I was waiting for her to return home from a night out – and so was in the bedroom, where I fell asleep to awake the next morning, alone, where I called her to ask why she never returned… but she told me she never went out… that she never left our home.
Dreams about exes are jarring. And the above dream has a particular ‘haunted by her ghost’ quality to it, which really gets my goat….
It’s like, okay, I’ve already dealt with the reality of being totally fucking disowned and ignored / rejected by my former love and “best friend” (Let me wipe my ass with these cheap words) – oh, and I have been living alone in the mountains the past year.
Like, wtf, has my sub-conscious not gotten the fucking measage!!?? You’re fucking less than dead to her bro. Have been. She doesn’t give a shit about you bud. Take it to heart. Deeply.
I was left twisting in the wind by my own romantic idealization of her – got it – but do I have to have a fucking dream to remind me that the dream isn’t even nearly as fucking sad as the reality.
She slow ghosted me over months – while repeatedly giving me faith we could and would be friends. She even hung out with my sister right before my visit for the holidays, which ended with her not wanting to see me and myself checking into the hospital. The pain caused a lot of self-abuse, even after that.
But has my subconscious not gotten the message after all of this. Four months sober on top of it. Like, am I a fucking joke to myself, just living my life like a dream where I am waiting for her to return, to be gaslit by her when she tells me she never left.
No, she left a long time ago – long before I knew it. I was just willing to believe. But no longer. The goddamn plane has crashed into the mountain!
So dear subconscious, please get the memo. Hopefully that was the point of the dream.
Guiding goddess, protectress, giver of boon,
I stand face to face with you,
The utmost respect for thee,
Trusting you know what is true for me…
So it was, to the above spell cast, that her gifts unto me flowed, from eternal psychic past
Dear boy, being, mother nature’s own
I hope you understand,
You are a single organism, a key function, in a greater thing,
And it needs you –
So heed my words when I tell you to follow your heart,
That sum center of self, home to shadow, anima, inner-child too,
Who all need a vote, on what’s best for you
For a heart-centered self-governence,
Which need fear neither rebuke nor error:
For it is the kingdom,
To which you are heir –
So check in with your heart,
And live what you find there.
I did not receive the programming for peace early on,
Which means neither did my parents, so the cycle went on
Now I’m finally giving me,
What I wanted all along:
The self-esteem and inner-security, oft accordingly passed on,
Based upon the family, into which you were born
And perhaps like me,
You were similarly forlorn,
In not being destined
To be enpowered as something handed down
For we learn young,
Our adult disposition formed earlier than we know,
Out of the impressioned youth,
Into which we grow
“Give me a child till the age of seven, and I will show you the man”, goes the Jesuit maxim,
Spoken by thise who understand,
A way of thinking that’s taught,
Scared nervous people,
Raise scared nervous kids,
Lacking the psychological security,
The ‘fortunate’ give theirs
Yes, it’s a class issue,
The socioeconomic status of those from whom you receive your DNA
But birth is not a fair lottery,
And it’s always been that way
Until we can time travel,
We will never have a say,
In the life we were given to,
And what led us to today
So reject the fatalistic resignation,
Which the victim always sees at play
And nurture your nature,
With what you think and say
And neither be afraid to ponder,
The past and the role it played,
Because we have to understand,
Or we make the same mistakes again and again
Yes, I’ll be 35 in a year,
And I’m just now here:
Seeing why I am the way I am,
And how I can change my thinking, to change the way I live
And I know it all goes back to the start,
Inner child, sometimes without dinner child
Whose magical consciousness is full of gifts to give – inner truths
Yet eterneally vulnerable,
To how you feel and live:
Needing the ever present safety and security, like you needed as a child – but from you,
To express through you –
Given that, just imagine,
What the two of you could do:
If you could give him,
The worth he’d want to give to you
For there are no time machines,
But there are centers, containers of consciousness, called archetypes –
Through which we can reprogram the inner you –
And the inner-child, most deserving and pure (Does not mean non-sexual – love, sex, between adults can also be pure :)
Warrants nothing less than a seat at the table, replete with a voice
For he has much to bequeathe unto you, deserves your heart and the power of choice
And we ourselves most should invest here;
For inner child wants the best for us,
Just to share,
In the dreams he can conjure, and the desire to get there;
We ought give the reigns to inner child
– As is their proper inheritence –
But this is not to give license to the puer,
The eternal child, who likes too much to be master of his lair:
Think Peter Pan: he’s rather Lizard brained,
Whereas inner child is now wisened, with access to his guardian and not control over him
It’s a choice distinction,
Between the two
For we want to open to life,
Not be swallowed by its shadow
For that’s what this is about:
Re-accessing the truest part of you,
Who is always there, though sometimes long unbeknownst to you,
For inner child often goes “underground” to protect itself:
As is the case, when we have not made inner child feel safe
And silenced the vulnerability,
Refused our softest-self space
Yes, even inner-child hides in the shadow,
In the unconscious,
Without the means to express
For if we don’t listen to our little self, we’ll have neither the wings nor the breath:
To reconnect with us,
And work together on what’s ahead
Focusing on the future,
And not living in the past,
But never forgetting, the rawness of our path:
But what breaks my heart most, is that my inner child is older than I,
Had to face all that without so much as a ‘Self’ – much less a persona to chill behind
Dearest inner child!,
Greatest hero of mine!
