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The Modalities of Existence

Music only has two true modalities of meter: duple and triple, from which all other meters are derived. A piece in 4/4 time is actually duple, just as a piece in 6/8 time is triple. Similarly, there are two modalities of existence: fear and love, from which all four modes are derived.

Fear only = the dark side
Love only = the light side
No fear and no love = death
Fear and love combined = insanity

This matrix is much like a Johari window.

Arena = the public self Blind spot = the private self
Facade = the blind self Unknown = the undiscovered self
COMPARE TO:
Fear and love = insanity Love only = the light side
Fear only = the dark side No fear or love = death

There are many shades of fear and love, such as sorrow, joy, guilt, forgiveness, rage, kindness, anger, and contentment. More importantly, there are two significant combinations yielding four results:

Fear of love = independence or phobia
Love of fear = courage or submissiveness

A living person cannot experience the absence of fear and love, just as a deceased person cannot experience both combined. The combination of fear and love produces all the evils of the world, including murderers, rapists, devil-worshipers, and the insane. The absence of fear and love can only be experienced in death. The quickest way to eliminate fear or love from your spirit is to kill yourself.

People with a love of fear sometimes become soldiers, firemen, astronauts, or daredevils, but more often than not, they get trapped in abusive relationships and accomplish nothing. In most of these relationships, women are controlled physically and men are controlled emotionally. A woman who loves fear will cling to a man who continually beats her, just as a man who loves fear will become obsessed with a woman who sees him as nothing more than a friend. The result is always a losing proposition for both parties. Opposites attract: a woman who loves fear will attract a man who fears love, and he will “run hot and cold” to create a “love-hate relationship.” The man punishes the woman when she demonstrates loyalty and submissiveness—he chases her when she shows any sign of courage and independence. At this point he will usually buy a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolates for her, and she will take him back once more. Once she becomes his slave again, he will return to his independent, aloof self, only demonstrating phobia when she demonstrates courage. Phobia manifests itself in “rage attacks” which always involve violence. This bipolar cycle can go on for months, years, or even a lifetime, resulting in the purchase of thousands of dollars of roses and chocolates. The entire floral and confectionery industries are built on this principle.

Similarly, a man who is obsessed with a woman demonstrates a submissive, “beta-male” attitude which repels his love interest. From time to time he will stop buying her chocolates and flowers and instead take a devil-may-care, “alpha-male” attitude which re-ignites the attraction. If he is submissive and fear-loving for too long, the relationship ends. Any couple who splits up and gets back together experiences this cycle.

Two people who fear love will usually never talk to each other, even if they cross paths regularly. Two people who love fear will do the same. It’s like trying to turn a magnet backwards and stick it on your refrigerator. It just doesn’t work.

Someone who fears love may become an independent, “lone-wolf” type, blazing his own trail of creative excellence. However, he is more likely to become schizoid and phobic. His downfall is his inability to connect to other people. While he wishes to create works of art that stand the test of time, being inherently valuable even if never viewed, his human ego prevents him from finding satisfaction in anything but adulation. Typically, he (or she) becomes a narcissist who accomplishes little but exaggerates greatly.

A person who experiences fear only will do everything he can to increase his power and invulnerability. He may hire bodyguards, build a bomb shelter, invest in cryogenics, and research immortality. Fear is just as strong a motivator as love. This people typically become politicians, religious leaders, business tycoons, or even healers. However, their purpose is never to help others—it is only to increase their own power. These people are less dangerous than the unlucky few who experience love and fear simultaneously. Their mission is to build an empire, not to destroy the empires of others. They may kill millions, but this is only “collateral damage” in an unrelated mission. It is not the central objective.

A person who experiences love only will demonstrate loving kindness to his friends and enemies alike. He will be like Jesus. His downfall is his trusting nature. His enemies will become more enraged the less they are able to provoke him, and they will eventually crucify him, literally or figuratively.

The coexistence of fear and love is a special case reserved for schizophrenics and murderers. A man who is absolutely obsessed with a woman is much more likely to kill her than a man with a healthy worldview. While fear and love are polarities, they are in fact very close to each other. Your closest friends become your most bitter enemies, just as your most bitter enemies become your essential allies. Fear and love are like East and West Berlin, with neutrality being on the other side of the world, 12,500 miles away. While most people alternate between fear and love, a man who embodies both at once experiences a living death worse than death itself. He cannot kill himself because he is already dead—he feels only agony because he is hardly living. He is insane. The most secure place for this man is a life sentence to a supermax prison, but this only minimizes his agony. If left unchecked, he will become a monster of Frankenstein proportions, destroying everything in sight, either overtly or covertly. Overt destruction produces a mass murderer who is quickly captured. Covert destruction products a psychopath who hurts a huge number of people emotionally and physically, without conscience, often into old age. Some will mistake him for a passionate, complex, and eccentric visionary, but he is no more than a rotting corpse who has died in the spirit but not in the flesh. David Rockefeller fits this profile. So does Hugh Laurie from “House, M.D.” seasons 1-5.

Love is to Jesus as fear is to Lucifer. While “Lucifer” means “to illuminate,” the devil in fact casts darkness on everything. Just as the “Ministry of Love” is the hotbed of torture in Nineteen Eighty-Four, “Lucifer” is the Prince of Darkness, a conniving, hypocritical figure.

A deceased spirit who indulges in fear will throw himself into a hellfire of his choosing. Usually, he will never even realize that reality is in his hands alone. A deceased spirit who indulges in love will go to whatever he perceives heaven to be. Sometimes, he will not realize he has chosen the path of light, but more often than not, he will be self-aware. Jedi are much less likely to experience “learned helplessness” than Sith. A man who places himself in hell deliberately is a frightening creature. His drug of choice is sado-masochistic self-torment.

Anyone who believes a divine being will condemn anyone to eternal hellfire is walking the path of fear. Sadly, this includes most church-goers. “Repent or you will burn” is nothing more than a scare tactic. Any preacher who espouses this is rooted in a position of fear, not love. No torment, even God’s torment, is so great that it cannot be escaped by sheer willpower. Even if your body is feeling terrible pain, you can end your life and escape to the afterlife, where you will not be bound by the rules of reality. While love and fear make interesting mixtures, true power lies in choosing one of the two modalities. Choose love or fear whole-heartedly and you will see that YOU ARE POWERFUL.

Selling Stuff

I’ve spent ten hours today and yesterday listing stuff on eBay and Craigslist to sell. Mostly new stuff, much of which I acquired many months ago from rebate grifting, and more recently, small items I purchased cheaply through an ink cartridge recycling scheme, with intent to sell. Now, that intent is a reality.

A few details: I bought 6000 empty ink cartridges at an auction for $1080 two months ago, and me and my Dad have turned in 3700 of them at Office Depot for $3 store credit coupons. We have a box of them. You can only turn in 25 per day and use 3 per day, so each time we go there we buy $9.02 worth of stuff and get $9 off. Since the cartridges were only 17 cents each, it’s a safe, though tedious way to acquire small office supplies cheaply.

Recently, that program has changed so you can only turn in 5 per day and you get the store credit back all at once on a gift card at the end of the quarter. That won’t be till February, but we continue to turn in the 1700 remaining cartridges. I’ll be able to buy a computer or a new camera eventually.

With all these $3 coupons which I can only use 3 of per day, I’ve bought markers, new ink cartridges, and tech items on clearance under $9. I’ve been reselling them sporadically, but I just got the biggest batch listed.

What I found out is that it takes a lot of effort to create 30 auctions. I used to list things on eBay occasionally, but I’d get bogged down in details. I’d feel compelled to include every detail from the packaging in each description. I’d spend 30 minutes taking a product shot with the correct light. Editing it would take longer. I’d agonize over shipping costs and debate international shipping.

All this is not any good for getting anything done. I was tempted to spend lots of time on each auction this time around, because it feels comfortable to accomplish nothing when you’ve conditioned yourself to do so. But instead, I took the photos quickly, used the grass in my yard as a background, did quick contrast adjustments in Photoshop with keyboard shortcuts, wrote shorter descriptions without deep thought, and didn’t even bother with anyone but U.S. users. I have no qualms with padding my shipping charges. Everyone expects it, and with eBay taking 45 cents + 11.15% of each sale (eBay fees + PayPal), they can live with it too.

I got all these items listed:

130269823059 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 17:09:34 PST $0.99 TWO New HP 41 Inkjet Color Print Cartridges Ink No Bids Yet
130269825000 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 17:22:07 PST $1.04 12 Mini DV miniDV Digital Video Tapes 60 min Maxell NEW jmab55
130269827607 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 17:40:09 PST $0.99 HP 14 Black Inkjet Print Cartridge Genuine NEW C5011D No Bids Yet
130269828889 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 17:49:06 PST $0.99 HP 41 Color Inkjet Print Cartridge Genuine NEW 51641A No Bids Yet
130269829947 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 17:57:08 PST $2.25 THREE Kodak No. 10 COLOR Ink Cartridges Genuine NEW icon68
130269832130 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 18:10:54 PST $0.99 9 Fire Extinguisher signs, 2″ x 8″, NEW, Adhesive, Red No Bids Yet
130269833636 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 18:21:26 PST $0.99 Speck ToughSkin Black Sport Case : iPod Nano 2nd Gen 2G No Bids Yet
130269834796 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 18:28:50 PST $0.99 Epson T036120 T0361 Black Ink Cartridge NEW Genuine No Bids Yet
130269836184 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 18:37:29 PST $0.99 Epson T037020 T0370 Color Ink Cartridge NEW Genuine No Bids Yet
130269838624 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 18:55:53 PST $0.99 4 Brother Ink Cartridges: LC31C LC31M LC31Y LC31BK NEW No Bids Yet
130269840078 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 19:04:45 PST $0.99 5 Color Maxell Mini DVD-R 8cm 1.4GB Camcorder Discs NEW No Bids Yet
130269840974 Nov-17-08 Nov-24-08 19:10:36 PST $0.99 Sterling 56K V.92 PCI Fax Modem Dialup NEW Vista No Bids Yet
130269909687 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 05:44:38 PST $0.99 Uniden TCX 905 5.8GHz Accessory Handset and Charger No Bids Yet
130269913165 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 06:08:34 PST $0.99 Rosewill 3 Port Firewire IEEE 1394a PCMCIA Card Laptop No Bids Yet
130269915385 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 06:21:43 PST $0.99 Rosewill RCX-Z775-SL Intel Heatsink & 92mm Fan NEW No Bids Yet
130269916624 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 06:29:10 PST $0.99 Brother LC31C Cyan Inkjet Print Cartridge Ink NEW No Bids Yet
130269917125 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 06:32:27 PST $0.99 Brother LC31M Magenta Inkjet Print Cartridge Ink NEW No Bids Yet
130269956469 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 09:51:12 PST $0.99 12 Foray Chisel Tip Dry Erase Markers + Erasers Colors No Bids Yet
130269959625 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 10:05:36 PST $0.99 2 Maxell Digial8 / Hi8 Blank Camcorder Tapes 120 min No Bids Yet
130270022541 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 14:25:47 PST $0.99 Staples Slimline 4 AA Battery Pencil Sharpener NEW 0 Dutch bids
130270026644 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 14:58:17 PST $0.99 20 Office Depot DVD+R DL Dual/Double Layer Discs +Cases No Bids Yet
130270029195 Nov-18-08 Nov-25-08 15:15:51 PST $0.99 Eagle 3.5-inch PATA / USB External Hard Drive Enclosure No Bids Yet

These low-margin items aren’t profitable to sell unless you’re getting them for free; I don’t expect to clear more than $200 from all these items. Postage and eBay’s fees swallow up way too much. But that doesn’t mean you should hang on to this stuff.

When I was creating these auctions, I did things differently. Before, I’d preview each auction meticulously and check for errors in spelling, categorization, product details, shipping charges. Usually I’d find none, and it would eat up a lot of time. This time around, I listed the items immediately, reviewing them after. It went much more quickly, and the few little mistakes I caught, I fixed with eBay’s revision feature. Psychologically, that helped me work much more efficiently.

Most people have way too many things, even nice new possessions like markers or paper or computer supplies. It’s easy to hoard free-after-rebate items, gifts, and things acquired cheaply, but they end up gobbling up space without providing much return. The question to ask is not “could this item be useful?,” but rather, “might this item not be useful?” If the answer to the latter is yes, get rid of the item. Sell it at a loss if you have to.

