Category Archives: Life

Disconnection

I read my Tweets. It seems the Oscars are tonight. Who knew? Thanks Anti-Dem blog, I guess. A lesbian who had a sitcom a couple decades ago took a picture; 2 million RTs. A lot of people it seems. Society is dying.

I read a newspaper article a friend sent me. It’s from the CBC.  It seems tribalism is evil; ethnic nationalism moreso. I almost forgot. Thankfully, this one was at least written by an adult with a functioning brain and a basic grasp on reality. I read another article, this one was not. The mind revolts; I remember why I don’t read newspapers anymore.

I’m visiting family. The TV is on while we talk. Commercials come on. I haven’t seen one in months; it feels like a mental assault. The stupidity almost hurts. Do I really feel the brain cells dying or is that psychosomatic? Has anyone, ever, been even half that excited over an egg sandwich before in their life? Even more, I am insulted someone, someone with a degree and a six-figure job, thought I would actually believe somebody could get that excited. The actor’s every expression screams backpfeifengesicht, yet I would be the one to go to jail. There is no justice. Wait, if they’re making this commercial somebody must actually be convinced to buy an egg sandwich because of it; the mind reels away from the horror. Finally the pause in conversation ends; I can ignore the terror.

I am riding the bus. An ad displays an idiot who is amazed, mouth agape, the government will subsidize his renovations. Does a thousand dollar subsidy from a nameless bureaucrat really elicit such an emotional outpouring? I wouldn’t even be that amazed if my office pool won the lottery. His face looks retarded. The urge to punch something, anything, stirs, so I look elsewhere.

Another ad. It’s a mentally handicapped man, looking slightly less retarded than the renovations guy. “I’m an athlete.” Despite being better at his sport than 90% of people will ever be at anything, “I’m an athlete.” is how you advertise him? I’m an emotionally-detached asshole, yet I’ve never been that condescending to anybody in my life. Why do the Special Olympics hate disabled people?

Another ad, but of a soldier advertising the military, something noble, something worthy. Looking past the uniforms, its a woman; still sacrifice is sacrifice. ‘I love that I’m a role model.’ Shudder. I look to the quote under the other women soldier beside her, ‘People take me seriously.’ Defeat overwhelms me. Where are the calls to flag, country, patriotism, duty, honour, sacrifice, freedom, hell, even democracy, something, anything, transcendent? The army is purposefully recruiting narcissists. My biggest regret for almost over a half decade was not joining the army after high school; that regret is almost gone. Why can’t I fall asleep?

I am at work. I overhear my coworkers discussing a show I’ve never seen. I stay in my cubicle. They move to discussing football; I don’t recognize the names. I stay seated.

I scan Slate semi-regularly just to keep some connection to the mainstream news and opinions. I rage at the stupidity and asininity, but at least it’s not Salon or the NYT or HuffPo.

The headlines are increasingly infected with the Gawker voice. You know the voice; the one that sounds like Cracked headlines had a retarded step-child.

“I opted my kids out of standardized tests. I thought it was no big deal. Boy, Was I Wrong.” Here’s how someone who hadn’t drank paint as a child would write this: “Opting my kids out of standardized tests was a greater hassle than I thought.” See: 14 words in 1 flowing sentence as compared to 19 in 3 choppy sentences; much more readable and it sounds like something not written by a child who skipped his standardized tests. But I guess you must appeal to the other paint-drinkers. Can people no longer read ‘complex’ thoughts?

Also, up yours Slate. I don’t need your permission to lick a cookie-dough spoon. What kind of pathetic incompetent does? Come to think of it, what kind of worthless person even thinks about this more than, “Hey, my cookies are baking, let’s eat the leftover batter”?

Fictional TV character doesn’t understand economics! This from the same site that publishes Matthew Yglesias. The irony almost burns. Speaking of, does Matt ever write something not retarded?

Seems Pharrell’s, who sounds vaguely familiar, Happy, which does not, is the new Hey Ya, whatever that means. No one ever writes on heavy metal; c’mon Iced Earth’s new CD just dropped.

I read something in XX. It’s dripping with venom; hate seethes from every word. I check the byline, but I already guess the author. Is there any person in the world more hateful than Amanda Marcotte?

