3 Poems

The green grass

I swat a little bug and scratched an itch

Without looking up from the book I read

From under my lawn chair on which I sit

Foreign invader uniting enemies

 

A whole ecosystem getting disturbed

By my presence and yet I still complain

When under my strong foot sit murdered

Colonies that didn’t see the raid

 

So much life so much beauty

Exists for free in my own lawn

If we look close we see the vibrant scene

That teems with life starting from early Dawn

 

Whose rose red fingers light what’s on the floor

A call to action no insects ignore. 

 

Alcohol

We drink when we’ve cause for celebration 

We drink in surrender and in defeat

We drink to overcome inhibition 

And when we’re out with no plan but to eat

 

We’re blinded by Circe’s luring beauty 

A promised pleasure if we surrender

With each drink we’re turned to animal

Our wit with vodka thrown in the blender 

 

Drink makes the liar a more honest man 

The dull man more charming in his rhymes

According to his insuff’rable clan

Relieving all weakness til morning shines 

 

A strong man stands up to this lovely nymph 

And doesn’t need to charm a boring simp.

 

 

Humility

Salt gives flavor to grilled steak and veggies

Cooking prepped and on your meal is topped

Preserving strength until you sit ready

It makes life richer without drinking hops

 

The shaker provides an interaction

We share and nourish together

Knowing not your taste bud reaction

Discriminating not to him or her

 

Salt then dissolves and is forever nothing

The world’s a better place a good mother

Who never asked for praise or offering

Dying a completed life for others

 

To overindulge is never its fault

Be generous and be silent, be salt.

Trump made an appropriate response to corona virus

Donald Trump made a controversial statement on Twitter when the corona virus started making its way into the news and daily life. He compared it to the flu. “Nothing is shut down.. Life goes on.” 

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1237027356314869761?s=20

He downplayed the event. Even though the virus was spreading across China outside of China, and the death rate was higher than the flu, and it was more contagious than the flu, Trump tweeted that it’s not a big deal and to carry on as usual. 

Did Trump want old people to die? Did he want the economy to grind to a halt? Did he actually think the Chinese were lying and that it wasn’t a bad illness? 

No. He didn’t. Trump has more information than anyone on the planet. He had advisors that told him this is no flu. He also had advisors that told him what would happen if things shut down – life would never be the same. Someone had to make the statement he did. It couldn’t have come from a medical professional – since it is a disease to take seriously, and it had to come from someone high up in his organization. It took courage to say that it’s just a flu, when he and everyone else knew it was not just a flu. 

America depends on the financial markets. It’s our competitive edge over other countries. Our markets allow for ingenuity and technological advancement, top colleges, and enough top industry and financial gatekeepers to attract the brightest students, employees, and entrepreneurs from all over the world. It’s this that keeps us ahead of China and other nations in arms and money races. Without dominance in arms and money, the US takes a backseat to nations that allow for fewer individual freedoms to decide international policy for others. We don’t want that. Trump knows we don’t want that. 

Our financial system was hanging on by a thread. Money had been pumped into it for decades, incentivizing reckless spend, inefficient hiring, but also innovation. And it gave those inefficient employees a chance to make some money so they could spend it on things that have to be made by someone else. Thus the economy keeps moving. It all depended on belief that the dollar is better spent elsewhere than held on to. Which, when money is pumped into the economy which makes inflation rally, it makes sense to do. When that money is moving around and not held onto, innovation is incentivized by those dollars. 

I said Trump had courage because he made a promise to try his hardest to keep life going on as we know it. That meant a call on individual lives from people who will get sick and die because of lack of action in shutting things down. However, it could also mean the markets crash and people lose their jobs, savings, homes, and livelihoods. This is what Trump was seeking to protect in his tweet. 

His actions weren’t courageous because it was the right thing to do. His actions were courageous because it’s what *most of you* wanted to happen, but couldn’t admit publicly. So you left the President to say it for you. Trump did a dangerous thing by tweeting it’s just a flu. 

