He who has no head.

There lives a man who has no head. A man with a blank stare, a stranger to all the rest. This man feels a symphony of emotion,  yet he denies them power over him. He sits with no head and gazes out into the world, staring out onto things with stoic indifference. His mind races with thought, just like all minds do, but this thought holds no power over him. This man is a stoic, external events bother him less because of the power that lies within the neutral judgement of things; neutral judgement permits external things no power over him, for how can they? How can rain perturb the emotions of a man if he wishes no for dryness or wetness? How can anxiety grip a man who has no preference for the order of things?

“Who then is invincible? The one who cannot be upset by anything outside their reasoned choice.“ — Epictetus

In a subjective world, how do we judge the actions of others?

We live in a world of subjective morality, where moral positions are decided purely on opinion, they are but beliefs rooted in ideology and this presents a stark problem; which morality should we adhere to, given that no morality is objectively correct, true or just?

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If something is written in law, this does not make it moral, acceptable or good; what laws should or shouldn’t be created or enforced is but purely a subjective opinion. There exists no objective reference to which you can measure the morality, acceptability or goodness of any law. However, we still require the law to be the artificially created moral standard to which to judge all citizens within society, because without it chaos would emerge for there would be no good or bad actions and we would lack any credibility to hold anyone accountable. Similarly, objective morality does not exist but we require a shared moral code on which to judge others, for a lack of an objective standard inhibits us from holding anyone accountable for their actions as they can justly claim differing beliefs in the face of accusation and judgement.

I’m confused, can you please elaborate?

Moral codes differ from person to person, and as a result, there is no standard by which to compare moralities; a world without a moral standard results in an inability to cast judgement on anybody’s actions. If a society cannot judge somebodies actions then how can it enforce rules, for you could claim to not subscribe to those rules; this causes dysfunction within a society, this creates chaos. In order to prevent this chaos, we require a moral standard by which to judge the actions of people, but if no objective moral standard exists, we must create an artificial standard. However, this begs the question; what morality should we elect as this artificially created standard? Who determines the standard? And these are just and difficult questions; I don’t believe that the decision making power should be placed in the hands of the few but in the hands of the many. We have kind-of addressed this issue of who gets to say what’s okay and what’s not through our democratic law; a system that attempts to harness the opinions of the masses to create and destroy rules by which the actions of all will be judged against. But, should we use the law as this standard? Perhaps… However, it would be awfully arrogant of me to assert this with conviction. All I know is that we require a moral standard by which to judge the actions of others, else we slide into chaos, and it seems that our reality has a distinct lack of an objective reality, so we must make do.

I believe that the law is a good starting point for a moral standard to be developed. It already exists, possesses the ability to enforce these rules and it’s not something that somebody can opt-out without leaving the country. Moreover, the law is a good standard to adopt because it doesn’t allow dogmatism, generally speaking, and it also permits evolution; an example of this is the abolition of slavery, which was prevalent and accepted until dissidents begun to emerge against this dominant philosophy. I think that most people can agree that slavery is wrong and always was wrong, and the abolition was a necessary step in the evolution of collective morality. Slavery is a prime example of something that societies got starkly wrong, and this error was corrected by force from those who believed in an opposing philosophy.

Furthermore, the law allows people who believe that the status quo isn’t the best way to exist to vehemently challenge dominant perceptions and philosophies; the law also allows for the pushback against reform, however, the philosophy and/or perception(s) that speak and act with the most conviction will emerge victoriously.

What do you think? Do you think that the law could be utilised as an artificially created moral standard by which to judge others; a standard that permits evolution, is enforceable and is inherent in our society?

 

pleasure&pain.

**This argument is built on the premise that there is nothing after life**

So, I’ve been thinking…Is it better to exist than to never have existed at all? I’m not exactly sure, but here goes an attempt at figuring it out.

In a state of non-existence, we do not possess the capability to suffer,  nor we do maintain any capacity to experience any sensation, be it pleasure or pain. We do not have to bear the burden of hunger, shelter and constant threat of illness and death; we possess no responsibility. Sure we can’t experience pleasure, love or achievement but the function that causes this also frees us from suffering. It makes me ponder…if the opposite of suffering is to not suffer, and the ultimate goal of most religions is a freeing from suffering in the afterlife, this makes me think that the promised end of religion is death, or simply put, non-existence.