Tell me where you want to go,
And I’ll take you to the stars!!
We know I’m sorry, for all those nights spent in bars,
Or behind them,
Once or thrice
You suffered most, through all my vice (fear and self-pity greatest among them)
Betrayed my very heart, and put you in the dark –
Had no time for something I didn’t know held my brightest spark
Till I re-membered you,
Put you back together, and me too,
With compassion for what I never could forget:
The childhood we endured –
You without my strength around,
For so mang years,
When it felt natural to be down
Oh man oh man, we finally made it out – what a mindfuck that was
Till together again at last, a second childhood of sorts,
Me like your adopted dad,
Reunited with my boyhood self –
And I could not be more glad
Nor more surpised to find myself a solid man,
Who knows that without the boy, I could never create such rich, exciting plans 🥰⛵️
I remain unknown,
But I am finally known to myself
The pearl of great price at the bottom of my sea took me thirty-four years to reach,
And I grasp the meaning of life in the baby oak leaf fallen on the stoop this morning: tempus aeternum
I am realised, released:
My id no longer riding me like a horse;
My libido, the dragon, now in service of my anima, my heart
Oh how it has broken
These queen pieces on my chess board, all fallen
I could name them – and I used to – but they all know I love them, and no one cares
For what can I, the bard, offer but the intangible, which is always fungible to any but the rarest seer – who is both mythical and mystical –
The she-wolf to this sea-wolf
But my animus incarnation is deceased to many and dying to some,
How slow and painfilled have I wilted on the vine for them
Sour grapes, the lot of lost love…
Yet in others I am sweetness, still ripening – or yet born
And for Dr. Mia GoWell, I am stillborn, D.O.A, R.I.P, nulled
One day she will reverse-moby me,
Say, “I dated him”
And I’ll yawn…
Because through all of this, I trust nature,
Knowing She knows All, timing and purpose too
You see, I’ve been through these cycles, these seasons before,
Ends of chapters and of books in the tome of my life
Cities and loves and always the quiet lonely ends
Only time is easier now
In the midsummer of my life
But I don’t want Fall,
I want Autumn, auctus
But sagma, to pack and leave
And I soon think I will,
Escape the belly of this whale
Take Blackie to LA
Need no more succor
Care no more about her everlasting rancor
Be at peace, anchored to the microbiome in my core
Intel-inside, I’ve nothing left to hide
Nature boy, the human satyr,
I’m a lover, the world will see Me later,
Until then, I’ll close my eyes for five or ten,
Just to die and wake again
My Self, My Truest Friend,
Whom I’ll remain faithful to, till the end
Until trillions of years from now, when the Universe and we are born again
The Goddesses and the Gods sing my song (La la la la la, La la la la la la, La la la la la, La la la la)
Sirens and The Princes sing my song and they love me;
For when vibrations resonate with their own frequencies,
There is (always) harmony:
It’s how friends, lovers, scoundrels, and fools fall thick as theives
When the energies, archetypes, and their consciousnesses are not aligned and do not resonate, vibrate, or match,
Then there is dissonance,
And things are (always) inharmonious,
Their presence grating on us like a loud motorbike,
And not the calming eye of the gods and goddesses
People are energetic mirrors,
Reflecting and communicating,
From their surfaces and their depths
Back to our own conscious and unconscious minds,
Where something is shared:
The transference of meaning:
The truth of inner and outer sight,
So that from the goddess there emerges the god,
And in the intellect of another, we find our own intelligence,
Which wants no mask,
(tired as it is of not being seen and thus being masked)
For others reflect back their counterparts in us,
And we see ourselves in them
And the stage is set for the players to begin and end
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.
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.”
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.