Instead of the virus killing off a 14% of the population, most of which is unproductive over a few months, which would be horrible and have major world consequences, we shut down the financial markets. Now we’re going to face mass unemployment and an economy that will never get back to where it was. 

Lives would end over the illness and more because they weren’t prepared. But it was the last Hail Mary thrown so that you, basic girl and haze bro, could get your pumpkin spice latte and IPA. Without the latte and IPA that you can show to your friends on Instagram, you are without meaning and direction. Trump tried to save you from that. 

It could never work. 

Stupid Believers

This was fun to write. 

It’s interesting how propaganda works. How many of you are religious? Believers of a book written 2000 years ago, long before modern science began to uncover worldly truths? 

I’m on your side here. Let’s make fun of the rest of the world. 

Religious propaganda has influenced billions of people. It influenced the founding fathers of the United States and it influenced the Bible Belt – the southern states that are stereotyped as not being as intelligent as us on the coasts. 

It’s the atheists, the agnostics, the non-believers, that are better than this cheap propaganda. 

Sorry, “better than”. 

You see, atheists, and the classes they populate, fall prey to another kind of propaganda. Advertising. 

These dumb hicks from ‘bama and east California, they don’t fall prey to your ads. They see an ad for an iPhone 13 and say, “Y’all don’t need that, y’already got a phone. That just ain’t no good.” 

The superior in intellect, those that resemble the founding fathers in courage and wisdom, but choose to write blogs to carry out their revolution, they say something similar, “You don’t need a new iPhone. The utility of adding three cameras to the back is not worth the opportunity cost of working weeks or more likely months at a job that doesn’t care for you. Plus the dopamine rush of having a shiny new object to show off to the neighbors won’t do me, or the neighbor any good.” 

It’s you heathen middle-brows, the average person, the basic bitch and hazy bro that gives into advertising. You, smart as you are for having disproved a man that peacefully recommended not wanting things and said by practicing virtue you can be better than your animal instincts. You told him he didn’t exist. 

In doing so, you reinforced your own ideas and your own shitty behavior. You are relegating yourselves to animals, prone to emotional whim and carnal desire. You let your lusts and fears drive your behavior, which makes you open to manipulation by marketing departments, which you are eager to see what they produce for you next so that you can incrementally raise your status over your neighbor. 

There’s a better way. I figured it out, and so did those Trump loving, gun toting rednecks down South. 

They are more capable of experiencing happiness than you. 

Day 2 of the Quarantine

Yo! Today is day two of the stay-at-home-except-to-go-to-the-store quarantine. I’m loving it. I’ve got good books. My brothers are here to hang. I’ve got good food, and a lot of it. And I can write. And I’ve got some thoughts. 

With that, a poem: 

Plague

Corona virus is a terrible plague

Sent from God he’s no longer being vague

He wants you to denounce old sick ways

So that your moral soul will not decay

 

We are all materialistic slaves

But the road to riches is brightly paved

Not in gold or green but with virtue

Which we can celebrate under curfew

 

It’s this virtue that overcomes all wants

Want for wealth and sex will no longer haunt

Mind and body when you choose otherwise

Just follow the Lord, and life never dies

 

Fire and brimstone are being thrown at us

Read old books and celebrate Christmas!

 

 

Corona virus isn’t a terrible plague in the numbers it’s killing. It’s a bad illness as far as that goes. It’s a terrible plague because of what it’s doing to the financial markets. That’s a plague I can get on board with. 

Yeah, I’m rooting for destruction to the financial markets. Fuck your money. 

The financial markets have been ruining people for decades. The markets promised baby boomers hope as they worked for decades to make a strong retirement: images of beaches and fast cars and fine wine. These cars and wine were sold as happiness. Without these, there is no happiness. That’s how they were sold. 

