Trial by Values

In a daze of penetrating retorts and incisive insults I can barely recall, I admit I’ve not taken the easy path to developing an online following.

I don’t make nice at every turn or tell people what they want to hear, and I do not manipulate people like assets either. Growing a following to its maximal return requires a saint or a devil, but nothing in-between. In recent mentions, I was accused me of “stalking” on a social network based on followers and criticised that my website ideas and concepts exist mostly in my head.

Though it happens that you are reading on artfulman.com, therefore that assertion did not age well.

My critics fail to understand that my world has undergone a protracted period where everything is subject to a trial by values. In periods of bewilderment, all I could do is express what I knew to rebuke. My reliable support of relentless execution abandoned ship, I was rudderless and adrift, as if all of my previously held values were wiped clean.

I had to rediscover a driving force for life.

The root of shaping a value system for me I discovered, is via inversion. The actions that repel me reveal the introverted properties of incongruence. I will not prevent these reactions as this is akin to stunting my own growth. That is why I am writing again. I did the hard work. To outsiders I was lashing out. To those with a sufficient intelligence, I was exercising a cognitive leap of faith.

The pure nature of an introverted value cannot be reasoned with. It doesn’t matter if you are Gordon Ramsay launching an invective over undercooked meat, or Kanye West telling the world that he will let Taylor Swift finish, or the not-so-complex lyrics of the Kaiser Chiefs song Na Na Na Na Naa (“it does not move me, it does not get me going at all”). If you hold strong personal values, this comes as no shock.

For me, values might be understood as the lifeblood of the soul. If my values are not aligned, I do not care at all. If the charge of feeling is not onboard I will not act. Or as an ENTJ managing director once said “I’d rather breakeven and deliver family ethos, than make a profit and lose customers.” The pursuit of profit without consideration for the value of the end product is heartless in the eyes of the courageous visionary.

In the trial by values, some will become collateral damage and some will become sanctified. You will make enemies, but that means you stood for something. You will make true friends, because there will be no pretense and no arranged subtext for the friendship. The friendship will be built on authentic and congruent expression. You’ll understand what friendship truly is.

There is no other way to express the soul, other than by sheer immersion. The reason people plateau and stagnate in their lives is they have no cojones, they cannot invite risk and be a child again. Success notwithstanding, why do you think it took Elon Musk almost 50 years to smoke a blunt on JRE? People accept these pop-culture situations, but they do not understand them.

I’ve put myself in situations of complete emotional vulnerability, where I feared the worst. I’ve opened myself up in a way I have never done so before. I have no need to cling to logic for safety. I am beyond that, because I dared to walk across the hot coals of complete anguish. My life as a result, is imbued with a vitality I had not felt before, that logical minds chase with control. My resultant feelings are now precise and clear.

I would rather die than let someone tell me what to think, feel and say.

But as Nassim Taleb tweets “imbecile” from a moving taxi, I remind you, the trial never ends.

 

Material Themes

Friedrich Nietzsche said “It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.”

In seeking this approach to content, one faces an inevitable cost of syntactic precision, that inductivists are quick to denounce; an example of which is “relegate” which I use in the English football sense, in step with the Latin ‘to banish’; not demotion but exile. The honorific compression of the ideated model that results, is intended not at the reduction of comprehension. As simple as possible, “but not simpler”, to paraphrase Einstein (alleged).

Disregard for definitional primacy promotes the “artful” quality; an ignorance of convention becomes the path to expression – becoming at times a lambasting, as such Nietzsche opens in Beyond Good & Evil (“Supposing truth is a woman – what then?”) with singular irreverence, as I might describe modern education as “academic”, invoking that it is not of practical use rather than pertaining to scholarly pursuits.

Semantic integrity therefore, is disposed in Nietzsche’s initial salvo, and installing the frame of abstraction takes precedent as an introverted intuitive is wont to do, the operating space for his play instinct. As Oscar Wilde remarked, “art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.”, as it is an imposition if not reverie. It must know that which it assaults.

