Ready to Rage

When tolerance levels are breached, rage is an inevitable next step. It’s like the boundaries of fear that are overcome in moments of desperation when the realisation sets in that remaining true to our current approach, is as meaningless or ineffective as throwing caution to the wind, and demanding what we need, or want. But, in that lies the problem.

My tolerance levels are defined by me, not anyone else. Each time I give in to the breach of it, to the rage or the demands that bubble beneath the surface of my emotions, I find myself buying into the assumption that in doing so, that final act of desperation where reason has failed me will, in fact, yield the responses that I want, or expect. But that assumption is what is incorrect.

Assuming that others care enough to honour your needs or requests is an assumption based on entitlement. Or maybe not. Nonetheless, demands only ever result in compliance at best, but rarely, if ever, respect. And thus, I find myself reminding myself that we cannot give what we don’t have. If I lack tolerance, it means that I lack patience, or that I embrace entitlement. It’s a fine line between sanity and pacifism. At which point do we accept and move on, and in the process compromise what we stand for, versus stand our ground and demand a change in behaviour from others?

Pacifism, or the need to turn the other cheek does nothing to correct the unwelcome behaviour of those that assume that they are entitled, and in the process trample on the rights and dignity of others. The balance must lie somewhere between being driven by the principle of it all, and desiring that they realise the value of upholding such principles.

That desire is what challenges us in our moments of weakness. Moments when we experience the intensity of the void of not being served as we serve, or appreciated as we appreciate. Moments when our respect is assumed to be expected, and our concern is assumed to be neediness or interference. Those moments test our merits and our resolve in being able to set aside what we need, in favour of what we wish to see realised in the lives of those around us.

Rage if you must. But remember that rage will only ever allow you to vent in the moment at hand without any benefit for the future. If nothing else, it may reveal the truth of the sentiments of the ones that you hold in high regard, but as always, be sure that when you prompt such a response, you must be ready to embrace the answer.

Rage if you must. But rage with purpose, and let that purpose be enabled through actions that create rather than destroy the very outcome that you hope to achieve. Let your rage inspire you to act, but not to impose. Let your rage drive you to change that which you despise or find lacking, but don’t let it convince you that you are entitled to a favourable response. Nor are you entitled to righting the wrong that you find problematic.

Recognise your rage as the source of the intensity of your passion. Then, feed that passion, not the rage. The world is full of raging beasts, each demanding their significance without earning it. Or demanding such significance from those that have no interest in appreciating them. Don’t add to that rage. Replace it with passion, and purpose. Replace it with a conviction in who you are, and not who you demand others to be. The former is the beginning of the path towards peace, and the latter is the path towards hell on earth.

Let your rage bring peace where imbalance thrives. Let it inspire others to rise with conviction, rather than fight with abandon. Most importantly, let your rage never be unbridled, because in that is the root of losing ourselves to the very same contempt that we hold of those that breed such contempt into this world.

Be better than that.

#MenAreTrash #NotAllMen #AmINext

This is for the men out there. The ones who need to consider what they have become when they find it excusable to strike a woman, or worse, to violate her, or kill her. And for those that may not have been raised by a loving or caring mother, because we know they exist as well, do you really want to be like the monster that raised you? Be better. Own Your Shit and stop finding reasons to blame society for your despicable behaviour.

No, we are not all trash. But there is trash amongst us. Those of us that see and don’t speak or act against that trash are trash as well. But we are not all trash. You don’t resolve a problem by painting everyone with the same brush. You resolve it by supporting those that are trying to correct the wrongs and the toxic ones of their own kind. When you demonise the good for the actions of the bad, you feed the cycle of toxicity and abuse that you’re fighting against. Now is not a time to stereotype and generalise. That’s how we end up with polarised positions and the xenophobic insanity that we have in this world at present. Now is a time to be clear and decisive against what is intolerable, and supportive of others that find it equally intolerable.

You can start by objecting to posts that objectify women, or that create comedy out of women being treated badly, or men that refer to women using derogatory terms because it makes them feel macho. Start by calling out those that think it’s OK to undermine the dignity of women, or who blame women for the choices that they’ve made. Start by objecting to what is intolerable, and perhaps we’ll find a path that will allow the human behind the trash to emerge.

