Don't be afraid.
You have all the weapons you need.
Your fight for survival starts right now.
Begin your journey.
If you do, it will set you free.
We're already dead.
What you're imagining right now.
You control this world.
If you don't stand for something,
you'll fall for anything.
I'm noticing another pattern and this one is really scaring the shit out of me. I'm seeing a world full of amazingly talented and creative people, yet many of them feel like they need something outside of themselves to be complete, whole, and creatively successful. In effect, we've been so persuaded by outside influences (i.e. advertising, family, friends, etc) over the years, that we are actually believing it to the point that we feel like we're worthless without some "external" thing to support us.
Part of the problem here is that again we've bred this culture of instant gratification in ourselves and thus we expect creative success to be immediate (i.e. within a month). Yet this couldn't be farther from the truth. Creativity and design is an iterative process of many layers (applying and/or removing). Sure you may see the creative emergence of someone thinking "Wow, look at they did. I can do that too!" But what you don't often see is the months or years of work building a creative foundation that slowly but naturally elevated them to success. So sure inspiration is great for making you realize something and giving you the courage to step out on that limb but persistence and dedication is what is needed for you to achieve your dreams.
Another problem that relates to this is that people seem to think that if they aren't making money off of their creativity, then there is no point in being creative. This is a surefire way to kill your creative spirit and your soul in the process. Be real creative in everything you do, no matter if it's for professional or personal reasons. Actually, as I've seen in the past, often times when you are doing something creative for yourself, that's when it often evolves and leads into something for others. In effect, when you put the time, effort, and care into creating something worthwhile for yourself that's when others see how great is and want it for themselves as well. So if anything, follow your personal creative passions, even if no one sees what you're doing initially because not only does it allow you to creatively express your authentic self but it could lead to a creative emergence of something that others are attracted to as well.
Here's some quick examples of what I mean by the above within my own life. When I was younger, I used to be amazing at drawing. Later in my early twenties, I composed my own music. Years later getting into my mid life, while I felt I would like to get back into drawing and music, I always felt like 1) I wasn't good enough or 2) why bother because I couldn't make any money off of it. Now I realize how stupid this thinking was for me. I don't care how good I am now. I only care that I've found other mediums to express myself creatively, even if only for myself initially. Over time, when I feel like I've mastered it enough, then I'll probably start sharing it with others and who knows what will arise out of it. So now, I'm starting to play around with composing music again. Soon, I hope to start drawing as well. Again, I know it will be an iterative experience that will take time but the benefit is that it lets me keep my creative and authentic energies flowing and also adds diversity to my life that could lead to the emergence of something down the road.
The first step to controlling your world
is to control your culture.
The first step — especially for young people with energy and drive and talent, but not money — the first step to controlling your world is to control your culture. To model and demonstrate the kind of world you demand to live in. To write the books. Make the music. Shoot the films. Paint the art.
Our Great War's a spiritual war...
our Great Depression is our lives.
Tyler Durden, Fight Club
Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.
I've had some interesting experiences over the past few days that have made me realize my place or role within the grander scheme of things if you will. What I'm seeing in the world right now is that there are a lot of people who are striving to become more authentic and independent which is great because this is what I'm all about at my core. It's about connecting, empowering, and inspiring people to be their true authentic selves and pursue their own passions.
There's one big problem in what I'm seeing though and this is where I think I might be able to help. I see all of these people becoming self-reliant and independent but at the same time, I seem them disconnecting from others in the process. In effect, what they are finding is that for them to be truly themselves, they feel they have to step away from society and others because others often pressure them to be what they don't want to be.
Yet for us to evolve as a society, especially to overcome the challenges we face ahead, we need to be able to collectively work together in harmony. So it's more than just helping individuals to see and live their lives in a new way, we need to help organizations to work in completely new ways as well. In effect, the change has to be holistic in nature, coming from both the bottom (individuals) and the top (organization) at the same time. This approach, which might seem paradoxical in nature, is something that Margaret Wheatley talked about in her book Finding Our Way.
