Understanding Grief

I gave a speech last night at the Red Lotus Art Gallery in Muskegon, Michigan. It's an area that I've been working on for most of my life now, "Understanding Grief".

Here are three places that you can watch the speech:

Most of the world

Russia and a few other places


I'm working on becoming better at communicating the concepts that I've originated in this area. The process necessary to reach a new understanding in a subject for yourself is different than the process necessary to communicate those same ideas to someone else.

I talked about grief in my series of philosophy essays titled "The Most Important Question in Philosophy". It was well received. I wrote an article titled "Aphorisms on Grief, Suicide, and Meaning in Life". It was not well received, specifically be…

Three Meanings Behind Intelligent

The word intelligent is used in three basic ways. It makes sense because these things are related, but it also causes some problems because they aren't the same. By understanding the different ways intelligent is used we might be able to understand some oddities, like intelligent people doing dumb things.

The first way that intelligent (or smart) is used is to mean fluid IQ. Fluid IQ is how good you are at recognizing patterns. That's why some IQ tests show pictures with various patterns and you are asked to complete the pattern. It's your ability to learn in the present.

The second way that intelligent is used is to mean concrete IQ. Concrete IQ is how you have used your pattern recognition abilities over your lifetime to identify different patterns in the world. It's the amount of knowledge you've accumulated. Essentially, this is every test you have ever taken. These IQ tests look like your college, university, or graduate school entrance exams. It's what yo…

Ambitions 2

I've recently tried to formulate and articulate exactly what my ambitions in life are. When I was young I had a unique view of how life should be lived. I wrote an article on it called "Living in Reverse". That worked in many ways, but now I want to transition from collecting experiences to building something. I'm not sure what that looks like, but I'm working on gaining clarity.

In the first "Ambitions" article I laid out the ideas I have about my three key areas in life: business, art, and philosophy. Here is what those look like, then I will attempt to dive into three other key areas that are important supports for the big three.

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Art ambition - remake the literary hero as non-reactionary, change how and why people value literature (an experimental and playful hyperreality for the development of enhanced behavioral patterns, our lives are narratives), make the implicit explicit for all (write on writing while writing), include essays exp…

I Went to a Writing Group Today - May 22nd, 2019

A couple of weeks ago I missed the Left to Write meeting. The next day my friend Jon emailed me and asked if I was going to come to the next one. I was sad when I realize that I had missed the meeting, I had simply forgotten to write it on my schedule. I think I made up for it today.

The meeting was at capacity today with 13 people in attendance. When I walked in I thought the entire table was already full because the only open seats had books in front of them. But, those seats were open. The book was the prompt; dun, dun, dunnn.

I sat down and looked at my book, "Ooh, 'The Law of Love' by Nora Roberts, one of my favorites." I'm joking. I can't remember what I said exactly, but I did mention that it was not a book that I would normally pick to read. I had the option to change of course, but I didn't want to.

Now, I've tried to read romances. I've tried quite a variety over the years. I've tried the classics by the Bronte sisters and Jane Auste…

Leading a Writing Group - Session 1

It's an odd story, how I came to be part of a writing group yesterday.

I went to the Muskegon Comic Con event in the spring. It was fun. I walked into the game room and was greeted by a perky woman named Holly. She convinced me to join a one-off Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game. It's an activity that has always seemed fun, but I've never found the time to participate in that world.

I invited a few people and a couple of kids joined in. Yuke led our session while also managing the gaming sales table. It was a grand adventure that took us deep into a cave looking for buried treasure. Three of the five people came out alive. One girl was able to snatch some of the gold from us, but Xavier and I were able to get most of it. Xavier turned out to be Holly's son.

While talking to Holly after the game she mentioned that she runs a homeschool group that uses the Muskegon Fab Lab, where people can work with 3-D printers, laser etching, virtual reality systems, and more. I …

Fighting Local Government Corruption - Part 1 of ?

In Dalton Township, Michigan we currently have corrupt and dishonest government officials attacking small farms and businesses.

