I’ve seen so much of the world. It’s been an unspoken dream since I was very young, although it could have been wired into me with the first few experiences of being abroad when I was 14. The past few years could be summarized by an extreme wanderlust resulting in nothing less than a beautiful experience. I’ve seen all the places about which I fantasized and have relaxed, so to speak.
Looking forward, I am trying to figure out the characterization of the next couple of years. If my previous years have been driven by an outward gaze, how does this journey continue to develop in its organic trajectory? I know it will involve a more directed focus inward where I will continue to develop my self-expression and refine the various crafts which I have chosen in this lifetime. But a defined goal seems still unclear. There is music, but I don’t quite consider it a serious enough pursuit. It’s not “living for all times” as I have etched into the skin on my right arm. It’s definitely not acting; that’s evident given the belly up approach needed by actors to succeed. Photography, by mere chance turned into a lucrative side job that funds all of my endeavors and explorations of this world. I’m proud of it, which is why I will continue to water that plant, yet purpose, which is what I need, is still a bit unclear.
Literature has always had a rather profound effect on my soul and the few people that I truly look up to have all been authors of some sort. Thinkers, for the most part. Philosophers for the minority. They have impacted how I see the world and have given my nebulous thoughts linguistic structure and a foundation of solidarity. With every book comes a new dimension of my own reality opening up and to be stirred so earnestly, well, deserves a tip of the hat to the Musils and Manns and Talebs and Harris’s. They are my celebrities. A literary course is forming.
And again, the dilemma of purpose has largely been left unresolved. I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what it could possibly be - like an entrepreneur trying to fill a gap in the market with a new product. I doubt that one comes to their “alchemist” calling with whiteboards and sharpies, but, you never know when a-ha’s strike. After contemplating with stubborn confidence that I am capable of something bigger than me, here’s what I have come up with so far -
I’ve been noticing a lack of intellectual stimulation of a great majority of my peers and I’d like to attribute it to a diminished attention span caused by proliferation of fast media. “Constant connection may deprive us of one of life’s most important assets: the time to pause, reflect, and engage in meaningful conversation.” With technologies rapidly advancing, harking the 4th industrial revolution, talent, more than capital, will represent the critical factor of individual success. This means a world of low-skill/low-pay jobs and high-skill/high-pay jobs. Now, I could care less about how much my friends are making, but I do care about their creative minds atrophying and the general time spent with them seeming rushed and semi-present. It’s a sad reality that will be exacerbated as time moves forward and the lack of concentration in many of my friends is an unfortunate thing to witness.
I strongly believe that with conviction in one’s own intellectual capabilities and a fortified empathic self, a superhuman can be formed.
This is a person that isn’t afraid of challenges, understands the word neighbor encompasses our entire species, and knows that self-improvement requires patience.
These stream of thoughts seem to have the aftertaste of that desired purpose…hmm.
My contribution to this lofty plight will be small given that I’ve chosen, or fell into, the not-too-commercial medium of aesthetic fiction. Literature and lyricism are the only scalable formats of which I am capable. If I was an engineer, I’d be developing sustainable nuclear technologies. If I was a biologist, I’d be in a lab creating digital fabrication technologies that would interact with the biological world. Alas, I am neither of those things and am completely incapable of operating particle accelerators. But, I can write music.
As I challenge myself through this medium, I will also challenge my listeners. Not only in comprehension of the scribed words, but also to look inward and pick themselves apart. I won’t make it easy. It disgusts me how lazy some artists have become, especially after seeing the breadth of their potential reach. To flip a rhyme to make a few easy dollars without innovation should garner only derision. It’s like the contemporary sculptor who shows a ventilation shaft as his exhibition piece and the critics nod in admiration. Their intelligence is being blatantly disrespected. YOUR intelligence is being blatantly disrespected and taken advantage of when you consume simple recycled pop music ad nauseam. Strive for more. I’m not touting that my dense and convoluted verse structures should become the norm, but I would like to promote a maxim I heard in an improv class once - “Create to the height of your capabilities”. Don’t defer to the joke everyone heard a thousand times. Connect those synapses and make something new.
The hope is that this resistance to stagnation, the exercise of thought, will trickle down across all aspects of an individual's life. “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Was that Gandhi who said that? Man, that sure was a long time ago….