Logic (A Poem)

Enjoy. Find Phoenix at http://amazon.com/author/phoenix_rises

e

E = MC

calculate the risk like in physics

r

r

rar(e) w-rong 

word-

id 

deep psychological stuff

not enough

I’ve I 

I’d

feel too much of a cutthroat LOGIC

dead code 

code dead

wrap

your head around

(un)sound argument 

sad I’ve felt 

I have(

lost nearly everything I ever cared about

good intent-ions

to feel

e

E

E-verything and light isn’t squared

right—

word

id word dead 

I’d (CODED)

believe anything to feel better

a

a A destruction of Action —

(*relinquish)*

I communicate nothing

getting by with

E AN

ounce of pain eON

hurt

anyway and unchange

a tornado spinning in my head A UFO

life

the lie (like)

lost outside symbol-ism cold from

a lack of wisdom—

it might seem similar.. It’s not

too much 

of words we’ve lost.

This poem was about logic but feeling crushed is not logical.

honest

Find Phoenix at http://amazon.com/author/phoenix_rises

Enjoy the poem.

I guess I had thought I wasn’t good enough.

Maybe because I have feelings

I don’t understand.

And who understands themselves today?

I try to imagine if I was different.

But I don’t like this.

I guess in that way

I can allow myself.

To be different.

I can tell the truth anyway.

I can be different.

If I’ll be accepted,

or just left in the volatile confusion of

a world that makes me feel

stuck. Cold ice heart frigid.

And yet,

I move forward.

Pick myself up.

I tell myself,

if, maybe a little kiss, anyway,

or anything meaningful,

anything I’ll care about,

I’ll like you, probably,

or instead, I’ll just think of

when I was a kid again,

and didn’t know who I was,

but if it’s possible to fall in love,

I really want to.

If the key is to wait for the truth,

you’ll wait a long time.

Truth is hard.

I don’t communicate

raw emotions

and the monologue of the tormented thoughts,

I’m honest,

and truth is nothing to me

without decency.

Honesty.

It’s like

a kind of sad song you listen to a lot.

A sad scene in a show.

Did you think I’d be someone special,

or was it just

the empty promises

and broken hearts

and sad songs.

I don’t want to freeze myself in such cold loss again,

I’m myself again.

To feel love is a huge responsibility.

I don’t know what it means.

I don’t know what any of it means.

But I will nonetheless 

seek the truth. Honest!

I’m not such a kid anymore.

I’m a man.

Maybe I’d want anything different,

or nothing at all.

To feel love

will still break your heart. Always.

My phrases and sentiments can’t protect me from this.

Yet I move forward.

To love anyway.

Because I need to.

I love myself today.

spirit

Enjoy the poem. Find Phoenix at https://www.amazon.com/Phoenix/e/B00QEL41LS

I derail

thought of (implicit Hell)

made a place

to be and see

to think of no reality 

style

indifferent or apathetic

risk took

or just another dead spirit

dead

flood 

of

bitter blood

unstable soul

too cold

I invent an entire reality in my head

to break

my own rhythms and my

corrupted systems

trying to imagine

but feeling too much

of my own

self-censor

sweet words and song that

makes me feel

wrong

sweet

sweet song 

I can’t philosophize through

my own create

create

creative lies

I

want something anyway

without knowing why

my

bitter blood

feud with

a corrupting flood

dead 

guitar chord

thoughts as black as my

false god

all

the words I want to                           split down the middle

because 

I don’t care

I don’t care anymore

spark of divinity made

to be dark like

the corruption of 

spirited insight

bitter bitter

free flight

made

f

r

e

e

f

a

l

l

sensitive to nothing and

cold spirit and

dead spirited response 

do I say anything again

or just 

hold

back

never held

mood

and this bitter bitter blood 

sweet song 

a flood

I just want to feel at home

in

a brutal shade of poem:

I’ve lost track again.

Ex Nihilo (An Essay)

Find Phoenix at http://amazon.com/author/phoenix_rises

Enjoy the essay.

I tried something.

I tried to write for a company. I was hoping to write science essays, as well as create content for marketing purposes, but this did not work out. I was met with a lot of resistance along the way, and the people at the company kept putting it aside, to the point to where it finally fell through the cracks. There just wasn’t enough interest in it.

I don’t know what kind of writer I am, but I can definitely be a writer who writes many things. I suppose that could include, writing science. Even though my writing is often very personal, and my essays themselves tend to be autobiographical in nature, I was still very excited at the prospect of writing science pieces, and learning a new skill in the world that I have trouble navigating: the workforce.

It really bothered me at first, that this wasn’t going to work out. I really wanted it to, I was looking forward to it, I thought that everything would work out the way that I planned. But that didn’t happen. Covid derailed the plan twice, along with the inherent resistance to the project by staff. While I am more or less accustomed to what happened now, it was hard for me at first, and my mood dipped significantly as I struggled with the reality of the situation.

Science is a very interesting field of study. It is hard to do science, whenever you don’t understand math, or when you’re not in the lab, or when you haven’t had formal training, though I read up on scioence in the best way that I can, I look up certain topics, and I explore them, in reading, in writing, and otherwise.

I read about cosmology, one of my favorite topics in science, in two books recently: A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, and A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. In a world that defies us to explain it, that dares us to try to find the truth, everything that happened at my job, is very timely. It is unfortunate, but it is reality, and the truth is unfortunately hard to come by.

To be honest, cosmology doesn’t really make sense to me. I obviously don’t understand the math behind it, and I don’t understand how we came out of nothing, somehow. There had to be nothing at first, right? The Creation story is very important in Christian religion, and many people have made use of it to provide purpose and explanations for our existence. Likewise, people turn to the explanations of cosmology, to try to understand why we are here, and where we came from. I suppose with my interest in the truth, I want the explanations of science to help make sense of things, but I don’t see the truth of cosmology to be at odds with the deeply held religious beliefs people may have, and this is because I am not attached to either point of view. In other words, I’m skeptical enough that I don’t attach value or personal significance to what either narrative implies. I care about the truth, but I’m not attached to any explanation, for this reason. Indeed, I’m skeptical enough of the implications of what either cosmology or religion ultimately mean for human life. It is, rather, about the exploration of it. I’m curious.

