I’ll have to settle for felicity over originality

I set out to say something original, but something felicitous will have to do. Plato didn’t speculate about cryptocurrencies, but a lot has been said about human universals, the lessons embedded in the humanities.

So I’ll settle for felicity – an ‘appropriate’ remark about our contemporary times. And that’s cool, if time proceeds, and the world is in constant change, then every generation must reinterpret what has been perpetually meaningful throughout human thought and experience.

But this obstacle to originality is the origin of humility. When you sit to write something original, or when you think to say something original, an honest evaluation will reveal plagiarism. Indeed, we stand on the shoulders of giants, and they didn’t have all answers either. As Bill Maher puts it: “History is a litany of humans getting shit dead wrong.”

There’s been a lot of thought experimentation over the past several thousands years in terms of philosophy, politics, economics, psychology, and metaphysics. But not one single system of belief has brought about the everlasting utopia that we all subconsciously yearn for.

Every time you open your mouth, you parody what has been done before. The only proper stance is humility – that no single thought, act or entity holds the final answer. Account for the contradictory nature of this World in your worldview. And expect no black and white.

Warrior and artist in a garden

Before, I maintained narrow definitions – I thought heroism was only for the warrior and creativity only for the artist.

Recently, I’ve realized that these aren’t just grand gestures of the few. Canonized stories exist to show us idyllic possibilities for our own lives.

In transitioning out of youth, I now see the responsibility of adulthood – to make heroism and creativity more commonplace in everyday life. And even if an entire civilization makes every one of their acts heroic and creative, the profundity of this will not be lost to relativism. It is this constant striving for heroism and creativity, against our internal weaknesses, that make life worthwhile.

Shamanism & individuality

There’s something purifying about isolation and corrupting about society and collective opinion. Ancient eskimo tribes initiated their Shaman, their spiritual leaders, with months of forced isolation.

The Shaman were built temporary shelters away from the tribe and lived there with a minimum of food and water. The Shaman experienced ecstatic states and hallucinations – they were thought to die and return from the underworld with a bounty of spiritual enlightenment. This intensity of vision cannot be reached while coddled by the comfort of a tribe.

Human interaction suffers from regression to the mean. Most get lazy and forget their ideals. Too few willingly surround themselves with those who demand excellence from them.

Even when we do accept the challenge, we are met with technical adversity. Wisdom is the most difficult thing to communicate. Unlike other forms of knowledge, wisdom cannot be transmitted directly.

In fact, attempts at documenting and teaching wisdom, in the form of religion, have mostly backfired. Religious institutions deteriorate over time as the gap widens between the present and the formative revelation. Even though all religious texts point to the same thing – the universal yearning for an understanding of what transcends us – they have instead more often been used as justification for division and conflict.

Most of my philosophical rants have a note of cynicism – but I’m surely not a pessimist. I’m optimistic in my belief that everyone has inside of them what they themselves need. The goal of life should be to remain an individual despite the tempest of societal pressures and continuously refresh your outlook by accessing the creative centers within yourself.

A Shamanic Enlightenment | Feathers and Bones

Human creativity as a religious ideal

The goal should be to purposely lose track of time at least several times per day.

Also, was just thinking of the different application areas for human creativity.

Abstract thought in the form of story-telling, writing and theory. Physical craft, where matter is subject, such as wood-working. Athleticism and bodily movement, where human is subject, such as ballet and Jiu Jitsu. And, now digital craft, like video-editing and, increasingly, software entrepreneurship.

I do think human creativity manifests itself in everything. The activities mentioned above are just deliberate pursuits meant to cultivate, showcase, and heighten human creativity.

Somewhere in all of this is the religion that I subscribe to.

Productivity out of enjoyment, not necessity

Delayed gratification has been a theme in my writing the past several weeks. While waiting for indicators of progress, concentrate on enjoyment rather than intended outcome.

Our developed cortexs love planning and envisioning success, but more attention should be paid to primal, organismic satisfaction in the meantime (…not read as “orgasmic”…).

Taking up Jiu Jitsu has been strange in a sense – it still slightly surprises me that I keep with it. The first 2.5 years I never thought about it outside of class, but consistently attended class 3 days a week.

I never related to the guys chatting about their favorite grapplers, the latest and greatest move they saw on YouTube, or martial arts philosophy. I never could exert energy in those directions.

I’ve persisted not from an interest in the sport, or an identity as a martial artist, but because Jiu Jitsu is a nice primer for mental flow state and bodily enjoyment.

Now, after 3+ years, as a beginner-intermediate, I’m starting to come around to an intellectual interest in martial arts and Jiu Jitsu. But this naturally blossomed for me and I think that’s the key.

Efficiency and mastery are bi-products of enjoyment – one should not get ahead of themselves. Thus, it makes sense in life, to pursue high-quality activities for the express intent of enjoyment before all else.

I should probably take my advice in terms of career – god knows I can be uptight. I welcome the idea of industry disruption, to kill and automate jobs, then supply the population with a UBC on which everyone can live from.

Eventually, we will overcome the last blemish of an advanced civilization and do away with soul- crushing, bull-shit, paper-pushing, political jobs. This is complete mastery over nature that we only pursue productivity out of enjoyment and not necessity.

Deny instant gratification

Stopping to think helps one make slightly better choices. The improved outcome across one decision is not material, but across a lifetime is immense. Another example of the power of compounding.

So the habit of stopping to think is what’s important. My whole life I’ve been in search of one solution. Looking for that one outcome that would catapult me into absolute prosperity. But, for the most part, life is a battle between minute improvement and attrition.

How strange that we hope for instant gratification, something to rob us of all the fulfillment that life has to offer.

Maybe the younger me would be open to this idea of stopping to think and long-term reward. But, by definition, progress is impossible to track because there are only lagging indicators of it when playing a long game.

Now I know that stopping to think has utility once you reach a meditative calmness about decisions to be made – it bestows resolve. Now I know what this feels like and that’s the advantage of age.