As I get older my philosophies become less hypothetical and more palpable. So instead of asking myself, “What if this were true?”, I’m asking: “Since I believe this to be true, what are the implications?” Inquiries of this nature can hit pretty hard because mentally it’s no longer a drill, it’s the real thing – life – and you have to decide how you’re going to live it given what you believe. This is why philosophy is so weighty: because it’s the recognition that beliefs have massive implications for our existence. And the philosophy I’m writing on has greater implications for me than anything I’ve ever encountered or written about before. I know I have to write this, to lay this all out before me, to even move forward. It’s that heavy. I’ve never faced anything like this. For me, it supersedes the question of whether there is a god because it answers the question of what happens after death.
The philosophy is known as “Eternal Return” or “Eternal Recurrence”. In short, it’s the idea time is a flat circle and life is a wheel, going round and round, repeating itself, forever and ever. This may not sound compelling yet, but as I explain it further, I think you may find it is one of the most compelling arguments you’ve ever encountered. It’s certainly nothing new, as many ancient cultures, from the Egyptians, to the Hindus, to the Buddhists, to the Aztecs, all believed in some version of this. It wasn’t until Christianity that we moved away from this idea, but before I get into the ancient origins of Eternal Recurrence and why Christianity moved us away from it, allow me to explain it from my modern viewpoint.
13.7 billion years ago, the big bang happened – the sudden appearance of everything from nothing, from a single point, an initial singularity, wherein everything was compressed into a single mass without any laws of physics, which scientists estimate to have been somewhere between the size of a soccer ball and a skyscraper-filled city block. Since we know the speed of light, we can measure how far away everything in the observable universe is, and we can see that it has been expanding since the big bang. Based on that expansion, many scientists believe the universe will eventually reach a point where the gravitational pull of things will cause the universe to collapse onto itself. This is known as the big crunch. Together, the big bang and the big crunch form the big bounce, which is a cyclic model of the universe that states we could be living “at any point in an infinite sequence of universes, or conversely the current universe could be the very first iteration.”
The big crunch is just one cyclic or oscillating model of the universe. Einstein theorized “a universe following an eternal series of oscillations, each beginning with a big bang and ending with a big crunch; in the interim, the universe would expand for a period of time before the gravitational attraction of matter causes it to collapse back in and undergo a bounce.” The first photo of a black hole, produced by Katie Bouman’s team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the MIT Haystack Observatory, is an image of light from 55 million light years away, meaning, we are looking at that specific black hole 55 million years ago, since that’s how long the light took to reach us. This photo proves Einstein’s century old theory about black holes and how light would behave around them. As Space.com says, “Don’t bet against Einstein.” I bring this up to make this point. What I’m telling you is not pie in the sky stuff. It’s very likely the big bang is neither the first nor the last.
From my own first-principles thinking, the mere appearance of anything means it is possible, and in the words of Elon Musk: “The first step is to establish that something is possible then probability will occur.” So, if it’s possible to have a big bang, then it’s probable to have another. What that probability looks like is relatively unknown, but physicists Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University and Neil Turok of Cambridge University estimate that each cycle of the universe lasts a trillion years.
“Once the universe is emptied out, a weak attractive force brings our universe’s two branes together in a cosmic collision. Each collision is essentially a new Big Bang that infuses the aging universe with new matter and energy.”
Billions of years or a trillion years, you say, well, how irrelevant to me… only, if that multi-billion year or trillion year cycle passes while you are dead, you have no awareness of it. So if you die and trillions of years later, there is another big bang, then the next thing you know, you are born again. Of course, who is to say that the next big bang will produce the same conditions and the same DNA that led to you being born; however, if we zoom out further, on infinite big bangs, then just as the possibility of a big bang establishes probability of it happening again, so too does the possibility of you being born. So maybe it’s trillions of big bangs later. It doesn’t matter: you still come into existence again – and since the time between existences is passed in death or non-existence, then to you, subjectively, there is no gap between them.
This likelihood obviously poses some questions.
As Neitzche writes of the eternal recurrence in his book ‘The Gay Science’, under the heading “The heaviest weight”:
“What if some day or night a demon were to steal into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it you will have to live once again and innumerable times again; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unspeakably small or great in your life must return to you, all in the same succession and sequence – even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned over again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!’ Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god, and never have I heard anything more divine.’ If this thought gained power over you, as you are it would transform and possibly crush you; the question in each and every thing, ‘Do you want this again and innumerable times again?’ would lie on your actions as the heaviest weight! Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to long for nothing more fervently than for this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?”
