Either Or Beliefs

Either my life is turning into complete shit, or everything is as it should be.
Life is as I believe it to be, and I'm perilously close to believing it to be really shitty?

Constructing a belief system is a major pain in the ass these days. Mainly because there are so many to choose from.
Would you like to believe the powers that be are a charade to mask the banker puppeteers?
Would you like to believe that those powers that be are of descendant royal lineage of reptilian inbreeding?
Would you like to believe that the universe is ultimately a loving place, where we agree to be separated from that love to experience the joy of discovering and remembering that truth?

Then, once you decide what you want to believe, you have to toss it out there for peer review to see if there is actual evidence contradicting what you want to believe. When you find something that starts to hold up to this sort of peer-review, you begin to notice how little people notice the choice of belief they have.

Take my model of faith and beliefs understanding. No one seems to have anything to attack it with other than their personal definitions of the terms. No one is willing to contradict the psychological mechanics of it, though.

Idea + Faith = Belief. You can nest beliefs.

If you have the belief that you exercise no measure of faith, you can find the beliefs requiring faith that support that claim. You can always trace beliefs back to faith. Anything you believe that does not come directly from first hand experience is something you've taken on faith. You had to apply faith to each and every one of those ideas in order to believe them.

You probably take it on faith that cyanide is poisonous. You may add faith to the idea that there has been scientific tests proving cyanide poisonous, and make it a belief. You can add faith to the idea that 'they use it as poison in movies and someone would call them on it if it wasn't poison' and use that to believe cyanide is poisonous.

Faith is everywhere. There's just a lot of competing notion of what qualifies an idea as worthy of the application of faith. Some, for example, believe that the only ideas worth applying faith to are the ideas that have survived the scientific method. Once they believe a thing to be true, they reclassify it as a fact instead of a belief.


What are you Selling?

That's putting it a language everyone reading this should be able to understand. I think we owe it to each other to understand what it is we're selling, so we can have honest dealings with one another.

I'm selling the perspective that however well what we've been doing up until now has worked - how well it has gotten us this far - we need to move on to something new. I'm selling the theory of evolution, but only if applied to 'all the things'. All the things evolve, including society.

I'm offering a healthy dose of - A species is an organism. Humanity is an organism, a giant sprawling thing consisting of 7 billion or so individual cells. I'm selling you the perspective that the health of the whole is intimately connected with the health of each and every individual.

Slide on these magic goggles and see that the fact that your neighbor is an obese, ignorant man, with a nasty habit of beating his wife is indicative of a systematic illness within our organism. Consider also that a malleable cell, such as a stem cell, is chiefly the product of his environment. While all of the individual cells have built in self-regulation, that they fail to thrive in an environment is the responsibility of their society. The society entity is chief architect of the environment in which a new citizen-cell develops.


String of Words

There is, in the realm of possibility, a string of words that I could type here that would change my life forever. I'm not sure of the length of that variable string of words, or what subject matter its words would dance around. Somewhere though, there's a string of words that could change it all.

This fabled String of Words would have the 'just right' amount of emotional appeal to resonate with 'just the right person', prompting them to share it within their network. In this manner, the String of Words would weave its way through human social networks to just the right person. The String of Words would create a bridge between my life and the life of just the right person, for our mutual benefit.

Somewhere in the realm of possibility, that string of words exists. For those that dream of making their way through life by stringing words together, that string of words is the Holy Grail, Fountain of Youth, and Lost City of Gold.


Ask and Ye Shall Receive - Field Test #1

Dear Universe,

After much inward searching and contemplation, I have identified my hearts desire to be as follows:

I would like to spend my life sharing my unique perspective with others to mutual benefit without being a burden to others.

In exchange for granting me an existence in this fashion, I will experience it and share all the sordid details with you. I leave the details of the manifestation of this possibility to your discretion.

With Love,
Grizwald Grim


Chapter 3: One Story

There's only really one story that any writer can tell with complete honesty, their own story.

Fiction authors that become successful have an ability to filter their story's telling in a way that allows others to learn from it. It's their story, dressed up in a way more people can relate to.

There's this thing called archetypes, and educated people will gladly point you to references of how they're currently understood. I'm not sure if my understanding matches one of the ones already out there. It's relatively common for me to share an understanding and have people tell me it is in resonance with something someone with a reputation has already written. In this case, I'm not aware of who understood archetypes in this way already, but maybe you've never read them either.

In a large part, these archetypes are identified as specific relational roles. The archetype of the 'mother', for example, is representative of the way we understand mothers to act toward their children. The archetypes are optional perspectives that we can choose to adopt in our interactions with others. They're a way for a society to communicate within itself, models of the various ways of conducting communication with other individuals.

