In Wonderland, Alice would often get frustrated by the absurdity because she was trying to be serious. Yet being sincere within the nonsensical is illogical – it’s obviously the wrong approach. I had a bad day yesterday which was made worse by my attempt to thoughtfully approach a topic with the intention of being helpful. You can’t “help” in Wonderland – it results in circumstances like painting the white roses red. So instead of digging my hole deeper, I just sat quietly for the rest of the day, trying to escape through not-thinking.
Despite my attempts at not-thinking, I came to the conclusion that I should stop doing anything at all. Nothing works as I intend, so why bother (a logical conclusion). I sat there some more, got bored, and went to watch some YouTube videos. I felt a little better and further concluded: when I attempt to do something “seriously” THAT’S when things go awry. Just watching videos is fine, casually hanging out with a buddy is fine, eating a tasty meal is fine, small woodworking projects are fine.
In a way, humans are robots with a higher propensity for failure. Whereas a robot is engineered to perform repetitive tasks correctly, humans seem designed to perform tasks with a high likelihood of failure. So if I try to do something with the intent of a successful outcome, there’s a good chance I’ll be disappointed with the result. Therefore, in a farcical land, the most frivolous activity makes the most sense.
In other words: if I try to do something practical and it doesn’t work, I’ll be disappointed. But if I do something that’s whimsical, an activity that produces nothing but pure enjoyment, then I’ll achieve satisfaction every time. In the Skinner-box of Life, I’ve been punished over and over for taking things too seriously. I keep doing it though. I keep getting suckered-in and then SLAPPED. Therefore, I’m going to re-double my efforts to stop being so solemn. This is a fun-house, I have to stop being startled and start being amused.
What I see as my purpose, is to be delightfully unconventional. I spent way too many years attempting to be logical and practical and it didn’t work, in fact it was anxiety-inducing. So instead of the fraidy-cat anxious-guy, I would rather be a beacon of hope for pessimistic slackers everywhere. Yes, life likes you. No, hard-work is not a necessary component for existence. Yes, you’ll be fine, don’t worry. No, you won’t lack anything, just follow the flow and you’ll end up wherever you need to go.
Eventually, I see myself as an Alan Watts type, just sitting around riffing on life and its playful nature. Maybe I’ll have a YouTube channel, I dunno. For right now I suppose I’ll write. Ah, I can feel the weight lifting from my self-imposed chains of conformity. Fuck-me for taking life so seriously for so long. No one forced me to wear those shackles, I simply assumed it was the thing to do. Damn-me and my slavishness to popular fashion and my unwillingness to be myself.
As the kids say: “Let your freak flag fly”. I shall hoist mine from the handlebars of White Lightning, my trusty kick-scooter. I will proudly proclaim that I am a Master League, level III, War Robots pilot. When asked “So Rich, what do you do for a living?” I will unflinchingly declare that I write a blog. When asked how I survive in this world without a “real” job, I’ll simply state: “To those that believe, wishes do come true”.
And that’s what this all boils down to: magic is real. I denied it, tried to suppress it, pretended that I lived in a harsh physical reality that required ample anguish and suffering — but no, this world is a fantasyland filled with fun and delight. The only thing I have to do, is ride the ride and laugh the whole way through. And if others wish to select this as their primary mode of being, the more the merrier. Welcome friend, to the lighthearted life.
Poor Richard, always turning every color into gray.
But Richard, surely this cake will make you gay?
Nay, I must think of tooth decay!
But Richard, the sun shines bright today!
Ah, it shall burn my skin, until it flay!
But Richard, exciting news I have to say!
Oh no, what could it be, surely I will pay!
And so she came one night, when the moon shone bright,
just a little sprite, an elf known as Brownie.
Hello to you good sir! I’m but a tiny fairy, not so scary,
I’ve a core of cheer and my shell is sweet — it is nice to meet!
Richard bit the hook, that’s all it took.
Caught, but not willing to surrender.
