Faith Vs. Recklessness

One of the most prevalent ideas in society is the notion that we aren’t alone. It’s written into our DNA to believe that there is something out there other than just we humans. Most of us believe in some form of non-human intelligence, and faith in a higher power is by far the most common way to satisfy this seemingly primal need. Whether you choose to believe in God or not, there is in our very nature something inside each of us that calls us to look for something more than ourselves. Some of us choose to believe it’s biological; others feel it comes from the outside in a very spiritual place. Regardless of how you choose to see it, few people can honestly deny that there is some form of calling to something bigger.

Either path you choose requires some form of faith. Hebrews 11:1 gives very clear and poignant definition of what the word faith truly implies: “It is the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things not seen.” At first glance it seems that God is requiring us to just blindly jump into whatever it seems like we’re being called to do, but that isn’t really the way it works. There are two key words in that simple phrase that tell us all about how we are supposed to approach faith.

The first word to key in on is hope. No matter how bad things get or what our circumstances might be from moment to moment, there is an ever present part of us that looks toward the future to something better. You may not believe in God, and your situation may have beaten you down to the point that your hope for the future is just barely hanging on, but something inside you convinces you to accept that the future can be better. There is a real substance to this hope that gives you the strength to keep on living, even though your circumstances might seem hopeless.

The second word is evidence, and this is the truly important part of the verse. At no point in the Bible do we see God asking anyone to do anything without some sort of proof of His will for it to be done. The Old Testament is replete with physical examples of this, from the burning bush with Moses to Gideon requiring specific proof that God was there. Even if you only see the Bible as a silly religious text, it can’t be said that the God of the Bible isn’t willing to give us proof. Faith might require belief in something unseen, but it is never truly blind.

At this point, you might be wondering what all this talk of faith has to do with a blog on politics and philosophy, and I can understand this confusion. I don’t typically make a big deal about the fact that I am a Christian, and that’s mostly because I tend to struggle with it a lot myself. It would be a huge lie for me to present myself as a “good Christian” because I simply don’t live my life that way. However, at my core I do believe that God is there and there is something I’m being asked to do, and I can feel the compulsion to do it. It is for this reason that this post is being written.

You see, many people get ideas in their head and start to think that maybe there is something more to it than just being an idea in their head. Their attention is grabbed and the focus in on whatever it happens to be, allowing it to gain strength and form into something bigger and more durable than it really ought to be. Infatuation with the concept takes hold and before too long they are convinced that it is the correct path forward. They jump in feet first with little or no real soul searching, fully believing that they have been given a vision for their future.

This is probably the truest definition of recklessness. Any time we take action that is based solely on a feeling in our hearts, we are gambling with our future. It is this mistake that has caused the word faith to become something of a dirty word in the more secular parts of society. People who claim faith in a higher power end up taking actions based on personal experiences and insisting that it was God who told them to do it.

In reality, God rarely moves without putting out multiple streams of confirmation for the person He is trying to convince to do something. These confirmations won’t be overtly obvious, but will be just enough to show that there is something more going on than just random chance. We will be guided specifically toward whatever objective we have been assigned, not beat over the head with it but gently nudged toward whatever it is we have been destined to do. God never forces; he implies and hopes that we choose to follow Him.

This is the difference between faith and recklessness: it is following what we believe to be true, not based on hunches or gut feelings but on external pieces of evidence that we can bring together to get an understanding of what we’re supposed to be doing. Too many people believe that faith is supposed to be this giant leap into the unknown; the reality is that it is a long and arduous process of questioning God until He provides us with what we need to act. Rarely are we expected to go from complete unbelief to becoming a spiritual warrior overnight. Moses spent forty years in the wilderness before he was ready for God’s call.

One of the more important tools I use to convey an idea is giving a real world example that exemplifies a concept, so for this topic I will use my desire to buy a boat and sail around the world. For many years I have had the dream of buying a boat because one of the activities I truly enjoy and find a significant measure of peace in is sailing. There is something about being on the water and harnessing the wind that truly appeals to me and makes me feel content. The idea of shifting my entire life into a place where I can do that all the time fills me with a hope for finding true happiness.

Unfortunately, there are many variables that come with even finding a boat to buy, much less the many tasks that come with owning one long term. Depending on a couple of other pre-requisites I won’t cover here, I have two paths before me when it comes to buying a boat: I can get a loan to buy a newer boat with fewer problems or I can pay cash for an older and cheaper boat that I have to spend a couple of years fixing up to get ready. Each side has significant pros and cons and there are several reasons for which I tend to lean toward going with an older boat.