This was my first time listing on Craigslist.org. The site feels something right out of 1995. The design is clunky and simple, warnings are in bold red capital letters, all pictures I upload are compressed as tiny artifact-riddled JPEGs. But there are people, lots of people in the Daytona Beach area looking for things to sell or selling things themselves there. Community counts more than presentation. The things I listed there are generally too heavy to ship. I expect to get bites pretty quickly, as I’m getting rid of this stuff way below retail:

Microsoft Comfort Curve USB Computer Keyboard 2000 NEW – $10 (Ormond Beach)
Samsung ML-2510 Black & White Laser Printer – $35 (Ormond Beach)
HP LaserJet 1018 Black & White Laser Printer – $30 (Ormond Beach)
Brand new Staples 8.5×11 Paper Shredder – $10 (Ormond Beach)
Case of Legal Size Copy Paper (8.5 x 14 in.) 5000 sheets New – $30 (Ormond Beach)
16 Port Fast Ethernet Switch 100Mbps NEW – $15 (Ormond Beach)
Ultra ATX Mid-Tower PC Computer Case Steel NEW – $20 (Ormond Beach)
Epson Stylus Photo R260 Ultra Hi-Definition Photo Printer – $20 (Ormond Beach)

I got all the printers free after rebate or nearly so, then used up the toner or ink and put them out in the shed. They take up a ton of space, but I started getting attached to them. “These are obviously worth a lot,” I’d tell myself. “I shouldn’t get rid of them—what if they become useful someday?” The fact is, if you have something that’s going to be useful to you, you won’t even have to ask yourself if it’ll be useful—you’ll just know it. Whatever you need you can just buy later anyway, and with the prices of technological gadgets constantly falling, it will be cheaper anyway. This also means that if you wait to sell stuff, you’ll lose more money.

From holding these printers and computer towers for as much as a year, they’ve already lost value. It doesn’t bother me. It’s much better to take action now than cling to the past. I could easily hang on to this stuff for many more years never doing anything. I could console myself by saying the items are too valuable to part with. However, that accomplishes nothing and serves no one. The space I’m reclaiming can be used for new stuff like photography gadgets or chairs or tables, or I can just leave it empty so the house doesn’t feel so cluttered. Printers that you never use take up a lot of space. They take up a lot more space than useful printers, even if their dimensions are physically the same.

I bought two cases of legal size copy paper a year ago. They were clearanced at Staples for $15 each, and it was just such a good deal I had to have them. Each case weighs 70 pounds, after all. It must be valuable. Surely it is, but to whom? Not to me. I have no use for paper that’s 14 inches long. I could say that I might in the future, but I’d be conning myself. Never in a million years will 140 pounds of legal size paper be worth owning. If I got them as a gift I’d accept them, but only to sell to someone else. It’s much more important to get rid of these space-eaters now, rather than deceiving myself into thinking they might become useful. I can always buy new stuff, but I can’t always get rid of old stuff.

You can make money selling your stuff, be it your creative art or the trinkets you’ve collected. It takes effort, though. I still spent too long writing all the descriptions and taking photos of all this junk, and I could never do this as a profitable business. I can rejoice that I am making progress in getting rid of a large amount of stuff and earning a small amount of money, because it would have been easy to get nothing done today. Don’t cry over wasted time in the past, but look toward what you can do in the present. It actually makes no different if you’ve been operating below the capacities of your talents for years or decades, because that is irrevocable now. The time in the future is also going to come to pass whether you like it or not. Thinking like this gives me a lot of motivation. I used this on my last physics exam, where I studied the problems and formulas for over a dozen hours even though I’m near-failing in the class. I could stay depressed because I didn’t put in enough effort earlier in the course, but that’s over and done with regardless of my feelings.

Now I know why people have garage sales and sell stuff so cheaply. Most people, myself included, go through six-month periods where they acquire lots of stuff. Everything I’ve bought has been at fair prices, even free, but most of it has outlived its usefulness or was never useful to begin with. When you’re evaluating an item to purchase, you must not ask “is this a good deal?” You must ask “will this item help me a lot?” If the answer is yes, it might be that you should buy it even if it’s over-priced. If you’re dying of thirst, it’s a great deal to pay $100 for a bottle of water. But if the answer is no, the item isn’t worth buying at any price. I’m starting to think in this manner, so I should be able to end the garage sale cycle right here.

The other key is to simply stop buying things. If you’re going to buy something to resell, it has to be something you’re going to list on eBay or at your own shop within the next day. If you aren’t committed to flipping it within the next week, don’t buy it. If it’s a really great deal, become committed. It’s quite simple. We just have the tendency to make it way too complicated.

I love my material possessions. I have a camera and lenses I used every day to create art, a computer with two monitors that lets me communicate my thoughts and creativity to others, a good color and black and white printer that does the same for hard copy, a piano I play occasionally, hundreds of prints of my photos I give out to people, clothes that I enjoy wearing. But the camera I had three years ago that’s now broken is not a possession I love, because it’s not useful to me. I should probably throw it out. It’s not doing anything as a relic.

Objects that have sentimental value usually have less sentimental value than you think. Having a whole bunch of small trinkets you never use on your desk is even worse, because they’ll stop you from thinking. I become a lot more productive with a clean desk, even if I’m just typing at the computer. I need to work on that.

At least move the stuff from your desk to a drawer, or under the table, or to plastic bins, as an interim measure. Throw out old receipts and paperwork. We burn them in our wood-burning stove. Moving things out of sight makes you more productive, but there’s a trap: you encourage yourself to fill your space with more stuff, while never getting rid of the junk you’ve hidden. That’s why no one can have a big enough car or house or apartment.

I want to settle this issue for myself now, so I don’t have to deal with it for the next days, months, years, decades.

If your house burning down does not seem such an unpleasant thought, then you need to clear out the clutter.

Please buy my stuff. When you do, ignore everything I just said about buying stuff. :cool:

Reframing Negativity

2009-12-20 Update: You need some negativity in your life to balance out the positivity, so be careful so as not to reframe all your negativity. :smile:

At the college, we have a ritual each semester where we have to evaluate our professors. Student feedback, or so it’s called.

There are 14 categories, including things like “gives examples,” “answers questions,” and “is fair.” You can rate 1 to 5 on each.

This seems like a negative thing, because you have to rate your professor’s performance objectively. You have to decide how he’s done, evaluate him in many categories, and then write suggestions (most people don’t do this). It’s a big responsibility, because college administrators will be judging his merits, worthiness, and teaching ability based on your report.

But in my reality, this isn’t the case at all. If you have a bad teacher, and you give him all 1’s on his evaluation, do you know what happens? He gets worse. Usually it’s quite noticeable. The next class day he will be all flustered and confused. He will say things that make no sense. The grade you’ve given him will be confirmed.

If you give him 5’s, on the other hand, he will become far better. The coursework will just start making sense to you, he’ll be expalining concepts and formulas in a clear manner, and everyone in the class will seem happier.

This totally contradicts the common belief of reality. The common belief is that your opinion is independent of circumstances or facts. But common beliefs are common in common people. You can’t expect to be extraordinary if you’re doing what everyone else does. It’s extraordinary to go from a medium telephoto lens to an extreme wide-angle lens, because everything looks so different. So pick the extraordinary lens.

With your new lens, thoughts are inextricably linked to reality. They’re one and the same. If you think negativity, you’ll give more people 1’s, and then you’ll feel more negative and more negativity will come back on you. You’ll hope to find friends and a loving partner who bring positivity into your life, but all you’ll find is negative people. No one will rescue you from negativity. By waiting for a twist of fate to change your circumstances, you’re giving up control of your life. When you hand your keys over to some other person or group, the results are never good because no one else can manage two lives. You stagnate, contribute nothing to the world, and become a boring person in general. You won’t find the happy people, because they’ll all become like ghosts. You won’t even see them. The only way to attract others is to be attractive yourself, and the way to do that is through positive action. Writing this paragraph was a very positive thing to do. :grin:

A lot of people call this the law of attraction.

When you share this with others, you can expect criticism and unrest. Many people don’t want to believe their beliefs reflect on others. If you’re influencing everyone around you, you have a lot of power, and power is a scary thing. Wielding power is more scary than being subject to it, at least initially. That’s why 95% of people are afraid of public speaking. You have a lot of power when you’re addressing a large group. You can give them good ideas or you can give them bad ideas. What if you make a mistake and people start throwing food and sharp objects at you?

Most of us are not fighting wars or being stalked by lions or starving to death. All of the fear, stress, and uncertainty at work or at the mall or among friends is 100% phony. People are not going to start throwing knives at you or machine gunning you for mispronouncing a word. Sure, you could get fired from your job or kicked out of your apartment or ostracized by your friends, but that’s highly unlikely, and if it does happen, it’s positive because you’re completely free to meet new people and make new connections. You can easily go into betrayal / heartache / revenge mode instead, but then you become a more negative person. In negative mode, you build walls instead of bridges. Bridges are better, because they expand your intelligence and influence. You might lose a few cities to roving barbarians, but it’s much safer to expand your civilization into new territory rather than to relentlessly defend what you have. Walls feel safe and secure, but they make you a prisoner. Past accomplishments are decaying and future circumstances are imaginary—the only true safety is in continued expansion a.k.a. growth.

Fears of public speaking are imaginary, because the worst that can happen is that you’ll be boring. Usually, you become boring from worrying too much about the opinions of others. But it’s not even the average opinion of the group that you’re worried about—it’s the group’s most vocal, negative members. The critics. Don’t listen to the critics.

The critics tell you to bite your tongue. Don’t share your opinions with others—you might offend them. Not everyone believes what you do. Some might find you terribly offensive. Everyone is uniquely valuable—you have no right to encroach upon the beliefs of others. I have no right to go up to people and tell them how eating meat is sapping their strength or how cancer can be readily cured.

This is often called social resistance. We conform to the demands of the least intelligent people. This manifests itself through weasel words: we pad our sentences with terms like sometimes, likely, in most people, I think, in my humble opinion, and other nonsense, to demonstrate that we have no idea what we’re talking about and should not be taken seriously. Even if we have something powerful to say, we do everything we can to disempower ourselves by dilluting the message. We refuse to talk honestly with others, for fear of offending them. If I conform to social resistance, instead of writing great articles like Don’t Vote 2008 and The Cancer Myth, I might be writing nothing. Or fluff like “do what you feel” and “there are many factors in curing cancer” (when in fact there is only one). I couldn’t look in the mirror if I was writing that stuff.

We think we have to stick with ‘safe’ subjects. What if instead, you don’t look to others for approval? Even better, believe they want to hear you. That’s much more positive. You’ll taken negativity, and you’ll flip it on its head to create positivity. It doesn’t matter if it’s objectively true—if it empowers you, the belief has served its purpose. What you’ll find is that people will agree with you more as you state your beliefs on clearer and clearer terms. I believe that film photography has no intrinsic value—it’s a much better learning experience to start with digital photography. I believe abortion is murder. I believe factory farming of animals is wrong. I believe that college education is frivilous. I don’t believe in thievery. I don’t believe in having a job. I don’t believe in renting. I’m not afraid to tell people what I believe, and they either accept it at face value or run away. Not many people run away from truth, so if you speak your mind truthfully, most people will not be offended even if you’re clashing with their opinions. If instead, I tried to mirror people I meet, I might start drinking, smoking, taking drugs, or shoplifting instead (there are plenty of people doing those things). If you don’t set your beliefs, other people will set them for you.

Thusly, it is a very positive thing to have strong opinions and to share them readily. These opinions have to be based in fact or usefulness, of course, but as long as you haven’t become the slave of your beliefs (like many people do with religion), it’s fine to have a voice. Not only is it fine, but it’s the only way to go.

If you’re proven wrong or you find a better system later, there’s no shame in announcing a correction. Most people are so afraid of being wrong that they never say anything that can be disputed. They only make easy, obvious announcements that are clearly fact, much like a computer regurgitates information. The keys on my keyboard have no mind to type what I’m typing. Do you want to be the senseless keys, or do you want to be the smart brain? In any subject, you can’t be right without the risk of being wrong. You can’t have success without the risk of failure. If you have no risk of failing, any success you have is guaranteed. This means it is completely worthless. Your success is no more than normal and expected mediocrity. Raise the stakes, because you’re not trying hard enough.

When I believed that it was in my power to “offend” other people, I was subscribing to a very negative belief. Apart from physical violence, you can’t actually offend anyone else—only they can offend themselves.

Remember always that negative people defend what they have; positive people scout for new opportunities.

Going back to the example of evaluating your teacher with 1’s or 5’s: your teacher will always get better if you give him high marks instead of low marks. It’s an indisputable fact. This question is the downfall of objectivists: is the improvement “real,” or does it merely represent confirmation bias on my part (i.e. “imaginary”). Is change really happening, or am I just seeing what I want to see?

The truth is, truth is irrelevant.

The objectivists will say that it is not ‘fair’ to everyone else if you give ‘unfair’ ratings. They’re assuming that ratings are a zero-sum game. Your evaluations should reflect your professors’ showmanship, because when you give a good score, you’re effectively giving bad scores to everyone else.

This is baloney. If you’re going to be completely objective, you should do this: give really good scores to your bad teachers, because it will result in noticeable improvement. But if your history teacher makes the Vietnam War come alive, you should give him low scores, because that will bring him back from extraordinary to ordinary. Everyone needs to be in the safe and ordinary middle.

