"The world does not reward honesty and independence, it rewards obedience and service. It’s a world of concentrated power, and those who have power are not going to reward people who question that power."-Chomsky

"The trouble with self-delusion, either in a person or a society, is that reality doesn't care what anybody believes, or what story they put out. Reality doesn't "spin." Reality does not have a self-image problem. Reality does not yield its workings to self-esteem management." -J.H. Kunstler

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."-Dylan

Monday, November 16, 2009

Don Quixote Re-Visited

I spent a good part of October and early November rabidly questioning rather I have simply "Quixoted" my experiences and the ideas I follow ultimately finding myself hyper-sensitive to indications that either Chris or I, ourselves, are deluded. The answers, for myself at least, were quick and simple: I didn't go looking for any of this. It found me. When I finally mustered the courage to step out, I actually foresaw myself wandering around in the desert or mountains like a wannabe Survivorman! On 5/21/08, as I stepped away from Jackson Lake State Park, I was naively thinking survivalist, money-free thoughts.

That began silently changing in Fort Morgan. First with Richard then Dennis and our now-infamous ride across the Rockies. I was looking for neither a ride, experience, nor a "lesson". I wasn't looking for anything! My mind was blank. I just went with it:
...I decided to ride it out, and see where it took me. Part of the journey... part of the story... blah... blah...I think I'm going to look back on that as a significant moment. We'll see.

-5/24/08: "The Road Has Always Led West"
And, did I ever "see"! The experience followed, the "lessons" became apparent later with distanced perspective and, most importantly, sprouted directly from the organic soil of these encounters rather than any preconceptions. I applied no preconceived notion to fit them within a schema. In fact, the P.O.V. was amended to "Work in Progress." Some of this from Day #3 will sound familiar. It's been the consistent foundation beneath nearly every idea:
... the [awareness of] serendipity kicked in. I figured out why he picked me up, and then had a pretty good idea why I was now heading west... Again, the conversation- as with the night before with Richard- centered on finding answers within yourself rather than Pink Floyd's "someone or something to show you the way"; or Leonard Cohen's "Waiting for the Miracle": "... The idea's getting clearer.

-5/24/08: "The Road Has Always Led West"
On some level, I was immediately shown I had been looking in the wrong direction both on the map and in my mind; I started under the wrong impression as to what this journey was about or that I could even know what that was. Any credit I deserve from that point forward centers on an initial ability to depersonalize the mistake and let the trip define itself, which it did almost immediately with Richard and especially Dennis even if I didn't completely see it for more than a year.

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

That first few days was my first cold reminder of a hard-learned lesson; one savagely beaten into my own skull before I left. All the mental masturbation I can muster is useless without the Test of Action. Action that must consist of an unattached and unbiased scrutiny of your own actions and ideas. This is one place outside help is useful. But honest scrutiny, regardless of whom it's from, can only come through a pristine agenda-free lens. A lens of clarity, application, experience, perspective, and truth. It's applying the scientific method to yourself and must be done without a personal, sentimental, egocentric attachment to your original thesis or, worse, your "work of art" or "product. Otherwise, why bother? A fantasy novel would be more fitting.

Rather than being the painter of some intellectual and rebellious personal truth, I was suddenly struggling to hang on as a passenger onboard a rudderless raft bobbing toward "truth" while subjugated to the role of observant passenger.

All this in the first week! I wish I had written more. Talk about a mind fuck!

Chris & I later updated it to the "Sidecar". This is where I consistently meet the most incredible people. Dennis. Cesar. Pat. Ciel. Ken. Pastor Snake. Randleman. Leslie. Joel. Don. Andre. Every time I've met them I've been in the passenger-state and have long since, with a few exceptions such as Michigan, struggled to remain there. At times I've succeed and at its best I am completely unaware of the process! I believe this state of just being has many names. One that comes to mind is that which Brian provided: flow. And it's impossible to achieve with the ego at the helm.

Beyond Richard & Dennis, there are other examples of unexpected twists and wrinkles guiding me in directions I otherwise would have avoided. The most remarkable event (confined to '08) was this little town in North Carolina: Randleman. Home of Richard Petty. It was the scene of one of my more remarkable trysts with synchronicity. It was also the final event of that initial summer setting the stage nicely for 2009.

I never intended to go to Asheboro. I was taken there, if you recall, by a Guatemalan who spoke little English; I thought he was taking me toward Raleigh! Asheboro (then Randleman) turned out to be one of those Sit Down & Shut Up moments and, through sheer unexpected chance and freewill, I found myself communing with motley crue Christians.