The most obvious reason is that I would prefer not to obligate myself to a very large monthly payment for the next twenty or so years when I can’t be sure what my financial situation is going to be over the long term. It was one thing to make that jump with my travel trailer because I can just move it to wherever my job happens to be, but if I’m going to live on a boat I have to be where the work is, and that might not be near the water. And if my ultimate goal is travelling around the world, then my options for work become far more limited. Having a boat payment isn’t ideal in such a circumstance.

On the flip side, there is a huge list of problems with buy an older boat that stack up in such a way to make the decision very difficult. Older boats require a lot more work and few of them are in the kind of condition that would be acceptable to most marinas. Since I don’t make enough to pay for a boat to be parked somewhere while I fix it up, I find myself in that catch twenty two situation of not wanting to buy something acceptable and being unable to find a boat I can pay cash for that will allow me to move onto it right away.

One of the voices in my life has been urging me to strongly consider going with the loan option, and I understand his point. He works on the water and knows all about the problems that come with old boats. This man has been an important spiritual advisor in my life, which would normally lead me to believe that perhaps God is trying to move me into exactly the situation I want to do some kind of work, but this is exactly the time where one needs to be very careful when moving forward. He has made some effort to help me find an option for getting on the water and this seems to be some sort of push toward where I want to go, but it is important to remember that a single confirmation is rarely God making a move in your life.

The reality is that before I can really do anything about a boat there must be several things lining up toward that goal that proves to me that there is something there more than just my personal desire to go live out on the water. An opportunity must present itself, perhaps in the form of a great paying job that I don’t have to be in one place for, or perhaps a specific line of work that would utilize the boat in some way. It doesn’t have to be a sure thing; God rarely gives us that level of confidence. However, it must be something that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that I’m not just moving of my own accord. There is something more to it.

All of this is meant to make clear a very important point when it comes to the idea of faith: it’s not about your feelings. If you are ever seriously considering making a major decision in your life and the only reason you can find to make it is how you feel about it, then you’re just gambling on the vague hope that it will all work out somehow. Even if you have no faith in a higher power, it is a terrible way to make decisions. It is through logic and reasonable evidence of opportunity that people find success in their lives, and we should all strive to find more than just what is in our hearts. The Bible also gives us a very profound point about using the heart in Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

In the end, whether you believe in God or not, never be reckless with your decision making. Even if your faith is only in yourself, you should always be looking for some kind of confirmation or good reason to take action on anything. It is through reason that we are able to make good choices, and that requires setting aside how we feel and finding reasons to say no. We should be overwhelmed with good reasons to overcome out doubt. Otherwise, we are simply taking that ridiculous “leap of faith”.

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The Danger of Free Money

There has been a lot of serious talk in progressive circles in the last decade or so about something called “universal basic income”, the idea being that if everyone is provided with a basic living they will be free to pursue whatever interests their hearts desire. This utopian idea, like many others, is an amazing concept that at first glance seems like a great idea, but is ultimately doomed to failure. In theory it makes perfect sense, yet when you consider other variables like human nature you begin to see the cracks in the armor.

Human beings are a strange animal. Unlike the rest of nature, we have an advanced capacity for reason and logic and an eye for the future. Our intellect and ability to create world changing technologies places us far ahead of any of the other biological creatures on the planet, yet deep within us still resides that primal nature that drove us out of the mists of antiquity and into the forefront of our planet. No matter how hard we try to deny it, we are animals just like the rest of creation; far more advanced and dominating, but still ruled by instincts we feel are no longer relevant to modern living.

It is this huge, underlying part of our makeup that makes certain seemingly perfect ideas dead on arrival. Any vision of a utopian future has to combat human nature, which by its very composition is directly opposed to any kind of completely peaceful existence. We are ultimately driven not by dreams, but by the competition of others. It is only in environments of conflict that we are able to truly tap into who we are and fully realize our potential. Whether in wars of physical violence or simply economic competition, it is the hunt that truly drives humanity forward.

Of course, this particular viewpoint is overgeneralized on a macro level. The Christian Bible describes humans as sheep to be led, requiring a firm yet gentle hand to get us to where we are supposed to be. It only takes looking back through millennia of recorded history to confirm this to be the truth. Time and again we see powerful leaders rising to the top of social structures to dominate their once peers, molding nations and sowing chaos and strife at the behest of their whims, their citizens happily going along with the insanity in the hopes that they would reap some reward off the ambition of the powerful.

If history has taught us anything, it is that true ambition is quite rare. The average human being is quite content with a reasonably comfortable life and will even suffer the restrictions placed on him by others as long as the benefit is worth the cost. It takes an unusually driven person to break free of the complacency of the existing system to carve out their own path, and there simply aren’t that many of them out there. They have the vision and drive to see a path to success that few others can, and it is this primal need to conquer that propels them forward into greatness.

