I, the Stubborn, Arrogant Writer, Refuse to Conform

I refuse to conform.

Short sentences!

Show, don’t tell!

Not too many characters!

Avoid using too much imagery!

Stay away from cliches!

Don’t be too abstract!

Not too philosophical!

 

I refuse.

Refuse to give in to what modern writers’ communities, and readers’ communities alike, keep asking me to conform to.

Call me arrogant, call me stubborn, or any other type of negative personality adjective.

But I refuse.

 

Why?

 

I believe in what I have to say. There is a reason for me writing the way I do. Changing my style feels like treachery, betrayal of my true self and what my true self has to say. I am not a prophet, not a Messiah who receives divine messages through the whisperings of an angel. But I do believe in the meaning, perpective and the form of the tale I have to tell. It is of the utmost importance that I stay true to myself. And so should you, if you are a writer. But that’s off-topic.

 

These days people get used to short catchy sentences, fast visuals and concrete, straight-to-the-point messages. Faster and easier to digest for a informational digestion system that is already being stuffed with information and either develops mental indigestion or intellectual diarrhea. But informational fast food comes at a cost. We lose the wonders of pondering, the miracle of discovering hidden truths, and the majestic rewards that can be given to patient readers.

 

What do I want to write, being such a arrogant, stubborn and demanding writer?

Fantasy and hopefully some wisdom, treasures of insight and life lessons, the reward for the patient seeker.

But even though I create my own world, have more or less unique races, and even use monsters, magic and many more of such fantasy cliches, I do not want it to be “just an exciting, action-packed story.”

 

What I want to show is the perspective of the characters, in a way that is much more profound, showing how they psychologically deal with all the events that, to me, in most other fantasy stories, just seem to be added purely for suspense. I want to pull the readers into psychological depths, not with difficult jargon and academics, but by begging their patience in following long trains of thoughts and related conversations that are so common in our daily struggles with life, but are mostly filtered out in modern storytelling. Not to bore the readers, but to offer a deeper insight into motivations, into the processing of traumata and other events, and into personal development – or the stagnation thereof.

 

I realize that much of this can also be done through “show”, actions speaking for thoughts, but I believe that it leaves too much to the interpretation of the readers – which in itself is not bad, it makes the story unique for every reader. I want to offer different perspectives, not just their projections, so the readers can really learn about the characters in great detail, and learn from them, live with them.

And, in a way, they will have the privilege of looking inside my head, as the writing reveals a lot about me. I am confident that they, by learning about my struggles and subsequent victories and insights, through the experiences of the story’s characters, can also learn how to deal with their own struggles.

 

At times I really NEED abstract, philosophical or flowery language, in order to make the read work, sweat and bleed, so that their rewards will be equally more profound, as they have to go into the depths of their own experience and intellectual treasures as well, if they want to be able to find an answer that makes sense.

It might seem that the storyline cools down to absolute zero, an eternal static nothingness, but that will only be temporary, as temperature is soon to rise again, allowing for more action and (relatively) fast dialogues.

 

I am not ashamed to say that I borrow cliches and tropes from time to time, because in my experience that some of the more noticeable ones became cliches because they touch universal truths and challenges, that mankind has to face in all ages, all generations. Like archetypes that stand out in the seemingly seemingly endless varieties of personalities and conditions. Of course, I try to be original and authentic wherever I can, but I will use both my own ideas and some (slightly modified) tropes to help my readers connect to powerful ideas, which are supposedly equally insightful and entertaining.

 

I write for readers who like to be challenged, especially young readers, as the main characters are mostly teenagers. I seek brave souls who dare to jump into the deep end of the pool of mental struggle, diving to the bottom to find hidden treasure, treasure that will help them find meaning, hope, and wisdom, most notable also their own (often ignored) wisdom.

 

I write for fighters, for those who want to fight for ideas and who do not take wisdom for granted. I aim at adventurers who LOVE struggle, who CRAVE storms and turmoils of ink and words in order to achieve inner calm and enlightenment.

I write for the generation that wants to believe in itself.

Egoverse Ad Nauseam

The observable universe seems infinitely vast.

To grasp this, you might want to find some movies that show the scale, comparing the microscopic smallest world of quarks and counter-intuitive natural laws to the macroscopic largest world of the cosmic web containing billions of galaxies. However, this dazzling realization is not the same as a universe that extends “ad infinitum”. It HAS limits.

What’s more, we are not privileged to fully experience this universe in its entirety, in all its countless possible states. We are confined to the universe that we experience inside our heads, inside our minds. Of course, we reconstruct (our understanding of) the supposed outer universe in that mind using information relayed by our optical pathways and processed by our brains. But still, it is OUR experience of that universe, not the entity itself.

 

The story doesn’t end there. The visual system and also our cognitive processes are prone to error. That doesn’t mean we cannot gather a consistent body of knowledge about the universe, but it DOES mean we cannot always trust our experiences. To make things worse, we do not just experience, we attribute value to everything we experience. It is a colored layer of desires, fears, expectations, stereotypes, and other devices of our mind. We are not just independent observers. We WANT something from that universe, just as there are many things we do NOT WANT.  As I may have been able to demonstrate in earlier writings, this is due to the “Thinking Mind”, or EGO, trying to safeguard its perfect little world of self-indulgence. It can be of the highest intellectual standards, but if it serves the ego, it is only to maintain, and expand – under its very own conditions – its own mind universe – which I will call “egoverse”.

