. 

I suppose, however, my desire for forever belongs to my anima and does not accurately reflect the nature of reality, which is everchanging and impermanent. 

But, letting my self come through, I recognize that impermanence is precisely what the full-depth of gratitude requires; however, like everything in life, it is in the tension of opposites that we achieve perfection: yin and yang, masculine and feminine, puer and senex, balance and excess, confidence and humility, light and dark, forever and now – in all, and in all I try to achieve balance, asking myself what forms, archetypes, or energies are being expressed, and how each may exist within myself beside the other, within the whole. 

Because this is what I am: a whole man, comfortable in my light and my dark – and these are not sides: yes, they begin as such; however, once integrated (Accepted) into your being, they become parts in the machine – a machine controlled by something higher and more powerful than its parts – but not altogether independent from them – not a ghost in the machine but a higher purpose, something between Fredrich Nietzsche’s will to power and Victor Frankl’s will to meaning – something between psychology and philosophy, science and spirituality. The over-soul, as Emerson called it. 

From his 1841 essay of the same title:

“Of this pure nature every man is at some time sensible. Language cannot paint it with his colors. It is too subtile. It is undefinable, unmeasurable, but we know that it pervades and contains us. We know that all spiritual being is in man. A wise old proverb says, “God comes to see us without bell”; that is, as there is no screen or ceiling between our heads and the infinite heavens, so is there no bar or wall in the soul where man, the effect, ceases, and God, the cause, begins. The walls are taken away. We lie open on one side to the deeps of spiritual nature, to the attributes of God. Justice we see and know, Love, Freedom, Power. These natures no man ever got above, but they tower over us, and most in the moment when our interests tempt us to wound them.”

While this may seem esoteric, new-age, or spiritual, to me it is a concrete reality: my life is divine. 

di·vine

adjective

1. of, from, or like God or a god.

“heroes with divine powers”

synonyms: godly, angelic, seraphic, saintly, beatific.

That is to say, according to the divine, and in my view, man is not an archetype for God, but, rather, God is an archetype (model) for man. Frankly, I loathe religion and I am as concerned with life after death as I am with reincarnation or anything else entirely irrelevant to the remaining time I have left before I will vanish entirely from earth and everyone I love on it – myself included. 

Ultimately, I’ve got to live and care for my own soul, my own wellbeing, and I write to connect with the soul (The inner, quiet, still self), to marry the higher and lower elements of myself into something I can love and admire. Because that’s what I really want in life: dignity – the ability to live a human life as well and as meaningfully as it may be lived, meeting joy and sorrow with equal poise, and remaining as calm, comfortable, and as confident as I may ever be in each possible moment. 

It’s not difficult for me to imagine a worse life: I’ve lived one. I’m reminded of something Jung wrote about the shadow being confronted either early in life or showing up later. I am fortunate to have spent my time in the wilderness of life early on. Now I can accept myself wholly. And I am now loved wholly as well. 

As I read somewhere today, ‘maintaining a personality is tiring’.

How true: it is much easier to be whole (versus good), making no apologies nor feeling any guilt for who I am. 

The business of life for me at thirty-one is much more one of being and doing than it is becoming. 

I’m reminded of the expression, life is not an act of discovery but one of creation.

In trying to find a source for that I came across the following, which I love:

“The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation. You are not discovering yourself, but creating yourself anew. Seek therefore, not to find out Who You Are, but seek to determine Who You Want to Be.”

– Neale Donald Walsch

And in the words of Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz:

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.

And this is why I felt anxious about the future earlier: because I know exactly who I want to be, who I am, and I am excited: I am anxious to be Lawrence Black. 

That said, I am going to rest and sleep now; for tomorrow is a chance to grow nearer the life I want, the evolution and progression of the life I have, which I love, because I am me: and I more than a lucky duck – I am a hunter of life, a wolf, and the redeemer of a once lost soul.

