Fear

Last of the American Boys

He puts his rucksack on

Taking courage from the Dawn of the Sun

He straps his boots on tight

Like a soldier who is ready to March

He is self-assured

A cool man headed into Adventure

He won’t turn back now

He’s the Last of the American Boys

 

He wears his cuts n’ scrapes

Like a badge of Tested Mettle

He is hitchin’ a ride

Like a smilin’ thumb on the Road

He left his stuff behind

While givin’ the Dow Jones the finger

He makes enough to survive

As he’s movin’ from place to place

 

Like a Navigator at the

Heart of the Expedition

He is one of a kind

He’s the Last of the American Boys

 

He plays his ole’ six string

Singin’ songs of the open highway

He is a sucker for

All the mountains he has yet to climb

He will trim his sails

Catchin’ the Trade Winds out on the ocean

He’s a travelin’ man

A rebel needing no cause

 

Like an Indiana Jones

Off on another crazy Adventure

He just can’t stay home

He’s the last of the American Boys

 

He puts his rucksack on

Taking courage from the Dawn of the Sun

He straps his boots on tight

Like a soldier who is ready to March

He will trim his sails

Catchin’ the Trade Winds out on the ocean

He’s a travelin’ man

A rebel needing no cause

And we need him to Live

Cause, he’s the Last of the American Boys.

Advertisements
Categories: Blogging, Character Development, Fear, philosophy, Poetry, Self-improvement, Society, Spirituality, Travel, Vagabonding, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vagrant Story Episode 1: Wanna play with a Mountain Lion?

In the words of Cowboy Beebop…

“I think it’s time to blow this scene.

Get everybody and the stuff together…

OK. 3. 2. 1. Let’s Jam.”

Ladies and Germs… it begins. (And is written in the narrative third person for fun.)

After being dropped off at a truck stop in Mortons Gap KY, Continue reading

Categories: Blogging, Camping, Character Development, Equipment, Fear, Gear, Leadership, Paleo, philosophy, Primal, Self-improvement, Spirituality, Travel, Vagabonding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts about Religion Politics and the Idea of a Philosopher King.

Religion fascinates me, specifically the idea that people of religious affiliation are ‘grouped’ together. People born in America ‘tend’ to be raised Christian while people in China ‘tend’ to be raised in a Buddhist or Taoist fashion. I find it interesting that if my family, who are all Christian, had been born and raised in the Middle East they might have Muslim ideas. If they’d been native to India they’d probably have embrace Hindu philosophies.

 

It’s very interesting to consider how much influence social constructs (laws, religion, invisible geographic boundary lines, customs and tradition) have over our lives, and one must wonder to what extent their lives are actually their own. Do we live the way we do because we want to? Or are we just following the path that has been laid out for us? Even if one is not religious, how can one be sure that they are not still under the influence of ideas that originated in one’s native religion?

 

If one has changed spiritual paths, how can one be sure that they have not carried with them the philosophical seeds of the very ideas they strove to divorce themselves from and that they are not in fact, interpreting their new found spirituality through the lens of their old thinking and behavior?

 

Religion I do believe is a dangerous thing especially taught to children of young ages. Children are so… malleable, so blank and pure and when you consider the bloody histories of many of these religions, I think it is at best irresponsible and at worst completely evil to start uploading all these fucked up thoughts and mental structures into their pristine little minds. Especially if the teacher themselves has not critically examined their own beliefs.

 

And it raises the question, “Even if a child grows up and voluntarily decides NOT to be a part of the religion that raised them, can they ever really separate themselves from the effects of that religion?” They may not go to Church or attend their Wiccan Circles or pray at the Mosque, but do those ideas still influence their decisions?

 

Furthermore, what if one of these children becomes a man of wealth, influence, and power? Would they, completely unknowingly, foist their subtle philosophical principals upon the existing structure? I’ve been thinking about our culture and where our philosophical roots come from. Democracy is essentially mob rule, the majority wins, even if it is not ‘good.’ We take our political system from the Greeks and Romans, whereby those that were allowed to vote, debated on the issues of the time and cast their vote.

