Alex E’s Liberating Deliberations


Only deliberate thinking and acting can lead to liberation

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I. Is this the end?

The world is coming to an end.

How many times have you heard this phrase (in slight variations, maybe) in the course of your life?

Quite many times I would assume.

Yet, the world is still here, isn’t it?

These predictions, which have been spelled out since the beginning of human history and possibly even before, seem to persistently evade materialisation.

Yet, all those, predominantly self-proclaimed, prophets insist on constantly enriching the ever-growing and ever-miserably failing “libro d’ oro” of doomsday prophecies.

Why?

Well, because there has always been, there currently is and there will always be a significant portion of the general public embracing these prophecies and willing to act as if their ominous connotations are all but certain and irreversible.

OK, and why is that the case, then?

Simply because when people lack motivation in their lives, when they cannot find any reason whatsoever to get out of bed in the morning and go out in the world, interact with their fellow human beings and be productive and happy, they are often craving, as a measure of last resort so to speak, of a clear and present danger to keep them afloat and going.

And have they not learned from the fact that the track record of these prophecies has been, frankly speaking, thoroughly pathetic thus far in the history of mankind?

Of course not, because, first of all, and rather ironically, everyday is indeed a new day, hence history appears to be constantly starting from scratch and also because, well, in their eyes “their” prophet is unlike any previous (clearly pseudo-) prophet.

So, at any given time, a considerable number of the people found on the face of this planet, live their lives as if Apocalypse were just around the corner.

Is that such a bad thing?

On one level, one could say that it depends on what we mean by “good” or “bad”.

What I would say, though, is that it all depends on each individual’s personality as well as each one’s perceived implications of the dreadful, devastating or (at best) entirely unpredictable consequences of the fateful Event on oneself.

If you believe there’s nothing you can do to prevent it from occurring and the horror of the imminent void takes you over, you’ll probably end up being all but thoroughly paralysed.

If you believe there’s nothing you can do to neutralise the “end of the days” threat, but still you do not succumb to the horror of the abrupt discontinuity ahead, you might end up feeling completely liberated and thus get rid (again: for good or for bad, but usually for good) of all checks and balances, all hesitations and filters, standing between you and the wishes of your true, deeper self.

If you believe you have a chance in saving the world, but you shiver in the expectation of an utterly unstoppable dark tidal wave that is coming soon to overwhelm us all (and, more importantly, you), you might become a fanatic, fervently preaching to everyone what they should do or attempting at convincing them on the necessity of your particular beliefs and relevant approach by force or even (character allowing) eliminating them (the latter usually if you feel that they are beyond hopelessness or that they stand as an obstacle in your path towards salvation).

Finally, if you believe you can alter the foreseen bleak turn of events and you cannot accept being afraid (or at least constantly afraid) of your potential upcoming vanquishing, you become a serious candidate for performing heroic deeds that could very well play a catalytic role in the extremely challenging task of saving the world, should such a threat truly exist.

And someone could argue that the (possibly, very few) people falling under the last category are the ones who have actually, and in many critical junctures throughout human history, not allowed us to become perished or destroy ourselves as a result of the sheer realisation of a danger of such magnitude.

Of course, what I have been implying all along is that a) the world is indeed coming to an end, sooner or later, for each one of us and we know it very well, in the sense of us being aware of our mortality and b) like everything else in life, the anticipated end itself is by default a neutral event, of which the positive or negative charging and the subsequent way we experience it depend entirely on the beholder, i.e. us.

By following this logic a bit further, one could reach the conclusion that the death of the world (that is our death, since the world can be perceived and, thereby, exist only through and by us) is a test and a motivating factor for us to focus, during our short and irrevocably subject to an expiry date lives, on who we are and what we really want to do in this crazy universe we ended up in (pun intended).

In this sense, the end and its awareness are sine qua non for a fulfilling and meaningful life.

When coming to terms with this statement, one can perhaps understand better (and rejoice in) the lyrics of the very famous Doors song:
“This is the end,
My only friend, the end”.

And, at the end of the day [no better place for intended puns than at the end (!) of this piece], to paraphrase a bit T.S. Elliott: “every end (and, alas or thank God or both, there are many of them) is simultaneously a new beginning”.

In other words (and, I promise you, this truly is my concluding remark), understand what you need to end in your life and act on it to automatically understand what you want to begin and go for it.

 
II. Fate vs Free Will

Every moment that passes you stand before a multitude of choices.

I am being literal, mind you.

There is never a moment when one has no choice but one.

People say that all the time, right?

«You don’t have a choice».

And I cannot stress enough how critical this mistake is.

It’s a fallacy of the utmost level, that, at times, can prove to be even literally lethal.

You always have at least two choices.

If a person has you at gunpoint or has placed a knife against your throat and asks you to do as he orders you, else he will kill you, you still have two choices: a) obey and do whatever he wants you to do; or b) not obey and die (assuming the extreme case whereby there’s absolutely no way for you to fight back or talk your way out of this unfavourable situation).

So, a clear conclusion we can draw out of the aforementioned is that you, or in other words your free will, has always the final say in any decision you make, no matter how extraordinary the context or how extreme the circumstances.

Of course, what or who determines the menu of choices you can choose from in each and every situation in your life is a totally different question.

At this point, we cannot avoid having fate enter into our discussion (i.e. my monologue), because it is all but unquestioned that certain very important choices which define and shape the course of a person’s life are not made by them, consciously or unconsciously, unless we assume they have a say in how their life will be set up and become unfolded, prior to them being born.

The thing is that from our current vantage point we cannot assume that this is true or false with a certain degree of certainty.

What we can more safely say is that there are a number of factors or variables (or would it be more accurate to refer to them as “constants”?) of key importance for the “equation” of our lives, which seem to be out of the scope or the remit of our free will.

Examples of such factors include: where and when we are born, where and how we grow up, who our parents are, which people we meet in certain critical moments of our lives and in which setup, and the list goes on and on and on.

I will henceforth use the word “fate” as a convenient umbrella term, encompassing the (ranging from blindly random to meticulously wilful) multitude of forces that are, at the end of the day and more or less, beyond a person’s control and range of impact during the course of their lives.

Now there seems to be a funny, or even paradoxical, thing about fate: on one hand, the more you resist to it (in the sense of not accepting what is out of your control) the more your leeway for action or, in other words, the vital space for your free will tends to be restricted.

However, the more you accept fate (in the sense of acknowledging the things that are out of your control and effectively surrendering to this realisation), the more you find yourself to be in the driving seat of your life, steering it to the direction in which you want it or in which it needs to go.

And this works the other way, as well: the more you act according to your free will, the more fateful events (the simplest example being “coincidences” or “synchronicities”, if we use the term coined by Carl Jung) that justify and make more evident your life’s desired course seem to occur.

Now, hold on a second.

What appears to be implied here is that fate and free will are not inversely proportional or mutually exclusive, but that, on the contrary, they are complementary and proportional forces.

But this would then mean that in order to reach an equilibrium in perceiving and experiencing life you need both.

So, bad news for both staunch fatalists (who are usually found in the confines of institutionalised religion and deny that we have a say in virtually anything that goes on in our lives) and zealots of free will (more often than not, proponents of a dry positivist scientism who, despite their ongoing and sometimes memorable failures, have not ceased to claim that fate, or “chance” as they prefer to name it, can eventually be tamed and neutralised).

OK, good, now can we actually take this a step further by proposing that fate and free will are, in fact, two aspects of the same phenomenon or, if you like, the two sides of the same coin?

Yes, because it should be clear by this point that in order to be meaningful and, heck, enjoyable, what life equally needs is both the con-text provided by fate and the con-tent provided by free will.

And, let’s not forget, it needs us to fully acknowledge this.

Because, again, if we all but embrace fate believing there’s not much left for us to do, its mirror image or shadow, a.k.a. free will, shall find a way to poignantly remind us of the former’s limitations.

Au contraire, if we diminish fate’s pivotal role, we may quickly find out that what we blindly insist on pursuing (because it’s what we think we want) in spite of strong indications against doing it (more often than not accompanied by an overwhelming gut feeling) may lead to some sort of major setback or even disaster.

So, let’s become a bit more explicit on Lady Fate (note that in my mother tongue, Greek, both “fate” and “free will” are feminine): it defines our limitations or boundaries, be they inherent or extrinsic, beyond which we cannot really go, it is “not our place to be”, at any given moment in time.

What options, then, remain are 100% subject to our free will!

Imagine the possibilities…

And be thankful that there are limitations in the first place; else, we would be swimming in an ocean of infinite possibilities and we wouldn’t know where to begin, right?

Hmmm… I think I can hear you protesting against my last remark: “buddy, are you crazy, who wouldn’t want to live a limitless life, where he could do anything he wished?”

Anything?

Really?

How different is, actually, any-thing from no-thing?

Allow me to repeat my previous question in simpler terms: in infinity (because that’s what “zero limitations” means) where does one begin from?

Anywhere?

No, sorry, wrong answer.

Here’s the correct (also mathematically, I believe) answer: in infinity there’s no beginning or ending, in fact neither the concept of space nor the one of time make sense in its domain.

Therefore, it’s impossible to begin or finish anything, since everything has already begun and has already finished; in other words: everything exists in a single, mind-bogglingly small or inconceivably large (depending on your perspective), moment.

Now, I invite you to take a deep breath, read again the previous sentence and contemplate a bit on it.

Did you do it?

If you did, maybe it occurred to you that infinity, in its purest form, is irreconcilable with the life of any human or other being or even thing in the universe (other than, perhaps, itself).

Yet, we are aware of infinity and we, sort of, comprehend it, right (otherwise, I wouldn’t be in a position to write what I just wrote)?

Yes, we do, but in the sense that it is in our proverbial field of vision, so to speak, and nothing more than that; therefore we perceive it indirectly, without being able to fully experience it (at least, under most circumstances).

It’s a bit like the horizon: we see it, we are aware of it, but we can never reach it and it will always remain at a steady distance from us, no matter how much we have moved towards it.

And that, I think, is a pretty good metaphor of the whole “infinite versus finite” question.

Maybe now the significance of limitations in life (fate) can be grasped and appreciated a tiny bit better.

(By the way, if it seems that I am defending fate or that I am talking about it more than free will, it’s not by chance: since we live in times in which the concept of fate is being overlooked or even ridiculed, I need to place my emphasis there if I aim for a balanced, overall, presentation).

OK, but if fate and free will are the two sides of the same coin, what is that godforsaken coin?

It’s what’s found at the end of the rainbow, instead of a pot of gold coins.