Of course, this is hogwash, no matter what perspective you have. Even my seven-year-old sister Rachel would agree.

Objectivism is hogwash, and realists aren’t objective at all. They’re negative. Being objective is useless, because all we have is negativity or positivity. You can’t choose between good and evil by splitting your time equally between doing good and doing evil. If you’re being neutral, you’re doing nothing, and doing nothing is always negative. Forsaking your human power and potential is never a neutral decision. It can only be negative.

Most people have negative belief systems. I could say this is a negative thing, but it is in fact quite positive because it means they have many opportunities for personal growth. Though I’ve written a book worth of articles, I’m just as much a beginner as you. The limit of our potential is only the limit of our mind.

It’s easy to become negative when all you’re doing is busywork. Conversely, it’s hard to be anything but positive when you’re working for the highest good of all. Negative emotions are a sign that you’re not accomplishing enough—you need to either change focus or work a lot harder on your current projects. For me, it’s inspiring greatness in others, which I do through artistic photography and writing articles like these. Sometimes I get tired of writing so I take or edit photos instead. Usually I’m not thinking about helping others while in creative flow, but everything builds on that, even if it’s not present every second.

Negativity is just positivity in disguise.

Personal Development is for Smart People

The biggest challenge in personal development is not creating systems—it’s using them. You can know perfectly well that you need to quit your job, change religions, stop eating animals, and move to Mexico, but unless you take action, you’ll never get anywhere. In fact, as you dilly-dally, a whiny voice in your head takes over, telling you to remain complacent. You think that’s the only voice that will talk to you, so you become friends with that voice out of desperation. But it turns out that if you deny friendship with that voice, a far better, intially quieter voice will take over. That voice is your heart. The other voice is a mediocre part of your mind that gets way too much airtime.

When you kill off your naggy voice and listen to your confidant voice, you’re being smart. I’m two-tenths of the way there.

This is a review of Steve Pavlina’s book, Personal Development for Smart People, 2008 October 15. Thanks for the free copy, Steve!

Personal Development for Smart People cover

I like the title of this book. If you’re even interested in personal development, you’re way ahead of most people. Most people don’t even give a passing thought to the subject.

What happens to many smart people, is that they run into phony, substanceless personal development. Stuff like “do what you feel” and “be yourself.” Then, they dismiss the whole field as being wimpy hand-holding fluff. Psychology gets dismissed this way, too. Even photography. I’ve heard way too many artistic explanations that make no sense or sound wishy-washy, and I hold little reverence for photography schools or museums.

The problem, of course, with “be yourself,” is that in means nothing to most people. Most people think they are their jobs or their thoughts or their friends or their lives. So if your surroundings are boring, that must mean you’re a boring person. Which isn’t true, of course, because the closest thing to being yourself is being committed to personal growth. Trying to “be yourself” without knowing yourself is like trying to understand Einstein’s theory of general relativity without knowing the speed of light.

Steve Pavlina does not do this. This is a really down-to-Earth, practical piece of work.

If you’ve read his blog extensively as I have, I wouldn’t recommend this book. You pretty much already know all the stuff that’s in it, and in fact you can apply it with just a personally developed mindset.

In fact, I found Steve’s book a chore to read, and I couldn’t even finish it. I just flipped around a lot. It’s like trying to read an English paper. Or anything with an MLA Works Cited page, for that matter. When I read one of Steve’s great articles like How to Get from a 7 to a 10, Overwhelming Force, or 10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job, I feel completely engaged and motivated. He pushes against the flow, but you know he’s darn right, and he loved writing those. He completely convinced me to not work in a normal job ever. This book, on the other hand, feels like something he was forced to write. I also think there were several committees involved.

Of course, if you read any of the reviews on Amazon.com or in the blogosphere, you’ll here people saying just the opposite—that this book is completely different and revolutionary. Most books in the personal growth field are garbage anyway, and this is 100 times better than a book by Wayne Dyer or Anthony Robbins. They’re just trying to sell books and DVDs and tapes. I don’t even think they apply or like any of the stuff they write. Pavlina is writing most of these 256 pages from personal experience, but he often paints too broadly and refuses to step on toes. He crucifies organized religion on his blog, but he avoids that in chapter 13 on spirituality. While he encourages his readers to disconnect themselves from the fixed viewpoint of one faith, he has diluted his message to offend fewer people. This can be justified: he’s opening his ideas to a wider audience who may not be ready to be challenged in that manner, but that is misguided because it goes against the principle of truth. I wrote this in my conclusion 17 Lessons from 17 Years: offending others is good, because it means you’re pushing them toward their fears. The only way to conquer fear is to move toward it.

This is unimportant, though. It would be creepy if Steve’s book was entirely perfect, and it is not important to quantify truth anyway. Don’t write for the critics or write for the past. They exist only in your mind.

I like the part about how Steve left his church on page 87: “At age 17, I finally recognized I was being coerced to participate instead of being offered a truly free choice, so I left.” I’m glad I haven’t spent years in the haze—my father has identical reservations and doesn’t believe we can know all the answers. If God is at all personally developed, he’s not going to respect you if you pay lip-service to church. In fact, that’s an insult. Either be a Christian 100% or 0%. Don’t sit on the fence like most people. You can’t fool the creator of the universe.

I like how Steve keeps saying “you are the commander of your life.” You can read that and think you don’t need to read at all, but reading about personal development helps you to think in different ways, which you eventually translate into action. Most people either read way to much while never getting anything done (PD junkies), or take action repeatedly without ever stopping to think. Steve would call these ready-aim-aim-aim and ready-fire-fire-fire types, respectively. The best way is ready-fire-aim-fire-aim, which is really just trial and error. No one else can ever teach you anything, because you’re always actually teaching yourself.

The chapter on courage is the best. I like this part: “People often take circuitous paths to their goals to minimize the risk of rejection . . . The idea is that if they can sniff out a negative response in advance, outright rejection can be avoided” (page 105). I was doing this with a girl over the past month, but it was stupid to lead her on, so I just asked her to be my girlfriend because I like her a lot. That’s the wrong way to start a relationship, and I was rejected, but it’s completely better than doing nothing at all. If I could know the result ahead of time, it would in fact be awful, because I would never build any courage.

The main problem was that I was doing unattractive things (i.e. not leading, being shy, etc.), but I’ll develop those skills through baby steps. As you become courageous, powerful, truthful, loving, etc., you become more attractive toward others. So personal development is exactly the same as pickup artistry.

The other great thing about being rejected is that you can focus on 100% on forging new relationships, rather than wasting energy on people who you’re not even being truthful with. Rather than waiting and hoping for other people to take command, you exercise courage yourself. That’s what Steve’s whole chapter on courage is about. It’s actually what all personal development is about. Instead of waiting for God or other people to do things or create opportunities for you, you create them yourself through unwavering dedication and extraordinary effort. Instead of hoping someone else will sponsor my photography and make me rich / famous / successful, I don’t make wishes at all. Success must come from my own efforts, not the efforts of others.

I wish (ha ha) Steve would have spent more time debunking the concepts of true love and destiny. Those are both empowering when you’re on the right side of them, but for most people they are disempowering. If you believe in destiny, you’re giving up control over your life. You are no longer the captain. Destiny means that you have a destination, and you’ll get there no matter what you do, even if you actively thwart it. Sure, you can redefine destiny in positive terms, i.e. you’ll let no obstacles stand in the way of your dreams, but it’s better to just abandon the concept all together and call the whole thing courage. It’s the same with true love. If you have one true love, doesn’t that mean that if she is eaten by sharks or grows to hate you, you’re ruined for life? Steve’s concept of oneness says no because we’re all people, part of a larger body, connected and the same. But the real solution is that love is a condition of circumstance. True love just means there are a whole lot of circumstances piled up—hopefully ones you’ve both created through courage. That may sound bad, but it’s actually really good because it means there’s an abundance of love. You can both totally find other people if you need do, and that’s great because it eliminates fear. You have no fear of losing each other, so you can live completely in the present moment. That’s true love.

Steve defines truth, love, and power as the three principles of the universe. Three derivative principles are oneness, courage, and authority (respectively), and the consummate of the six is intelligence. It reminds me of photography. You have red, green, and blue as your primary colors. The derivatives are yellow, cyan, and magenta, and the consummate (all combined) is white. Or with subtractive (print) colors, cyan, magenta, and yellow are your primaries, blue, red, and green are your derivatives, and black is the consummate. I could draw a triangle, but I don’t feel like it.

Steve loves to tell this story about how he dropped out of college and became a shoplifter, went to jail for a while, woke up, went back to college and got his 4-year computer science degree in three semesters, then started his computer games business while becoming insanely personal developed on the side. All I’ve got is that I started college last year at 16, and the closest thing I have to shop-lifting is scamming coupons and rebates out of companies. I’m not going to go for my Bachelor’s degree, though. I’m just going to end it after getting my AA degree in computer science this spring. I don’t have a good reason to be in college. On page 235, Steve has a quote by Robert Heinlein which says “religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help.” Just replace “religion” with “college.” That’s why I refuse to go to photography school. It’s all people telling you what to do because they think they know what’s right for you. If you’re really dedicated to your art or subject, you’ll learn it all yourself and you don’t need college at all. Standardized education will just drag you down.

The first part of Pavlina’s book is theory. The second part is applications. He has lists of good habits, like “timeboxing,” batching, no-communication zones, deadlines, etc. One of these lists goes on for many pages (149-157). There’s more lists on pages 124-132, for quizzing yourself about following the principles. I didn’t care for them. The first half is much more interesting. Most people will enjoy the applications more, especially newbies to personal growth. Others will find them totally mundane.

Personal Development for Smart People is a good book, especially if you haven’t read anything of its type. If you can’t afford it, read Steve’s blog, which is even more interesting (to me at least). Right now, he’s doing this experiment where he’s eating no solid foods for three months. He’s grinding up nuts and leaves and grass and bark in a blender and drinking a gallon of that everyday. I thought that would kill you. Fascinating stuff.

Keep learning and growing.

Don’t Vote 2008

The United States presidential election is coming up on Tuesday, 2008 November 4. One of the things you’ll always hear people saying is that you have to vote because you’re exercising your democratic voice. If you don’t vote, then you’ve stated that you don’t want to have any say in our political system. Implicitly, you’re fine with the current system.

The real truth is the opposite. By voting, you’re legitimizing our elections. But why would you vote for one of two when the candidates are exactly the same? They’re both puppets to the concerns of internationalists and big corporations. Both the democratic and republican parties support the continued expansion of American empire, national socialism (corporatism), and the further creation of phony currency—and phony debt. Both parties call for “change,” but if there was change to be had, it would be happening already, because there is a constant alternation between the two parties. It’s like Coke and Pepsi. Coke and Pepsi pretend to be rivals, but their real concern is to keep out a third contender.

If you’re going to vote, don’t vote for either of these bozos. Pick a third party candidate, or vote for yourself or Mickey Mouse. That’s a protest vote, and you’re supposed to be able to do that in the American political system because you’re supposed to be able to vote for whoever you want. If I was of voting age, I’d vote for Ron Paul because he’s the only candidate who supports a capitalist, prosperous America free of empire and corporatism.

If only one percent of Americans turn out to vote, the legitimacy of the system will crumble. Our “two-party system” is no more than the choice between being killed with a blue grenade or a red grenade. If you pick the “lesser of two evils,” you’re still choosing evil. When you continually choose evil, you become a heartless person. Don’t vote for McCain or Obama. Change starts with you. The agendas of both parties are the same: to drive this country into the ground by wasting our resources as quickly as possible, fighting phony wars in other countries to kill countless civilians, all the while usurping the profits and freedoms of the citizens in the name of safety.

Safety is bogus. The only safe thing for us to do is to get out of the 100 countries we have troops in. We’ve already killed nearly a million civilians in Iraq. You won’t hear this on ABC World News, because ABC World News isn’t news—it’s propaganda. Other countries laugh at our “free speech,” because we have no love of free speech ourselves. Whenever you go into another country and bomb their people and overthrow their government, you can bet you’ll get terrorist attacks coming back on you—but only because you exercised terrorism yourself.

Terrorist attacks are relished by out military and internationalist leaders, because they’re an excuse to further restrict our freedom. We have ID cards and serial numbers. We’re photographed and finger-printed like common criminals—yet if we’re walking about free, the assumption is supposed to be that we are not criminals.

It makes no sense for an under-populated continental nation, rich with natural resources, to be obscenely indebted, and that’s what we’ve gotten from this. The founding fathers are spinning in their graves.

The big goal of Nazism a.k.a national socialism a.k.a corporatism is to merge big business with the government while robbing small businesses blind to make them unprofitable. Everyone is taxed obsessively. Then, the government gives back money and resources through social welfare programs, public schools, hospitals, libraries, etc. This giving back of resources seems nice, and most people accept it, but it’s actually a warm bath about to boil you alive.