Life takes form as individuals that immediately reach out to create systems of relationships. These individuals and systems arise from two seemingly conflicting forces: the absolute need for individual freedom, and the unequivocal need for relationships.
It seems that whenever we bargain with life and seek to satisfy only one of its two great needs, the result is lifelessness. We must live within the paradox; life does not allow us to choose sides. Our communities must support our individual freedom as a means to community health and resiliency. And individuals must acknowledge their neighbors and make choices based on the desire to be in relationship with them as a means to their own health and resiliency.
And what happens when we don't fulfill these two needs? Something that will probably look familiar to a lot of people right now.
Particularly in the West, and in response to this too-demanding price of belonging, we move toward isolationism in order to defend our individual freedom. We choose a life lived alone in order for it be our life. We give up the meaningful life that can only be discovered in relationship with others for a meaningless life that at least we think is ours. What we can see from our pursuit of individualism is the terrible price exacted for such independence. We end up in vacant places, overwhelmed by loneliness and the emptiness of life.
I was just watching a show on the Oasis Channel that was talking about the massive diversity of insects within the world (i.e. quintillion). One interesting part of the show was how they were talking about the simple brains that insects have but when they worked together as a whole they collectively were shown to have this emergent complicated behaviour that was normally seen in more complex brained creatures. In effect, this is one of the core fundamentals of my research. I believe that while we are individually highly intelligent, collectively our emergent intelligence could allow us to do things that seem almost impossible within our existing world view today.
In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art,
emergence is the way complex systems and patterns
arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions.
Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels
and of complex systems.
I think the key fundamental aspect of emergence though is the "relatively simple interactions". This reminded me a lot of my symbiotic experiences online while playing FPS games. In effect, the simpler the methods of interaction, the more effectively we worked as a group, to the point that no one relayed what was needed to be done but instead just relayed the awareness of what was happening around them. This in turn created a collective awareness that greatly surpassed our own localized awareness, spurring us into action almost instinctively. Now imagine this same emergent power being utilized by groups of people around the world (i.e. communities, organizations, etc)? It would be a pretty amazing world to live within, something that was hinted at by R.L. Wing within The Tao of Power (Tao Te Ching).
"The philosophy that Lao Tzu left behind is actually an experiment, one that individuals undertake when they are ready to enter the next phase of human evolution - that of fully conscious beings who are actively directing both their own destinies and the destiny of the world around them. In his ultimate vision, Lao Tzu believed that if each and every one of us could realize and gain control of our evolutionary power, it would invisibly unit us and allow us to become a collective, compassionate, and fully aware social and universal organism."
Purpose - Usually before we even begin to start interacting within the game world, we are told the overall purpose of our need within it, usually in the form of some global crisis (i.e. an evil is spreading and it needs to be stopped).
Role - While you may look at a list of classes, you're usually determining what type of role you want to have within the world first (i.e. tank, dps, healer).
Class - Once you've clarified your role, you usually decide upon a specific class that fits your play style (i.e. tanks can be warriors, paladins, etc).
Notice that the above approach is top down in nature and assumes at least a general sense of global awareness from the very start. We see the challenging purpose before us and then we decide how to "heroicly" overcome it through our role and class.
Class - Usually once we reach a certain age, we're told we need to figure out "what we want to be" and sometimes we're given some aptitude tests to help us figure out our optimal class or "job" in life.
Role - After living a while and having gone through a variety of jobs (classes) in life, we may start seeing a pattern within our lives that there is an optimal role for us to fulfill within the world which can sometimes be figured out through behavioural means (i.e. personality profiles) or metaphysical means (i.e. astrology, numerology, etc).
Purpose - After living almost our entire lives (and sometimes not even then), we may finally see the greater purpose needed within the world around us.
Notice the above approach is bottom up in nature with almost next to no awareness at the start and sometimes almost no full awareness at the end. Even more so, due to not knowing our real role and often picking the wrong class numerous times, we don't feel very heroicly able to tackle such a large and challenging purpose, even if it is clearly presented before us (i.e. I'm just one person. What can I do?).