 

The result was supposed to be enacting decisions that were to be for the good of the community. But not everybody was ‘allowed’ to vote. Presumably only people capable of actually weighing the issues were allowed to vote, unlike today where anybody can vote; intelligent or not. This I think is one of the fundamental problems in our form of Democratic politics.

 

Now that was our basic political structure (ish). But the founding Fathers recognized another, very powerful social construct that if allowed, would graft itself to our political and legal system: Religion. To me it is quite clear that the FF (Founding Fathers) did everything they could to take religion OUT of the legalities and politics. Which is why there is the separation of church and state and why our initial political documents make no reference to a specific ‘god’ but rather use the purposely vague term, ‘Creator.’

 

Perhaps it was inevitable that Christianity as our basic spiritual framework would enmesh with our Democratic political framework. Consider this: Christianity very much contains an Us vs. Them mentality, that is to say, “Spiritual Power is on OUR side, so WE are right and YOU are wrong. If you are not with us, you are against us, and this is morally acceptable because our God can beat up your God.”

 

In Democratic voting you have all kinds of people who think many different ways. You think this way, and I think this way, and he thinks the other way and we’re all going to discuss it and try to come to an agreement about what should be done and this will be decided by voting for what we think is the best course of action. Sounds very civil, though it may not be effective if people’s votes can be ‘bought.’

 

But if you take Christianity’s Us vs. Them mentality along with their Power is on OUR side and you combine it with the Democratic system of voting, I think you would inevitably get a system that, even without religion’ devolves into “the Political Power (majority) is on OUR side, you are wrong, WE are right and this is Legally acceptable because under the rules of our particular political game, our party can beat up your party, and if you are not with US you are against us.”

 

Scary to think that even without the religion that we’re still operating under its influences. And remember the individual that acts as a catalyst for these ideas wouldn’t even be aware of what they were doing. They would have no clue that combining ideas is a lot like chemistry and that some should not be combined, lest they have terrible results.

 

What if the simple truth of people, the real low down on mass population, is that most people are generally unfit and not intelligent enough to act in a leadership capacity? If this is true, and it seems to be, then our entire political system is completely flawed, even without considering the underlying theocratic influences.

 

If we accept as true that most individuals are not capable of leading a nation (well and responsibly) does that statement imply an inverse concept? That it is possible for one man or a small group of individuals to lead a nation well and responsibly?

 

I think this is exactly true. What if a monarchy was really the best thing we had going for us, until religion grafted itself to the system? One man (and his advisors) ruled over things and made decisions, which if we accept that most people are not capable of weighing in on these decisions would really be the best thing. Free from political infighting a small group of presumably intelligent individuals (or at least intelligent enough to acquire power) would be led by one individual and when they made decisions there would be nothing to ‘get in the way.”

 

And maybe that’s what we need. Our cultural progress stagnates from Us vs. Them politics and essentially, ‘we get in our own way.’ If we paved the way for a handful of individuals to make clear decisions that could enact without opposition and jumping through hoops, we’d at least start moving in ‘some’ direction. Whether that direction if good or bad, we’d get there quickly and if it is good we allow it, and if it is bad I trust that the people would revolt and that Civil War would serve the necessary purpose of setting our governing back on track and would serve as a precedent for the future.

 

Future Kings and Queens (in my hypothetical monarchy) would think about making decisions and remember the Civil War of 2013 and think twice before attempting anything underhanded like taking our weapons. Because they’ll remember that the last time that was tried, the country nearly tore itself apart and it’s really hard to maintain power in a country that doesn’t exist. Therefore, it would be best NOT to destroy the thing you are trying to dominate.

 

The very idea of a monarchy scares Americans, because we think that one small group of rulers cannot be trusted and even less so one man. But in Greek philosophy there arises the idea of a Philosopher King. IF, and I admit it is a big if, one could put a Philosopher King on the throne, then everything will be fine as the leader would be a wise learned philosopher and would be intelligent and wise enough to know what to do and would theoretically be evolved enough as an individual to be above such petty things as the pursuit of wealth and political power.