A good fiction writer can take their story and tell it from the perspectives of the various archetypes. Storytelling is a language. It weaves the space between the seed and the blooming tree by describing how the two are bound by the glue of life over a span of time. Storytelling is the chronicle of the journey on the cycle of life. The truth that a writer learns on the journey, he is capable of binding and spinning into variant manifestations. A good fiction writer translates truth of his learning in a way that can help others recognize that truth in their own journey.

I am not a good fiction writer. I could be, now that I 'get it' though. Time, effort, and practice stand between me and there. I'd honestly rather not take that route. You can call it laziness, I'll call it the desire for efficiency.

Personally, my preference is to have an interesting enough journey that I can relate the truths directly to you as I figure them out. I'd like to be able to chronicle my story to you as it happens, but not always in a retelling of events. I'd like to be able to share with you 'what it looks like from here'. That's "my dream job".

This post you're reading is part of a story of a guy who saw the way things work and thought, "we can do better." This post you're reading is the 'true story' the film might be one day based upon. Can the protagonist just tell his story as it happens, or does he have to drape it in fiction to not starve to death?


Chapter 2: Sticky Things

It's interesting what sticks.
I understand the image to the left to be of a 'diffusion limited aggregate'. I was exposed to the concept recently when I watched +Wai H. Tsang's video on fractal brain theory, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axaH4HFzA24.

Essentially, there's a bunch of seemingly random dots that occasionally stick to the center point and become sticky themselves, creating an image similar to the one pictured here.

While somewhat tangential to the point he was making in the video, the concept seems to be one that has proven somewhat sticky for me.

What makes it sticky?
Why this, not that? Of the multitude of moments that make up our lives, why do we remember some and not others? I think one answer might be resonance. I am almost certain another is trauma. One of the things that's proven sticky for me is a scene from the 2005 film, Kingdom of Heaven. Liam Neeson has Orlando Bloom swear an oath and then smacks him upside the head with his gauntlet, saying "That's so you'll remember."

You're likely familiar with the expression 'the ring of truth'. I think certain things we're exposed to 'ring as true' or resonate as truth to us. There has often been times in my life when hearing a certain phrase for the first time I experience an unusual physical sensation - goosebumps, the hair on the back of my neck standing. It comes with a sensation that I've recognized a piece of the puzzle, that the information is valuable.

There are other things have stuck for me that haven't necessarily come with such a physical sensation. Both of the two that follow have the quality of mystery, which is why I currently think they've remained sticky in my mind over all these years. The first is an unexplained phenomenon, which has persisted to remain unexplained primarily because the plausible explanations my rational mind has been able to come up with haven't rang true. The second I believe has stuck because it seems like a clue to great existential mystery: Why am I what I am?

The Music and the Cloud
The most beautiful music I have ever heard may have existed only in my mind. At the time, I was unloading trucks at night for a living and going to sleep in the mornings. I was living with a girl who I may or may not have gotten pregnant, but she was out of town visiting a dying relative. We were living in a one-bedroom apartment, the upstairs of a two-story duplex.

I had just snuggled into bed that morning when I began to hear the music. It didn't seem that the music started at the same time I began to hear it. Rather, it was as if I had been tuning a radio and stumbled upon the frequency with silence being the static. The music defies description, as I have never heard its like before or since - but if pressed, Angelic is the word I would use. 

I wasn't completely tuned in, but it was completely clear. Rather than the clarity waxing and waning, it was the volume that gave the sense varying reception. After a few precious moments, only the ordinary sounds of the morning birds remained. I had lost the frequency.

This seeming evidence of the existence of the divine and rather difficult life experiences eventually resulted in me attending a Pentecostal church. It was during one such attendance that the second sticky thing occurred. 

As part of the customary practice of the church, following the sermon there was an altar call. Those seeking the divine would make their way to the altar and pray while the rest in attendance would pray, worship, or twiddle their thumbs from the comfort of the pews. On the particular evening in question, I made my way to the front of the church at the altar call - though my state of mind is so far removed from what it was then I can't remember what led me to that behavior.

It was not uncommon for those answering the altar call to be joined by others. The faithful would come and pray with and for those in supplication. On this particular occasion, I was joined by an elder woman during my praying. When I had finished, she spoke to me.

While I don't recall the specific words she used, I remember that she told me that I was unusual in that she had sensed a dark cloud about me, enveloping me, that I carried with me wherever I went. That much, at least, I continue to remember. Her sharing of that perception as proven to be sticky for me. 

Was it genuine? Was she capable of sensing things other's do not? Was it just her figurative description of something about the nature of my mood? Does the darkness dwell about me or within me? 

The mystery remains.


Chapter 1: What do you want me to say?

It's happening again. You can call it the desire to write, if you want to euphemize it. Really, it's just rattling. All these thoughts rattling around in my head. Flowing up from some dark abyss with me sifting through them. Will this one resonate? Will anyone care?