The form of the content is produced due to aesthetic arrangement, as the incipiency of the ideated value intends to seize the present and hold it for ransom. The abstraction occurs as an amalgamation of sensorial accumulation, thus producing an admixture of objective sense impression.

The subjective intuition transforms the symbolic resonance of a holographic concept into a lexical rendering, undergoing significant resolution loss, but preserving the composition, the seed of meaning affixed by a translatable form.

Produced is an attempted maximal confirmation of the temporal limitation of the potent idea, while the unconscious cognitive agent ensures an extemporaneous nature. Therefore, the instance of creation must be committed to a summative essence, where it may be experienced anew for others, or its death is as rapid as its birth.

Hence, considered explication requires extensive recall, seldom a talent for visual-spatial antagonists that treat the emergence of thought as a pictorial event or a sensual emergence. Those that think in networks, and trace packets to their source are better equipped, but aesthetics for such individuals remain elusive.

Jung, as regarded by John Beebe, boasted pronounced “psychological realism” – a claim I can in part extend to myself, therefore the particulars of my deductive method are charged with the incisive dynamics of an objective perception. I am gifted with a concomitance of sight and understanding, espousing nuance not through a logical determination but a perception that operates on panoptic awareness.

The introverted intuitive, as Nietzsche and Jung themselves were models of, was called to be “an enigma to his own circle” by Carl Jung himself, thus absent the predilection for explication aforementioned, the output of such a mind may bewilder.

In times of sporadic consideration, further weight may be offered, but as a matter of course the river flows in one direction. There will always exist a gap between the produced opus and its commonalities, that only long-form writing can hope to address.

Understanding is a luxury for the artist.

Certified Writer

Certified. OG. Corleone without a Brioni. Scarface with Machiavelli for a friend.

Goku without the appetite. Liquid assets on a Saturday night.

Ocean swim, salt for the wounds, and the taste. Mindset in a shot glass. Ice baths. I’m the prize, confidence at last.

Character on sale, get it while it lasts.

Autists sipping Cosmos, cocktails of red pills. Alphas half-asleep in bedrooms, hungover from born skills.

Affiliate links to pay for her drinks as she talks about the last guy that didn’t pay for her drink.

eBooks for beta bucks, dominance on a postcard, turn to page four to act like you give no fucks.

Escape average. Tide lifts all ships, until the coast gets hit. Villages with harems evac gurus to Thailand to get their valuables checked.

IQs tattooed like cut-here lines on the back of their necks, reading the Prince, waiting for her reply to your text.

A law for each hour of the weekend wasted in haste to play jester for a Tinder date, for a screenshot to prove to reddit your HB8.

Stoic online as if the Pope can’t simply tweet that he prays when he shares that hypergamy is no bogeyman for every woman that never thought to care.

Men become memes, unblock to hold frame and take aim before going private to show their privates are as absent as their skin in the game.

Peacocking, gold braces, contrast collar. Seducing the first is an entrée.

Gordon Gecko, cold-blooded by nature.

Second girl in the second room. Say nothing. Do everything.

Pinned down in the street by four men after the bottle struck the head of your friend.

No machismo. Blood gushing, people rushing. Fast talking.

Climbing over hedges, blue light painting the fences.

Watching every word, weapons in hand in a rival’s land. Walking a fine line between respect and threat.

Tumblr virgins and English clit majors. Put me in a Bell jar and say loquacious again while you remove my skirt.

Sweating in the backseat, boyfriend at home blowing up the phone. Meeting two girls and telling the second to leave.

Tickets to VIP event, blazer and a silk neck. Slim outshines with pochette and a red dress.

Less is.

False Ideals

To expand on my previous post, the hugbox inclination permeates the mind of the egoic seeker; adoring the safe space of studious self-absorption, an ignoble form of isolation masquerading as a homage to the Athenian ideal, but curiously failing to venerate her more confrontational attributes.