Bad behaviour only gathers momentum in a system that encourages and supports it. A system is useless if it doesn’t get the support needed to nurture it. These systems of abuse and vile behaviour are spawned by cultures steeped in misogyny and inequality. If you defend such cultures out of loyalty, you are trash as well. And it’s time to call it what it is. The next time you decide to raise your hand for a woman, or you decide to take what you think is yours to take without permission or kindness, I dare you to look into the eyes of the one you’re abusing, not at their face that is distorted in pain so that you can see your own pain. Not at their writhing body that is trying to break free of your hold because it reminds you of the cruel hold that others have over you. And definitely not at their weakness because it reminds you of your weakness that you’re trying to deny. Look in their eyes and see the same human need for protection and kindness that you think was denied to you and consider that you have just become part of the problem that robbed you of your humanity.

Be better. Own Your Shit! If you don’t own it, it will own you…be someone that the younger you would be proud of, not someone that the younger you would be afraid of. :'(

P. S. Sadly, from personal experience, I know that this applies to both men and women. There is trash on both sides of the gender divide.

To Tell Your Story

After an insightful and engaging workshop that lasted all week, I found myself contemplating whether I have a story worth sharing. There are far more intriguing and gut wrenching stories than my own, and no shortage of them being from my own demographic as well. So I was forced to consider why mine is any different.

To understand why I found reason to question this, you need to be aware of my aversion to writing for the sake of getting attention, or sharing stories to get sympathy. I think deliberate sensationalism is tantamount to selling your soul, and publishing a book so that you can get the accolade of being a published author is only tainting the profession more than self-publishing already has. This probably sounds hypocritical from someone that just self-published their own book. (By the way, it’s called The Egosystem and you can find more info about it from the link on my homepage).

Cheekiness aside, accessibility to platforms like self-publishing is great for people that have a sense of pride in their work. People who don’t live their lives believing that everything they do is inspired, and everything they say is inspiring. It’s for people who have a healthy level of doubt and care enough to question the quality and value of what they’re putting out there. I’m not suggesting that they must have a perfected product before hitting publish! Not at all. But when I contrast that against the so-called writers that brag about the 42 or 50 books that they self-published just last year alone, I must question the quality and the seriousness with which they’re pursuing their craft.

Self-publishing is a blessing for writers that don’t have the funds, resources, or connections to get a publisher to take on their project. It’s also great for someone that has something of value to share but doesn’t have the network of support or means to get professional services before releasing their publication. However, if you have the ability to self-publish, then you also have the ability to do research and fact-checking. You have the resources and skill to produce more than just a dreadful cover that looks like a 10-year old’s doodle in PowerPoint, and you definitely have the ability and tools to understand the basics of plagiarism.

The problem with people that don’t take these basics seriously is that apart from destroying their credibility as writers, they fill up the online stores with such a huge load of absolute crap that the good stuff gets buried so deep that it is next to impossible to find. That means that any writer that takes their craft seriously will have to spend that much more on marketing and promos, and put in that much more effort just to find an audience. Contrary to common belief, word of mouth is not as viral or available as many world like to believe it is.

Every indie author dreams of publishing their book and then getting friends, relatives, and acquaintances to buy it, read it and tell everyone that they know how amazing the book was, and in that way sell enough copies to get the attention of a major publishing house so that they stand a chance of hitting the big time. If that ever does happen, there is more fluke involved than there is a well thought out plan to make it happen. Like many other indie authors, I also got a rude awakening when I realised how expensive social media advertising is, and how unsustainable paid advertisements are for getting and keeping your audience’s attention for long enough for them to make a buying decision. Unless you have a small fortune (preferably a large one) to invest in promoting your book, there is a good chance that it will remain a well kept secret, all thanks to the flippant writers that think that being able to publish without restraint is a license to dump garbage on the Internet.

Beyond the above challenges, the key challenge facing a new writer is finding the confidence to share their story because with the millions of books out there already, chances are good that a similar or better story has already been told. What I’ve realised this week is that it’s not just the story that matters. It’s so much more including the authenticity in your narration, your unique expression, and of course a little bit of luck and a thick skin that all come together to give you a fighting chance of producing a book that more than just a few people will be willing to pay to read.

If you have enough self respect to care about putting your name against a piece of work intended for the enjoyment or benefit of others, and you believe in the value of the story that you want to share, then share it, but be authentic in your expression and don’t try to be someone else. And most importantly, show due respect to your intended readers by producing a quality piece of work and not something that resulted from a wet dream of fame and fortune because you hope to stumble upon the correct numbers for the lottery after publishing.