Is it better to experience pleasure and pain, or nothing at all? You decide.

 

The pain of loss.

The mind has a way of tricking you into believing untruths, like that you’ve properly processed an emotion so strong that is left a mark deep on your soul…and every now and again its head peaks above the surface of your consciousness and it grips you. It holds you and it squeezes, it squeezes with such force that your entire being is stricken with pain. You must learn to sit in this pain for that is the secret to it’s overcoming. To sit, to become familiar with this discomfort is how you become comfortable within discomfort. To run, to avoid, to distract so as to not feel the discomfort is tantamount to cowardice.

neumuse.

Kindling to a spark, spark to an ember. A smouldering ember that I thought was lost, this ember, as ember blaze before, burns with hot fiery curiosity and desire. The ember that ignites my creative flame, I think has returned back once again. How can you miss something for which you’ve never had before? …a paradox.

Your mind cannot be trusted.

Your mind cannot be trusted.
Once upon a time, I used to be a worm. Undeveloped, fragile, arrogant and depressed. I was a maggot. Nobody wanted to be near me, and hell, I didn’t even want to be near myself. Attempted suicides, an erratic mind and no hope; I had nothing going for me, til’ I changed my life. How? Simple, I learned how to overcome myself; I learned how to overcome my excuses, my bullshit attitude and my own toxic and self-destructive behaviour. I learned to question my beliefs, my thoughts, my actions and my perceptions. This continual analysis allowed me to begin revealing my true nature, well, insofar as I could ever possibly observe my true nature…alternatively, if there is a human who possesses a true nature at all. In this essay, I will attempt to communicate why learning to challenge your perceptions, ideas and beliefs are critical to becoming the best version of yourself.


Mindset manifests your life
“Your attitude determines your altitude” - Zig Ziglar”


Your life is a manifestation of your mindset that you hold. If you have the mindset of a loser, you will manifest the life of a loser. If you possess the mindset of an evil person, you will manifest a life of evil. If you have the mindset of a winner, in-time, you will manifest the life of a winner. It is difficult to observe this phenomenon due to the latency that occurs between mindset and manifestation. The mindset you adopt manifests over time. It will manifest slowly, piece by piece, gradually revealing the success your mind is manifesting; everything takes time. This is called the law of attraction; you manifest what you focus on, and what you focus on is determined by your mindset. I first learned about this concept by watching videos of Conor McGregor on YouTube, from before and after he became the 145LB UFC world champion, knocking out the reigning champ who remained undefeated for 10 years. It took him 13 seconds — what a warrior. I will accept his words of wisdom on mindset as gospel, for there is much video evidence of him touting the law of attraction before he got into the UFC and before he became the champion. He is not the only one who preaches mindset and the law of attraction. Many successful people to teach this concept, such as Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith. Maybe they’re onto something, maybe your mindset matters?


If your mindset manifests your life, and if you’ve possessed the same mindset for some time and you’re not making progress in the areas in which you desire, it stands to reason that your mindset is to blame. Mindset manifests action, action affects the physical world; mindset manifests life. Now, before you start shooting off excuses from the hip, stop. Put those excuses in the trash because excuses are a manifestation of a loser mindset; excuses are nothing but a victim mentality…own your shit, even if it’s not your fault (see: Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink). Everyone has one-thousand-and-one reasons for why they can’t do the thing, everyone. Me? What were my excuses? My excuses were that; I have high-functioning Autism, I have ADHD, I had depression, I had severe anxiety, I couldn’t focus, I had no emotional control, I didn’t have any friends, I didn’t have any positive role models, I didn’t get love and support, I had no direction, I had no prior evidence of possessing the capability to achieve anything…the list goes on. Everyone has reasons, and only weak mindsets manifest excuses. If you want to grow as a person, to become the best version of yourself, you must change your mindset, for your mindset manifests your life.