The ultimate goal of socialism / pervasive government is to kill everyone. It’s the side of evil, and all evil can do is destroy both good and evil. From the side of evil, that’s the best outcome. The first goal is to replace worship of God with worship of man—the state takes over the religion. This is why most pervasive governments have a book, i.e. Mein Kampf or The Communist Manifesto, much like the Bible. They may also have a charismatic and fictitious leader, i.e. Big Brother from 1984. You worship this guy instead of a higher power.

Once you have people treating man as god, you can assume man can do anything it wants. This allows you to erode the sanctity of human life. This is done through eugenics, abortion, euthanasia, evolutionary theory, etc., and it’s always justified as being in the interests of the greater good. Since you’re all being taxed at 98%, you’re dependent on the government to support you and your children. You can bet that you won’t be receiving your “benefits” if you give birth to a child with down syndrome, instead of killing him like the government wants. Soon, this extends to all children, because we have “too many” people anyway. Environmentalism is often used as a ploy here. Then, we have mock famines and state-issued epidemics to get rid of people. Don’t ever get a flu shot—you know they’ll put the poison in there. People get poorer and poorer, as the state takes more and more.

Even our scientists are agents of the state. They all rely on government grants to fund their research. Do you think the government is going to grant money to research nitrilosides as the cure for cancer? No way, no how. Cancer is too much of a good thing, because it kills lots of people, makes people afraid, and leeches from their resources. Not only do phony treatments like radiation and chemotherapy do more harm than good, but they also cost a lot of money.

The only solution to oppressive government is continuous resistance among the people, and the best way to do that is through personal development. Personally developed people know that empire building, fiat money, wealth distribution, and eugenics is not on the side of good. So they continue to oppose and thwart pervasive government. When you have enough people doing that, you get stuff like due process, jury systems, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It’s all about shackling the government while the people roam free. The government is limited to the very narrow scope of protecting people from being killed or harmed by others, providing courts for criminal and civil disputes judged by public juries, and providing basic emergency services, through apportioned tax funding. No empire, no industry bailouts, no social security, no public schools, no IRS, no CIA, no FBI, no illegal drugs, no FDA, no foreign bases, no postal service, no equal opportunity, no affirmative action, no bankruptcy laws, no nonsense.

When government merges itself with large business (corporatism), those businesses gain advantages over the small businesses, which become more oppressed by government waste and taxation. Soon, all that’s left are big businesses, because they’re the only ones that can survive, thanks to favoritism like closed-bid contracts. Because the free market has been removed, employees’ choices diminish to large companies, and the government leaders declare that we need more regulation to ensure fair and equitable employment for all. But in fact, if you don’t stand in the way of business to begin with, you need less and less regulation because there are more and more small businesses that have to compete with each other. If I apply for a job and they won’t hire Orientals, I can go somewhere else and it’s their loss. We don’t need artificial rules to support an artificial system—we need to get to the root of the problem. That is to remove the socialist system, because it’s crippling everyone.

When you have a huge, plodding military-industrial complex… and companies like Blackwater, Bear Stearns, SLM Corporation, Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, AIG, and NORAD all suckling from the public teat… you know something is wrong. Billions of dollars and public resources go to these companies, when these companies are failures and couldn’t support themselves at all without government contracts and favorable laws. There’s no reason for us to have a military-industrial complex to begin with. Are we trying to rule the world? To kill everyone? This is what the Nazis did, because their name stands for national socialism, which means just this—merging big business with government. It doesn’t work. It never works. It always hurts citizens and tax-payers like you and me, because when you remove the free market, you remove competition, and there is no incentive to improve. There’s no incentive for scientific research when anything you find will be stolen by the state anyway.

When we return to a constitutional national with gold-backed money and none of this garbage, everyone will become richer. Living prosperously under government largess is like trying to swim with an 80-pound weight around your neck. You get a few life preservers, but you’d be better off if you were rid of both the life preservers and the weight. We’d be better off schooling our children at home or through private enterprise. We don’t even have that now—all schooling, even these types, are heavily regulated and controlled by the government. The public school system has proven itself so useless, that more people than ever are willing to pay for it (through mandatory taxes) plus private-schooling their children. But if we weren’t supporting this boondoggle to begin with, everyone would be more prosperous, and most people would be able to support private schooling. There would also be a lot more competition and quality by the free market and government noninterference. You can’t throw money at our school system to fix it. It’s not a problem about money. Scrap it.

It’s the same for our hospitals and doctors. You can’t make the system better by making our doctors government employees. The problem is government interference. People will claim that we’ve let the free market run its course in the medical industry, and it’s proven itself useless. The exact opposite is the case—hospitals are so thoroughly regulated and insured that everything is a liability and nothing can get done. Have you seen how much paperwork a doctor has to fill out just for a strep throat infection? You can bet there are people filling out paperwork in the office for you, too. His malpractice insurance is so high, he has to take on twice the patient load just to stay profitable. New doctors want to enter the workforce, but the government even restricts licensing to keep the pool of doctors small.

Doctors need to be able to enter into private contracts with their patients, free of the risk of frivolous lawsuits. There is no reason that we should need an insurance lottery scheme just to afford basic medical care. The solution is not further socialism—the solution is a return to the capitalist ideals of this country, meaning—get rid of regulation. People are largely capable of regulating themselves.

The same thing happens in restaurants. With more inspections and fines, restaurant owners and staff care less and less, because they’re being treated like cattle. But if you go into a church kitchen or a home kitchen, you won’t find garbage cans on the cutting boards or oil and bacon left out uncovered overnight. Shouldn’t your Grandma’s kitchen be filthy, because she doesn’t have the all-knowing and benevolent government to control her?

We can’t throw money at this country to fix it, even though we can print it by the boxcar. We can’t attack this problem with more empire and corporatism and government sponsorship. The only solution is the dissolution of the government into a base entity, only with the power to protect life and private property. Constitutionally, we should have a weak federal government. The states are in fact 50 nations, and they control both the federal government and the localities as a representative democracy. What we need to do now is to pull and dissolve our troops from all foreign countries, stop printing fake money, dissolve most government largess, laws, companies, and regulations, and sell off the land the government claims to own in the mid-West to pay for the debt we’ve accumulated through years of Nazism.

Will lots of people lose jobs? Yes. Will lots of people have to start making a real contribution to society? Yes. In the short run, this will hurt a lot of people—the people that are more on the receiving end of public funding than on the sending end. But it’s the only way to go, because it will allow us to become prosperous and self-reliant like never before. There’s no reason a house should cost $150,000 to build. Materials and technology are cheaper than ever, but when you have fees, tribute, taxes, permits, licensing, zoning, inflation, and other nonsense at every step of the way, things get bad.

When you get Nazism off our back, we’ll all have the freedom to survive. Sure, some people who get by on social welfare and refuse to work may die of hunger, and you may fear having no state-provided safety net, but in fact that safety net was an illusion. If you can’t fail in a nanny state, you can’t succeed either. This is core to personal development, yet neither Obama or McCain will ever support it, because it steps on too many toes. Dissolving empire steps on too many toes. Yet if we don’t do it now, it will happen itself with a lot more fighting.

Stop voting. Start making things hard for the government. Sign your name badly. Fill out forms by circling everything and checking every box. Don’t sign up for the draft. Stop paying income taxes. Keep stuff off the books. Buy a rifle and some ammo and keep it under your bed. You won’t need it—we just have to make sure that once the U.S. soldiers are policing our streets, they still have some fear in their hearts. Do you think the police all have guns for fun?

Be peaceful but don’t cooperate. We have a revolution on our hands.

Being Extraordinary

2009-12-20 Update: Being extraordinary is not necessarily positive, so be careful with this.

Extraordinary is an interesting word. It sounds like “extra” and “ordinary.” That means to be extraordinary, you have to be stereotypically ordinary, to the extreme. :cool:

Extraordinary people are usually extremely good or extremely bad. While ordinary folks get B’s, C’s, and D’s, extraordinary folks get A’s and F’s. They’re polarized on both ends of the spectrum. Being at the scary edge of the world is a much more interesting place to be than the safe and secure middle.

It’s not good to be extraordinary merely for the purpose of impressing others, because then you’ll do crazy stuff but have no direction. If you’ve set a mission that your heart loves, then you’ll have to do extraordinary stuff to fulfill that mission. If, however, you can meet your goals with ordinary actions, then the goals you’ve set aren’t your goals at all. They belong to other people. Those people could be your parents, your friends, or your perception of society in general, but they aren’t you.

Extraordinary people are not paralyzed by fear of failure. This is why they either fail or succeed. Failing once usually leads to succeeding—completely—the second time, through hard work and lessons learned in the first misadventure. Sometimes you’ll have to replace “second” with “tenth” or “44th,” but if you’re really trying, it doesn’t matter.

Once you stop fearing failure, you can eliminate excuses that justify your failures. Instead of handing control of your life over incidental circumstances, you take personal responsibility for your situation.

Some common circumstances ordinary people blame:

* Their parents.
* Their friends.
* Their environment.
* Being “ugly.”
* Race / ethnicity.
* Lack of talent.
* Lack of money.

There are many others, but this is enough of an overview. All these are excuses to justify ordinariness. They are all represented with disarming, demeaning beliefs and concepts. When you say that happenstance rules your world, you lose the burden of control. You become safely powerless.

Having an office job is an ordinary thing to do, because most people do it and it requires an ordinary amount of effort, relative to the alternative. The alternative is to be your own boss and pave your own path. You’re making a genuine contribution to your neighbors, and being paid with money, which you can use to convince others to contribute goods and services to you. This requires an extraordinary amount of effort and risk. Many times, what you think should earn money will be of no value to anyone else. You’ll keep learning, building, and improving until you are adding value.

The ordinary path seems secure, but it’s actually even riskier, because you’re not operating at peak efficiency. The bulk of your potential lies dormant. If you operate at 1% capacity for too long, change becomes scarier. If you do manage to unlock your potential while sticking with your ‘secure’ wages, you’ll make the same amount of money while producing far more for your employers. That’s bad, because if you received proper compensation for your efforts, you’d be able to plow that back into contributing more.

As my profits from photography increase, I’ll be able to buy better cameras and lenses which will give me more creative freedom. This will make it even easier for me to produce artistic photographs, which will make more money. A camera won’t make art for me—the best it can do is get out of my way while I create art. But a better camera will get out of my way even more. I’m in an upward spiral of creativity and abundance.

In the long run, it’s far safer to be paid what you’re worth, all the time. For a while, you may feel fine leeching as a government employee, but you’ll come to see that you’ve restricted yourself to ordinariness. It’s far better to contribute directly, even if you go into debt, lose your house, and live in the woods for a while. If you never give up, you’ll be extraordinary, and then you’ll rise far higher than your safe job would ever allow. A life of turbulence and adventure is more exciting than a life of safety and sameness.

Reframing the extraordinary

When I stopped eating animals three weeks ago, a lot of my friends were surprised. Apparently, becoming a vegetarian is an extraordinary thing. Many people want to do it. They see that torturing animals in our factory farming system is completely wrong, but they never take action to change it. Change starts with you. Only 1% of Americans are vegetarians.

Other people try to stop eating animals, but they do it for all the wrong reasons. They’re going along with friends, or following a new trend, or expressing their love of animals. They constantly have to control themselves, because when they see a crisp hamburger or juicy steak, they remember everything they’re “missing” by not eating dead flesh. It takes an extraordinary amount of effort to maintain their new practice, because they’ve chosen it for phony reasons. Usually, they’ll become “semi-vegetarians” (i.e. wimps) by eating meat occasionally, or by deciding that chicken and fish are somehow not animals. These are ordinary people.

True vegetarians, on the other hand, don’t have to exercise any self control. When they see a meatball or a collection of pork chops, they don’t feel hungry at all. Even though it’s a disgusting thing, they don’t feel disgust either. To a true vegetarian, a steak is the same as a rock or a pencil or a violin or a doorknob. It’s not something you eat. It doesn’t inspire fear or hunger or doubt or repression. It’s completely ordinary.

To be extraordinary, you have to believe the extraordinary is ordinary.

Not eating animals is completely ordinary to me. I can’t ever think I’m special or extraordinary for being a vegetarian. If my 14-year-old self met my 17-year-old self, he would think I’m extraordinary, but I hold no such opinions about myself. This way, I can continue to rise, instead of stagnating in narcissism.

Fighting ordinariness

In one of my college courses this semester (physics), I completely failed the first test. I thought I was prepared because all my other teachers make the exams far easier than the in-class work, but this one was just as difficult. We had to do six multi-step problems in fifty minutes, which is as fast as my teacher presents them.