Get to Dear Prudence. Ahhh… Normal human pettiness is an amusing relief. Hmmm… It seems teaching children anal sex against the parents’ wishes is only ok if the public school does it. Good to know.

I write for my blog. Trying to find article on Gawker voice I vaguely remember reading a long time ago. Find this instead. There is actually someone who believes Gawker writes good headlines. America deserves destruction. Reason #5: “They’re written like real people talk.” Really? Reading a Gawker headline makes my bloodlust rise. If the people I spent my time with talked like that I’d be in prison. Remind me to never talk to anyone either named or friends with Andrew Hanelly; 20-to-life does not interest me.

Finish Mass Effect 3. It and the first two have been my major interactions with popular culture over the last three months. 40 hours a game, a game a month, an average of an hour a day (but more realistically one or two evenings a week). I also watched LilyHammer and House of Cards.

The more time passes the more disconnected I feel from society and culture. My knowledge of societal and cultural events around me all comes from a small internet subculture. No radio, no TV but Netflix, no newspapers, no sports but the occasional party for the ‘big game’ or ticket to the ‘local team’.

What little of culture seeps through my filters repulses me.

I’m not sure how healthy this is.  I’m not sure if the alternative is any healthier.

Am I insane? Or is everything else?

The Bookshelf – Finding Flow

One of my friends has been recommending Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly to me for a while. I got around to reading it this last month and figured I’d review it here.

The book is about flow. The author spends the first third of the book explaining flow. Essentially, flow is that peak experience where you lose yourself in the task at hand. Everything in your being is focused and you’re concentrating solely on what you’re doing, totally immersed in your activity. We’ve all (probably… hopefully?) experienced it at some point. It’s when you’re playing a sport and nothing exists except you, your opponent, and ball; when your writing and there is nothing but you and your words; or when you’re working on that difficult project, look up, and find that 2 hours have just somehow disappeared. That’s what flow is, being in the zone. He differentiates flow from happiness, concentration, and motivation.

Mihaly argues that flow comes from a meeting of a high level of both challenge and skill. If something is not challenging enough, people become bored, if something is too challenging people become frustrated, but if the challenge is just right right for someone’s skill level, he will enter this experiential high. (This concept of flow actually aligns fairly well with my last post. Devote your whole being to your work for God and flow will be one of the immediate rewards).

The second third of the book concentrates on analyzing where flow can be found in work, in leisure, and in relationships.

The last third of the book give some advice on arranging your life so you are more likely to encounter experiences where flow is likely, describing the autocelic personality, and discussing the role of flow and transcendent goals on society.

Two major concepts aside from flow he writes of are the autocelic personality and psychic energy. Psychic energy is pretty self-explanatory; each person has a reserve of mental energy and attention they can devote to activities, things, and people. Autocelic individuals are those who seem to have high levels of psychic energy which they devote to the tasks they are working at allowing them to experience flow often.

The book is fairly short, at less than 150 pages of writing, and is easy to read through. It’s well written and moderately engaging. The ideas are interesting and are mostly backed up with science. Overall, the book was solid.

I do have two criticisms of the book. The first being that, despite being called Finding Flow, there was little practical advice for finding flow. There was some general advice, mostly lumped into the 7th chapter, for putting yourself into situation to experience flow, but given the title of the book and the impressions I got from my friend, I was expecting a more practical book.

As well, the general advice basically boiled down to: try new things, pay active attention when you do things, do things you like, don’t watch too much TV, make lists, and prioritize your time. None of that is bad advice. In fact, its all good advice, but its also pretty standard fare; that kind of advice can be found everywhere and most of it was too general to be immediately useful. It might have been the hype of my friend, but I was expecting something more groundbreakingly insightful or life-changing.

The second criticism of the book comes from the last chapter. There was a slight bit of a new-ageyness feel throughout the book, as is not uncommon in self-help books, but for the most part it the book was grounded in science which made it ignorable. During the last chapter, however, he follows a decent section on our societies narcissism with his ruminations on creating transcendent goals for people to work against entropy apart from traditional religion. He talks about science throughout this and explicitly separates it from New Age mysticism, but its disconnection from first principles was off-putting and made it felt like repackaged, semi-spiritual. New Agey mumbo-jumbo. Although, he did ameliorate this some at by stating that it might be possible everything is meaningless in the last paragraph of the chapter and book.

