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Philosophy

Villain

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We are all the villain of our own story.
We make the choices that bind us.


If you’re true to yourself, nothing can destroy your integrity. Not even death, because your message will live on in the hearts of others.
There’s no enemy, no villain, except the mechanisms by which you tear yourself down.
We project that villain onto others, and others can serve as ‘tricksters’ or truth-revealers in our own life, to open our eyes to our own biases and push us to confront our demons.
But the only one who can confront your demons is you.
The rest is a backdrop which can only serve as a reminder for what we already know in our hearts.
Anyone who says something like “I’m not a great man, I’m just a regular guy” – wrong. Gandhi and Peterson and MLK also were just regular people.
There’s nothing about anyone that inherently makes them great, or destined for greatness.
“Privilege” may make the path easier, but in and of itself, it does not ensure greatness or mediocrity.
Those choices come only from us.

You can be a “great man” or “great woman” in the context of your own life.
Not everyone has to be world famous, to be great.
Mediocrity is a temptation that lures us. It’s easier to avoid making waves.
When you make a statement, grow and expand, you come up against boundaries, challenges and difficulties.
It’s easier to say “fuck it, I’ll just do what’s easy, what remains unchallenged.”
And the idea of a villain or an enemy is also tempting.
It’s easier, it’s the path of least resistance – to hate and fear another person, instead of delving into ourselves.
The peaceful path is not always the wrong path. Sometimes excess drama and challenge is also the path of least resistance, a projection of “war” out into the world instead of focusing on the battles inside us, which are most important.
The path of least resistance comes in many forms, and all of them are the devil’s lure.
Our character is determined by whether or not we succumb.

Animalism

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I am animal, human, and symbol at once. Animal is my instinct, appetite and desire; my will to survive.  Human is my mind, ideas, and imagination.  Symbol is my identity and legacy; my place in the world.  Symbol is the only one that will transcend mortality but in and of itself, it’s out of my control, as it is dependent upon how other people view me.  If Animal and Human harmonize to attain clarity of purpose, then Symbol would reflect my sense of self.  

There was a time in my life when I was stripped of my goals, my dreams, my youth, my independence, my pride. All that was left of me was my will to survive.  I battled imminent death for months, unable to move or swallow, then emerged with most of my faculties, but not my voice, which was my passion, purpose, identity, and lifeblood. Beyond that, I knew I would be dependent on expensive medicines indefinitely, unable to work much.  My IQ was lower due to brain damage from high fevers, I lost my hair, I had arthritis which made walking difficult, and I could not sleep without an onslaught of medications.

I was stripped of my humanity and laid bare. My photography and self-expression was the only thing that made me more than just an animal at the time. At the very best, this turned me into a symbol. The art represented what I really was: a naked, scratched and bruised animal, with nothing to love but its memories of being human. My photos displayed this. Outside of artwork all I wanted was to feed, fuck and compete. I had no friends, only allies and adversaries. I had no love, only flesh and innocence upon which to feed.

What it means to be an animal, stripped of your humanity, is: fearless, shameless, apathetic. Fearlessness is not courage, shamelessness is not confidence, and apathy is not strength. These states of mind are emptiness, nothingness, animalism. Some people reach this state and don’t want to live but, having fought for my life, I was in touch with my survival instincts. I wanted to survive, and I had this tiny modicum of hope that one day, I would live again. That the ghost of my past would be resurrected. 

I crashed and burned until the phoenix burst and I was reborn over and over… and each time, I came closer to finding my passion and purpose, until finally I sang lead through my whisper on my album which was the last piece of the puzzle that made me human again. Human: compassionate, vulnerable, scared, ashamed, angry, open, wounded, alive.

In my case, this episode of animalism has been deeply incorporated into my understanding of myself and the world. For a while, I tried to reject the animal altogether, but then it came back full force, twice as hungry. The only way to move past it was to stop hating it. To embrace it. To love it. To know that it is part of me, but there is also more to me than just that. I am animal, human and symbol at once. 

Embrace the animal and you will know what makes you human as well as what makes you you, what gives you identity and place in the world. When someone rejects their inner animal – or mine – honest communication is impossible.

Power

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Power is having the strength to overcome adversity. Building up influence, building skills, saving money to be autonomous; these can help inner strength to build through self-esteem that results from hard work and effort. But true power is within yourself. When all else falls apart for reasons beyond your control, power is having the strength to stand strong, stay true to yourself, hold on to your integrity, and triumph.

Power is resisting the urge to betray your integrity, become vengeful, angry, hostile and self-destructive, when life fucks you over. Power is keeping your eye on your goals and moving forward no matter what else happens. Power is trusting yourself. If you have your integrity, you will always have power.

Power is rising above the trials in your life to keep the dreams of your childhood in sight, even when the world has stripped you of everything else. No matter how out of reach your dreams may seem, there is always a path back to them, and that path is inside of you. As long as you remember how to find your dreams, you will have power.

Inner strength and fidelity to self is mastery of life. As long as you have that, you are an unstoppable force. You don’t have to scramble to ‘get power’ because you already have it, and nobody can take it away from you.

Style

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Style, to me, isn’t about flowery language, ‘the moves,’ and presentation. It’s about being true to yourself. Anyone who expresses something honest is bound to touch on something universal. Great art will not reveal the artist, but rather, will serve as a mirror to reveal the spectator to herself. The same goes for clothing, conversation, loving, or any action or expression. Animalism, humanism, and a unique voice exist inside every individual. If someone taps into her true self and explores her own potential, then her honest expression and communication will naturally have its own style, and her very existence may become a symbol in the eyes of others; as she may symbolize their own potential.

What some people might call ‘style’ I would call integrity. Integrity involves honesty as well as commitment. If a person is dedicated to her craft, she can express herself more honestly in the moment. For instance, if a musician puts in her “10,000 hours” practicing, then the minute she is moved to express her deep emotions, she can go to the piano, close her eyes, press the ‘record’ button and let the song write itself through her. If she rehearses a lot, then when she’s on stage, she can let herself go and trust the music to pour through her limbs as a numinous force that moves her on its own. If someone does something with such ease that her body is a vessel through which honesty is expressed, then she probably put a lot of time into honing that skill. In this manner, style develops from within.

Wrapping something up in an attempt at ‘style’ impedes communication. A lot of music, art, conversation, loving, or day to day expression is caked in makeup, bullshit and selling-points that mask the raw humanity that could otherwise be expressed. The most beautiful outfit looks dull on a person who doesn’t breathe its colors, and an eloquent political speech is made of dust if the politician has no past actions to back up his words. People use skimpy attempts at ‘style’ to compensate for a lack of hard work and self-awareness. This is the trap of ‘aiming for style’ that people fall into, rather than simply being. If someone is brave enough to define and pursue her passion and purpose, and puts blood, sweat and tears into her life and work, then even if she is a garbage woman she will automatically collect that garbage with style. But ironically, she who is concerned with style is unlikely to have much style at all.

Cats have more style than dogs because they aim to please no one.