Ten years ago I was compelled to write, so I picked up a journal and a pen and I started writing. The main purpose of writing for me was to document my thoughts, emotions, experiences. Doing this has helped me objectify my day to day life, or sometimes shed light on perspectives that don’t seem to be very helpful. A conflict I’ve always felt I’ve carried with me is how different I feel from general society, the very distinct feeling that I don’t fit in. This feeling over time has manifested in a very strong need to design a life I want to live. Idealistic in nature and very romantic at heart. I’ve set out on the path to do just that. Currently I find myself in the very chess like strategy stage, setting goals down the line and slowly manipulating my day to day moves to achieve that goal. However, life is the greatest chess player, exposing weaknesses, throwing variations you never anticipated or could see… but you must keep moving forward, even if you can’t quite see how.
I’ve never asked myself why I like writing, why I consider it my passion, even in spite of not being very good at it, until this morning. This morning during my walk I decided to listen to the Tim Ferriss podcast, this particular podcast happened to be about psychedelic drugs, specifically Ibogaine, 5-MeO-DMT & Ayahuasca. I was moved to a very strong feeling of excitement, hope & curiosity by this podcast. I tend to get this sort of “high” feeling when listening to podcasts, specifically ones that involve the pulse of change in human behavior, or as Tim Ferriss calls it, human performance. For the first time today instead cashing in on the “high” feeling I get from the podcasts I started to question that feeling… Why do I get that feeling? What is it about these podcasts that make me feel high? These questions seems to scratch the surface of something very primal in me.
I’m very much in love with human behavior and not just in the sense of the psychological map, but in the sense of the whole organism and how every aspect of life can combine in an infinite way to illicit innumerable experiences of life. This to me as fascinating as it is extremely terrifying. On one hand, like the silly movie The Secret clumsily tries to explain, you have all the ability in the world to achieve your deepest goals and dreams. Yet on the other, you are also tethered to a culture that has been designed by people before you… Dreamers who want to change the world and their capitalist counterpart.
As far as I can tell human behavior can be considered synonymous with the inquisition of change and development. However, in modern culture we find ourselves ushered into streams of specific thought, most obviously starting in our schools, I like to call these thought casts. A thought cast is the formal training one gets through adolescence into early adulthood, for the preparation of becoming a contributing citizen. The inner rebel in me wants to hate this concept, however, the inner integral thinker cautions me to stay positive with this concept to see it through.
I’ve always loved the punk culture, I think in part because I could relate to the whole not fitting into society, but also because I thought mohawks were pretty hot. Although that culture didn’t last, as most time-stamped subcultures don’t, I think it was the breakdown of the punk culture that really honed in on a very important truth that I needed to find in myself. You can’t work or function outside of society, without first going through it. This perspective is why I believe it’s important to realize that the thought casts we’re molded into are important stepping stones but not the end goal.
‘So what is the next step?’ To me the next obvious step is to start exercising thinking outside of the cast, and this next step is the reason I get so excited when I listen to a Podcast that stimulates this part of my brain. There are people already starting to think differently, most notably in the drug culture, but not limited to. I find that technology also has really stimulating perspectives, getting people to think about the future and how it will be, how they can contribute to improving it. I want to emphasize that I’m leaving the arts out of this category for a reason. As arts are creative in nature, they’re not the goal, they’re the conduit to help us exercise this way of thinking, but not the goal.
What is the goal? I wish I knew. I can only answer this in retrospect… The goal is not to imprison people to a desk or job for a now growing 9, 10, 11, 12 (and on) hour work day. This has to change for optimal human performance. I may not have the answer to solve this modern day riddle, but I can tell you that every day I work toward solving this riddle. I work towards creating strengths in my overall life, developing resilience to whether whatever storm comes next. Patiently (kind of, patience is part of my daily practice), silently watching and waiting.
I’m not sure where we will all end up. There’s part of me that’s terrified at the level of output necessary to be successful in society right now. The level of detail required has seemingly multiplied ten times, humans are naturally flawed, yet there’s no room for flaws right now. Suck it up, make it happen, fall apart if you have to, just make it happen. Chewed up and spit out. Our brains have not been taught how to handle this level of output, the plasticity of creativity is needed now more than ever, yet we think in black and white, because we’ve only been trained to look in retrospect… this is the thought casts we’re stuck in. Looking back to move forward.