Despite these criticisms, Finding Flow was a decent psychological self-help book that mostly avoided the off-putting inanity of many self-help books. The concept of flow is a good one and his discussion of where flow can be found was interesting. On the other hand, his recommendations were more general than practical and were not particularly novel. I was expecting more and was a bit disappointed, but that was probably more because my friend had been hyping the book to me for such a long time than any actual deficiencies in the book itself.

Recommendation:

This book was fairly good read on an interesting concept with some good, if not original, advice. It’s readable, not overly long, and the Kindle version is decently priced (at $13 the paperback price might be a bit on the high side for its length). If the concept of flow is interesting to you or you are looking for some general self-help advice based on scientific study, this book would be worth looking at. I wouldn’t say it’s a must-read, but if my description interests you, pick up Finding Flow.

Repost: Fat Acceptance

This last bit of the Omega’s Guide is taking more work than I thought. In honour of the end of #FatShamingWeek, here’s a repost from a year and a half ago. Still as relevant today.

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Fat acceptance seem to be going around the manosphere right now and derisive mockery seems to be the order of the day. It seems to have started with this guy’s (probably satirical) blog on fat game.

I’m going to avoid the derisive mockery, but  instead I’m going to talk about shame and self-hatred.

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First, some theology. Being fat is generally a sign of sinfulness.

Sloth and gluttony, the two primary causes of obesity, are two of the cardinal sins. It is shameful to be fat, because it is shameful to sin.

Derisive mockery is not untoward to someone who advocates the acceptance and normalization of sinfulness.

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Theology aside, obesity is still something to be shamed.

I do not need to go into all the ways obesity is unhealthy for an individual, that’s common knowledge. By allowing yourself to be obese you are quite literally committing slow, likely painful, suicide.

By allowing your body to destroy itself you are showing that you do not love yourself or your life. You are also showing you do not love those who love you and will be devastated by your early death.

If you are married, by being fat you are showing your spouse through deed, if not word, that you do not love them enough to remain attractive enough to have a healthy sex life.

You should be ashamed of being fat.

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Fat acceptance is concerned with ending self-loathing fat people feel for themselves. That is wrong.

Self-loathing and self-disgust is generally a sign that something is wrong in your life. It is your body and subconscious telling you that something needs to change as your current actions, lifestyle,and choices are negatively impacting your body and its ability to reproduce itself.

It is an evolutionary mechanism designed to protect you.

In the case of obesity, the shame and self-disgust you feel is your body telling you that you are killing yourself.

When your body and subconscious  tells you something is wrong, the answer is not to get over it, the answer is not to drug it into submission, the answer is not to accept it, the correct answer is to figure out the reason your body and subconscious are screaming at you and to change yourself so they no longer have to scream.

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Your body evolved in an environment of scarcity. Food was scarce, you rarely gained the calories necessary for optimal health, so your body adapted to urge you to eat as much as possible, particularly of sugars and fats, which provided a large amount of calories.

Modern industrial agriculture has made food abundant; it is no longer scarce but your body still thinks it is, so it demands you eat, and it particularly loves its fats, sugars, and salts.

When you do not eat as much as you can your body screams at you that you are starving yourself; when you exercise, you are depleting your energy reserves and you body screams at you.

This is why it is much easier to gain weight than lose weight. Your old primal self is no made to handle the new modern world. You should not ignore this, but you should know why this pain exists.

The curse of being fat is: Your mind and body scream self-loathing at you for being fat, but your body screams pain at you if you diet and exercise. It is painful either way.

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So why do people participate in fat acceptance, when their own bodies and minds are screaming at them that they are killing themselves, when all the research says they are killing themselves, when obesity negatively impacts yourself and those you care about?

Easy: change is hard.

It is a lot easier to come to accept (and possibly overcome) your self-loathing mentally than it is to overcome the pain of diet and exercise. Self-loathing is vague and amorphous, pain is immediate and direct.

Self-loathing can be reasoned at, self-justified, denied, and overcome by other emotions. There is no reasoning with, denying, or ignoring pain: pain is.

Instead of facing the pain, it is easier to accept the self-loathing.

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Shame is used for societal control. It is used by society to prevent people from following their base urges to self-destruction.