Infinity.

And, to conclude, here’s a definition for you to take or leave: life is infinity refracted (free will) through a finite prism (fate).

So, what do you think, is it a coincidence that you came across this passage and read it or is it a result of a conscious choice on your side, fuelled, perhaps, by your active interest in topics of such philosophical connotations?

Nah, pointless question, of course it’s both!

III. Change

What is change?

Change is a constant, is what is.

Every moment is unique and different from the one preceding it or the one succeeding it.

Every modern scientific disciple and, even more, common sense would confirm this.

Yet, we constantly live in one moment, the present moment.

And when we think of the past or the future, we do so in the present moment.

So, in that sense, change is a mental and abstract comparison between the present moment and what we remember as being the past or what we expect to be the future.

But any comparison of course also takes place in the present moment.

However, present moment cannot be compared with itself, present moment is… the present moment, right?

It makes sense, doesn’t it?

So present moment is absolute, it is the only thing that exists, and change cannot be materialised in it in actual terms, but only as a theoretical, quasi vague, concept.

Therefore, one could also claim that change is an illusion, change does not exist.

But this is paradoxical.

It is indeed, but this shouldn’t scare us; in fact it’s a good sign, because everything that is of any real worth in life is paradoxical (but not contradictory, there’s a difference).

Something (from a situation to a mere phrase) is paradoxical when it doesn’t make sense; on paper it shouldn’t exist or work (i.e. when we rationally analyse it), yet, when we apply it, it does.

While something is contradictory when not only negating itself is its inherent feature, but one could never validate its actual existence, no matter how hard one would try.

So, returning to our subject: change both exists and doesn’t exist.

It’s merely a matter of viewpoint (and, yes, viewpoints can change).

In its fundamental nature, the present moment is infinite and not subject to any change whatsoever, as it contains everything that exists.

However, in order for infinity to become aware of itself and fully experience its endless multitude of aspects, it needs to put on its finite dress and adopt all possible forms, one by one.

This sequential modus operandi is key in understanding why change is necessary.

It is necessary because infinity cannot experience itself in its totality at once.

Forms are infinity’s different perspectives towards itself.

Therefore, change, at the end of the day, is infinity (unchangeability) shifting from form to form or, if you like, infinity changing its self-perspective.

But in this game, every different perspective or every different form, cannot be, by definition, anything but equal with any other form, any other perspective.

Relative is made of the stuff absolute is made of, and since absolute cannot be divided, it’s impossible to have a relative thing that is more important than another relative thing.

But if all forms or perspectives have the same value, then it’s clear that every shift has also one and only one value.

The difference between form/perspective and change is that the former exists momentarily and then it’s gone, while change is always there.

Sort of like infinity itself, right?

Conclusion: infinity never changes; but change is infinity’s tool to manifest itself in its myriads of possible different forms.

Change is there so that we never forget our true nature: infinity.

So that we never get too attached to the game of different forms and perspectives.

Another fundamental question that may arise, then, is the following: can change be subject to change?

In other words, can change change itself so that it doesn’t change anymore?

This question is impossible to be answered and if an answer existed, I assume it would be far beyond our ability to comprehend it.

What matters though, is something that I implied before.

This is a totally egalitarian universe, everything is by default of the same value as anything else.

And since infinity is indivisible, any change changes everything.

So everything is connected and interchangeable at the maximum degree at all times.

Then, why does this understanding not seem to be validated in the course of our lives?

But, of course, because, by default and to a large extent, we have been conditioned by society in manifold, delicate or not, ways that prevent us from understanding the fundamental and true nature of existence.

Perhaps, to forget the basic truth of the universe and act as if the game of change is deadly serious and with irreversible consequences if we’re not too careful or able to anticipate what will happen next, is a core, hardwired feature of the overwhelming majority of the local group of infinity perspectives / forms, in which group Earth and humanity happen to reside.

But in the world of constant change, in the world of infinity, in the only world that is real, there’s no room for death, as there’s no room for its opposite (which is, mind you, birth).

There’s only room for life.

IV. Purpose

I’m not looking for it somewhere outside of me anymore.

I am my purpose.

A purpose is not something that is steady and unalterable.

I’m changing all the time, from moment to moment.

Before I was this, now I’m that, later I’ll be God knows what.

So if I’m always something different, so is my purpose.

If the Universe is one indivisible existence (according to the late Physics Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman, it might be nothing more than a mere electron, creating all perceptible and imperceptible things via its infinite movement) then it cannot change partially, therefore when it changes it completely changes and so do I, being a part, or better a form or perspective, of it.

And if everything is one indivisible existence, this also means I truly am it and what I have learned to call “my self” is one of its endless forms / perspectives.

Same for you, same for everyone.

One means one, though.

That is, there is no inside and outside, since there are no divisions.

In reality, any division, any separation is an illusion, perceived and accentuated as such as a result of the format of the big cosmic game of life.

So I can look nowhere else but inside of me to find my purpose or, better, to realise what my purpose is.

Ergo my (ever-changing) purpose is (ever-changing) me.

Subsequently: know thyself and thou shalt know your purpose.

So, how do I get to know myself?

I have to start from somewhere.

The great thing is I can start whenever and wherever.

Everything is one; in other words, everything is intrinsically connected, remember?

Thus, I can stop worrying about whether I will ever find the perfect moment, because every moment is by definition the only and perfect moment.

OK, so how do I begin?

Very simply, I ask myself one question.

In fact, the whole technique is so simple, that it suffices if I always ask myself the same question.

(Things are by default simple; it’s just our human nature with its tendency to over-analyse everything that makes them look much more complicated than they actually are).

The question is the following: given the current circumstances I find myself in and my current state of being, what is the thing that I would really like to do next, more than anything else?

If I answer this question truthfully, then I know who I am and I know what my purpose is at the said moment.

It is obvious, of course, that I am not always, at any given moment in my life, going to give the same answer to that question.

Because I change and my purpose follows.

And to be very clear here: there is no distinction between important and trivial moments and, consequently, important and trivial purposes or important and trivial versions of me.

Every moment, every purpose, every version of my self has the same, absolute, unquestionable, value.

Writing a poem, running a marathon, eating a burger, putting on a Panama hat, singing flatly in the middle of the highway or stamping a Ministry of Agriculture related document can all be valid and equivalent purposes, as meaningful, or even as sacred, as any other.

The key criterion that needs to be fulfilled in order for something to be considered as the valid purpose is: at a given moment, is X or Y or Z the, beyond any doubt, truthful answer to the key question, mentioned a couple of sentences ago?

Of course, now another question arises (see, I told you, we can’t help but complicate things).

And this is the following: how do I get to know what I really want to do at the given moment in time, beyond any shadow of doubt?

Once again, it’s really simple.

Based on: a) the circumstances and b) our state of being at the given moment, we have a (finite) variety of things or potential purposes, from which we can choose one to act on.

Now, in most, if not all, cases it should be relatively easy and straightforward to choose what we really want.

Yet, we all know very well that things aren’t that simple (here we go again).

Because the conditioning from society and its various, organised or not, subsets (family, school, religion, neighborhood etc.), to which we have been subjected since our infancy, comes into play and orders us to stop and, before going ahead with our choice, consider first a number of (without exception) artificial, arbitrary and / or make-believe rules and prohibitions, must and must-nots, dos and dont’s, which in 99% of the cases are completely redundant and fundamentally useless, provided one applies one’s common sense.

If we manage to eliminate or look through this complex and unnatural grid of “duties” and “obligations”, we have already done 90-95% of the job.

If we don’t, we will almost always end up choosing to do something that is misaligned or not completely aligned with our self at the said moment i.e. that it’s not our purpose.

But even if that’s the case, no problem: the very next moment we are anyway back to square one, regardless of whether our last action was fulfilling our true purpose or not.

So, eventually, it should all come down to what we would really want to do more than anything else at this precise moment: what would give us the most pleasure, the biggest satisfaction, the highest excitement or (if the circumstances happen to be difficult and / or we happen to be a half-empty glass type of person) the least pain, the biggest relief, the most comfort or consolation.

Now, an important point to stress is that we can always distinguish among the available courses of action to identify what is the one that is really for us; the one we, actually and honestly, want to go for.

It’s impossible to have two equivalent choices; it’s like in the army (or in any hierarchical structure, for that matter): it cannot be that you have two equally senior members of staff.

Example: I am lying on my bed and there are two books I would equally love to read right now, but the one is on the nightstand next to me while the other one is in the living room.

If I cannot really decide which of the two books I would prefer to read, if I would equally enjoy reading any of them at this moment, then I should select the one closest to me.

I hope you get the idea.

Now, if I really start applying this approach from moment to moment, at some point I might step back and look at the big picture, the pattern formed by the accumulation or the sequence of the choices I have made, the things I have acted on.

This pattern then might reveal to me what seems to be the more general direction my life’s headed at; and, thus, what my more general purpose (or purposes) seem to be.

But, again, we shouldn’t forget that this is nothing more than an indication, an abstraction, a theoretical construction, aiming at satisfying our restless human nature and its primary agent in that respect, which is the mind.

And that in the end it all comes down to the current moment and what we want to do with it.

Look inside you, look around you and choose.

You can only find your purpose now.

You can only live your life now.

And since the universe lives through you and by you, you are its true meaning, its true purpose.

And if you cannot see it, if you cannot see that you are the purpose of creation, consider if you’re the one standing in the way of yourself.

There can be but one true obstacle to finding your purpose: yours truly.

On the other hand: at the end of the day, a purpose by itself is purposeless; it can only exist in and through you.

So, embrace the paradoxical miracle that is life and follow what your heart is really craving for.

Simple? Do it.

V. No right, no obligation, just duty

It took me a really long time to realise I have no rights nor obligations.

I just have a duty.

By accepting I have rights, I also accept that there is someone who has assigned these rights to me.

Someone to whom, then, I, explicitly or implicitly, owe something in exchange.

This “something” may range from complete and unquestioned obedience to subscription to a similar (if not identical) value system.

Which, in turn, means that the set of rights assigned to me by an external actor, with or without my direct (but with at least my indirect) consent, is always accompanied by the automatic bestowing of a set of obligations upon me.

That is supposed to be common, mainstream knowledge (“rights and obligations go hand in hand”); one of those things that everybody seems to be taking for granted: you earn something only if you do something in (not always directly linked) return.

The key thing here is that both rights and obligations stem from an external source, not from inside of me.

Definition time.

In a (ranging from very loosely to very rigidly) organised group of individuals, a right is something that a certain individual, depending on his/her status within the group, may do or take advantage of.