(This probably sounds arrogant and condescending to many, but I don’t care because liberalism holds no promise for those wishing to master their craft, and offers no direction for those seeking a new path).

Authentic Toxicity

Therapeutic expression has been elusive for some time now. Deliberately writing to finish a compilation of thoughts tends to constrain the thoughts themselves. It feels like herding cats, a sensation akin to seeking constructive engagement in a toxic environment. The benefit of a toxic environment is that it tends to provide sufficient distractions from the emptiness that it fosters. That emptiness is most prominently experienced when you exit from such a toxic space.

The toxicity provides a sense of morbid purpose at times. That morbidity, however, is only ever felt when the efforts to achieve a positive outcome from herding the cats results in the dispersal of the cats, and a box of litter in your hands. The optimist looks at the litter in the box and celebrates the fact that it is contained. The pessimist looks at the litter and feels cheated out of the purring comfort of the cats that littered only to be left with the litter and not the affectionate embrace. The realist takes the litter box, empties it out, and moves on to find another cat to fill the litter box in the hope that the next round of litter will be accompanied by an affectionate exchange as well.

Sometimes we’re so fixated on the hurt or the pain of betrayal that we hold on to that litter believing that it is an essential and defining part of the box. The box, of course, being our capacity to embrace life. Speaking in metaphors remains a cryptic skill that avoids unwanted scrutiny. Scrutiny is only good if not practiced for the sake of gossip or morbid curiosity. There are too many that show an interest in the problems of others simply because they need to feed their egos by internally (sometimes overtly) comparing the wholesomeness of their own lives to the life of the one that is feeling at odds with the world. Far too often that sense of wholesomeness is grounded in the convenience of being surrounded by others that have less. It doesn’t feel so wholesome when surrounded by others that have more.

The sincere ones focus on those that have less so that they (the sincere ones) can gain an appreciation for what they have, while the insincere focus on the same so that they can feel superior and be recognised for their superiority. Authenticity does not feature for the kind that live their lives in the spotlight, even though that spotlight is powered up by their own egos for most of their lives. The meek under-estimate what good is in their own lives, and therefore celebrate the same icons who power up their own spotlights. Icons can be created through manipulation of the truth, but authenticity will continue to escape such a manufactured reality. That lack of authenticity leaves most feeling unfulfilled, including the icon worshipers. The realisation of such a lack of fulfilment manifests itself in the lives of the worshipers as an incessant subconscious yearning to have more and do more than the fickleness of the idol.

We cannot wish away problems or adversity just as much as we cannot wish happiness into reality. Both are outcomes of our contribution towards its ends. Inactivity never yields happiness, it only ever yields complacency at best, and a festering of adversity at worst. A sincere choice made towards alleviating the adversity will provide a sense of fulfilment even if the outcome was unsuccessful. There is much joy and reward in knowing that you tried and failed, than to one day regret not having tried at all. That reward lies in the fact that despite your best efforts, the good you tried to impart was not thwarted because of a lack of effort on your part, but rather because of a lack of gratitude or awareness on the part of others. In that lies the secret to a peaceful life. The willingness to accept that despite our best efforts, success is not guaranteed, but in spite of the threat of failure, we chose to prevail.

A brain dump carries its own sense of release from the angst of existing. Existence is a consequence of being, whereas life is a consequence of choice. I have always chosen to live, rather than to survive. A deep breath was never about regaining my composure or my footing, but instead, it was to take in the sweetness of everything that defined my experience in that moment, be it good or bad. Internalising the whole of the experience builds character, while internalising only the palatable feeds the ego. The ego does not exist independent of our choices. It is our choices. Too many blame their egos on their innate nature, when their innate nature has been stifled from fear of owning their life because of the risk of ridicule, or failure.

Authenticity is in short supply. Everyone goes out searching for it in others, but very few offer it to those that seek it. Even less offer it despite them defining it as the minimum standard against which they will choose to show others due respect, or consideration. In a transactional culture, instant gratification is only a symptom of the insincerity of the masses to give before they receive. The epic proportions we have reached in this regard means that dignity is optional, and self-respect is not a consideration because self-respect has come to be defined by the trinkets of success that we have on display to the world, rather than the sense of accomplishment we have as a human being.