There’s a passage in psychologist Irvin D. Yalom’s novel, ‘When Nietzsche Wept’, where a patient, Dr. Breuer, is in therapy with “Nietzsche”, who encourages him to reflect upon the possibility of eternal recurrence:
Breuer: You suggest, that every action I make, every pain I experience, will be experienced through all infinity?
Nietzsche: Yes, eternal recurrence means that every time you choose an action you must be willing to choose it for all eternity. And it is the same for every action not made, every stillborn thought, every choice avoided. And all unlived life will remain bulging inside you, unlived through all eternity. And the unheeded voice of your conscience will cry out to you forever.”
What the author is conveying is that by making choices, we are establishing probability for their recurrence. So if one believes in the eternal return or eternal recurrence, then we must be aware that everything we do – that our life, as we live it now – we must be willing to choose for all of eternity.
As the Wikipedia for Eternal Return tells us, “If the probability of a world coming into existence exactly like our own is nonzero. If space and time are infinite, then it follows logically that our existence must recur an infinite number of times.”
I’ve provided a scientific model above for it based on the big bang. It most certainly “follows logically”. And I’m not writing this as a sci-fi thought experiment, but as a model for what I believe; however, long before we had a scientific model for an expanding and contracting universe, humans believed in Eternal Return. In ancient Egypt, the symbols of the snake eating its tail (The Ouroboros) and the scarab (dung beetle), both represented the concept of eternal return. The Aztec and Mayan calendar wheels represent this. The ancient greeks called it Palingenesis (From palin, again, and genesis, birth). The ancient hindus called it Reincarnation. The Buddhists called it Samsara. So what happened to this timeless idea?
Enter Christianity. A new myth is formed that says Jesus came down from heaven and saved humanity. Well, if you save humanity it doesn’t need to happen again. So, eternal return was done away with. While pre New Testament texts like Ecclesiastes tell us, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”, giving us something that seems like it could hint at eternal return; only a few verses earlier, we read that “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.” (Something science tells us will not be true, for the sun will run out of hydrogen and die a heat death in 5 billion years, and the universe will collapse long after). I feel like I’m pandering to religious people by even mentioning these things, but my point is not to establish what the bible says as evidence for anything other than what it represents, and the Judeo-Christian myths do not give any validity to the idea of eternal return. If god created the world, he doesn’t need to do it again and he certainly didn’t create it to be mortal like us, which science tells us it is; however, the importance is not the difference between religion and science but the impact of religion on the collective consciousness of belief. For it wasn’t until Nietzsche that the idea of eternal return came into widespread discussion in the West again. Following Nietzsche, Albert Camus resurrected the ancient Greek myth of sisyphus in his philosophical essay of the same title, telling us the story of a man who is fated to push a rock up a mountain only to have it roll down again, for all of eternity.
“If this myth is tragic, that is because its hero is conscious. Where would his torture be, indeed, if at every step the hope of succeeding upheld him? The workman of today works everyday in his life at the same tasks, and his fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious.”
So, is it a tragic fate, to know, to be conscious, that you might repeat everything forever?
As Camus concludes his essay:
“I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one’s burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
“The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.” What a sentiment. It’s certainly heroic.
Nietzsche similarly adopts a heroic attitude in ‘The Gay Science’:
“I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that by my love henceforth!”
And in his last book ‘ Ecce Homo’, Nietzsche writes:
“My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it—all idealism is mendacity in the face of what is necessary—but love it.”
“Amor fati (lit. “love of fate”) is a Latin phrase that may be translated as “love of fate” or “love of one’s fate”. It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one’s life, including suffering and loss, as good or, at the very least, necessary, in that they are among the facts of one’s life and existence, so they are always necessarily there whether one likes them or not. Moreover, amor fati is characterized by an acceptance of the events or situations that occur in one’s life.
This acceptance does not necessarily preclude an attempt at change or improvement, but rather, it can be seen to be along the lines of what Friedrich Nietzsche apparently means by the concept of “eternal recurrence”: a sense of contentment with one’s life and an acceptance of it, such that one could live exactly the same life, in all its minute details, over and over for all eternity.”
I find it telling that Camus also adopted a love of fate as a solution to life, writing in his journals:
“There is thus a will to live without rejecting anything of life, which is the virtue I honor most in this world.”
For to reject anything is to establish the probability to reject it forever and ever.
I don’t necessarily subscribe to predeterminism but I think if we believe in eternal recurrence, we have to accept that it is we who are establishing anything that will occur again. So we must choose our actions and choices as if we are to live with their occurrence and their consequences forever.