The generation skipped morality and boosted divorce rates, single-parent homes, adultery, and time spent in the office. Morality, Chistian values couldn’t compete with the shiny television ads that targeted, with precision, the insecurities of these aging heathens. Their lust for power, status, and sex had been building along with an economy that depended on these lusts since their youth. It became louder with each new technology they saw introduced. 

Millennials are next. There’s some hope that our generation can turn away – we can drop our hope in the financial markets to save us. This is my call to action: stop depending on financial markets for your happiness. 

My call to action is easy. I’m just asking that you stop doing something. We’re all so lazy (I read Netflix-use statistics). You don’t need to do anything. Millennials have been brainwashed to lust after sex and status from the moment they were born into this world by indoctrinated parents. They have a lot of unlearning to do, but this financial destruction is good for our souls. 

What’s going to happen long term?

One of two things will happen. The markets will be flooded with cheap injections by the Federal Reserve and things will slowly ramp up to where they have been. That will only happen if enough money is injected and confidence is restored. I don’t think that will happen. I think most boomers will be too timid to inject money back into a system they know can take it all away in a moment. That’s a lot of money that won’t make its way back into the markets. Also, buyers would have to get back to buying, and buying everything. Jobs would have to rebound so people can spend. 

Another option, one I’m rooting for, is a revolution of sorts. I want people to see the follies of their trust in an external system. I want people to turn toward the values I recommend and Jesus practiced. 

If this happens, we would see smaller communities built on trust and helping each other. The building of small, self-sufficient economies that would survive a strong downturn. 

As far as the day-to-day, life is good. I’m excited to be “working from home” I mean working from home. I’ve got books to read, starting with Dune. Let me know what you’re reading. I’m barely talking to people so I’d like to hear from you 😉 

How do you have fun these days? 

The quarantine is an  opportunity. A long one, it turns out. Read, do pushups and sprints, get some sun, and write out your thoughts. Don’t write for attention, just write because it’s a healthy way to meditate and articulate your thoughts. And to synthesize thoughts from all the reading you’re doing, which should be a lot. Call your family and tell them you love them. Strengthen the relationships you do have. Hold everything you have close, and be grateful for it. 

Come out of this corona thing stronger than you were. Remember, it’s strength that allows you to endure pain, including tough times. Be strong mentally, physically, and emotionally, and you are king. Or queen. Ladies. 

I want revolution. I want the financial markets to be destroyed, along with trillions in retirement plans. And yet, I’m an optimist. 

More individuals will find happiness as they are shown the false promises of glory that are advertisements for material things and beautiful retirements. Don’t wait for retirement. Be happy now. Be happy by not wanting things. Stop depending on financial markets, and everything else external for your joy. Love yourself, Christ, and others. 

Blue trees are death

My company painted some trees out in our courtyard with blue paint. Apparently, this refers to an “art” project that Konstantin Dimopoulos started as a call to action about environmentalism. I don’t like it. 

The problem with blue trees is it’s glorifying the unnatural. When we call attention to the unnatural and dare to call it beautiful, we glorify what’s not natural. By doing so, we diminish the beauty that is everywhere. By doing that, we become less practiced, less capable, and less wanting to find beauty in the natural, the ordinary. You end up with fake tits, heavy makeup, and blue trees. 

I don’t like it as a form of protest either. I get it – “It’s not natural, but neither is the damage we’re doing to the environment with our pollution.” 

A far better form of protest would be if Dimopoulos and my company planted a huge flower garden and made a plaque saying these flowers won’t be able to flourish here or in other parts of the world if we continue letting cows fart, or whatever. Make it beautiful and inspire us to action. Not sickly and weird and make us think of what’s not naturally beautiful. Just just advertising 101. 