Being human eludes us, while doing in humans has become a global sport.

Stark Reality

There is a starkness that stares you in the face as you see the distractions for what they are. Looking to the future with great expectations, I always found myself pushing the boundaries within which I operated. It was never about what is, but instead, was always about what could be, what is possible, and what I could improve. What if the world could be different, better, more enthusiastically engaging, rather than predictably boring and rigidly traditional? Thoughts like these, despite rarely fully surfacing, tickled my mind throughout my life. With each change I influenced, I convinced myself that I was making progress. I was improving, and more importantly, I was contributing positively.

Years of reflection tend to strip away the candy coated layers that colour my perceptions of reality. Pursuing a career meant seeking purpose and being able to contribute towards society. Establishing a home meant adding to the wholesomeness of this world that is in such desperate need of more of it. Encouraging others to prevail beyond their self-imposed limitations seemed like a noble pursuit as I tried to infuse my passion for progress into the lives that I touched. That’s the candy coating that maintains the pleasantries of life. Chipping away at it quickly reveals the lack lustre tone of the core that is less palatable, like a sugar coated pill with a bitter core.

I see, with great disdain, the hoards that cherish this life as if it were not fleeting. Selling our souls to distract ourselves from the bitter core that we tasted in moments of defeat, moments that robbed us of the comfort of being in control of our delusions, as the reality of someone else’s delusion prevailed in our lives instead. We live lies, blatant, obvious, and well known lies, but hold on to it because of the emotional highs that it offers. Emotional highs are easier to solicit from delusions because we make it what we wish it to be, because in the absence of such delusions, our impotence in the face of certainty smacks us down.

Reality is never known, except in death. Everything up to that point remains a distraction from its inevitability. We hate inevitability. It denies us control, which denies us power, which reminds us of our insignificance in a world that we cannot control. There is not a single king that reigned forever, regardless of the mythical statuses we endowed on some to the point of deifying them. The greater the collective weakness of the masses, the greater the delusions needed to maintain social order. Those that subscribe to the delusions as wholesome gatherings of human connections weaken themselves, until those with an inkling of recognition of those delusions become estranged from the common good while the distracted lead the masses down the garden path to oblivion. But oblivion can be a beautiful place, just like collective self-imposed suffering.

When everyone subscribes to a harmful behaviour, its perception of value makes it healthy, but only within the context of the collective delusion that we live. We compete to excel above our peers in who can most accurately and elaborately articulate the distraction to the point of giving it purpose. They are the ones that are celebrated as leaders and spiritual guides. True guidance cannot be obtained from others similarly or more elaborately distracted. Such leadership is akin to the guides that demonstrate the strategy behind a video game. It is leadership focused on how to excel at a commonly respected distraction.

This world is full of such common subscription to common distractions that have grown to define our purpose and objectives in life. Study the cycles and the systems with such intensity, that your mastery of it leads you to believe that you are in fact mastering life, when in essence, all you’ve mastered is your own ego. That is not the same as subduing your ego, but few would recognise the difference.

The painful irony is that the ones less distracted are not easily found, if ever, because they do not circulate among the distracted. They avoid the systems of delusion that attempt to cheat the inevitable outcomes by soliciting collective celebration about achievements that prevail in part beyond our moments of inevitability. Inevitability is death. Some meet it while still breathing, others don’t see its imminent arrival until it has overtaken them, while a few spend their lives preparing for it. They’re the intelligent ones. But faced with a sea of distracted delusionists, they appear as nothing more than an insignificant lot of fools who just don’t get it.

A fool, if left to judge the merits of others, will deem the entire world a charade except for those that respect their foolhardiness. This world is overrun by fools, pretending to be leaders, providing spiritual indulgences that alleviate the burden of seeing reality for what it is. The starkness of reality exists somewhere in between all this insanity, but fortunately for most, its starkness is also its rarity.

Contaminated (Part II)

We live in times where the inclination to remedy a fall far outweighs any rationale to prevent the fall from happening. We’ll willingly encourage others towards intoxicants or unhealthy distractions, and then form support groups to help them out of that addictive state, while refusing to condemn the bad advice we gave in the first place. Accountability is only celebrated if it doesn’t disrupt the oblivion of the masses. Those that threaten such disruption are spurned for being callous, cruel, or arrogant, often accused of thinking that they’re better than everyone else. In short, we condone that which reflects our own weaknesses not because we believe in its wholesomeness, but because we feel more human in recognising the shared weakness in others. More than this, it makes us feel less inferior when we believe that we share shortcomings with others, rather than falling short of expectation by our solitary selves alone.

