Thursday, August 9, 2012

Traversing the Dark Corridor OR Change is Good

I mean change in the positive sense here.

So many people, myself included, are afraid of changes. This fear is, at its core, no different from a fear of the dark. In light of that statement (pun/irony intended): why do we strive to teach our children not to be afraid of the dark but are afraid of the dark ourselves?

Obviously the simplest answer is that we are hypocrites. That, in my opinion, does not really answer the question. We truly don't realize (or cannot admit) that we're all, to some degree, afraid of the dark. This is the real answer to the above question as far as I see it.

Darkness is something that we are actually taught to fear from a young age. Though our parents want us to be "brave" enough to sleep alone in a relatively dark room, they teach us, in other ways, to fear the dark. We have a culture that is, ultimately, founded on fear. If I am more honest, our culture is, at least in part, based on the manipulation of fear in order to gain power. Fear can be a magnificent tool. As can "darkness."

To clarify my use of the words "darkness" and "dark":
I am not referring to simply a physical lack of light. I'm sure anyone reading this blog will realize that I view many philosophical concepts from a metaphysical/spiritual point of view. So, when I speak of things or concepts being "dark" or having "darkness" I, usually, mean these terms in their metaphysical sense (whatever that means for you). I may, depending on context, also mean physical darkness. It is up to you to determine when I am referring to physical darkness, metaphysical darkness, or both.

With that out of the way, I will continue. Where was I? . . .

Oh, yes! The use of fear and darkness as tools, correct?

Now, as it is, to me, patently obvious that fear can be (and often is) used as a tool for control (or "manipulation" or "power," depending on your ethics and word preference) I will be operating under the assumption that fear is a tool. If you do not see fear as a tool or a possible tool, then I encourage you to look around and refresh your knowledge of history.

Darkness, as an intrinsically ambiguous concept, is more difficult to use as a tool compared to fear. Fear is used by our politicians, bullies, parents, teachers, philosophers, evangelists, and countless other people that seek power, control, or dominance over others. Using one's "dark side" to accomplish things is something many people frown on and even fewer truly understand.

Rather unfortunately, our society tends to shy away from (or, more often, <b>run</b> from) or even condemn the dark aspects inherent in our universe and in ourselves. This is unfortunate because darkness is ubiquitous and must exist if light is to exist. I'm not saying anything new here, and I realize that. There are countless philosophers and even video game developers that deserve thanks for guiding me to these "realizations." However, as I mentioned previously, I find that I must learn things for myself before I truly "hear" the idea.

More to the point and perhaps more importantly: "The closer you get to the light the greater your shadow becomes."

I realize I've wondered from my original point about change and I have done so purposefully. Along with my realization and acceptance that change is good came the realization that using darkness as a tool isn't necessarily "bad." Neither is being "dark" in general.

That being said, I do think that manipulating others for the purposes of personal benefit can be very "bad." I cannot deny that power and control are very seductive concepts for myself (and many other people). However, that something is seductive does not mean that it is the right thing to do. In some cases (usually when someone is manipulating, or attempting to manipulate, you) gaining control/power over someone via manipulation is necessary, but these occasions should be weighed on a case-by-case basis.

To sum up:
1. Change is "good."
2. a. Fear is not always entirely negative.
b. Nor entirely useless.
3. Darkness is something to be explored, not needlessly feared.

Happy changes!


Quotes of the Day**
"It was the experience of mystery - even if mixed with fear - that engendered religion." - Albert Einstein "Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." - Thomas Jefferson
"A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds." - Percy Bysshe Shelley "Beyond a doubt truth bears the same relation to falsehood as light to darkness." - Leonardo da Vinci
"Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other folks have left me." - Anatole France "And out of darkness came the hands that reach thro' nature, moulding men." - Alfred, Lord Tennyson
"Close your bodily eye, that you may see your picture first with the eye of the spirit. Then bring to light what you have seen in the darkness, that its effect may work back, from without to within." - Caspar David Friedrich
**All quotes sourced from with all due credit given to that website.**

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Humility Precedes Wisdom

This is something any wise person could tell me if I'd the inclination to listen. I've read this idea in multiple places. It never sank in until recently.

Wisdom is found only when one loses one's sense of pride. This is not to say one should not or can not have pride and also be wise. However, when one loses pride and is "cowed" by awe into humility one has taken a step towards sophia (AKA wisdom). There are many other steps on the path, some I've taken, some I've yet to choose. I feel a new sense of pride, one that comes from having found my humility and then rebuilt myself as a new "man."

When one loses pride one is forced to find it again from a different route. One finds pride and, in turn, wisdom only after having lost one's vain pride. This, as I've (re)discovered, is a different sort of "pride" and comes from a different source than vanity  (or self-pride). This pride feels as if it comes from simply being oneself and not from being "prideful" of oneself. In this way, I can say I am humble and bow before God but still say I am proud.