But how is it, that we came into existence, then? I have heard that there may have been a universe before us that collapsed. This was the way that our universe came into existence. I don’t understand the explanations for this, but they are interesting nonetheless.

The point, though, is that nothing came into existence ex nihilo. It seems as though the universe as we know it was crammed into a very small pocket of existence at the beginning, for lack of a better word, and it seems as though the universe began to expand at an amazing speed, what I’ve heard called the singularity, or what we perceive as the Big Bang.

There are a lot of implications to this. How is it that the universe came into existence, whenever it seems as though there was nothing there to begin with? How did the universe start in such a small point, to become the giant, expanding universe that we know today? I find the discussion interesting, but I don’t get caught up on the stakes of such questions, strictly because I am detached and I find them worth exploring, no matter where the conclusions lead.

It is interesting to me that for some people, creation stories make more sense, because it explains the first cause, as we know from the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas and other theologians.

What I would say, regardless of these explanations, is that I won’t be able to contribute the way that I was hoping to at the company, but when we barely know what anything is in the first place, maybe none of that ultimately matters, at least the way that I at first thought that it did. To have all of the particles in existence jammed together in a tight spot before the universe was born, is really a baffling picture of the way that things are, and if that is where I once was, being made stardust myself, maybe the things that I want are important, but just a little bit less important, in that it matters to me, but maybe not so much to the universe, or all the other particles floating out there in the universe. Maybe what is more important, is focusing on the beauty and curiosity that I try to foster for myself, because I find it to be valuable.

Whatever the case, somehow I am here, living in a world of matter and the world that once exploded into existence with the singularity. Somehow I am here, billions of years later, and that seems like a tremendous opportunity, especially when I don’t really understand cosmology, and where I’m doing everything that I can to make sense of my life and the lives of the people around me. It really puts things into perspective to remember that the universe exists at all, with such strange initial conditions.

To me that is what it has always been about, though. I am a very curious person, and I just want to explore. That was why I was hoping to write essays on science, among other topics, because I thought it might be useful to the type of place in which I was working. I could help illuminate scientific topics, with an interesting narrative voice, and I could contribute to the understanding of science. But it seems to me that the meaning can still be found, even with the failure, because science is an interesting way of approaching the world, even if we don’t always understand it, and I can explore it. There is a way in which the idea that existence seems counterintuitive and paradoxical, makes me highly interested in the truth, in deriving explanations for how we came into existence and why we are here.

Ultimately, no one really knows why we are here, at least in terms of valence or value, which is why we find much comfort in religion or science, or sometimes both. And I am really caught in a spell by this notion of things coming into existence ex nihilo. What is it about our logic, that we always have to be able to explain things? What is it about our logic, that we have to be one hundred percent certain of the explanations of the world? Me, personally, I am okay with ambiguity, and realizing that I don’t have a lot of the answers that I would like to have. I don’t need to order my logic so much, that I understand perfectly the scientific explanations of our existence, though it’s important I understand the basics. It seems to me that there is a lot of potential with thinking about our lives, when realizing that even though there are scientific explanations for our existence, they aren’t immediately intuitive to most people, and that there is a little bit of the distance from the truth, not just because science itself requires a certain type of rigor, but also because we are divorced from the beginning of time, we can’t really observe it, except of course, by observing the Cosmic Background Radiation, by observing so far into the universe with our technology, that we are actually observing the beginning of time itself. What a fascinating concept. Our logic doesn’t require an explanation of ex nihilo processes, just an eager enthusiasm and interest in the universe itself, as the place we live in.

Indeed, as I’m saying, realizing that nothing can come from nothing, I am a little bit more laid back with trying to explain everything. Maybe I’m not really supposed to know the way that things are, the mysterious order of the universe, and of society. I don’t understand systems of power and capital, I don’t understand the confusing elements of physics and biology, or what allows a corporation or business to run, but I know enough to be able to get by, to be able to communicate my ideas, and the things that are important to me. I am indeed fascinated by cosmology, because it tells me that there is no telling what is actually possible. It seems as though there had to be an extra spark to existence, for us to really be here, and it does indeed make everything that I would ever imagine as being important, still just a little bit less significant. And definitely not in a bad way. Just in that I can have the deeper perspective. I’m here, somehow, against all the odds, and I want to make the best of it. I don’t think that I came, really, from out nothing. There’s substance to my existence.

The Unknown (An Essay)

Find Phoenix at http://amazon.com/author/phoenix_rises

Enjoy.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the unknown.

Often, I don’t know what to expect, in life. I don’t know what is going to happen. I don’t know what I should do. There is the known, which we understand pretty well, and it is helpful when we can predict what is going on around us. But there is also the complexity of the unknown, the things that we will never know, or that we don’t know at this point in time.

I like the idea of exploring the unknown, in whatever capacity we can, though it is not something that I’d want to do all the time, because of its demanding nature. I like my comforts. I don’t have to worry too much about my basic needs, and I am able to spend time with the people in my life who bring so much meaning. I am able to wrestle with the unknown when I am writing, but the unknown is not the only thing that I am engaging with when I am writing, because of the predictability of writing itself. Writing, then, is a more structured place to think about the unknown.

Jordan Peterson describes that our bodies are primed to prepare for the unknown. This is a very interesting idea and discovery, because it means that we unconsciously and biologically prepare for unknown encounters. It is really a remarkable thing to think about, and if true, it means that we have a deeper connection to the unknown then we would ever even realize. Being primed for this kind of experience means that it’s more accessible to us, and it allows us to explore.

