Showing posts with the label Life

Why Dave Chappelle is a Hero

Dave Chappelle came out with a new Netflix comedy special called "Sticks and Stones". Ironically, it hurt some people's feelings. I think the humor is decent, but that's not the most important thing about this. More than the humor, it's the heroic nature of Chappelle's endeavor.

Comedians aren't normally associated with heroism. But, let's look at what heroism is. If I search it online I find this definition: a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

I think that's pretty good, but I think I can get to a deeper and better definition. A hero is a person that makes sacrifices to fight evil. In other words, a hero has to be both strong and good. That is the essence.

What is the evil that Dave Chappelle is fighting? It's the politically correct culture that enjoys the tyranny of the mob and seeks to destroy individuals. He mentions that it has become "celebrity hunting season" and tha…

What does your perfect day look like 5 years from now?

Matt Baxter of The WedgeCast podcast asked me a few weeks ago at a meeting what my perfect day would look like 5 years from now. I didn't have an answer, and he told me to get him one.

Here's the response that I came up with, although my certainty about it varies from day to day.

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And, I've been thinking about that day. Here's my attempt: one group meeting in person centered around some type of individual/social improvement, a couple of 1 on 1 meetings centered around individual development, some writing in philosophy and/or fiction, some reading in fiction and non-fiction, time outside such as a walk, motorcycle ride, or horseback ride, an episode of television, and time with my romantic partner. A warm shower and some decent food would be nice too.

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When I sent him that response he asked me why I couldn't do that now. I had been thinking the same thing. On certain days I do basically hit all of those points. And yet, I'm still not fu…

My Music List; Or, What I Listen to While I'm Writing

I'd heard about people that listen to music while they're writing. I thought it was crazy.

I was taking a writing class from Shonda Rhimes a couple of years ago. She wrote the tv show "Grey's Anatomy", along with a number of other tv shows. She mentioned that she listens to music while writing. "How odd," I thought. It seems like you would need to focus, and you couldn't while music was blaring in your ears.

Maybe she listens to classical music or something. It seems like having words ringing through your head while you're trying to write would be difficult. Nope. Shonda Rhimes listens to heavy metal while she writes. Crazy. That is, until I tried it.

Probably around a year ago now I decided to listen to a few of my favorite songs while trying to write. Just as an experiment. I wrote faster and better. I was surprised. Now, I almost always listen to music while I write. I can write anywhere, any time, but I prefer to be standing in front of a co…

Romance Vs. Love

Romance and love are not the same thing.

In my last article I worked on coming to a better understanding of what love is. While the dictionary definitions of love are okay, the definitions for romance seem bad. They all seem to say something like the feeling of mystery associated with love. Meh. Maybe. Maybe it's about the unknown possibilities of the future. I could make a case for that. But I'm going to go a different direction.

If love is either a valuation, an identity fusion, or an incorporation of another's value scale, romance is the process of falling in love.

When you're eating a food just because your friend pressured you into it, then, after a few chews, you realize that you like it. Then, after another bite, you realize that you really like it. Then, after another serving, you realize that you love it. That process of moving from indifference to love was romance. We don't usually recognize it as such because we don't know what romance means, but ala…

Three Types of Love

This will be a light and quick attempt to reach a better understanding of the multiple essences that lie beneath the confusion surrounding the definition of love.

I think the dictionary definitions of love are decent. They basically say it's these different kinds of feelings of attachment. Fair enough. I'm going to try to do better based on my own observations in life. A few years ago I gave a speech on the two types of love. My thoughts on the subject are becoming more sophisticated, and hopefully more useful.

First, we have valuation. This can be of a person or a pretzel with that weird plastic-like cheese. It's a spectrum. You value some things more than others. This basic observation is important in the work ranging from the economist Ludwig von Mises to the psychologist Viktor Frankl. Value hierarchies are how we navigate life.

I used to go to this breakfast restaurant in Muskegon called Mr. B's Pancake House when I worked in the bookstore at Baker College. I love…

Life is Full of Downs and Ups

For some reason people like to say that life is full of "ups and downs." The reverse is better.

Here's a post that I made recently.

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There are downs and ups in life. I went to the state police in Rockford today and wasn't able to file, but I found some next steps forward. I talked to someone in Senator Debby Stabenow's office and she won't be releasing a statement in support of the farm, but I was offered encouragement. Five people in the wedding ceremony weren't at the rehearsal today, but we made a lot of decisions that had to be made. Downs and ups are better than ups and downs.