I was decidedly not seeking any sort of spiritual insemination! I was not longing to have Jesus inside me! I have an aversion to religion and, usually, consciously avoid such gatherings. This one was different and through the process of patience, intuition, and freewill, I was handed seeds that would sprout into remarkably powerful insights and ideas, and broaden my working perspective immeasurably.

Help me out here! I'm struggling to see where I subconsciously engineered this. I'm not that fucking clever!

Early 2009 was much the same, but the theme changed. With Chris and I traveling together, ideas were much easier to exchange and enhance, but we were also mirroring each other and struggling to soothe our own powerful egos and identities. That was the specific "lesson" of the east coast while, as mentioned in the previous post, June in Michigan (it seemed) was the apex of a decades long battle with an identity crisis.

Most importantly, June was the most extreme "test" of my personal armor and I was confronting terrifying demons with a sword I had personally forged. That took courage I was surprised I possessed. However, I later saw that there was something more important in play than the risk of hurt feeling and a bruised ego: knowing. Knowing the truth about my "mythical" family so I could draw accurate conclusions; ones based on fact and battle-tested experience. Excalibur and my armor held-- with the help of recognizing something more important than myself.

This says much about what I believe and my growing intolerance for the excuse making relativists: Reality Escape Artists. I am partially responsible for the time it took to meet my siblings and much of that was due to fear and outright cowardice. Rather than "act," I deferred responsibility by offering every variety of excuse to rationalize away The Hens peculiar behavior over those 15-years. Specifically, the reasons why they kept quiet about meeting me. I knew all along, but continued deferring with, all varieties of maybes! In Michigan, I heard many more "maybes" from many other sources. Through a little controlled confrontation, I offered all opportunity for these possibilites, if true, to show themselves. They were dead wrong. As was I. For a decade-and-a-half.

Fear and an abdication of responsibility through victimization while lazily clinging to utopian hope were my greatest failings. When deferring responsibility through externalized "hope" fails and becomes a crutch one has to attack the responsibility for examining and dealing with raw reality. Or, take the initiative to shut the fuck up and accept what comes with submission. This may appear to be a reference to June, but in retrospect it's been something that I've applied in more situations than I was aware.

"The trouble with self-delusion, either in a person or a society, is that reality doesn't care what anybody believes, or what story they put out. Reality doesn't "spin." Reality does not have a self-image problem. Reality does not yield its workings to self-esteem management."

I violently disagree that truth is subject to the whims of your ego. Since I've returned home, repeatedly reflecting on these nagging ideas has pushed me over a threshold. I am moving quickly into a room shared with that rude abrasive bitch named Personal Responsibility and away from the escapist fairie tale that "The Fates" are so preoccupied and impressed that they just live to teach precious me a lesson-a-minute from their classic handbook The Magical Meaning Hidden Inside the Mystically Mundane. No, I suspect we're required to occasionally evolve and learn without spoon-fed intervention from The Universe.

Fate and Karma are no man's bitch. I've said it many times. Neither will be "forced into action" by disguised self-serving egocentric acts, no matter how eloquently they're spun or cleverly presented. We possess freewill and the ability to make decisions based on our instincts for a reason. Yet, if we choose to relinquish common sense or submit to compulsions thinly veiled by an overbearing ego's voodoo linguistics, succumb to a self-centered and overzealous mysticism, or ignore common sense all together? Well, this isn't a first-class safari. To the extreme, the consequences can be as mocking, harsh, and unforgiving as any of the other savage sentences dished out by Nature. Ask Chris McCandless about it. Oh, that's right. You can't.

“Don't talk about what you have done or what you are going to do”

I've also come to terms with my growing disinterest and shrinking sympathy for the hypnotized masses and my seemingly rude and expanding unwillingness to suffer and/or encourage repeated rationalization by the self-deluded mob; those who are more concerned with protecting a comfortable internal narrative than knowing even a taste of Truth. They are the descendants of Don Quixote and the new objects of my unaffectionate attention.

These are the ones trying to impress you with past exploits or grandiose plans for the future. (I've admittedly been guilty of the latter in particular.) It's as though empty anecdotes of supposed past glory or proclamations of exciting adventurous days to come reflect on who they are today! They've yet to figure out that "you" are not the road you've traveled nor is the future guaranteed. "You" are the patch of road you occupy now. If they're not sharing a particular experience by request, to entertain, or as an effective comparison to what's in the present, I inevitably hear, "This one time at band camp..."