Much of the class failed it—I got 43%, while the average was 60%. The tempting thing to do right away is to blame the teacher for not teaching properly, or for making the test too hard. “No one else did well, so it’s fine that I did the same.” If I was so bold, I could even drop out of college or give up on computer science, and I could go through life telling people that it’s not my fault because I had a really bad teacher. People do this often. College is supposed to be really hard and lots of people are supposed to fail. It’s completely ordinary to fail, but what isn’t ordinary is to accept personal responsibility for failure.

So after two days I accepted personal responsibility, worked hard, and got a 93% on the last test. I probably deserved a B, but my teacher went easy on me. I could consider this an extraordinary accomplishment, but the fact is this is the way it’s supposed to be. This is ordinary. My first grade was just way below average; far worse than ordinary.

We’ve had a cat for about a year, but she was a stray that just started loitering in our yard. We never came up with a proper name for her. I called her “cat,” my Mom named her “Vanilla,” and my Dad named her “Asparagus.” Those names are all fairly ordinary. Recently, we came to a consensus on a new moniker for her: “The United Federation of Cats.” She’s already enjoying and responding to her new title. It’s a completely extraordinary name. I bet no one has ever named a cat that, in the thousands of years that cats have existed.

“The United Federation of Cats” doesn’t even make sense, because she’s not a federation. She’s just one cat, and I don’t see how she’s more united than any other cat. Most names are short and arbitrary, but hers is lengthy and declarative. I think most cats wouldn’t even agree that she represents the feline community. It doesn’t matter, because extraordinary things don’t have to make sense.

You can bring the extraordinary into your life by doing unexpected things like this. Go sit in the woods and look around for a couple hours. Go to a store but don’t buy anything. Eat breakfast in the evening and dinner in the morning. Wear crazy clothes. Write stuff like this. Change your name. Do you think I got this crazy “Thripp” name by happenstance? We were the Parrishes, but my Dad was done with that name and picked out Thripp in 1986. A lot of people told him he couldn’t or shouldn’t change his name, but he did it anyway and proved them wrong. That was extraordinary.

Make sure that you don’t do heartless extraordinary things. You can murder a bunch of people, and that’s quite extraordinary, but it’s not what I mean here. It’s evil. Evil can only destroy, while good can only create or convert, and when it converts, it converts evil to good. If you’re not sure if something’s good, it’s evil, because good is always readily apparent. Choose the path with a heart.

Excuses of the ordinary

Instead of saying “I have no motivation,” most people say “I have no time.” You go to a businessman’s office, and he says he doesn’t have “time” to speak with you. What if he just said you weren’t interesting / impressive enough? At first, a lot of people would be shocked by his bluntness, even considering it extraordinary. But shortly, it would become a hallmark trait that, while abnormal as compared to others, is completely normal in terms of him. While others lie about not having time, he tells the truth about not having motivation.

When you have a lack of time, you actually have a lack of motivation, because you have 24 hours per day just like everyone else. Whatever is important to you can certainly fit within those constraints. What isn’t important falls by the wayside.

If you have a hobby you don’t have time for, you either have to drop it, drop something else, or do everything more efficiently to accommodate your new hobby. It’s really quite simple, but most people never apply it and remain ordinary. I don’t even apply it well. It’s harder to do than it is to type.

I did a few pencil-sketch portraits in 2006. They weren’t particularly good, but I enjoyed the hobby for a few weeks. Modeling reality in sketch-form helped me to see interesting compositions in photography. But I’ve dropped sketching now, because photography is so much more empowering for me. I could claim that I don’t sketch because I don’t have time, but I’d be lying to myself and you. I just don’t want to.

On occasion, people see what I’ve done here and ask me to develop websites for them. It would be a lot easier in the short run to tell them I’m too busy, but that would be an ordinary excuse. What I tell them now is that I don’t design websites for other people. It’s the truth—apart from a funny site for my Dad, I only work on my own projects, and I use far more time writing articles like this than developing Th8.us. Often my response is surprising. I’ll hear “can’t you put me on a list?” or “this is only a little bit of work,” but I don’t budge.

If I said I was too busy, I’d have them believing I’ll get to them eventually. I may think I’m “letting them down easy” or that they’ll “figure it out,” but it’s extraordinary to speak the truth right away rather than hiding from honesty. When you lie about being too busy, you set off a whole chain of events that brings you down progressively. Especially if you do it to ten or twenty people. Everyone you meet keeps asking you when you’ll work for them. You have to keep the busyness charade up even though you never really want to work for anyone. You want to write about working instead of actually working. Why not just say it? :wink2:

If you don’t speak the truth, many of the people you meet will only know the fake, “too busy” you, and life in general will become depressing. You might even feel guilty that you’re going to the beach or reading a book, because you’ve told so many people how little time you have. If you have so little time, why do you have time to play games or go for a walk? You should be working on something really great.

When you are honest with yourself all the time, you’ll be honest with others, and they’ll be supportive of you. Instead of using busyness as a ploy to keep doors half-way open for you, slam those doors shut. They were never half-open anyway. No one is waiting for you to become less busy. They’re waiting for you to become less of a liar.

This is a foundation for being extraordinary, and it works in dating, hobbies, friendships, finances, work, life, work-life, projects, school, driving. Anything you can think of.

Even though I don’t drive, I see often enough that when you come to an intersection, people who have the right-of-way wave you on. You look at them, and you can’t see what they’re doing through their dark-tinted windows, and for a few seconds you’re confused. Why are they not moving? It looks like they’re waving, but you don’t want to chance it because as soon as you pull out, they’ll gear up and plow into you. It’s their turn. Why would they forfeit their turn? After a few seconds (or minutes), you become tired of waiting and you cross through the intersection anyway.

Wouldn’t it be easier if people just followed the rules of the road, instead of doing you a “favor” by letting you go first? It would be more honest too, and everything would get done quicker.

Applying the extraordinary

At all my classes at college, I give out a 4-by-6 print of one of my photographs to every student each class day. People enjoy seeing what I’ll come up with next, and it only costs me about fifty cents each day thanks to free shipping + referrals from companies like Shutterfly and Snapfish.

At first, I was afraid of doing this. Even though I hand out prints in the five minutes before class begins, I didn’t think my professors would like it. They’re prefer nothing to be handed out. Most students don’t want pictures of roses and sunsets anyway. They’re too busy studying (notice the “too busy” excuse).

Despite this, I went ahead and started giving out prints full-time about a year ago. I didn’t have many separate classes then, but it was a lot of fun and everyone enjoyed it. The program continues to this day. I’d created plenty of reasons not to do it, but none of them came to pass. The voice that tells me to be ordinary gets quieter and quieter in my head, as my true, extraordinary voice comes out.

Many people tell me how impressed they are that I “have the time” to write these articles. “They’re so lengthy and in-depth! It must take you days to write this.” Sometimes it does, but writing 3000 words feels completely ordinary to me. It doesn’t matter how long it takes or how much I write. If you look at a blank screen with the sole purpose of typing 3000 words, you’ll fail completely. You have to have a topic and a purpose.

When you start doing extraordinary stuff, many people will tell you they could do what you do. If you publish a book, friends will tell you they’ve thought about publishing a book. If you make a million dollars, people will say “I should do that.” This is completely irrelevant. It makes no different what other people can do. No man ever reaches the limits of his potential. The purpose of personal growth is to get you closer to the limits of your potential (what you “can” do), but you’ll never actually get there. The journey is what counts. Just because a billion other people can take a picture of a rose, doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t. Only 100 million of them are doing it, only 10 million of them are doing a good job of it, only 1 million of them are broadcasting their work, and only 1 of them is me.

Extraordinary people live below their means rather than going into debt. Then, you can afford to take risks… but you can’t afford to take risks if you have a $3200 / month mortgage over your head and you make barely more than that. On the other hand, if you’re living in a tent in your parents’ yard, you can take risks.

You can actually take risks either way. Life is just one big risk. Security is an illusion. Let go of security, and then you’ll become extraordinary.

Heartless People

2009-12-20 Update: Be careful not to become too jaded or polarized from reading this.

It’s easy to forget how heartless most people are when you’re not around them.

At the beginning of the semester, my speech teacher asked all the students what their majors were, and what they were going to do with their lives. What did he get?

Boring replies.

No conviction. No one was committed to anything they said. There were a lot of “I don’t know”s. Those are bad, but even worse are the people who have been brave enough to “choose” a path… but they’ve chosen one that inspires no confidence. You know these people. Often, they’ll even say what they really want to do with exciting enthusiasm, but then in the same sentence they’ll say how unrealistic it is. These people think they’re really smart. They think they’re being “grounded” and “down to earth” by choosing a “reasonable” career. No one will tell them anything different.

But really, what are they?

Heartless people.

They’ve sold out. They’re not even twenty, and they’ve already committed themselves to doing what they hate for life. And that’s reasonable? We’re telling the children of the world that selling out is reasonable?

Shame on us.

You can’t have a heart if you’ve already sold yourself out. Sure, you can have compassion, kindness, love, friendship, bravery. But you’ll just have a shadow heart. A sliver of these things. A crumb, when you should have a whole pie.

The way to bring others back to their hearts is not to comfort or support or empathize. It’s not to stick by them. It’s not to bring yourself down to their level.

The way to help others is to follow your heart to the end. When you find someone like this, it’s like meeting Jesus. You’re meeting someone so brilliant and spirited that his heart transfers to you. It’s like a wildfire meeting a blighted forest. His fire becomes your fire.

So how do you overcome heartlessness? Phase heartless friends out of your life, and bring heartfelt friends into your life. That means: get away from negative people.

Once you’ve built up a network of positivity, go back to those negative friends. You’ll find they aren’t so negative after all. Their completely positive now. Were you mistaken?

No, you made them positive. Whenever you embrace your heart, others do the same. When you deny your heart with lies, excuses, and limiting beliefs, others do the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hermit. You still hold other people back when you hold yourself back. What you do to my brothers, you do to me.

This is the perfect manifestation of chaos theory and the ripple effect, because it means that we’re all pretty much the same. You have an ethical duty to do the work that does the most good for yourself and others, because if you don’t, you’re bringing down humanity. This isn’t something that can or should ever be mandated or legislated, because no one but you can find your heart. I can push you in the right direction, but only you can drink the water.

You have quite a responsibility. Every minute you waste working for more fake money, you take away from humanity. You think you’re being good and staying out of trouble, but you’re actually being evil.

How good would it be if I decided to stop taking pictures and stop sharing these articles, to instead play the violin or open a shop selling widgets? It wouldn’t be good at all, because that isn’t where my heart is. I’d be doing something I enjoy far less than this, so I’d contribute far less to the lives of others. If I picked a safe path like becoming a computer-science teacher or a government-funded librarian, I’d actually be doing something completely evil. That’s where heartlessness comes from.

One of the greatest ways to have a heart is to choose your career. Your career is what you do that makes money. It is not what you do to make money; it’s what you do that also incidentally happens to make money. Also: it is not what you do, but how you do it. My photography and writing is always focused on the growth and inspiration of others. If I found that I could better inspire others by composing music or giving speeches or returning to pencil sketches, I’d switch in a heartbeat. But I don’t, because my talent + heart makes photography and writing the most effective mediums for me right now.

You can’t choose a career in advance. You have to do it and then see if you like it. This is costly and takes years. To speed up the process, you must choose what you really like now, as that’s the closest thing to your mission that you currently know.

Ask yourself: “What would I do if I had all the money and possessions I need to live? What would I do if I’d found my mission? What would I do if I’d created my religion? What would I do if I had a loving wife and family? What would I do if I’d overcame limiting beliefs and made peace with the world?”

What would I do? I’d write this.

My gut reaction is that I should make my life perfect first, and then write this. Once I eliminate my problems, I’ll have peace.

This is putting the cart before the horse. Problems give you peace. ‘Unhappiness’ gives you a mission, because it’s actually happiness in disguise, telling you what you need to be doing. It’s that little voice (your conscience) that watches out for you. You have to follow your intellect (the voice) instead of your gut (not the voice). You have to be open to hear him. You have to listen real close. God’s not going to help you if you refuse to help yourself. Be thankful for the voice, because no other species has it. We’re special. We have a voice.

The nature of heartlessness

If Yoda from Star Wars has taught us anything, it is that the dark side is much more tempting than the side of light, because it makes progress much more quickly. Siths seem to have much more power than Jedi, because they blaze ahead while Jedi make slow advances. Siths rise to greatness in days instead of years. Strangely enough, however:

The dark side is powerless.

Heartlessness is powerlessness.

Good always triumphs over evil, because evil is a dependent system, whereas good is an independent system. Evil is the derivative of good. You cannot have a pure-evil world; evil can only co-exist with good. If you have evil, you must have good. But you can have good without evil. The phrase necessary evil is the dark side’s Trojan horse. Evil is never necessary.

You can’t have shoplifters without shoppers.

You can’t have thieves without customers.

You can’t have poison without medicine.

You can’t have corruption without honesty.

You can’t have hate without love.

You can’t have evil without good.

You can’t have heartlessness without heart.

You can have heart without heartlessness.

