Showing posts with label Philosophy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Philosophy. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

7/4/17 (1): Alburg-Colcester, VT - Daddy Mammon's Consumerist Plantation



Part 1

I'd arrived in Rouses Point feeling rejuvenated! The stomach bug…so familiar by then I’d named it Ticonderoga’s Revenge…had passed and I was ready to attack my old friend Route 2 and make my way to Maine.

Things began perfectly and generated optimism. It took just 10-minutes to hitch a ride across the bridge spanning part of Lake Champlain back into Vermont and Alburg, a little town on an islet surrounded on three sides by the lake and attached by land only to Canada.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Quixote's Primer




Prelude: This will sound familiar. What you’re about to read is both a time capsule and an invitation to watch a natural birth. Without the screaming…wait…there is eventually screaming involved. Ok. Fine. Without the blood. Most of this was left in the archives as an undistilled work in progress, one I intended to revisit over the last 7-8 years in order to edit it for clarity—both mine and yours—but, as often happens, I just moved on and clarified on the fly. 

It was originally hatched in Port Townsend, Washington as a large part of my 9/19/09 birthday post but I quickly retracted when I realized this idea, Quixote, was enormous. That’s an inadequate word. It’s literally (proper use!) impossible to overstate the impact and effects it would have on me over the next decade. 

The concept was conceived as a simple observation of the human experience. But over the years it’s proved to spread well beyond the confinements of inner dialogues and identity. As social media’s bubbles inflated, Quixote has been weaponized as the exploited means by which people intellectually isolate themselves away from unpleasant intrusions on comfortable, egocentric personal narratives and world views. Don’t be mistaken in believing that Quixote is specific to one cave or the other. It tramples truth wherever it inconveniently sprouts.  Yes, Moonbeam. Even inside your magically evolved crystal bubble.

I’ve added some contemporary 2017 meat, but the bulk was written in early-mid October, 2009 at the end of a life changing summer. Anything added or cut was for brevity (ha!), clarity and fun; the basic concept has slightly evolved over the years but very little; I’ve changed my name more often than I’ve altered the foundation lying beneath what lies beneath. (That was not added for fun.) 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Karma Is Not Your Bitch



"The trouble with self-delusion, either in a person or a society, is that reality doesn't care what anybody believes, or what story they put out. Reality doesn't "spin." Reality does not have a self-image problem. Reality does not yield its workings to self-esteem management."-J.H. Kunstler
I violently disagree that truth is subject to the whims of ego. Since returning home, repeatedly reflecting on some nagging ideas has pushed me over a threshold. I am moving quickly into a room shared with a rude abrasive bitch calling herself Personal Responsibility and away from the escapist fairytale that "The Fates" are so preoccupied and impressed with glorious ol’ me that they only live to provide a precious lesson-a-minute from their classic handbook The Magical Meaning Hidden Inside the Mystically Mundane. No, I suspect we're required to evolve and learn without constant spoon-fed intervention from The Universe.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Consultation Plague

**This was originally the last section of the previous post. But I'm weary of 2,000 word posts. Consider the split an act of mercy.**




The last paragraph in my previous post was hard-earned. It literally (proper use) took years to get there because at the outset I unintentionally became caught up in the entertainer's praise-performance-praise cycle without being completely aware it had happened. Facebook took over for the old blog making matters worse, then I was convinced to follow the Toddzilla X "brand" path in 2012 and the dopamine cycle spiraled out of control when my life became a product to be marketed online...The Matrix Marketplace. Depression and a generalized and growing innate anger predictably set in as I tried to broaden my appeal via video production and podcasting. The only sustained respites between 2012 and when I discovered the wonders of depression-busting powers of psilocybin last April: traveling.

It wasn't until last year when I embraced that this (and later on my photography) isn't a "product" to be submitted to the mob for mass-appeal and approval or, worse, to be marketed in The Matrix Marketplace, that I could ultimately embrace that my message is micro-niche: intended for “my people". The Unbearably Splintered. The rest?  They're never going to get it. Why bother? Great question. Fuck ‘em.

Destination: Death

THE DELUSION OF THE ENLIGHTENED LIFE

Life’s a journey along a series of uncharted paths where only one thing is certain: death is the unavoidable destination.  There are few certainties. Etch that in stone.

This terrorizes our species of bald apes. With a sense of consciousness and its attached ego still stuck in its wailing infant stage, we cling to various mythologies conveniently placing us at the Center of the Universe™ and providing the comforting illusion that we’re cheating death. All we have to do: behave, believe, and deliver Mammon Tribute to the pulpit or kill an infidel! My concern is no longer escapist religion. Some people need it. I understand that and some days even empathize!