This isn’t creating. This isn’t art. It’s debasing what’s perfect. Art is about creating something beautiful. This is just warping something beautiful into something that’s less so. We want things to be what they aren’t, instead of finding beauty in what is. It’s strange to me: as lazy as humans are, it takes far more work to make the unnatural beautiful than it does to appreciate the beauty in what’s natural. Of course, I’m speaking about physical ease, not mental. I guess it’s hard to accept things as they are. I sometimes forget how brilliant I am. 

Just kidding, I don’t forget. Because I’m brilliant. 

It’s important to find beauty in truth – in what’s real. When we find beauty in truth, in the natural world, we can appreciate everything in life. We don’t need to change the external world to fit how we think it should present itself. We can only be happy when we enjoy what’s true. 

Humans destroy many things that are natural and good. We destroy currency by printing more of it and destroy the value of hard work (shameful Bitcoin plug). We destroy the beauty and paradoxes involved in sex when we print and mass distribute porn. Blue trees?

My point in all this, really, is don’t get a tattoo. 

And now, a poem.

The trees full of beauty and full of life
Were painted grotesque blue to symbolize
That life can be reduced by human strife
Made to suffer right before our own eyes

In destroying worldly natural sight
The object is made a tree no longer
Provider of housing and shade from light
But turned into a monstrous disorder

We call attention to the destruction
Through this destructive painted shade of blue
The trees were fine before our obstruction
Like perfect trees do not get a tattoo

Trees painted blue better symbolize pain
We feel when what’s natural we must stain.

“What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?”

A coworker was asked this at the office. He asked for my $.02, and I gave it. 

Diversity and inclusion means two things to me. First, there’s the meaning given by your intended use of the question. To that, diversity is the highest virtue man can strive for. It is the accumulation of wisdom that is acquired when men and women from all over work together and share a unique perspective. It enables problem solving and unlocks other qualities like compassion and our own ability to relate and enjoy others. 

Then there is the more literal question – what does it mean to me? 

Diversity to me is a political advertisement. It’s something we promise to do, because it is the right thing to do according to loud people on Twitter. It’s these loud people on Twitter that we as a company have become slaves to. They hold so much power over us, not because they are a pillar of morality which gives them a rational right to judge us, but because we do change our behavior when they call on us. We are afraid of what Twitter users will call us if we don’t say the right things. 

Right now, the blue check marks are calling for diversity. Of course, we know what diversity means. It means black people mostly, some Asians, and women. It means “less white-male-y”. To encourage diverse thought would be to encourage debate and differing opinions, such as this speech. But that’s not what we’re calling for. We can’t deliver this speech to a corporate audience. This speech presents an idea that is diverse. 

What is that idea? 

That diversity, as we’ve been handed, is just branding. It’s not about caring for other individuals. What, did we not care about the white people that used to fill these positions? Of course not. The company doesn’t care about you either. You are just as replaceable as the white man of the 80s. More so actually. There’s lots of labor available in the market, especially if we add more diversity through our contractors and employees in cheaper nations. 

Our company has an image problem. We’re “old-school”. We’re “white”. 

We’re not worse people than Elon and his engineers at Tesla who are “working to save the world”. We’re the exact same. We’re hard working individuals trying to find happiness on this planet. However, Elon and his company market themselves as saviors of the world, and our company chooses to belittle us and deny its nature as a profit machine. 

Diversity is the same as “green” and “great place to work”. It’s just an advertisement to Twitter checkmarks. 

I’m not against diversity. I’m against dishonesty. And honestly, I think the whole diversity kick exploits less expensive labor and makes us look good to lunatic Twitter accounts with 10,000 followers who will shriek if we don’t have an executive staff that reflects what that twitter user thinks it should look like which will become a public relations thing

The irony in all this is that there is a right answer to the question “What does diversity mean to you?” 

Rather than the spirit of the question being a celebration of different viewpoints, it’s just a way to confirm which team you’re on – the side of the corporate advertisement that is diversity, or the side of those that challenge what they’re told, the rebels, the ones that have been made famous throughout history because they had the courage to challenge the establishment. 

