Loser Baby

I’m a short guy with messed-up teeth and poor-posture dressed in clothes that don’t fit right. I wear hats in the sun. I often relate to the people being made fun of in “iAmVerySmart”, “im14andThisIsDeep”, and “justNeckBeardThings”. I used to own a ninja sword and nunchucks. I can count the number of friends I have on one finger. I’ve lived in a trailer park for the past six years with no job, just doing my own thing. Oh and let’s not forget that I’ve written a blog, this blog in fact, for six years and each post receives anywhere from zero to six likes on average. A couple posts received twelve likes in a single day — so I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

WHAT??? But Rich!!! You’re… You’re… wait… you’re a loser..? Well in my last post, I noticed that I tend to seek out loserdom. Apparently I don’t want to win, and when I do, I get bored and look for something new to lose at. I guess losing is very captivating to me. But Rich, you’re my idol!! You can’t be… a… a… loser!!??

Well, you’re right. By almost every metric, I’m a loser — but the thing is, I don’t see myself as a loser. In my mind, I’m the smartest guy on the planet, I’m tough, super-strong, and ruggedly handsome. Of course I realize that my unwarranted overconfidence only makes me more of a loser — but that irony just doesn’t register with me. And lest you forget, this is Trump’s America now, the place where unwarranted overconfidence wins.

So don’t feel bad for me, losing just happens to be my particular brand of fuel, the magnet that draws me through life. We all have a magnet of some sort. Some people have daddy-issues or other emotional voids to fill. Some have a need to succeed in order to prove their worth to a parent they could never please. Some have an obsession with personal appearance, allowing it to rule their life. We all have weaknesses that draw us along — that’s how narratives work.

For me, it’s losing. It’s a perpetual-motion machine. Put me in a losing situation and I simply won’t accept it. “I’m a winner, f*ck you!” It’s a persistence that shows up unasked for, it’s simply the mechanism that makes my character move. Even if it takes everyone else quitting, and me being the only person left in the race, that’s fine — I win. In many situations I win through sheer inertia — I just won’t leave until I win. And when I finally do, it’s time for something new.

The actual games we play in life don’t matter. All life cares about is whether we’re captivated. I can’t stop thinking I’m a winner — consequently life places me in situations where I’m not a winner — but that doesn’t sit right in my mind, it excites me, causing me to react every time. I’m fine with that, it’s the role I’m playing this round. And who knows, maybe one day I’ll learn to enjoy success and enter into some sort of mastery stage. I honestly feel like I’m headed in that direction — stay tuned.

“But the thing is, I don’t see myself as a loser. It’s simply the fuel, the magnet that draws me through life.” — me

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Super Serious

Within this blog, I oftentimes write about deep philosophical stuff. But once in awhile, I write about my daily life and aspirations — yet that part of me seems so childish and downright silly. So why the disconnect?

Actual daily life, with all our little inconsequential quests, really is ridiculous. From collecting coins and trinkets to conquering dragons in the form of assignments, chores, creative projects, boredom, keeping our cool, getting along with others, harmonizing with our path — it’s all mundane minutia yet our nearsighted perspective makes such silliness seem so important.

But here I am over-analyzing everything, taking things super seriously, yet existence is merely a playful romp through the funhouse. What an absurd thing to do for such a lighthearted experience. It’s like I’m constantly explaining the joke to myself instead of simply laughing at it.

I must admit that I’ve often looked down on professional sports commentators. You’re analyzing a bunch of grown-men running around a field as if it’s a significant event!? Get a life! But here I am, one in the same, commentator on a game of pretend. The difference is that I was stupid enough to take the game seriously.

With that in mind, I can legitimately analyze life, doing all the commentary I want — I just need to recognize the fleeting and frivolous nature of what I’m commenting on. As long as I’m entertained while doing so, I can certainly over-analyze a chocolate-chip cookie. It’s only a problem when I take that analysis seriously — who cares, it’s a cookie! If I can’t make my analysis amusing, I shouldn’t bother.

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!

Reference Librarian

When I was a software developer, I’d often get stumped by programming problems. I would typically go to programming forums in order to find detailed information about how to implement a particular algorithm or feature. I’d search through the message-boards until finding a question relevant to my own, then I’d read through the solutions shared by other programmers. And chances were, if I had a question, someone else did too. And if I couldn’t find a relevant question, I knew I was barking up the wrong tree. In all those years I never had to post my own question.

It was the forums in which I found implementation details, but that’s not where the overall architecture of the program came from. For whatever reason, I just knew how to layout the program’s structure. And when I didn’t know, I took a break until the answer came to me, sometimes while showering or doing something else unrelated to programming. There was some source, some reference librarian, that my mind seemed to contact when I had a complicated question. During this time-period I had many “Aha moments”.

When I quit professional programming a number of years ago, I swapped programming problems for philosophical ones. The funny thing is, that this blog became my forum of sorts. I’d have a question and then I’d post a solution. I didn’t know the answer beforehand, I just seemed to transcribe from a source beyond myself. Even today I’ll often look back at old posts of mine to check something. In other words, I’ve created an archive of philosophical solutions suited just for me. And similarly, during this time-period I’ve experienced a lot of “Aha moments” in which spiritually complicated architecture came to light.