Humility (and, in order, pride) can often be found in:
a) realizing one's flaws
b) accepting and owning one's flaws
c) seeking a way to overcome one's flaws
d) overcoming one's flaws (or turning flaws into positive characteristics)

All philosophers (seekers or lovers of wisdom) must, and usually do, come to this realization at some point in their growth. A wise woman is humble, a hubristic man is not wise. Hubris has been defined fairly specifically and in different ways over the decades. For me, it is a simple concept. To commit hubris is to feel excessive pride in oneself or in humanity in general. To have true pride, and not hubris, is to feel a humble satisfaction that comes from simply being.

One may find "true pride" in other ways, but for me, it was found through having my existing prideful vanity torn down and cast away in spite of myself. When that happened I felt bare but empowered. I had lost the restrictions of my own vainglory and was free to feel both humility AND pride.

This, is one step of many in my search for Sophia. May you find these words helpful in your own seeking.

-Lykeios - AKA Adam -

Sunday, July 22, 2012

True Freedom Comes From Within and Without

What constitutes true "freedom" has been in contention amongst humans for centuries. Is it simply not being subject to another man? Is it choosing whether or not to be subject to another man or being? Is it simply knowing things?

I don't know the answers to all those questions and I hold that no one has ever really known. However, there are different concepts of "freedom" that can work for different individuals. "Freedom," as most human concepts are, is a subjective term. It can mean about anything one wants it to mean.

As I've begun a journey of self redefinition or self "rediscovery," as I tend to put it, I began thinking on the subjectivity in language more. What one man calls freedom may not mean freedom to another. Just as one woman's "evil" could be another's "good." Its all a personally impersonal form of lexicography. Your personal "dictionary" as I've come to think of it, is different from mine and from anyone's. It is part of what makes each of us an individual.

A few things I have recently realized about freedom are these:

True Freedom comes from within oneself as well as from without:

  • From the "self" but NOT the "ego"
  • From one's spiritual beliefs (usually this means from a "deity" or "deities")
  • From meditations
  • From practicing daily health and well-being
While I believe those things are true, this last is the most important to me:

True Freedom and Liberty means being no more or less than what YOU are.

All other definitions of those two terms, to me, fall short of their true meanings.


- Lykeios - AKA Adam -

Quote(s) of the Day
"If, therefore, any man be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." - Epictetus

Saturday, July 21, 2012

On Being Moderate (In All Things)

This isn't anything new. It has just taken me a long time to figure out for myself.

This "epiphany," if you will, came to me after a couple of beers, so I wouldn't be surprised if there is some flawed logic behind it. However, upon re-examining it while more sober, I don't think there is.

"Moderation in all things" - One recommendation from the maxims/proverbs inscribed on the pillars of ancient Delphi (AKA "the Delphic Maxims")

I've read this recommendation countless times. For some reason I've only just now realized how important it truly is. It has little to do with "limiting" ones self, as I originally thought, and more to do with cultivating all-around health.

Lately, I have espoused some fairly radical political views and have tried to argue in their favor. Upon coming to this particular "personally impersonal realization" I came to the thunderous conclusion that my radicalism will persuade or convince no one, no matter how fervent and intense I am about it. In fact, the more polarized and passionate I reveal myself to be on ANY topic, the more I turn people off.

To some, this might be an obvious "realization." As I am, however, inclined to be a very passionate person, it took me years to realize its truth. I've even vainly considered myself a "stoic" and a "taoist" when I have, quite obviously on looking back, never actually expressed any of the ideals present in those philosophies.

As a part of my continual self-revival and self-redefinition, I shall strive to attain concordance with the following ideas.

A more moderate expressed perspective is:
a. more persuasive AND
b. more threatening AND
c. more EFFECTIVE in general

If you could not tell, "c." is the most important.

So concludes this "personally impersonal realization." May it help you come to your own realizations and assist me in gaining "moderation" in my own life.

Friday, July 20, 2012

This Blog is officially under complete re-construction.

I am personally re-entering a continual process of redefining myself from this point forward. My blog shall begin to reflect that better.

Kindly ignore the insanity presented in my old posts if you are considering reading further or are just beginning to read this blog.

Thank you to anyone that has read my blog thus far. Those "visit" counts are a lot of what keeps me wanting to write.

Quote(s) of the Day
"True 'art'can not be found in a desire to make monetary gain"
"Any man dies with a clean sword, I'll rape his fucking corpse!" Sandor (AKA The Hound) of A Game of Thrones (the T.V. series)

Thursday, July 19, 2012