It recently came to my attention that the farm that I get goat milk from has been sued by a neighbor and the township. There are three tactics that they have tried to use against Hidden Creek Farm so far. The owners of the farm explain the situation well. Then I will dive into the dishonesty that the township supervisor Tony Barnes has shown so far, the immoral and illegal intimidation tactics that they are using, and what can be done about it. Here's a post that Hidden Creek Farm made on their Facebook page:

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Dear friends, family, customers and small farm supporters,

We wanted to give you all an update on the difficult situation we have been dealing with since last Tuesday…

As you know, Lee and I have put our heart and soul into Hidden Creek Farm. Owning a farm that would serve a community with healt…

Tales Within Tales - Part 1 of ?

Two weekends ago I stayed with my aunt to be closer to the wedding that I was officiating for my cousin. Since I don't have a radio in my car I had a few hours to think about writing ideas on the drive over. I've been wanting to try this crazy idea for awhile, so we worked on it while I was there.

I want to use fables and fairy tales in a multi-layered frame story. I'll talk about what that is in a moment. I wrote down the fables and fairy tales that jumped to mind.

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The 3 Little Pigs
Humpty Dumpty
Little Red Riding Hood
Pietr and the Dike
The Fox and the Grapes
The Boy Who Cried Wolf

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A frame story is when you have a story within a story. For instance, you have a character walk into a bar and he starts talking to someone. This other person begins to tell a story. We become fully immersed into the other story and that's what the book is mostly about. At the end we usually pop back out into the bar scene before the book ends. Frame d…

My Failures - Part 1 of ?

I have been fretting over starting this article for two days.

The basic idea here is that I have made various errors of judgment, decision, and action in the past. Because I have not adequately examined these errors I have not sufficiently developed the ability to avoid them in the future and do better. To do better in the future we must learn from the past. To develop foresight we must develop hindsight. A number of psychologists and philosophers talk about this. My favorite is Jordan Peterson. Here are two selections from his paper "Self-Deception Explained", and one from "Complexity Management Theory". (Somewhere he expresses the exact idea that I'm using better, but I can't find it at the moment.)

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...not only do those who avoid get worse, but those who voluntarily expose themselves to the anxiety-provoking and depressing – even if extremely traumatic – get better! Pennebaker and colleagues have demonstrated, for example, that normal indivi…

Explorations in Business - Part 3 of ?

This is my third time trying to write this article in the last two weeks.

Here was my last attempt.

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I always wanted to have an interesting life, and I do.

I have done the classics like mountain climbing, skydiving, alligator wrestling, whitewater rafting, running with bulls, scuba diving, ice luging, road tripping, etc. I officiated my second wedding this weekend, I just arranged to borrow the staffs, swords, and dueling pistols for one of my four speeches at the Harry Potter festival in Sparta, Michigan this summer, I'm writing notes for the comic book I'm working on, and the philosophy papers I'm working on, and the fictional tales I'm working on, and I'm editing horror stories for the "Horror Without Borders" anthology for the Russian publisher I'm working with. All of that just starts to hit on the interesting things I've done, but I have a bit of a problem.

Since I've focused so much on doing interesting things that almost a…


What do I want? It's a huge question.

There are different ways to try to answer the question. You can try to divide life up into certain time periods and decide that way, you can try to divide it up into different areas, you can just go with what feels right, you can try to do the logical thing, you can copy people, you can do what you're told to do or what is expected of you, or you can avoid the question. I have always found the question hard on long time scales, but I've usually been pretty good at deciding on things in a few weeks or even a couple of months away. The major problem with that is that the time isn't long enough to do many of the most significant things. Then your life has no structure and tends to devolve into chaos. You can have some awesome adventures, as I have, but you need a different focus if you're going to do more than that. I'm going to try to make some progress on this here.

Logically I know that I need money, but for some reason I h…

Heretical Poetry

My favorite quote is, "The heretic is the savior of religion from itself." I made it. It's one of those things that you come up with and it seems so profound you are amazed you were able to think of it at all.

Interesting story ideas are always popping into my head. This one came in odd little fragments, so it seemed that it may be best in the form of verse instead of prose. I have my doubts about that, but alas, here we are. Let's take a look at a first version. (I was looking through various myths along with the insane poetry of E. E. Cummings and Bukowski when I thought of this.)

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One day
God went to see his father,
"Why am I?" he asked.
"You are
to make sense of the world." said the man.

Two day
Man went to see his father,
"Why am I?" he asked.
"You are
to make sense of the world." said God.

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It's pretty good. I think it will probably blow some people's current models of the world. It's…

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