For those of us without this particular trait, it is only when we are forced out of our comfortable lives that we find the drive to do more than just sustain what we have. Sometimes we are inspired by those who blaze a trail and it stirs up that primal urge to hunt, but most of the time the changes in our lives are driven by simple necessity. In our need to provide for our own lives, we are forced to become better and more driven, seeking more in an attempt to provide some sense of security and stability in the chaos that is human existence.

This is the insidious danger of a concept like universal income. It removes the requirement for the average person to seek out a means of survival, thereby eliminating any real external force that requires them to seek improvement. It is quite logical to think that if a person was free to do whatever they want they would seek some sort of self improvement or find a way to contribute in a meaningful way to society, yet human nature itself belies this unrealistic expectation. Some people might, but most would simply degrade into laziness.

If you need a real life example of this, you can simply look at the last decade of my life. Since I started my career in administration, I have worked for two companies which paid well but had little in the way of actual work for me to do. This left with with a great deal of free time to perhaps seek another degree or learn things that would allow me to invent something new or any other thing that might contribute to my life or others in a meaningful way, yet I have spent that time doing none of those things…until recently at least. The majority of the last eight years of my life have been spent watching YouTube.

At first glance, you might be confused as to why this would be the case, but if we pay attention to human nature we start to understand. I’ve been given a good living for basically no cost on my part. I haven’t had to work for it; it’s simply given to me. I have to come in every day, sure, and sometimes there are actually real things for me to do, but more than ninety percent of my time is spent sitting at my desk trying to find ways to pass the time until I can go home. There is no ambition, no drive to push beyond where I am, and no reason to change anything. I’m comfortable and mentally trapped where I am because I don’t really need anything more, so why bother?

Obviously I’m only one example, but the point is to illustrate how something like this works. If you look at society as a whole today and contemplate the sheer number of hours wasted on things like social media or television rather than accomplishing anything meaningful, my example looks a lot more reasonable. We live in a society today that has already been hamstrung by a lack of any real challenge in our lives, and without an external factor forcing us to grow, most of us will stagnate where we are.

Universal basic income is by default a terrible lie that will destroy far more people than it helps. Certainly some people will take full advantage of the opportunity and go on to do things with their lives they otherwise might not have been able to, but the vast majority of people will simply grow fat and lazy on their couches, watching inane content in an attempt to pass by their dreadfully boring lives while they wait for death. You may not like the way that sounds, but this is the truth of biological beings of any kind: most of the time we seek the path of least resistance. True value has to be forced on us, and that’s the only way our lives can find any meaning.

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Finding Your Creative Spark

As a fairly new writer of regular online content, it can sometimes be difficult to come up with things to talk about. I am a naturally solitary person, preferring not to waste a lot of time talking about unnecessary things and putting as focus as possible on doing things that I find fulfilling, or at least entertaining. My hyper focus on basically not being bored soaks up a lot of my attention and leaves me with little in the way of what we typically call the “creative spark”. For a writer, this is a critical part of coming up with engaging content that people want to read.

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you’ll already know that this is a problem for me. While I have thus far been able to push myself into keeping up with a regular posting schedule, this is mostly because I keep my writing in line with the way I think: short and to the point. Most bloggers are going for word count, and this is important for maximizing your exposure due to the way that modern search engine algorithms work, but I’m simply not able to bring myself to submit to that way of writing. When I have a point, I just want to make it in the clearest possible way I can. Wasting your or my time expanding on a subject that we already understand keeps us from moving on with our day.

On the other side of things, however, is the other forms of creative writing I would like to get into. I believe I mentioned in the past that I wrote a full length novel, which was placed in a mixture of science fiction and fantasy. While I was able to get the book completed and I even self-published it on Amazon, it is the only major writing work I’ve been able to get completed. I have outlines for two additional books to complete the story, but the urge that propelled the first book into completion simply hasn’t extended to the rest of the story. The motivation just isn’t there.

This has been the status of the work for a couple of years now, and isn’t really the reason I’m writing this today. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had a new idea for a story I think would be very interesting to read, and a part of me feels excited to start over with a new work. However, I find that when I really start to think about sitting down to write it, I am unable to summon that creative energy I had when I sat down to write the first book. This is a wall that every author has to climb over each time they have an inspiration for a new novel, but for me the situation is a little bit different.

A good writer has the ability to pull readers into whatever it is that they’re putting to paper. When you read their work, you are pulled in a very natural way into whatever subject it is that they are writing about. Each writer has their own voice and approach to conveying information, and deviating from that rarely results in a work that people enjoy reading. For a work to be truly interesting and engaging, it has to conform to the way the author can write in a natural way. Anything else will come across as stale or fake or any other number of negative adjectives.