Forgoing shaming obesity, gluttony, and sloth is not loving; it is apathetic. It is people to destroy themselves.

Fat acceptance is not something society should embrace, for the good of fat people.

This is not to say fat people shouldn’t be loved, they should, but their obesity and the behaviours contributing to it should be shamed out of love.

Fat acceptance is telling people it is okay to engage in self-destruction.

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If you are fat, realize it is not healthy. You are hurting yourself and showing you do not love yourself or those around you.

Realize that the pain may be unavoidable, but it is necessary.

Overcoming the pain and making yourself a better person will do much more for you, your self-respect, and your happiness than any amount of fat acceptance.

If you want to improve yourself, I would recommend the primal diet.

I tried the primal diet; while being strict on it I lost 10 lbs in 3 weeks. After that I became less strict, but I’ve still lost about 25 lbs (12% of my body weight) in 3 months. I’ve never been actually fat, maybe skinny-fat, but I did have a gut, it’s quite noticeably shrunk.

The best part, after the initial three weeks it’s required almost no willpower on my part. I rarely feel hungry and I never feel like I’m missing anything; it requires very little discipline. Once you get over the initial hump, it’s easy. It causes minimal pain, while still getting results.

So, do yourself a favour. Try the primal diet.

Cable: The Cold, Dead Fire

This week I was reminded why I don’t have cable. I went on a two-evening business trip and was planning to do some reading in the evenings; I wanted to finish Economics in One Lesson and possibly Boston’s Gun Bible. I ended only getting most of the way through the former.

Why?

Both evenings, when I got back to the hotel room, I turned on the TV for what I planned to be a little relaxation before starting reading. The planned half hour, turned into an entire night. (I should have learned the first night, but didn’t).

Some of it I enjoyed, Duck Dynasty was very entertaining and filled with solid moral lessons; I do not regret watching a few episodes and wanting to watch a couple more was the reason I turned the TV on the second night. But in addition to Duck Dynasty, I ended up watching, among other shows, a multi-hour marathon of those storage auction shows, the movie Hook (which had a certain nostalgia value, but little else), and a few episodes of some retarded Nickelodeon comedy for teenagers, none of which I can say I actually enjoyed watching.

I’m fairly sure my books would have been not only more edifying, but also more entertaining, definitely moreso than the Nickoledean comedy. Yet, I watched these shows anyway.

I had this same problem back when I did have cable. It was so easy to sit down, then continue wasting away time even when I wasn’t enjoying myself or what I was watching. I would spend 15 minutes flipping through the channels, thinking to myself there’s nothing on. Then, thinking if I wait only 15 more minutes, new shows I like will be on. I could occasionally spend hours in this cycle of non-enjoyment

TV is manufactured to pulls at your senses and suck you in. After it sucks you in, it drains your energy and will to do anything else. The passivity of TV makes it unlike any other medium. Print require active reading, video games require active involvement, but TV requires nothing other than to lie down a shut up. It is so very easy to waste large amounts of time not enjoying yourself watching TV.

Cable makes it worse. With so much variety, it is always easy to find a show that is, if not entertaining, is barely watchable. It’s such a low threshold to reach, but the primal pull of the colours, the movement, the sound, the manufactured ‘relationships’, the ‘overheard’ conversation makes it difficult to resist the lure of the barely watchable. You are being manipulated on levels you are barely aware of; I was.

Cable TV is a soul-sucking distraction.

We could even say, it leaves you desouled, butthexed, and bernankified. lolzlollzozlolz

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This excerpt from Chapter 12 of the Screwtape Letters proves apt:

As this condition becomes more fully established, you will be gradually freed from the tiresome business of providing Pleasures as temptations. As the uneasiness and his reluctance to face it cut him off more and more from all real happiness, and as habit renders the pleasures of vanity and excitement and flippancy at once less pleasant and harder to forgo (for that is what habit fortunately does to a pleasure) you will find that anything or nothing is sufficient to attract his wandering attention. You no longer need a good book, which he really likes, to keep him from his prayers or his work or his sleep; a column of advertisements in yesterday’s paper will do. You can make him waste his time not only in conversation he enjoys with people whom he likes, but in conversations with those he cares nothing about on subjects that bore him. You can make him do nothing at all for long periods. You can keep him up late at night, not roistering, but staring at a dead fire in a cold room. All the healthy and outgoing activities which we want him to avoid can be inhibited and nothing given in return, so that at last he may say, as one of my own patients said on his arrival down here, “I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked”.

