“Unlimited possibilities are not suited to man; if they existed, his life would only dissolve in the boundless. To become strong, a man’s life needs the limitations ordained by duty and voluntarily accepted. The individual attains significance as a free spirit only by surrounding himself with these limitations and by determining for himself what his duty is.” — The I Ching or Book of Changes, Hexagram 60
Determining for himself what his duty is.
I don’t have to write anything if I don’t want to. I am fortunate enough to have a day job. It is not terribly fun, nor does it give me a terrific sense of meaning. But hey, I can finish work by 5 and play video games for the rest of the afternoon while ordering something on Uber if I feel like it.
Sounds like fun? I guess. I’ve been doing just that for a couple of days now. Wake up, do a little bit of exercise, meditate, hit the shower, and then work from home on my laptop. The life, right?
Not so much to be honest. I begin to lose my mind with this route.
It’s hard to notice yourself going crazy. I thought I was just depressed. I began to blame the world’s structure, capitalism, our collective lack of meaning. It’s like, we care about all the wrong things, don’t you think? Money, money, money, while workers all around the world are suffering, either from straining physical work, or spirit-dead. It’s weird. You can lose yourself in all of that craziness. There are millions of reasons to be angry, to lose hope.
But then again, is this anything new? We haven’t arrived at the ‘end of history’ yet. We’ll never will. The world will goes on, with or without us. It’s not the outside world what defines your experience, but your acceptance of it.
What didn’t work for me, was the: ‘relax, chill and enjoy the world as it is, or better said, myself in the world’.
I need to write, I need to read. I need to develop myself. I need to face the massive uncertainty that the world gives me. I need to dance.
I wasn’t dancing. I was just lying down. Losing myself, numbing myself in entertainment and food. Petty, terribly lucky as well, but terribly petty.
Have you ever experienced the anxiety of not knowing what to do? Like, you can’t even enjoy a video game or a book or whatever. You can’t enjoy food or social company. It’s a fucked-up state. You feel you have nowhere to walk to. You feel lost.
And you are, you are lost. But more than that, I believe you just don’t want to rise and walk. Being lost is a personal decision.
That’s when I realized it, the chains, the struggles, the things in my life, were the way. You don’t want to be free from them. You need stuff happening in your life for you to be able to put your freedom to work.
“…freedom in its essence is the acceptance of the chains which suit you and for which you are suited, and of the harness in which you pull towards an end chosen and valued by yourself, and not imposed. It is not, and never can be, the absence of restrictions, obligations or law and of duty.” — Bronislaw Malinowski, Freedom and Civilization
I’m back. I am writing this piece now. I don’t feel this piece of writing to be awesome, life-changing content. But it is something true to me, something I feel a lot of us experience in this chaotic era we’re in.
The world is crazy right now. It feels like a hard acid trip. You can’t focus too much on anything, it’s a lot. The freedom is still there though, you just need to choose your chains.
What are the chains you’re going to choose? That is the question. Entertainment, food, you know, the numbing, is just covering your ears to your calling. Make the call, write the article, work on the work that the world actually needs. Cut the crap.
It’s the only way out of the madness. It is a harsh truth, but that’s the way it is.
“Present in body and absent in spirit, he lies back on the couch, shamed by his own… potentials in his soul that will not be subdued. He feels himself inwardly subversive, imagining in his passivity extremes of aggression and desire that must be suppressed. Solution: more work, more money, more drink, more weight, more things, more infotainment.” — James Hillman, The Soul’s Code
Don’t let yourself lose your life in more work, more money, more things, more infotainment.
It’s all good though. Life, inevitably, shows you the way. If you ever feel you’re going crazy, ask yourself, why am I feeling this way? What am I hiding from?
It’s good to be back.
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