With my wondering, I signal that a question needs answering, then a reference librarian of sorts does a quick bit of research and gets back to me with a possible solution. But who is this reference librarian? Why do I seem to conjure satisfactory answers to my questions? And I also notice that other people’s solutions are often similar to my own, implying a common source. To me at least, this phenomenon is consistent with the idea that individuals are mere shards of a fractured creator. There really does seem to be a “collective unconscious” underlying humanity from which we all draw our inspiration.

In interviews, creative people typically balk at the question, “So where do you get your ideas?” Nobody really knows, do they. Essentially, notions just pop into our head. And they’re not random either, they’re tailored to our roles. Previously I received programming insights, now it’s philosophical/spiritual ones. An artist is imbued with the vision it’ll take to craft his masterpiece. A novelist receives an unfolding story within her mind. A craftsman feels his way to a finished product. It just comes to us, the blueprint of our success — all we have to do is listen.

Sound the Alarm

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! An alarm clock’s cry. But what use is a single chime, for the message is in the repetition. A pattern so persistent that the message penetrates even the deepest sleep.

I’ve posted succinct essays within this blog for five years. The number of themes are few as I seem to rewrite the same ideas over and over. But a single post is not the point, the message is in the repetition.

By repeatedly writing and re-reading a small set of overlapping ideas, I’ve drilled and hammered a new foundation upon which my perception sits. And it all started with a dream.

This blog has served as my alarm clock, a regular reminder of my higher self. The persistent pattern results in periodic awakening. And so oftentimes, amidst the dramas of daily life, I remember who I am.

Evaluation of Effort

The 5-year anniversary of this blog’s inception is rapidly approaching — a blog in which I dedicated countless hours and published over 1,000 posts. With all that investment, this project must be a successful endeavor, right? Well if external metrics are used to judge success, then no, it’s a failure. The subscriber rate is extremely low, audience engagement barely exists, and there is no income. So… I suppose I should just close up shop….

Ha! Luckily, external success was not the original goal of this blog, it was simply a place to publicly publish my thoughts. Why publicly? I’m not sure really, although I think it encourages me to refine my writing when I believe someone else might read it. And perhaps it was a very weak attempt at connecting with others. Weak, because I don’t even try to engage, it doesn’t suit me. But a year ago I purchased this blog’s current domain-name and set out to magically achieve external success. It hasn’t worked so far, not even a little.

They say, do what you love and the money will follow, but I’m not sure if that’s a true statement or I’m just impatient. To be honest though, I don’t want my blog to be a source of income. Oops, I suppose I’ve been counteracting success all along — a classic mistake. And to be honest again, I don’t want a lot of eyeballs judging me, I’d appreciate just a quick glance at the artistry and a quiet exit. So yes, it appears that my blog is everything I wished for, a barely noticed shop down a quiet street that only a few people ever accidentally stumble into.

Hm, perhaps the magic did work after-all. And I should mention that internally, this blog has been a success. I’ve enjoyed the process of writing and publishing succinct essays, it’s provided a feeling of creative accomplishment, and really helped in allowing me to monitor my thoughts and moods. And because many of these thoughts come from a well-of-inspiration beyond myself, I really enjoy reading them as an audience member (although I seem to be the only one — ha!).

See the difference though? This post was written as a stream-of-consciousness by regular uninspired me. But in writing it down, I could clearly see the conflict of interest. I suppose if I’m looking for success, my blog is off-limits as a means of achievement. It must remain pristine like a mountain stream, a place that few travelers ever find. Hm, I like that. Okay, so magic still might be real, success still might come, but this blog is not the vehicle I’ll be driving there — and I will try not to judge this blog by external means ever again. It’s a hidden little gem where the secrets of the universe are succinctly written for the weary wanderer that enters by some serendipitous means.

Ladies and Gentlemen

This particular Patreon experiment is over. The results: no backers after 2 months.

And now a brief word from our sponsor. Take a look at this. It’s a Patreon page. Everything you value, you invest in — whether it’s time or money or both. The ideas written about within this website are no different. And to prove to yourself the importance of these ideas, you may need to pay something for them. Through Patreon, I am providing an opportunity to do so.

There are other benefits involved as well (But wait, there’s more!). For those with the means to do so, what a pleasant thing it is to give, to contribute to the well-being of others. And of course there’s the idea of directly supporting creators and their work without the inefficiencies of advertising or merchandise — are we not due for a change of pace in the digital economy?

This website has been in existence for nearly five years now, yet it generates no income. So it serves as an interesting experiment: will such dedication ever translate into financial success? No not everything has to be about money, but even monks are supported through donations. We have an economic system that expects dollars to be traded amongst players.

Whether it’s to support my work, contributing to my livelihood, or for the generic support of alternative income mechanisms, please consider becoming a patron if it is within your power to do so. Now back to our show….

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