Is there any better expression of the compulsion to watch TV than that: “I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked.”

Can you think of anything worse to think to yourself at the end of your life? I can’t.

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Now, this is not a blanket condemnation of TV; man should have some leisure and relaxation and some shows are genuinely worth watching even absent the entertainment value (I put Yes, Minister on the DE Reading List for a reason). But you should only watch, in moderation, what you actually enjoy or what may inform you or make you a better person.

Spending hours watching commercial-filled crap which meets the minimal requirement of not completely unwatchable simply because it pulls at at your laziness and other primal compulsions you don’t quite understand is a waste.

My advice, if you have cable or satellite TV get rid of it. If there’s a specific show you want to watch, stream it on Netflix or get the DVD’s, but having cable makes it far to easy to get sucked into a time-wasting vortex where you are neither entertained nor doing anything productive.

I’m almost glad I had that experience at the hotel, it reminded me of the cold dead fire. It reminded me of the dangers of cable and why I decided against it in the first place. It’s a lifeless, joyless way to waste your life.

Get rid of cable, buy a book, some ammo, or even some Simpsons DVD’s instead. You’ll get a lot more out of it.

Health and Order

I’ve talked of health a few times before. I’ve condemned fat acceptance and gluttony and I’ve also written of moderation in diet and my own attempts to be healthy. I’m going to write on this subject a little more, as I have read this discussion on veganism at Vox’s and this discussion at Slate on body-building.

Despite the differences between extreme veganism and extreme body-building, both stem from a similar disorder, the undue exaltation of the body. Health is good; eating like a human, rather than gorging like an animal, is proper; keeping fit is wise. I encourage proper maintenance of the body (even if I do not maintain mine as fully as I should). But both these often go beyond being fit into unhealthy obsession.

My sister is a vegan; even though she’s not overly demanding or insufferable about it, it still demands a lot from her. Rather than veganism being a life enhancer, it is a life constrictor. Even though she’s fairly moderate and non-crazy about her diet. The extreme vegan places so much moral emphasis on his diet, he elevates it to a quasi-religion. Veganism becomes the cause in his life, overtaking other, greater pursuits.

Read about the body builder’s life linked above:

To gain weight, I have to consume 8,000 to 10,000 calories a day. Enough to comfortably feed a family of four. I have a gross amount of supplements and vitamins I’m convinced I need to take daily to grow. I have a collection at home and one at work, which has grown so large it has started to encroach my co-worker’s desk.

At the time of writing, I have three gym memberships; I joke that I collect them, but some gyms just have better equipment for different things. Equinox has the best pool, 24-Hour Fitness has locations everywhere (great when I travel), Golds has better leg equipment … each membership has a purpose.

Monetary expenses aside, bodybuilding is a huge time commitment. I eat every two hours, workout for my lunch break, and sleep promptly at 10 p.m. to ensure adequate recovery time. I don’t go out to bars or stay out late because I worry it will derail my training regime and hinder progress. As a result, I rarely socialize with co-workers and have few friends … but, that might also be because I’m an introvert.

Being bigger makes me happy.

I don’t think this is the reason why most people bodybuild, but for me it’s very simple: I was miserable when I was smaller. I felt so weak, tiny, and undesirable that I once attempted suicide over my perceived inadequacies. I still have a long ways to grow before I’m happy with my body, but I feel better about myself now than when I was skinnier, and my depressive episodes aren’t triggered as easily.

This man has let his size define him. He sacrifices everything else that makes life worth living for vanity’s sake: friendships, relationships, hobbies, liesure, intellectual pursuits, etc. He has become a slave to his body. His post on living with body dysmorphia outlines his mental subjugation further.

He lacks balance in his life.

Balance is one of the things that peaked my interest in the primal diet; it recognizes that health is important, but it is meant to enhance your life, not consume it. The 80/20 rule built into the lifestyle inherently recognizes the need for balance in a person’s life (although, I’ve been listing towards 60/40 for the last couple months). But even then, if you read some primal and paleo places, many put an inordinate emphasis in their lives on their diet.