For myself, I have always enjoyed fantasy adventure novels because they take me to amazing places I’ll never see in my real life. It is the seed for my current desire to get out of the normal daily grind and go see some of the world. I grew up on adventures and I’m ready for my own. These are the kinds of things that inspire some of my more interesting writing ideas, and because I identify so heavily with the genre it seems natural at first for me to want to sit down and write stories in that same vein.

The problem arises when I start to realize that my writing style and creative energy simply isn’t compatible with that kind of story. I’m great at coming up with interesting ideas and fleshing out the mechanics of a story. In my youth I was a fairly prolific Dungeon Master, leading my friends through epic adventures in the supremely popular Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game. It’s one thing to tell a story from such a high level and allow others to develop the story; it’s quite another to actually do it yourself.

One of the critical parts to creating a successful work of fiction is understanding how to reach people on a personal level with your characters. No matter how interesting the world or storyline or major events in your story might be, if your characters aren’t relatable then you will be unable to gain any serious attention from your readers. Epic battles lose much of their intensity when you don’t really care if the participants live or die, and few people will find interest in a romance between two very underdeveloped and boring characters. No matter how creative you might be in other areas, if you can’t pull it all together with a genuine sense of emotion you will be unable to make the story work.

This is where I find myself in my writing. Like many things in my life, I have a firm grasp on the technical aspects of writing and I’m fairly creative when it comes to thematic ideas and coming up with an interesting arc for a story. The problem arises when it comes time to actually get down to the gritty details of developing characters and making them genuine. As a fairly anti-social person, I don’t have the emotional experiences required to convey the kinds of things that make adventure novels truly interesting to read.

Perhaps the hardest thing a person can do is learn to accept his limitations. While I would love to become like the great fantasy writers I grew up admiring, the truth is that I just don’t have the abilities required to make it happen. Just because one wants to become an actor or singer or other such thing doesn’t mean they have the basic minimum requirements to be successful in that venture. In the end, there are simply doors that are closed to us based on our talents and abilities. Sometimes you can break through those doors and even find the success you crave, but the sad truth is that most people end up just wasting their lives pursuing things that were never meant to be.

One of the great things I’ve learned about myself is that I am very self aware and I know and understand where my strengths are. Although I enjoy writing, it is important for me to remember that my talents lie not in creating fantastic adventures but in conveying complex information in a way that is easy to understand. My gift is the ability to teach others. This is the reason why I have been able to keep up with writing so many posts on this blog; the complex topics covered here are difficult to understand without being broken down in certain ways, and I have the ability to do that. Thus I have come to accept that I need to confine my writing to those things that mesh well with the way my mind works.

Too many people go on and on about following your dreams, but sometimes the dream you have isn’t the dream that really works for you. It’s nice to fantasize about being someone other than who you are, but it’s a dubious proposition to believe that you’ll be truly happy living a life that isn’t really you. Being creative doesn’t mean fitting yourself into the image of someone else; by definition it’s the exact opposite of that. Learn who you are and figure out what works for you, and then build your dreams based on that. Chasing the dreams of others rarely works in your favor.

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Knowledge Versus Wisdom

On the surface, it seems like knowledge is always a good thing. The more we know, the more prepared we can be for the various things we might encounter in our lives. In our modern day, we have amassed so much knowledge that it can sometimes feel like there is no situation that we can’t deal with simply by looking it up from the vast databases that comprise the global internet system. “Knowledge is power” as the saying goes, and there is some truth in that statement.

However, like most things in life it’s the deeper and more difficult part of how to use that knowledge that tends to get overlooked in the hectic and impatient society we live in today. It’s one thing to understand how and why something works; it’s quite another to figure out the best way to use that information for the best possible outcome. To the woe of many people who place knowledge at the pinnacle of existence, in the end it is experience that gives value to information.

This is the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Information is critically important, and without it we would have no ability for even basic survival. Knowing how to find food and shelter and defend ourselves from danger are critical elements of human existence. However, it’s one thing to know the steps required to do something and another to actually have done it and figured out how to be successful at it. Having a checklist doesn’t mean you’re actually capable of accomplishing the tasks. It’s only once you’ve done it that you know.

The interesting thing about wisdom is that it teaches us things we never knew we had to learn. No matter how complete a volume of knowledge might be, it will never include all the little details that one learns by actually performing a task. You might get a high level summary of the major steps, or even a partial list of the minor elements involved, but a book has no way of telling you how you will individually cope with performing a task. It is only through experience that you are able to learn what your abilities are.