Does this mean you automatically write these folks off? That's up to you, but people evolve until they're dead. And, the actual work needs to be done alone in solitude. Beyond maybe sharing ideas it's useless to try to educate or "save" someone and it's ego of the sneakiest kind to fool yourself into thinking you can or worse: should.

To believe your special brand of wisdom and eloquence are capable of changing a specific man's heart for them may be the height of arrogance and it's certainly a disguised lust for control. None of us have the right to deprive a man of his personal path. On the other hand, offering tools or maps, for him to decide whether or not to use, may be the height of charity and puts the responsibility squarely where it belongs: on the individual himself.

Finally, there is an important distinction I want to make and be clear about: I have no interest in criticizing or condescending to the man living a life of luxury while holding no airs of righteous superiority. I can respect the most vile capitalist if he has thought about, and is genuinely happy with, where he is and not presuming to be a credit to humanity or Arm of God.

At the end, the successful life is the happy, content, and fulfilled one. If wealth and material possessions really provide all that? Well, color me skeptical! Then consider yourself a rarity and have at it! It's the hypocrites spending all day on the corner displaying a faux erudition and holy righteousness that I refuse to stomach. The trust fund brats preaching poverty before slinking home to the gated community. The sex-addicted priest preaching the villainy of adultery. The naive puppet taking the touristy guided volunteer field trip to "a poor place" then deciding they've experienced and understand famine and oppression. Fuck. You. Dry and hard. All of you.

How we fill our own private minds is fascinating! As long as it's comfortable (or at least familiar) it's welcome. Factual? Who fucking cares! Delusion is easy to digest! However, recognizing this, like recognizing then engaging the ego in combat, is first excruciating, then empowering! It can help provide some mastery over your habits, emotions, and ego, as well as helping to bring into the open these little narratives; stories; we create in our minds. In short, it's the ability to stop bullshitting ourselves.

As November began, I began realizing and taking notice of where I still need work on this. There are a few examples, but one that was pathetic and obvious: cigarettes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

An Introduction to Don Quixote and Other Rantings

Prelude: Portions of this will look VERY familiar to a few of you; particularly those on my email list. It's a work-in-progress that, originally, began as part of the 9/19 post. I quickly retracted when I realized that this Quixote idea was going to have enormously long legs and run far... even up my own leg! Much of this was written in early- mid October. It's been edited, re-edited, and will likely change again in the near future as I add and condense ideas. When I'm relatively certain it's done, I'll add it to the link-bar at the top. While it's sure to offend some and disquiet others, as it should, it's by no means a manifesto... at least not yet!

Don Quixote is a wonderful book. If you're enjoying my little perspective on things, I highly recommend it as companion reading, for the perceptive reader! In fact, highlighting my business cards, along with this URL, is this famous Picasso painting of Quixote, Rocinante, and Sancho Panza. I chose it for 2009 to remind myself not to "go fighting windmills." In other words, fight to see things as they are; not as I would choose them to be.

If you've read Don Quixote, you know that the wisdom of following he and Sancho on ANY shortcut would be dubious at best. With that in mind, Chris and I had a short conversation in Port Townsend about the iconic Alcoholics Anonymous phrase, "Fake it to Make It." The conversation ended when I expressed a vehement disgust for the notion and it was obvious that we would have to agree to disagree. If you've read the Cervantes classic, you already know where I'm headed.

"Fake It to Make It"

I endured having this cute, infantile phrase, Fake It to Make It, beaten into my skull years ago while a young, state-ordered, A.A. apprentice. At the time, I loved it because it relieved my drunk, lazy, frightened and diluted ass of the responsibility of actually becoming the person I wanted to be. "Are you saying that if I just dressed up in pretend, mental armor and acted like that person, faked it, I would appear to myself to be so! Then, I could imagine everyone else saw me that way too! Halloween for the self-esteem!" Sweet.

It's The Don Quixote Folly: "If you want to be a knight, just act like a knight!" Fake It to Make It. Rather than making the necessary internal changes to actually "become a knight," it suggests to the desperate or lazy soul that the external & superficial acts of "dressing up" in imaginary fantasy or doctrinal costumes will result in these desired changes magically seeping in from the outside, until one day you'll supposedly wake up with an invitation to the Round Table. Taken in this context, the base idea is obscene.