This lack of balance, this body-worship comes from a lack of order and purpose in life. These disordered individuals have no meaning in their life, so they create one

Spending your life on your body is as disordered as being a slothful glutton. Do not neglect your body, but neither should you obsess over it. Recognize your body, your health, should be pursued to enhance your life and achieve your purpose. If it consumes your life and becomes your purpose, you should reevaluate your practices.

Find a balance; maintain order in your life.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:1-10, ESV)

 

Pleasures of the Flesh

I’ve been noting in my Lightning Rounds that a few experienced players have been reaching the end of their run on the hedonic treadmill and are finding the whole experience unfulfilling. Last week, I wrote of how neither hedonism nor meaningless LTR’s will leave a man fulfilled. Now it seems Frost is suffering from player burn-out as well.

Except for a few men, playerdom will never be fulfilling in the end. Shallow pleasure does not bring contentment, only momentary happiness. Meaningless sex is simply the same effect as drugs, except one step removed (or more accurately, drugs are simply artificial inducements of effects similar to that which meaningless sex will bring). As with drugs, it will not satisfy, but it will become increasingly consuming as it becomes increasingly less pleasurable.

You will have sex, feel pleasure, then have but feel slightly less pleasure, and each time you will require more sex, more kinkiness, hotter women, and yet still feel slightly less pleasure each time. Meanwhile, you never feel the contentment you seek. The hedonic treadmill continues to roll until you either die or get off.

So, why not just ride for a while and get off at the right time?

The treadmill takes its toll even after you get off. Just as a carousel rider suffers as an alpha widow, so to does the ex-player suffer from the player’s curse.

A man who limits himself to one sexual partner has, by definition, the best sexual partner of his life with whom he is having the best sex of his life. The player, not so much. Any long-term relationship he may try will always be haunted by the ghosts of better sex and more beautiful partners of time past. The more partners he had prior, the more likely and stronger the hauntings.

There is no purpose to be found in hedonism, only emptiness.

I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man.

So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:7-11, ESV)

Other men go make a different, but no less mistaken, extreme. Rather than pursuing meaningless sex from multiple women, they pursue meaning in a single woman. They find their identity and purpose in loving and serving another fallen person. This is as almost as empty as the meaningless sex, and will leave a man almost as hollow in the end. How is her value more than your own?

A man’s purpose of life can not be found in women or a singular woman.

If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life’s good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For it comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered. Moreover, it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet it finds rest rather than he. Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy no good—do not all go to the one place? (Ecclesiastes 6:3-6, ESV)

So, where can purpose be in life be found?

For this, we can turn to Genesis:

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

This is the first commandment; this is for what God made man.

Man’s purpose is to be found in filling and subduing the earth. Work was what man was created and/or evolved for. Man is meant to tame the land and to build from that which he needs and desires and to fill his tamed land with his own.

Man’s purpose is in building something greater than himself and then to create future generations to enjoy it.

Yet, there is a problem:

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19, ESV)

I have read this verse many times in my life, but only recently did I realize the full measure of agony contained within these words.

It is only in his work that man can find meaning, yet rather than something pleasurable, work is something difficult, bitter, and wearying.

How bitter this cup, that man’s purpose is to toil, yet his toil is naught but pain to him. To his even greater agony, when his toil is through and he surveys the work gained by through the sweat of his brow, he always knows that from dust it came and to dust it will return.

To find purpose, a man must always be working, always in bitter toil, yet know that all his work will eventually crumble in ruin.

I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 2:18-23, ESV)

What is a man to do when all is vanity? How can man continue on, when all about his is rust and decay

Here is all for man to do:

Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.

Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head.

Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. (Ecclesiastes 9:7-10, ESV)

A man accepts that life is vanity; he accepts that life is toil, but he continues. He finds what joy he can, knowing joy is illusionary, while working to build, knowing that his works will fade and decay.

A man’s purpose is to continue to build and enjoy the fruits of his labour even when he can not find meaning in the building or its fruits.

Go Big or Go Home

In my last post, I gave my thoughts on long-term relationships and came down against them. I started writing the piece last week, then left it for a few days, and because of this it became somewhat disorganized, and I couldn’t get it quite right before I posted it. Since posting and reading some of the responses, I realized that this was because I was only writing about the end conclusions of my reflections, while glossing over the premises.