He fought and fought, until his heart grew tender.
Brownie loved the challenge, sparkling in all her splendor.
She knew he’d falter, she never worried.
The decades past, she never hurried.
And upon his birthday she gave a gift,
A little boy whose spirits could lift.
Brownie, said Richard, I think you’ve won.
I surrender to you, I’m ready for fun.
The disciples came unto Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, “Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
What’s the difference between a child and an adult? An adult believes himself in control, tasked with full responsibility for his own well-being, believing himself knowledgeable and experienced in the ways of the world. Whereas a child believes he’s not in charge, has no responsibility but to play, and is always looking to extend the fun-times. A child knows he doesn’t know everything.
The difference between a child and an adult is the seriousness in which each plays. An adult simply loses the variety and levity in his playtime, selecting narrowly focused games while wearing the same costume daily. The adult imposes severe limits on his abilities and the available outcomes. The adult attempts to maintain a strictly logical course of events. The adult thinks getting to the end is the point and rushes accordingly.
To be as a child, is to be playful, unrestrained by self-imposed boundaries, freely imagining the best to come. It’s to know there’s no actual end-goal but the act of play itself. To be as a child is to realize one’s lack of control and overall ignorance within the world — to exist despite one’s feebleness, thankful for being well-cared for. To be as a child is to be inclusive of others, inviting them to play, sharing the fun. It’s to extract enjoyment from each activity and interaction, to smile and laugh.
I choose to perceive existence as a benevolent experience.
I choose to envision a delightful path created just for me.
I choose to enjoy and appreciate this path I travel.
I choose to feel protected and nurtured along the way.
I choose to recognize resources as gifts given generously.
I choose to see life as a source of love and fulfillment.
An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Daily Beacon.
Dear Rich, if I’m constantly struck by annoyances, how can I deal with this? Sometimes I smell nasty things or I get injured or I find myself surrounded by idiots — how do I get away from this conveyor-belt of aggravation?
If you’re emotionally activated whenever a certain condition arises — energized, hyper-focused, moved to action — then it will keep happening — you’ll be caught in a loop. For instance, if you’re activated by disgust, you’re sure to find something objectionable.
You must face these initially annoying circumstances with dispassion. No anger or frustration, no sadness or despair, just do whatever the situation calls for and move on. And if afterwards, related images or ideas dance through your mind, kick them out, finding something else to focus on.
We should ever be directing our thoughts to entertain items that evoke enthusiasm and amusement rather than exhaustion and dissatisfaction. It is much more preferable to be in a positive loop than a negative one. And so we must practice molding our mind to receive the things we enjoy.
As we watch ourselves, signs of annoyance often appear, and with repetition we can quickly recognize their presence by heightened emotion. Catch it, call it out and shine the light, but be forgiving, gentle, and send it on its way. Then look to fill the void with something lighthearted. In this way dear reader, your habit of annoyance will fade.
The modern battlefield is located within the collective imagination of mankind. Its soldiers are the influencers that impart particular narratives within the minds of followers. Whoever tells the most persuasive tale wins. But whose side are you on, those that paint with dower grays and sullen blues — or those that paint with golden hues?
The war is raging before us, yet if you step aside, apathy favors darkness. Step into the light, reflecting the brilliance for all to see. Illuminate the shadows and they disappear. But be vigilant as others work to cast more shadow in light’s way. Night fills half the day remember, therefore your work is never done.
The battle before us is outrage versus calm. There are those that stir the pot just to witness turbulence. Stirring in the opposite direction only results in splashing and spilling. Within a vast liquid, a tiny spoon has no effect — such spoons therefore seek to segregate wholes into smaller portions. Unite these parts and the spoon is lost within an ocean.
Do not attack the spoon — as another is always waiting. Attack the boundaries, destroying that which divides, causing the whole to come flooding in, washing away the spoons. Walls block the light — undermine their foundation, allowing them to collapse under their own weight. Follow the resplendent path, for those advocating cooperation and unity do good works.
