i am angry worse than I thought
I went to add this to something else I didn’t find, because I hid it.
the thing was a post about work and everything i know, and rather than [oh god, i breathe, and remember, and am in the action of communicating and building, the verbs of my people, the English-speaking overeducated anxious trying to grow up and evolve from childhood puling reaching exacerbating the wound that is the distance between son and father, between child and ideal; are online content creators cheaters trying to gain the benefits of parenthood while retaining the freedom from responsibility because really they are still children? Maybe we’d be good to have a break from having more kids; oh, it is not easy to breathe through writing because there is no success, no arrival, no nothing but upward climbing and remaining worthy; there is no easy breath ~ is it because of the pandemic, climate change, social inequality, the ineptitude of government, the desperate urgency with which we must rewire incentives and set things right again? I am a throbbing want for justice and peace; this is mature and adult, maybe more mature and adult than my own parents, and everyone is really a toddler still stumbling kicking the can down the road except there are no elders or future generations to outsource this pain and impatience to, damn my parents’ generation for buying so many Ford trucks and redoing the wallpaper and gathering for self-indulgent parties comparing wives and liquors and roasts, damn them Mad Men era, damn filmmaking for being so pure an encounter with the symbols and mythology and for being a door leading me to reality and responsibility, that rough road to embrace of being absolutely modern and accepting what is and living here forever, setting your settling down to a nice tolerable 4/4 beat
here was the thing i unlisted here on Medium, here on the internet, here in the real world in real time, linear time we agree on because we speak the same language, have the same past, have a shared future
maybe everything I can tell you about work
I apply my reading, writing and thinking life to creative entrepreneurs as a coach and content curator, helping with…
it is good to be unable to escape, to settle down and do a frank accounting, accept responsibility into your body ~ then live into seeing and realizing how much is done, how simple it can be to preserve; how possible it is to set human civilization in order with nature as Henry Miller said here
in other words, we are wrong, the world and life are right; the thinking mind and certainly the ego striving for reception and protection in various circles of one kind or another, winning via email and social media, marketing and proof of being loved, no, no ~ only real love and gratitude above the image counts. ah, this hunger for reality beyond computation and the screen, yet here i am onscreen writing; i could just leave; i will, then return to reflect on it, write it, make it into art, circulate it—man like me can’t resist images (a words person, in the cave, a philosopher furthest away from the tribe
oh, what could I have been mad about?
you have to learn to babysit your own life; everyone else is preoccupied with their own not doing or having enough —
turn this into an ode to male anger? Why write about that?
Publishing these days is simply an invitation to yourself to edit yourself; publishing digital media is no longer as strong of a signal for a desire to communicate than showing up in person is. Maybe I’m just older now, approaching 34,
punch through the computer, the machine that ranks, divides, separates—it is a divine comedy that we spent our lives indoors, typing, writing a picture of ourselves and trying to get it embraced
this is beyond therapy—it is refusing to do it alone
it’s a poem if you think it is; it’s a crying out; it’s a prophesy; it’s the truth about me and maybe many others
i’m angry, i’m cold, nobody’s thinking about me; no one’s imagining what it will be like for me—there is no office with my name on it at which to do my life’s work. I would have to go relate and be subject to their game—I’d have to get off my butt, get dressed and go meet the people and play their game, the social game, their hierarchical game of getting and seeing. It’s a losing game. The way to win is not to play.
I don’t know if there is an attention span that can or could or would help me. Well, my friend who used to be training to be a therapist has been helping me a lot the last week or two. Lots of talk. Talk therapy, he calls it. He’s pulling out my anger and mistrust, my disappointment…all the words you expect a 32-year-old white man who doesn’t have a safe career or family to have: resentment toward my parents and their generation (it has to be more than just what happened in our house)
I am so mad. Society failed me and keeps failing me. Professional people out there keep on connecting, but it’s not satisfying—now, MEANING! That’s the question that I can’t comfortably answer. I refuse to be simple and done. I am a writer and artist but I don’t generate financial return on the $3,500/mo I cost to maintain. I live in San Francisco. You hate me, don’t you? My life is actually really good if you look at it, but what good is that if I can’t be satisfied in it? Is satisfaction the thing? No, usefulness—I read yesterday on Twitter that “people are the ends, not the means,” that relationship and presence are the rewards—and you have them already, you just have to keep on walking. Outcomes were a lie the whole time, and only worked if you didn’t think for yourself, if you turned on the television or sports and let that fill your head. If only the media companies were good! If only television wasn’t hack! If only I didn’t have taste; if only I never went online. But I went online and I learned more than I learned in school—I can see the world from here. I can see what people are putting in their devices, from their world and their head. Sometimes it’s video of them.
Maybe the distinction that’s killing me is boss versus employee. I’m not willing to let someone create the world in which I am judged. I won’t take a job where I am graded, no—I shall create the world and the criteria and be gentle and productive with the people. I shall not be ruled by anyone less than me! If I must die, so be it. It doesn’t matter what happens to me. I am on a mission to civilize. I will die for this crown; I need some mettle, some stature to point to the sky and be grateful with—I must know who I am, and know my language.
Now of course, writing and publishing are different. Writing is one thing: it’s dumping self or thought or story or insight or analysis out onto the page where it can be dealt with by you, other members of the creative process and eventually an audience. David Bowie talks about the internet in 1999 saying it collapses the space between audience and creator—and it will be amazing, if the whole thing can be financed. If the ads go away. If the companies go away, or are oriented toward new goals, missions, metrics, visions, meaning, purpose. We need a new economics rooted in Buddhism AND social welfare programs to help the locked-in-mentally incumbents graduate out of the working world and into a convalescent home where they can be weened off their passion for power. Forty- and fifty-year-old men are overdue for crying and radical self-inquiry through journaling/therapy/coaching and I know this is the work not to avoid.