So, I’m going to expand a bit on the post here. The purpose of the post was not to dismiss long-term relationships, in and of themselves. It was to dismiss purposelessness and mediocrity in relationships, which are exemplified by the trends of increased shacking-up and LTR’s.

I’ve noted on here before that a man should have a mission to live for (vaguely hypocritical, in that I am kinda lacking a mission myself, but this blog is somewhat aspirational). Relationships with women should be an augmentation in your life to best help you reach your purpose in life.

Therefore, when pursuing relationships, you should have a clear goal of what you want out of the relationship and how it will help you achieve your mission. Plan out what you want.

If your goal is a family and a committed relationship, then find the right girl, seal the deal, and get married. Do it purposefully; do it right. Don’t fall into a long-term relationship half accidently, then move in together and/or get married after a few years because that’s how things go. Plan it out.

If your goal is hedonism and avoiding commitment, do it right; be a player, start gaming, and have the wildest ride you can. Don’t limit your hedonism to a “safe”, mediocre LTR.

My problem with LTR’s is that they are not succeeding at serving any particular mission all that well. It is a mediocre half-solution that seems to simply try to fill a gap in life without any particular greater purpose behind it.

Essentially go big or go home.

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Smoothreentry also commented on this piece.

I would accept most of his qualifications, with the following caveats.

He is right that the sex for the PUA is not about fulfillment, it’s about hedonism; pleasure. It will often leave a man unfulfilled, as anybody who’s been reading Roosh these last few months can easily see for themselves. It looks like he’s about to try something new, but I doubt he will find the fulfilment he seeks in this new plan.

For fulfillment though, the LTR would not be an answer either. It may feel somewhat more fulfilling in the moment, but tt builds nothing of long-term value. Only the stability of a marriage provides the leverage necessary to build a meaningful home and family. A meaningful life can be built outside of sexual relationships, but in that case it will be apart from sexual relationships, which will be a distraction or at best a simple sideshow.

In today’s modern sexual marketplace, the LTR as a transitional phase towards that of wife is almost always necessary. It should not be the end goal though. As well, it should be carefully watched that these transitions do not “just happen”. You should be transitioning purposefully with a plan. If you start walking without a map you may find yourself in a place you don’t want to be and don’t know how to leave.

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Sarah’s Daughter asked:

I understand you’re saying (as a Christian) you aren’t advocating for one situation or another. I wonder, however, if you would agree that it is equivalent to an analysis on which abortion clinic/procedure is the most appropriate for the non Christian.

It would be equivalent to saying that an abortion by a doctor would be less painful than doing it yourself with a vacuum cleaner. Which I would not hesitate to say, as it is simple reasoned conclusion that does nothing to further an abortion.

I would avoid, say, actively researching which clinics were the best price, or what doctor had the best bedside manner, as these are all actively helping further someone along the path to an abortion. In the same vein, I wouldn’t actively give out tips on which club was the best to find easy chicks or who’s the best value hooker in the area, as these are actively furthering someone along the path to sexual sin.

It can be  a fine line at times, I know, but I think there’s a difference between a simple reasoned observation and an analysis which pushes a person farther towards sin.

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As a final note: The primary purpose of this blog is for me to work out my thoughts on life in relation to finding my purpose in life. I try to keep the blog either analytical or positive and aspirational. I try to with Christian charity. I do try to avoid being overly negative, bitter, or unChristian. Despite this, I am but fallen man, my thoughts are not always Christian or charitable.

I’m naturally cynical and pessimistic. In addition, I am struggling with being unsuccessful in finding a wife while still trying to maintain Christian sexual standards. For a man in his late 20′s, this can, at times, lead to loneliness and sexual frustration. Finally, I have always been a rather pro-civilization type and seeing the civilization I love crumbling around me can be frustrating.

The combination of these factors can sometimes lead to bitterness and unrighteous anger welling-up in my soul, to my discredit, which may occasionally creep into this blog. On top of this, the temptations of nihilistic hedonism are very enticing; thoughts of simply embracing apathy and going poolside while it all burns are not uncommon. This flirtation with nihilism may also creep into my writings.

So, forgive me if occasionally I give into temptation and be somewhat unChristian in word or tone.