Self-help And How It Did Not Help Me.

Surrounding one’s self with positive imagery, does not seem human… the world of self-development is toxic in its positivity. That which is meaningful, is often created through struggle. With this, we’ve “Hustle Culture”. Yes, work harder… yes, throw out the limitations of being human in favor for work-work-work. You are no more than your work role in society… no human being with their own sense of identity, or autonomy. Never quit! NEVER QUIT! “It feels good to pretend, doesn’t it?”

And so… we question. Why do we seek ‘self-help’ in the first place? Is it to improve one’s self? What is to be improved? Why do we strive to improve? If one desires to improve, why is happiness tethered to it? Why do we assume improvement equals happiness? What equals happiness? What are your desires?

Say you desire: People to like me more, women to fall at my feet, to be rich, influential… powerful.

Why… ask yourself ‘Why’? Examine the experience of phenomena and culture. Why do we strive for the things we strive? Why do these problems arise in-relation? What defines these as problems as such?

The answer will be mostly likely, due to unhappiness.
Dissatisfaction within ones life. Now, wishing to change your circumstance due to suffering is not at all terrible… that is not the purpose of this post. I speak from experience, for I once walked this path in search for satisfying this dissatisfaction. I was under the assumption that my dissatisfaction was bad, and I should feel bad for feeling so. However, what is happiness in-comparison? And is attaining a permanent state of happiness achievable? Are these negative emotions to be discounted? Is a human, still human if they are forever happy? Isn’t misery, and struggle necessary?

Asking questions… and questioning the rhetoric of self-help books leads one to their own personal truth. Not just that, digging deep into your own values.

If there is one thing which has helped me greatly above all else, it is philosophy and virtue ethics.

The funny thing however, is that the format of these works will not give you a shopping list/set out of clear-cut instructions to follow… as self-help books do. Philosophy and virtue ethics, leads one to discuss ‘what a good life is/may be’ and not how to achieve it. The considerations for being good, which is synonymous to being fulfilled and happy.

In all truth, the self-help industry sells hope. Those who are in the state of dissatisfaction, are the hopeful.

Of course, philosophy does not offer all the answers… nothing will. There is no universal truth. No one can, and will tell you the truth. That is entirely up to you. In saying this, this is the path least followed. One of the most difficult things an individual can do. Take responsibility of their own understanding of reality, into their own hands. Self-help has much to do with giving one’s self reassurance, practical advice (platitudes), and establishing personal authority. Philosophy, on the other hand seek to introduce advancement to practical problems for a popular audience. In example: social issues. Philosophy in of itself is a practice of rational inquiry. Self-help authors do not criticize or deconstruct the concepts they present… this explains why we’re fed the same thing over and over again.

Most important of all, do not follow any master. Do not trust any advice given, out rightly. In your pursuit to self-mastery (by Nietzsche’s definition), you owe it to yourself to be skeptical… you owe it to yourself to question.

Also, in Meryl fashion… I would like to say “Fuck you, fake self-help gurus, and the self-help industry. Shove your culture-soaked toxic positivity up your ass! Every single one of you fuckers talk the same, and act the same in your seminars. You’re this century’s snake oil salesmen. Anymore sheen, you’d be blinding airplanes you fake fucks! I say people should all seek their own truth. Not be spoon-fed your snakeoil any longer!” (Note: for comedic effect, people assume the term of curses are well… angered. Not in this case).

Explorations Into ‘love’.

A musing, for my own pursuit of mastery. The emptiness that had long since resided in me, presaged by an existential crisis I had suffered at the age of six—I knew I was going to die one day, and this traumatizing guarantee, haunted me throughout the rest of my life… deeply buried in my subconscious, awaiting to be addressed through the future existential crises that would await me.

True friendship is mutual inspiration. True love, is mutual inspiration. The will, and desire to be better in one anothers presence

Work on myself had not begun until my early 20s… thence, at this point in my life (at 27) I have, and will be open to being contradictory to myself. Philosophy intrigues me, however. Admittedly I had sworn off literature and texts associated… in favor for more esoteric, and metaphysical conventions. In my search for my own personal truth, I find this is still unsatisfactory in addressing, as well as rationalizing much of my inner-processes… and by that extension, my understanding of the world around me.