In our modern day arrogance, experience has become far less important than adding to our checklist of things we “know”. We used to believe that older generations held far more value than we did because they had already gone through all the things we still have to experience. They knew about love and life and how to find happiness because they already did it. Now, however, we think we have the magic key to the perfect life in the form of a shapeless mass of conflicting information. We forgot the lesson that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

Information without context is completely useless. It’s one thing to know that two plus two equals four, but if we don’t have some understanding of how to use that information to make it productive in some way, that knowledge does no one any good. Experience using this simple mathematical equation in the real world is what makes this theoretical information something important to know. Anything that can’t be moved from the realm of intellectual thought into practical application is a pointless endeavor.

Obviously, there are some things that on the surface don’t appear to have a practical application, and this is what clouds the issue. Things like art and music aren’t particularly practical from a productivity standpoint, but they have real world value in what they can inspire us to do. Philosophical debate led to the rise of the concepts of individual liberty upon which the foundation of America was laid. Esoteric thinking in the fields of mathematics led to amazing discoveries in the field of physics, which is opening up fantastic new doors to world changing technologies.

This is where the confusion lies. How do we determine what kind of thinking is useful? Wisdom has already provided the answer. We have to experience it and go through whatever the consequences turn out to be. Unfortunately, this means that some are going to have to suffer to learn the lessons of things we haven’t figure out yet. Sometimes these can be very serious consequences, including death. Many times there simply isn’t any way to know how things are going to turn out. You just have to jump and and find out.

Where we run into problems is when we already have the wisdom at our disposal and choose to ignore it. The problem with our modern knowledge- and theory-centric culture is that we no longer place any value on what people went through in the past. In our arrogance we’ve decided that they simply didn’t do it right in the past, and we know what to do now to make it work. Rather than accepting that certain ideas simply don’t work in the real world, we ignore the consequences of the past in pursuit of ideals that were never viable in the first place. People continue to suffer because we can’t let go.

In the end, wisdom is far more important than knowing many things. It is wisdom that allows us to apply what knowledge we have in the best possible way. Knowledge should be something we acquire to enhance our own experiences and provide us with better ways to move through the world, but not be a false shield against things we’ve decided we don’t like. Until you’ve actually lived through whatever it is you’re dealing with, you can’t know for sure what the right course of action is. In almost any case, experience will always trump knowledge.

What do you think about wisdom? Do you know many things but have little experience? How has access to vast amounts of knowledge improved your life? Can you learn more from actually going through things in life? We tend to favor the acquisition of information over participation, but we do this at our peril. It is better to learn how we deal with things ourselves rather than hoping that a single bit of information will allow us to cope. This is the difference between knowledge and wisdom.

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Mass Psychosis

I found another video that I wanted to share with my readers, as I think it’s extremely important to learn things like this to counteract the insanity going on in the world today.

How Do You Respect Your Opposition?

The history of our nation is replete with heated debates over many topics ranging from such controversial topics as slavery, abortion, labor laws and other such topics of strongly held beliefs. In almost every case there has been strong, emotional pleas made by both sides in an attempt to gain support for their cause, usually resulting in a division of ideologies as one group struggled for dominance over the other. America has been called the melting pot of the world, and while this is true on a cultural level, it usually hasn’t been so on a political one.

At the same time, for most of our existence we have been able to settle our heated debates through either reasonable discourse or by understanding that very simple concept of making compromises that both sides can live with to move in a forward direction. America is a nation of compromises, and by its very nature has to be to have any chance of moving into any kind of a positive future. It is only by respecting each other and being willing to give in on some of the small things that we can get any sort of advancement at all on the larger issues.

In a society where we have become hyper-partisan in our thinking, it is easier than ever to simply ignore anything that someone from an opposing viewpoint has to say. No matter how reasonable their arguments might be or how good of a person they have been, we tend to automatically discount the validity of their arguments simply because of the moniker they choose to bear. It is sad then that so many people will miss out on truly amazing thoughts and ideas simply because of the source.

As a more conservative leaning libertarian, I struggle to listen to modern liberal thinking. It has gotten so bad that the moment I start hearing certain key phrases, my mind shuts off and I stop listening. You can quickly identify a person who is simply repeating the talking points of the far left within moments; simply wait for a statement about racial injustice or a “living wage” or what personal pronoun to which they “identify”. These are the cue cards for someone who has no rational thoughts within them and are simply following the crowd. Feel no shame in putting their voices on mute.

However, there are some individuals from my opposing viewpoint for which I have a great deal of respect, not because I agree with their political philosophies, but because they stand up for what America was always supposed to be. In this case, Bill Maher is the impetus for this article because lately I have found myself watching much more of his content, mostly because he has no fear in standing up for what he believes is right. His videos condemning cancel culture show his true colors, and while I don’t care much for many of his political philosophies, I respect his position that America is all about letting people be people.