A right in this context is something that is within the realm of accepted courses of action by the given organised group; in the sense that it does not violate its general set of rules or the subset of these rules especially applicable to a certain sub-group of individuals or, even, a certain individual.

Respectively, in an organised group of individuals, an obligation is something that a certain individual, depending on his/her status within the group, must do to at least maintain his/her current status within the group.

It becomes evident then that an obligation is something to which it is necessary for a certain individual to abide, in order for the group to maintain its cohesion.

We may already notice a “carrot and stick”- like theme emerging.

The carrot being “rights” and the stick being “obligations”, of course.

What is important here, at the end of the day, from the organised group’s perspective is that the “carriage” moves on.

Meaning that the group maintains its coherence and continues to pursue its objectives.

In that sense, “rights” and “obligations” are mere means to an end.

Not to mention that to the group’s leadership, obligations are even more important than rights.

In fact, if and when things go south, it should be clear that individuals’ rights (and especially those awarded to the individuals occupying the lower strata of the organised group) will become, in one way or another, curtailed or suspended, for a, definite or indefinite, period of time.

Naturally, that would not be the case for obligations; in fact one would be sure to bet on the fact that the obligations shall increase (quantitatively) or become enhanced / more complicated (qualitatively) in times when the group goes through turmoil and existential struggle.

Especially in these challenging times, the controls and disciplinary mechanisms put in place by the group to ensure that the critical mass of its constituent individuals will keep on fulfilling their obligations are intensified.

The problem for the group is multiplied in cases when it goes through a crisis without having an external danger perceived as clear and present by the critical mass of its constituent individuals.

(Regardless of whether the external danger actually exists or not, what matters here is the perception).

If there exists such a perceived external danger, it is easier for the group to maintain its cohesion by focusing the energy of its constituent individuals on tackling it.

The longer such a danger exists, the better for the group.

(That’s why the group needs to have a well-functioning propaganda mechanism: to continuously pursue the identification or invention of such potential threats).

However, in case of absence of such a danger, things become more tricky, especially during crisis times.

This is because, there exist always by default forces within the group which question the necessity of its mere existence; forces usually manifested through temporary alliances of certain individuals belonging (at least on paper) to the larger group.

It is common sense that no group whatsoever could keep all of its constituent individuals happy and / or unquestionably obedient for more than a relatively short period of time.

This is an inherent flaw that fuels the emergence of such opposing forces.

However, a further distinction needs to be made here: there are forces that really oppose the group and then there are “camouflage” opposing forces which, while being presented as hostile towards the group, in actuality they aim at serving, consciously or inadvertently, its interests.

It is obvious that only the former pose a real threat to the group.

In fact I would go so far as to say that, with the exception of rather extreme cases where the materialisation of an external threat could lead to the group’s total annihilation, any serious challenges to the group’s cohesion and existence originate in internal forces opposing it.

Subsequently, the group always devotes a significant amount of its available resources to identify / track down and neutralise these forces.

The identification / tracking down is, of course, the easy part.

The difficult part is to manage to neutralise them.

Clearly, the specific techniques / methods employed by the group to achieve this objective vary from particular case to particular case.

Yet, we can say that, in principle, there are four commonly acknowledged and applied approaches in order to neutralise a force that represents a real and substantial threat to a group.

These approaches can also be followed in parallel; however they are more often than not sequential: when the first one is ineffective, then the group escalates by using the next one, and so on.

The first approach includes the attempts at dismissing, in the eyes of the critical mass of its constituent individuals, the threat posed by the hostile forces.

This is usually pursued by first trying to prevent these forces from voicing their message and making it known and understood by a wider audience.

If this fails (and eventually it, almost unmistakably, does), then the group tries to convince the critical mass of its constituent individuals on the ridiculousness / lack of seriousness / irrelevance of the messages transmitted by the dangerous forces.

If the first approach does not produce the desired outcome, then the group resorts to the second one; namely, attempting at converting the dangerous forces into friendly or at least neutral ones.

This is usually done by trying to bribe, in one way or another, some or all of the key individuals who are in the forefront of the dangerous forces or play a key role in promoting their agenda.

If this does not work, the third approach is basically the opposite of the first one: convince, via the use of various forms of propaganda, the critical mass of the group’s constituent individuals on the seriousness of the menace posed by the opposing dangerous forces; while, at the same time, directly threat the physical integrity and / or rights’ status of these forces’ key actors.

Finally, the fourth approach involves serious (and sinister) attempts at materialising the threat(s) posed in the context of the third approach, accompanied by intensification of the related propaganda, with the aim of presenting the dangerous forces as a, de facto, external clear and present danger and, thereby, mobilising wider masses (“pawns”) to conduct acts of direct and violent aggression against them.

If even the fourth approach proves to be fruitless, it, almost automatically, follows that the forces will leave the group, gaining autonomy / independence and leaving room for the occurrence of only one of the two following developments, regarding the fate of the former, i.e. either a) its eventual full collapse; or b) the continuation of its existence in a relatively more weakened state.

Usually the more invested in pinpointing and hunting down dangerous internal opposing forces a group is, the more its chances of becoming fatally wounded, if it fails to eliminate them, are.

As for the now liberated forces, either one of the following developments should be anticipated: (a) they will form a new group and, unavoidably, history will repeat itself (see above analysis) or (b) they will be dissolved / disbanded or (c) they will assume a new form and infiltrate another organised group, with the aim of perpetuating their group-destroying aims and modus operandi.

In a sense, this is the real test for the liberated forces: to resist the temptation to become what they so hard and successfully fought against i.e. yet another organised group.

For as long as the internal opposing forces of an organised group are operating as such, the structure they adopt for their internal organisation always has to be as flexible as possible.

And what really differentiates these forces from the standard organised groups they are acting against is that the rights and obligations the former bestow upon the individuals supporting and serving them are consciously recognised as temporarily and commonly accepted conventions.

In other words, these kinds of “rights” and “obligations” are as evasive and fluid as possible, just to maintain the minimum needed cohesion within the force.

If that is not the case, there is already a strong indication that we aren’t dealing with an authentic opposing force but with one of the following: (a) a very loose, directionless and moribund coalition of individuals who are disillusioned with the group, (b) a “camouflage” force, actually serving the interests of the group it is supposed to stand against or (c) a nascent organised group.

I would say that in 99% of the cases what initially may seem as an organised group opposing force turns out to fall under one of the aforementioned three categories.

But returning to our core issue: it should have become clearer by now that from an individual’s point of view neither rights nor obligations make sense.

Every individual is by definition a self-standing complete expression or perspective of the whole universe (see also my previous publications in this page on this point).

This means that one does not need anyone or anything else to dictate to one what one can and cannot do, what one is entitled to and what one is not.

One can do whatever one wants, being aware though that every action in this world has an automatic effect, “positive” or “negative”, on everything, including, sooner or later, oneself.

In the same vein, an individual does not need anyone or anything outside oneself to determine the things that one must do in order for one to be “legitimately” recognised and awarded a status symbol.

One does not need and should not care about that.

In other words, one should not accept any make-believe “rights” or “obligations” being force fed on one by an organised group (no matter how big or strong or influential it appears to be).

The only thing one has to do is to look, deeply and without obstructions or prejudices of any kind, inside oneself and find what is, at any given moment, one’s purpose or one’s duty.

One’s duty can be mistaken for one’s obligation only momentarily, only on the surface and only from the outside.

The basic difference between a duty and an obligation is that one wilfully and joyfully takes over a duty and acts to the best of one’s ability to accomplish it.

That is because each one of us, being a unique expression of the entire universe, has the duty to respect, promote and advance to the fullest this unique expression’s flourishing and self-actualisation.

“Duty” in that sense is no different than “will”.

There is no difference between “I really want to do something or be someone” and “it is my duty to do something or be someone”.

So, in this context, only the notion of duty is natural and acceptable.

The notions of rights and obligations are not.

And if my duty was to write this piece, maybe yours is to seriously reflect on it.

And… may the forces be; with us or against us…!

VI. Heroes

A hero usually cannot tell for sure if he / she is indeed a hero until everything is over.

And before everything’s over, chances are the hero has already died, literally or metaphorically / symbolically.

Let’s approach the whole thing from a, time wise, linear perspective, starting with the birth of a hero.

It may sound fatalistic (I would hope, though, that we have managed to transcend the fate vs. free will pseudo-dilemma after my earlier relevant passage), but someone who is meant to be a hero needs to have the potential to become one.

And this potential has to be in place as of the very beginning of a person’s life.

What are the key elements of the heroic pedigree, then?

But… hold on a second, before proceeding any further, a definition of “hero” should be provided.

A hero is a single individual whose actions alone may and shall have a critical and positive, from the point of view of the hero’s people, impact on the course of this people’s mythology and history.

I will be discussing mythology and history in more detail in my upcoming passage, so for now let me just simply say that I define a people’s mythology as its unconfined by the dimensions of space and time history or if you prefer the timeless matrix of its history.

So, let’s now explore the key elements of the heroic “DNA” (and in doing so, I hope that the various aspects of the aforementioned definition will be clarified).

These are: an extremely strong (even metaphysical) sense of duty and purpose in life, a propensity to take the lead in any situation (be it simple or complex) where leadership is needed, a clear and demonstrable ability to inspire people and act as their guide, a constant yearning for freedom and independence, a disdain for, or at least discomfort with, political procedures in the widest possible sense of the term, the perception of power as a means to an end and never as the end itself, the readiness to sacrifice oneself for a higher, noble purpose and the belief and occasional surrender to forces doubtlessly recognised as supreme.

Again, all the above qualities need to be integral parts of the potential hero’s character / personality in the first place.

In other words, those are the necessary conditions for the emergence of a hero and they are all either inherent in an individual or they are not.

However, there are a number of additional (sufficient) conditions which also need to be met before someone is unquestionably accepted as a hero.

In a sense, these are the initiatory quests that must be undertaken and completed by a potential hero before he or she is, overwhelmingly and irreversibly, hailed as one.

The first quest is to find a teacher / master.

The master has to be an individual acknowledged by his / her contemporaries (but not necessarily: there are cases in which a master is only posthumously acknowledged) as a sage or wise person.

He / she must have developed, have made accessible to a larger audience and be willing to teach a core of original philosophical / spiritual positions, principles and practices, which more often than not are innovative and / or radical when measured against the standards of his / her era.

The master must also be someone with as broad a knowledge of philosophical, cultural, social, scientific and political topics as possible as well as with the ability to combine elements from these very diverse fields and come up with groundbreaking ideas (i.e. he / she should be anything BUT an expert in a specific area).

