Browsing articles in "deeper stuff"

Kipling To The Rescue…

By Josh  //  deeper stuff, life  //  No Comments

A dear friend of mine sent this poem to me in a time of need. It was just what I needed.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling


Awestruck By Incredible Writing…

I ran across this piece written by Jimmy Chen. His ability to choose words is astounding.
His sentiments are profound as well in his Internet Like Story.

Just in case it gets removed from the site it’s copied below as well:

Internet Like Story
FEB. 15, 2012 By JIMMY CHEN
In 2002, I published a story online at a rather popular website. That same day, at around 3:30 p.m., I received an email from who would become my first girlfriend. I can still see the subject heading, bolded with mystery: hi. “Who are you?” the email read, which began a six month correspondence, until I moved in with her. First it was emails, then gradually, with worn out fingers and softened hearts, phone calls. This was before texting. The first time I called her at 7:02 p.m., two minutes late from our agreed upon time, she said with a tiny voice that she had been staring at her phone waiting for its light to shine. I was that light.

This was also before wi-fi, when having internet at your home was sort of a “big deal,” like only .com-ers or very well adjusted yuppies had it, and so I — unemployed at the time, with grave and unsound artistic ventures — went to the public library two or three times a day eagerly and obsessively checking my hotmail for the latest installment of our wordy courtship. Seeing her name, swollen, bold with hope; clicking on it, holding my breath at her words, until rested assured that things were fine. Very lonely people tend to find each other, like a split atom trying to be whole again. Yes, it was sad, but wonderful.

She kept our entire correspondence in a folder and printed it out for me upon my arrival. It was the size of a novel manuscript, a complete ream of paper. Backwards meta, we read it together in bed. I’ll fast forward here and simply say that “life” happened. Or, insert the scatological expletive. We lived together for a year, she broke up with me, I moved out. Simple stuff here. Turns out we just liked each other. If you had asked me to recount what happened back then, I would have typed you another novel, but today, ten years later, I can only spare you these little sentences. Feelings die, and when they come back to life, they are less angry and more tired.

We broke up during Friendster, as I remember obsessively checking her friends’ comments in order to gather details of her life to fully torture myself with. Her friends, it seemed, corroborated scripted comments directed at me. We somewhat made up on Myspace, an exchange of two or three quick cordial messages noting how we were. Too much time has passed for me to friend her on Facebook, though I occasionally find her profile, just to keep up with how she looks, where she lives, etc. Her face is the same one I looked into at the airport — the magazine not-being-read in her lap, the getting up and walking towards me, the soft smile before the hug, the hug before the kiss, the kiss before the breath from which it came was done.


In 2012, today, I publish a piece of non-fiction at a rather popular website. At around 3:30 p.m., I may receive a “like” from someone, her disqus avatar a tiny portrait floating as a raft on the sea of this white background, above the flotsam and jetsam of comments. I will click the link to her twitter, or tumblr, or whatever, to glean her impossible somethingness — that imposition of one’s nothingness — taking into morose consideration how this picture is likely self-curated, the best out of a set of half-a-dozen pictures taken that night, for the very purpose of extending her tiny effigy into this world, in her room, her macbook’s tiny cam the unblinking cyclops she is currently in a relationship with.

Ongoing romantic failures with those whom I’ve met online by way of my writing will flash quickly through my head, like some manic multi-frame animated .gif repeating in an ennui loop. A young woman recently said that I’m not the writer I am online: less confident, less humorous, less sexual, less thoughtful, less glib, more just me. My heart and erection sank. Perhaps every word ever writ is fiction. Or, truth is oddly difficult to mime.

Things were different back then, I was less broken, and so was the internet. It was just a baby; now it’s an angry teen. Tonight I’ll go back to all my likes, like a sick dating site only I’m taking part in. It’s easy to obsess about strangers. You just pour nothingness outward, as if, through some accident in the universe, that very act could somehow fill you. I will look for warm clues scattered behind her — the blurry spines of books I sort of recognize; the posters of vaguely alternative bands everyone knows too well; the clothes hanging in her closet I can almost touch and smell; the plant she nurtures in place of me, its soil darkening with care — as if the mystery of why she liked this, why she liked me, could ever be solved.


Negative Thoughts On Relationships

By Josh  //  deeper stuff, life  //  No Comments

I’m finding the trial & error of relationships to be mostly painful and provides great motivation to not mess with them at all. I’ve always been able to operate from the standpoint that “I’d rather have loved and lost…”. Lately, the pain and discomfort seems less than worth it.


The Equation For Love…

By Josh  //  deeper stuff, life  //  2 Comments

Lately I’ve been semi-consumed with what love really is, and what makes it work. Despite my best efforts to knock it out of my head, I find that when left to my own thoughts they seem to keep dragging me back to the topic.

I’m okay with that because despite failed attempts in the past, I still believe that love could be the best and most fulfilling thing we as humans can experience in this life.

The other day I considering where to start (since I’m analytical) when this song came on my iPod:

Now I’m not pretending to be so naive as to think there is a failsafe specific recipe or equation for love (or a successful relationship for that matter). I mean, half of any relationship’s success is based on another person, and for the most part you have no control when it comes to their thoughts and actions and feelings.

But throughout my pondering I have come up with some things that I think will help keep love alive and healthy.

By default, whenever I think about love (mostly because of my upbringing, but also because I think it’s sound advice anyways) I think of the wisdom Paul put to paper, that later became 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 which states:

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

So from that we can put the following equation together for how love acts:

Love = Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Truth, Strength, Hope, Endurance, Forgiveness

And the equation based on that verse for what love is not:

Love ≠ Jealousy, Boasting, Arrogance, Pride, Selfishness, Grudges

But I think what’s also important to consider is one’s capacity to be loved.