I concede that it provides a useful, temporary sanctuary for those who are too (understandably) frightened or ill-equipped to confront their dragons; as long as it's presented as temporary. Unfortunately, in my experience, it's not and typically encourages blatant self-delusion as a watered-down substitute for authentic self-confrontation; addressing the external symptoms rather than attacking the internal cause. "You too can make rationalization work for you!"

Been there.

Playing "make believe" is something we discourage children from after t a certain age, yet we encourage it in addicts? Odd. To my knowledge, Wendie and A.A. have never been introduced, and to be clear, the conversation Chris and I had did not involve her at all. But, after watching the daypack fly the day I left Port Townsend, combined with the entire tapestry of my experience with her, that silly "Fake It To Make It" phrase popped came to mind, and immediately reminded me of Don Quixote & Sancho!

To understand why, you first need some fundamentals.

From Chris's descriptions, I had highly elevated expectations of Wendie from the beginning. They have an incredibly close bond but, beyond base ideology, where I expected similarities, they are nothing alike. Chris is never visibly upset and takes pride in that, externally at least, he likes to appear to feel nothing but somatic peace, joy, & happiness. I've never seen Wendie exude any sense of calm. Yet, she is a practicing Buddhist: the dogma of meditation, forgiveness, and an inner serenity! Including our short time together in New Jersey, I've always perceived an obvious, amusing, and glaring inconsistency: a cavernous disconnect between her professed, abstract belief system and her tangible energy, vibe, and persona: an unexplained negativity channeled into non-stop, frenzied intensity. I often wanted to ask, "How's Buddha working out for ya?" but I was entertained, and feared my health would suffer from such a query.

Arriving in Port Townsend, I had recently experienced something similar thing in Idaho, so it was still rather top-of-mind. From my own history, I'm hyper-sensitive to disguised, seeping anger and have always noticed it gently oozing from Wendie; the tension Chris warned me about? It was always just... there. The difference in Washington, I suspect, was that it had intensified due to an infringement upon Daniel's turf. I never saw it, but Wendie was probably forced to juggle and soothe much more of his polite-yet-keen annoyance with visitors than I/we were privy to. Still, I can understand having me sleep outside, but even letting her brother? For the better part of what turned out to be a month? When there's an empty couch?!? I doubt that came from Wendie, and it doesn't take Dr. Phil to phigure out phrom whence the added "tension" sprung.

Quite honestly, I' not concerned with any of the personal, internal dynamics of Casa Wendie y Daniel, nor are they my business. It's the pretense of to the-letter Progressive Pamphlet Ideology and the accompanying affection for eastern theology that piqued my interest. To be more specific, touting philosophies that claim peace, love, & contentment... while exuding quiet anxiety or anger when you laugh!

Next to baseball, people watching is my favorite spectator sport. Most of my best insights come from moments when I'm not involved in setting (like watching backpacks fly); when I can forget bantering and silently study linguistics (beyond language), as well as body language, attitude, ego indicators, tone (dominant/ submissive?), and just feel the tangible energy exchange referred to in the fictional fable The Celestine Prophecy.

I hold no preconceived notions of "I'd like to think all people are good/ bad," so I'm not hampered by rose/shit tinted glasses and can tell quickly who I'm dealing with. The process begins before we even speak; with that "energy." You may laugh, but this INITIAL wordless assessment is accurate 80-90% of the time! And after engaging in or listening to a conversation? I am almost always right in the end. Call me arrogant, but it's a fact. Ask Laina!

After intently listening and watching her, my intuition (and that's all it is) has been unwavering from the beginning: that there's something much deeper not-so-gently working Wendie. It appeared to me that (admittedly after only limited interaction) that she's likely hiding, protecting, ignoring, or coming to terms with something frighteningly powerful and that this "something" is probably old, ugly, and clawing to get out. There were similar elements in Boise, but Wendie invokes in me a disturbing resemblance to by estranged half-sister, Christine. Where exactly does that familiarity flows from? I couldn't say.


With all this said, and keeping in mind the theology/ ideology, I began a long time ago to speculate if, rather than turning to REALLY face it, perhaps she had tried to find peace like so many others: "Playing with [insert deity]"; hoping to "fake it to make it;" hoping tranquility seeps in from "out there" and suffocates the beast while escaping into external agenda and the frenzied, non-stop activity to avoid the monster... in case it's not working.