Personally, I like discovering new things, and I often force myself to go into difficult intellectual territory. I do this, because I want to understand the world better, whether I am reading books, talking with other people, doing research, or just sitting in an armchair and thinking. This seems to be a good process to me for exploring the unknown, because it is structured, and relatively safe, even if I am challenging myself, too. But I like challenging myself, because I want to know what exists out there, I like getting out of my comfort zone. I don’t like getting out of my comfort zone with everything in life, but there are many things that I do like to do because it challenges me, and I’m always pushing my boundaries to see what new things I can explore.

But what does the unknown actually entail? According to psychoanalysts, the unknown would be the unconscious mind and unconscious processes, which perhaps might even include the id, because these parts are unknown to us, and are often submerged in mystery. This might also include, in Jungian terms, the shadow and the collective unconscious. There are parts to our mind that we aren’t even aware of, which is a very deep thing to keep in mind. We don’t always know why the mind operates the way that it does. I have heard for a long time that we really don’t even know that much about the brain, which means one of the very basic ways in which humans function, is completely unmapped territory. This means we don’t even understand most of who we are and the processes that influence us.

These are very interesting ideas, with very rich implications. Does this mean that I don’t understand the unknown in my own psyche? Does it mean that I don’t understand my own process, that I don’t understand myself? That I don’t have control over evolutionary processes and my own biology? Certainly that is what it seems sometimes, and that is a very interesting idea, to think that we are not in complete control of our existence, of our bodies and minds.

But the unknown is metaphorical as well. When we are charting unmapped intellectual territory, it isn’t like we are moving through a literal space, where we’re able to explore what is actually there. But it is still interesting to think about the intellectual world as possessing places that people don’t go to, where if you do go to them, it is a complicated process. It seems to me that this includes the big questions: what is the meaning of life, what is the divine, how should we live, what should we do, what is in the universe, what is death, what is life, what is the nature of evil, what are people capable of, what is possible, etc. Obviously people ask these questions in a variety of ways, but sometimes we limit ourselves from answering these questions, because we are afraid to know the truth. It seems to me that being afraid of the truth is an understandable response, because it is part of the unknown, and maybe there is a part of us that would rather not know what the truth is, because it protects us in some way. With all of the complicated processes of history, biology, evolution, and culture, we can’t easily know what all of this means and where we actually came from. It seems that there are a lot of unknown processes that are constantly shaping us, and this is a very powerful thing to realize. It doesn’t make immediate sense, and it takes quite a bit of exploration. And even when you explore it, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to find the truth. What I’ve mentioned, then, is really unmapped territory, it is the unknown.

I don’t how I feel about this process. On the one hand, it is pretty important that we still strive for the truth, even if it is difficult to understand and hard to attain. On the other hand, sometimes it is good to just go home after work and play video games or watch a show, and not think about everything. Why spend so much time searching for the answer to things that you can’t easily explain, and that are not immediately intuitive or known? Why spend so much time exploring something that may not even have a decent payoff, in the end? The unknown is a scary place, and asking difficult questions, is itself very difficult. And a lot of these questions that we ask ourselves, are not easy to answer. They are certainly worth exploring, but they are not easy to understand or to find the answer to, and this is important to keep in mind, because it means we may be searching for a long time. In that sense, maybe it is better to not expect any kind of immediate answer to things, and to realize that we don’t always have to explore, we can just allow ourselves to live.

But I really like the unknown, I like exploring, and I am usually okay with a little bit of ambiguity and difficulty, so long as it brings me closer to the truth. There are times where I wonder if I want to continually explore the world, or if I want to stop and give myself space, but I am always tilting towards exploration, because I find it so interesting. Because I like exploring, and because I like finding out new things, the unknown, and at least a certain capacity, the unknown does not intimidate me. I am looking for the truth, because the truth is important to me, and the truth is good for living the best life you can, and navigating through difficult terrain. So I have to keep in mind that there is an answer out there, for many things, and while there may not be an answer to everything, I can continue to explore.

Life is chaotic. There is no denying this. Life is a difficult thing to wrap your head around, because it doesn’t often follow your expectations. But there is a beauty in this, and it makes sense that life doesn’t usually conform to my expectations, because there is literally an entire universe out there that remains completely, or at least mostly, unexplored. I have a lot of respect for science and specifically astronomy in this way, because it is helping us understand the physical unknown, helping us understand the world around us, and the entire universe that swallows us up. It is a remarkable thing to think about.

Part of me is definitely okay with this chaos, although it doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with its implications. Chaos happens because we are experiencing a process that we can’t explain, and because there are things that we may not immediately know what to do with. Chaos is interlinked with the unknown, because there are aspects of our reality I can’t explain, but that still affects my life. Death is another one of those processes, of both chaos in the unknown, and it seems to be pretty unavoidable, even if it influences us all of the time. The part of me that doesn’t mind chaos, acknowledges that I don’t usually like the unknown when it is chaotic and unpredictable, though, that is, of course, by definition, what chaos is. But chaos can also be a catalyst to continually discovering the world, to try to understand how it works, even if you can only understand it on an abstract level. Chaos forces you into the unknown by forcing you out of your comfort zone.

The unknown is definitely not immediately accessible, and it is constantly challenging us. This is the way that it is, and it is kind of a remarkable thing. There are many answers that we will not discover, but that doesn’t mean that we can continue to try to map the unknown, the parts of our psyche and of our lives that don’t reveal themselves under scrutiny. Exploring the unknown allows for new things to be discovered, it allows for breakthroughs. I think all of that is very powerful, as well as very interesting. So I welcome the unknown, even if I still respond to it sometimes with fear. These things are worth exploring, in my estimation, and that makes me excited about the possibilities.

My Story

Find Phoenix at http://amazon.com/author/phoenix_rises

Enjoy the essay.

So, life has been a little bit strange, recently. I’ve been reading the essays of David Sedaris, and I am of course a little bit jealous of his writing style, but he has helped me think about my writing in an interesting way. What is narrative?

Narrative, of course, is the way that we communicate stories to each other. But narrative is also what I want to share today. I want to share my story, compose my narrative.