Changing mindset
A wise person once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results”. If your mindset manifests your life, and you do not change your mindset, it logically follows that to change your life you must change your mindset. Now, you might be thinking, how can I change my mindset? Glad you asked. Tom Bilyeu once said “Ideas in equals ideas out”; I don’t know if this is scientific, but it makes sense, and it has worked to a significant degree in my own life. It makes sense that you think about what you expose yourself to, and thought is what produces ideas. When I want to change my mindset, I change the information that I am exposed to. For example, if I lack motivation, I will watch gym motivation videos, watch videos about exercise science and watch videos and absorb content regarding nutrition; I also seek inspiration from successful people who have achieved notable things in the sport and athleticism. This programs my mind and thoughts of fitness, bodybuilding and health begin to populate my mind, redirecting my awareness (see: reticular activating system) and thus changing my behaviour. What you are exposed to influences what you think about, how you see the world and what you believe changes your mindset, at least in my experience. Try it, and it might work wonders for you, I know it changed my life. To become the best version of yourself, you must change your behaviour, to change your behaviour you must change your thinking, to change your thinking you must change the information that you expose yourself to.

Criticism
Another way to modify your thinking is to seek criticism from those around you, for they see you more objectively than you can ever see yourself. We are blinded by ourselves, to ourselves. We all possess blind spots within ourselves (see: cognitive distortions), and these inbuilt perceptual handicaps prevent us from viewing ourselves objectively. An inability to perceive things objectively means that we cannot observe our flaws objectively; how can we improve if we cannot see what needs to be improved? This is where your friends and family come in, and they can provide an increasingly objective view of yourself. If you have friends that genuinely want the best for you, and are not jealous and do not attempt to bring you down to their level, they will be more than happy to offer you words of wisdom in regards to your personal development. Seek their opinion, ask them what you can improve on, and listen to what they have to say; if it makes you uncomfortable, upset or defensive, they have probably struck a nerve. Listen to your friends, for they want what’s best for you, and what is best for you is to hear the truth.


You will resist, you will contest their words for you will vehemently disagree, disagree with conviction. However, your conviction will be justified…justified because you will wholeheartedly believe that the words they speak to be false, for your cognitive distortions, your blind spots, they have prevented you from seeing yourself objectively. This lack of objectivity means that your perceptions of yourself are highly likely to be false and the presentation of alternate perspective(s) will contradict these held perceptions and evoke an emotional reaction; this is natural, it happens to all of us. Remember why we are doing this? We are seeking the opinion of those who see us more objectively than we see ourselves, for they do not answer to your blind spots. After you have overcome this initial discomfort, you will begin to accept their ideas, and thus your thinking will also change too. Those close to you, those who want the best for you, these people harbour a wealth of information about ourselves, but they often keep to themselves for fear of offending. Seek criticism for it will change your thinking, changing your thinking changes your behaviour, and changing your behaviour will change your life. Seek criticism.


Self-reflection
Self-reflection is a crucial tool for analysing your own ideas beliefs and perceptions. The narrator inside your head is your enemy, the voice in which you speak to yourself within your mind;…a covert agent. This secret agent is attempting to trick and deceive you at every turn, and you cannot trust the words of which it speaks. The covert agent desires a reconciliation between what you believe and what you act out in the world, and if a misalignment occurs tension arises within the mind (see: cognitive dissonance; psychological tension); if tension occurs, the narrator will make you believe fictions about yourself and the world. For example, if you think that you are a good person but then abuse an innocent person, this will create a state of cognitive dissonance within your body, thus creating tension within your mind. To resolve this psychological tension you must do one of three things; change your perception of the event (e.g. she deserved it), change your beliefs (abusing innocent people is ok) or to change your actions (I swear never to do this again for I know it to be wrong). The narrator is a threat to your objective view of yourself, it will distort how you perceive reality so that your actions and your beliefs are aligned, providing a secure sense of self. This battle is not lost however, the most effective weapon against this covert operative is reason. The narrator, the covert agent within your mind cannot overcome reason, for rationale, is but an ocean to a forest fire.