It’s not about being better than everyone else any more. These days, it’s simply about not being worse. There was a time in human history that I imagine the focus to have been on competing to excel in human endeavours. People would have exerted themselves to achieve noble goals that served as inspiration to others to want to rise up and pursue even greater heights. It’s quite different today. Today, it seems as if we compete to see who is able to dominate through any means possible, where the level of domination is celebrated, without any concern for the means or methods that achieved such domination, except where those means and methods threaten our ability to actively compete.

I’ve been fascinated by the term ‘fully formed adults’ ever since I first read it a few years ago, but my fascination quickly turns to disgust as I look around and struggle to find specimens that exhibit such qualities. Semi formed adults raise calloused and contaminated children. Children that grow up under semi formed adults face trials and hardships that are entirely avoidable, and fully surmountable, but they often shy away from the challenge of rising above because when they raise their gaze looking for a role model to guide them, they see nothing but more contamination of a society that is full of semi formed adults. It’s therefore little wonder why they themselves succumb to the same cycle.

Regardless of how harsh our childhood may have been, we all reach a point of independence in life where we are able to feed or break the cycles that raised us. Critical thought is spurned as rebellion and disrespect because semi formed adults lack the skills and self-worth to effectively navigate their way through critical thought processes. The stigma associated with failure is so harsh that even in the face of absolute failure we’ll find a euphemism to describe our sorry state. Anything is better than admitting failure. It’s this same insincere and tainted social setting that continues to lay down a path of strife and distraction for children looking for meaning and purpose in life.

In the absence of a critical mass of fully formed adults, those that try to break the cycles are placed with a burden that is tenfold relative to the effort that would be needed to raise a balanced and confident child. It’s a constant struggle of trying to convince or influence the child towards a wholesome standard while they are bombarded with the unhealthy standard of the semi formed adults that they’re surrounded with. Isolation from such a malformed society is not an option. When we disengage, we lose the right to judge, criticise, or cry foul.

We need to stop raising children. We need to start raising adults. This mindset that has contaminated the world in recent centuries that childhood must be enjoyed with abandon so that we can start being adults when we reach a certain age needs to be abandoned. This distinction between childhood and adult life is misguided. It’s not about age, it’s about awareness and accountability. We should expect greater accountability as we progress through the stages of self-awareness and awareness of our surroundings. The same way we expect a child to stop wetting the bed once they have been taught the value of hygiene and the skill of using the toilet, we should continue to hold them to such levels of accountability in action and behaviour as they continue to acquire new skills.

But adults that had a contaminated childhood often project those regrets on the children under their care. Instead of raising the standard against which they raise their children, they embellish the esteem of the child with gestures that convince them, the adults, that they’re doing a better job than the raising that created the flaws that they despise about themselves.

The common undertone and theme in society these days is one of demand, but little supply. We’re all demanding to be recognised for the struggles of our lives, and to be judged based on the gravity of those struggles, while remaining entirely oblivious to the fact that we are merely spawning another generation of victims that will take our efforts and raise it further. Their demands will be ever more destructive and selfish, and the erosion of society that we universally lament will continue on its downward spiral until a group of inspired young souls will look upon the generations that came before them with a sense of contempt and disbelief. The inheritance of wholesomeness that should have been passed down will be absent, and in such total absence they may finally resolve to correct the path that they’re on, rather than continuing the toxic cycle in search of affirmations and validations for experiences that hold no sway over the next generation.

Adults that still place their insecurities and weaknesses before the well being of those that look up to them deserve a special kind of scorn. We all have the ability and the capacity to actively reflect on how we are perceived by others so that we can take steps to embellish our images in ways that would earn us praise. This is regardless of upbringing or value system. It is entirely based on who we wish to view us admiringly, and how we wish to feel about their gaze on us. We therefore cannot argue that such reflection in the betterment of our characters and moral assets is impossible simply because we were raised by a calloused or contaminated society. The resolve and courage exists for us to change the way we live our lives. The motivation however, is lacking, because it is significantly easier to fulfil an expectation of a consumerist society than it is to raise the expectations of the next generation.

[end rant]