If everyone is wholly corrupt, how can anyone have anyone to take advantage of? You can’t have a society of leeches. Someone has to contribute something, or else there is nothing to leech.

Think of evil as cancer cells, and good as healthy cells. Cancer cells leech; healthy cells contribute. Cancer cells are incredibly powerful because they can reproduce and continue growing indefinitely. They expand exponentially. Cancer represents evil and heartlessness. Healthy cells, which represent light and heart, have no such privileges. But, there is a paradoxical fail-safe that protects the light side.

As cancer gets more and more powerful, it actually ends up committing suicide. Cancer is heartless, but it relies on something heartfelt (the body) to continue living. Once it becomes unstoppably powerful, it overwhelms its host. Both die. It’s like using Explosion in a Pokémon battle.

In a bad world, terminal cancer victims would be completely engulfed by the disease, becoming walking cancer zombies that roam the Earth spreading the disease to millions of others. They’d also be green and glow like Frankenstein. Evil would triumph.

In our world, evil can never triumph.

The best possible outcome for the dark side is the destruction of both good and evil, leaving nothingness. Evil can never win. If you’re evil, the best you can hope for is a stalemate with good, resulting in the death of you both.

The best possible outcome for the light side is peace on Earth with unprecedented abundance, freedom, and growth for all of humanity. Evil is completely removed, but not in it’s destruction, so much as it’s conversion to good. The evil men lay down their swords, stop murdering each other, and commit themselves to empowering rather than imprisoning their countrymen. We and the dead spirits forgive their transgressions, because there’s nothing else that should be done. There is no love in perpetual Hellfire.

Evil cannot be isolated. Pure evil does not exist; it is always tempered by good, be it 50% or .001%. Pure good does exist, alone and 100% independent of evil.

Which side will you choose?

If you pick heartlessness (evil), you’ve actually already given up on life, because the best you can hope for is a stalemate. But if you follow your heart (good), the sky is limitless.

How could this be any simpler?

When you give up your freedom to secure your safety, you’ve chosen evil. When you choose a safe, boring life over a risky, adventurous life, you’ve chosen evil. When you choose accounting over lion-taming, you’ve chosen evil.

Evil exists in everything you fear, everything that leads you into limits, shyness, and seclusion, away from your God-given power.

If you become heartless, you’ll make fast progress. . . toward death.

Your life has no meaning. It would have meaning if it was defined in terms of good, but by defining yourself in terms of evil you’ve obfuscated your heart into a cryptogram that serves no one.

Just because evil cannot triumph does not mean that you should not be concerned. The best endgame for evil is the destruction of good, and that is still really really bad. We want to keep good around.

Knowing that heartlessness depends on the heart gives you unstoppable power on the side of light. You may think power is evil, but it’s completely necessary. Anything that’s necessary is good, not evil. Power is great. It allows you to uphold goodness.

Just think: any heartless person, no matter how far gone, can be saved, because there is a sliver of good in him which can never be destroyed. To destroy that sliver is to destroy him.

If your evil is too strong, it might kill you to return to good. Or at least, critically injure you. But that’s much better than continuing in evilness. If you’re evil, you’re drowning alive.

If you cause a really heartless person to die, not through force but by his free return to heartfeltness, you’ve done something great. Although I’d prefer him to live, you’ve proven that impossible, and so his fate was best.

The way to combat evil is not to fight fire with fire, or murder with murder. In Gandhi’s words, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” When you fight evil with evil, you become evil. Don’t cooperate with nor support evil.

A good example of disguised evil is pre-emptive and retributive punishment. You cannot rightly punish a man for his plans or his genes or his thoughts. “Hate crimes” and “thought crimes” cannot exist, because hate is irrelevant to a crime. So is “affirmative” action. Abortion is also pre-emptive punishment, because it’s meant to save a child from the horrors he’ll face in the world, being unwanted and unloved and all. All these things are touted by the evil-doers as “good,” but they are squarely in the category of heartless evil.

Don’t support evil.

Your thoughts are important, but for the purpose of justice, they’re only important after you’ve committed a criminal act. Then, in an ideal legal system, a jury of your peers reviews the evidence and decides unanimously if you (a) are guilty; (b) should be punished. You can only be punished if you’re guilty, but not all guilty people should be punished. If you accidentally kill someone, it’s a lot different then purposefully killing someone. The difference can be between no punishment and life in prison (not death, because death stifles your opportunities for personal growth). If you dive in the water to save a drowning child, it doesn’t matter how many “no swimming” signs are around.

Governments are not inherently evil. Our governments are evil. American was not evil, but it has become evil by would-be do-gooders standing idle while evil-doers like Abraham Lincoln, the income tax, and the Federal Reserve system rose to power.

Irresponsible debt is evil. If you mortgage your heart, you can’t expect anything but heartlessness. Most debt is evil, because most debt is irresponsible. Live beneath your means always, buy less than you need, contribute more than you take. Possessions and thoughts don’t matter; actions matter. Don’t put up with people who push you toward debt.

Thwarting the Death-Worshipers

The heartless have a plan right now. They want the best endgame for evil. The only path to that is the extinction of the human race (after a lot of pain and suffering, of course). The population of the Earth must become 0. Then, both good and evil will be gone, permanently. The evil-lovers worship death.

If you’re “neutral,” you’re evil. There’s good and evil, and neutral people are evil because they let evil people reign without matching evil with good. You have to choose between good and evil. This isn’t something you can wuss out on.

“The world is evil” syndrome

The main counter-argument of the dark side is this: nature, including the nature of man, is naturally uncaring and evil. Whenever we do something good, like sharing kindness or love, we’re doing it for ourselves. It’s selfish, because the end result is the betterment of ourselves. The betterment of others is merely a secondary result, making every person evil.

The problem with this theory is it objectively defines the self vs. the other, when such an objective declaration does not exist. When you redefine the world in terms of subjective reality, which is the only congruent system, you’ll find that other people are just projections of you and they represent the struggles and dreams of yourself. When you’re sharing your art or love or generosity with others, you’re being “selfishly evil,” insofaras that you are benefiting yourself. If the world was objective, that would be evil. But it isn’t, so love and compassion are always good and on the side of light, because you are other people, other people are you, you single-handedly represent all of humanity, and every other person on this planet is the exact same person as you.

Suicide is murder and must be illegal. Killing yourself is the same as killing someone else.

The environmentalism ploy

If you’ve read the Georgia Guidestones, the ten commandments of the death-worshipers, the first item on the list is “keep the human population below 500 million.” The way to do that is to kill 93 out of every 100 people. It’s going to take a lot of wars, nuclear attacks, famines, sterilization, abortions, and plagues to do that, and you can bet the illuminati are plotting right now.

If you support population reduction, let me tell you the truth: population reduction starts with you. Show your commitment to the 500 million milestone by taking the lives of yourself and your family right now. I’ll wait here.

Are you done yet? Very good.

Humanity is the calm within the storm. Humanity is the beacon of light that shines through all the smoke, fog, and mirrors that plague the lower forms of life. Humanity triumphs over adversity and heartlessness eternally, not by extinguishing the heartless but by converting them to the side of light and making them our strongest allies.

We’re strong together. It doesn’t matter if we have twenty-billion people; the life of each person is inherently valuable and sacred regardless. This is the path of heart.

Look at dogs for example. Before we came along, that had no mission. The race of the dog was a ship with no rudder, no engine, and no captain. But now, with man as the captain, dogs have love, abundance, and a mission like no other. By partnering with us, they’ve unlocked their true potential. It isn’t all sunshine and roses, because we’re killing dogs all the time, just as we’re killing people. Support the good things while denouncing the killing. Killing isn’t necessary; enough people die on their own.

Humanity is the most perfect and natural form of life on Earth. Don’t let anyone tell you this isn’t our planet. The planet is doing great, life is more diverse than ever, there is no global warming besides natural cycles of the sun, and pollution is minimal due to technological advances. The volcanoes of the Earth put out dozens of times more pollution than all of our actions combined. This is a secure, versatile planet; it can easily handle us. Mother Earth is not a fragile butterfly; she’s a solid rock with a will like no other.

Following your heart, day to day

If you’ve read everything I’ve written and am eagerly looking forward to my next articles, you’re one of a few. You’re reading a lot of other personal development books and blogs now, taking in all the information you can.

Yet you’re doing nothing.

You’re scared to do anything.

It’s much safer to read than to act.

It’s even safer to write than to act.

Right now, I’m just writing. You could say I’m being evil, because I’m encouraging other people to do nothing but read my writing, even if I say I want them to get out and see the world.

There is no personal development in sleeping, or reading, or even writing. Only in action.

You can read all you want, but you have to apply what you’re reading. If you’re merely amassing a list of quotes or a collection of books, you’re doing worse than nothing, because you’ve convinced yourself you’re making progress where really you’re making none. You have no heart.

When you forfeit your power to others, you give up your heart. You say that other people can make better use of your heart than you can. You’re afraid to wield power or personal responsibility, so the best you can is to let others guide you because they must be smarter.

The thing is, you can’t live with two hearts or zero hearts. You can only live with one heart. If we take that heart away or transplant a second heart next to it, it will kill you. Completely. When you become heartless, you’ve given your heart to someone else, and that person will die too because he can’t support two hearts. Heartlessness is the most pure form of evil, because it results in the death of everything.

It isn’t natural to live in fear. Courage is the natural state of man, but we’ve drifted away from it. When you’ve drifted off the path, the only thing to do is to get back on the path. Return to courage. Do something real.

Conclusion

Some people will say I’m naïve and idealistic for defining good and evil so concretely, or for believing in the goodness of man.

To them I say: :silly:

If you want something to pick on, I also believe in true love, real money, joblessness, purposeful happiness, and the sanctity of human life.

Always remember that the people who push atheism or Christianity on you the hardest are the ones plagued with painful doubt themselves. When people become highly angered, they’re never angry at you. They’re angry at themselves for not following their heart. Anger means that you’re either jealous of someone else being true, or unhappy that someone else is imitating you by being heartless.

Whenever I’m angry at other people, I’m actually angry at myself, because other people are me and I am other people. We’re the collective heart. It’s like the Borg, but ten times better. We’re working to consecrate the heart rather than extinguish it.

Live in the light.

Prove Me Wrong

One simple way to get motivated is to have someone else tell you you’ll fail.

Then, you’ll work really hard to do prove that person wrong.

This can be quite effective. Some people build their whole life around it, because it’s such a powerful source of motivation.

One common story you hear among hospital patients is this: “The doctor said I’d never walk again. Look at me now! I sure proved him wrong.”

I think there’s a doctor doing this as his full-time job. He drives between hospitals, goes to each patient’s room, and tells the patient he’ll never walk again. Even if the ailment is just a toe infection or a broken finger. It doesn’t matter who the patient is, the diagnosis is always the same. “You’ll never walk again!”

What better incentive do you have to resume walking, than to be told your situation is hopeless?

If I become terribly injured, but everyone tells me I can walk again with lots of hard work and effort, I might just lose interest and give up. I’ve already been told it’s possible. But if I’m told I’m hopeless and I should just give up on walking, I’d work ten times harder. It’s much more fun to do the impossible, than to do the expected.

There’s a lot of drama in being told you’ll fail. It should be dramatic to be told you’ll succeed, but it just isn’t. Everyone says you’ll succeed. Every day, people tell me how I’m going to “go far” and “do great things.” I’m not even sure what they mean anymore.

Most of my friends and family are going to fail. They’re failing right now.

I talked to one lady last week, and she said she’s going to be a pharmacist. I asked her why. “Because it’s easy.” It’s not that easy; there are lots of technical concerns to being a pharmacist. You have to read illegible handwriting. I’m not even sure what pharmacists do, but I’m sure there’s a good deal of complexity.

I asked her what she’d do if she had a big house and ten million dollars. If the answer was “be a pharmacist,” I could tell her she’d have success. But it wasn’t. She wants to find the cure for cancer.

I already know the cure for cancer. It’s fruit seeds. Millions of people know it. Most people don’t, but the cure is there and it’s been proven through extensive anecdotal evidence. All that’s left is to implement it.

2009-12-20 Update: This whole section is wrong and I shouldn’t have been mean to this lady. However, the cure for cancer is still apricot kernels which makes working as a pharmacist difficult because it requires you to support ineffective and dangerous cancer treatments.

I told her that she’s going to fail, miserably so, and she’s going to waste years of her life with something she doesn’t even want to do. She wants a stable job to support her mother and receive a regular income.

I’d prefer to support my mother with an exciting job.

To do something you love and make money from it requires extraordinary effort. It takes far more effort than doing something you don’t love. Finding a stable job is easy. Creating an exciting job which also pays the bills is hard.