Real diversity is rebellious. We are all different in every way – why would the answer to this question be any different? Without different answers to this question, we are all the same, no matter what we look like. 

American Beauty is an essay on happiness

Controversial opinion of the day: American Beauty is a top 5 movie ever made. Anyone interested in psychology should love this movie and watch it a hundred times.

The first time I watched the movie, when I was around 20, I had the same reaction most people have: “It’s a weird movie about a creepy old man who wants to live out his fantasy to bang a young chick and a sexually confused maybe gay definitely angry neighbor next door.” But that’s not it. I’m telling you. Read my essay then watch it again. Then tell me I’m right.

Not him!

Him, silly.

American Beauty is an essay on how to be happy. It describes an “ordinary” man who has a wife, a child, a house in the suburbs, and works a white collar job he hates. He has everything promised in the “American Dream” – down to the picket fence. It could be any one of my coworkers.

The movie takes us on a journey where Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) confronts his inhibitions and desires and becomes a master over his mind. The chain of events begins when he lays on his daughter’s friend Angela. He’s inspired by his lust for her and soon quits his job without worrying about the financial consequence. He will figure it out.

Yes, the way he went about quitting his job was arguably unethical. But that doesn’t matter too much as it relates to the main idea of the movie.

“BuT hE wOuLdN’t HaVe MoNeY” it doesn’t matter.

Kevin, line!

 

Lester would have been happy without the money. He would have been happy without buying the sports car. He would move into a tiny apartment if he had to, keep his job with “the least possible amount of responsibility” and enjoy the freedom that follows.

Freedom from what? He can’t buy anything. He can’t travel anywhere. And he can’t just bang all of his daughter’s friends.

Lester would forever enjoy freedom from wants. He doesn’t need to buy anything, travel anywhere, or even bang his daughter’s friends in order to be happy. Not even the one friend that’s a centerpiece in the movie.

The other protagonist that moves the idea of the movie along is the neighbor child, Ricky Fitts. The drug dealing “psycho” that almost murdered a classmate – back in the day, plays a complement to Lester’s character. He is going through life with much of the wisdom of Spacey, but at a young age. He is able to appreciate beauty, be happy, and love others. Lester’s final speech, as the credits begin to roll, incorporates lines from a speech Ricky gave when the plastic bag was flying around. This shares the common wisdom, but also goes a little further than Ricky, showing a calmness and acceptance compared to Ricky’s emotional speech.

It’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once and it’s too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst. And then I remember to relax and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain, and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. 

Another set of complementary characters are Lester’s wife, the Real Estate King, and Angela. These three people represent the antithesis to the wisdom and happiness of Lester and Ricky Fitts. They resent what’s “ordinary”, but in doing so just put on an appearance that’s not genuine and hides deeper insecurities.

The “villain” in the movie is the idea represented by these characters. The bad guy isn’t the macho mean Marine next door. It’s the idea that “In order to be successful, one must project an image of success at all times” – The RE King.

The three characters represent “success” in the material world. The RE King is financially successful and has a hot wife. Carolyn has a good job, her house is in order, and her garden is top notch. Angela is hot and presumably has lots of friends and suitors.

The problem with “ordinary” is that it isn’t exciting or fun, and therefore doesn’t lead to happiness. This is because so many individuals aren’t happy during the course of ordinary life, so they believe they must do things that aren’t ordinary to become happy. So they travel, they have affairs, they fire a gun. But these don’t lead to happiness. These things only magnifies the external image that’s supposed to make the individual happy without dealing with the problems inside.

Happiness isn’t found doing what’s ordinary. And it’s definitely not found doing the extraordinary. 

The worldly success these three characters experience doesn’t bring them happiness. It’s all a show. These characters project an external image to protect the sense of self they built up. They do this to protect themselves from their internal fears and insecurities. They are narcissists, and rather than face their internal demons, they mask them with pretty colors, expensive suits, and fun sex. The world sees this success and they are saved from sharing their insecurity of being alone. Is this true success?