Even then, I’ve clung to ideals: tarot readings (private, and online general readings), fortune tellers, and occult knowledge to address the void which exists within me. I clung to externalities to tell me what truth is… due to my lacking the strength, and courage to take it upon myself to look within. Yes, I relied on others to tell me how things ought to be… that this emptiness within me, needed to be addressed by more programming and reification of the sort. This void… it consists of ones darkest and rejected tidings. One of absolute dissolution, emptiness and uncertainty. At this point in my life, I have arrived at my true purpose in life. To master the self.

In my being enlightened, I realize that spirituality is not what I assume… nor is the esoteric, through my own belief and understanding (just as well, the influence of being exposed to those misguided). The Universe, to me, is indifferent to the struggle of man. There is no good, or evil, in-relation to its order. Whether humanity exists, or perishes, will make no difference. In this conviction, I do not adopt a completely pessimistic stance, however… for I believe in formulating my own ‘meaning’ fit for myself… unique to myself.

My pursuit of love had much to do with my lack of understanding toward it, just as well… the fickle representations/abstractions of it I had been exposed to, by way of culture. We are bombarded with this idea of love as being essential. The answer to all manners of unhappiness, and suffering… yes, that love is ‘all that you need…’

It does not help, that such preachings are tied to religious Dogma, which Friedrich Nietzsche criticized. What is love? Is it demanding? It it controlling? Is it conditional? If it is unconditional… does that mean to say that we allow ourselves to be used, and abused for the sake of upholding that “all-loving” ideal?

For the longest time this is what I had believed in, and I believe it to be my ultimate purpose and goal in life:

Yes, love will fulfill me. Yes. I must find someone who will love me… as it is preached, I will be complete. They will understand me. They will make me suffer, no longer.

Such sentiments are peppered, and scattered into my art. It is more than obvious. I have found that this ‘soulmate’, is not another man. He could never be… rather, he is the idealized version of the ‘self’. Why is he male? Because, unknowingly through culture, we seek that which we wish to create within ourselves anew… in the other (Carl Jung, also calls this the Animus/masculine energy which the feminine desires and vice versa). Even then, in ideal commitments (I will discuss this further), mutual inspiration from one another is a requirement for a relationship to function.

I criticize greatly, that path in-which I had once walked, after desperation and my desire to escape life’s promise of suffering, bubbled to the surface… love was the panacea to my perceived failings. Love would cleanse me anew… I sought future husband readings by way of astrological charts, and readings from internet physics. “This is your soulmate, therefore you cannot resist, but love this person… it is decided by the universe. This is what he looks like, whether you like it or not.”

What utter bullshit that is. Nonsense! How would any single person KNOW who it is you decide to bind your life to? I abandon such an idea… now seeing the fallibility of it. That we are no will to choose, who we decidedly partner ourselves to, for the rest of our lives? That is not what makes, human, human. To surrender all decision, and choice… I did so in my weakest moments, for I did not want to face repercussions of my having chosen wrong. “Therefore O’ Universe/perceived deity or god… please choose for me, for I’ve not the strength to do so myself!”

Enduring love, IS A CHOICE.

In my seeking more understanding in-relation… I realize that this is pure selfishness, on my part. Through evidence of my brief encounters with ‘romance’, I had never loved the other… rather, the idea of them. However much… a bitter pill to swallow, I will admit this truth to myself. I loved, only to serve that purpose within myself. I loved what I wanted to see of the other, never them. The abstraction, and projection (interestingly, even in life partnerships… your partner will still be an abstraction/projection… albeit, to a lesser degree). I loved the surface of them… the physicality, what they could be, as opposed to what they are. In my digging underneath the surface, or when my lust had waned, my feelings would subside.

Pure selfishness. Unabashedly egoic, and greedy… I had not realized this human fascination, was so. After-all, love is sold on every street corner, nestled into the products we assume will complete us, and all of media. Why, we’ve the dating industry capitalizing on this weakness within man, and woman alike! And trust me, I have participated in online dating, in pursuit of that selfish ideal. Disappointment met me, due to the disillusion I held from my naiveté toward what true, and sustaining love is. That… and… well… have you been online dating? Something about the act, always made me feel slimy…

I had obsessed over this notion. Assuming it would be the end, and end all to my life’s suffering. That it would fulfill my life’s purpose. That it was my life’s purpose… to find the one.

In my deconstructing and opposing this belief within me, I had an existential crisis. I wept, and wept out to my surroundings… wailing, “What purpose have I, now that I have found that my desire and longing for love was a lie?” For all I had done, and all I had achieved up until this point in my life was for that idealized love. That only if I loved myself more, or that I worked on myself more… they would come, and I would be complete. We would fall in-love passionately, and such a sensation would last us… well into our twilight years.