Sometimes it feels like a distress signal. A desperate cry "no more of this, please" - variations stretching toward infinity in number. My mind tells me I must sift. I must find the one that resonates with someone, anyone, who can help - who will help. So far, no luck.

I feel like I've said it a thousand times and no one was moved - it didn't resonate. That could be a misremembering though. Maybe I've always wanted to say it but never have. Maybe it slipped out a couple of times. 'It' is that I've had suicidal ideation for so long I think it qualifies as 'as long as I can remember'.

The first visible manifestation that I can remember was in the 7th grade. It was math, though I'm not sure which particular math it was. Likely one of the Algebra classes. I was sitting in class writing over and over "I hate myself and want to die." I remember that got out somehow, but I don't remember how.

That couldn't have been the first manifestation though, because years before when I lived in Hawaii I was seeing a shrink. That was fun. There was playing with toy cars in a sandbox. Drawing. I remember one of the drawings because it was my favorite. I drew a muscular shadow figure with glowing red eyes, standing in a pile of skin at his feet. It was supposed to be me. What's on the inside, with the pile at the feet the me that everyone else can see.

I assess my memory as relatively horrible. There's really so little I remember, and that was true long before I found the bliss of marijuana. Oh, how I miss the bliss of MJ. Not every time, but a lot of the time, it let's me shift my perspective to one in which everything is so fucking beautiful. I like to think of it as channeling my higher self. Get it? Higher self.

I'm about to take a job at 7-11. It's weekends, stocking in the back for now. With threat/promise of being trained for more later. The notion fills me with dread on so many levels, particularly the part of not being hidden in the back - with having to deal with people.

I believe I can write a book, though. That I should be writing a book. Unfortunately, I have no idea what to say.

Write about what you know. 
What do I know? I know about wanting to die. I know (now) that for me at least, it's not really wanting to die. It's just "please, no more of this." You're deep in it and it covers everything you see. You look forward and all you see is more of it. You don't see any way out of it, and any way out that occurs to you is quickly written off by your oh-so pragmatic mind as being daydreams - unrealistic- optimistic bullshit that will just set you up for another crash.
Don't believe in that, you're just setting yourself up for another fall. You can't handle another fall. You're down here in it, but you're holding it together. You're not sinking any lower. You're treading water, but if you climb up and fall again you'll go under. 

It's hard to talk about too. I've lost 'friends' because of it. Life is hard for everyone. Who wants to be around someone who is drowning? They might pull you under with them.

Drugs! You need drugs, and a shrink!
Sure. My self-esteem is rock bottom and becoming someone who has to take a pill every day is supposed to make me feel better about myself?

I don't want to die. I never have. But please, no more of this. Just let me wake up as someone else tomorrow. Anyone else, really. At least for the first day there would be nothing but relief that I'm not me anymore.

There's an addictive quality to suicidal ideation that most people probably don't realize. It worms itself into your identity. It becomes part of who you are, part of what makes you different. You don't particularly want it there, but who would you be without it?

There's actually a kind of beauty to it. It's better to feel pain than nothing at all. The pain has a purity to it. It's powerful, overwhelming. Despair, beautiful despair.

Right now, I'm tempted to hit publish, and tempted to hit delete. Still, I'm writing though. Actually doing something. Transmitting. It's not just rattling around in my head. Maybe I'm getting it out. Maybe that will help. Maybe it'll close doors. I mean, if potential employers found this those doors would likely close. Gotta lie. Gotta make them think you'd be a perfect little cog in their money making machine, or they'll find someone that looks like a better fitting cog and the despair will have even more fuel.
The beatings will continue until morale improves.

Maybe if I slap "Chapter 1" in the title this can be my book. I can just open up, pour it out through my fingers, call them chapters and self-publish on Amazon later. Then I will at least have done something with my life. I can't believe that it would sell. Like I said, who wants to be around someone who's drowning?
Schadenfreude.Maybe there is a market.


Why Get Up Again?

I had the below image on my desk at work for quite some time. In fact, I still have it somewhere in a box. One of the few possessions that I was able to fit into my car to take with me when I moved to Vegas.

Why, exactly, are we supposed to get up, dust ourselves off, and try again? Of course, if you truly want something you shouldn't let failure get in the way. Sometimes, though, we wind up in darkness. The inky black where you can't see or remember wanting anything.

Sometimes, "meh" just covers over everything. There comes a time when you've been down in the pit so long you can't remember why you started climbing anymore. You try to call the memory to mind or imagine a reason to keep on climbing, but everything that shows up is covered in "meh." None of it seems worth the effort because the desire for it is too weak. 

For me, those "sometimes" are pretty damn frequent. I really don't get a whole lot of climbing done. More often than not, I'm just holding on. Usually what keeps me holding on is the one desire that I seem to be able to maintain no matter how dark and dreary things get. The desire not to cause suffering to others. Whatever keeps you from letting go, I guess.