It’s another heap o’ rocks in progress. It reflects today’s theme, which is balance. It’s not farther along because … balance. Or the tipping, shifting nature thereof.
You know how hard it was, not to jump in yesterday (or today for that matter) and blog about WikiLeaks latest? Ohhhh, the temptation!
Despite cynical freedomista proclamations that Assange and his glorious company have merely told us what we already knew, there is soooooo much here that’s truly new. From CIA hacking tools sloppily revealed to insider details on the power shift from NSA to CIA to the degree of Congress’ failure of oversight to where we are most vulnerable. And on and on. Perhaps most important, we know know what we suspected and hoped: that there are more Snowdens lurking within the evil of the Deep State, deep, deep Outlaw Moles working for liberty.
You go, Secret Outlaw!
But … balance. Finding it. Keeping it. Restoring it after something goes tilt.
When you’ve chosen a course that’s impractical, perhaps even destructive, real friends are going to inform you you’re taking the wrong path.
On the other hand, the realest friend might not know what’s right for you.
The friend who tells you your drinking or drug use has gotten out of hand probably knows whereof he speaks. Unless you’re conducting responsible spiritual explorations via entheogens and your friend is simply terrified of all mind-altering substances.
The friend who tells you your new religion is leading you into a nest of nutters may be right. Or wrong.
I once warned a (formerly) hard-headed and practical acquaintance that the California self-actualization cult he’d thrown himself into was crazy-dangerous, that their outrageous demands were killing him. He responded that I just hadn’t seen the light. Yet. Next I heard, he’d had a heart attack at age 31. A month’s stay in Stanford Hospital gave him the message that I could not.
Back over on the other hand, it’s a sure bet that friends and relatives of Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone also warned the (former) rich playboy that he was really, truly screwing up his life with the religious fervor he’d suddenly adopted. They didn’t succeed and that’s a good thing. Because if they’d managed to drag him from his path, the world would never have had St. Francis of Assisi. Or for that matter his great compatriot in grace, St. Clare (whose family also objected fervently when she became Francis’ follower and guide).
No doubt if you’ve taken any radical freedomista course friends, family, co-workers, and bystanders have also warned you against it. Aren’t you glad you didn’t listen? (Well, aren’t you glad most of the time, anyhow?
There are times to heed advice from friends and times to grant well-meaning folks a polite no thank you. Recognizing the difference is the tricky part.
As I’ve embarked on the course of no longer being A Writer (that is, a person paid to write) and have headed off toward Terra Incognita, you guys have been amazingly — though experience tells me, unsurprisingly — supportive. To say I’m grateful doesn’t express it.
I’ve also gotten messages from acquaintances who inform me that I CAN’T QUIT NOW. And why? Because there are still wrongs in the world that need righting. There are still evil plots being plotted, dastardly deeds not only being done but being enlarged upon. I CAN’T QUIT because The World needs me.
Well, who said I’m quitting? But I gotta tell you, if The World needs me at all, then The World needs me as I am, following my own path. If The World needs me to fight every battle that somebody else thinks is important, then man, THAT is a sign of just how truly sunk freedom is.
Name me a single instant in human history when there weren’t evils being committed and battles to be fought. Believing that any one person (let alone oneself) is not only essential but obligated to fight every battle for liberty is a huge trap.
I don’t believe freedom is that sunk, of course. I believe the real drive toward freedom is not only leaderless, but is strongly taking place behind the scenes — from secret Snowdens in the CIA to small-scale subversives on family farms and in small businesses. I believe the seemingly All Powerful will self-destruct from their excesses long before freedom does.
Back to How You Know …
One measure of knowing when to heed friends’ advice about the path you’re taking and when not to is how you feel when they warn you you’re headed wrong.
You feel frantic, desperate, angry, defensive resistance to their words … chances are you should heed what they say.
You listen and feel a light dawning in your head … you’re already heeding them and good for you.
You listen and are thankful they care, but you experience serene steadiness within … you’re on your own right course, no matter what others think of it.
Okay, chances are you won’t end up as a saint. But you’ll end up happier. And probably more effective. Certainly more true to your own nature.
Oh yeah. And if your friends tell you you’re doing the exact right thing, but what you feel inside is nothing but a big, puffy ego (and perhaps a suspicion that you really are a saint or a genius or one of The World’s truly indispensable beings) … you probably need some re-evaluation. And some humility.
More on the subject of balance later. Probably often.
After posting this and taking Ava for her morning constitutional, I’ll return to work on heap-o-rocks-2.0. Which is meant to end up as “Sunny Day at the Beach.” This time, unlike last, I’m attempting shadows. We shall see.