It is quite possible to respect someone who has very different ideas from your own. Some of the greatest friendships in history were between people of diametrically opposed viewpoints. For example, James Carville is a staunch Democrat who married an advocate for the Republicans, Mary Matalin. Two people from opposite sides of the same coin coming together with respect for each other despite their radically differing views of the world.

What we need to remember is that even though there are certain topics that we very strongly disagree on, we are all Americans with a common heritage and a basically uniform way of thinking. Our disagreements are really trivial when we consider the balance of the remaining things that we all agree on: peace, love and a pursuit of what gives our lives meaning. There is no bridge we can’t build together if we can stop seeing each other as enemies and open our eyes to the truth: we aren’t so different after all.

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Living Without a Dream

I’m not exactly sure where I recall the statement, but in the last few weeks I heard someone say something to the effect of “you’ve been given this dream; it’s a crime to let it go”. The statement hit me pretty hard with the simple truth of it, striking the core of my being with something as immutably pure and direct as one can possibly be. This is partially because we all have some desire to live out lives of meaning and moving away from that seems criminal, but there is also another reason I was so strongly affected: I don’t really have a dream.

My life has been a series of interests and hobbies, some of them interconnecting and others having absolutely nothing to do with anything else. I’ve never been able to focus my attention on anything long enough to make it part of a lifelong dream. The only true constant in my life has been video games, but even that is mostly just something to pass the time. Occasionally a video game comes along that consumes quite a bit of my time because it has cool mechanics or a really great story, but for the most part it’s just something to do. I can’t stand being bored.

This approach to life has left me with quite a negative attitude about my personal path. It is very difficult to take satisfaction in anything because nothing I do really has any meaning. There are just a series of actions to be taken that result in another day marked off the calendar. No forward progression or anything really accomplished; just the passage of time. The longer it goes on, the more it eats at my soul and makes me feel a continued sense of uselessness, perhaps the worst possible fate for a man.

The reason the quote from the beginning of the article hit me so hard is that it revealed perhaps the biggest reason why I struggle so hard with my career: I’m not doing something I care about. It’s great to get a paycheck and to have a minimal sense of job security and all of those things, but ultimately a man needs to feel like his work matters. There has to be a force pushing him forward toward something that actually has meaning for him, and nothing I do really does that for me. It’s all just tasks to be completed with no grand plan.

The majority of people in the world today live with this kind of pall over their existence. As pawns in a greater game, we struggle to find happiness, not because we don’t have enough to satisfy our needs but because we don’t have enough to satisfy our dreams. Like everything else in the world, opportunities are finite, and there is only so much to go around. Some people are going to win while others are going to lose, whether it’s money or power or even the fulfillment of talent.

At this point, some of you might be thinking that I just haven’t found my dream yet, and perhaps you’re right. However, if you never find your dream, it leads to the same result as not having one at all. People search their whole lives looking for that one thing and never find it, and at some point you have to make a decision about how much effort you’re willing to put into satisfying that inner need for something more. Most people end up accepting that their lives are doomed to mediocrity. It’s simply the law of averages.

This isn’t a particularly inspiring post because I’m not feeling particularly inspired by the topic. There is a huge struggle within me that tries to balance a strong desire for more out of my life with a mindset that seeks to minimize wasted effort. The catch twenty two for me is that in my desire to not waste time or energy on things that aren’t likely to happen, I pass up chances at the very thing I want in the first place. There is no resolution except to either accept spending those resources on unlikely dreams, or live with the knowledge that I will never see my true potential. Depending on your own personal mindset, the advice can vary wildly. In the end, who knows what path I’ll take.

What do you think about unfulfilled dreams? Do you have something that burns within you that won’t go away, or do you struggle to find any meaning in the things you do? What kind of life do you envision for yourself? Too many of us are unrealistic about the kinds of lives we want, and not always toward the extravagant. Sometimes we settle too easily, or don’t try hard enough. Other times we reach too far. The struggle is knowing how much is just right.

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No Sense of Urgency

This is most definitely a venting post, so if you don’t appreciate that kind of writing, I’m going to recommend now that you go ahead and move on with your day. Writing with emotion is rarely productive, but as I don’t really have the ability to get it out where I am right now, and it has a vaguely appropriate application to the philosophy portion of my blog, I’m going to post it here rather than fuming about it all day. Part of my goal with this post is to impart the importance of something that frustrates me to no end, but the honest truth is I’m irritated and now I’m going to write about it.

I can’t stand wasted time. Of the many things in this world that we have of value to us, it’s the one thing you can’t get back. This doesn’t mean that I’m always looking to maximize my productiveness or get the most money out of my life or anything like that. I don’t have the drive or the mindset to constantly worry about that kind of thing. Truth be told, most of my time is spent doing what other people consider a complete waste, but it’s what I enjoy so it’s what’s important to me.