(But, honestly: “if something’s too good to be true…”)

That being said, the sad effect of embracing the Universal Sky Daddy Delusion is it often prevents the faithful from properly valuing our most precious commodity: life. And, embracing their journey for what it is.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Plan Less. Live More.



Along with an infamous "Hostility Toward Wealth" Facebook post that destroyed some deep friendships, this has probably become my favorite thing I've written. It's from March or April 2015 and written inside my tent in Salento, Colombia. I have to admit, and with only a slight, forced degree of humility: its nice to be able to inspire yourself! Thanks for the organic reminder, Mr. Campbell.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

On Fear (Archive, 2009, 2011)

Slightly edited excerpt from "That Uppity Ego"
August 16, 2009


Fear

Since Michigan, this is a topic I seem to be contemplating and discussing quite frequently. Fear is a never-ending fight and if we cower too often it can cripple and make us a prisoner of our own mind.

I find it hilarious when people tell I'm "courageous." Someone famous wrote, “None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear.” I have known more than most! It's had a history of paralyzing me. I made a mistake in not publishing the back-story from 2004-2008, before Running with the Wind. I will correct that eventually, but it literally took me those 4-years to hit the road primarily due to fear. The “what ifs” consumed me. I was never prepared enough, never had the right equipment, or the destination was not right because too much “might happen.” Much of that was due to a lack of confidence, a major source of fear. In the weeks leading up to my departure in May 2008 I repeatedly shredded myself in my journal about the fact that I KNEW I was an obvious coward with nothing but big talk and bigger ideas, and I was sick of feeling powerless to do anything about it. This is from April 20, 2008, exactly one month before I began this little adventure:

Friday, June 2, 2017

Updating the Operating System: γνῶθι σεαυτόν

Reworked and updated excerpt from Navigating the Rubicon (9/2009)




The Trailhead

I've never written much publicly on my lead-up to this personal Odyssey. I always say it began in August 2004. In 2005,  I read a biography on Jean-Jacques Rousseau which introduced me to  the idea of unfettered commitment to truth and the phrase Vitam Impendere Vero which loosely translated means “truth before everything, even at the cost of death."

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Abyss (Archive, 2011)


 “He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.”  
-Nietzsche, Beyond Good & Evil




I’ve never read much Nietzsche, and likely never will. I tried getting thru Thus Spake Zarathustra and couldn’t. However, these two sentences have helped articulate something that I’ve struggled with for nearly two years: The idea that when you dare to confront and examine the darker, less flattering parts of life, the Abyss, your own darker, less flattering traits are inadvertently revealed to you. I believe one of the most difficult and important choices one can make is whether we choose to see what inhabits our own depths. It’s the stuff of mythology, and nearly derailed me.

Nietzsche’s Abyss was introduced to me by Henry Rollins via my favorite podcast, WTF with Marc Maron. Despite being a comedian, Maron’s conversations typically pivot toward insightful, introspective examinations of our shared, needy, frail egos and how they influence our choices and relationships. In other words, how we’re all more alike in our fucked-upitude than we care to admit!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Synapse Pruning & The Signal to Noise Ratio

First of all, I know I never finished the hitchhiking updates from November. I made it home safely and felt bad about not finishing until I remembered: no one's reading them anyhow! So...who cares? Literally! If you happen to be an anomaly, I apologize. I'll finish them , eventually. Then you'll be able to hear all about the Russian trucker watching porn as he DROVE, or more accurately swerved, down I-80 in Iowa. True story. Good times. But, not why I'm here this early morning...

This link is about how motherhood changes women's brains.

Interesting read, sure, but pay attention to the part about "synapse pruning". It's the brain's way of, as I like to put it, "getting rid of that which does not fucking matter to make room for that which does." And make whatever remains more efficient.

Friday, November 11, 2016

11/10/16: The Nebraska Exodus

Particularly after Phoenix, I was smart enough to let things marinate until the wide angle view of perspective arrived. Before Fort Morgan, this was useful, but the forthcoming hitchhiking stretch could/should have been written in the moment. If you’re one who enjoys the light “then this happened” fare, you’ll dig it. There's plenty coming for the rest of you.