The master should also be willing to, well, teach a potential hero; and every true master is craving for such an opportunity: to contribute in carving a hero out of an individual or revealing the hero hidden in one (even though, of course, appearances may be deceiving for a number of reasons, specific to each particular case e.g. out of fear for his / her personal safety, the master may conceal his / her intentions and / or teaching).

By default, it is the hero who should look for and find a master, and not the other way round.

The principle of “he who seeks finds” is very much applicable here.

Quite often, the master is in charge or is a member of the “teaching personnel” of a School or Academy, in the broad sense of these words.

But it is also not rare that a master may be “freelance” or even a hermit or a recluse, having denounced society as well as anything of an ephemeral character in life.

Of course, it is clear that out of all the individuals, benevolently or malevolently, advertised (by others or by themselves) as “masters” or “gurus” or “teachers”, 99.99% of them do not live up to this title.

Thus, one of the trials of the first heroic quest is to identify who’s the real deal master-wise; the needle in the haystack of false prophets.

Once done so, the potential hero introduces himself or herself to the master and asks to be accepted as his / her disciple.

Many disciples of a master, though, tend to present themselves upfront as potential heroes or, even if they aren’t say that open or explicit, they may have an attitude that is all but implying their “special” status.

Therefore a master’s challenge is to ascertain which one (it’s improbable that there is more than one) of his / her disciples is a potential hero.

Needless to say that a true master can always detect whether a respectively true heroic potential exists in someone.

After the master-disciple relationship has been mutually established and fully accepted as such, the teaching or educational programme of the hero may begin.

What the master demands from the potential hero as of the very beginning of the educational programme is: absolute commitment, absolute submission, absolute obedience, and nothing less than that.

The hero-to-be, fully aware that he / she has found the proper master for him / her, wilfully and consciously meets all the master’s demands, without doubting or second-guessing the latter’s words.

(It should be noted here that in certain cases there may be no interaction in person between a potential hero and a master; however these cases tend to be the exception rather than the rule).

The education of the potential hero usually spans over a relatively long period of time i.e. many years (even a two-digit number of them).

While the specific teachings naturally vary from case to case, the curriculum of arts and practical applications / techniques the potential hero learns from his / her master has to include the following: a robust but simple and concise theoretical background of the master’s worldview, a set of top-notch fighting techniques as well as healing / recuperating techniques (in the broad sense of these terms), how to pray (meaning how to spiritually recharge / reconnect with a higher purpose, particularly in times of distress / serious self-doubt), how to engage with people and how to effectively mobilise and communicate with them and, last but not least, a methodology to bring about a substantial change into the world.

The potential hero’s education is completed only when he / she has learned and successfully practised all of the above.

Practice, in this sense, has to entail not just simulations but also real-life accomplishments, even if they are of relatively small significance.

In this context, a heroic accomplishment is a selfless act of a potential hero that benefits this potential hero’s people.

That brings us to the second heroic quest: to find a people to represent and act in the name of.

The people of a hero are a group of individuals with a largely shared identity of which one of their main common features (which classifies them as a “people”, in the sense I am using this term here) is that they are in need of a, well, hero to lead them into a much needed redemption.

(I am aware that the definition is somewhat circular, but that’s because, from the point of view I am approaching the subject here, a hero and his / her people are like two sides of the same coin; like the yin and yang concepts of Taoism).

In order for a people to accept someone as a potential hero, the latter must convince / inspire the people’s critical mass that he / she is the one who shall create and walk them through the path of salvation and / or glory they are yearning for.

A hero must gain the trust of its people and there is no other way to achieve this except for taking concrete action that safeguards and promotes the people’s interests; action that nobody else would dare or be able to take.

The third and final quest of a potential hero is to find what is the main feat he / she must accomplish.

This quest almost always involves a journey of self-transformation as well as the overcoming of a certain challenge no one else has managed to successfully overcome before.

In embarking on this journey a potential hero will have to go through an initiatory death, which might be symbolic but also can be literal.

The, at least, symbolic death of the old, limited, “mere mortal” self is sine qua non for the heroic metamorphosis to be completed.

In other words, it is a mandatory prerequisite for a potential hero to manage to complete this adventurous journey that involves a form of self-annihilation and rebirth, in order for him / her to become a true hero.

One does clearly not reinvent the wheel by stating that in times of major crisis on all levels, a hero is desperately needed.

And, in reality, any major crisis that people go through can never be decisively dealt with without a hero.

And when a given era happens to be anti-heroic, that is exactly when a hero is needed more than ever.

Because the hero is the strongest symbol of the infinite potential in each and every one of us.

And when hardships, problems and desperation accumulate to such a degree that they give birth to an ever-proliferating and seemingly insurmountable mass of negativity which is all but posing a direct existential threat to a people, the latter’s last resort is to return to the fundamentals.

And there is nothing more fundamental than Infinity and Her prodigy child: the Hero.

VII. History is the child of Mythology

History is a function of space and time.

It takes place within a given spatial setup and it unfolds as time flows.

History is also based on the dynamic patterns that are created by people’s decisions and nature’s subsequent reactions to these decisions.

How do people decide?

Whether they know it or not, they decide by combining elements, or themes if you like, taken from their individual and collective mythologies, the former being a subset of the latter.

I define a people’s mythology (hereafter, I will refer to it as “collective mythology”) as the comprehensive collection of spaceless and timeless stories which, by being constantly (self-) narrated, form the body and soul of the said people’s collective life experiences, providing them with depth, dimension and meaning.

From the above definition, we can also derive that individual mythologies are particular stories taken from the rich inventory of a people’s collective mythology, which, after being subject to a, more or less slight, twist (i.e. becoming tailor-made to resonate with specific individuals), critically influence the lives of the respective individuals constituting the said people.

(By the way, the word “people” should be seen as a rather flexible container that can accommodate anything: from the members of a small isolated community to the ones of a nation, a race or even the entire humanity).

In a previous passage, I suggested that each and every individual is a unique, unrepeatable and by definition complete perspective of the entire universe and that an individual’s purpose or duty, what resonates with him more than anything else, is to live out this unique perspective’s core features and themes to the fullest, by transforming them into a, as rich and as meaningful as possible, individual story line.

This is why it is of such a crucial importance for every individual to discover and always be aware of as many elements as possible (if not of absolutely everything) composing his / her individual mythology which, by default, shapes his / her life story.

In this vein, history, both on an individual and on a collective level, is nothing more than mythology perceived via the inherently limiting and distorting lens of specific spatial and time coordinates.

Mythology, as being much more closer to the Cosmos’s Infinity, is by default spaceless and timeless and, therefore, of a higher order than history, in the sense that it can contain and give birth to many different versions of historical evolution or historical perceptions of events.

As opposed to mythologies, their offspring, i.e. historical perceptions, always have a beginning and an end.

Even when a historical perception appears to be dominant in a certain space and at a certain time and gives the impression that it has always been and will forever hold true, one would play it very safe to bet on its eventual loss of popularity and relevance and its consequent replacement by a different one.

Historical perceptions are imposed by the winners of wars in the broad sense of the word (military, political, social, cultural) and nobody can be a winner forever, since “no one is bigger than the Game” and the Game (with a capital G) is not finite or zero-sum, no matter what the (misleading) appearances may occasionally indicate.

If one reflects on this proposition for a while, one might come to the conclusion that any significant, or less significant, event in a people’s / individual’s history is by default devoid of historical meaning and can get any relevant meaning the particular people / individual choose to give to it.

This is a quite groundbreaking and unconventional suggestion, so I would invite you to take some time and contemplate on it, preferably by playfully applying it to events viewed as significant by you and / or the people you believe, or know, you belong to.

Did you do this little exercise / experiment?

Whether you noticed it or not, the different historical contexts (some of them may very well be completely novel) you may have opted to introduce an event into, directly stemmed from individual / collective mythological configurations of relevance to you.

They would have to be relevant, because if they were irrelevant they would never draw your attention or become manifested in your consciousness in the first place.

In a sense (and, mind you, this is not merely theoretical) collective mythologies don’t matter; what matters is how you playfully apply the elements of your individual mythology on events of any scale (from the smallest to the largest) that are of relevance to you.

And, again, anything that happens to you or is intercepted by the radar of your perception is of relevance to you.

Therefore, and I am unavoidably repeating myself once again, it is if the utmost importance to realise and be fully and constantly aware of the key themes, features and stories of your own, private, individual mythology.

The easiest way to do that is by doing the thing that excites / inspires / attracts you the most at any given moment and see where that will eventually lead you (for more elaboration on this, see my previous passage on “Purpose”).

Then, at some point you can take a step back, look at the big picture and notice which seem to be themes of recurrence for you and (very important) how these themes tend to play out as well as what forms they usually adopt or via which types of stories they are usually being manifested in your life.

Thereafter, it is recommendable to study a lot of mythology (especially the one associated with the people you find yourself identified most with) and take note of the related links, the similarities and the differences with your individual mythology, as you gradually become more familiar with the latter.

If this all is, more or less, done in accordance with the above, you may experience an, even dramatic, enlargement of your general field / horizon of perception and / or awareness.

All the more often you will find that you are in the right place at the right time doing what unmistakably feels like the right thing.

You will feel relevant and you will feel like you are an actor and a creator, and not a sheer passive recipient, of history; at the personal level but, perhaps, not only there, as you come to understand that, after crossing a certain point in your personal evolution, the, formerly very clear, line separating “individuality” and “collectivity” becomes blurrier, if not an anachronism / “lettre morte”.

And, of course, by knowing and fully living, moment by moment, your spaceless and timeless mythology and by understanding that history is all but a child of it, you gain access to capabilities that to others’ eyes (or even to your own) seem as premonitory or even superhuman.

You know beyond any shadow of doubt that you have a duty to fulfil and that by directly (=hero; see also my previous passage) or semi-directly (=master / teacher) or indirectly (=artist / prophet) fulfilling it, you will change the course of history.

And that, little by little, change by change, you will direct the single direction flowing river (history) into the arms of its primordially and all encompassing mother, the vast and endless sea of myths.

Thus, reopening the window of infinite possibilities for humanity and / or for its starry-eyed, underworld-gutted, children.

VIII. Language

Language was born out of a fundamental desire that has always been at the hard core of humanity; namely to name things.

Infinity, by definition, cannot be named.

The very word “infinity” is a feeble attempt, which stems from a finite human vantage point, to describe the indescribable, name the nameless, objectify the One and Only true substance in universe, Universe itself.

