This video by YouTube Channel Academy of Ideas discusses the concepts of normality and mental health being perhaps too dependent on social and cultural norms. I found it very intriguing and wanted to share. Please comment below what you think.
So I was going to write an essay on narcissism today, but I ran out of time and will be transitioning to painting here in a bit. One thing that came to mind while I was writing my essay outline was the Philosopher King from Plato’s Republic.
The world is watching America collapse. It’s heartbreaking, but revealing of many truths. It reminds me of the tarot’s major arcana “The Tower”, where destruction and an inevitable end must be accepted. In the midst of destruction, many ask “why?” and I think many Americans already know why this happened. Quite frankly, we’re scrambling for an answer to “What do we do now?” Rather than turn a blind eye to the destruction, we must apply critical reflection to all that has happened. While I was reflecting, Plato’s Republic came to me. What most Americans are upset about is having irresponsible and incompetent leaders steering our ship of state into oblivion. We could direct all the blame towards Trump who has well earned it, but there are layers upon layers of incompetency that we must address. My essay isn’t necessarily about government blame, but more so about political philosophy and human behavior.
Currently, America runs on narcissism and now the ship is burning. I know Plato’s Philosopher King is just an ideal of a utopian Republic, but it’s worth consideration. The video below was created by Mimir’s Head, who discusses Plato’s Philosopher King and offers his own take on the matter.
In the past, I have burdened myself with future outcomes, whether they’re hypothetical or have a high probability of happening and this has only brought distress in my life. It became so apparent that I think like this that other people exploited it to have me do what they wanted rather than have my best interest at heart. It’s heartbreaking to me how competitive our society can be. It’s admirable to have resilience and enough self-control to reach achievements and all, but it should be pointed out more often that our need for validation from others or the things we have is basically asking them to manhandle us with puppet strings. What’s even worse is that this kind of behavior is reinforced constantly, encouraging us to let shallow outsiders or materialistic means determine our worth.
aestheticism: Reverence for beauty; for “art for art’s sake.” …Also refers to nineteenth-century movement in art and literature that held that beautiful form is more to be valued than morally instructive content, and even that morality is irrelevant to art…In part a reaction against the ugliness and mere usefulness of the products of industrialization, the movement reached its peak in the 1890s and is usually associated with Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde, and Aubrey Beardsle, who aspired to live their very lives as art, to live lives of beauty and intensity and brilliance rather than lives of goodness or usefulness.
aesthetics: the philosophy of art; the study of the nature of beauty in literature and the arts, and the development of criteria for judging beauty.
I don’t know what else to say on this topic other than…this is the fucking dream. It’s the dream because subjectivity rules and understanding what is beautiful and what is “ugly” rules. Aestheticism is a paradoxical chaos in itself and that is why it is intense, brilliant, and philosophical. As a writer, this is certainly how the worlds and stories in my head form. It’s all chaos I try to organize, but the momentum isn’t tamed in the slightest. That’s what makes being a creative spirit absolutely thrilling. The criteria for judging this kind of art, though I’ll never believe it’s set in stone, must be just as Wilde says, “…a search for the secret of life.” That’s exactly what I live for. It’s what I’ll die for.
I really hate it when I disappear for a week or so at a time and I am sorry for that. It really comes down to the way my energy has been distributed. The part-time job (which really is a measely 4-5 hours 3 times a week) drains me. And it’s not necessarily the job itself, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I have a high sensitivity to how and where I give my energy. I find it’s very similar to how introverts are drained by people and extroverts are drained by loneliness, but for me it’s being drained combined with a lack of fulfillment.
Yesterday, I gave myself a rest day. I decided to read more of The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and came across a passage that reminded me of the major arcana “The World” in tarot, which then led to an idea about my own novel and that led to a quick study into Christian gnosticism, which then inspired a backstory for my antagonist and protragonist. I could spend an entire day diving into literature, history, religion, philosophy, and any other river of knowledge because it literally quenches the thirst I need for feeling fulfilled.
As I wrote on my tumblr, this is all I am. I consider my “art” basically anything I write, compose, sing, draw, or any creative project I get into. Everything else is self-explanatory. I can’t handle being caged in like it seems at the moment. But I’m not caged. I have plenty of resources that I am and should be using to build the life I want (and really, it’s a life I already have; I’m just building upon it every day). Just need to take my own advice from my article, “The ‘Lack Mentality’ is Killing Us” :
“None of us like being inconsiderate with our resources or insensitive to those who are trying to support us, but it just doesn’t seem to be enough. The lack mentality encourages the emptiness that no one asked for. It’s just there. One thing to remember is that the emptiness you struggle with developed over time. This means, decreasing that emptiness will happen over time…Stop expecting the resources and support given to provide instant gratification,”
So, each time I go to the part-time job and decide to work more and more hours there instead of trusting myself to provide my own income through my work, that emptiness expands a little more. The mental and emotional fatigue comes from feeling hollow and uninspired. I plan to change that and use every resource to do so. It will take patience, because it won’t be instant, but I’m so damn sure it’ll be worth it. Financial responsibility and dream building is a tough tug-of-war for many of us, but you certainly feel more alive when you let the dreams win. We forget sometimes that our dreams can manifest into a real lifestyle that monetizes itself.