It has indeed been a little bit crazy, yesterday particularly, and even the past year, with the pandemic and everything going on in the world. I also don’t want to understate it: it has been crazy. Yesterday was a day that I wasn’t really particularly excited to have, but you have to do that sometimes.

My book got rejected. I woke up in the morning, hoping that I would feel better after the day before, where I was having a little bit of trouble with my mood, and life circumstance. I woke up to my e-mail inbox, communicating to me that my book The Dark Kid was rejected for publication.

The crazy thing about this book, is that part of me doesn’t want to publish it, because it is complicated. I worked really hard on that book, but it nearly broke me, and I find it to be very complicated as a narrative, because of all of the elements that it fuses together. So in some ways, not having it accepted, gives me more time to work on it. But because I was frustrated already, particularly from the rejection of my job and the frustration of finding a new job, it was a little bit harder, because it reminded me of what could be called “the good old days.”

What were the “good old days,” you are probably wondering? That was when I submitted story after story, and novel after novel, and query after query, to publishers and agents and editors, only to have all of my work rejected. Crazily enough there was finally one acceptance of a short story I had written years before, but that publication didn’t propel my career forward because at that point I was basically done and burned-out from trying to get my work published. I’ve self-published since.

So, going down memory lane, was not really expected, with getting my book rejected recently, but that was exactly what I ended up doing. It was painful. Such rejection is painful.

Of course I know that people are reading my books, because I have published my books, and my books are well done for the most part, and I’m happy about that. But who doesn’t dream of having a home for one of your books, for a book that you worked really hard on, but that is so easy to reject? I had seen myself as moving on from those cold days of rejection, but experiencing this opened up my wound fresh, and frankly, I was not ready for that. If only we could all write essays like David Sedaris!

But the day was just getting started. With that specter haunting me, I went about the day. I went for a run, and enjoyed that. It wasn’t until dinnertime where things got hectic again. With me frustrated because of my job and because of the book rejection, as well as my sensitivity with many things and my hope to one day find love (it was Valentine’s Day the day before), I was definitely a bit on edge.

Basically, I ordered a pizza, and I was beating up on myself for not getting the most sustainable food (I’m vegetarian), and because I have been obsessed with thinking about waste recently, I have been paranoid about garbage, and I haven’t really known what to do about that. Some of these thoughts were definitely self-imposed, because there isn’t really much you can do about the way that companies run their businesses, but it had seemed really difficult for me to even think about anything productively, with all of the talk about climate change and waste in the ocean, as well as eating sustainable food, and frankly, in this moment, it all drove me crazy. Because it was really cold outside, I ended up leaving a tip after my order I was completed, because I felt as though it is really shitty being a pizza delivery person, when you could be doing something else with your life. After the rejection of my own job, and starting from scratch, I feel as though I know what it is like to work thankless jobs for thankless companies, and not really end up anywhere valuable or meaningful.

But then, because the guy can’t find my apartment, he starts getting frustrated with me, in a way that I found to be very rude and not helpful, but it didn’t stop him from being this way. So I decide that I’m going to leave him a larger tip, and I parrot off something about a ten dollar tip, which is ridiculous, but I’m just trying to think of what a good tip would actually be, feeling frustrated at the way that he is making me feel like an idiot because he can’t find my apartment complex and we are having heated interactions. So such a thing is out of my control, so I go out to him, regardless of the fact that it is supposed to be a contactless delivery because of Covid, and I give him the twenty dollars that I have to break. I tell him that I am going to give him five dollars for all the trouble, and so he counts out the change, but when I get inside, I realize that he took ten dollars instead of five. So not only was my pizza cold (the icing cup of which wasn’t even with my dessert), with the inconvenience of the situation, but I also had to deal with a rude delivery guy who took more money from me and made me feel yet again like an idiot. What are these fun miserable times we live in?

Obviously the story is a story from Hell, or the story of the absurd. It is funny in some ways, because it’s so out there. I really hate dealing with companies that don’t treat their workers well enough, but this is the way that it is, and the irony was that I was trying to make this better for delivery guy, but all that ended up happening was I was taken advantage of and made to feel like a moron.

I keep hearing the idea that people are supposed to be okay with the way that the world is, because God is supposedly taking care of them. Arguments like this dismiss the day-to-day struggle that many people have, in dealing with rejection, heartache, suffering, and pain, and it doesn’t acknowledge the different experiences that people have. I don’t like arguments like this, because I don’t believe the same sorts of things that some very religious people do, even if I can respect differing views. I don’t really believe anyone is taking care of me, except for people I’m close to, people that love me. It seems irrelevant to my situation, to imply that chaos is acceptable in a difficult, indifferent world, where I am repeatedly describing that I am doing my best to be kind and to make the best of everything. Yet this obviously doesn’t stop bad things from happening to me; it doesn’t stop me from having difficult days, with my own pain and struggles. I suppose it doesn’t matter though. Most people don’t like confronting the nature of reality, and how difficult life can be sometimes, and pointlessly so. It’s easier to just say that difficulties are just part of the cosmic order. I can take an existentialist approach and laugh at the Godless, indifferent world we live in. Or at least find the comedy in the absurd.

Certainly getting taken advantage of was not what I wanted that day, nor a cold pizza, but this does seem to happen sometimes, whenever I am struggling to be the best person I can be, and I just get destroyed by the world. This happens a lot. For people that want to tell me everything is fine in the world, of course I’m grateful for the things I have, the whole reason why I’m even saying anything about is because it is still my story, and I want to share it, like David Sedaris.

I’m definitely someone who wants to talk about ideas and unique experiences, and whenever I run into the world in unprecedented and unexpected ways, I forget that I can’t predict the future, I can’t predict what my fortune will be, I don’t know what is going to happen. I have had to accept this on a large scale, because I used to think that I could manage situations if only I acted a certain way. Often in many situations I felt that I wasn’t good enough in a lot of ways, which was why things were going wrong. But now I’ve come to the opposite conclusion. The world is a place of utter chaos, and I can’t possibly anticipate every catastrophe, or at the very least, a frustrating day. So I have to be patient with myself, and just remember that I have no control over what other people do, though certainly things are very hypocritical and contradictory, and that can be really confusing to navigate.