As we saw, however, in a previous passage (“Change”), Infinity is an inseparable unity that adopts an infinite number of finite perspectives, driven by its craving to know itself.

Language becomes relevant at the point where these various finite perspectives or various things need to be named in order to be clearly distinguished from each other and to adopt a distinct form and a crystallised identity.

In this context, each thing has two names: its “cover” name and its “complete” name.

The cover name is a super-concise description of a thing (by default it shouldn’t be more than one word).

The cover name ranges from an oversimplification (at best) of the said thing to a total arbitrary sound or combination of sounds (usually) which has (or have) come to be associated with it.

The complete name is something much more complex than the cover name since it is the comprehensive description of a given thing, exhaustively laying out all its qualities and features which, overall, identify it as something unique and unrepeatable.

To give a simple example: for the thing of which the “cover name” is “English language”, the “complete name” would be the totality of all English words and English grammar and syntax rules and, perhaps, even the entire English oral and written production of the past, present and (why not?) future.

While the “complete name” of a thing could theoretically be fully known since it is something finite (even though it does not necessarily refer to something that is finite), in practice rarely anyone “knows” it.

Anyway, other than being practically impossible, 100% knowledge of the complete name of something is not really needed.

What is very often sufficient to gain mastery with respect to a certain thing, is to know the theoretical background and the relevant practical applications of a critical percentage or subset (which, to be sure, differs from case to case) of the entirety of characteristics that constitute the said thing.

Yet, this undoubtedly requires a lot of work, commitment, dedication, and, maybe even more than anything else, a sort of untamed attraction to or dependence on or love of the particular thing.

It is not even close to be considered as something easy, of course, nor would it be practical communication-wise if we had to know the complete names of each and every word before using it in our verbal interactions.

Hence the popularity and dominance of “cover names” in language: due to their convenience, efficiency and “user-friendliness” (if I may use the latter term).

The real problem starts when we forget that “cover names” are not much more then a convention and, thus, that they cannot and should not substitute the complete names in the function of the latter as the thorough description of a thing’s qualities.

At the end of the day, cover names are nothing more than indicators pointing at a direction.

Superficial knowledge (cover names) cannot and should not replace real, in-depth, meaningful knowledge (complete names).

This, of course, is something that is happening all the more often in our contemporary times.

But, things are even worse than that.

It is also true that, by nature, cover names come with myriads of connotations, a bunch of implicit meanings and a multitude of mental images attached to them.

This is all good and nice and normal, yet some of these connotations, implicit meanings and mental images tend to dominate the minds of people when a cover name is used, while others, equally valid, are systematically overlooked or disregarded.

This creates an imbalance as it triggers and accentuates a, quite common, phenomenon, whereby cover names become rigid and inflexible as they tend to be associated with all but a single or very few meanings.

And it is an imbalance, since, by default, everything in universe is equal with anything else (see also my earlier relevant passage “Change”).

So, while in the recent past the usage of a certain cover name would have triggered a rich variety of connotations and implicit links in our collective conscious mind, nowadays it triggers only very few (if, even, any).

Furthermore, other than the lowering of the cover names’ quality standards (in the sense detailed right above) their numbers are also, constantly and at an accelerating rate, being reduced.

That is, more and more we are using less and less words (obviously, in this context, “word” is a synonym for “cover name”) in our everyday language.

Whereas until quite recently five different things were indicated by five different words now the same five things may all be indicated by one and the same word.

Therefore, language is rapidly deteriorating.

But, since language is, as already mentioned, the main mechanism by which we, human beings, perceive some order, some form, some pattern in the infinite universe (by using it as our primary tool in clearly separating universe’s different perspectives or things), we should expect that its decomposition is mathematically leading to a concomitant decomposition of our perceiving abilities as well as of our mere functioning as autonomous beings.

In other words, if we cannot name things anymore we lose control over them and we cannot be their conscious users anymore; instead we ourselves turn into objects / things to be used by other, personal or impersonal, forces.

Is that a negative development, though?

Once again and like the case for everything in this life is, it depends on the perspective / point of view we are looking from.

From the universe’s perspective it may be signalling the shutting down of a certain experiment, ceasing a playful (as always) attempt to examine, explore, be conscious of itself and rejoice in what it finds out and what it experiences via this process.

From the perspective of humanity, though, it may mean that doomsday is just around the corner.

So: mark my words or reject them; but please don’t stop reading them.

IX. Systems

In a dynamic environment (i.e. an environment where time is a relevant factor) everything tends to add up to or to be organised into a system.

A system is a repetitive, deliberate and often multilayered interaction process between two or more distinct things, aiming at producing an outcome that is greater than the sum of the individual capacities of the said things that constitute it.

The natural opposition to systems (but also the state from which systems emerge) is randomness.

Randomness is the spontaneous occurrence or the unstructured, uninitiated and non-sequential manifestation of an event or a thing.

In a sense, what systems do is to collect things stemming from the natural wellspring of randomness, organise them and explore different ways to optimally develop their potential by means of having them interacting with each other as well as by constantly experimenting in combining their inherent qualities in innovative and functional configurations.

In order for a system to be established, the consent of its constituent parts or members (even if it’s forced) is needed.

There is always a choice, remember (see also the “Fate vs. Free Will” earlier passage of my “Liberating Deliberations” series)?

While a system can initially be set-up and commence its functioning spontaneously, its further development and maintenance requires an administrator or owner.

The system ownership and administrative responsibility can be assumed from a single person up to an entirely complex machinery of mechanisms and institutions, which may significantly vary, but which need to share at least one common element / key interest: pursuing the perpetuation of the given system’s existence and functioning.

In order to perpetuate a system, its owner has to ensure that the system’s outputs are being continuously perceived by the critical mass of its constituent parts as superior to any other alternative, including the absence of any alternative whatsoever (the latter being an… alternative definition of the concept of randomness, to which I made reference earlier on).

That brings us to the three stages of a system’s functioning: inputs, inner workings and outputs.

The inputs of a system are, at a fundamental level, always expressed and measured in terms of the efforts put by the system constituent parts or members, in the context of their system related tasks or activities.

The inner workings of a system are realised in a (usually complicated) framework of processes.

There may exist many different processes within a system (which may very well be mini- / sub-systems in themselves); however (and despite their superficial separations and contradictions) they all need to be interconnected and they must be subject to a higher (explicit or implicit) core process which they serve and support.

In its entirety, this framework is only visible and operated by the system owner and its hierarchical “army” of administrators.

It is noteworthy that the system administrators’ efforts never lead to direct inputs into the said system; yet their role is key in ensuring the proper, effective and smooth operation of its inner workings.

The system’s outputs are, at a fundamental level, always expressed in terms of the satisfaction (or “utility” if you prefer a more technical term; I don’t) that they provide the system’s constituent members with.

Every living system’s Philosopher’s Stone, Holly Grail or natural / instinctive predisposition is to integrate all other systems as well as the non-systemic randomness of the world unto itself and, thus, absorb / systemise the entire universe.

The paradox in the above pursue is that it can never be realised, as Infinity (a.k.a. universe a.k.a. randomness) can never be absorbed into something finite (i.e. any system).

Based on the above, however, one should not be so quick as to jump to the conclusion that my depiction of systems is all but negative.

On the contrary, systems can be, and often are, very useful and meaningful.

Their usefulness is linked to the fact that they provide an organised, elaborated and multifaceted perspective into the Whole; into Infinity.

And every system has a high point in its evolution, in which its capacity to provide a novel and comprehensive (from its point of view) experience of Infinity reaches its maximum / is optimised.

After reaching this point, a system ought to be deliberately dismantled.

In most cases it does not willfully initiate its termination process, though, thereby entering a long and arduous process of decadence / decay, that will inevitably lead to its (most likely, rather painful) demise.

In the end, like the case is for anything else in this crazy and fundamentally unpredictable world, a system serves its purpose and has its constituent members enjoy their proverbial (or literal) ride with it as long as it does not take itself too seriously.

Because by default, let us not forget, seriousness, as opposed to playfulness, is finite.

X. The 1% vs 99% trick

Everyday life in a contemporary organised society projects on the latter’s members (both willingly and inadvertently; both on a collective as well as on an individual level) the strong (even if it is implicit in some cases) impression that while, in principle, there is an abundance of choices or opportunities to be pursued, it is only a tiny percentage of these choices or opportunities that are relevant for each one of them individuals, in terms of meaningfulness and (more importantly) feasibility.

In rough terms, the tacit message engraved in modern people’s minds is the following: “out of all the things and situations you perceive, you may experience up to 1%; the remaining 99% is not for you”.

A secondary tacit message is: “you are entitled only to 1%, therefore you must stay faithful to it under any circumstance and preserve it at all costs; and this means that you cannot afford even a slight detour, out of curiosity and / or willingness for experimentation, into the vast ocean of 99%, else your well-being and your life’s prospects will become, automatically and seriously, jeopardised”.

What makes people fall for this trick time and again, is its inherent truth.

Out of all things that we perceive as available to act upon during our life span, we can indeed pursue up to 1%, and even that percentage may be optimistic.

It is plain common sense, really: there’s an infinity of things which are available, while our lives are finite; and there’s so much one can manage to do in such a, relatively, short time frame.

And that’s OK as long as the things we devote our life to are aligned with our core self, with who we truly are.

But what we are being, directly or indirectly, told is that the 1% of the things we may go after can be determined by us only to a very limited extent: let’s say 5-10% of the 1%.

While the remaining 90-95% of the 1% is supposedly determined by factors we cannot influence: family, society, history, geography as well as marginal and unforeseen events in the natural environment, in science and in technology.

So most of us are trapped in this, more or less, one way street, usually craving for the slightest detour and occasionally detecting the opportunity to seize such a detour, but ultimately (i.e. in 99% of the cases) being too afraid or too hesitant to take the course of action needed.

And we don’t take action in spite of the fact that we all observe and we all are aware of certain fellow human beings who have successfully taken this detour from society’s occasional Main Street at some point (early or later on) in their lives, and have thereafter managed to live a fulfilling and, very often, exciting life, in accordance with their values and their inner, true, tendencies and desires.

Of course, one key factor here is risk taking.

I would say that true risk takers are about 1% of the population, who, either as of the moment they are born or later on, via their experiences and the ways they choose to filter and respond to them, regard the 1% versus 99% of the aforementioned equation upside down.

For this kind of individuals, a true danger exists in only 1% of the available detour opportunities (which society is eager to classify as “unconventional” cases), while they are firm in their stance that in the remaining 99% of cases if the associated risk, as perceived by society’s majority, would become materialised, the respective consequences would not be grave and could eventually be dealt with.