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 Casting Spells

Thinking about the future; using goals as gamification (reward): asking myself exactly what it is I want out of life. 

My artistic goals are set in stone; however, I am a renaissance man: thus the breadth of my interests and desires begs more than artistic success. 

And regardless of my writing goals, it would be senseless of me to disregard the years of experience I have as a ux-designer, marketer, and front-end dev. I am humbly proud to say, I am fucking good at what I do. Besides, I am already working on three businesses that leverage those skills and it would be foolish not to see them to fruition – after all, monetary success is a beautiful thing: it both sanitizes and renews. 

But I do ask myself, how much is enough?

Ironically, I watched Scorcese’s Aviator tonight – that is, up until Howard Hughes’ character became a shell of a man and my interest waned; however, the movie was nonetheless a great muse for tonight’s writing – and for myself, as a man of ambition and potential. 

In the film, we watch as Hughes devolves from a powerful visionary – a man of youth and passion – into a hollow, paranoid agoraphobic. 

Clearly, the man had some mental health struggles, and, in later years, physical issues as well, both contributing in no small-part to his eventual deterioration; however, fortunate as I am at 31, I don’t expect a similar fate for myself; although, I have absolutely no moral conundrums amassing a fortune.

There’s certainly no rule in life that says, ‘You cannot be a wealthy businessman and a famous author‘.  

I used to think that art came first – that it was spiritually paramount to make art – as if somehow business endeavors were a barrier to that.

But believe me, I’ve tried the starving artist thing, and even with a room of ones own, poverty is not conducive to writing in this day and age. 

For me, the life of the entrepreneur-writer-philosopher seems to fit best.

Lawrence Black is an American entrepreneur, writer, and philosopher. He is the author of ——– and ——– , and maintains ownership interests in several tech companies he has founded.

These are words I recite in front of the mirror, a kind of Stoic / Cognitive exercise I perform that allows me to zoom out on my story and see things from a grander, more elegant perspective. 

It is modeled on the idea of my future Wikipedia entry, serving as sort of cliff’s notes on who I am, and its purpose is to remind me of my destiny, my potential. 

I find it a fantastic method for bolstering my confidence and strengthening my identity; for I am most-certainly someone who believes in my own sense of destiny. This is why I write. 

And sure, there are novels unfinished – but this is my story. 

And I write it because it’s part of the magic, the alchemy I do – casting spells – spelling out my future – weaving the tapestry of my life with intention and purpose. 

And in doing so, I become more definite, more sure; becuase, if I didn’t meant it, I wouldn’t write it

And I, of all people, know the story can always be re-written. 

So follow your folly. Trust life. Cast spells. And don’t be afraid to think out-loud; for your desires are not false hopes, and life is but a game won by definiteness of purpose backed by definiteness of plans. 

With that, I bid you goodnight.

Sow well my friends. 

And I Am

I feel like journaling at the moment -something I sometimes do here but have done a bit more prolifically via pen and paper – however, like a young Leonard Cohen taking pictures of himself – aware of his (And their potential significance one day) – I think I might rather write here instead. After all, like Leonard Cohen – a man who also was once a young promising artist – I too will die. 

And death is life’s greatest gift: for what do we have to lose.

I recognize we live in a world of fairly unwavering thought. Even our bright minds in universities are merely cogs in a machine, albeit intelligent cogs. Nonetheless, people do not think for themselves. If they did there is no fucking way they would suffer the mental anguish they live through on a daily basis. Stress alone is it’s own weakness, its own form of insanity; for there is no such thing as stress, merely the belief we don’t have the resources to handle a given situation. And what a fucking waste of my humanity: to live lacking belief in myself. But this is what I was born to; this is what most of us were born to. 

But there are levels. And I know because I have been through so many of them. 

I have grown immensely: perspective, understanding, maturity, love, independence, humility, compassion – all the things that have made my heart stronger and more buoyant. 

And my philosophies are blossoming.