Against this threat, presence is the first line of defence, for without presence you cannot observe the ideas, beliefs and perceptions that the narrator propagates. To observe your thoughts is prerequisite for critical self-reflection; the beginning of the battle for reason in the campaign of reason. This critical reflection of your thoughts will allow you to question why you believe things, and whether it makes sense to think that way. The strength of the arguments presented by your internal self-talk is determined by two things; logical consistency and evidence. Examine your ideas, beliefs and perceptions and cast judgement on them. Do they make sense? What evidence supports them? How do you know that you’re not being biased? What makes you so sure that you’re right? A slew of questions, necessary for this campaign against your own mind…the trickster. This threat of internal deception is why you should constantly question what the narrator in your mind says to be true if you wish to become the best version of yourself. How can you identify faults, flaws and shortcomings if you are entangled in a web of self-deception? Question everything, your mind cannot be trusted.


Final thoughts
In this paper, I have argued that it is critical to your personal development to challenge your ideas, beliefs and perceptions. I have argued that your mindset manifests your life as your mindset is comprised of the ideas that you hold, your beliefs and your perceptions, and in order to create a mindset that is conducive to personal development you must change the information that you are exposed to. I have also argued that another method of challenging your ideas, beliefs and perceptions is to seek criticism from those around you as they can see you more objectively than you will ever be able to see yourself. Lastly, I’ve argued that self-reflection is paramount to challenging your ideas, beliefs and perceptions so that you can become the best version of yourself. I hope that I have convinced you that the ideas, beliefs and perceptions that you hold may not be as reliable, true and concrete than you may think, and these things comprise your mindset, and your mindset manifests your life. In order to change your life you must change your mindset and to change your mindset you must challenge these ideas, beliefs and perceptions that you hold.

 

Overcoming Instinct.

Why?
I am writing this for myself, just as I am writing it for anyone else. I am an ape, a primitive being, and so are you. We all can be better, we all can improve, and when I clarify my thoughts by putting pen to paper, I fortify my belief in these thoughts. I make my understanding of what I think and believe concrete, and I further propagate this message deeper into my psyche; I want to embody what I write, I want it to become my core, molten, firey, possessing deep power. I want this message to embed itself in my DNA at such a fundamental level that my future children come marching out of the womb screaming OORAH!

OVERCOMING INSTINCT.
It is Human instinct to reach for the bag of Doritos over a banana, apple or mango. It is Human instinct to lay on the couch doing nothing. It is Human instinct to always prefer the easy way. It is Human instinct to choose fast-food over fresh-food. It is Human instinct to hit the snooze button rather than going to the Gym. It is Human instinct to choose the present over the future. It is Human instinct to be lazy, gluttonous and short-sighted. It’s your instinct, your destiny, to be fat, lazy and unproductive, only doing the necessary actions to keep yourself alive. Is this the life you want to live? A life of obesity, unfulfilled potential, unrealised dreams? A life of mediocrity, a life of instant gratification? Would you be happy dating someone like this, a lazy person who values the present over the future…someone who has and will never amount to anything other than a slave to their biology? If you’ve answered no to these questions, then keep reading; else, enjoy your mediocre life, filled with long-term pain and short-term pleasure.

WE ARE PROGRAMMED TO SURVIVE.
Humans are programmed to survive, and the instincts within us have kept the Human race surviving for roughly 300,000 years. Our instincts drove us to choose the caloric dense foods over the less dense foods (fat > carbs/protein, 9 kcal/g, 4 kcal/g respectively) for they offered more energy; foods such as nuts, avocados, and any other naturally occurring food possessing a high-fat content. Laziness meant we didn’t expend energy unless it was necessary, and in a world of caloric scarcity this prevention of unnecessary caloric expenditure was a line of defence from starvation and death. In a world where everything is trying to kill you and food is scarce, it doesn’t make sense to do things that aren’t directly tied with your survival, so why do the thing that doesn’t need to be done? In a world of uncertainty, a world where the future didn’t exist because the present was so demanding, instant gratification kept us alive.

In the modern day, these instincts, and I’m speaking primarily of the instincts regarding food consumption and default to laziness, hold us back. They stop us from self-actualising, they stop us from being fit, healthy, and they stop us from realising our dreams. They keep us rooted in the present; our instincts know not of the future, for the future exists behind a wall of haziness and uncertainty in our imagination. Those who succeed, those who realise their dreams, and those who do the thing…these people overcome their instincts. They overcome this intrinsic drive to do nothing and to eat Doritos and ice cream while watching Netflix, and periodically dozing off to sleep. We’ve all been there, let’s be honest.