For those who read and check up on me, thank you for the support. You’ll hear more of my work very, very soon.
“If we are to be fully human, fully alive and aware, it seems that we must be willing to suffer for our pleasures.”
Suffering is associated with living, just as pain is associated with being alive. We wouldn’t call ourselves human or alive without experiencing these things, but we also wouldn’t say we were living if we were constantly in a state of suffering. The Wheel of Fortune is a reminder that fortune and misfortune cycles throughout our lives. Our control is located in our responses to it…
There’s a great difference between being alone and lonely. When you wake up, you do realize that you’re never really alone, but the loneliness can creep in at times. Loneliness is actually a perception more than it is a fact. Do we all feel lonely sometimes? Definitely. However, I feel the reason why loneliness is a matter of perception is because this feeling only appears when we experience disconnection.
Even with family and friends around, disconnection occurs when it seems like we’re out of harmony with what’s happening around us. Since a lot of what happens to reality mirrors what’s going on within ourselves, disharmony with reality makes us want to disconnect. I recently experienced this disharmony. The best thing I did for myself is sit down and cry, talk to my spirit guides, create music, draw; in other words, I had to express how I felt about the disharmony. Afterwards, the external reality responded with signs and messages. This also helped me gain clarity on my own internal dialogue that at first seemed so repetitive and directionless. That’s what I mean by reality mirroring what’s going on within. If there is disconnection due to disharmony, all we can do is express that.
To manifest the connection and belongingness we long for in life, our expressions for what we need in life need to be loud and true. Some of us express privately, like myself. Some of us need to express it more publicly. Either way is considered loud and true because the universe listens and responds. Even those who don’t feel that the universe is really listening still NEED to express themselves. Their expression is an action that leads to a reaction. That’s the universe speaking, whether they like it or not. Every action parallels, ripples, echoes, and mirrors what’s already there. If we remember that expressing our needs and desires can guide us in life, no matter how directionless we feel in the moment, results will happen.
Change is the only constant, immutable energy that surrounds us. It’s sentience is still being debated by humanity, but I surely believe that energy is listening. You are not alone. The universe listens and responds.
I think this is a good video on the stoic perspective on time management and making the most out of our lives, but there are some things that are too generalized I’d like to address in respect to making sure certain assumptions aren’t made. Before I go on, this video is animated by the YouTube channel Philosophies of Life. I really admire their work, so please support them.
Self-awareness is emphasized throughout the video encouraging a more objective view on what your life was and what you can do presently. Point eight discusses how we shouldn’t invest our time in what is “trivial”, but what is “trivial” to one can be fulfilling to another. We all have a variety of habits and interests that may not be considered productive because they seem like they’re not linked to any kind of career path or ambition. The trivialities discussed in this video are subjective. Many use social media as a marketing tool for business and that includes selfies. Pro-gamers are paid to understand and master whatever game is in front of them. The things that should be considered “trivial”, in the most general sense, are the habits that reinforce our self-defeating thoughts.
What is most trivial is endorsing a stimuli that encourages one’s defeat rather than encourage their empowerment. I’m not a big selfie person, but taking a selfie and not caring what the comments say can encourage empowerment and resilience, even in the stoic sense. What would be self-defeating would be someone letting the comments get to them, deleting the selfie, then scrolling through another person’s feed because they appear more attractive than them. This would be a disempowering act and a time waster. Block the haters, keep the selfie up, move on with your day. Another time investment in what is trivial is being around those who praise self-defeat, whether they know it or not. Those type of people not only take away our time, but also our energy. It’s actually a cultural norm to do these things, complain about work, whine about the bills, groan about the kids. Yes, it’s good to have someone to talk to. Making a habit of letting those discussions become self-defeating is not.
What is trivial is what is made trivial. Sometimes we need stimuli that other people would consider “a waste of time”, but it’s YOUR time. You should be deciding how you manage it. The video recognizes living for yourself rather than others and I think it should be pointed out that living for yourself also includes deciding what is worth your time. Management of time isn’t always about banishing what is normally considered a waste, but scheduling time for doing the things that you love. An early point was stating how the “reward” should be immediate after completing a long-term goal, which is also called positive reinforcement. I’d hope that we incorporate that in our lives and not mistake this video deciding what should or shouldn’t be a reward (because it isn’t lol, it was just an example).
The mission on the front of my website is what I’m transforming this platform into. Although this started out with just a home page and blog for me to write about the progress on my novel, I became inspired to create a platform for creative spirits with philosophical minds (like me) to have a community to connect with and a place to cultivate their artistic visions. I started this for myself and as more support grows, I aim to return the favor by finding resources and promoting their work hoping they’ll inspire all of us to reinforce our personal philosophies and the desire to live a life that benefits ourselves and others.
Many thanks to those who have supported my creative projects and research so far. I look forward to supporting your endeavors as well.