Existential Challenge

What does it take to live in the world?

The tenacity to maintain a positive attitude. I lived with a bad attitude most of my life. It sucked.

What obstacles are you faced with in your life?

Sleep is a biggie. I don’t sleep very well. In fact I actively fight it at times. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s a control issue. And when I finally do fall asleep, I wake up throughout the night.

Existential boredom. I don’t know what I should do with the bulk of my time. It’s been several decades and I’ve yet to find a career path.

The occasional physical ailments: headaches, colds, minor injuries. I wrestle with that stuff like they’re major life-altering obstacles.

Pessimism. I tend to think the worst of everything. I have to actively fight against it.

What obstacles would you rather tackle instead?

Well, nothing to do with my physical body — my body should simply serve as a well-functioning vehicle for my consciousness. I’d rather my obstacles take the form of career related tasks. But like I mentioned earlier, I’m not sure what that career would be.

I suppose if I had my druthers, I’d like to be an eccentric nouveau riche. I’d spend crazy amounts of money at Walt Disney World, stay at Deluxe Resorts (concierge-level of course), decorate my house with outlandishly expensive Disney memorabilia, stay current with the latest tech gadgets, ride electric scooters around town (the fun kind), go on shopping sprees, go to restaurants, collect things, and treat everyone I know to great gifts (like Santa Claus). That excites me.

I’m just kinda waiting for the fun-funds to kick in. Luckily, after several decades of existence I started believing in magic, so the certainty of this scenario is approaching one hundred percent. And if you believe in “nominative determinism”, my name is actually Rich — it’s a destiny thing.

I can also see why it wouldn’t have made sense to have money at an earlier stage of life. Because of my pessimism, it would’ve just amplified my anxiousness. Now instead of fortresses and walling myself away, I can think of more enjoyable ways to spend money. So in a sense, I’d like my career to be shopping. For pro-shoppers such as myself, shopping is like a form of hunting, it’s finding the best, most appropriate item — which takes a lot of care and effort — for those #bornToShop, it’s energizing.

So “the hunt” is where I’d face my obstacles. I need to be me, and if me is a silly guy that loves to shop, then so be it.

Any parting words?

Yes. I think selecting your preferred obstacles is a primary component of designing your life. If you don’t, life will simply hand you some default challenges. For instance, two big challenges for me are sleep and headaches — and that’s just dumb. I’m ready to move on to a more enjoyable context in which to overcome my challenges.

It’s also important to understand that challenges are relative. Everyone experiences maximum-challenge mode. What might look like nothing to you is near impossible for another — whereas what might look impossible to you, is readily handled by someone else. A pimple on the nose could bring someone’s world crashing down. You can’t judge or compare — obstacles are relative to the individual they’re applied to.

Disappearing Act

While it’s true that we can conjure things into existence, can we likewise make things disappear?

Imagine it this way: you walk into a familiar room but there’s a different smell than you’re used to. You ignore the odor and go about your business as usual. Not long after, you become “nose-blind” to the scent and don’t even notice it anymore. Or, imagine looking at a photo of yourself standing in front of a monument. You notice your shoelace is untied in the picture, but you don’t give it a second thought. You’re too busy remembering the feeling of grandeur of the day you visited that monument.

By not focusing on something, by not giving it your energy, it disappears.

Now imagine the previous scenes from a different perspective. You walk into a familiar room that contains a different smell. Although this time, you’re obsessed by it. “It must be coming from somewhere!! I swear I’ll find it!” You hunt and hunt and the smell only gets stronger as your persistence gives it life. What would have been a fleeting event, has now become your reason for being.

Or how about the photo with your shoelace untied? How could you have been so stupid. Probably the only chance you’ll ever have to visit that monument, and it’s ruined!! Ruined!!!! The shoelace incident will haunt you for the rest of your life. You’ll never take another photo without first checking for perfection.

The circumstances of life will forever parade past you, and if you don’t cling to them, they’ll gladly fade out of existence on their own. It takes no effort to make things disappear. Whereas it does take effort to make things persist.

When you allow the scene to move on, it’s gone. Pain for instance, is a symptom of resistance. It’s like you’ve lassoed the scene as it’s trying to leave and you’re fighting so hard that the rope is burning through your hand. Surrender, let go, stop resisting and the scene will simply move on. There’s no reason to fight, life doesn’t want to hurt you. Let go and things get better.

Magical Happenings

An excerpt from the Manual of Magic.

Magic, is the conjuring of circumstances without a perceptible progression. In other words: now you don’t see it, now you do.

Whereas perceptible progression might be like cooking a fried egg: you place a pan down on the stove, turn it on, feel it getting gradually warmer, crack an egg into the pan, watch it solidify due to heat, flip it and see that both sides toasted up, move it to a plate and voila!, it was an obvious and observable series of events.

Magic on the other hand, would be like having an empty plate, waving a wand over it, and seeing a nicely fried egg appear in its place. Yet THIS is actually closer to what I experience on Earth rather than a systematic approach. I know what you’re thinking: “Rich, you’re just a pampered buffoon that is so ignorant and so incapable, that others must continually make up for your shortcomings!”