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Now, I can make the case that "ups and downs" is more correct. I did create the saying, "A happy ending is a story that hasn't ended yet." But, we get to choose which part of the timeline we focus on in a story. And, while you're in the story, I think it's best to always be trying to bring things to an "up."


Zuby and Passive People

A rapper named Zuby posted a video of a guy in a restaurant choking. No one did anything. The guy is signaling to people that he's choking. Almost no one even looks at him. It's disturbing. Then, out of the left side of the screen a guy runs over and gives the choking man the Heimlich maneuver and saves his life. The video ended by saying that the guy was a hero. Yes, I agree. But what about all of the other people?

The other people are little better than plants, or pet animals at best. Domesticated, quiet, passive, submissive, and useless in any important situation. They've been trained to be cogs in a wheel. Without being told what to do they do nothing. Bred to be serfs.

I posted this in response to Zuby's post on Twitter.

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It's amazing. The older I get the more I realize that most people are almost completely passive, scared, fearful, and pathetic little creatures. Courage and initiative are rare. We watch and read hero stories so we don't real…

Nothing is more important than...

I came across that sentence when I was reading a book about a week ago. It's stuck in my head. "Nothing is more important than..." It's an odd way to phrase a superlative, something that is at the extreme.

I've gone through a number of iterations. I'm still uncertain about these answers, and I think that's a major life problem. If you aren't certain about your superlative values then your action will be erratic because your intentions are, which is what you see in my life. But, I have been working on some answers that make sense.

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Nothing is more important than...

...confronting loss by adjusting expectations to match reality.
- ...helping people to confront loss by adjusting expectations to match reality.
(These are of four kinds: 1) False expectations of the future. Which is a feeling of loss. 2) False expectations of the past. Which is a feeling of guilt and/or regret. 3) False expectations of the past-future. Which is a feeling of los…

Writing is a Life Skill

I was recently contacted about being in a history book about Toastmasters District 62. I was the first person to complete an entire path in the Pathways educational program. I was asked for a quote. If asked, could you produce a good and original quote on request?

I asked how long the quote should be and was told a paragraph would be perfect. So, what did I do? Here it is.

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When I was 19 I climbed Mt. Rainier. At that particular moment in my life I had made no plans beyond getting to the summit. When I accomplished that I had this weird feeling. A slight disorientation. That disorientation was because I lacked a next step, I lacked a future. The purpose of a path is to provide you with that next step. I was the first person to complete a Pathway in Toastmasters District 62. I completed that path the same way I climbed the mountain, one step at a time. Follow the path and it will lead you to your destination. And when you're near completion, begin planning for your nex…

Skimming Across the Top of the Soul in Search of Things Hidden There

Yesterday was the Fourth of July and I did a number of normal things, like walking in a parade and going to the playground with some of the family. It was also a good day for some important insights.

One, I can't do a non-strict diet. Even though my digestive, immune, and nervous systems have healed quite a bit over the last few years, I can tell when I'm doing things my system can't handle and it definitely effects me. Over the last few weeks I went with the idea of, "Just a little bit will be fine." And, to a large extent, I can handle some "normal" foods. But, I do better on a strict diet of meat and kefir. And, I can't seem to handle cheating on that. I thought something like Ice Cream Sundays would work, where I would have one serving of ice cream on Sunday. As soon as I started thinking about doing that I started slipping on a regular basis, for both physiological and psychological reasons I believe. It's strict or nothing, and I have a lo…


I am completely burnt out. It's my fault, obviously. I have a mental issue, failure to consistently choose priorities.

I have known about this issue for most of my life now, but I haven't been able to resolve it. And, realistically, I'm ambivalent about it. One of the reasons that I've been able to do so many cool things is because I'm all over the place. But, it definitely holds me back. Let's go over a few of things I'm working on and how I'm trying to manage them, and then we'll dive into some theory on how I might be able to resolve some of this.

I've been driving so hard over the last few weeks on the political battle with Dalton Township that the stress wore me out. A couple of days ago I fell asleep while reading, woke up, stumbled into the kitchen and opened the fridge, and there, right in my face, was some pizza. I ate two pieces. I just wasn't mentally prepared at that moment for it to be there, to resist the temptation. Well, my d…

Notes on Horsemanship

I've always liked horses, I just haven't interacted with them much. A handful of years ago I took some private lessons and worked up to jumping over little gates. It was fun. Then, I ended having health issues after almost dying in Africa, and then I had complications with my spine, and now it's been years since I've been on a horse. Over the last few weeks I've tried motorcycle riding for the first time in years, and I've been fine. Soon I'm going to give horseback riding a try. I have some hesitancy about it, because it could go very bad for my health. But, as a step on that path I went to a 2-day horsemanship seminar at Chance Stables put on by Phil Oakes.