Another key factor is choosing to look carefully at the specific details of each case and not just at the big picture.

Because if we do so, we will probably notice that there are no two same or equal lives: there are always incremental and key differences from individual life to individual life, if small.

What I’ve been trying to say is that each and every individual in this universe is distinct and there’s always (even by definition) room to pursue one’s heart’s true path.

The key to realise (mentally) and realise (in action) our lives’ potential is to (re-)establish the communication with our core selves, listen to them closely and without prejudice, and act, to the best of our ability and always taking into account the surrounding circumstances, moment by moment towards the direction indicated from deep down within us.

A big change comes through a multitude of small changes constantly building up and preparing us to catch the right “train” at the right time.

We cannot really afford to engage in this process in a non-continuous fashion.

In a sense, maintaining the momentum towards the direction our inner compass is pointing is much more important than the actual content of the things we do in this context or the outcomes produced by our concrete actions in this respect.

There are, literally or usually symbolically, 99 little things you need to do before you are presented with the opportunity to do the big one; and you have no other option than enjoying the ride (and it’s gonna be bumpy, but bumps make the whole experience more thrilling and more enjoyable, if in retrospect) and treating each and every one of these little things as if it were, well, the big one.

Perhaps then, when the time comes for you to reap the fruits of the one big thing you originally set out for when you began your journey, you will discover, to your amazement, that even though you attained your “Holly Grail” you cannot settle down; instead you are still hungry for 99 new things to come and be experienced by you, further down the big, mysterious road of life.

XI. Politics

A certain process becomes politicised when emphasis is shifted from optimising it for the benefit of everyone impacted by it to a dispute over the question of which of the involved stakeholders’ interests will prevail.

Every such individual stakeholder or group of stakeholders will of course maintain that promoting his / her / its interests will also mean that the interests of everyone involved in the said process, or even of the entire society, will be served to the maximum.

In all cases, promoting the interests of such a group results in granting to that group relatively higher power in determining the concrete ways in which the said process will unfold in the future.

Once a certain group seizes power over this process, its utmost priority will be to secure and perpetuate the control of power over it, so that the given group can continue serving its best interests for as long as this is possible.

In other words, the basic interest of such a group is to be able to hold on to power for the maximum possible period of time so that it can… continue serving its basic interest (if this looks like a circular reference to you, you are not wrong…) and possibly a number of secondary interests, which are usually associated with the material and spiritual well being (health and wealth, in all of their forms) of its members or with the perceived status and power of the latter within the society or even with other relatively selfless and idealistic pursues, which may later on prove to have a positive or a negative effect for the people of the said society.

In any case, the main interest of such a group always remains the perpetuation of its grasp on power.

This principle always holds true.

Therefore, in the strict sense, politics are by definition unproductive and negative for the people of a society, as its mere gravitas leads to a big part of the available collective creativity and resources being directed and concentrated on the political zero-sum game, instead of being entirely focused on addressing the big issues and major challenges faced by the given society.

By the way, if we look at the big picture, politics is always a zero-sum game, as it can never directly add value (although, truth be told, it may do so indirectly), to a society’s evolution (historical or other) as well as to its constant effort to meet and tackle its manifold challenges.

In order for this vicious cycle of politics to keep going on ab aeterno, the support of the critical mass of the people affected by it is an absolute prerequisite.

That’s why an even bigger fear of those holding the power in any given society than themselves losing the power, is that at some point people will radically challenge the validity and necessity of the entire political game.

That is, their biggest fear is that people will reject politics and will resort to a form of self-organisation and / or self-governance, thereby removing the, eventually redundant, middle men (i.e. themselves, the politicians).

Of course, those who maintain that politics is the best (or the least bad) process to organise and govern a society would reject the position I just expressed.

And no matter how they would choose to decorate it, their main argument would boil down to the following notion: “the absence of the middlemen, mediating between the people and the power institutions governing them, would inevitably cause a meltdown of society by leading to the “every man for himself” type of chaos found in less developed societies”.

A strong disbelief in the capacity of people to think for and take care of themselves, in all aspects of their individual and collective lives, is hidden (if in plain sight) behind this notion.

This strong disbelief is always coupled with a concomitant belief (which may appear in varying formats and degrees) according to which societies, and eventually humanity, must be organised in stratified / hierarchical structures and must be governed by (relatively more or less authoritarian) elites, which are composed of the “enlightened” ones and are thus in a position to know what is best for people’s lives more than the people themselves.

And, again, this theoretical and practical construction works, as long as a critical mass of people subscribe to it and don’t challenge it.

Now, I believe that nobody (with the exception of some rather marginal proponents of certain totalitarian regimes) can deny that people are in a position to establish, themselves, self-organising and self-governance principles for their everyday lives and / or the lives of those close to them / dependent on them.

But if this works in the small scale, why wouldn’t it work in the large scale?

Why would other rules apply there, rules that would require the presence (and constant support by the people) of a bunch of unproductive and parasitical, in reality, middle men?

There exists, of course, the argument that there are some large scale activities where there is no immediately natural return or profit for those being responsible for them (e.g. the defensive function of a society, usually undertaken by its armed forces); therefore, these activities can only be performed by a powerful and coercive political machine, that is the state.

In a sense, this is not entirely untrue, especially taking into account the specific evolutionary path which, in one way or another, humanity and most of its societies have taken.

However, the successful conduct of this type of activities, which are basically necessary for the maintenance of cohesion and to safeguard a minimum acceptable standard of living in a society, doesn’t require the functioning of a complicated and heavy political machinery.

There are only two things actually required: (a) the existence of some kind of (literal or metaphorical) contract among the people who form a society and (b) the existence of a popularly accepted authority, being in a position to guarantee said contract.

If the role of the latter authority cannot be performed by the people themselves (and it is probably true that we haven’t yet reached the level of evolution whereby the overwhelming majority of people in a society would realise that the physics of universe leave no room for the “every man for himself” principle), then it must be assumed by a, at least symbolic, paternal kind of figure.

This figure is inherently paradoxical, since on one hand he / she accumulates and is entrusted with absolute power over the people of a society, but on the other hand he / she is absolutely accountable to and an absolute servant of the said people, meaning that his / her status needs to be reconfirmed each and every given moment.

This figure is, of course, the hero, whose related concept I made a detailed presentation of in an earlier passage of this series.

A politician cannot be a hero, as the former does not fulfill a core and sine qua non feature of the latter: the selfless and absolute devotion to the best interest of a given people.

In this vein, a politician is never constantly nor fully accountable towards the people whom he serves (or is supposed to serve).

But, even if all the above holds true (and, as usual, I invite you to carefully and critically assess what you read here), the emergence of a hero is nothing but a given, especially in our contemporary, and strongly anti-heroic, times.

Meaning, that for now, in the majority of cases we are stuck with politicians.

So, what do we do?

There are two things we can do: one, we constantly question politicians and their authority and we ceaselessly do whatever we can to hold them accountable, taking as many (inevitable) risks as we can in the process.

Two, we strive to organise and live our lives in such a way so as to achieve minimal or zero dependence from any political process, regardless of whether it is big or small.

Perhaps the only way to do so is to remove ourselves from the “rights vs. obligations” mindset, and instead subscribe to the “duty” mindset (see my earlier relevant passage of this series, where I posited that all rights and obligations are arbitrary and artificial and the only natural thing that exists is our true, core, inner purpose, the full and uncompromising serving of which is our real and only duty as human beings).

Adopting the “duty” mindset and acting upon it will, anyway and eventually, elevate us to the status of fully independent human beings, devoting ourselves to serve the world and our fellow human beings by pursuing our true purpose, naturally springing from inside of us.

And who knows: there may no longer be room for a “big” hero in any society, but there may as well be plenty of room for a plethora of “small” heroes.

And, as long as history is concerned, no politician stands a chance against a true hero, regardless of whether the hero is “big” or “small”.

XII. Aphorisms I

Whatever is doable can be done, whatever is undoable can’t be undone.

Eyes never lie, every other part of the body constantly does.

Art is the most natural form of therapy: it’s everywhere and it’s instantly available, if you know how to look for it.

Uncertainty is the new certainty, relativity is the new absoluteness and short-term is the new long-term.

Love + Values + Creativity = Fulfilling life.

Perfection = Balance + Availability + Responsibility.

Everything includes something else and is included in something else.

One can only become liberated when one is self-sufficient and fully aligned with one’s core values.

Help is always available but you need to ask for it first.

Preparation for something is the main part (if less flashy) of this something.

Universe poses the questions, your inner voice points to the right answers, but at the end it’s your choice.

Nothing leads to redemption faster than the realisation that you’re already redeemed.

The mysterious and the miraculous are always less than a stone’s throw away.

Change is natural, therefore resisting to it requires more effort than surrendering to it.

Take care of everything as if it were a living thing and you will be all but surrounded with the joyous, ceaseless, ever-attractive symphony of life, wherever you are, whatever you do.

Desire for vengeance can be a source of very strong self-motivation; and it can remain such source, for as long as that desire stays unfulfilled.

A seasoned wordsmith is the most dangerous of opponents.

The better you do, the harder things are going to get; the worse you do, the harder things are going to get; but it’s not a question of where you are (this is irrelevant), it’s a question of where you’re moving to.

Beauty and pain take no hostages.

Neutrality does not equal inertia.

Sympathy presupposes empathy, empathy does not presuppose sympathy.

Freedom is determined on a moment-by-moment basis; as long as it’s up to you to decide what to do next, you’re free.

You can summon all different lives you want to live; just embark on the respective train of thought and do whatever you can to stay on board for as long as the journey goes on.

XIII. Top-down versus bottom-up

There is nothing natural about the top-down way of organising things.

A top-down structure usually implies a pyramid-like hierarchy, from the top of which orders are dispatched to the base.

It derives from an elitist (and rather absurd, if one contemplates just a bit on it) viewpoint according to which the few who are located on the top know what is best for the many on the bottom, just because… the former are on the top.

Sure, you can try to contest this position by claiming that people who reach the top of a hierarchy are the ones who are the most capable or the most experienced or the most fit (even in the strictly Darwinian sense) to lead the “hoi polloi” at the bottom.

But, again, this argument is somewhat cyclical, since it supports the notion that the people at the top are the most capable to be on the top since they, well, were the ones who managed to reach the highest echelons.

That is beside my point though, as even if we were to assume it is somehow possible to safeguard that a hierarchy operates in a purely and unquestionably meritocratic environment, it would make no real difference at the end of the day.