Instead of allowing hard-earned, original, organic beliefs be the fruit of fearsome introspection & their unique experience, many people of all theological or ideological persuasions cloak themselves within the Jesus/ Buddha blanket, or mimic their approved "Books of Chivalry." They then stand proudly on the mountain for the world (and themselves) to see; and conveniently further conceal what still lurks beneath. It's common to read eloquent words and want to feel that they are the "magic bullet" or the "cure." Once you do, from there it's an easy step to simply place these ideas atop a dangerously active seismic foundation without first really applying the ideas internally.

This whole process is blood for my shark's nose; I can smell it miles away because I've feasted on it, and when I do I'm keenly observant and sometimes relentless in outing it... often to a fault and the end of my more shallow relationships! But, from my own experience I am comfortable declaring that The Quixote may momentarily work, but only as long as your emotional tectonics are stable and you can completely control your environment (reality?) allowing no one to mirror or challenge you, while most importantly refusing to challenge yourself. Inevitably however, once there's enough built-up stress, discomfort, or tense conflict, the core rumbles and fault lines ultimately appear... sometimes flying down the steps!

This "seismic activity," while painful, is in fact a blessing for those who have the courage to both acknowledge it then look deeply into their core. I'm convinced it's the soul kicking and screaming to be heard; refusing to be suffocated while simultaneously struggling to expose the problem. But, unidentified or ignored, it can also manifest itself in many forms, including alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, anxiety...

The Splinter in the Mind

It's quite a simple idea once you strip away plain rhetoric and agenda. You feel physical pain in your body when somethings wrong. Would you trust a doctor that treated your broken bone by only drugging the afflicted area and telling you to alter how you use the limb? Fuck no! You'd demand he find the break and set it! Then you'd let it heal and move on. You'd treat the cause, allowing internal healing to relieve the pain AND renew functionality. Why, then, is it so unnerving to think that we may feel psychological pain when something's off course? Why do we assume the person's defective? Could it be, perhaps, that it's the culture that's flawed?

Why is it unacceptable to discuss or even consider, that maybe we were never intended to give 1/3 of our lives in exchange for living inside what, to many, becomes a comfortable, sterile cage? Maybe the imposed hamster-wheel of "Produce-Consume-Repeat" should cause some discomfort. Perhaps those that can't deactivate that pesky nerve to numb the Splinter are actually "healthier" than the assimilated. You may disagree and that's fine, but I'd retort by asking: Why are more & more people like Wendie, in varying degrees, becoming aware of and leaving the construct behind in whatever ways they can? Chris and I, along with many others have both seen and noticed it. Let me guess... the financial "crisis?"

**Fun Fact! This general idea began as my working social-thesis (Survivorman) but seems to have shifted & dovetailed into a related theological-thesis somewhere around Randleman! My political-thesis will be short and simply titled "Fuck 'Em All."

This simplistic little analogy is obvious: Attack the cause, not the symptom. But the problem is, where it takes a specialist to set a bone, only we ourselves can be certain to locate, AND TREAT, our internal fractures. We can gather guidance & insight as to how, but with no X-Ray or standard anatomical schematic, the procedure is ours to perform with only honesty and courage as instruments.

Unfortunately, we're usually afraid to even look at the wound for fear of what we may find. So, we'll cover it up with a blanket like a child hoping that if it's concealed it will either vanish, or we'll forget it's there. To compound things, you may hear people eager to tell you, for a fee, that they have the elixir! More cultural assimilation. Or, a higher dose of escapism: You need to work harder to buy more shit! Perhaps a shot of Responsibility Relinquishment: Completely submitting to man's doctrinal version of Jesus/ Buddha/ Mohammad, Inc., thereby externalizing all good and evil! "The Devil made me do it, dad!"

Or... when they just are tired of bothering with you... "You need pharmaceuticals!"

With all the mental-flak and distractionary cover-fire, the ones who are subconsciously and violently fighting not to be lobotomized stand starkly in contrast to the masses that have docilely accepted role of numb, neutered consumer. There's a rare, third breed: those who have considered carefully and chosen their states willingly, often due to circumstances like familial concerns or even an admitted sloth! For them, comfortable consumerism may HAVE to work, and they deserve respect for at least taking responsibility for their own minds.

Many of the zombies will loudly try to convince us that they belong inside this little haven. A conversation and few well-placed questions later, the standard cliches appear. These folks illicit different reactions from me at different times, ranging from pity to disdain, depending on my mood, and I will usually disengage this brand of conversation quickly, unless I feel combative. It feels like arguing physics with Forest Gump... in Greek. Especially when the defensive egos kicks in! That's when you see the Quixote phenomenon in all its glory.