So I suppose the jaw-dropping shock of this leads me to conclude that I will write this again, maybe in billions or trillions of years. And I sit here thinking what I did last night, which is that if I am fated to live this life again and again, I want to do everything I can to decrease my suffering and to help others decrease theirs. For if I don’t manifest my gifts, which is to say, if I don’t utilize the unique talents that I have, then I will neither decrease my suffering nor that of others. But if I do, then I will forever and ever. And thus nothing is of more paramount importance than that – than contributing what I am able to contribute to improve life for myself and others on as large of a scale as is possible.
Postscript: It should be noted that within my philosophy, I currently have a few potential models of reality, which I wrote on here. The idea of eternal recurrence; however, has so far only existed in my ‘base-reality’ option; for if we are living in a simulation run by AI or a training program, then the arguments of the big bang etc, don’t have the same validity; although, it could be argued that even in a simulation, eternal recurrence will lead to the existence of the simulation again, so I guess it does hold for each of my theories. I think the neatest thing about this idea is that we are essentially immortal, but it’s entirely up to us how we are to spend our cycles of eternity. And even then, having written this, I’m still processing and digesting this big heckin’ philosophy in a meaningful way that I believe will bring me increased peace, acceptance, and drive for the life I am here to live.
Footnote: Eternal Return and Eternal Recurrence are the same, but I prefer the word ‘recurrence’ as it has a more specific, programmatic meaning for me.
Beauty and the beast
I made a pauper of a princess
I was beneath the animals,
Under a mountain of fear;
I wasn’t nearly good enough,
To escape the shame I deserved –
The shame I needed,
So I’m sorry and grateful:
Reconciling these two only humbles me more
But I was never humble before,
So the beauty only ever got the beast,
And not the prince she made me
I told you it was a sad love story
But it’s my favorite, so I’ll keep telling it.
“Humans experience stress, or perceive things as threatening, when they do not believe that their resources for coping with obstacles (stimuli, people, situations, etc.) are enough for what the circumstances demand. When people think the demands being placed on them exceed their ability to cope, they then perceive stress.”
So let me tell you again:
There is no such thing as stress, only the belief that we don’t possess the resources to handle a given situation.
Let’s chew on this, digging deeper.
As humans there are myriad things that can cause us to feel stress – that is to say, to feel we do not possess the resources to handle a given situation. Not one person reading this can’t relate; however, by learning that stress is only the belief we don’t possess the resources to face what we perceive as the source of our stress, we suddenly have a much greater understanding about what stress is and how it is caused.
To provide a concrete example that demonstrates the nature of stress as a belief in inadequate resources, we need only imagine that what is stressful for us may be nothing to someone else – just as what is stressful to others may be a cakewalk for us. Think of public speaking, starting a new job, or meeting someone new. These are, like all potential sources of stress, stressful only insofar as they correspond to an individual’s belief in their inability to handle a given situation. Meaning: the degree to which we feel we can’t “handle” something, is the degree to which we perceive that thing as stressful.
This all may seem rather dry but the implications are staggering… I promise you. For once we realize that stress is dependent upon perceived deficiencies in our internal judgements – rather than something that stems solely from our assessments of external factors – something major happens: suddenly we become responsible for our stress. And when we become responsible for anything, it instantly becomes within our power to control.
That’s right. I pump good medicine – I’m a self-professed ‘mind hacker’, a programmer. Sure, I write code too, but the alphabet, words, are also code – and consciousness – the brain – is very much like a computer. Give someone a program – a belief – that says they don’t have the resources to handle a given situation, and they will experience stress. This is a program. And I’m writing to reprogram me, to connect the dots and achieve liberation through understanding. But we still need a few more dots to see the whole picture.
Interestingly, the word gnosis – from which we get ‘gnostic’, relating to knowledge – comes from the ancient greek gnōsis, meaning, to know. And many gnostics believe Jesus was not divine but, rather, was just a human who attained divinity through gnosis (Intellectual or spiritual knowledge), which he taught to his followers (Obligatory Gospel of Thomas shoutout). This gnostic interpretation of the Jesus archetype is a great parable for how we can “attain divinity” – i.e., achieve liberation – through knowledge.
I truly believe this having been to a hell and back of my own making. It’s only through knowledge, through understanding, that I have been freed from my past fears, insecurities, paranoias, doubts and stressors. And it is only via pain that I have ever been led to any real knowledge; for bringing light to the dark doesn’t work: it is only by bringing the darkness to light that we become visible, that we are enlightened. And you’re free to scoff at my indirect assertion that I am enlightened but I believe it is enlightened (From Old English inlīhtan, meaning, to shine.) to overcome oneself. For there is no other gatekeeper between you and the divine (From Latin divis, godlike.) I use old words because I’m talking about old concepts. The nature of human aspiration. We just have better metaphors than god and heaven now. I’ll take Self-Actualization for five-hundred, please.