Writing reminds you you can’t do your life alone, because you can think of all the things that need to be done but you can’t do them all; it’s lonely, thinking what needs to be done, choosing it then having to go do it. You don’t want to do it alone. You can’t. And the people are out there—the way is being paved because everybody goes through is, and many are going through it right now—the people are out there, the resources are out there, and as the poet David Whyte says, “everything, everything is waiting for you.”
But/and for today, the problem is still me. Grabbiness. Wanting certain outcomes (money, work, meaning) and thrashing and lashing out when I can’t control it and bring it to me—when it isn’t something to grab and then immediately have. The state is a hard one to fill, and maybe can’t be filled, the longing can maybe only be endured—and you have to partner up with someone to share in the state of longing, of journeying one step at a time, one foot in front of the other in full acknowledgment that you never reach a comfort zone—owning a house won’t be the same for us as it is around us now. Private property has reigned for a long time (see 18. Lindy effects from Farnam Street ‘mental models’ link)
Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (109 Models Explained)
The Great Mental Models Volumes One and Two are out. Learn more about the project here. This guide explores everything…
The piece of writing is never done, only abandoned.
The sermon delivered Sunday is worked on Monday through Saturday, delivered imperfectly, then the pastor begins work anew on next Sunday. There is no final thing. It’s all just one step in front of the other. People are the ends. The means are life, and that’s all.
My friend told me recently I have a strong internal voice. “You don’t know how many people are envious of that,” he said. My internal voice won’t leave me alone, and all I can do is be pushed further away from people with actually sustainable lives: they can breathe easy at the nexus of contracts they’ve entered: marriage, mortgage, employment. They can breathe easy, just do the next thing, clean the house, cook the meal, do the task, pay the bill. There’s a rhythm to it. Life, it’s called. And when I think about other people’s joy, it’s going out to restaurants and bars with other family and friends. And taking pictures, and putting those pictures up in the home, and making more plans—looking forward to the next holiday or vacation or long weekend—there is always something to look forward to on American Hallmark calendars. But holidays bother me because I thirst for serious conversations about Christ, suffering, passion (which means “to suffer for”), family, ritual—it’s not enough to do it (eating foods off paper plates), I need to understand it and we need to talk about it. I thirst for language, dialogue, confirming shared understanding. Being is not enough for me; doing is not enough, no.
I don’t know why I became so complicated. I wish I could shut up, and no one will pay me for it. But don’t I deserve a place to stand? The world is so big? Do we really need more management consultants? Anything a person can be trained to do, a web-connected computer plus robotics can be trained to do better. I’m a human being, God damn it. Not a machine. Not a robot.
I listen. I think. I relate (when I overcome anxiety and depression and anger) and merge with others and their backgrounds and futures. We build alliances. I am not a lawnmower put back in the shed after use who emerges tomorrow the same. No. I am more. And I must make more. I want to be paid. I want to be safe. This is a diatribe but it is the underlying nature of people my age—and whoever you are, you pay taxes somewhere; you’re a citizen somewhere. You do business. You pay for space and time (it’s always expensive).
This article is what happens when you and I are separated. Poetry is a piece begging for another. It isn’t done. Its mere existence is not enough—it is looked at once and turned away. We are now in the digital age where there is always something else to see. A work of art keeping someone’s attention for 15 minutes is…two hours (a film) is…maybe there are just more niche audiences now. Maybe a book will only have 7 readers, and that’s OK.
“We have a crisis of leadership in America because our overwhelming power and wealth, earned under earlier generations of leaders, made us complacent, and for too long we have been training leaders who only know how to keep the routine going. Who can answer questions, but don’t know how to ask them. Who can fulfill goals, but don’t know how to set them. Who think about how to get things done, but not whether they’re worth doing in the first place. What we have now are the greatest technocrats the world has ever seen, people who have been trained to be incredibly good at one specific thing, but who have no interest in anything beyond their area of expertise.”
Solitude and Leadership - The American Scholar
The lecture below was delivered to the plebe class at the United States Military Academy at West Point in October 2009…
“I don’t think we do a very good job in our culture of making a case for why it’s a good thing to be an adult” (2:24)
It’s hard to raise a human being
It takes a lot of sacrifice of ease and pleasure; it takes GROWING, changing, involving others in your self.
I’m mad at what our parents didn’t do. I’m mad at the disarray of people flailing and thrashing for justice and peace. I’m mad that it’s so easy for personally safe people to close their eyes, not go online, not have empathy that charges them up with fury that’s then unleashed through action—planned action, taking up their schedules, taking up their Sunday masses.
I crave a church that sticks to its creed. I crave people above me who believe in something higher and believe in me. I want to be believed in and I don’t want to do it on my own—it’s too hard, it’s too much.
You think this is a complaint. I’m not a child.
This, like everything I’ve published on Medium, is of the time it was created — all a lesson in what a finished work can’t and won’t be again. It’s all fleeting. I believe now I can’t make a “wrong” addition, like Miles Davis recoiling at the notion of him making a “wrong” line in a drawing he was doing while being interviewed. “A ‘wrong’ line?”
It is perhaps creative victory to make what I wrote last year not matter anymore, to render it moot, to have no more strong, breathless point to make. To be outside of a game. To be beyond the need to prove. Yes, it’s what Henry Miller said about not being literary — the best form is no form at all, just automatic writing, letting it come and then letting that be “the product,” “the work.”