Thursday, November 10th

After struggling for 36-hours, I finally snapped back to Raton-normal. The new body clock woke me up at 4:45am thrilled that, despite Colorado's November chill, there was neither condensation nor frost. With the exit ramp’s lights, breakdown was effortless and by 5:30 I paid coffee-homage to 2008's Conoco Shrine—unaware that I’d stealth camped for the last time on this trip. In fact, that morning I planned (ha!) to camp across Nebraska and Iowa for the foreseeable future!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

11/9/16: Colorado Springs to Ft. Morgan - Building Antibodies

November 9th began drowning in reactionary cynicism. It ended honoring a dead friend and the effect he never knew he had; a humble 1st person tribute to the resonating ghost of my first ‘real” ride from a tortured man who'd become infamous and dismissed in death simply as a cop-killing monster. The man I met was much more.November 9th began drowning in reactionary cynicism. It ended honoring a dead friend and the effect he never knew he had; a humble 1st person tribute to the resonating ghost of my first ‘real” ride from a tortured man who'd become infamous and dismissed in death simply as a cop-killing monster. The man I met was much more.

HAPPY TANGENT: Good news! For this trip, the last post is mostly it for naked political commentary. Congratulations! You survived! Have a Tootsie Roll. Or a big bag of Freedom Cheetos. No, that wasn't a political statement. It was me having some fun with your triggers.

11/9/16: The Electoral Post-Mortem

With Trump’s election, Wednesday morning stood in hilariously stark contrast to Tuesday’s. Whatever “connection” I’d felt just 24-hours earlier was dead and replaced by a generalized sense of annoyed cynicism. The early hours of November 9th felt like a complete personal political post-mortem. In fact, they were only the initial incisions.

Graced with hindsight, the aforementioned warning bells were now deafening. I thought back to 2008 & 2009 and the dozens of conversations with people so disgusted with "the system" that they’d rather blow it up than have it maim them any further. I remembered the conversations in Peru: warning people, to their semi-arrogant “progressive’ amusement, that Trump was a threat. And that one should never underestimate or bet against willful 'merican ignorance.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

11/8/16: Raton to Colorado Springs - The Orange Interloper Ascends


Until the very end, election day 2016 was refreshingly non-political. For at least 2-years, if not longer, almost everyone had been ready for November 8, 2016 to end. Rather than a righteous expression of democracy, to most Americans the electoral process has become a tortuous, brutal endurance test. Be reasonably assured: anyone preaching recycled, long-winded, election-based “patriotic” American ideals are full of shit and simply wanting to hear themselves cackle. The senses-battering saturation with all conceivable means of spin is exhausting. By the start of any election year, people are just trying to survive the carpet bombing style propaganda campaigns disguised as “discourse” and non-stop political advertisements. In an odd way, I’d escaped the final onslaught by being on the road! I’d figured out my cellphone predicament the night before but as election day dawned I was without data which mercifully left me disconnected.

The night was cold but the Bellyache Mountain again performed admirably. The bag/bivy tandem combined with the plush grass to create a perfectly comfortable, restful nest. Until I got out and started shivering! As in Flagstaff, the bivy had a coat of thick frost and my water bottle had frozen. Unlike Flagstaff and Albuquerque: no condensation. Anywhere. At all! Bazinga! This time, I was (finally) wise enough to cover the backpack with its rain fly, so the Palisade avoided the frost and its accompanying melt.

Monday, November 7, 2016

11/7/16: Election Eve On The Santa Fe Trail

Albuquerque-Raton, NM

It wasn’t a restful night, but I slept well enough in my creepy dirt nest. The first thing I noticed when waking up at 6:30: everything was soaked. Again. This time, rather than condensation: desert dew. Since I’d slept outside of the bivy, the sleeping bag bore the brunt. As did the uncovered backpack. But, moisture aside, the sleeping bag rocked again and the shell kept its insides dry. Still, I again needed to dry it before stowing it for very long. At least I was still at a Flying J. Easy fix.

The second thing: a car parked nearby in the nothingness! It was just 40-50 yards away and sitting directly beneath the massive sign luring I-40’s traffic to the Flying J. I don’t know which creeped me out more: a car so close to my nest or that I hadn’t heard it pull in!

“Whatever, Adventureman. The sun is up. You’re visible. Everything about this nest is creepy and generally uncomfortable. Quit gawking. Get moving. Dumbass.”

Sunday, November 6, 2016

11/6/16: "Bus, Bus, Foreigner's Tour Bus"

Flagstaff-Albuquerque

After my creepy 4am awakening, the frost coating the bivy convinced me to stay snugly in my sleeping bag for an hour struggling to get more sleep. It was still dark, I had no idea how to deal with the frost layer before re-packing the bivy, and the condensation inside the bivy sack had collected onto the sleeping bag. All new complications needing to be dealt with. And the sun wasn’t even beginning to rise.