Fulfillment. Wellbeing. Emotional and psychical health. This is my shit. I’m here to shine. And I’ve already transformed myself and made my world what it is. But the work never ends. It just gets higher and higher, and the freedom you find in following the seeking of the will gets deeper and deeper. And it’s all from knowledge. Learning. This is how we evolved, we’re just doing it consciously now.
So if there’s no such thing as stress – only the believe we don’t have the resources to handle a given situation – then let’s bust stress.
Like any phantom menace we need only demystify it. For when we demystify things, we remove all the mystery and confusion surrounding them. And I’d say the mysterious nature of stress has caused some serious confusion in all of our lives. We think it’s out of our control based on an assessment that is very much within our control.
And I’m here to tell you: are that person with the resources to handle any given situation. Straight up.
I believe it was Sidney Poitier who wrote in his memoir that there was a well-worn groove in our DNA for every type of suffering. That any type of pain has worn a path into our being over the course of our evolution, so that we can handle it. I believe that no matter the situation, there exists an archetype, a version of you, within you, that can handle it. Heroes share in common that they are brave. They face things boldly, as one ought to. For it never helps to stress. It never helps to be insecure. It never helps to worry. It helps to be confident. It helps to be calm. It helps to be in control. This is why the Navy seals are taught diaphragmatic breathing, self-talk, mental rehearsal, and goal-setting. We teach our military operators to respond to adverse conditions as successfully as a human can. And while we don’t face deadly enemy-fire or the task of following orders into what may be violent annihilation, our amygdala all the same must respond to life via the same human hardware. None of us lives without the capability to experience fear and stress, and none of us lives free from the behavioral consequences of fear and stress. And it’s not just the fight-flight-or-freeze reactions of the sympathetic nervous system in response to the infralimbic cortex and the amygdala – the stress, the fear itself, which we suffer. The true costs of these undesired states are in-fact far more destructive to our wellbeing than the mere stealing of our joy, peace, and control in the moment. As Harvard Health tells us:
“Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. It can dampen the immune system, increasing susceptibility to colds and other common infections. It can contribute to asthma, digestive disorders, cancer, and other health problems. New research even supports the notion that high levels of stress somehow speed up the aging process.“
And if you’re psychical wellbeing, your health, isn’t a compelling enough argument to make you want to eliminate the experience if stress from your life, then how about thinking of the emotional responses to stress: anxiety and aggression. Or the adrenal responses to stress: cortisol and adrenaline.
We know that stress causes depression and more. And stressful people stress others out, pushing a toxic cycle forward. It sucks.
I spent so long being this guy. Stress – my own lack of belief in my resources to handle a given situation – cost me all my relationships, and it cost them a lot too. I was depressed. I didn’t think I had what it took. And so I didn’t. I was the victim of myself. Then came the depression. Tons of self-medicating to feel alive again, and the self-abuse and self-abandonment that follows. Stress made me betray myself and those I love in turn. It made me a shell of myself. I was so afraid that I became a monster.
As Yoda says, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. And hate leads to the dark side.”
I’ve been to the darkside. It’s what led me here. All that pain. It was too much to live with. There was a time before I emerged from the darkness in possession of my shadow (And thus myself), back when my shadow possessed me, back when I had to go somewhere safe and check myself in. And it wasn’t a hotel. And it wasn’t that long ago. But I survived. Pain as heavy as any I’d felt. And the heaviest pain when I saw what I had done to myself and others for years. You could say that it was very sobering.
Looking back on how I was, I was just afraid of how you saw me. And in an attempt to cover up my fears, I became what I feared and worse. Insecurity and worry and uncertainty and stress and doubt and fear are the most unfortunate of all self-fulfilling prophecies. They are the worst of all beliefs. They are awful programs to run and their consequences are absolutely heartbreaking. So why do we run them?
While we evolved from fish and monkeys (Whom we can thank for our incredible biology.), most people no longer need to run for their lives or fight to survive regularly. Only this is what we are wired for. Our central nervous system doesn’t know the difference when we experience stress, which is essentially a survival mechanism designed to preserve immediate life at the expense of longterm health and wellbeing.
Given everything I know and my family experiences in life, I can honestly say that nothing is worth stressing out over in our modern world. Nothing is worth fearing.