The movie takes place over the course of a few months. It’s a small amount of time that Spacey is free and happy. He was miserable at his job and in his marriage, for decades. But if you asked him if he lived a happy life, he would say yes. I know that because he says so in the end, and also I relate to it. When you become a deeply happy person, you become happy forever. Not a fleeting good feeling, but a deep unshakable happiness. Happiness is a characteristic, not a feeling. Lester experiences eternal happiness. Heaven on Earth, for the Christians.

Eternal happiness is a real thing. More people should strive for it. I recommend it. Lester chose to find happiness in the last months of his life. He stopped caring about what other people thought of him. He allowed himself to be hated by his wife, his daughter, and his previous employers. He no longer lived for others and started living for himself. Of course, he never was really living for others. He was living to protect his ego from being damaged by the opinions of others, until he stopped.

I’m not recommending selfishness. I’m recommending loving others or having a family or working a job for the right reasons. The right reason is never to look good compared to others or to make yourself look good.

Lester started down this path inspired by a hot young girl. The man started lifting, eating well, and becoming stronger – physically and mentally. He did this with the hope that he might have sex with Angela. During his transition into a sexually attractive man, he comes to the other realization that he’d been living for other people, and becomes the wise, happy, misunderstood man that doesn’t compromise his values for others. When he is finally given the opportunity to have sex with Angela, she tells him she’s a virgin. In doing so, she admits that her whole persona has been a front, a fiction.

Lester, horny as he must be, steps back and refuses to corrupt her. To have sex with her as the cool, strong man he is would have the effect of encouraging her to have sex with strong men because it feels so good. These good feels and orgasms would make someone happy just like making more money selling real estate and firing guns will make someone happy – not for long. Lester realizes he is now a happy, strong person, and doesn’t need the validation of sex or any other form of validation. He is complete.

Lester confronted his fears and inhibitors, destroys them, and becomes happy. He’s able to have everything he ever wanted – in his case, young pussy. He realizes when it’s right in front of him that he already has everything he needs and that having sex with the girl will only fuel her to want more. So he does the right thing, and leaves her with a hug. Again, for the Christians, he becomes a preacher of the word of the Lord, rather than a strong devil.

            You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry, you will someday. 

 

Heartiste and GBFM, the Best Of Collections

I do not own any of this content. I’m just a fan of Heartiste and GBFM’s work. Someone else compiled Heartiste’s. I put the GBFM book together. If anyone has a problem with me hosting this, let me know and I’ll take it down.

For those that don’t know, Heartiste is one of the best writers on game/relationships. His blog was banned. GBFM Great Books for Men is a poet/renaissance man that posted comments on Heartiste and Dalrock. He’s more interested in restoring honor and virtue to the world than game. For that reason, I thought about only posting GBFM’s book, but Heartiste helped shape me into the man I am today, so maybe he’ll have a positive influence on you and your relationships.

Heartiste will make you attractive. GBFM will make you happy. I recommend the latter.

Best of Heartiste: https://gofile.io/?c=Ed3lz4

Best of GBFM: https://gofile.io/?c=STDr0d

Stoicism FAQ

  1. What is stoicism?

From wikipedia, which I think provides a great definition:

Stoicism is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness) for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one’s mind to understand the world and to do one’s part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.

The Stoics are especially known for teaching that “virtue is the only good” for human beings, and that external things—such as health, wealth, and pleasure—are not good or bad in themselves

Basically, not wanting material things and finding our sole meaning in acting virtuously which, the stoics propose, is how we can achieve happiness by living the present. Virtue basically means not wanting things.

 

  1. Who are “the stoics”?

From Daily Stoic:

It had three principal leaders. Marcus Aurelius, the emperor of the Roman Empire, the most powerful man on earth, sat down each day to write himself notes about restraint, compassion and humility. Epictetus endured the horrors of slavery to found his own school where he taught many of Rome’s greatest minds. Seneca, when Nero turned on him and demanded his suicide, could think only of comforting his wife and friends.

