"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

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

7/13/10: Upon Further Review...

A famous singer once said that when you start explaining yourself, you’re fucked. Another wise man also said, “Hope floats, but so does bullshit!

With the help of friends over the last couple of months, I’ve come to several conclusions. Counter to our claims, truth & honesty are NOT highly regarded! Most would prefer insulating their image and feeling good at any cost—reality be damned. People go to remarkable mental, verbal, and physical extremes to avoid any challenge to often fictitious personal narrative. Protecting these narratives has inadvertently become the dominant theme of the past year.

The Sabbatical
In May, I removed the Cambria-Monterey posts and explored a new direction. I miss the exciting, happy “days of discovery”; meeting people who were (clearly!) conjured up by a Purposeful Universe just for me! Unfortunately, I spent the winter slowly dissecting that philosophy and wondering if it was just a new spin on old mysticism. Was I simply plagiarizing existing doctrine, adding myself, then claiming it as "my own"? Probably, and that rattled me because it spoke to my own pesky tendency to narrate from ego, and to Azzie's credit, he served as the mirror reflecting this.

I hoped to recapture some of the excitement lost since last June, and to that end began believing my own concocted narrative while internalizing some old, familiar criticisms: "arrogant, unforgiving, judgmental." I wondered: Had I engineered or attracted these things, as Chris might claim? Had I attracted these "negative" experiences simply with a preoccupation with negativity? I actually began to think so for a few minutes. "Hope floats, but so does bullshit. The trick is knowing the difference."

Perception v. Reality
I’ve said it before: Reality is NOT subject to the whims of self-delusion. How you choose to interpret or disguise reality does NOT alter reality itself. A pacifist army of clever hippicentrics have shown their egocentric friends that blurring the line between perception & reality conveniently makes life...easier! Eventually, they learn to completely corrupt facts by mainstreaming infantile notions like: “your reality!” If I close my eyes, you go away!

There is no Reality-on-Demand! Somewhere, there ARE concrete answers. To everything. Whether they're incomprehensible or we simply choose not to see them doesn't matter, they are there. Reality is not subject to our wants, needs, or beliefs and therein lays the problem. People willingly base their vision of reality on narratives and beliefs, rather than basing their beliefs on reality while committing to see it authentically.

People gleefully construct rationalizations (narratives) while speaking from a position of "want" rather than one of fact in order to hold their Happy Zone! What results from this process is our "narrative." Each of us, at some time or another, blatantly refuse to see reality as it actually is. I’ve known this for a long time. I also understand that some people simply must exist dependent on these fictions. What I didn’t realize is the degree to which some desperately clutch to these narratives. Part of my own "floating bullshit" was thinking that people wanted to see this at work in their lives! Ha!

The struggle it seems is to simply cut through our own "floating bullshit"; to “Know Thyself” through a commitment to at least trying to find pure truth. Resigning ourselves to a flawed perception as “the best we can do” is intellectual & spiritual laziness. There are things we’re not capable of understanding, just as cavemen couldn’t explain thunderstorms 10,000 years ago. However, our inability to comprehend did NOT mean Thor really hurled lightning bolts! Nor does it mean the universe shape-shifts to the whims of “your reality.”

Shouldn't people embrace “I don’t know” rather than applying ridiculous egoistic explanations?

Moving On
Things are finally transitioning, and I’ve decided to re-post and finish the Azrael’s story as well as the rest of March. Azzie, to his credit, has obviously proven to be a powerful mirror and the experience is bearing fruit, although it’s slightly bitter.

I’ve repeatedly agonized over what to share and keep to myself. I’ve struggled over better and more important people than The Reaper; people such as Chris, Andre, my father, and The Hens. Considering that I’ve sacrificed each of these relationships as a result, EVERY person I’ve asked agree:
  1. He chose to leave me in Monterey without warning.
  2. I offered the chance to tell “his side” of the story.
  3. He declined.
  4. Fuck him.
Despite this (and his threats) I actually believe Azzie’s well-intentioned but inadvertently hoisted himself atop a pedestal when he hitched his wagon to Jesus's mule, began doing newspaper interviews while soliciting money with his "righteous calling" as a marketing tool. These create expectations that are tough to meet, and rightfully so. Rather than an unquestioned pat on the head, they command an accountability from anyone saddling the camel to ride the Bible to a “book deal”. If thinking so makes me an “arrogant jackass”, so be it. I’m not running for office, and I'd rather be an asshole than a hypocrite. I’ve been threatened by tougher and called worse by better. Intentions aside, I said in another post that Azrael strikes me as someone co-opted to play the part of a walking billboard; an unpaid extreme traveling salesmen. In retrospect, I see no reason to amend that.

Finally, I should clarify what many of you have surely noticed. While the places and events are real, Azrael/Rael is a fictitious name—he’s the first I’ve offered the courtesy. I’ve stripped his image from my site because I don't want to promote him or his cause. Nor do I have an interest in personally embarrassing or humiliating him.

Yet, I believe this story should be told because he serves as a powerful example and insight into humanity and the short-comings of the many we wrongly hold in excessively high esteem. He is Santa Clausification personified.

At least Azreal believes in something and pursues it. However, for us the trouble with idols, heroes, and role models is that as soon as we believe they’re special, it can relieve us of the responsibility of ourselves being the people we imagine. We can choose to live through our heroes rather than live ourselves, and can resign us to waiting for The Miracle; “someone or something to show you the way.

What if it was taught that no one’s particularly remarkable, there’s no need to try to be special because we’re all equally, fundamentally, and hopelessly flawed…thus equal? How many MLK’s would arise from their couches?

Good luck, Rael. I hope you find what you're after and you were right about one thing: We are all flawed human beings. Thank fukkin' God.

Enough of the happy-happy, joy-joy shit. I now resume my role as The Master Realist…