Of course in some ways, I’m fine; I move on. Books get rejected all the time. We aren’t always met with immediate success in the world. That’s probably the moral of the story. But part of what I want to do, is to be able to accept the emotions that I feel, which are often heavy and painful, instead of trying to suppress them or act as if they don’t exist for the sake of other people. The world is a harsh place, it does not often make sense, when there is so much contradiction in the world, and so much confusion. I certainly can’t predict what happens, and while I try to do my best to be able to navigate the world, there are many things that I don’t know. But this is my story, communicated in the way that I wanted to describe it. I wanted to share my story of yesterday, of dealing with the chaos of life, and it is difficult being a writer, and realizing that people don’t always like what you have to say, and realizing that things are really crazy sometimes. But that’s a story for another day. Pizza isn’t really a big deal, nor is trying to find a decent job.

And hey. I have leftover pizza for lunch. What more could I want?

An Essay on Compassion and Gratitude

Find Phoenix at http://amazon.com/author/phoenix_rises

Enjoy the essay.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about compassion, and what it means to practice gratitude.

It is very important to me that I am a compassionate, empathetic person. Compassionate to other people, to other animals, to other living beings. I also strive to appreciate what I have, to appreciate my life.

I’ve been editing my book Griffin Feathers, and I’ve been thinking about the main character, Griffin. In the story, he is very kind to people, even to people that aren’t very kind to him. One of his best traits is that he is kind and compassionate to people, even when they don’t deserve it. This is a really powerful idea, and I’m glad that I was able to articulate it in my novel. This character and the storytelling, are a model for me, when thinking about these questions, and thinking about what I really believe in.

I think about compassion in a variety of ways, and in a variety of contexts. I think that being compassionate can help you have more gratitude for the things in your life. I have been struck by how fleeting life is, but also how beautiful and joyful. I am grateful for the people in my life, I am grateful for the opportunities that I have, I am grateful that I have my needs met and that I am allowed to flourish. There are many things that I have that I don’t want to take for granted. The reason why I link both compassion and gratitude, is because if you are compassionate to other beings in the world, it is much easier to be at peace with things, and to be at peace with yourself. This has been my understanding.

It may be a personal thing, but I care about animals, and I am vegetarian as a consequence, in order to really live that lifestyle, of respecting animals. I do my best to get food that is sustainable and that does the least amount of harm to the environment and other animals. The other day, I went to a restaurant called Vertical Diner, a place I love going to, and that serves completely vegan food. I couldn’t help but appreciate that the food was good, but also ethical, and thinking about it and thinking about my life, brought me into a deep realm from which to think about things.

When I got home, and was enjoying the pizza that I got there, I couldn’t help but appreciate the things that I have. I was feeling down because a writing opportunity didn’t work out at my work, and it made everything so anti-climactic and futile. But I told myself, importantly so, that my efforts do matter, and that I tried to do something that may not have worked out, but that I still tried to do. The way that I saw it in that moment, and see it now, I was glad that I strive to be a compassionate person, and that I feel things the way that I do. I was allowing myself to feel my emotions, and validating those emotions. I am glad that I am empathetic in my responses to the world, and while I’m not perfect at this, it is something that I try to do consistently.

I don’t take compassion for granted. Following the logic of my novel Griffin Feathers, there have been instances in my life where I choose the high road of compassion and understanding, perhaps even throwing in a little bit of wisdom from ancient and modern traditions. It is amazing to me how much is at stake, and how in these moments that I’m talking about, I realize that everything that I have is not a given, especially in this crazy time of the pandemic and social unrest. My life has been hard and painful in many ways, and I do often emphasize that in my writing and poetry. But I also want to focus on the moments in my life where things are going very well, and where I admit to myself what I have, and how grateful I am for those things. In this way, having compassion for myself, too, and having an understanding of what I have, is very important. I don’t want to take it for granted, because it is important that I have it. I am very grateful that I have had these opportunities in life, to be able to do the best things I can, for myself and for other people.

More and more, I try to live my life not to where I am thinking so much about myself, but really focusing on other people, what their needs are, and how I can better love them. I’ve been volunteering at a shelter for women, and that has given me a deep perspective on what it means to care for the people there. In these moments that I describe, of really confronting myself and what’s important to me, I really want to appreciate it, because there is beauty in the things that I get to enjoy. In these moments, I realize just how much I want to cultivate compassion and good will, for other people, and even though life is hard, I still want to take the high road, regardless of how hard that can be sometimes.

Indeed, there is no guarantee on anything in life. This is another reason why we should be compassionate to other people. We don’t know what they’re going through, we don’t know what they’re lives are like, and it is very important to care for other people.

As I said, I was feeling down about the lost opportunity, but I realized the opportunities that I really have had in life. I have my family and friends, I have my health, I have access to healthy food and drinking water, and I am able to do the things that bring the most meaning to my life. Such things are really good to remember that you have, it is definitely easy for us to become nihilistic, but I don’t want to be nihilistic, because I am grateful for what I have.

It is a hard thing. We go through difficult things in life. I have seen a lot of people that I know suffer in various ways, and not all of it is severe or anything, but they do go through difficult things.

Life is definitely difficult, and I don’t want to paint everything as being pure roses and sunshine. But I have learned through time to be able to shift my thinking, to be able to realize all of the wonderful things that I get to experience, and that I get to enjoy in my life. It wasn’t easy to get to this point, I have often had a Puritan work ethic, placing too much value on work itself, and losing track of the happiness that I get to experience with other people, and in life my life. And I know that people go through painful things; I have as well. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t good things for us to experience, and I try to remember that. Perception of events and external stimuli matter too. I have learned to reshape my perceptions.