For they are the same. Like stress, fear is not real. Danger is real. We just fear because we don’t think we have the resources to face the thing we fear.
And so now, knowing what I know now, how much stress do you think I allow myself to experience?
Because to allow myself to experience stress or fear or doubt or worry is to believe that I don’t have the resources to handle a given situation – and that’s simply not true. I do.
I am the person with the resources to handle any given situation. And so are you.
By reminding myself that I can handle any given situation, I’m maintaining a powerful internal locus of control. And by doing this, by knowing that things are in my control, I’m no longer a victim of my biology. I’m actively strengthening my core self evaluation. And given the brain’s synaptic plasticity, I’m engaging in long-term potentiation – the strengthening of synapses that fire together. As chiropractor turned neuroscience guru Joe Dispenza says, “Neurons that fire together wire together.” So every time I respond to a potentially anxiety inducing stimulus by reinforcing my competency, I’m building a better me – one that absolutely has the resources to handle any given situation.
Lastly, I want to share a little anecdote about how I face external situations in a way that reinforces my ability to handle them, without reacting adversely (stress, fear, worry, uncertainty, doubt, insecurity).
I think of myself as a Star Wars character. I imagine that character archetype, someone like Rey – but me. Lord knows I’ve already been Kylo Ren. Hot-headed and reactive. But that doesn’t serve me. It has only harmed me and those I love. But by imagining what kind of hero I could be, I am connected to The Force, the Will, the knowledge that I have the ability to bravely face anything. And it’s getting easier and easier the more I actively engage that part of myself. I guess you could say it’s who I’m becoming. For we are all programming ourselves with our behaviors and our thoughts, whether we know it or not.
May The Force be with you: may you know you have the resources to handle any given situation – calmly, cooly, peacefully, and in control of yourself. Make your inner-child proud and give yourself this power. It’s within you. I promise you.
Self-Appraisal, self-love, this, I say, is the holy grail,
The measure of our worth
For our’s is the only judgement we humans suffer;
We may think we are subject to the opinions of others,
But only insofar as we estimate their worth:
The lion does not lose sleep over the opinion of sheep – but of lions
And all is opinion, whether they be lion or not
It’s the mind that accepts or rejects,
And therein lies the power – to validate or invalidate oneself
For no one can take your dignity unless you allow them, and why would you do that?
Unless you didn’t own yourself, unless the poverty was within.
As above so below, as within so without
I’m here to tell you, we can be thermometers – measuring the external
Or we can be thermostats – controlling the internal
It’s all in the inner-appraisal, in the self-love:
Heaven and hell,
Happy or sad
Worth or worthless
Yes, I know, the way our parents talked to us became our inner voice,
And their parents them
But now, reading this, the poet, the one who points at the moon,
Invites you to re-appraise yourself and decide:
What are you worth and why?
Are the opinions of those who put others down to raise themselves up worth your happiness?
Is the opinion of someone who doesn’t even love you or themselves worth more than your own?
Are you a good person because you think so or because they do?
Do you like yourself because you do or because they do?
Do you not like yourself because you or because they don’t? Are they lions or sheep?
Are you a lion or a sheep?
Answer these and you’ll see the whole hologram – each piece reflecting the mind
Are you whole or is there a hole?
How do you fill it? With what? Why?
What are you looking for? What validation do you need?
Why? Whose? What will it take?
Why are you selling yourself short?
Do you have the same operating system as an adolescent does when their crush does not like them?
Why didn’t they like you? Were they right about you? If not, who gives a shit
What do you not like about yourself? Why? Is it worth your happiness?
Is it even a valid reason to live a lesser existence? (For this is the cost)
My friend, it is high time to remodel your inner-sight, so your values no longer castrate your joy…
And are you shallow? Is this your poverty? Do you wish you looked different?
Are you looking for someone outside yourself to show you how to love yourself?
It’s an inside job, you’ve been told this, they just didn’t tell you it takes courage
Maybe this is why you haven’t gotten it right… I bet you’re ready to…
Ask yourself what will it take, to love YOU while you are alive
It is you – you are The Living One – this is your only life with yourself….
So others didn’t appreciate you – you didn’t either
Drop your cross and polish your goddamn crown; trade your inner burdens for liberation,
Be brave: tell yourself the true stories behind your scars, and in them, you’ll find the understanding and compassion you need to love yourself
Not lust – not love for reasons that aren’t who you are – you deserve love for who you are
Humans need human love, a girl who used to love me told me this
Then she didn’t love me because I didn’t love me, but that’s how it works
Again, it’s an inside job, this inner-appraisal stuff
So it wasn’t passed down to you – they didn’t have it to give!