I am 100% free from the weight of religion, which, in the words of Pablo Neruda, is a collective neurosis. 

What I seek is to be free. And I feel I am. This is no doubt due in part to my deep and abiding agnosticism. But it’s not freedom from the collective neurosis of religion alone that elevates me to the level of emotional freedom I feel today. It’s freedom from much of the collective neurosis that comprises life. These automatic, ingrained reactions to life. 

Stoicism gave me much of my resilience, and I am a Stoic, but the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius are not my bible. No book is. But I do stand on the shoulders of giants, carrying forward the intellectual presents from my spiritual grandfathers. 

These persons have had a great influence on my philosophy, character, and disposition:

  • Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Seneca
  • Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton
  • Emerson, Thoreau, and the Transcendentalists 
  • Ayn Rand
  • John Steinbeck, Ed Ricketts
  • Victor Hugo, Alexander Dumas
  • Carl Jung, Marie Louis Von-Franz
  • Joseph Campbell 
  • Abraham Maslow
  • Victor Frankl
  • Kazimierz Dabrowski
  • John Gardner

Note: I had made a list of these persons in another draft, and there I wrote that, “If I hadn’t discovered these thinkers, I would be a scared little man.” How apt. 

This list is by no means complete, nor is it in any specific order; although, I would say, Jung, Campbell, Emerson, and Aurelius hold key positions in my mental cabinet – but each person on the above list has contributed immensely to my education, my philosophy. 

It’s important to note here an idea posited by Emerson in his 1837 speech The American Scholar. 

Emerson states:

“Meek young men grow up in libraries believing it their duty to accept the views which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke and Bacon were only young men in libraries when they wrote those books.”

The point here being that intellectualism ought not be devoted to the mere worship of ideas, but to their very creation. 

Having lived much of my young life a product of other people’s thinking, I connected deeply to the words of Steve Jobs in his 2005 Stanford commencement address:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

I know what it is to have my own inner voice drowned out; I know what it is to live a servant to the ideas of society. Having blossomed mentally – in large part due to the aforementioned thinkers – into something worthy of being called an individual, I can say that I am never going back. 

The lyrics from Childish Gambino’s Not Going Back echo in my head:

Renaissance man with a Hollywood buzz
I refuse to go back to not likin’ who I was

Because I do like who I am. 

I am on MY side. 

And I’ll soon have a buzz bigger than insects in Texas. 

And I am

Sunday Night Thoughts

Time: the great cannabalizer and finisher of all things. 

I say this neither stoically nor nihilisitically, but merely to note that there is no more powerful force in life. 

I never imagined being a man, being mature, and reaching this age in my life – this epoch in time, between possibility and life. 

I know who I am, I know what I want, and, in the game of life, I seek to be the hero. 

My heroes live in the pages of books, and my story in my own. 

I want to write and in writing become the hero I am destined to be: the writer, the man, the romantic – all that I am.

And all I need is time, this most precious of assets; for I intend to use mine as wisely as I can. 

I have, thankfully, gained an immense amount of perspective on my life this past year. 

With the passing of my dad I have grabbed hold of my mortality, owning up to the fact I too will go the way of all flesh. 

This is no light fact; it is indeed nothing short of realizing life’s true value. 

Life is not something to simply be endured, something that must merely come to pass. Yes, I recongnize life entails suffering. But there’s something purposeful to life, if you can awake to it. 

It’s that thing that makes you tick. And no, this is not a motivational thing; I desire only to communicate the importance of living a life with meaning. Because, when you do that, when you have a meaningful life, you start to connect the dots, and – for lack of a better phrase – everything becomes spiritual; meaning, synchronicity, and growth become constant, and inner-voice comes through clearly and resolutely. 

Why were you born? Seriously, fucking ask yourself. You know. You know why. You know what your dream is. 

But maybe you’re afraid. Afraid of life. Afraid to admit to yourself the things you truly want. Afraid to even try. 

I know I was.