That is because I maintain that the top-down way of governance / organisation and operations is inherently flawed and is against the natural flow and state of things.

Because in nature, things tend to be self-organised and, thus, there are no layers of authority through which, in a top-down fashion, guidance, instructions and / or orders are processed and transmitted.

Self-organisation means spontaneity, means consensus, means bottom-up.

And, in particular, all meaningful and original relationships and all soulful and transcending endeavours we people embark upon in life are bottom-up.

Even if they develop, take place or are sanctioned in the context of a top-down organisation, in their core they always abide by a bottom-up form.

So, in a sense, any meaningful guidance / instructions and / or (even) orders from nature reach us via the primordial and simplest, bottom-up, way: from within ourselves.

By the way, a common misunderstanding here is to identify leadership with the top-down way of doing things.

Since a leader is always one and his / her followers are many, leadership requires a “top-down” way of doing things, right?

Wrong.

A true leader, who by definition is all but overwhelmingly accepted and loved by his / her people, always emerges in a bottom-up fashion.

People will give the leader his / her power after he / she inspires them and gains their trust.

There’s no other way.

On the other hand, one should not rush to reach extreme and absolute conclusions, whereby the existence of leadership is always sine qua non or ex ante redundant.

The principle here is simple: if nature needs something, there will be a tendency for this something to be manifested in a spontaneous, serendipitous, bottom-up fashion.

Now, we may not always exactly know what nature wants, since (like God) nature tends, in principle, to move in mysterious and inaccessible / incomprehensible to us ways; but if one were to look really closely he might notice a pattern: nature always strives to move towards utopia.

In doing so, it constantly expands its horizon and ever-pushes its boundaries further and further away.

Now, any respectable representative of a top-down organisation would be quick in dismissing and even ridiculing this position, in the remit of his / her self-proclaimed role as defender and Lord Protector of the concept so dear to all authority figures everywhere and throughout time: realism.

Realism stands in this context for the maintenance of status quo i.e. ensuring the perpetuation of the current power holder’s grip on power.

In reality, though, and on top of being self-proclaimed defender of himself or herself, this representative of the top-down viewpoint would also be, ironically and unfortunately for him/ her, self-ignorant.

Ignorant, that is, of the fact that since anything in nature is by default bottom-up, then that should also hold true for anything that is (or, better, appears to be) organised in a top-down way.

XIV. Time travel

If only now, the present moment, exists, time signifies the change among now’s various perspectives.

Time is the theoretical construction we have come up with to explain the succession of now’s numerous perspectives, always shifting, always on the move.

In that respect, it doesn’t make sense for time to have more than one direction, because since every perspective is, by nature, unique and unrepeatable, there can be no return; the whole mechanism relentlessly marches ahead and never stops to take a breath.

However, having said the above, let’s now examine the concept of time from a more traditional and conventional viewpoint.

From this viewpoint (which we all are very well aware of, since we have been conditioned as of a very young age to perceive time accordingly), the present moment is all but an infinitesimal thread, sandwiched between the respective vast areas of the things that have already happened (past) and the things that will happen (future).

According to such perspective of time, now is anything but “now-oriented”, as it is primarily (if not exclusively) focused on making amends with the past and preparing for the future.

But in that sense, we are constantly time travelling, at least on the mental level, as we repeatedly do little more than being preoccupied with what (we remember that) has happened and what (we expect that) will happen.

OK, but can one time travel also with one’s body and not just with one’s mind?

Yes, that’s possible.

One needs to identify the point in time to which one wishes to travel.

Then, one needs to replicate, as meticulously and exhaustively as possible, the conditions (both internal and external) associated with the point in time in question.

The more successfully one does that, the more effective and fulfilling one’s time travelling experience will be.

Of course, even when one appears to be “time travelling” from the perspective of other, impartial of partial, observers, from one’s perspective one remains still (as always is the case) in the present moment.

So, to recap: the one who time-travels is always in the present moment from one’s perspective, and only indirectly can one manifest in others’ past or future moments (and the others can, of course, only realise that one is time-travelling in their respective present moments).

If you are confused, think of the following simple concept: everyone is always in his / her present moment, but not everyone is necessarily at the same present moment as anyone else.

So, in the end, the key question is: except for the present moment, does anything else really exist?

And the answer is: no; not now, not never.

Don’t get me wrong: time and space in their conventional and socially accepted (and default) meanings are very useful and practical concepts, with so many applications in everyday life that we could not do without them, at least at this stage of evolution of our species.

But when we discuss the core of the matter, when we touch upon the diverse related philosophical or metaphysical issues, time and space in their conventional sense are not only irrelevant but also problematic, as they can, and often do, significantly hinder true awareness and understanding of ourselves and the world we live in as well as obstruct the human heart’s everlasting quest for transcendence.

Therefore, it follows that time travelling is not as rewarding an experience as travelling outside of time or, even better, as becoming fully aware of the fact that you are already functioning and living outside time (and outside space for that matter).

And that it is rather the case that time and space, the Siamese twins, are the ones actually travelling, being manifested and coming into existence, by using you, a naturally spaceless and timeless being, as their vehicle.

So, you’re never out of time; on the contrary: time is always within you.

XV. Athens vs New York

Athens was the first capital of the Western world; New York is the last one.

You are born an Athenian, you become a New Yorker.

In New York you cannot help but constantly aim for higher and higher; in Athens your feet must always be on solid ground.

In Athens you are always well fed; in New York you are always well served.

In New York, times are square and edgy; in Athens time is cyclical and either fuzzy or fluffy.

New York is show and tell, Athens is tell and show.

New York is a breathtaking, relentless mosaic; Athens is a mesmerizing rollercoaster of fractals.

New York never sleeps; Athens always dreams.

New York looks at you and you look at New York; Athens looks through you and you look through Athens.

New York is huge and its steel is smooth as a razor; Athens is big and its concrete is armed with sweat, blood and tears.

New York is an elaborate, awe-inspiring choreography; Athens is a lonely, unstructured dance of intimate confessions and utter hope i.e. utter desperation.

New York listens to what you say and then talks; Athens knows what you’ll say so it spares you from any unnecessary talking.

New York is crazy but never lazy; Athens is simultaneously crazy and lazy.

New York is the city that you always end up in; Athens is the city that you always return to.

New York leads; Athens breeds.

The safety net of New York is not in New York; the safety net of Athens is in your heart.

New York humbles and fumbles; Athens is a shambles in never-ending troubles.

New York is the King and the Ace; Athens is the Joker and the Thief.

New York is the most ingenious and intricate jazz piece ever written; Athens is the tune you’ll never stop whistling.

New York is the ultimate point of reference; Athens needs no references.

New York, you’re the best; Athens, I love you.

XVI. Three, two, one…

One of the (if not The) fundamental principles in this world is polarity.

In order to have flow of any kind of energy, in order to create any movement, in order to achieve manifestation of anything, you need two opposite, but not always opposing, poles i.e. the negative pole (the passive one, the one which is the generator of energy) and the positive pole (the active one, the one which is the receiver of energy).

In this respect, two is cosmos’s key number.

And in this same respect, the mere consideration of number three in nature’s equilibrium equation is tricky, to say the least.

When I say “number three”, I mean a third pole of, not necessarily (and not usually) equal but, at least proportional power to the other two, main, poles.

However, the “third pole” (sometimes referred to as the “third road”) is always, somehow, somewhat, manifested and it always exists; even in the most bipolar of situations or systems; even when its presence may not at all occasions be immediately or directly evident.

Even though this third pole is very often belittled, ridiculed and / or short-lived, it, eventually, almost always achieves an iconic, if cult and / or marginal, status.

This happens because it serves in completing the picture shaped by the two main(stream) poles by complementing their features and actions in its, signature and primaril,y underground and radical fashion.

….

This is the golden triangle of existence or manifestation: the good, the bad and the ugly or the misfit or the mysterious stranger, the “third man”, the one who is always the odd one out, the puzzle piece that doesn’t quite match with any other, yet it is all but necessary in forming the complete image.

To put it in different words, and in an utterly paradoxical sense, (fleeting and impermanent) completeness seems to be achieved only via the presence and activity of a perennially incomplete, and even parasitical in some cases, element.

An element that acts either as the not directly participating catalyst or the invisible glue that brings together anything that needs to be brought together.

And, in bringing together everything, this third element also, and once again paradoxically, ensures the subsequent demise of the current status quo as well as the emergence of a new one, out of the chaos which prevails during the confusing, uncertain and directionless period of the said current (soon to become former) status quo’s collapse and fall.

Let me be more specific.

For every U.S.A. vs. Soviet Union, there will always be a China (think that before the «wind of change» swept Eastern Europe and shattered the Berlin Wall, the events in Beijing’s Tien An Men square took place).

For every New York vs Los Angeles there will always be a Chicago (think of the place of origin of the undercurrents that occasionally transformed the mainstream, popular cultural landscape).

For every Beatles vs Rolling Stones there will always be a (The) Who [think of who (pun intended) played a key role in saving rock ‘n’ roll from stasis in the late 60’s and early 70’s].

For every Blur vs Oasis there will always be a Radiohead (think of who was in the cutting edge of leading pop / rock music into the 21st century).

For every Barcelona vs Real Madrid there will always be an Atlético Madrid (think of who is ever-challenging the, seemingly unquestionable, power of the two big clubs, preventing them from settling down and constantly keeping them on their toes).

And the list goes on and on.

What’s important is to understand that the third pole or third actor is always, by definition and inherently, needed and therefore will eventually be manifested, in one way or another, to provoke and mobilise the only constant in this universe i.e. change (see also the previous relevant passage  in my “Liberating Deliberations” series on “Change”).

The “balance of terror” established among the two main poles is unavoidable but it can never be allowed to lead into a stalemate situation, whereby things would be eternally frozen in a given configuration.

That’s the third pole’s role and that’s why it needs to be, critically and adequately, strong: to subvert the aforementioned “balance of terror” and set things in motion towards a new state of play.

This new state of play or playing field might in the end even involve the same nominal actors as before the change occurred; yet the former will significantly, substantially and qualitatively differ from the latter.

Think it in the simplest terms: even the most trivial countdown (and a countdown, unavoidably, always ends up with the pushing of a literal or proverbial “reset” button) must start from number three.

Three… two… one… bang, the end… and immediately thereafter… start, ignition.

Of course, the issue I just deliberated upon is not to be confused with the issue of the Trinity (Holy or not).

But I’ll have to come back to the latter probably in the context of a future «Liberating Deliberations» passage…

XVII. The self-destruction mechanism
Immortality is impossible.

In the unlikely event that one would manage to neutralise any direct or indirect external threat to one’s life, one would still be utterly unable to deactivate what is embedded at the deepest core of one’s existence.