We live in a society of shitty appraisers, all measuring off some heartless corporate image of self
Look how many worship the orange one – it’s daddy issues as a collective neurosis –
Just like someone with a bad-dad drawn to bad-men, they want shitty daddy’s love
Do you really want that person’s love – because you’ll have to be ugly outside to get it – and even then you’ll find they don’t even have it to give
You need to let go of the love you weren’t given. And you need to understand why they couldn’t give it.
Do you need to look like Kylie Jenner? Or someone else? Is that your estimation of paradise, is that your hell?
Do you value others above yourself?
Do you have a standard of beauty and of worth that you don’t even live up to?
Do you think you even deserve love?
Why the fuck not – this is the grand question
I suspect the answer may have something to do with your position in this great big monkey tribe
For lesser monkeys in real monkey troops also have low self-esteem, owing to their lack of status among monkeys
But are we monkeys? Is the popular girl, the rich hot guy – are these our alpha dogs?
Are they worthy to lead us? Who are we idolizing? Why aren’t we worth that?
Why? What is it we value…
Maybe you’ll find the truth, that society is impoverished for want of shiny values
What’s really worth loving?
Not codependency via love from a surrogate mom or dad as unloving as your own
They didn’t know how… they didn’t have it to give!
Find that place where you want to cry in your compassion for them,
Then give it to yourself
Then share it, it’s true leadership to be full of love, to be secure
This is the courage, the bravery I want you to find
And I want you to design a love for yourself so whole and so deep, that it would require true – worthy of raising your children, worthy of being with you love to match it
Design that love
Deconstruct these false values
Design that love
When you do, and you will,
Then will you find it reflected back in another, but not before
They have to see it
Monkeys and humans are like that
And that’s our problem
So it’s a great big catch-22, where you have to have your license to legally drive to the DMV
But whose permission are you waiting on to love yourself?
And why can’t you give it to yourself?
What are you waiting for?
I’d say it’s you
Only you think it’s an outside power – it’s not
Love is an inner light
And when you have it, no one can cast so much as a shadow over you
This stuff takes work, but you’re going to do it
Because you are worth loving while you are alive
And if you don’t think so, know you will decide to be
I’ve already given you some of what I have, and it’s contagious
So let this awareness, this consciousness grow
And never appraise your priceless heart again
You can do it
I’m just the poet, the shaman, pointing at the moon
We don’t need LSD, we don’t need mushrooms, we don’t need anything
Just the courage, to love ourselves despite everything and everyone
Then they have no more power
And you might even consider giving them some of this
It’s the difference – this shift in you – it’s the difference between gas and solar,
Between a finite resource from outside, or an infinite, abundant resource from within
Let love lift you up, it’ll take you all the way
Are you really waiting to die to get into heaven?
Because love is the key, and you already have it, you’ve just let society hide it from you
YOU ARE SO FUCKING WORTH LOVING!!!
Don’t ever wait for someone else to tell you, and don’t ever forget
For this is the power, the kingdom and the glory, forever and ever
(It was never in gods, they just told us to look there)
Be a part of evolution, go ahead
Claim the love they told us to give to god,
But don’t think you have to make yourself a god, that’s just hiding the thing again,
You need to love your most human, temporary, fragile, delicate, precious self
Breathe it in, share it, smile, feel it, return to it
It’s inside of you, they just hid it with some clever oneupmanship over us
But we are the highest
Not as gods,
For this is the question, will you respect yourself enough to love yourself?
If you can’t yet, get to work, for this is the pearl of great price at the bottom of your ocean
Under all the hocus pocus of religion and spirituality, under all the shame, under all the guilt, under all the pain of your childhood, under years of living with a corporate image of self, there’s a great creature under all of that – don’t let them tell you it’s in the sky, “.. or the birds will proceed you”
It’s here and now, and it’s your’s. Claim it.
For there is no other best version of yourself than that which loves yourself as a child, not of god, but of yourself – so stop trying to be god, you don’t need to be god to love yourself, that’s a trick.
We’ve fallen for it long enough, don’t you think?
And I’m not suggesting we go backwards, beneath the gods, but forwards, above them, past them, beyond them;
For we are the only gatekeepers in this vast universe
Let yourself in, the door is open.. the door is you
I promise, you won’t find it anywhere else, for it is nowhere else to be found, don’t let them tell you it is.
The only way out is in. It’s at the center of the labyrinth. This is the way home. Here. Now. You. Love.
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.
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‘:
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:
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.