 

The problem is in finding and installing such a Philosopher King. A Philosopher King by his very definition is enlightened and evolved and would presumably value the integrity of his spirit above the acquisition of power. He would be intelligent enough to know that power corrupts and that absolute power (which is what we’d want to give him) corrupts absolutely. Therefore he’d be wary of even the idea that he should be followed or allowed to wield such power.

 

In short, it would turn out that the right man for the job would be the very man that we can’t get to accept the position!

 

This individual would however possess a sense of honor and compassion towards his fellow man, such that the only way to make him take the throne (once we’ve found him) would be if there was no other alternative; that is, if the people were in such dire need enlightened guidance that our Philosopher King would be spiritually duty bound to accept the call against his intellectual Will.

 

And even then, because of his own fear of power, he would by nature establish means of checking himself and holding himself accountable. He would lead while adamantly asserting up and down that he ought not to be leading. And this would be to the peoples benefit as there would be someone in charge with the power to make things happen that would only make happen that which is good for the people and when nothing needed to be done, he would do just that: NOTHING!

 

Power should only be entrusted to one who is not looking for it, does not want it, would not use it, is actually afraid of personal corruption but if he absolutely had to, he would use power to be of mass benefit and then stop and go back to not using it.

 

Of course this raises the question of, “If the Philosopher King would not willingly take the throne, who should be the one to declare that such and such is the right man, and who should be the one to appoint him?

 

This leads to the idea that government and people must evolve together. One cannot have an enlightened ruler without having an enlightened society that would voluntarily and intelligently choose to put him there. The people may not be as evolved as the Philosopher King, but they would at least have to be enlightened enough to know that they needed one, and enlightened enough to recognize him when they saw him, yet not be enlightened enough to simply save themselves. For the PK would only accept the position if there was no other way and the enlightened society would have to be in incredibly dire straits that they (for some reason) could not (or did not) prevent using their own enlightened intelligence.

 

There we see an insight that gives us pause to ask a great question: IS government corrupt because it is government? Is it corrupt because the people are unenlightened and unevolved and put the government there in the first place? Did the people create their own monster that they now cannot control? And if the people did create their own monster, is it too late to rectify these mistakes, or is the beast to powerful to be tamed and controlled; must it in the end simply be put down?

Categories: Ancient Classics, Character Development, Fear, Government, Leadership, philosophy, Politics, Society, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Overcoming The Fear 3: Whats the worst that can happen?

In the last article we discussed how fear arises, where it comes from, and how to begin asking questions of it. We also learned how to counter our fears by questioning our questions and doubting our doubts. In this article we will discover two means of looking at fear in such a way that even if your fears are valid, when seeing them in this light, they are completely disarmed.

So far we’ve learned to question our fears. When fear says, “What if something bad happens?” Continue reading

Categories: Character Development, Emotion, Fear, philosophy | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Overcoming The Fear Part 2: The First Strategy and Tactic.

In the last article, we very briefly discussed fear, what it does and how it works. In this article, we’ll talk about why you should want to be fearless, that is without fear, the benefits of being so, and some general methods of overcoming fear.

Why should you want to overcome fear? Well, let me ask you another question, are you happy? Are you living the life you want? If your answer is anything other than “yes my life is friggen fantastic” then you have probably have some changes you’d like to make. Perhaps you’d like to go travel as we’ve been discussing, but maybe your goals are more career orientated. Would you like to open up that business you’ve been talking about? Maybe you’re looking for Mr. /Mrs. Right. Whatever your goals are, it will undoubtedly involve risk, and risk that you’re averse to taking else you would not continue reading this. The key to getting over that aversion and taking action toward those goals lies in the art of overcoming fear, of breaking those chains that hold you back.

Let us dive right in with a quote from William Shakespeare,

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”

Couldn’t have said it better Bill. The most important reason to overcome your fear is the sheer number of opportunities you’ll have once you stop shying away from them and start attempting to accomplish them.

Now, our next question must be how can we fight our fears and get moving in a positive direction in life? Well, there are a variety of methods to combat fear, and generally the more radical the more effective. But before we train in fear fighting tactics, we first must learn a fear busting strategy.