 

  1. Isn’t ambition good?

Ambition can be a good thing. The problem is that ambition – having a strong desire to accomplish, is often aimed at a goal that was developed with external influence. We are chasing a goal that we desire not because it is good for us, or will make us happier, but because of outside influences that are directing us to want things.

When we want things, we are necessarily not free. We can work hard to achieve and get those things that we desire (something, success with women, a promotion), but it doesn’t solve the problem that we want things.

Stoicism teaches to stop wanting things. To be an ambitious stoic is to be a by-the-book stoic – to renounce pleasures and most all things society asks us to participate in. Stoicism is internal work with internal reward, rather than working on external appearances or results.

 

  1. Then what do you do all day?

As a stoic, you don’t have to do anything. But you can do anything. The point is to be perfectly content at all times. It’s to find beauty in any moment.

Your Senecas and Epictetuses would probably be big fans of meditation. Simply sitting and being still for large amounts of time. Walking in nature. Appreciating nature. Being in love with someone who loves you and raising a family.

These are things that you can enjoy in the moment and that can keep you in the moment. The stoics stress living in the moment because it means you aren’t living in the future (wanting something different) or living in the past (regretting or wishing things were different). Happiness is found in the present moment, and no other.

 

  1. Aren’t experiences a good thing? Travel, etc?

This largely goes back to the ambition question. Experiences aren’t bad. It’s helpful to be a strong, well-rounded individual. This helps with stoicism because you will be more able to be content in the moment.

There are a couple problems with travel and racking up adventures or other experiences. One is that you don’t need to travel to get a unique experience. There are new experiences waiting for you in nature, at the sports bar down the street, and with the person walking past you in the crosswalk.

When we look to travel to give us new experiences, we ignore the beauty and the variety that surrounds us every day.

Don’t do that.

 

  1. What if I want my children to live easy lives?

People don’t live easy lives. While I think it is important for a person to be happy to be well-educated, most of that education will come outside of school systems. Your peer group and the influences your child is exposed to will have a tremendous effect on his upbringing and his opportunity for happiness.

Does your child start wanting at a young age – the newest toy or video game in the commercial and develop insecurities from children’s magazines? Or is he outside being creative with his friends with sticks and rocks in the park?

Do you work 80 hours a week so he can go to a great college, but put him in front of a screen so that you can stay focused on your job? Or do you go out to the park with him to foster that creativity and enthusiasm for play?

Wanting the best for your child, like most things, can have different meanings. Society’s definition of good life for your child might mean he has access to all the video games and snacks that he wants. Your definition might be he develops a joy of reading and makes friends easily. These require different types of parenting.

 

  1. Can you stop wanting without achieving success?

Yes.

This is a tough one. I’m not poor. I have decent savings. Marcus Aurelius was the emperor of Rome at the peak of its power. It can be easy for us to say “stop wanting things” because we either have it all or have the option to have things that other people want. We have achieved “success”, to some extent, in the material world. Can this stoicism, this virtue, this lack of wanting, be achieved without first having that material abundance?

Stoicism can be practiced by anyone. It is probably more difficult to leave the material world once some success has been found. There is always more you can have. More money, more things, more friends, more status. No one will ever have more than everyone else in all these things. Especially when their metric is determined by others.

Once we achieve some success, we are rewarded. We get the promotion, and we get more money that we can buy things with. We buy a car and our neighbor gives us props on having a cool car. We charm the girl, and are rewarded with an orgasm.

These rewards are temporary, but they reinforce that we are doing the right thing. So, we continue to strive for more money, promotions, cars, and women.

 

  1. Isn’t stopping a pursuit just weakness or sloth?

No.

To change course, to stop a pursuit that you were working on because it no longer aligns with the person you want to be is one of the smartest things you can do.