I have an exciting job right now (my photography and writing on this website). It doesn’t pay the bills very well, but I don’t have bills. So once I have bills, I’ll have to take a dull job or put in an extraordinary amount of effort into this exciting job. Who am I trying to prove wrong? Society, for telling me I should take the easy way out. But what is society? It doesn’t exist. There is no hive mind, and normal people don’t care if you fill prescriptions or write poetry for a living. As long as you’re not hurting others and people are willing to pay you for what you do (no thievery or coercion), you’re golden.

You can’t work for free if you’re going to make money. Remember that when you give your time away, you’re saying that other people will use it more effectively than you. When you give money to a bum on the street, you’re saying that he deserves it more than you. To deserve something, you must make good use of it.

Is that true?

I’m writing this for free, meaning that you can use my time better than I can. The difference is that this isn’t just for one person; it’s for hundreds of people. So the answer is a definite “yes.” Other people will use the time it took me to write this far better than I could use it on projects for only myself.

There’s a problem with living to prove others wrong. Most of the time in most of your life, no one is against you. Only when you defy the hardened ideals and limiting beliefs of others, do they rise from apathy. Then, you’ll hear lots of people crying for your failure. But if you can’t get motivated unless others are predicting your failure, then you’ll pass up lots of great things you want to do.

Instead of proving me wrong, why not prove yourself right? I think that’s a far more empowering belief. Eventually, you rise past having to prove anything to anyone at all… I’m not at that level yet. So for now I prove to myself that I can do things. I prove to myself that I can write stuff that makes no sense.

The other problem with proving others wrong, is that the other people lose interest. You succeed in doing what your teacher said you could never do, but then he says it was just a joke or he knew you could do it all along and was just testing you. Your mission isn’t to hold your friends’ interest—it’s to define your life in your own terms rather than by the terms of others.

That means: stop proving things to others. When you want to prove something, you’re looking for approval. If you need friends to approve of you, then that means you don’t approve of yourself. Don’t ask permission to live.

Curing Parkinson’s Disease

I left this reply after seeing Sergey Brin’s blog entry on his genes’ predisposition toward Parkinson’s disease:

My Great Aunt contracted Parkinson’s disease in her fifties; she passed on a couple years ago in her seventies. After twenty years, it got progressively worse to the point that she couldn’t move.

I remember my Grandma often having to call her back over the phone, because she’d inadvertently hit the “talk” button from the shaking.

I think Parkinson’s disease has a connection to arthritis and cancer, because all three involve the body turning against itself; destruction from the inside out rather than from external causes. I found out this year that cancer is a vitamin deficiency; you should eat apple seeds and similar seeds every day, so your body can use vitamin B17 to kill the rogue cells that want to form cancerous growths. I blogged about it here: The Cancer Myth. Cancer is a big problem, so it’s nice to know I’ll never suffer from it, despite all my friends and family that have died in vain…

Might Parkinson’s disease be a vitamin deficiency too, and all this stuff about genes just be a coincidence? There could be a vitamin we don’t get, because we eat all processed foods rather than natural foods. Our modern treatments don’t cure the disease; they just patch the symptoms, buying you some time.

If there is a natural cure, it’s probably something you have to get in your diet every day, just like how you eat iodine every day (in salt) to avoid goiters. It’s likely that you can’t “cure” Parkinson’s disease, just like you can’t “cure” thirst.

Finding that natural cure and prevention is harder, because it requires long-scale testing to be effective. But it should be easy to get started. Research dogs and cats in captivity (i.e. apartments) vs. in the wild; it could be that the ones in the wild don’t get the disease but the ones in captivity do, just like only domesticated dogs get cancer (because they can’t eat grass and weeds which have B17 in them).

The next step is to research people who live close to the Earth and eat straight from nature; perhaps in the jungles of Africa. Do they get Parkinson’s disease? If they don’t, find out what it is they’re eating that prevents it.

Good luck Mr. Sergey, and let me know if you get to the bottom of this.

The cure

Keep in mind that if you find the prevention and cure for Parkinson’s disease, it does nothing on it’s own. A few hundred thousand in this country know that vitamin B17 cures cancer, but the cancer industry is vehemently against the cure because it will put them out of business.

Even the FDA is in on this. The government is behind keeping you in the dark about cancer. I’m actually breaking the law by touting B17 as the cure for cancer right here. If I dared to sell apricot seeds on this blog, I could earn myself five years in federal prison.

B17 isn’t even recognized as a vitamin, and it can’t go through FDA testing because it’s an organic substance. They only want inorganic cancer cures.

Besides, no one will pay the tens of millions of dollars for the colluded, bureaucratic testing process. You can’t recoup the cost selling apricot seeds, unlike the phony cancer treatments we have now, which, incidentally, cost upward of $8000 a month. That’s how much the hospital was paying for my cousin when he died of brain cancer in 2006. And it was all B.S. and he could’ve easily avoided cancer if he’d been eating apples with seeds all along. Heck, he probably could’ve got out of it when he found out about the cancer if he would’ve started on laetrile pills right away.

The people in the American Cancer Society will tell you not to eat seeds, because they’ll poison you. It’s all for shock value, to scare you away from pursuing the truth. Seeds poison you no more than water.

When we find the cure for Parkinson’s disease, there will be a lot of resistance. Not as much as with cancer, because cancer has legendary status and is poised to kill tens of millions over the next 100 years. But still a lot of resistance.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic affliction. Victims do not get better, unlike with strep throat or any normal ailment, which we can eliminate with antibodies or surgery. You get Parkinson’s disease, you start with pills, progressing to invasive and mechanical treatments. The whole time, you get progressively worse, on the march toward death. At best, the mechanical treatments prolong your death. My neighbor has terrible arthritis dating back twenty years. He’s had two shoulder blades and a hip replaced, and the next hip is scheduled for the spring. And he’s still in terrible pain and his fingers don’t work and his face is contorted. Doesn’t that tell you we’re doing something wrong?

We’re not getting to the source of the problem by applying band-aid patches. That’s what modern treatment for cancer, arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease is. A collection of kludges. If we treated tooth decay like we do cancer, the solution would be this:

1. Don’t brush your teeth. Do you know how much those bristles hurt your gums?
2. Keep eating the same foods. Diet change is linked to death, because many people who die recently changed their diets.
3. As your teeth decay, we’ll drill them out and replace the innards with concrete.
4. Your gums will shrivel and rot, but we’ll apply salves to counteract that.
5. Eventually, all your teeth will rot from the roots and fall out. We’ll go ahead and pull them out. Then you can wear dentures.
6. Eventually, the dentures won’t stay put because your gums will become fully eroded. If you haven’t died yet. Time to start drilling into your jaw bone. We can put in fake teeth with screws.
7. We put in the fake teeth. It’s a very dangerous operation, but it proves successful. Unfortunately, you get a minor infection and die, because your immune system is in shambles from the continued abuse to your mouth.

This is absurd. But it’s what we do right now with Parkinson’s disease. We have pills that stave off Parkinson’s disease temporarily. Once those fail, we bust open your skull and stick an electrode in your brain. “Deep brain stimulation.”

This is witchcraft.

Witchcraft does not work.

Pellagra is caused by a deficiency of niacin (B3). Pellagra is a terrible disease. Your skin starts peeling, you suffer from dysentery, you become light-sensitive, you go insane, and then you die.

Pellagra raged through Europe for hundreds of years. It even hit America hard 100 years ago, because people weren’t eating the foods with niacin or tryptophan, which the body can convert to niacin. Milk, eggs, soybeans, yeast, and meat stop pellagra.

The people with pellagra spent most of their time eating corn, because that was their dominant crop. For two hundred years doctors believed that corn was toxic. Obviously it causes pellagra.

Another hypothesis was that the people who got pellagra were evil and God was punishing them.

These are all valid guesses, but they pale in contrast to the truth. It’s a simple nutritional deficiency.

You could spend millions of dollars now on research for a mechanical cure for pellagra. Perhaps we can use surgery? Perhaps there’s a pill that can cure it? Even better, a pill that you have to take for the rest of your life, so we can keep charging you.

Of course there is. A multi-vitamin. Even better, you can eat the foods that have niacin in them.

What are the theories behind Parkinson’s disease? It’s either your parents (genes) or your food (toxins). But really, it isn’t the foods you’re eating. It’s the foods you’re not eating. That’s the only logical answer.

What are the theories behind cancer? Everything causes cancer. Sunshine, motor oil, radiation, dish soap, cell phones, computers, processed food, lead, lawn mowers, air conditioning, genes… the list goes on.

It doesn’t matter if you have a consensus that pellagra is God’s wrath. It’s still false.

It doesn’t matter if everyone agrees that sunshine causes cancer. Science is neither a popularity contest nor an emotional debate. This may seem cold, but it’s actually the most loving thing I’ve ever said. When you become trapped by dogma, you never get to the truth. People continue to die en masse. Phony solutions persist under the guise of scientific theory. This is happening with cancer, and I bet it’s happening with Parkinson’s disease.

There’s got to be something better than witchcraft. In the future, students of nutrition will have to answer the question: “__________ is to Parkinson’s disease as Vitamin C is to scurvy.” If only we can find out what that blank is.

Becoming a Vegetarian

2009-12-20 Update: Take this article with a grain of salt as I’ve switched back to eating meat once and am now eating fish to help my brain. The Bible says that animals are here for us to eat. However, we must all recognize the cruelty in the factory farming system. Life is a balance of shades of gray. Animals are nowhere near as important as people.

I decided today that I’m becoming a vegetarian, today.

Actually, I decided yesterday, but I’m pegging the day as October 1 because that will be easier to remember when I’m 102. I won’t be able to remember September 30.

I’ve had a suspicion that I shouldn’t be eating meat for a while. Since the start of the year, at least. Occasionally I’d think of my ideal self, and I wouldn’t see him eating animals, but then I’d dismiss that as dumb. How can’t I refuse to eat meat when it’s so packed full of nutrition and cheap to buy?

Quite easily, of course.

I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to eat meat; it’s a last resort. There are so many plants and vegetables and fruits here, and we have these long arms to reach them, so they must be here for a reason. Also, we’re not designed to eat meat. Dogs and cats and vultures can eat animals raw, but we have to cook them and examine them thoroughly. The meat on a hamburger looks nothing like a cow. If it’s under-cooked, you get sick, because our stomach acids, small intestines, and other digestive processes are against us eating animals. Our acids aren’t acidic enough to digest animals, unless they’re thoroughly ground and cooked.

I don’t care for animals particularly. They’re lives aren’t sacred like human lives. But they are treated pretty badly when we harvest them; have you seen how chickens are stacked together and kept in the darkness while they’re raised? Any suffering like that can’t be good, and is not something I want to contribute to.

If I find myself stuck on an arctic island and my only hope to survive is to start eating seals or penguins, I’ll do that, but I’ll kill them in the most efficient and painless way possible. I can’t think of the last time I was starving to death, much less that I could get out of it by eating meat, so I don’t think this is a big concern.

I have a theory that eating animals makes you tired and unfocused. That’s why you get tired after eating a turkey dinner, or pretty much anything we eat for dinner now. Most people eat 21 meals a week with meat in them, which is quite different from two centuries ago when meat was hard to come by and would be reserved for a weekly feast.

A lot of people seem to stop eating meat by having a going-away party, where they eat several stakes, hamburgers, and other garbage because they’ll be “missing out” the rest of their lives. These are usually the people who quit vegetarianism in two weeks. You don’t quit eating animals reluctantly; you do it because you know how much it’s taking away from your strength and your health. Why would you want to take away even more? Does an alcoholic give up beer by becoming very drunk? Do you smoke 100 cigarettes on your last day of smoking? I don’t think those are any worse for you than this.

I’m not even convinced animals taste so good, so much as it is an acquired taste ingrained from childhood. If you’d grown up eating leafy plants and colorful fruits, wouldn’t a two-patty hamburger seem disgusting? I’m pretty sure that animals taste bad, but they make up for it by packing themselves with unhealthful protein and saturated fat. You can still get this as a vegetarian, by eating cookies or salad dressing or ice cream or white bread all the time. All of which are no better than eating meat.

I can’t say I care for tofu; it tastes like a wannabee meat product. Why do vegetarians start eating tofu burgers and imitation crabs and faux sausages? It’s like saying “I’d really prefer to eat animals, but this will have to do. I’m just sticking with vegetarianism because it’s cool and stylish.” Becoming vegetarian just to imitate a typical meat-eaters diet proves nothing.

I ate a big plate of lettuce and some other dark-green leafy vegetables today. I couldn’t tell what they were. Some of them tasted sweet, others tasted green, some tart. But it was an exciting experience, I can tell you that. I almost wanted to grab my camera and start photographing the folds and patterns on the lettuce. I didn’t, because I was enjoying the taste of lettuce too much. I refuse to continue settling for anything less than exciting food.

Dealing with others

If you switch to vegetarianism, you can be pretty sure that a lot of people will support you, some will come up with limiting or fear-based reasons for you to continue eating meat, and a few won’t care at all and will just label you a nut. Even your friends will fall into the third category. But they’re the ones who will often come around to embracing the green-based diet. If not, stop holding yourself back and find some other friends.

