Being Free from Perturbation Pt. 1
Stuff is going well for me. I am starting to see the tracking signs of success and of hitting a larger audience–the audience I have always wanted. No question there is a long way to go but the wheels are in motion. A college professor in Virginia is teaching my paper format in one of her classes. Some of the smartest people on the internet–in America–read my site and apparently consider me of enough potential to give feedback. Traffic is up and every few weeks I wake up to find myself with an avalanche of new readers.
But here is the dirty little secret: None of it means anything. It doesn’t mean a thing. And it wouldn’t if it was multiplied by thousand. It won’t fix who you are. No amount of people liking you or reading your thoughts or talking about you is going to change the person you look at in the mirror. Because as far as your daily existence goes, the effects are negligible. Facebook friends don’t exist, they are just bits of computer data. And I know this sounds heretical and a ton of kids would kill for these opportunities–I thought the exact same things when I didn’t have them. They matter sure, and they are fantastic but it they don’t alter the fundamentals of life.
You have to be happy with you. There is that Herodotus line about going out to enslave and coming back in the same chains you brought with you. I’m starting to feel that life is the same way–that the world, if you’re not careful, can end up being your master instead of the other way around. Or as Durden said “the things you own, end up owning you.” Layne Staley used to say that no matter who you are or what you’ve done, you still go home to yourself every night. And that is the fucking truth. So more than anything, getting that right is your first priority.
There is no excuse to ever stop working on that. It is the ultimate project, the one thing that determines all other things. But people are lazy and substances and delusions and dissonance are tempting alternatives. And I hate to tell you this, but they just don’t work.
I might not even be close to achieving the balance I am after but I do know that without it, I will never be happy. The whole “using the fear of not winning to keep winning” is to always be a tool and never an addiction. From what little I have seen so far, the game always lasts longer than the victory–you spend more time getting there than you spend there. So it stands to reason that unless you can enjoy the journey, the nature of things has predisposed you to an unfavorable ratio.
Cicero‘s view was that you unless you can be happy on the rack, you can never be happy anywhere. Because if your contentment depends on anything that can be taken away from you then you’ll always be plagued with the fear of losing it. So the solution is to give in a little, embrace the chaos–the art of acquiescence. That there is no good and bad, only perception. And the secret then is to understand the transient nature of things–to appreciate them while they are here and look upon them fondly when they are gone. But who does that really? Who honestly can say that their happiness depends on little externally and that a quick punch from fate couldn’t knock down the things they’ve built?
I know I can’t. But I’m working on it.
To be continued…
No matter where you go, there you are.
The fact that you’re working on it is so key. This is a good post. Congrats on your growing audience.
Hey there bro (I don’t know if your name actually IS Ryan, so I’ll stick to the noncommittal “bro” for now 🙂
I just want to say hi. I just discovered your blog around an hour ago or so and it looks like I’ll be back. You seem like a good guy to have for a blog-friend (someone you may never communicate with but who you like based simply on KNOWING so much about them through their blog and being impressed with them in one way or another).
It’s really late, so pardon the patter.
I just recently found your blog (the story of how is in my own 😉 ).
And I gotta say I love what you write. I think we’re about the same age, yet I’m nowhere near any of the _truths_ you speak about. I’ll keep reading and hopefully learn something from it ^^
And also I’m impressed by how much stuff you read. There’s a few books you talked about that I really wanna try out. 🙂 Who knows, someday I’ll find the time…
Balance is bullshit. Passion, and being OK with what your giving up is where it’s at.
Not that it matters, but bravo.
I agree 100%, but why continue with this game if you know it’s empty?
The game isn’t empty, that’s not the point. The point is that it doesn’t add meaning to you, you can only had meaning to it. And that’s how it is for all things.
“From what little I have seen so far, the game always lasts longer than the victory–you spend more time getting there than you spend there. So it stands to reason that unless you can enjoy the journey, the nature of things has predisposed you to an unfavorable ratio.”
I gotta say I really enjoy the way you frame things with a stark clarity that most (myself included) have trouble finding.
This reminds me of that little flash animation I mentioned in comments for another of your posts, “You were supposed to sing and dance while the music was being played.”
There are still a laundry list of things that hold me back from fully embracing the ‘you must define yourself, lest others define you’, yet I am 19 and chipping at those things little by little. I admire you and every comment on this site for helping my tool get a little sharper.
This also resonates with the whole “honest is the best policy” thread on the RMMB.
My favorite post… so far