I have definitely learned a lot. I have learned what it is like to be a compassionate person, and to choose that over other ways of being. It is difficult, because the world itself is not always compassionate, people don’t always value compassion in other people. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t an important trait to cultivate, I believe that it very much is important. While things may be difficult in life, we can make the lives of other people that much better, by responding to them, by being empathetic, by appreciating them. With the complexity of life and the complexity of changing social values, it is not always easy to remember what you have to be grateful for, and how you can treat other people well. But I nonetheless cultivate these things, because they are important to me. There may be painful moments of my life, where things don’t work out the way that I hope, but there are also good things too, and I really try to remind myself of that. In life, we do struggle a lot, to be able to achieve our goals. But that struggle makes us stronger, resilient, and it is important to remember that there are many external things in the world that influence us, but that are out of our control. Navigating through it is important, but so is realizing with wisdom, the things that we can’t control.

I’m definitely very grateful for the past year, even though it has been difficult. I’ve been able to do a lot of great things with my time, and I’ve been able to look for new opportunities. This is just the beginning: I am just getting started. (I always love saying that.) While I can’t possibly know where the future is going to lead, I nonetheless hope to be loving and kind and compassionate to people, even if this is not always the way of the world. I want to be able to express and cultivate my best traits, and part of this includes realizing the great things I get to enjoy. So I’m glad that I’m able to do that.

I was definitely caught off guard when I thought about how important compassion is to me, that day that I was enjoying the pizza. But it was a good moment for me, because I was able to slow down, refocus my attention, and decide what my next step was. Life is difficult, we are passionate, irrational beings. But I nonetheless feel as though these experiences have taught me a lot, and I am going to continue what I’m doing. I’m definitely not going to give up. As I have said, I’m just getting started. This is really just the beginning.

The Deleuzean Archetype (An Essay)

Find Phoenix at http://amazon.com/author/phoenix_rises

Enjoy the essay.

In philosophy, one of the most notorious works of the modern era is Capitalism and Schizophrenia, by Gilles Deleuze and Guittari.

Michel Foucault really liked this book and saw it as a polemic opposed to fascism and conformity. Bataille was influenced by Deleuze, because of the freedom to associate different, polemical, and contradictory concepts.

By the twentieth century, Continental philosophy had begun to develop significantly, and many of the works that come out of that period, are not easily intelligible. Philosophy had become extremely creative but also extremely dense, and not everybody historically liked this new tradition of philosophy. But in terms of thinking freely, or at least attempting to do so, the new forms that philosophers were discovering were proving to be very influential, and for a variety of reasons.

I have read a lot of Deleuze, but I’ll admit I don’t always know what he is talking about. The terms are very obscure, the concepts not so easy to follow, and philosophy departments rarely take Deleuze seriously as a consequence. But I think this is a mistake. The experiment that Deleuze was taking part of, was extremely interesting to me, and for a variety of reasons.

Deleuze postulated through his writing, the idea that thinking can be extremely free from coercion and influence and control, or at the very least, it can be free to explore novel associations. to come up with new conclusions. Deleuze was especially interested in thinking about these concepts in the context of schizophrenia, and mental illness. With the exception of Foucault, this hadn’t really been done before, when philosophy historically often prided itself on being super logical and super analytic; it wasn’t irrational or, dare I say, schizophrenic. For my intents and purposes, I find it interesting that Deleuze focused on mental illness and treated it philosophically.

What I believe has developed from the writing of Deleuze, is my notion of the “Deleuzean archetype.” To me, this is the schizophrenic who thinks in such a way that is so separate from the norm, that, through his delusions and mania, he can experience the world in a novel way, and come up with ideas that have never been heard before. Cut off from society, the schizophrenic can develop novel conceptions, can think purely, coming up with a system of thought that is new and unprecedented. Pure thought often leads to exclusion from society, but in the hands of Deleuze, this is an important process for the development of ideas.

As important as the component of mental illness is to my conceptions, I am even more taken in by this archetype that Deleuze postulates in the context of ideas. I have had many people tell me before that my thinking doesn’t fit the norm, but I am a little bit rebellious in that way, determined to work it out for myself. I have had people tell me that original thought doesn’t exist, but I don’t believe this. In my understanding, we should strive to be as freethinking as we possibly can. Because “freethinking” is often a loaded term that is associated with what I see as super rigid thinking, I want to use the phrase “pure thinking” instead, as I think this is a little bit closer to what Deleuze had in mind. The point is to develop pure thought.

Is it possible to think so purely that your ideas are your own, they are original, and they’re completely untainted by society? This is a very good question. I have argued before for open thought, and I am often determined to encourage the idea that our thinking not be influenced by the world around us, or even by our own biological constraints. While in these cases I always acknowledge that there are limits to what people can think, because of the finite world around us, I nonetheless think that it is important we strive for pure thought, even if people laugh you out of the room and think you’re, literally, insane.

The point of art isn’t always to be original, or at least a hundred percent original. But when I think of my experiences, where people have often tried to limit what I think, or what I write, or what I say, I can’t help but feel a surge of rebellion against these straitjacket ideas. I want to be able to be the Deleuzean archetype, where I can develop my own system of thought without too much intrusion. I want my thinking to be as pure as it can be. This is impossible, when we are certainly influenced by the many things around us, but I believe it to be a noble goal, because I think there is a lot of potential with the possibility of pure thinking, to the point to where your thinking becomes highly original, and where it is your own ideas that animate you. While people do not think that pure thinking is really possible, and while I would acknowledge that influences do change the way that we think about things, we can still participate in the exercise of pure thought, and think the way that a schizophrenic person thinks, whenever they are deeply embedded in their own world and reality. We can create thoughts, ideas, and writings that exist separate from the cruel world around us.