The people who response the most negatively are actually the ones who are jealous of you. They want to stop eating animals too, but they don’t because they think they can’t or shouldn’t for dietary or social reasons (all false). They’re entrenched in limiting beliefs, and it hurts to see someone sail passed the limits.

Arguments against vegetarianism

These are a few arguments against vegetarianism, off the top of my head.

People won’t like you.

I haven’t heard this one directly, but a lot of attitudes about vegetarianism imply this. The idea is: people won’t like you because if you’re going out to dinner or at a party special accommodations (food) will have to be made for you, you won’t be able to connect with people by sharing in eating hot dogs and hamburgers, and people may suspect you have a superiority complex for not eating meat like everyone else.

For the thirty friends and strangers about my diet change so far, I’ve gotten just the opposite. The “worst” responses have been a shocked “why?”, and “if you want to do that, it’s your choice.” But most of the responses have been congratulatory, with a lot of people saying they want to do it too. I don’t know if they’re serious or not–if they want to do it, why don’t the just do it? It may be that most people don’t exercise this sort of willpower.

The people who discourage you from change are often your family, because they may not like to see others around them improving. They want you to stay just the same. But when people say they don’t want you to do something, that often means you should do it. Bounding outside of the social norms is extraordinary stuff. That’s why they’re social norms; because ordinary people follow them. Ordinary people eat garbage.

Becoming a vegetarian isn’t anything extraordinary; it’s hardly even worthy of notice. Millions of Hindus live it every day. Don’t let implicit norms sway you.

You won’t get enough protein.

This is actually false, because we get way to much already. I read that we get twice as much protein as we should, mainly because we eat so much protein-rich meat. That much protein is actually bad, because it stresses your bladder and the urinary system (that’s where the excess protein goes).

There is plenty of protein in dark green vegetables, legumes, eggs, and such. With a good vegetarian diet you’ll get just the right proteins instead of twice as many, and the ones in vegetables are better for you anyway.

You can’t make friends as easily.

This must be because you don’t share common food. Where’s the common ground?

I, for one, think that any friendship built on food is no friendship at all. You’ll make much closer friends by actively breaking rapport and defying expectations, than by settling for superficial commonalities.

If you think you’ll lose friends over food, then your problem isn’t vegetarianism. Your problem is that your entire model of humanity is broken. Fix it, please.

People will beat and bully you.

This is a serious concern if you’re in public school (not college), because public schools are like prisons and there’s a mob mentality. You could also expect to be beaten for carrying a camera on you or wearing mismatched socks… depending on how bad the school you’re in is, of course.

Just hide your vegetarianism. Tell people you know won’t beat you, and do it individually rather than as an announcement in the lunch room. Before you know it, you’ll be done with the nightmare that is public schooling.

You’ll stop growing.

My father brought this up, because I’m 5’10” now and he wants me to grow another inch or two. I was 16 just two months ago, so I could have some more growing to do. My Dad grew an inch at 19.

The bones mainly grow from calcium, but I’m going to continue drinking milk and eating cheese (I’m an octo-ovo vegetarian, meaning I’ll eat animal products but not animals themselves). The only other concern is protein, but I was getting too much of that already, eating hamburgers and fish and such.

I’ll probably grow even faster now.

You won’t be able to eat all the meat in the freezer.

It doesn’t matter. Throw it out. I know it’s not right to waste food, but it’s worse to let your circumstances (the food in your freezer) hold you back.

If you put off vegetarianism because you have to eat what’s in your freezer first, it’ll never happen. Even if you eat up the meat and then become a vegetarian, you’re still stuck. You’ve given up your ideals to worldly concerns. Soon, your grandmother will be convincing you to eat the meat in her fridge because it’s “about to spoil.” People will be forcing meatball-spaghetti on you at the dinner table because it will “go in the garbage” otherwise.

Once you start to eat meat because it’s “going in the garbage,” what have you become? A garbage disposal. Do you want your body to be a garbage can?

You can also think of yourself as a vulture, because you’re eating what other people refuse to eat. What no one else wants. Vultures eat rotten guts and putrid entrails.

Don’t be a vulture, be a man.

Meat-eating is a necessary evil.

This goes along with the protein and dietary arguments. It can’t be true, though. It’s a bastardization of the meaning of evil.

Evil is never necessary, and necessities are never evil. They’re polar opposites. How could something “necessary,” meaning required, be evil? At worst it could be neutral, but it’s probably good, or else it wouldn’t be needed.

How could something bad be required? If something is evil, it can’t be necessary, wanted, required, or good.

Eating animals is neither necessary nor evil. The way it’s done now is evil. We’re not shown how poorly our cattle are raised, because so many people would switch to vegetarianism if they knew.

It disappoints me that vegans spend all their time supporting the “rights” of animals, when we’re supporting the murder of unborn children by the millions (abortion). It’s alright to pick your niche, but campaigning for animals is like worrying about personal development while you’re suffering from a hemorrhagic stroke. Despite what the personal development gurus may tell you, please don’t worry about personal development when you’re bleeding profusely. Try to solve the bigger problem first. You can apply this to all areas of your life. Always go for the big enchilada before the small potatoes. Otherwise, you might never have time for the big stuff.

Vegetarians don’t get cancer

It’s true. You expect me to say that it’s because we have healthier diets overall, but it’s not that at all. You can eat meat all day and still never get cancer.

When you are injured, your body sends trophoblast cells to heal the wound. But sometimes it sends too many, and your body doesn’t have any way to deal with these cells. The healing cells can split very quickly… and they do, crowding out all the others to form a cancerous growth.

But nature has a remedy for this: amygdalin (a.k.a. vitamin B17) is found in the seeds of almost all foods, and it allows the body to break down the protective walls around the cancerous cells, gobbling them up before they become a problem. It also appears in dark green leafy vegetables, grass, and everywhere else. Most people get none of it because they only eat processed foods which have it removed, and that’s why they get cancer.

Vegetarians tend not to get cancer because they tend to eat more Earthly foods, BUT, you can easily avoid cancer by eating foods with vitamin B17 every day. That means you should eat apple, apricot, pumpkin, and watermelon seeds. Citrus seeds don’t do much. In Central Florida we get yellow, plum-shaped loquat fruits a month out of the year, which have big seeds with lots of the cancer-fighting vitamin. My Dad had frozen quite a few of these and I’d been eating them daily, but we’ve run out so I’m back with apple seeds now.

Cancer is a vitamin deficiency like scurvy, meaning that you have to change your diet permanently to avoid it. There is no “cure” so much as there is prevention. People will tell you not to eat seeds because they have cyanide in them, but in fact, the form it’s in does no harm. I ate two apples, complete with seeds, yesterday, and seeds the day before, and the day before that, and more, without ever feeling so much as a stomach ache.

And I will never get cancer, which is quite nice. If you don’t eat seeds, everything is in fact a carcinogen, because anything that causes the body to dispatch healing cells could create cancer. If you get stabbed or shot, cancer might form there. If you bump your head, you’re open for brain cancer. If you smoke, the irritation in your lungs causes too many healing cells to be assigned, which fester as lung cancer. If you stay out in the sun, you get sunburns which result in skin cancer. But when you’re getting the cancer-fighting vitamin, none of these are a concern. Not even radiation. Of course, it’s still bad for you because it damages your cells, just as smoking will merit you emphysema.

There is only one form of cancer with one prevention and cure. The Rise and Fall of Laetrile (laetrile is a purified form of B17) may say otherwise, but the fact is their testing was on people who had already been ravaged by cancer treatment. Their immune systems were spent, and cancer was festering inside them. That’s like saying your brakes don’t work because you can’t go from 60 miles per hour to 0 over a span of 5 feet. It just doesn’t work that way.

If you’ve ever took a dog for a walk, you’ve noticed he eats grass. It’s instinctive. The grass has vitamin B17, and your dog won’t get cancer. But dogs do get cancer, when you lock them up in an apartment all the time and feed them dog food. That’s because they’re being deprived of a weapon against cancer. Animals in the zoo get cancer too, while animals in the wild don’t, all because of this.

I wrote more about this in The Cancer Myth. It’s really nice to know the answer to this, because cancer is a big problem getting even bigger, because people are eating fewer and fewer amygdalin-rich foods.

Are animals equal to humans?

Apparently, if I stop eating eggs and dairy products and the occasional honeycomb, I can’t call myself “vegan” because that means you support equal rights for animals.

I do not. I’ve said it before: I’d kill 1000 cats if it would save my sister’s life. But I wouldn’t kill 1000 cats for food, because other food is readily available and I could barely even get through one cat.

People do kill cats for food. My step-mom is from Vietnam, and she recalls the cats and dogs she lost to hungry thieves. There was no food to go around during the war, so unwatched animals became a family’s meal. Every part was used. It was very efficient, due to the lack of food. But when you get attached to a dog, and then he becomes eaten, efficiency is not much consolation.

Torturing animals isn’t right. It’s not as bad as killing them, but suffering, even that inflicted upon animals, brings us down as people. I suppose that’s a good reason to stop eating animal products too, but I’m happy merely with dropping meat, for now.

Animals just aren’t special like humans. When was the last time you saw a dog dedicate his life to personal development? Never. Dogs are smart and all, but they’ll never hold a candle to us, nor will any other animal.

Animals don’t lack rights because of their dumbness. If that was the case, then we could kill any children under five and any decrepit seniors, because they’re “dumb” next to us. The reason animals lack rights is because they don’t have souls. That sounds religious, but I can feel a connection when I’m around people that I just can’t feel around the squirrels at the park. I don’t need a dogmatic religion to tell me this (organized religions are designed to hold you back). I can do it all with the Richard X. Thripp religion, which isn’t really a religion at all because I don’t even have to think about it. It’s just there. You have your own religion too.

You don’t have to be a Christian to know that people are different from monkeys. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to know that eating animals is wrong. Take a five year old to the slaughterhouse, show him the whole process from cattle to plate, and he’ll tell you right away that it’s wrong. Meaning: eating animals goes against our intrinsic moral code, and we’ve only overcome that through social conditioning and by removing ourselves from the killing process. I don’t think mass subversion of our God-given moral values is something to be proud of.

Being different

I’ve never seen a vegetarianism article like this. Most of them tell us how wonderful animals are and why we’re killing the planet by eating animals rather than grains. I don’t believe in either. My motives for vegetarianism are entirely selfish.

Ironically, selfishness is the most selfless path, because by eating better, I’ll be healthier and live longer, which will give me the strength to reach more people with my photography and insights on life. The profit police try to bleed you dry. Don’t let them. Do good for yourself by eating more healthful, colorful, and interesting foods. It’s the only way you can do more good for others.

Vegetarian bias

The truth is, you can eat just as well with meat as you can without it. But people who have chosen vegetarianism have far more healthful diets. Why is this?

The reason is that the people who choose vegetarianism are the same people who are dedicated to personal growth and improvement in general. While most of the world bathes in fear and stagnation, we choose to bath in the nectar of life.

In less flowery terms, most people who are vegetarians are strong, responsible people. Vegans even more so. These people enjoy websites like mine, because they’re committed to growth throughout life. Personal development can do more good for fearful, irresponsible people, but unfortunately, they’re not likely to accept it at all. More vegetarians will read this article than non-vegetarians, because they’re already interested in this sort of thing. So I focus on raising them and other personally developed people even higher, rather than appealing to the lowest common denominator. This usually involves improving myself, and then writing about it. Real, in-depth stuff that takes thousands of words to cover. My website is no place for shallowness. This is the DEEP zone. Maybe some of the fearfuls will tag along.

Vegetarianism does not make you smart. The reason vegetarians are mostly smart is the reason most people who have high IQ scores are intelligent, most people that drive cars aren’t reckless, most people who are photographers are open-minded and creative, and most musicians enjoy music. You can be a “vegetarian” while eating chocolate and ice cream all day, but then you’re worse off than a normal person.

If someone slips meat into my salad in an attempt to poison me, it’s not the end of the world. I’ll just stop eating it and scold the attacker harshly.

Interestingly, at first I wanted to wait till the first of next year to stop eating meat. “2009-01-01 is more dramatic than 2008-10-01,” I thought. But after some high level thinking, I realized I was being stupid. If becoming a vegetarian is something I should do (and it most certainly is), then I should do it as soon as possible. Waiting helps no one, and only reinforces negative beliefs and practices. What was helpful to me, was to ask myself: would I suggest my action (waiting) to the readers of my website? The answer is most certainly no, so the answer for myself is also no. You can do this yourself. The actions you suggest to your friends are the same actions you should follow yourself. Leading by example is the only way to live.

Don’t think of vegetarianism as a panacea. Don’t become dogmatic. Most of all, keep growing throughout life. If you’re on the wrong path, don’t wait months or years to correct yourself. Do it now.

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