How Far I’ve Come Since 2008
In 2008, I created my first personal blog: WELKAOS, a buddhism-inspired, liberal, social-justice centered blog. I laugh at how different I was back then.
At that time I claimed I was all of the following on my about page:
- friend, brother, son, grandson, and cousin
- spiritual and non-religious
- human being
- synergy – more than the sum of my parts, just like you!
I mean, c’mon. I identified as Synergy itself! I must have really been struggling to up my ID count.
I was super hippy-dippy. I was vegan. I was a Social Justice Warrior. It was the thing to do. I lived in a small, liberal, West-Coast college town. This conferred benefits: amelioration of assumed and internalized guilt, and access to a community of liberal upper-middle class SJW girls. It was also more-or-less a prerequisite to getting into my teaching program. They really tried to shove guilt and the worshiping of the state down your throat in the college of education.
My tag line was interesting, too. My complete title read:
Who is we? I don’t know..! On to more salient points, then.
WELKAOS is a portmanteau of “welcome” and “chaos”. I spelt it out for you either way. Apparently, I welcomed chaos with calm compassion. Calm compassion seems a bit redundant, don’t you think? Aren’t compassionate people generally calm? And aren’t calm people generally compassionate? (I mean some calm people are sociopaths — calm looking anyways — really they are emotionless, but I digress…) You’d think that I was the zen-est motha-fucka out there. But no. I had a bone to pick. With everyone.
I was vegan. And what I don’t mention — but what is usually true of vegans — is that I was an environmentalist. A fierce one. I made people from Texas defend their “throwing everything into the garbage” behavior. (Really it just annoyed people and made them not want to talk to me.) I can say this because I was a vegan for 5 years: Vegans are hard to talk to sometimes. I still have trouble talking with new vegans that I meet, and I was one!
Besides all the boring family member descriptions and the fact that I was a male, I felt cool and edgy declaring myself to be straight-questioning, a queer (as in odd) way — pun intended — of saying in the SJW parlance that I was ‘almost doubtful of my heterosexuality’. Never fear, no need to doubt: I’ve checked since then. I’m definitely straight. That is okay, right? (And yes, I like Same Love, by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.)
Sadly, the SJW community glorifies fringe identity identification, meaning the more labels, and the more obscure of lables you can place on yourself — whether self-deprecating, or true, or just convenient — the better. Typical middle-class white college straight guy not cool. Bad even. SJ mentality and theory is a creepy-crawly thing. It works to gain converts by slathering potential targets in guilt-butter repeatedly until — having been made to alternate constantly for 6 hours between boredom and confusion — the target inevitably gets hungry, opens their mouth, and tastes the guilt-assuaging (really reallocating) poison of hierarchical ‘egalitarianism’. If you don’t accept it, you are obviously a greedy white capitalist pig promoting rape-culture and the beating of slightly-sleepy, chilled-out black guys. The obvious inverse of this is that Dark-skinned Muslim Native-American Lesbian Women who identify as Men and are Polyamorous are at the top of the hierarchy. At least that’s pretty cool.
Funny that I would so calmly accept being placed into a hierarchical “egalitarian” structure in which I was the bottom-rung on the totem pole. Certainly reinforces any internalized judgments and self-hate that lies in wait inside your heart, that is for sure. What I didn’t realize at the time was that in swallowing the pill of Social Justice, I was wrapping up my latent and probably justifiably-decaying sense of guilt and shame (From where? I dont’ know. Protestantism probably.) in a cocoon of abstraction and insulation. This would shelter me from any critique of my actual character for years to come. Let’s face it, no one is inherently bad because of their race, class, gender, language, or ability — including white people, including me. But if I tell you that I’m cool because I’m really not cool because of all these fairly average facets of my birth, genetics, and upbringing then you’ll think I’m cool, or you’ll just be confused and weirded out by the really intense and pitiful white guy at the party that can’t loosen up and have a fun time. I mean white guys already have a hard enough time dancing… Why do you gotta burden them further with indoctrination and theories of justifiable self-hate? … Anyways, the point is that Social Justice creates Social Justice Zombies who internalize binary and divisive categorizations of people and then proceed to point fingers at themselves and others who they perceive to have privilege (privileged brains, want to eat…!). It’s an easy way to create — or limit yourself to — a small cadre of similarly-minded and small-minded people with which to launch lengthy verbal attacks at the world with the Critical Catapult of Political Correctness. In short, it’s a great way to not grow. Label yourself in order to stop growing.