Real quick, what is the difference between a Strategy and a Tactic? It is an important question because the two are quite different. The best way I ever heard it put is, “Strategies are those things you THINK about, the things you keep in mind as you fight. Strategies are acquired by asking questions and analyzing information. Tactics are those things that you actually DO, the methods you employ in the fight. Tactics are the actions required to make a particular strategy successful and are usually naturally derived from the strategy itself. Tactics are refined and perfected over time by practice, failure, and a kind of trial by error approach.”

In other words, we’re going to learn the theory before the practice. This will bring us to-

Fear Busting Strategy #1. Know your enemy.

It is important that we study fear and how it operates before we face it in battle or we’re just asking to be caught off guard when it throws something unknown at us. In order to analyze our enemy we must first ask questions to acquire information to analyze. So the first strategy must be this: Ask general questions about Fear itself. Questions like, “Where does fear come from? What causes it and can we cut it off at the source, potentially avoiding a fight altogether?

So let’s ask those questions… Where does fear come from? Fear is born from the avoidance of pain. Now, I’d like to take the time to prove this to you logically. Pain itself is an interesting phenomenon because its sole purpose is to end itself as fast as it can and prevent itself from reoccurring in the future. It does this, by wielding Fear as a tool. Think about it. Let us take a very basic painful situation such as burning yourself on the stove. Touching the hot stove causes Pain. Pain’s purpose is to end itself. Thus when you feel Pain, you immediately remove your hand from the burner. The immediate cause of Pain ends. The burns may last, but the initial cause has been stopped. Pain would like to prevent itself from occurring in this fashion in the future, and so the Fear of hot stoves begins. Now, every time you get near a stove you are a little uneasy because you remember what happened last time. It doesn’t mean it will happen, but as soon as the possibility of remembered Pain presents itself, you will feel Fear as a protective reaction.

What can we extrapolate from this about the workings of Fear? Let’s break it down. Fear is the avoidance of Pain with regard to the possibility that a remembered Pain can happen again. Is this true? Let’s see. At home you rant and rave about how you deserve a raise and tomorrow you’re gonna march into your bosses office and demand what’s rightfully yours. Your boss denied you last time saying that the budgets had been slashed and that your department may be downsized ‘considerably’. In your living room you are strong and confident and talk a big game. You may even hold on to that strength as you swagger through the front door of your firm, but as soon as you see your boss’s door or catch sight of him in the building your guts jump up in your throat and you find yourself wondering where you can cut costs in your household budget.

What happened? Why did you not speak to your boss? You were afraid. Why? You remember what happened last time and your boss seemed to have implied that you may find yourself out of work if you press the issue. So when it came time to put up or shut up, you allowed your Fear of what negatively might happen to shut you up to avoid the Pain of maybe being out of work.

There’s a lot of Fear, Pain, and unsubstantiated views of the future in that line of logic. In this case you were afraid of what might happen. No one knew for sure what would come about by approaching your boss, but you ‘feared’ that your boss might ‘downsize your department’ (read: fire you) if you didn’t settle for what you had. So you didn’t broach the subject, you just collected your paycheck went home defeated and nursed a beer while your wife nursed your bruised ego.

But see; now we know. (And knowing is half the battle G.I. Joe.) Now we understand what happened; what keeps happening every time we try to do this. I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that a similar pattern would emerge if we looked at the woman who was too shy to talk to the cute guy (who unbeknownst to her wishes she would talk to him), or the traveler that can’t seem to put in his two weeks, or the business man who is afraid to invest in a product that he already knows is the next 800 lbs. gorilla in his market.

Once again, to paraphrase ole’ Bill Shakespeare, ‘Your doubts were traitors, and made you lose the good you might have won, by fearing to try in the first place.’

So if learning about fear is our first strategy, what should we actually DO when we discover that our fear is scaring us out of opportunity? Well, we employ-

Fear Fighting Tactic #1: Question your doubt.

When fear says, “What if something bad happens?” You must respond, “Well, what if something good happens?”

In the face of fear it is important to be militantly optimistic or else your doubts will weaken your resolve. Question your questions when they arise and follow the train of questions logically, to their natural end. “What if something bad happens?”

“What if something good happens?”

“What if you get mugged and robbed and end up homeless?”