Of course I understand the downside of this kind of thinking, the idea that people do not find your ideas to be as accessible, whenever you are focusing more on originality and purity. But it is important to remember that the point of having pure thought is a moral consideration, not a way of comparing to other thinkers and intellectuals in the world. The point isn’t to be better than any other thinker or philosopher, the point is to contribute your own system of thought, your own analysis, your own worldview, regardless of the pressures to conform. I always thought that John Nash was a good example of this historically, because not only did he have schizophrenia, which influenced his thinking, but he also sought to avoid influences and to come up with his own conclusion, specifically with his mathematical reasoning. Personally, I have no problem with influences, because I think influences can make us richer in our own analysis. But, being schizophrenic myself, I know what it is like to exist in a world where people cannot relate to what you’re saying. And rather than turning this intensity down, I say, instead, ratchet it up. This is because I believe that pure thinking can make the world better in a variety of ways, if only we are willing to see it. Your thinking can create new pathways in the minds of others, it can help us perceive the world differently, as well as help the individual thinker see things differently, and I think that there is value in this.

When I read philosophy, such as by Deleuze, I’ve been taken in by this attempt to perceive the world in a new, creative light. Why limit your thinking? If I am writing books that people probably aren’t going to read anyway, I may as well write something that contains my own experience, by way of what I hope can be pure thought, or at least as close to pure thought as it can possibly be. The reason why I think pure thinking is so important, is because it allows people to have a different perspective, whenever they engage with you. It is a moral consideration, because often in life, we are told how to think, we are told how to perceive the world, we are told what to believe and what to say and how to act. We are forced to conform, to a system that doesn’t care about us. Our ideas don’t matter to the monolithic system, and no one cares about innovation, change, or originality. While I’m not completely opposed to norms, per se, I feel as though it is too easy to get lost in the procedural mechanism that is society, and we forget other important values, such as creativity, novelty, and innovation. We forget that there are other ways that we can view the world, because we get so caught up in a corporate model of reality, or in the words of Deleuze, we get caught up in the capitalistic machine. It is not what we want. We want the intelligentsia to challenge us, we want them to challenge the way that we look at things.

But even with the social considerations of originality and pure thinking, one of the biggest reasons why I identify with the Deleuzean archtype, is for very personal reasons. I don’t like being told what to believe, when I know such coercion is done in bad faith, and not to make the world better in any way. I don’t have a problem with being persuaded, per se, but I feel like in so many ways, we are not allowed to think for ourselves, and to come up with our own conclusions. I turn up that desire tenfold. I want to be able to do my own thinking and come to my own conclusions, without being forced or coerced into thinking about things a certain way. Just because the system we use to develop our worldviews are powerful, doesn’t mean that they are right. The problem with ideas, then, and the communication of ideas, is that I really believe Nietzsche to be right: the ideas that are often dominate, do not come from truth, but rather, from power. We aren’t encouraged to understand the truth, or even beauty, when we are told what to believe, say, and do. This was one reason why Michel Foucault liked Deleuze; it was his thinking on power structures and thoughts, that allowed for Foucault to break out of that system, and to come up with his own conclusions about society, the mind, and philosophy. This is a very important process for developing something meaningful.

Of course it isn’t easy to be an archetype, much less a Deleuzean one (where pain of exclusion and even the pain of mental illness will lead to suffering). It is not easy to do your own thinking. So many people have before not believed in me, but what I finally realized was that they can have their own system of thought, while I am going to branch out and develop my own. This is my choice. I’m choosing to be the schizophrenic archetype, to postulate ideas that are never going to be recognized as valuable or meaningful. It is a way of staying true to your vision, of articulating something that is valuable and beautiful, and that is also moral in its own way. Original thought is tantalizing. And I am not going to have people tell me what kind of material I should write, and how I should think about the world. We should be free to develop our own considerations, and we should be free to be able to do this for the betterment of mankind. Original ideas are very valuable, new ideas that challenge and innovate: we need them, because they allow us to see things differently. There is value in it. There is value in bringing a different perspective. I hope I never lose sight of this.

fire

Enjoy the poem. Find Phoenix at http://amazon.com/author/phoenix_rises

I exist.

in everything .

—maybe

darker routes

confusing 

paths.

My style is chaos ,

I envision fire

burning me

like everything

like all the burning in me

the pain from flame

a complete lack of regard

yeah it’s hard—

the e-motion of too much time

I lose track of 

beauty. trick

try and

make it

it’s crazy how these things change all the time

but such

whole realities

are out of my control

like a conjunction of

bad days such a bad day

I am a butterfly made

dead by

beauty and bad

bad

days

and fire

the fire

rewrite

rewire 

response

inspire

I’m sorry for the complexity the falsity

the way that my entire path

confounds such an expectation

of change

of

it’ll , feel the same

without knowing why

fly

dead 

bad day

a butterfly

The beauty of storms in a hurricane chaos

the structure 

of every rupture

losing track losing

trick— [of what you.

need

a sensitivity of meaning

crises ..

and so much doubt

to be

cracked by circumstance

by my own recognition

of what this is a fire I need inspire.

Don’t

hold me back

brutal bleed or

angst pain pangs anxiety 

I’m sorry about the lack of aesthetics

but it’s not really another one of my tricks

it’s the truth that I snuff out my own 

FIRE

( fire )—

where I lose track

of the flame from too much pain 

but it’s not

Like the (fire

DOESN’T STILL BURN!!!!

Questions of Meaning (An Essay)

Find Phoenix at http://amazon.com/author/phoenix_rises

Enjoy the essay.

I’m not going to be here forever. As much as I wish that I could live for all eternity, the technology for me to do so doesn’t exist yet. While I don’t understand mortality, because I have not faced it yet, I have more and more understood my limits as a human being in a limited universe.

I am finite, because most of human life is finite. So with trying to figure out what makes life worth it, it can be difficult, but it is something that we should try to do. I have given a lot of thought about this question of meaning, because of course I want to live a life of meaning and purpose, but with everything being the way that it is in the world, it can be hard to find that purpose sometimes. But the way that I understand it, you can find meaning in life in some capacity. Even if everything you do isn’t meaningful, you can imbue your life with a sense of purpose, if you believe that you are able to.

