For Posterity\’s Sake

 The President of the United States does not concede the election but he does do the right thing and release the GSA to do its job (note, the bottom tweet came first):

It is only 20 days since the election and 16 days since it was clear that Biden won.
I\’m not a Trump fan. But if he wasn\’t such a gross criminal and immoral person, just covered up a little, he would have won the election.
Even kindergarteners know how to play nice.

The Gordian Knot of 2020 Existence

 The Gordian knot is a metaphor for an intractable problem, a problem of untying an impossibly tangled knot. According to Wikipedia, the intractable problem is easily solved by finding an approach to the problem that renders the constraints of the problem moot. Hummm…constraints. Is the problem so big that I feel powerless to do anything? Is the problem a reality that cannot be changed? Constraints suddenly suggest to me a lack of freedom in some way. The intractable problem has got me tied up, constrained. 

Humans are unbelievably good at worrying over problems until they realize a solution.

What is my modern Gordian knot? It is the coronavirus pandemic? Is it our divided country with a stalemated government? Is it the elites robbing the middle and lower classes? Is it the struggle of day to day life where you seem to slip back a little every day? These problems might be the Gordian knot for society at large and worried over by the media.

My life\’s Gordian knot is not these outer circumstances. My Gordian knot is the conundrum of being and Being. Who am I really? Who or what is Being Itself? I feel the overlap of my being and Being Itself. My desire for more consciousness seems to be what forms the Gordian knot, a knot that is hopelessly tangled. I despair of having the level of self-transcendence that I desire. Pure existentialism is my Gordian knot.

I sought Being through drug or alcoholic euphoria, through ultra-marathons, through fasting, through monastic life. In the end, I am here alone with my being. Alone? Well no. It is quite easy to behold Being in my awareness when I quietly focus without grasping.

Consciousness itself is the Gordian knot of every human being. No matter the circumstances, all of us wonder, some of the time, about what we are doing here. Some of us ponder the question incessantly, continuously seeking depth and meaning. Others do not have much time for pondering as the concerns of survival are far more urgent. But all of us pick away at the knot.

Did Jesus have the answer? The Buddha? Does the Dali Lamma have the answer at the moment? Love? Is the answer ineffable, a thing that can be sensed but not articulated? Who am I to play amateur philosopher anyway?

In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche says, \”In spite of all the value which may belong to the true, the positive, and the unselfish, it might be possible that a higher and more fundamental value for life generally should be assigned to pretense, to the will to delusion, to selfishness and cupidity. It might even be possible that what constitutes the value of those good and respected things, consists precisely in their being insidiously related, knotted and crocheted to these evil and apparently opposed things–perhaps evening being essentially identical with them (12).\” ( the bold is mine)

Knotted!

You cannot have meaning without the meaningless. Or truth without lies. Or wisdom without the foolish. Many others have said this before me. What one of us is not a tangle of truth or delusion and falsehood? This contrast cannot be avoided in any human life. 

Am I concerned for the soul of a nation or my own soul? What would Jesus do? Hardley any of us would go into the desert with Jesus. Life is too hard out there, too harsh, too stark. Yet, facing my own being, my own tangle of truth and lies is harsh. It takes a desert of only sand and sun to see what really is there.

Love. What the fuck! Take a deep breath. Would another cold shower help? I\’m not Wim Hof. Despair? Is that what this is? Humans despair of ever knowing their own truth? Fucking Gordian knot. No, I haven\’t answered any existential questions.

Freedom is in facing the Gordian knot of my own existence, facing the chaos, and shouldering a good life anyway. Despair is balanced, or maybe even overcome, by forward motion. Despair is long forgotten when I am working on an expansion project. The Gordian knot does not exist for me when I\’m engaged in being fully alive. In this sense, the material world where I can achieve transcends the material world of pandemics and governmental chaos. But both are needed.

I went for a run today. I went to the forest for 10 miles. It is cloudy, misty, and cooish. I loved running. A plane could be heard overhead, but not seen due to the clouds. Birds were heard overhead, and I could see them in the trees. The cloud of unknowing is what exists above me, but it doesn\’t matter. I know what is up there anyway.