Manifestations of this sacrificial act are found on Twitter among used insight salesmen that grandstand with allusions to the ancients (“library of Alexandria in your pocket”). In proffering their repugnant mimesis the individual is devolved and with it the intrinsic achievement, abolished into a mere collection of notions, prostituting wisdom for the most likes. As Oscar Wilde said, “everything popular is wrong”.

These salesmen scream caveat emptor in the subtext of their meditations but the cries go unheard as their product is the most nefarious of all, the idea that you are a mule, a courier for thought. Neglecting the “social” in social media and ignoring that debate is one of the oldest sources of wisdom, their folly inadvertently recommends a surrendering to ideation and in doing so, overriding the qualities that are singular and distinct.

A devotion to the nature of thought removes the impetus behind it, since the definition of wisdom hinges on experiential implications. Jim Carrey eventually concluded there is no Jim Carrey to free himself of responsibility, not to transcend it. Carrey sought to rationalise the manifestation of his whims, complete with e-philosopher beard.

If man were reduced to the content of his thought, we would have no need for limited paradigms. The counterbalance to ideation is the grounding connections between the nodes of thought – this grounding cannot be conceptual, or it would have no potential for utterance or human output in the first instance, there would be no link to the mouthpiece.

The brilliance of the ideational scientist Richard Feynman was arguably in his personification of natural laws and concepts (as pertaining to mathematics and science). The subjective at its paragon grants a relatability that one can seldom find in ostensibly self-effacing actors.

The audience is held in a form of reverent stasis, following more out of obligation since everyone else is, with little to veritably associate with themselves. Bad actors depende on their explicit focus on presold wisdom and the audience becomes emotionally invested in the concept of ‘value’ once they are hooked, as absent a relationship, they are compelled to defend logic in isolation.

YouTuber zefrank commented on an Invocation for Beginnings that perfectionism “may look good in his shiny shoes but he’s a little bit of an asshole and nobody invites him to his pool parties”. In doing so, he espoused a certain realism in presentation despite being an ideational sort. This we might argue is similar to a recurrent and timeless principle of film-making – the audience needs a theme to relate to, that is applicable in their own lives, otherwise the narrative seems alien.

Twitter philosophers are extremely popular as they affect an ideal: the image of perfection. WIth that, they are often defended to the hilt by those that operate in similar delusions, perhaps with aspirational bios or famous figures for profile pictures. Yet that ideal does not conform to reality – these people are often indulging the derivative tendency of those that place ideation above creation. They are for conception, but not its output.

There is no risk involved in dedicating oneself to knowledge, there is no person to be rejected, especially if one focuses on ‘wisdom’ ensconced within well-trodden soundbites (did you know that curious people learn more?). The authors of digestible ideation are like postmodernist academics that bury themselves in social theory only to become postgraduate teachers, never leaving the bubble of academia (see the to-be Oxford fellow that interviewed Jordan Peterson).

The worst claim to be original, but affect to be something from the past. Gutless cowardice should not be encouraged, but in a world where image is semper primus, affectation rules. It’s upto you whether you take the hard path or take the cheap and easy route. Know that the more someone is self-honorific, the more likely they are a sham.

If you want to be as unflappable as me, it’s a simple decision.

The Locker Room

A few close shaves in my misspent youth taught me one thing: some men will push your buttons to test your spirit and demand that you fight. In order to evade these risks, some find solace in groups that operate like support hotlines, believing themselves insulated from the impact of an unforgiving world.

The recent hit Netflix series 13 Reasons Why attempted to feature a male-only space with its central theme incorporating the high-school jock cliché of the locker room; a would be tense arena where a fight might emerge from a misplaced remark. Unfortunately the show glossed over realism somewhat — light-hearted banter on an equal footing with supportive commentary is a far cry from my experiences in familiar settings.