I’m very lucky, because for the past ten to fifteen years, I’ve been able to write books, and therefore, leave a legacy behind. I’ve been very lucky that I’ve been able to spend time with family and friends, and that I have a community. I’ve been lucky to have good health, as well as good opportunities, and to live in relative economic prosperity. So when I think about meaning, I definitely am pairing that with gratitude, because I don’t think that I would be where I am now if I didn’t have the generosity of the people around me, and of my own circumstances.

Believe me, life is hard sometimes. Just recently, I’ve been thinking about my career, and what I am going to do with my life. It didn’t quite work out for the company that I was working for, and that is disappointing, but it was out of my control. I may still work there if I don’t find anything better, but I am hoping to find something else, something more in line with my strengths, though I don’t know what that would be. In which case, it makes sense why I would be stressed, if I don’t know where job opportunities are going to lead me.

I do wish that my writing was enough to get me through, as well as my other projects. But the way that I understand it, you often times have to do art even when you don’t get paid, because you have to be able to express yourself while also doing what you need to do to get by in the world. I don’t understand this, but again, I am grateful that I’ve been able to write as much as I have, and that I am leaving behind a sizable body of work. Not everybody has the opportunity to write so much, and so I’m glad that I’ve been able to do that. Jobs come and go, but so long as you keep working hard, things will work out, I believe.

In terms of the meaning question, it can be very difficult, because I know that I constantly compare myself to other situations and sometimes to other people, thinking that I need to be in a different situation or circumstance than I am now, even if I don’t need to be. But the way that I understand it, there will be a natural ambiguity with these kinds of questions in life. We don’t know where our decisions are going to lead us, and there is much by way of the world that is out of our control. Just because you work for something, doesn’t mean it will pay off, but at the same time, doing those things could be the best thing that you could possibly do for yourself (especially because you may find meaning there). Because we don’t have a crystal ball, I can’t possibly know the answer to these questions, but in my estimation, it is worth it to work towards your goals anyway, regardless of how you feel about it or whether or not you think it will pay off.

Part of the reason why I said so much about the question of meaning, is because I know that my life is finite, and I know that many of the things that I love will one day pass away. While I don’t understand where things are going to lead, I know they are going to lead somewhere, and life will continue to happen whether I want it or not, something that I need to keep in mind. That is not an easy thing to realize, that life will continue along regardless of whether you want to stay in your twenties or your teenage years.

But even with my doubts, I do feel hopeful, because I am glad that I’ve been able to share my writing with people, and have been able to make a connection to others with my art. I don’t know where the future leads, what my career is going to be, whether or not my writing will one day be able to achieve something significant and help me pay my bills: I really don’t know. But I’m really glad that I have my books, and I can publish them, and that I can reach an audience. People have been responding to my writing.

Honestly, I have had to think a lot lately about how people around me live very rich lives, that I am not the only protagonist of the story. I’ve had to think about this in the context of how other people find meaning, if their lives are rich and layered. I know that other people suffer, but other people also have very good lives. Some people may feel nihilistic about life, but others, will definitely feel a sense of meaning and purpose, and I seek to emulate that meaning. I want to be able to cultivate meaning for myself, to cultivate a good life, as Aristotle might say. I don’t want to hold myself back and limit myself, and because I’ve been lucky with my connections and resources, I feel as though my life will lead to a good place, just as it has already been good in a variety of ways. I can have a rich life like other people, in other words. I am definitely trying to be present when thinking about these questions of meaning, and remind myself that I’m not going to only find meaning in the future, but that I can find that meaning right here and right now, where I’m at in this moment in time.

Of course it is not easy to realize these things, because we often look elsewhere for our meaning. We often look towards other places to be able to find that purpose, and while I understand why we do this, it is not helpful for appreciating your current moment in time. The way that I understand life, it is very counterintuitive, and it often doesn’t go the way that you plan, because we are unable to predict the future. This is a very important realization for me, because I often expect myself to know what will happen, even though in reality, I won’t know at all. So in other words, I am learning more and more how to be okay with the ambiguity, to accept that I can’t possibly know where my decisions will lead me, but that hopefully, I can take a leap of faith, and take the plunge, take the dive, to be able to achieve the life that I hope to. It is very difficult that we can’t know where our decisions will lead us, but I try not to focus too much on that, and just appreciate what I have now and be present.

Believe me, I get annoyed with some of these ideas sometimes, about meaning and gratitude and appreciation for things, because I don’t think that life is necessarily easy or straightforward, and I do think that we go through difficult things in life. I don’t always think the answer is to just be grateful, because difficult and painful things happen to us as well. People feel physical pain, they feel emotional pain, things don’t work out the way that they hope, and thing sometimes really suck: but my hope is that I can continue to cultivate something of value, and even if not everybody believes in it, I definitely believe in it, because I think that it is easily one of the best things I can do, is cultivate something. I really think that making something instead of destroying something, is one of the most non-nihilistic and purposeful ways of asserting yourself in the world, because you are making something instead of destroying it. I think that there is a lot of power in that, you aren’t just destroying things that don’t belong to you, but rather, seeking to contribute in a positive way. Of course none of this is easy, it makes sense why we want to be disruptive or destructive sometimes, because we get angry and nihilistic. But realizing that we can choose to do something meaningful, if we want to, helps us understand what we need to do.

So yes. My life is finite, and I will only be able to do so much. I can’t possibly know where my decisions will lead me, I can’t possibly know what will happen in the future. And while I acknowledge that there is a lot of ambiguity with what will happen, and with what I will actually feel once I get to the future, I realize that I want to appreciate every day that I’m given, focus very much on the cultivation of something positive and meaningful and valuable, and to do so no matter how hard it is. I can’t know where things will lead me, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth it to do, and that doesn’t mean that it isn’t meaningful. So, I would say, that is what keeps me going.