Feeling Successful

 Yesterday, Thursday, I went for a 15 mile jog in the forest. It was lovely to leisurely consume miles. The leaves are down. The weather is coolish trending towards cold. 

I\’ve been listening to a good deal to Jordan Peterson on YouTube. Jordan is a psychologist and university professor. He is most well known for his book 12 Rules for Life. I\’ve been fascinated by his Biblical analysis of Genesis. In passing, he talks about Friedrich Nietzsche. I heard about Nietzche\’s Beyond Good and Evil. I just got the book and started reading it. Some philosophers are too difficult for me. Like, I gave up on Jean-Paul Sartre\’s Being and Nothingness. Nietzche seems readable. 

Jordan Peterson is an intellectual and highly educated. He is a very impressive thinker. He advocates making the best of your life. He explains why you\’ll never get it done, the challenge of being human, and having consciousness. He explains why you are not happy unless you are expanding. David Goggins is an athlete who is extremely different than Jordan Peterson, yet, he advocates the same thing. Do the most with your life. As I have moved into being a college student, I\’ve been feeling like I actually am making the most of my life. I have the brains to learn to understand complicated issues and write in-depth. I get excited about it. 

On Tuesday, a magnificent thing happened. I accidentally found out about a neuroscience course from MIT which I could take online. I was thrilled. I am a serious student. I get excited about learning. I am hoping that I can become a student of philosophy in the future, so taking an extension course should help me get started. 

Studying and thinking and writing are my swim lane. When I stay focused on staying in my lane, my life proceeds successfully and meaningfully. I feel great. When I get out of my lane, like into politics, for instance, I don\’t feel so good. Being an athlete along with being a scholar is included in my swim lane. I feel great after 30 minutes of weight lifting and 3 hours of running. 

I won\’t be signing up for any more virtual races this winter. It is too cold to spend 6 hours jogging 26 miles outside. My racing season will finish up with two more real races in the Dallas area. 

My life has changed since I quit my job. I have a lot of school work to do. I get a lot of exercise, but I hardly interact with any people. I see other people face to face two or three times a week. The pandemic has been good to me in many ways, but I hadn\’t had to actually face isolation as long as I was working. Now, I have to face it. I have a friend who is my age. She got COVID but didn\’t suffer very much. I\’m sort of jealous about that because she doesn\’t have to worry about getting it now. However, I can\’t just go out and get sick. I don\’t know what my body would do. So I accept isolation. A reason to be careful is that I am driving a relative who is 83 years old. I intend to be healthy when she gets in my car. 

Writers and thinkers through the ages have been somewhat solitary in order to think deeply. When I was in monastic life, I learned about desert solitaries and anchoress\’. I have been long fascinated with the hermit lifestyle. On the one hand, I am living in a way that fascinates me. On the other hand, my solitude is imposed by the pandemic. 

The world is changing. Chaos brews. I watch and think and run marathons.

Letter 11/5/2020

 Good morning, or good day. Another beautiful day. I\’ve recovered from my recent ultra-marathon and looking forward to more races. I look forward to exercise period.

I\’ve been engrossed in writing essays for college. It helps a lot that the essays are on topics of interest. I become engrossed in gathering ideas and organizing them for hours. I love that my brain is engaged. I love that my thought world is expanding.

I love myself and I love all this world. The universal presence of Non-Judgement, conscious as an experience, was the result of my ultra-marathon. I can\’t really explain this knowledge but it is my reality now. Non-Judgement is the truth.

\”The philosopher is attempting to attain an eternal existence.  He is striving for release from impermanent attitudes, beliefs, and habits…he must stop fuming and fussing over this candidate and that party, and get to the place where he can perceive that all the varied and often contradictory procedures of mankind are contributing to an eternal pattern.  Growth, integrity, and ultimate perfection are inevitable.  There is nothing more disheartening to see than a group fretting itself into a frenzy determining whether a certain political party is going to overthrow civilization.\” That\’s from Manly P. Hall\’s Self-Unfoldment by Disciplines of Realization.