Where I get incredibly frustrated is when other people waste my time for me. Every second I spend not doing what I want to be doing is a second lost that I never get back. Like so many things in life, you never get to do what you want all the time, so the game is balancing all the things you have to do with the things that you want to do. Going to work is obviously not on my list of things I want to do, and it’s a huge chunk of my day. This makes the rest of that time even more valuable to me because a full third of my day is lost to work.

I’ve obviously learned to live with this fact, but where my reason and patience break down is on the drive to and from work. There is just no way for me to be accepting of the pure lack of consideration of other drivers on the road. I grew up in an era where basic common courtesy on the road was still important, and people understood certain concepts: things like the left lane is for passing, not cruising; lead, follow, or get out of the way; and paying attention at stop lights so people don’t get stuck because you spent twenty seconds staring at your phone while not realizing it had turned green.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing in driving is when you’re stuck behind someone who has absolutely no sense of urgency at all in their driving. They have nowhere to be at no particular time, so they mosey along at a snail’s pace because there isn’t any reason for them to move any faster. I find myself shouting in the car the following phrase more often than I care to admit: “you might not have anywhere to be, but some of us do!” Whether it’s a single lane road or a freeway where everyone has decided to clump together to block progress, the attitude is the same: “I don’t care about your time”.

What frustrates me is that for the most part I make a concerted effort, even in my haste, to be sure that I’m not being an inconvenience to anyone else. I may drive aggressively, but I’m always on the lookout for someone driving even faster than I am and I’m ready to get out of the way if it becomes obvious I’m an obstacle to their progress. If only everyone else had the same kind of attitude. People worry so much about money and not wasting it, but the more precious commodity is our time and so many people are willing to fritter it away on a lack of attention.

Obviously, there isn’t anything I can really do about this. Not enough people are ever going to read this blog to make an impactful difference, especially since I live in a city and it’s just not possible that this kind of message would even reach that many people, much less truly resonate with them. It’s the cost of living in the city, and I understand and force myself to live with it as best I can. It’s one of the reasons I want to get out of the office work life and get on the road, so I can intentionally stay away from highly populated areas and the extreme selfishness that comes along with it.

As I said, sometimes you just have to vent about these things in a way that makes you feel like someone is listening, and writing it out can help sometimes. I’m already feeling much more calm and I guess it’s time to get back to the rest of my day. Still, if anyone gets something of value from this concept of not wasting the time of others, even in something as simple as driving your car, this article will have at least some value. Just keep in mind that you not having anywhere to be doesn’t mean that someone else doesn’t. Have a little respect and a constant sense of urgency.

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Modern Love is a Lie

It’s a well known statistic in certain circles that more than half of marriages end in failure, and of those more than eighty percent of the divorces are initiated by women. If you are at all familiar with this particular line of thought, then you recognize it as part of the “red pill” mantra, or “men going their own way”, or the “manosphere”. While I don’t necessarily subscribe to much of what is said in this area of modern philosophy, I do agree with the idea that, in our modern era of convenience and fantasy, most of us have highly unrealistic expectations of what it is to be in a relationship.

The industries centered around artistic expression have always conflated the idea of love with infatuation, doing its best to convince us that the only form of true love is the one where both people throw themselves at each other completely and forsake everything else. This is a nice little fiction, but cold hard reality has little patience for such ridiculous ideas. Those kinds of feelings might last for a while, even a couple of years, but eventually reality rears its ugly head and people are forced to really look at each other. This is where the relational “rubber meets the road”.

What most people today don’t understand is that a successful relationship has little or nothing to do with how you feel. Most times our feelings are what get in the way of making a good relationship last. Those feelings of missing something are inevitably what cause one person to decide they would be better off on their own, or even better finding someone new to fulfill the desires their current partner isn’t satisfying. It is a short-sighted viewpoint that hurts not only them, but the people who have invested in them.

This is where people today, especially women, tend to blow things up. They have been sold this fantasy that a relationship is supposed to be passion or affection or being made to feel “special”. Those things are nice to have, but if we’re going to be brutally honest they simply have no business as a primary part of a good, long term relationship. As we’ve seen in the last several decades, our fixation on chasing a feeling has done little but ruin our chances at a life with someone. It’s great at starting a relationship, but tends to get in the way later on.

It is quite rare to meet someone you truly “click with”, and when you find someone like that it is highly advisable to keep that person close. When it is someone of the opposite sex, you have met a potential spouse; a best friend with similar goals and interests that you want to start building a life with. You come to a mutual understanding that the energy you would otherwise be spending on finding a mate will now be redirected toward getting the both of you to a mutually agreed destination. This is the true purpose of something like marriage.