Ability To Be Loved <= Willingness To Be Hurt

We as humans are damaged throughout our lives, and understandably when anyone is hurt another person’s actions, they put up barriers for protection. These barrier’s can be handy, but the nasty side effect of them is that they are isolative, they reduce our ability to experience love.

Putting those ideas into action is much more difficult than acknowledging them to be truths.


Why Doesn’t God Practice What He Preaches?

Let me preface this by stating that I consider myself a Christian, in that I believe in Christ.

An old friend and I were talking the other day. I happened to mention that I thought “organized religion” failed us. Shocking right? An institution ran by men failing? He probed me with what my rub with institutionalized christianity was, and my latest reason is fairly simple. I have always felt that organized religion creates an incubator of sorts that encourages people to focus far too closely on the actions of themselves (and much more likely and more often) on the actions of those around them.

It seems to be commonly encouraged to focus on the physical actions of sins, when in my opinion all sinful acts stem from a sinful thought or feeling. I had the displeasure of attending an ultra-conservative christian university, and I’ll never forget how many times I heard people snickering and gossiping about this or that person that was drinking or smoking (which aren’t in and of themselves sinful acts). Very few people were interested in the why of that person’s actions. They were much more entertained by jumping on the judgement bandwagon and condemning the final act. But I digress…

The point I made was that the leaders of christianity would be much better served to try and address the root of the sinful act, the feelings that cause someone to act sinfully. Jealousy is one of my favorite examples. It’s openly condemned in the Bible, and I think virtually everyone on the planet can agree that no good comes of jealous thoughts. In fact, many many many negative sinful acts are rooted in jealousy. I mean, come on pastors of the world, it’s so simple. Pastoring these days seems often to take the road of Medical doctors, simply writing prescription after prescription to treat symptoms, instead of treating the real issue.

My friend agreed (which slightly suprised me, I’d counted on playing devil’s advocate), and then made a point that’d never crossed my mind, but then promptly blew it. God is jealous.
See for yourself:

Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
- Exodus 34:14, NIV
…for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.
- Exodus 20:4-6, NIV
or this…
For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
– Deutoronomy 4:24, NIV

So God is without a doubt jealous (according to words he put in men’s mouths).

Men are without a doubt encouraged to avoid and run from jealousy:

Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
- Romans 13:13 NIV

I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.
– 2 Corinthians 12:20 NIV

So why the disparity between man and God? I posed this question to my brother, and his reaction was simple: God doesn’t play by our rules. I understand and agree with that statement plainly and perfectly. I can acknowledge that a God that created entire planets, galaxies, and the universe and everything in them can do whatever he wants. He makes the rules, and we’re here on earth to try and play by those rules. They have changed and been tweaked over time, and I’m even okay with that.

But at the risk of being struck with lightning I’ll throw out this thought: despite the fact that God doesn’t HAVE to follow the rules we do to get into them pearly gates, like a good parent or role model of any kind, wouldn’t it make much more sense for him to practice what he preaches?

I don’t pretend to be on an intellectual level with the creator of the universe, and until I have a satisfactory answer I’m content to simply continue following what I know what’s right and true to my soul. I just am simply wondering… why God?


Words of Wisdom From Unlikely Places

By Josh  //  deeper stuff, life  //  No Comments

So I’m browsing the interwebs, looking at one of my friends Facebooks, which led me to their Tumblr. He had a post featuring a video of David Ramirez.
I like the video and so I went to check out his site. While on there I checked out a blog post he’d made, and what I read was very striking to me.

The last entry I wrote has been heavy on my heart the past 24 hours. I’m realizing (slowly) that I’m not discontent with my place in the art community by rather my place in the world. I wear the statement “Music is my life” like a t-shirt. Casual. I have no quams with the statement when the reality is that I should. I’ve refused to accept so many great things into my existence because I fear they will disrupt my path. There is nothing casual about this. My attitude towards many “distactions” will lead me to live an empty life. That truth is a hard one to acknowledge. I’ve held on to the lesson I hear over an over that as long as I do what I love I will be happy. If you fall into that same place, hear me now… That is a lie. Here is why. That philosophy is wrapped up in nothing but ourselves and when we (I) pursue living in this way we (I) am not living at all. I’m simply only breathing. I wonder if as a 26 year old man it is too late to turn around. We develop patterns and at some point those patterns become us.

I’ve always said I want to be a great writer but maybe I should learn first how to be a great human. I pray that it is not too late but that, like a rebellious teenager, it’s just a phase.

Wow. I’ve re-read it several times, and each time I’m dumbstruck by how raw and piercing those words are.


Welcome to the beginning of proof I existed.

By Josh  //  deeper stuff, life  //  No Comments

This weekend was graduation time for all of the local high schools.  Hearing people talking about that had me promptly pondering my graduation, and more importantly where life’s taken me since that time.

I then felt frail and very temporary.  This life is so short, and time really does fly by.

To top things off, this morning I stumbled upon one of my favorite essays turned music video (Baz Lurhman’s Everybody’s Free shown below).  I spent the whole time watching that video thinking about how I can’t definitively  say that I am and have lived my life to the fullest, and even if I felt that I have I have no way to go back later and see where I’ve gone.

My memory is poor and I suspect with age it will only tarnish more, so I’m going to try and keep track of things in this way… via a blog.  I’m hoping to treat it as a diary more than a blog.  I don’t expect too many people to find their way here, and I’m okay with that.

If you happen to stumble onto this site, enjoy?

Quotes I Like…

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~Plato

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. ~Epictetus

Anyone who trades liberty for security, deserves neither liberty nor security. ~Benjamin Franklin

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as they do it from religeous conviction. ~Blaise Pascal

When a person is down in the world, an ounce of help is better than a pound of preaching. ~Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton