Changing of the Guard

I’m not normally one to make New Year’s Resolutions — but this year — rather, next year — I am participating. Essentially, I’m going to give up certain responsibilities I had previously placed upon myself. Of course I had no real power in the first place, but I held to the belief that I did — now, I relinquish that belief.

In short, I’m a horrible steward, too filled with limiting ideas and thoughts of lack. I am ceding control over to someone that is lucky and liked by others, someone that literally receives what she wishes for, someone that sees the sunny-side of life. In other words, I am abandoning the patriarchy and accepting the matriarchy. Mom’s in charge now.

Furthermore, I am going to take up a new hobby. This blog was originally located at the address WhittlinRich.WordPress.com but I had purchased the domain name WellCraftedWords.com about a year and a half ago in hopes of some commercial success. Nothing manifested from that name-change so I’m dropping it and going back to the original.

Relatedly, my new hobby is wood-working. It’s actually a hobby I’ve dabbled-in many times, but I’m going back to it for now. I don’t know if I’ll be posting wood-working-related posts here or not. Although, it would be funny to arrive at this site in the future while looking for wood-working related posts, only to go back into the archives and see all the philosophical stuff.

I don’t know if I’m finally going back into regular life, losing myself to the everyday. Perhaps my Algernon period of awareness is over for now. It’s getting close to six years since I started this blog. The conclusion it reached, is that life’s a funhouse, so have fun — don’t take things so seriously. Or maybe this is just one of those soon-to-be-abandoned resolutions — I guess time will tell.

Either way, Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

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Tis Better

An excerpt from the fictional tales: Defender of the Christmas Faith

It’s often touted that it’s better to give than receive. Yet to become a giver there must be a receiver — therefore we should not place judgement upon either party lest we involve ourself in a game of spiritual hot-potato, always trying to give away what lands in our lap. We must graciously and appreciatively receive, lest we insult the giver.

In fact, Christmas is very much about receiving. For God so loveth the world, that he hath given his only begotten Son. Who are we, mere mortals, to give anything? We have nothing but what the Creator provides, we’re simply swapping the things we don’t own amongst ourselves. Truly, the only thing we can give is our thanks.

Believe not the naysayers proclaiming that some must lose for others to win. We’ve all already won. Don’t listen to lackers that believe in the finite, peddling their nonsense of limitless limitation. Doomsayers have plagued every era, yet the good times have kept on rolling. Why should we presume the fun will stop in our generation?

Christmas is a time for miracles, a time for receiving gifts we don’t deserve. When I fill out my Christmas Wish List, it’s full of items that stir delight. When I think of Christmas, I imagine thrilled hearts rapaciously tearing apart wrapping paper — I hear squeals of glee as long sought toys are finally in hand. What we’re experiencing through receiving, is joy.

Therefore, let us not shun this merriment, but embrace it. Let us lift our cups high in celebration of the season, a celebration of life itself, displaying our wholehearted appreciation for the gifts we receive. Let us wish the best for others and hope they receive their heart’s desire, but let us not forget our own enjoyment as we are part of the all.

As it is said, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Saturday Stirrings

I tend to think that people fit into nice, neat categories. Whenever there’s a differentiation of traits, I attempt to determine my fit within the specified groupings. Whether it’s the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator where I’m an INTP, or the Chinese Zodiac where I’m a Rabbit, or the other Zodiac where I’m a Sagittarius, or the four elements where I’m obviously an Air element, or politics where I’m probably a progressive. Or Hogwarts, where I’m kind of a Ravenclaw but settled for the more relaxed life of a Hufflepuff.

Even being from New England, I associate with its colonial, doggedly independent, and zealot-filled past. Speaking of which, Thanksgiving is soon upon us, a time when we celebrate a bunch of true-believers that left everything behind in order to worship the Almighty in their own way. A group so determined and trusting in God, that they arrived woefully unprepared for what was to come. This was not a hearty band of survivalists, but regular folk simply expecting things to work out for the best.

I think half died soon after arriving and the other half survived thanks to a native that returned to his homeland after being forcibly taken to England. Imagine arriving in the New World and some dude walks outta the woods speaking English and shows you how to procure food. And, there just happens to be an abandoned village in which you can live (the previous inhabitants died of disease). WTF?! That’s Providence for you (not the city, but God’s protective care). Interestingly though, Providence, Rhode Island was a city founded by an exile because the Puritans of Massachusetts were too puritanical.

The cook in my house isn’t a fan of turkey so we’re having roast-chicken and root-vegetables (carrot, corn, and waxy potato) instead. We’ll probably have some homemade cranberry sauce, stuffing, butternut squash, and of course pies. Yes, many mini-pies, I believe we’re scheduled for apple, blueberry, strawberry, and toffee-pecan. I like this time of year. I’ve been listening to my Christmas-music playlist since mid-October.

I’ve noticed that I always write the strangest, most uncharacteristic things on Saturdays. It’s been happening since I started writing this blog many years ago. I don’t know what it is about Saturdays. My schedule isn’t really affected by the weekends, I’m just overtaken by a different muse. Well, here’s to Saturn’s day, a merry god ruling over a golden age of peace and effortless prosperity. And here’s to the week’s end when the cycle is soon to begin again — yet for now we rest.

Satisfying Dream

At first I believed the world a random place, my life ruled by chance. But such a scary philosophy, I could not maintain. Then a passive existence I believed, a pathway predetermined, unalterable. But such submissiveness I could not bear. Then I began to see life as a lucid dream, my mind’s designs manifesting in every moment. This was satisfying.

The mind must find a resting place, a foundation upon which to build. If it sits in shifting sand, nothing lasting can be built. This bedrock comes from a firm idea in which to place one’s faith. I had faith in randomness, but its nature was unstable. I had faith in predestination, but it did not suit. So now I invest in dreams, a nebulous source that’s surprisingly solid.

A hazy nature provides strength as it conforms to each situation. Anything unpleasant simply serves as reminder to mind my thoughts. Whatever happens is my own fault, but in a funny way. I work at shaping rumination lest I get what I don’t desire. What I wish should come to be, but if not, I’ve merely more minding to do.

Whether true it matters not, it simply serves as satisfying base from which to run. A mind must have easy answers to complex questions else it go round and round in constant quandary. What ease it is to explain every scene as mere mirage. And with haunting angst now exorcised, the joys of life reveal themselves. Nightmares become delightmares.

Random Belief

I’m surrounded by people wracked with anxiety. For instance, panic-attack is a common term I hear. And in my own dealings with life, I was always worried about everything. I could tell you dozens of ways in which every circumstance was dangerous or why every plan wouldn’t work. But I stopped worrying and stopped my incessant pessimism. How? I stopped believing in randomness.

I was taught early on by pop-culture that existence was a random occurrence. Not only were my origins random, but my time spent on Earth was just as random. What I do here and when I leave boil down to luck. Well that sucks. Diseases, accidents, murderous rampages, catastrophic weather patterns, astroids, exploding suns, bacteria — even my income, who I marry, whether my kids are jerks — everything was essentially random. I was a powerless pawn in a natural world that didn’t care one whit about me or my path.

I would get sad just thinking about it — my mind filling with existential angst. And I couldn’t not think about it, it was the very foundation of reality. Yet I noticed there were people that weren’t constantly frightened — and they were having a great time. But I couldn’t be like those blissfully ignorant fools, I knew too well the endless dangers of this world — oh woe is me, and my superior knowledge and intellect.

I was completely confident in how the world worked, fully aware that calamity could strike at any moment. But then something happened. I kept getting older. I was so sure that I wouldn’t survive past my early twenties. I was so sure that I’d never meet a significant-other. I was so sure that bad things would constantly happen — except they didn’t. I’m still here. Huh!? And let me tell ya folks, I’ve done jack-shit in terms of keeping myself afloat, I’ve just drifted through life pretty effortlessly.

The hardships I’ve endured existed solely within my own imagination. It turned out that the mysterious entity that was seemingly out to get me, was me. I was casting the shadows hiding in every closet, under every bed. So after I noticed how old I was and how easy life had been over the years, I finally stopped scaring myself. There was just nothing left to base my anxiety on. Randomness wasn’t real — but my negative attitude was all too real.