“What if I don’t and instead I have an incredible experience and make new friends for life?”

“What if your boss fires you?”

“What if he appreciates my daring in the face of uncertainty and gives me the raise and a new position to boot because of my courage?”

“What if my wife leaves me for bringing up a sensitive subject?”

“What if she’s feeling the same way about this tension that we both know is there, and will be relieved to finally resolve the issue?”

As you question your questions with positive things that are as equally likely to happen as the negative things, your worry will begin to dissipate and you will instead start to see the possibilities hidden between the two extremes. ‘Well maybe that bad thing could happen, but this other good thing is also likely.’

So the next time you feel fear creeping up, try implementing these techniques and see if your life doesn’t get a little easier. In the next article we’ll discuss following our fears to logical extremes.

Back to Article 1

 On to Article 3

Categories: Character Development, Emotion, Fear, philosophy, Travel, Vagabonding | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Overcoming The Fear.

Would you like to Travel? Do you surf the web reading travel blogs, much like this one, hoping to catch a glimpse of the adventurous lives of countless long time over seas travelers? Do you know flight prices by heart? Do you find yourself beginning a different language study every 2-3 months because you “just know you’ll use it in that one country eventually?”

You read and you read and you devour page after page of the sweet, hot, vagabonding goodness that abounds on the Information Super Highway. Your mind is filled with the teeming possibilities of ‘going there.’ Several countries call to you in your sleep. Thailand. Japan. Argentina. France. Australia. You’ve read so many reports and blog entries from those travelers ‘in the field,’ that you could walk through Hong Kong blindfolded, yet you’ve never been there.

You plan and prepare; research flights and draw up an itinerary; you might even pack a bag or two. You tell friends and family and bid farewell, yet something very curious happens. Despite your energetic enthusiasm and unusually youthful optimism, you don’t go. You never talk to your boss about getting time off and you can’t seem to convince yourself that your plane ticket to Chiang Mai is a ‘reasonable investment.’

Something strange begins to happen inside your head. Your thoughts turn dark. Instead of imagining the wonders that are here and now, or that may very well be naught but a fifteen hour flight away, you begin to panic about future worries that may or may not even happen. You begin to wonder what the consequences of traveling are. You begin having thoughts like, “Will my job still be there when I get back? What if I get robbed while I’m overseas? Is now really the time to be traveling in this age of terrorism? I must think of my age, travel is a ‘hobby’ for younger men. Travel is expensive, ’tis not something a middle class worker like me can afford.”

And so on and so forth. I’ve dealt with many of them. These are idle, malicious thoughts that seek to cloud your judgement and put your happiness to route. This ‘hell inside your head’ is the inevitable result of that dreaded ‘F’ word.

FEAR.

Fear… that’s a dirty word in my book. Fear is the emotion that ruins the party. What happened to your excitement? You were finally going to get on that plane and go to Rome. This time you were really going to tell your boss that you needed time off to decompress; this was to be your last glorious stand. You had it all planned out.. You were going to march into your firm on Monday morning after a non-fat latte and a three bean salad and kick open your boss’s door then ask, nay, demand 6 months of vacation time for your 15 years of loyal service. Goddammit, in your mind you were righteous! What happened, man?

Fear, that’s what happened. Fear is a sneaky bastard. Fear will tell you that what you’re doing is stupid and illogical. Fear is the pseudo logical emotion that does the math, crunches the numbers, and then feeds you some incredibly skewed misinformation. Fear will bind itself to your vision of the future and play on the memories of your past. Fear cherry picks the information it wants you to see, and thus causes you to doubt what you are doing by not giving you an accurate view of the situation to start with.

If you have decided that you want to travel, or do anything in life that requires risk, but know that you cannot yet take action due to fear, then you know what you must do. Your course is clear. You must over come your fear. You must find a way to calm that raging storm of paranoia that surges everytime you come to the threshold between planning and taking action; putting that plan into motion. In the next article we’ll take a look at a whole host of methods and techniques designed to break those chains and get you out there.

Continue to Part 2.

Categories: Character Development, Emotion, Fear, philosophy, Travel, Vagabonding | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.