Authenticity and perseverance.

Those two words have dawned on me recently as the only things that truly matter when it comes to making stuff happen in your life. Kissing ass is pointless in the long-term: people are going to do whatever it is they want on the basis of some abstract, intuitive principle they themselves know. You’re just part of the world that keeps going on without giving a shit about what you say or think, thank you very much.

As the years have gone on and the full realization of how a person lives their life is based on two entirely contradictory and extreme themes — on one hand, the world is so random and focused on timing for a person’s fortunes, while on the other hand it’s also about pushing forward with total regard to your own self-interest and fighting like a cat in a corner as hard as you can, especially against opposing figures — has dawned on me, I’ve wondered if the only impediment for success is not knowing who you are and what you’re really made of.

See, in my mind, there’s no capitalist conspiracy or some undergraduate-level thesis about rich assholes sitting in an alabaster-tabled room talking about how to screw working folks out of their money. Conspiracies may have worked 50 years ago when it wasn’t possible to instantly disclose information online.

No, the problem is that staying busy and being “well-adjusted” to the realities of modern commercial life is really about not focusing on things that really matter. Not knowing who you are and getting a fix on your identity isn’t some New Age-like quest; it’s just sensible and reasonable for you to try doing.

Anyway, back on point: I’m starting to see that since life is essentially one long, big trail of contradictions and confusions, so the only way to make your way through it is simply to go through some really tough times.

You have to live life at its most brutal, most difficult, for otherwise you’re never going to figure out who you really are. Coming Through Slaughter, as it were. I’m starting to understand more and more what Plato was really getting at when he talked about his cave allegory. It’s not just about factual knowledge — it’s personal, revealed truths as well.

In this respect, I’m glad the last two and a half years have been so rough. I’ve survived. I’ve become a lot stronger because of it. Sure, I’m not always as nice and deferential as I was before. There’s some people out there who have a right to be pissed at me. I’ve been a selfish person at times and you could make a compelling case that I’ve been far too willing to say things that aren’t what you’d call diplomatic.

But there’s been something at work here in the past few years. Maybe it was the way of the world, who knows: we all have to face up to certain realities, sooner or later, that bad habits and ways of thinking that no longer fit with your way of doing things need to be confronted.

In spite of the pain, the sadness and the sense of defeat I’ve faced, I’m seeing what went down in a different light now.

It’s a brighter light. A shiny one, just as the day breaks.


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