There is a distinction to be made with weakness and sloth. Your virtue, your rejection of material things, must be genuine. If you are not honest when you are practicing stoicism, you will secretly envy others who achieve success, while you gloat to your friends that you don’t want things and quote the old stoics or my FAQ.

You cannot be happy while pretending to be stoic and virtuous. Honesty is a virtue, and all other virtues are false if you are not honest. To be virtuous in a world that discourages contentment and virtue requires more courage and strength than anything else in life. It is the opposite of sloth and weakness.

The strength is mostly internal. You are not signalling your intelligence or muscles to the world, so you are not externally rewarded for your strength. That is why, from the outside, it can appear as if you are weak and lazy. But if you are honest and virtuous, you will be unaffected when others call you names to try to bring you down. They chose their path, the material path, and yours conflicts with theirs. They live for external rewards, so just as it is important for them to be seen in the new sports car, it is important for them to be seen as strong and intelligent.

Strength and honor.

Book review: Lolita (hella spoilers)

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.” These are the first words in Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita.

Dolores, little Lo, Lolita is Humbert’s obsession. She is what provides him with joy. She is what leads to his unhappiness. It is not her fault.

We all have a Lolita. It can be a step-daughter pretty girl you’re in the middle of a cross-country road trip (I hope it’s not). It can be your wife, who’s of legal age and always has been. Your Lolita can be whiskey, or your job.

Lolita is a manifestation of Humbert’s desires. Humbert is a pedophile. He is attracted to little girls. More specifically, he is attracted to the “nymphette” –  a small subset of little girls that are attractive to him. It’s hard to tell from the novel whether this “type” is simply the girls that show Humbert attention, or whether it’s the type of girl that behaves more promiscuous than girls her age, reads girl magazines, and shows awareness of her sexuality.

We want our desires to manifest and make us happy. This is what Humbert wants, and he makes it happen. He moves in with this girl of his dreams and builds an image that can work for his fantasy. Sound familiar, yet? We’ll get there.

We don’t know if the girl actually falls for him. He frames the book in a way to make it seem like it is a mutual falling in love – like the girl jumps on him when she has the chance because he’s a hot, older guy that should appeal to that kind of girl (nymphette, reads girl magazines).

However, it is later revealed that Lo has a revulsion to Humbert. She tries to runaway, she flirts with other men, and in quotes she says he raped her. It’s not the mutual love story he crafted early in the novel. He turns her into what he wants her to be in his mind.

Doing this is narcissistic, and it’s how he can get what he wants. He changes, after the fact, how she viewed him and acted towards him, in his mind, instead of changing himself into something that she would actually want to be with. Or, even more difficult, accepting that she will not want to be with him. This takes responsibility and work. Blaming others and changing events in your mind is much easier.

I wasn’t surprised when Humbert killed the man Lolita ran away with. The man was a creep, and wasn’t good for Lolita, but more than that, the dude was a villain in the narrative that Humbert had built for himself. Humbert wasn’t living in a rational world with individuals. He was living in a world where people are supposed to serve him and his fantasies. When a new man entered Lolita’s life, that served as a disruption to the narrative that was supposed to play out. When he murdered the guy, Humbert was the hero in the narrative he built for himself.

If your takeaway from Lolita was that this is a book about a creepy old man, and you are a good person because you are nothing like Humbert, then you simply aren’t self aware. We all have narcissistic qualities. As mentioned earlier, we project our wants and desires in our own love lives on our environment. This is a defense mechanism for doing something difficult – sacrificing and working to improve ourselves in order to find happiness instead of happiness happening because of events external to us.

It’s a beautiful book that exposes the dark in all of us (if we are willing) through a beautiful story written by a narcissist.

Humbert broke the law. He ruined a girl’s life. He killed a man. He is not good. But he is no less happy than the narcissistic reader that continues to find problems with the world instead of putting in the work to change.