Randomness is a damaging belief. It’s crippling to believe that lightning could strike us at any moment. Therefore, traveling through life in an enjoyable manner requires we abandon the idea of randomness and seek to see an underlying programming that’s directing and balancing the action. We should think of life as a fulfillment generator — whatever we wish, we’ll soon see. And for our part, we must keep our thoughts filled with the things that delight and excite, eschewing negativity whenever it surfaces.

Fashionable Origins

Have you ever gone into the kitchen and mixed random ingredients together? Some ground-beef, bananas, cinnamon, grape-jelly, flour, orange-juice — combined, then cooked for a random amount of time? No? Probably because it’d be gross. Good food follows guidelines. Random accidents can result in interesting alterations to entrees, but there’s always an underlying structure.

Yet randomness was how I assumed life begat many millions of years ago (cosmic stew, primordial stew, etc.) In my understanding, random ingredients magically mixed together into the right amounts while systematically evolving into viable entities. But after decades of philosophical consideration, I no longer hold this view.

Nowadays I think of the world as a planned and programmed simulation of sorts. And just as big-man-in-the-sky theory was dumped by pop-culture in favor of randomness, I think randomness will be abandoned in favor of a programmed virtuality. After all, fashions tend to perpetually swing between opposites.

Although big-man-in-the-sky and virtuality overlap in some aspects, there’s some differences. In the first theory, there’s a creator manufacturing hapless victims of existence — man lives by whim of the gods. But in the virtuality theory, the player is the programmer — he simply hides this fact from himself on purpose.

From observing life over several decades, I’m quite convinced that there’s an underlying narrative. There’s too much manufactured drama for the ongoings in this world to be a coincidence. Man is clearly the star of this show — and he’s coddled the entire time. Just look at all the people whose wishes and dreams came to fruition — an improbability within a purely physical world.

The very structure of success had to be manufactured for this fulfillment to happen. There is no randomness here folks. Randomness means chaos and incoherence and incompatibility. Yet we’re all pretty much on the same page, following similar themes, and avoiding major catastrophes. There’s certainly a lot of dramatic acting going on though.

Now, why bother philosophizing about all this anyway? Because, we all need an underlying belief that allows us to enjoy our lives. I found that I wasn’t comforted by big-man-in-the-sky theory or the randomness theory. In fact I found them unsatisfying, full of plot holes, and anxiety-inducing. Whereas virtuality puts me in control, boosting me up while minimizing the unpleasantries of life.

I’ve been on the virtuality bandwagon for a while now and can notice the marked improvement in my attitude and well-being. For instance, I’m not worried anymore — the world will work itself out just as it always has — there’s an obvious balance, an equilibrium that’s being maintained by some kind of programming.

And as long as we don’t wish for the worst, our individual lives will also work out just fine. The stress, discomfort, and difficulty we experience comes from our fearful imaginings, not the actual circumstances of life. Comforting theories, such as virtuality, give us license to ignore our scary thoughts. Ultimately there is no truth to uncover, it’s beliefs all the way down — so it’s our task to develop a satisfying system of belief — this is where happiness comes from.

Death Note

Because of its anxiety reducing properties, I started believing in the concept of willful-death — that is, we die when we want to. To further cement this belief, I was just taking inventory of the people I knew personally that died. I was determining how well their lives and deaths fit into this theory.

In my belief, people don’t necessarily say “I wish to die now”, but their predominant thoughts are of a time-to-go variety. A few people I knew committed suicide — they literally rage-quit the game. And the circumstances surrounding their lives were tragic and not fun. It’s as if they came in on crazy-hard mode and expectedly had to dump out early.

Most of the people I knew personally just got old and died when they were done. A few might have went a little earlier than expected, but not really when I think about it — they lived full lives with full story arcs. I even asked my seventy-year-old mother about people she knew that died — and they fit well within this theory.

How does this theory explain people I don’t know personally? Well, I can’t prove they existed. It’s possible that some people are just part of the scenery, like NPCs and such (non-player characters). And I don’t know what difficultly-level they pre-selected or what their interests are. Perhaps some people are really into challenging themselves.

But Rich, aren’t you crazy for making up outlandish theories about death? Well, like many high-anxiety folks, death played too prominently in my thoughts and I needed a way to get rid of the toxicity. This solves for that. I have zero death related thoughts nowadays. I present this information as a reminder to myself as to why, and as a means to maintain it.