Why should you overcome instinct?
Great question, I couldn’t have asked it better myself. The modern is challenging in new ways. We have not evolved to adapt to the conditions in which we live in the modern day. The industrial revolution, which resulted in the internal combustion engine and electricity (think anything that doesn’t use steam power or literal horse-power), has only occurred within the last ~200 years. Conversely, farming was first used ~14,000 years ago; comparatively, it is only a recent invention and one that radically changed our world in fundamental ways. This fuelled the scientific, technological, and information technological revolutions of the 20th and 21st centuries. It takes enormous amounts of time, literally hundreds of thousands to millions of years. Our biology is primitive but our world is modern. Our world is Wi-Fi but our biology is carrier-pigeon…we’re running an outdating operating system and we need a software update. If God is in charge of this homo sapien product line, the CEO, the board of the company best be firing him because this hardware is inferior to the environment to which it was deployed. We’re but moths to a flame…the modern world preys on our ability, or lack-there-of to overcome our instincts.

Why do I like fast-food so much? I’m very health conscious and athletic, but I’ll still enjoy a mean vegan potato scallop burger from my local takeaway shop, dripping in oil; the pre-diabetic diet. Why do I drive to the grocery store when I could easily walk? Why do I wanna sleep in and chain watch The Office? I’m a hardcoded lazy ape whose instinct makes him favour energy conservation over physical health and productivity. I wrestle with my instincts every day, and I’m gonna bet that most people do.

You are driving home from work. The image of a burger from McDonald’s flashes before your mind’s eye and you feel the delight from within. You can feel the pull toward the heart disease between diabetic buns, and you know this to be the wrong choice. What are you gonna do? If you submit to your instinct, your primitive impulse, you will have lost the battle. The battle in the campaign of your life and one battle may not seem like much, but you have committed a fatal error. Submission to instinct has now become an option, and this card is on the table available for play. You’ve lost. You’ve submitted. You’ve embodied the primitive Human…you’ve created negative momentum. Welcome to the jungle motherfucker. To overcome your instinct, you must not pull into the drive-thru and you must go home and cook sweet potato and vegetables, or whatever won’t callous your arteries and wreak havoc on your insulin sensitivity. To overcome instinct you must act in the opposite manner in which you feel compelled? Do you want saturated fat? Wrong. Carbohydrate. Do you want to quit? Wrong. Lean in, push on, do not give in. Do you want to check your notifications? Wrong. Keep working, stay focused and OVERCOME INSTINCT.

THE PROCESS.
Each time you choose to not submit to your instincts, you strengthen the mental muscle, you strengthen the neural pathway for that behaviour in your brain. The stronger the neural pathway, the easier it is to engage in that behaviour, therefore, the more you overcome instinct, the easier it becomes to overcome that urge in the future. Do it enough and it becomes automatic. Each time you choose GYM over SLEEP IN, you strengthen your neural pathway. Each time you choose SWEET POTATO over BURGER you strengthen your neural pathway. Each time you choose A BOOK over NETFLIX you strengthen the neural pathway. Your behaviour creates momentum, and this momentum is based on neural pathways, and this is why ROUTINE WORKS. If you want to succeed in whatever you desire, you must engage in repetition; For example, If you want to be healthy you must repeatedly eat healthily and exercise, and to do this you must overcome instinct. Overcoming instinct is a fundamental cornerstone of any success story. Win the moment by overcoming instinct and you will win your life.

SEIZE THE ADVANTAGE.
To overcome instinct is to get a leg up in life; a distinct advantage over those who succumb to instinct. Overcoming instinct means it is more likely that you will live the life that you want to live. It is because of this repeated self-overcoming (overcoming instinct), that you will be more likely to execute on the tasks that will move you toward realising your dreams. This continual self-overcoming fortifies your willpower, and this willpower will be the driving force in your life; you will possess the power in which to execute on your dreams. Do you want to be the best that you can be? Do you want to realise your dreams? If you want to level up, get an advantage in life, you must…

OVERCOME INSTINCT.