I’ve heard it said many times that we always see the couple go off to live happily ever after, but no movie ever comes back to show them twenty years and several kids later. The disservice this causes in our society is this idea that the person we end up with is the same person we will have throughout the rest of our lives. This is a lie. As much as we don’t like to believe it, everyone changes over time as life slowly alters our perceptions and habits. Sometimes it’s a few small changes; sometimes it might be drastic, life altering changes. Sometimes it’s for the better; other times it’s for the worse. Regardless, the person you met in your twenties or thirties is unlikely to be the person you have to live with through your sixties and seventies.

Too many people today base their relationships on how they feel rather than realizing what they really get out of this mutual agreement to be with someone else. All they see are the negatives that come with unfulfilled desires, not the positives that come with having someone there to support them through the hard times. The mundane details of combined resources propelling them toward a common goal get lost in the mists of failed dreams or the disappointment that the person isn’t going to live up to what they hoped for. Anything positive gets drowned out under the pall of unreasonable expectations.

In the end, until people return to seeing relationships as a social contract rather than an outlet for passion, the general dissatisfaction will continue to be prevalent. People need to stop worrying about these things that don’t really matter and start paying more attention to the things that actually work. Passion fades and romance loses its charm eventually, and once that happens you have to have something more solid upon which to lay the foundation of your relationship. It’s all in where you place your focus.

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Cash is Still King

Despite the title of this article, I hate cash. The convenience of being able to carry a card in my wallet to access my funds is something I nearly grew up with. Cash was still a significant part of my life in my teen years, but debit cards were firmly in place by the time I truly began my working career. One of the more irritating parts of my month is the fact that I have one service that I pay for that will only accept cash for payment, so I end up having to make a special trip to the ATM to cover the cost of it. Cash is not my favorite way of paying for things.

Unfortunately, we may be entering a period of time where relying on digital currency might not be the best way to protect ourselves from monetary problems. With the current political climate leaning very hard toward more authoritarian control over the people, we’re starting to see new initiatives by those in power trying exert control over everything from our ability to defend ourselves with firearms to direct control over where and how we can spend the money we work so hard to earn.

What sparked this particular article was the news that online payment services such as PayPal are beginning to work with certain groups in an attempt to block service to particular groups of people who have been labeled “extremist” or “dangerous”. At first glance this seems perfectly reasonable; we don’t want dangerous groups having the ability to spread their influence any further than necessary. The problem arises when we consider who is in control of these kinds of policies and who is defining what is considered “dangerous”.

These days, the mainstream segments of our media and government have labeled anyone who has a more conservative point of view as extremists out to bring about the downfall of America. If you’re reading this article or the rest of my blog and agree with even a significant portion of it, you fall on that list. There is no tolerance for different ideas anymore because the process of compromise slows down the process too much for impatient progressives who yearn for a utopian society. They never learn from history that human beings wouldn’t know what to do with utopia even if they somehow got it. It wouldn’t last long.

At any rate, one of the cruel ironies of life is that most of the time a convenience typically comes with a dependence on whatever the source of that convenience is. The credit and debit system has made our lives incredibly convenient, but it comes at the cost of putting our trust in the various banks involved in the process to not do evil things. In this case, it is a huge financial system that has aligned itself with the government in order to exert the most amount of power and influence it can in the world. This is great for them, but not so much for we little people who just want to be able to live our lives the way we want. When your money is in the hands of the bank, what is to stop them from taking it from you?

Knowing this, what can one do? Well, the first thing is to just be aware that there are things going on that might affect your ability to spend money in the future. I can’t provide any sort of financial advice, since I’m not an expert, but the various sources I’ve been reading are all warning of a potential collapse of our financial markets anyway, so perhaps investing in something a bit more real might make sense. Gold is the knee-jerk suggestion by most, but it may be more realistic to invest in things that people will find valuable in a world where just surviving is the goal. That may be overly pessimistic, but it’s reasonable to at least consider.

Forgive my little tangent, but these days it’s difficult to not see things going down a very dark road. At the very least, putting ourselves into a position where others can’t necessarily exert specific control of our money seems a reasonable course of action in any situation. While I hate the idea of carrying cash, it’s starting to make more sense to start shifting my assets away from digital to more real valuables. Who knows when we might find ourselves in a situation where the phantom currency that resides in our bank is no longer ours to control?

What do you think about digital currency? Is it likely that you might lose control of your finances in the near future? What services do you use today that rely on transfer of funds by government aligned institutions? It might seem paranoid to worry about such things, but when it comes to your ability to pay for the things you need to live, being concerned about such things isn’t really unreasonable. Take a look at your own finances and how you store your treasures and decide for yourself if the convenience is worth the risk.

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