Last year I noticed that there was a horsemanship seminar going on near me. I looked into it just a little and learned that Phil Oakes is known for his gentle methods used to create gentle horses. I like that, it goes well with my spine that needs gentle treatment. But, last year I was not anywhere nea…

Curiosity Saved the Cat: Mind, Body, and Soul

I was recently observing my cousin's five cats interact, and I was also recently at another house where there were a few cats. One cat would come out and want to be petted. Another would hide. One cat would jump at a toy and play with it. Another would run away and hide. There are always differences in the cat personalities, but at base there are really only two main perspectives that a cat can take on life.

Curiosity is the thing that encourages exploration. Exploration and fear are both ancient circuits in the brain. To a large extent motivation is linear, you can move towards something or away from it. You can approach or you can avoid.

When something is new it's natural to be afraid. Not being afraid is what is learned. For instance, if you take a cat to a new environment and drop it off then the first thing that it will do is stand still, tense, ready, and look around. It's trying to get its bearings, it's trying to orient itself in its new environment. The first …

Life: Expansion, Limitation, and Success

Life is about collecting experiences. Or, at least, that's how I've lived a large portion of my life. I think it's a valuable attitude, but I also think it falls short in some ways. Specifically, it doesn't include creative or attitudinal values. But, I've operated under that life philosophy for so long that it's a strong habit now, and maybe I have a natural tendency to be that way too. So, I'm going to dump some of my mind in here and see if I can come up with any new, good, or useful thoughts.

An Amish friend of mine asked me today if I would be interested in taking some of his products to the farmers' market in Holland.

Yesterday, a friend of mine asked me if I would go to car auctions with him because he owns a small car lot.

At a business meeting yesterday someone told me that I should dive into the book and publishing industry in some way because I seem quite knowledgable about it.

I would like to pursue all of these things, but that's the pr…

Ambitions 3

I've been trying to become more focused for the last decade. It hasn't worked. That's one of the good things about being way overwhelmed at the moment, it's made me start to think about the structure of my ambitions more.

The areas that I want to focus on are: art, business, philosophy, health, romance, adventure, politics, and religion. Eight areas of focus isn't focus at all.

All of these areas aren't as important as each other though, especially at any given time. So, I think I might have found an organizational structure that allows me to hold them in my head in a reasonable way, so that I can assess if I'm applying the appropriate amount of attention, energy, and effort to the correct things. A three-tier system.

I tried to arrange these in a strict ordinal system, one to eight, a number of times. I've tried something like that many times over my life, but it's never worked. My priorities and values just move around too much. But, with a three-…

I Rode a Motorcycle Today, and I was Reborn

My cousin April let me take her motorcycle for a couple hour test ride today as an experiment to see if my spinal deformities would allow me such an endeavor. The occasion seems to call for a poem.

I think this might come out as some sort of fairy-tale mixed with "The Charge of the Light Brigade" by Tennyson. My point is, it might get crazy. Maybe there will be a little influence from the song "American Pie". Alright, I have no idea what's going to happen.

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Through the woods and across the township line,
toward grandmother's house he rolled,
past a humble abode,
rode the one-hundred less than one-hundred and one.

North by west,
across the flowing waters and above the single person ships,
past the tree unsold,
rode the one-hundred less than one-hundred and one.

By the graves of the dead,
and the graves of the dying,
and the graves of the living,
rode the one-hundred less than one-hundred and one.

To the water's edge,
southward diversion,

Un-Birthday Presents

I've found the normal method of giving gifts on birthdays and holidays to be boring. Oddly enough, I just found out today that Humpty Dumpty thought the same thing.

I'm reading "Through the Looking-Glass" by Lewis Carroll with one of my students, Carrie. It's the sequel to "Alice in Wonderland". Today we read a section where Humpty Dumpty is explaining the concept of un-birthday presents to Alice.

I've thought the same thing for years. Everyone is both expecting and already getting gifts on their birthday and on holidays. What's better is to give them one at some other time, when it's more interesting to receive something you aren't expecting. Here's part of the conversation between Humpty Dumpty and Alice.

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‘It’s a cravat, child, and a beautiful one, as you say. It’s a present from the White King and Queen. There now!’

‘Is it really?’ said Alice, quite pleased to find that she had chosen a good subject, after all.


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…

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…

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