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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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….

Become a patron

 

Time Portal

For some reason I just remembered the address of my previous blog. I tried looking before, but couldn’t find it and assumed it was deleted. But it’s there, about 200 posts primarily in 2002 but with a handful of posts going all the way up to 2009. Reading through it just now, I don’t like the tone or subject-matter.

The material is very evolution-centric, reminiscent of a militant-atheist type, and quite pessimistic. Humanity is characterized as a product of millions of years evolution, yet never truly progressing, as it’s comprised of highly irrational animals living in deeply flawed societies. It is most assuredly a negative critique of the human condition.

Underlying the writing seems to be a feeling of betrayal by humanity itself and the resulting isolation. I suppose it’s a disillusioned young man lashing out. He is confused and focusing on the worst of his surroundings. And while others are witless, he sees the harsh reality they refuse to acknowledge.

A decade after starting that blog I started this one. Current me has a broader perspective of the world — or so I believe. Who’s to say I won’t have a completely different viewpoint in another decade. I don’t like the certainty that younger me professed, he was so sure the world worked in a particular way, and so sure of its awfulness.

I don’t think he’d understand what I write about in this blog. He’d be dismissive of my hopefulness and call me naive. He’d scoff at my mention of spiritual matters. He’d see me as lost in a sea of irrationality. He’d think my happiness a delusion. To his mind, my words would be poison and I’d be nothing but a pied piper of poppycock.

He and I appear to exist on two different planes of perception. I wonder if there’s anything that could be said to alter such a dour attitude. Or must we simply ride it out until hitting a dead-end, reversing our direction. Or do we change by rote, relentless drilling of what we want to be. Or from exhaustion, finding serenity from uncertainty. Or does the page in our story simply turn.

Verbal Patisserie

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Daily Beacon.

Dear Rich, I’m not quite sure I appreciate some of the things you write about, in fact some these ideas just don’t suit me, should I cease and desist reading your content?

Dear Reader, I don’t like cheesecake. In fact I loathe its very existence. If it were called cream-cheese-pie I’d not mind its presence so much, but as it is now, I find it both distasteful and dishonest. I do not appreciate its cold creamy texture nor its pre-fabricated gram-cracker crust — and quite frankly, I don’t believe cheese of any sort belongs within a dessert (insert audible gasp here). I much prefer frosted flour-based cakes and fruit-based pies.

Yet you would think me foolish and overreactive if I were to walk out of a bakery just because it happened to serve “cheesecake” alongside chocolate cakes and apple pies. You’d say: Rich, just ignore the items that don’t suit your palate and simply partake of the delectables you do enjoy — stop being so petty.

So likewise, dear reader, I would council you with similar advice. Some of this content is just not meant for you while some is tailored specifically to your tastes. Pick and choose while digesting with a lighthearted attitude. I’m merely a baker of thoughts, distributing ideas of various shapes and styles.

If you’ve sampled a few and found nothing of interest, then of course, select another establishment that better suits your needs. But if you find a few tasty tidbits, then stick around and patiently appreciate whatever it is you do like.