That is, the self-destruction mechanism.

It is so ironic, yet it is also very befitting, that at life’s nucleus lies its desire to terminate itself.

One would even be tempted to say that from a certain perspective life is but a constant attempt to resist its atavistic tendency to destroy itself; an attempt which is doomed, eventually and in the long run, to fail.

Please, do not be very quick here to assign default labels of moral judgment to these concepts, such as: life is “good” while the self-destruction mechanism is “bad”.

For instance, consider this: in retrospect, would the potential successful activation of self-destruction mechanism within Dr. Josef Mengele in the year 1941 be something “good” or something “bad” from the perspective of his hundreds of thousands, or even more, of victims or even from the perspective of humanity as a whole?

See, things aren’t that simple and that’s why it might be recommendable to avoid falling into the easy trap of such moralistic characterisations.

Perhaps the best way to approach the whole self-destruction mechanism issue is to view it as a game with two opposing sides.

Both of these sides aim at change; the difference is that one of them is aiming at changing itself and, if need be, its environment so that its particular, separate, unique and, most importantly, current identity is maintained, while the other side is also aiming at changing itself and, if need be, its environment; however it does so in order to ensure that its current identity will, eventually and abruptly, be discontinued.

The ultimate and the only reliable judge in determining whether the existence of someone or something is worthy of continuation or termination at any given point in time is, well, the outcome of the game between the two opposing sides.

As simple and / or as ruthless as that.

What if the destruction comes from the materialisation of an outside threat, then?

Well, from the perspective of our present analysis, all credit would then still belong to the self-destruction mechanism, as its main goal would, also in that case, be successfully reached.

See, a key point here is that the self-destruction mechanism can never directly harm oneself: it always requires the mediating contribution of an external force,of which the manifestations are hostile to the continuation of the existence of the self-destruction mechanism’s host’s .

This external force can be anything as small as a microbe or as big as a nuclear bomb.

Some of you might have begun wondering by this point whether what I’ve been trying to argue is that there is practically no difference between destruction and self-destruction.

Well, the simple answer would be: yes.

See, from the widest or the narrowest possible perspective (extreme extremes are but one and the same thing), there is no “inside” or “outside” in the universe or, if you prefer, in life; there exists only one side.

But that would not only imply that self-destruction and destruction are one and the same thing, but something even more radical and unconventional: that there is no substantial difference between destruction and creation or, in other words, death and birth.

But, even if that’s true, is this knowledge of any help to us, the vulnerable, fragile, mortal human beings?

In theory, it’s of little help; but in practice… well, that’s a wholly different story.

If one comes in terms with this truth and fully applies it in one’s life, one may become truly liberated from all forces holding one back from reaching one’s true and complete potential.

And one’s true and complete potential, as different as it may be from anyone else’s, always comes down to this: advancing the grand and mysterious cosmic game of life as much as possible and cease to exist (or better: be transformed into another form of existence) when it’s the most appropriate timing, from the cosmic game’s perspective, for this to happen.

See, if we look at things from the viewpoint I have just described, creation and destruction are much more than two insurmountable forces lethally and fanatically opposing each other.

That is, destruction and creation are but two little kids playing the, endlessly exciting and excitingly endless, game of life, making sure that the sides they have chosen, or the roles they have assumed, act in such a way so as to ensure a perpetual continuation of said game with a concomitant maximisation of its fun and suspense.

Or, who knows, in reality there might not even be two kids involved in this; it might be just one, assuming alternatively or simultaneously (depending, again, on one’s perspective) the roles for both sides in the game.

Now, returning to our, relatively simpler, human / mortal perspective, it is empirically clear that the self-destruction mechanism remains always active in each one of us.

And in light of all the aforementioned, one might be seriously tempted in times of extreme personal hardship and /or discomfort to succumb to it and, putting oneself in the destruction’s catalyst role, directly bring one’s demise into fruition, since this was going to happen anyway, right?

I wouldn’t wish to argue for or against this approach, but I would like to say this: every moment, every event, every manifestation of life is unique and unrepeatable i.e. inescapably doomed to utter destruction.

But, then again, out of every destruction, always and by definition, stems a new, spontaneous and always unanticipated creation; the seed of the latter always being contained within the former.

This is because the total amount of energy / matter in the universe, irrespective of the constant changes in its patterns and forms, is, by definition, always preserved.

So, when you are destroyed the mask is dropped and you don’t just “meet the Maker”; you yourself become the Maker.

Or, perhaps even more accurately, you realise you have always been the Maker.

Of course, that means you have always been the Destroyer as well.

So, at the end of the day, the playful little kid who is putting on all kinds of different masks and whom I was talking about a while ago is you.

You, me, everybody and everything.

Realise this and perhaps you will then also realise that you cannot force the cosmic game to evolve in a particular way.

This is because the cosmic game evolves as you evolve, which means that any potential attempt you make to force it to conform to your will is as effective an activity as chasing your own tail (proverbial or literal, depending on the type of creature you are).

Don’t surrender to the game’s flow, don’t resist it, be it.

Then and only then will you know, beyond any doubt, when and how to embrace your self-destruction mechanism.

XVIII. The protagonist we need is an anti-hero

People still create stories all the time, thank God!

A story in this context is a finite, in terms of both space and time, selection of, fictional, partly fictional or completely non-fictional, events, out of the infinity of, both fictional and non-fictional, happenstances which interminably surround us, whether we realise it or not.

In order for a story to be a proper one, it needs, as minimum requirements, a plot with a beginning and an end, as well as a protagonist.

The protagonist doesn’t necessarily have to be a person, but he / she has to be someone, or something, with a concrete and distinct identity, around whom the story unfolds and on whom the story is focused.

The thing is: the more interactive the development of the story is, i.e. the more the opportunities offered by the storytelling vehicle to actively comment on it and shape it, the less the determination of who the true protagonist is remains at the discretion of the initial / original storyteller.

In this vein, it doesn’t only take two to tango, it takes also two (sides) to identify which of the tango dancers will truly be in the spotlight.

In cases such as the ones I have in mind, the active, lively and ongoing feedback provided by the audience on the gradual unfolding of a story bears heavily on the process of establishing who the true protagonist is.

To speak in even more concrete terms, the storytelling art form I am mainly referring to is the TV series, which typically consists of many, usually non simultaneously released, episodes spread over a number of seasons, among the airings of which the spectators have the opportunity to provide their feedback and critical comments; especially in our contemporary, Internet and social media dominated, times.

In cases where and when a TV series has been chosen as the means of telling a story, the following pattern has been observed time and again: the character initially intended to be the protagonist gradually becomes sidelined, under the influence of the audience, to make room for the emergence and dominance of an, initially, relatively lesser character, who more often than not possesses certain qualities that are associated with the so called “anti-heroic” stance or pedigree.

And it’s so befitting for our crazy, upside-down, disoriented and deeply paradoxical, If not contradictory, post-modern times, that those who are perceived as heroes, are the ones who, by definition and tradition, would, in principle, not be identified as such.

So, which are, then, the characteristics of an anti-hero?

An anti-hero is not someone who acts against a hero or someone who does the opposite of what one would expect from a traditional hero; no, not exactly.

An anti-hero is someone who is forced to act as a hero and, indeed, acts as one in light of the complete absence or the irreversible deficiency of the one who was originally assigned with the role of the hero.

In other words, an anti-hero is a hero turned upside down, who, paradoxically, by, consciously or unconsciously, doing everything in his / her power not to be considered as a hero, ends up being awarded with the credentials of a true hero.

No matter how desperately the anti-hero tries not to be a hero, he / she is so original and so sui generis, so unique, that people tend to look up to him / her.

In fact, the more a true anti-hero tries not to be the hero, the bigger his dominance over anyone else of his / her co-stars becomes, in the eyes of the audience.

And, so, the anti-hero ends up being the real protagonist, the true hero in the eyes of almost everyone interested or concerned.

To be more concrete, the following characters from TV series which have aired during the last 50 years exemplify the phenomenon I have been describing thus far in this text; namely: the character of Fonzie in “Happy Days”, the character of Sheldon Cooper in “Big Bang Theory”, the character of Dwight Schreute in “The Office” and the character of Ron Swanson in “Parks and Recreation”.

Now, I believe that any careful observer of our contemporary society would undoubtedly notice that in it there are many people who think they can be perceived, or even worse become, anti-heroes just by behaving like mean and spoiled children or by taking any action necessary to promote their own self-centric interests.

In other words, they think they will be recognised as anti-heroes, just by acting as the proverbial badasses (place emphasis on the verb «acting» here).

Alas, they are forgetting a basic, sine qua non, feature of the anti-hero: the anti-hero never pretends to be someone they aren’t, the anti-hero is never, not even infinitesimally, fake.

What the anti-hero simply does is to allow his / her true, unmediated, self to come to the surface and dictate his / her actions and behavior.

And an anti- hero’s true self is always genuine, original and, oh so, enjoyable and entertaining.

To be convinced for yourselves, just reconsider the four, vintage and contemporary, TV series’ characters’ names I made a reference to earlier on as examples of the anti-heroic modus vivendi and operandi.

And there’s another element which makes an anti-hero’s presence key, relieving and popular, especially in our overly confounding and, structurally it seems, unsettling era: the refusal to compromise, let alone succumb, to the society’s occasionally predominant set of core beliefs.

Especially, at the current age where political correctness is thriving, the embrace of the average values and potentials across all fields possible is praised and even the tiniest deviation from the established norms is ridiculed, condemned and / or persecuted, the anti-hero is, likely, the only true rebel left.

And, boy, do we need a handful of these rebels, these true outliers, these exceptional, marginal, and, hell yeah, largely unpredictable characters right now!

Because there is an urgent need that we, humans, escape from the existential quicksand our species is sinking into, at an ever-accelerating speed.

And I’m afraid we have ran out of conventional and easy solutions to our problem.

Unpredictability, unconventionality, borderline paranoid boldness: these are the ingredients necessary so that, at least some of us, perform the quantum / frog leap necessary to get us out of this mess.

Therefore, the catalyst to help us realise the unthinkable would in all likelihood need to be an unorthodox, anti-establishment figure, which would act as antibody against the most dangerous virus of them all right now: the virus of internalised censorship and coercion to the lowest common denominator.

What we need is an anti-virus beyond suspicion.

What we so eagerly anticipate is an anti-hero.

Φωτογραφία του χρήστη Alex E's Liberating Deliberations.