Well however you want to explain it, I experience magic. When I’m hungry, I walk into a room where there’s warm delicious food just waiting for my consumption. I don’t know the specifics of how it got there and there’s no way I could reproduce it myself — it’s a work of art. While I could prepare a basic fried egg, this spread is way more advanced than that.

Or for Christmas, when I received an Apple Watch. I went over to Amazon, saw the low price of a Series 3, tapped to purchase, and now it’s on my wrist. How did all that happen? Nothing became something — right before my eyes. And if you try to think of every step that went into the production of an Apple Watch, it would be fantastically complicated, a procedure that I most certainly could NOT reproduce myself — so at least from my perspective, it’s magic.

If you took a thousand people, they still couldn’t make an Apple Watch from scratch — just the mining process alone would be enough to put the task out of reach. It makes me think of Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” And it’s true, an iPad, the Internet, my Google Home device that I talk to — I don’t know how any of that stuff functions, and it literally took a global effort to create them. Five-thousand random people left on a deserted island couldn’t replicate most of our technology.

My point is this: we live in a world in which I can summon my desires into existence. Something’s not there, now it is. That’s magic folks. There is no perceptible progression. I don’t see the mining process, the refinement, the designing, the engineering, the marketing, the shipping — all that effort happens behind the scenes and no random-joe can replicate it. All I know is that I wave my hand above a glowing screen, an effortless action — and voila, my wish is granted.

Magical Manifestations

Through your repetitious ways, you’ve been performing magic all along. But because of your negativity, you’ve been manifesting unpleasant things. Whenever you experience stimuli, you pessimistically interpret the worst — and those expectations are regularly fulfilled.

You feel a tingle in the body. “I must be coming down with something.” Wish granted. A phone rings. “It must be bad news.” Wish granted. You want a sweet treat. “This is unhealthy and will harm my body.” Wish granted. You want a better life. “I don’t deserve it.” Wish granted. You want a new car. “That’s impossible, I can’t afford it.” Wish granted.

Your power is impressive. But a simple question must be asked. Why would you direct such power toward the fulfillment of things you don’t prefer? Obviously you wouldn’t do it on purpose. But your power is so great, that you even confounded yourself. The first sentiment you felt when you entered this world was: “This feels weird, this must be pain, I don’t like this.” Wish granted. And life proceeded thusly.

You made a mistake. This world is actually a benevolent experience. It’s a fulfillment generator, a wish-granting world. But be careful what you wish for: if you seek the worst, you’ll receive the worst. And there’s a rule of absolute-value as well: negating doesn’t work. For example: “I wish for no more pain” translates to “I wish for more pain”.

Whatever subject-matter you breathe life into, manifests before your eyes. Think it, see it. If you don’t want something, keep it out of your head, replace the space with something you DO want. For example: while outside today, my mind interpreted the sensation on my body as “bitter cold”. I heard my mind repeating “I’m so cold”. I stopped my mind’s chatter and replaced it with “I’m warm and cozy”. The breezy sensation I felt didn’t need to be interpreted as “cold”, it was just a sensation. I felt a lot better after that.

Don’t let the repetition of the mind tell you something you don’t prefer. Stop it, replace it. In this way, re-program your experience here on Earth.

Illogical Outcomes

I’ve noticed that sometimes I persistent in an endeavor despite any perceptible improvement. In other words, I know what I want to accomplish and I keep working at it, yet I have zero progress to prove I’m headed in the right direction. Then finally, after a long bout of activity fueled by determination, the goal is achieved. That’s strange. It’s not logical.

Imagine it like this: I want some food from the supermarket, so I get in the car. I drive around and around for awhile and finally find myself in the parking lot. I didn’t follow a particular route, I just drove and made turns whenever I felt like it. Yet for some reason, I successfully arrived at my destination. That’s a silly premise.

It seems as though life is rewarding my blind effort, or simply fulfilling my expectation — I’m not sure which. I’ve noticed this many times: that a particular input doesn’t necessarily lead to a logical result. Logically and statistically, arbitrary activity should result in an unusable mess, not a functional product — yet oftentimes it works out in the end.

As a general recipe, persistence shouldn’t work as well as it does. It’s even offered as a common piece of advice: “Keep it up!” Logically, it makes sense to follow a systematic course of action, not simply trying the same thing over and over. This points to a non-physical foundation of reality. In the mind for example, when we’re trying to remember something, repetition makes sense.

It seems like the pathways we’re trying to carve are wrought with repetition. And if that’s the way we remember it, then that’s the way it is. “Affirmations” for instance, is the practice of repetitiously writing a desired outcome over and over again. In a non-physical world, there aren’t systematic paths to goals, there’s only a wish and an expectation of outcome.

But just because we want something, doesn’t mean we expect to receive it. Oftentimes we don’t feel we deserve it or we think it’s impossible from a logical standpoint. So in order to align our expectations with our wish, we must instill in ourself a sense of worthiness AND forget about logic. The way to accomplish this is through repetition.

That’s not so easy by the way, persistence requires patience. First you must define what it is you actually want. Then you have to believe yourself deserving of it. Then you must have hope, which is hard because you’ll lack physical proof of progression. Logical thinking will constantly get in your way, so it must be dismissed. But if you keep it up, you too will become a master of magic.

Pursuit of Slack

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.

Brownie the Christmas Elf

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.