And that is what I did.
I wrote long treatises and short poems, prosy things that didn’t rhyme, back then. Used words like agency and superiority and allies a lot. Very little of it defined. Where in truth agency was the willingness to confine yourself and curtail your own natural thoughts and desires, sublimating your feelings, and sacrificing yourself to the greater good of Diversity, Democracy, and Socialism — to all the Heavenly Abstractions of Perfect Righteousness, in fact. I talked about reprogramming myself to have no ego, melting into something greater than myself, a flipped world of hyper-New-Age spirituality and black presidents — oh, wait… A flipped world where instead of white people being evil, they were good, but no better than any one of any other color. In fact, maybe we would do away with color then. Maybe we would lose our color and our form, all melting into a primordial human swamp of hive mind mentalities and dogmatic sputtering spontaneous movements. Wouldn’t it be grand? We wouldn’t need allies any more. We would be The Ally. We would be our own Ally, supporting our own decisions, every whim and fanciful notion 100%. Pure genius!
In truth, I felt inferior. Best to tell yourself that you’re actually superior but don’t deserve it right? … No, not really, I’m kidding. That’s just confusing. It’s best to be honest with yourself. Acknowledge where you are. Have you hurt anyone today? Have you gotten out of bed? If the answers are No to the first and Yes to the second then you’re doing pretty good. No need to hate yourself for being a white person or a straight guy or anything else.
Social Justice was my opium. It lulled me into a deadly slumber. The early artifacts of Thrivenotes give hints of this — I was asleep, I was blind, I was naive. While I don’t think it a complete waste to try to base a blog on Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, as I did, what I probably needed was not to espouse liberal philosophy and try to convert strangers to egalitarianism through an obscure blog in some tucked-away corner of the internet… Instead, what I needed was a bit more Love, a bit more of a sense of Belonging (but to a community of fun-loving, non-judgmental people), and then to work hard to deserve the feelings of Self-Esteem that I desired as a young man about to enter the field of public school teaching as a noob who still looked like he was in high school.
We welcome chaos with calm compassion.
What was this chaos? Apparently I welcomed it. Was it my own expected emotional turmoil and self-inflicted insults of unloveability? My own ego destruction? Perhaps more than an abstraction… Perhaps more than symbolic self-obliteration… Perhaps, in a way, it was prescient.
I certainly wouldn’t want a world of Sameness. I want a word that is dynamic and yet orderly; complex, yet navigable. Perhaps chaos was the expectation of conflict with those who would inevitably disagree with me. I was the only one of my four male roommates who thought we were living in a Patriarchy. They all thought we were living in a Matriarchy, by contrast. This caused me to experience chaos. Perhaps this chaos was my other drug. Perhaps chaos was the feeling of trying to stick to my lonely dogma while people around me were trying desperately to loosen me up, to love me. If anything, Chaos was my cocaine. Exciting, stimulating, addicting, fleeting, and ultimately unfulfilling. What I really wanted was to know what was going to happen, to know that I was going to be okay. Asking my ego to die was my way of hiding from the world. I wanted to know what to expect. I wanted regularity. I wanted to be comforted. I just didn’t know it. I was in denial.
Perhaps my Anti-SJW Journal can lead with this article:
Deconstructing Liberal Fear-based Guilt-reinforcing Obfuscating Abstractions for the Purpose of Liberating Feaful and Isolated Young White Men
Now let’s get down to it: I was a grad-student who shouldered overwhelming perennial social and environmental issues in order to feel worthy when I didn’t. I was scared to enter the real world, where growth is slow and painstaking. But Thank God I climbed down from that Awful Ivory Tower of Indoctrination. The people there, the Multicultural Education professors to the greatest extent, seemed quite unhappy. The serious education researchers and philosophers seemed the happiest. Perhaps because they were less encumbered by lofty, glorified notions of constant revolution and idealized vernaculars.
The exciting thing about all this for me is that I’m noticing I feel more excited about life with each passing day. I am looking for more and more people of differing dispositions with whom to exchange ideas and enter into friendships. My previous schema and idealism had me cut off from the true diversity of the world, one which is not static like the identities of a multiculturalist worldview.
I feel so lucky to have been able to let go of so much. To have left some things undone.
Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.—
Life is, in many ways, simpler and more nuanced, slower-paced and more exciting than I ever would have expected.
I can’t wait to see how the next eight years turn out.