Such thought ideals arose during the likes of the Romanticism movement. A movement, I am familiar with through my love of composers, and pianists alike. Romanticism preached the ideas, and of course… ideals, that it is possible, and even expected to romantically partner with someone. That, initial attraction to the other is seen as love. The mistaken assumption, also… additionally is that love is tied to the something which endures, as seen in ‘happily ever-afters’ and so-forth. Before then, marriage and partnering had to do with practical matters, past anything else.

“Romanticism The romanticist, an individual who firmly believes that it is their will against the world, whether their actions are rational or irrational it doesn’t matter. The romanticist will sacrifice everything for their ideals, this in turn will result in unsurpassed and immortal greatness or unrecoverable failure. A romanticist is a creator, an artist, someone that lives on pure freedom and imagination. Nothing constrains a romanticist, for even moral values if meant to be sacrificed for an ideal is but a small price to pay. This results in radical innovations, thinking that deviates from rational analysis. For a romanticist individual, learning comes from failure and the outcome is re-invention. “ (In all truth, I am a romanticist existentialist)

Love at first sight became, and is still the widely accepted notion. It is within this rhetoric, we assume that these lustful feelings will not die… but rather… grow. That we will always have butterflies for one another… and always, will they be sexy to us. Never to disappoint us. Never to hurt us. Never to let us down.

In my diatribe on the matter, I forgive myself somewhat… however. After-all, love is not introduced to us in a matter-of-fact manner. It is purely instinctual, and intuitive. It is not taught to us in schools… rather, we are expected to clumsily navigate it for ourselves, relying on human instinct and agency. How strange that is… What we know, and understand of love, is beyond our control in the seminal years, just as well. Via the influence of our parents (this is not permanent, and can be changed if one is willing to welcome an ego death or two).

It is no wonder why, we have many people who are afraid of love. There is no certainty, there is no understanding. The vague emotional states that we are thrown into… “Yes, I want to jump his bones… is this love?”—and we are expected to just roll with it. That is what culture portends. Yes, this is what falling in-love is. We live in a society and culture, that has little understanding of what true love is. Romantic Comedies? Never again. Disney princesses? True love does not heal all.

Friedrich Nietzsche’s writings (one of my favorite philosophers, as an existentialist, myself) illuminated me to this reality of love. He, as well as Plato’s “Symposium On Love” and Schopenhauer’s more darker reflections on reality. The way I had approached love was purely idealistic, one that was assumed to be based upon the idea of ‘selflessness’. That to love the other, is not a selfish act… nor does it coincide with greed. Just as well, this idea… in my alluding to Aristophanes’ story on our never-ending quest to find one another (soulmates) had deluded me of the reality. That we are not complete, until we found that one. And oh… how the pop ballads sing “My whole world began, when I met youuuuuu!” Even then, I am certain that Aristophanes wasn’t serious… I think he was just bullshitting…

Anyhow… love, ultimately, just like everything else to humankind… is a will to power. Ideal connections, and relationships ARE a mutual exchange in will to power.

I strive, therefore to one day love a person due to their fulfilling me… and my fulfilling them. That there is mutual inspiration sourced from one another. Just as well, even without eros (sexual attraction/love) we are best-friends. I would much prefer, I marry someone that I can have long conversations with… than someone who gives me the fleeting, soon to diminish feeling of butterflies. What we love, is not another person… but rather an abstraction. Eroticism permeates all of life, even to the higher annals of spirituality. Of course, in love it is important… however, it is not what a relationship with endurance should strictly consist of. Want that? Go on tinder and have some more one-night stands.

Love which endures, is ultimately a choice. We will annoy one another, anger one another… One day, the sexual attraction I had toward you, will diminish… you will feel the same, just as well… but at least I can talk to you about anything. At least we can rely, and depend on one another. At least we can still spend hours and hours, talking about anything. We mutually inspire one another, to be better… and to improve, just as well.

That is the love, I am after. One enduring, not passionate… or strictly erotic. One stable.

And in my stating this as such, Initially, I had assumed that love itself was ethereal…

Now, this man I had once ‘dreamed of’ is placed into the realm of possibility… no more a caricature of this idealization I projected onto the other… as opposed to myself. But a real man. One in the flesh. One with flaws. One I love, and one I’ve yet to know. With you, there is no waiting.