This smoothing attempt to ignore the rawness of these forums indicates a distinct softening of the times. Strength cannot exist in a vacuum, it must be tested, like a forged sword must first glow from intense heat before hardening. If your social circle defaults to support, compliance or indifference, in the end it erodes your ability to hold up the roof of the domus. The siren call of validation in abundance dulls the senses. When it is time to show mettle, a habitual diplomatic or evasive manner rears its head. Tough times are not abstracted into a challenge — there is only reaction and emotion.

Tribes have always existed (Jack Donovan makes a great case for them), but there is a pernicious idea among masculinity theorists in the chambers of online discourse that implies the only expression of masculinity is the bond between you and other men, and there can be no threat to that bond. This is almost sacrosanct among men that think like mechanics and revere the wider group. I do not blame these men. Their motivations are aligned with good intentions, but people in the end act out their defaults with the devil watching. A crutch is born.

The band of brothers motif is intoxicating. You see others like you and find confirmation in the emotion reflected back at you. You tell yourself it all fits together, ergo it belongs in my life. This helps me understand myself to be a part of this group. In times of war, this feeling affiliation reaches its zenith. The essence of camaraderie is rooted in this spirit. Outside of life or death, it’s a safety net for weak hearts.

Surrendering to a group ensures strength in numbers but alone you remain vulnerable, fragile and weak. The heightened risk is that even when we are with others we are still alone. Nobody can ever perfectly read or anticipate us, no matter how much we would like to pretend otherwise. We are a product of ourselves in every environment. Even the most stimuli-response oriented humans are of a singular distinction. They are a unique person.

A group is even more of a liability if it does not test you or apply rigorous standards for membership. You become a freeloader empowered to speak in the same tongue. In such situations, the ethos you share with others is no different to a movement dictated by an emotive cause. You only need your feelings to vie for social justice, no qualification or rite of passage – as tribes once boasted.

As a practising agreeable person, a truly disagreeable person can expose critical vulnerabilities. Your openness becomes an exploit to be hacked. In putting the group first, to others you must always come last. The people that put your first however, are not afraid to take aim. The people that genuinely support and care about you will step on your toes. They will tell you when you are going to fuck up your life, or when you are being a coward. Gratitude comes later.

Through cultivating a group of friends that put truth and reason above their need to be liked, strength is afforded with and without them. Honest feedback is always available, and the strength in numbers exists inherent to the group. If you build a locker room in your life, men you appreciate will respect you enough to not shine fake smiles and utter pleasing words, that comfort instead of teach. They will dig into you, find your true character and expose it.

Weakness cannot thrive in the locker room.

Learning to Climb

“It all started with a thirty day challenge” – that was what I told myself three years ago when I envisioned the distant future; little did I know what it was that I was actually starting.

Reflecting on this prophetic statement, the decision to persist with erratic posts over the course of a dreary September set me on a path that changed my life forever. Be it the embrace of psychological realism or meeting Twitter friends in distant lands, my life is a different picture.

In writing this post I conjured the Tolkien thought of the Hobbit’s moniker ‘There and Back Again’. Bilbo Baggins left the comfort of the Shire only to return after confronting an assortment of monsters, nefarious hoards and personal challenges. My quest has not been as fantastical as retrieving Smaug’s treasure, but it has been especially trying, and a meta-lesson in self-growth.

When Bruce Wayne in the Dark Knight accepted the antipathy of Gotham to be “the hero Gotham needed”, his identity was lost in the process – the symbolism of his alter-ego tarnished. No longer was the bat-man an expression of individual character, but something decided by the people. As a result, in the sequel Bruce was a listless, forlorn character at first.

Artful Man met the same fate, like a limb to be amputated I felt I could cut away the known reality and reinvent, but it turns out one cannot reinvent who they are.

True self-development is away from the clamour of social media — away from the spotlight. Not all will recognise this growth because their online investment is at the expense of their non-digital realm, but this unadulterated embrace of the visceral world is how a powerhouse of logic finds balance in a frenzied time.

I encourage all who wish to start making a mark, to start in the most earnest and honest manner possible. Build a foundation, as something more takes as long as it takes.

I found myself in a pit for two years, but I’m learning to climb.