I am beginning to take many more of my cues from nature. I love to watch it work at both a macro and micro level, because there are stunning consistencies throughout and I believe that's how you can to some degree watch "God" work; it's as close to something tangible as we'll ever get. One of the primal laws is "Adapt or Die," and my canary-in-the-coalmine is this "Culture" blindly obliterating one of its fundamental tools for generations, choosing instead to hide beneath technology's flimsy tent, while furthering ignorance and infantile dependence with each spawning event. Meanwhile, we collectively hurdle toward Idiocracy. Think I'm wrong? Let's kill all the power for a month. Then, since no one has any real sustainable skills, we'll see another of Nature's laws go to work: "Survival of the Fittest." Scarey, aint it? We're a catastrophic power outage and ammunition supply away from becoming prey. That should speak to "technopoly" and our dependence:? we've traded comfort & convenience for self-reliance. Should we be pitied for that?

Despite my attentive ranting and beyond disgust (or pity), I'm just not generally concerned with (or for) most of them. The Zombified are content to be social & economic prey, are snoozing while fused to their La-Z-Boys, and there's no arousing the obese, content, lobotomized masses... unless there's a Doritos shortage or a new reality show for them to star in! Then, watch the fuck out! Balloon Boy and the Heene family are the perfect examples of American priorities. Rather than vilify, we should revere and honor them with a postage stamp! They're our creation AND our perfect reflection! Our Falconstein.

As for the self-professed "enlightened" ones: Even if you are "enlightened," you will NOT be heard over the cackles of the Sarah Palins or Ryan Seacrests. No social-revolution is coming. There is no "mass-intervention" capable of rendering The Biggest Loser, Dancing With the Stars, Survivor, & *cringe* American Idol impotent. Accept it, treat 'em as a spectator sport while seeking each other out and trying to remain functioning within the framework of reality. It's those who scratch at this Splinter in the Mind that are worth engaging.

Escaping Enchantment

Introspection and self-directed critical thought (Andre's 'Inner Dialogue'), will, eventually, come naturally to a person seeking only simple truth; treating their lives like a research project rather than a role-playing game. It's generally hampered in those clinging to (identifying with) a comfortable, yet tenuous agenda or point-of-view: those desperately needing to believe they've "free the maiden." The ego prevents considering the possibility, even to themselves, that maybe they really were just attacking muledrivers. Feeling right is more important than being right. I've been guilty; all of us have. No one "wants" to feel "wrong" and in most people this tendency runs deep; well beyond ideological or theological boundaries.

It's important to just remember the simple difference between being clever & being correct AND the clever techniques for confusing the two. If you're not simply terrorizing antiquated Dutch technology, you should be able to easily prove it, with a little effort. Yet, fearing that they may actually "see the windmill" keeps most from really opening the eyes and looking...

While I understand fear, once exposed I have little tolerance for intentionally clinging to an antiquated, self-delusion. Pretending, professing, or even praying to believe something because it's an easy solution; a ready-made, convenient, external answer to your questions simply wont work for those with truly tuned-in, focused or developing sense of self and self-purpose. For those intentionally mistaking engineered consumerism or delusion for "Knight Errantry?" Point it out, then enjoy the show. It's all you can do! Some will never leave Plato's Cave and others will actually want to kill you for trying to expose their comfortable illusions. Right, Cypher?

Everything has to begin and grow from within with an unwavering focus on truth, reality, and self-honesty. And, in my opinion, it's better to read nothing- to know no philosophy- than to get lost in it by sacrificing our own personal compass; being consumed by pre-packaged doctrine while being reduced to incessantly parroting and re-enacting what amount to Quixote's Books of Chivalry. Jefferson put it best:
He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.

Or, not.

Addendum:I've learned that Wendie ended her & Daniel's co-habitation, and I feel a twinge of persistent apprehension about sharing some this, particularly (and perhaps unfairly) using her as a symbol; the same I felt surrounding Andre. However, the Quixote idea sprung from my visit there, and its nexus is important. Even on an abstract level, I think it serves as a powerful illustration as to how clever & conniving we can be with ourselves.

It took more than a month to fully grasp the scope and depth of this simple idea, and while not a comfortable process, applying it to myself has provided a most powerful tool! One becoming immediately indispensable and eventually assisting from beginning to completion in my most difficult accomplishment to date. It also helped to put to rest nagging self-doubts and set the table for the next chapter of this mini-epic... All while making me a little more less congenial! How was that even possible?!?