I purchased this particular bag in Phoenix because Big Agnes marketed the Bellyache Mountain as having a water resistant outer shell as well as containing “water repellant down”. I’d hesitated switching to a much lighter weight down-bag before because they’re traditionally known to be useless once they get wet.; the down would clump in older bags and they’d lose their ability to retain heat. But, over the last few years, technology has developed to combat that significant problem. If Big Agnes’s “Downtek” worked, the weight/packability would make one worth the investment. Despite the considerable condensation, one thing was certain this Sunday morning: the moisture hadn’t penetrated its outer shell and gotten at me. And it still felt like a furnace! So far, so good. I just didn’t want to extract myself! But, I wanted to spend another night in Flagstaff far less.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

11/5/16: "Remember, Remember the 5th of November"

After almost two weeks, on Flux Capacitor/Guy Fawkes Day, it was time to get moving. With Standing Rock as a tentative “plan” (ha!), we decided north from Phoenix was the best option and around 11am we packed Dexter The Dog into Jefe’s truck and took I-17 toward Flagstaff.

Compared to Nevada, I-17 has an abundance of suitable hitchhiker drop zones once Phoenix’s sprawl is left behind. Jeff generously decided on Camp Verde, 90-miles away; only an hour south of Flagstaff and my new target: I-40 east. Meet the new goal. Same as the old goal.

Friday, November 4, 2016

10/24-11/4/16: Phoenix, AZ - El Jefe Revisited

Some backstory is in order for those who have joined the party since 2010. Jefe and I grew up in the same town and have a history running back to the first Bush administration. He moved west in the late 1990’s, and we managed to stay connected by phone and me paying infrequent visits before and after I myself moved west in 2004. When Chris and I decided in January, 2010 that we’d meet up at Slab City , in the California desert near the Salton Sea, I Dirty Dogged from Santa Fe to Phoenix so Jeff could join us for a night or two. He was there when we encountered Leonard Knight and Kevin Eubank and I believe he even met the infamous Ray. We then occasionally got together in 2013 while we lived in Tucson. For whatever reason, La Casa de Jefe is frequently on the way! We hadn’t seen each other since my move to Chicago in late-2013, so a visit seemed likely from the moment I landed in Las Vegas.

We quickly got re-acquainted, which is never hard, and things quieted down significantly over the next several days. He worked while I spent the mornings with his dog and cat updating my blog, editing video, and contemplating Mexico.

Monday, October 24, 2016

10/24/16: Phoenix - Go Forth Boldly, Young Man

Aside from a rather comical episode of sleep/smartphone induced disorientation leading me to spend 5-10 minutes believing I’d slept thru Phoenix and was arriving in Albuquerque without my backpack, the Greyhound from L.A. to Phoenix was uneventful. I arrived just as the sun rose and spent the next several hours at the terminal waiting for Jefe to get out of work and pick me up.

IMG_6298

Bus stations are never “ordinary”. The collection of humanity gathering at Greyhound always make for superb people watching, and Phoenix is no exception. Along with the typical strutting examples of facial tattoos and recently parolees, I did meet one interesting, familiar character.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

10/23/16: Barstow, CA - Jad, Drifters, and a Dirty Dog Escape

The clouds kept things warmer overnight. I was finally snug and toasty and climatologically undisturbed inside the bivy until around 7:30. I got moving immediately. Just as I finished packing up stray raindrops fell. They didn't stick around, but it was a prelude of later.

I finally had a goal: southwest on I-15.  Barstow. Of course, when hitchhiking there is no way to plan anything. So, I'd just take it a step at a time and let my arrival determine the next move. From Barstow, I was inclined to hitch at least to Flagstaff. But, it's rarely easy to switch interstates and always a crapshoot. I knew nothing useful about the I-40 situation other than there was (apparently) only one direction to go: east. Route 66's killer dies itself it Barstow.

Inexplicably, I went inside to charge and write. Somehow, I'd actually forgotten the 12:30 Barstow Greyhound that would be the best option for both Jeff and I once I arrived in Phoenix. He works early mornings, and an evening arrival would be easiest on him. And me. I wouldn't have to lounge at the luxurious Dirty Dog terminal.

After putzing around for 45-minutes or an hour, I suddenly realized my idiocy. I topped off the water, decided to forego Subway, and hustled over to the exit ramp for the first time hoping some good luck got me to Barstow by noon.

Few things about actual hitchhiking are consistent. One is: expectations and "hoping" that the hitchhiking gods mercifully conspire to assist my pre-conceived plans never works. Whenever I feel like I "need" a ride by a certain time, I never get it. The Hitching Gods have their own ideas. They've repeatedly made it clear that my "plans" (ha!) mean squat.

And thus it went.