Weaponized positivity is the use of unabashed optimism and cheerfulness to piss off others. I recently mentioned my dislike of Pollyanna-style positivity. But having just watched the 2003 Pollyanna movie, my mind has been changed. I am at my core a curmudgeonly rebellious naysaying pessimist, so the idea of weaponized positivity excites me. What better way to utterly destroy someone’s attempt to defeat you but by enjoying yourself despite their greatest efforts? Oh the abject horror and helplessness they’ll feel as you only smile at their futile straining.
And for those so disturbed by the ugliness of life, what greater FU can one give but to find enjoyment despite the despair that surrounds? Things not going your way? Enjoy it anyway! F*CK YOU LIFE! Oh the power we can wield by simply enjoying our circumstances. If we do not bend in our quest to select something to savor in each situation, then we win. Think of the Whos in Whoville as the Grinch tried to steal their Christmas celebration — they persisted nonetheless, utterly frustrating and defeating him with their own joy until he had no choice but to succumb.
This is the revolution to join: the fight for hope and happiness. But the enemy does not reside outside ourselves, oh no. It is an ever present foe that seeps into our thoughts. Yet with vigilance we can overcome, destroying our dour attitude whenever it rears, striving to trust that goodness underlies everything, and always finding an aspect in every occasion that elicits delight.
There’s a cruel lie we often tell ourselves, that hopefulness will ultimately fail in its fruition and the resulting disappointment will cause all sorts of misery. Additionally, we’d better brace for not getting what we want, or do ourselves the favor of not imagining the outcomes we desire in the first place. But hopefulness, whether fulfilled or not, is a source of happiness.
For example, “Rich, one day you’ll live in a place you prefer surrounded by all the things you love.” The cruel lie would say, “You idiot, that can’t happen, you’re stuck right where you are — and stop thinking about all the things you’ll never have because it’ll only make you sad — keep those fantasies locked away.”
The better option is to relish the wish, to not only allow it to circulate through thought, but encourage it. Daydreaming is like watching a pleasant scene soaked in warm hues of the summer sun on a lazy afternoon. We often delight in scenarios we never expect to manifest, we witness them all the time in books and movies.
So who cares if it comes true, we can enjoy the dream itself — and if it does materialize, that’s great too. In every instance, always choose hope over despair — it’s the choice of happiness over sadness. As is said: if surrounded by darkness, should we not seek the light? But if brightness is not to be found, at least we can imagine a well-lit mind.
Take a good hard look at everyday people. People are not practical survivors. People are weak and absent-minded. It takes an extensive stretch of the imagination to believe that people are capable of taking care of themselves. People have extremely limited skill-sets, limited tools, limited attention-spans, limited memories, a limited ability to cooperate, and a limited ability to cope with hardship. In short, people are clueless.
Yet people survive. Not only do they survive, but many seem to thrive. Huh? What this demonstrates is the unreality of existence. The world is not reasonable — it just plain doesn’t make sense. I have no doubt that if life didn’t lead me along, I’d surely meet my demise at every turn. Despite my lack of knowledge and skill, I’m effortlessly gliding through life as if on an amusement-park ride.
There is no survival of the fittest. We’re not brutes scraping together every morsel we consume — and we never were. Not survival, but existential crisis has been the crux of our problems since time immemorial. We’re confused bundles of awareness struggling to understand what this is we’re observing.
But once we see this world for what it is, suddenly it all makes sense. Ceaseless questions are answered. Fear evaporates. Happiness and belonging sets in. We’re home. There was no mistake, we really are meant to be here. We see our fellow bundles-of-awareness and wish them well on their particular journey.
If life was truly tough we’d be crushed in an instant. It’s not life giving us a hard time, but we ourselves applying undue pressure. When we stop struggling, we become free of the artificial restraints we’ve constructed. When we finally trust in the goodness of life, we experience the lighthearted life that’s been embracing us the entire time.