Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Book

It's been a minute since my last post so I thought I'd stop in to say hi and maybe drop a rant or two.

No, I haven't forgotten about you. And no, I'm not "quitting" again. I'm working diligently on the Book and things are going so well I'm scared to take a break.

See I've been trying to write this thing for over 6 months now and 99.8% of that time has been spent spinning my goddamn wheels.

Write a chapter. Delete a chapter.

Write 50 pages. Delete 50 pages.

It wasn't writer's block. Stuff was coming out the whole time. My struggle was finding the right hook or access point.

The question I was trying to answer was, How can I make the subject matter relevant to people in the 21st century?

How can I include all the good stuff while still making it accessible, entertaining, and compelling?

And, How can I boil it all down to one or two basic themes that tie everything together?

I toyed with an objective tone devoid of the author's voice, opinion, and anecdotes.

I experimented with Plato's favourite format, the dialogue, so that the whole book would've played out like a conversation between two fictional characters.

Then I tried taking the Morpheus approach. You know, the Book as a red pill: read it and see how deep the rabbit hole goes. But the sleeping/awakened analogy at the core of this approach came off a little too high-and-mighty for my taste.

Like "Oh I'm awake, look at me, I'm so spiritual and enlightened!"

Space Jesus?
Which we all know is far from the case.

In life there is no awakening, only different levels of slumber. Some of us are in REM sleep and deeply embedded in our personal dreams; others hover near the surface and flirt with Truth.

True awakening only happens after life, when we cast these meat-machines aside and dance with the stars once again.

After a few months of making no progress on the Book I started feeling sick. Part of me noted the irony: my desire (and inability) to write about meaning, purpose, and happiness was the only source of unhappiness in my life.

So I said "Fuck it." Either I was going to write this thing or I wasn't. Either way it wasn't going to define me or dictate my mood.

That's when I set the Book aside and promptly ended up here with you.

Like a rejected lover going back to his ex.

At first I just re-read old posts. Then I started writing new ones, only something had changed. The posts came out effortlessly. Whereas before I struggled to write one measly little article now I was firing them off in rapid succession.

I had finally stopped thinking about writing and simply wrote.

No pressure, no pretension, no bullshit.

Coincidentally blogging helped me work through some of the problems I had encountered while attempting to write the Book. Specifically it was this post about finding happiness in the little things that caused everything to fall into place.

The point of access I was looking for, the angle or hook, was happiness. That's what ties it all together and makes it relevant, not only to nerds and new-age types like myself, but to everyone.

After all, who doesn't want to be happy? And more importantly, how many of us truly are?

I had already written on the subject but found that my original happiness hypothesis was only partially true. I still believe that happiness begins within, that it's rooted in our perspective, but more recent experiences have shown me that there is indeed an external piece to the hypothesis.

Happiness starts within but inevitably overflows and spills without into our lives. Equanimity and the ability to give zero fucks  are at the foundation: from there we build upward and outward by finding purpose, meaning, and transcendence.

There's more to it than that obviously, but you get the idea.

Which brings us back to the Meme Merchant.

Why am I here, you ask? Why aren't I writing more of the Book?

Because duty calls. The world keeps turning and with every rotation it produces absurdities that require careful handling.

There's an election coming up and lots of bullshit to dissect so here I am to point out subtle truths and offer a third position in the false dichotomy that pervades our culture.

Whenever we're asked to choose between A) or B) you can be sure that I'll be here with option C) at the ready, a "None of the Above" for the sane.

You might not agree with my option C) but that's not the point.

The point is that we don't have to accept the false dichotomy. We don't have to engage in black-and-white thinking.

The correct answer is always somewhere in those pesky shades of grey.
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