 

The egoverse works with strong gravitational forces: desires and fears become obsessions that attract all free matter and enprison it into an ever expanding black hole of tragic slavery to the whims of the thinking mind. That dungeon might be veiled under illusions of material, physical, emotional and rational bliss, but since the thinking mind actually has no creative powers of its own, the veils eventually MUST fall. And when they do, it might be too late to escape, as one may well have passed the horizon of no return – like in the case of a “real” black hole.

 

The egoverse is not just a solid block of unity and harmony. There are conflicts and different galaxies, related to different, contrasting desires, thoughts, conceptions of self, emotional conditioning and many more, each forming their own clusters, but also slowly, but surely, gravitating towards their doom.

 

However, as I have tried to demonstrate in other articles, that egoverse is not the true universe, or omniverse, of existence. The “true self”, the source of all experience, of consciousness, is hiding behind all those illusions. The unimaginable world in which that true self resides, that is both infinitely small and united, but at the same time endlessly vast and diverse, is where everything comes from, inclusing the fabrications of the thinking mind and its egoverse. But fully embracing the true self and its true reality would be the end of the thinking mind’s rule, so it tries to defend its homeland, its galaxies. Desires and flawed or false impressions of “reality” are one way, but fear is another.

It takes tremendous courage and faith to cross the boundary between the fake and the real, so it appears as some kind of void, or fear substratum. The fear substratum is like the basis of most of the experiences in the egoverse, it is like the dust from which the galaxies of ignorance are born.

 

Everything threatens to collapse once we consider embracing the true self and its true reality, and the frightening void seems to be able to devour us while trying to escape her unforgiving claws and teeth. But face it we must, if we want to be able to find real bliss, real meaning and real purpose.

If we pass the trial of the fear substratum and “go where no man has gone before” – or at the very least, where only a happy few have ever ventured – we might just find exactly the things we’ve been looking for, in vain, in the more current universe: love, freedom and gratitude for the endless blessings that come with the true reality, which really goes “ad infinitum.”

 

Eventually, the egoverse will not go “ad infinitum”, but rather “ad finitum” (it will come to a horrible end) and “ad nauseam” (it will make you sick, sick of obsession in a black hole of agony – which might be a metaphorical “hell”).

So, which way do you want to go?

The Abnormality of Normality

Imagine you are, involuntarily, joining a sect the members of which are as cruel as you can imagine. They sacrifice human lives and feast in blood while they praise some bloodthirsty deity that inspires deeds that make the average terrorist seem like a peace-loving citizen.
Now, if that sect would take over the world, it would become “the norm”.
Now there are a handful of people like you. A minority. You are who you are now – you don’t believe in violence and evil deities. Are you what would be considered “normality”?
Statistically and socially, you wouldn’t be – not in that scenario.
You might argue that there are other frameworks of reference to determine “normality”, but that is not what I think is meant by “being normal” in popular usage.
Being extraordinary is most certainly not normal. But many of us enjoy peace, technology, art and healthcare that extraordinary humans helped made possible.
Being spiritually so advanced that you renounce the material and embrace the immaterial – becoming again the being of pure, shapeless light and love you actually are at the deepest level – is as abnormal as can be.
Greed is normal. Ignorance is. Lust for power. Herd behavior is too.
Kindness is rare, selflessness rarer, enlightenment possibly impossible.
At least from a “normal” point of view.
It might be different from a spiritual point of view.
But only the smallest of minorities understands that, whereas the vast majority claims the truthfulness of their “norm”.
So what to do?
At the very least, for one fricking day, try NOT to be normal, try to be extraordinarily abnormal! Abnormal in embracing the abnormality of spiritual growth!

Follow the waveform of love and change, if you submit and open your mind, you will recognize it. You surf it, and if you fall, you just get back up and continue surfing. Don’t make it too complicated. It’s not about weird rituals or pseudo-scientific philosophies. It’s about you no longer restraining your true self, but hugging it, as you should hug change and love. Identify with the crystal-clear voice of goodness and power inside your heart, let go of vanities and the show of illusional shadows in which we are starring as sorrowful actors every day. Just trust what feels as pure and good and ignore what does not. You deserve it!

The Crazy Craving for Power

After digesting too much mainstream news, you cannot feel but helpless and pessimistic. If you try to follow stories and sources that supposedly expose the falsity or at least incompleteness of mainstream news, you get an ever grimmer view on this world.

It seems like exploitation, corruption, fraud, theft and oppression is everywhere. It is not a thing of the barbaric past. Neither is it something that only occurs in poor, over-stereotyped developing countries. It is a global, omnipresent “thing”.

I did not write this article to reveal the many secrets (or, for those who believe, conspiracies) that prevent the general public from learning the horrible truths that keep a civilized future just that: a mere “future ideal”. It is up to you to dig and try to figure out how deep down the rabbit hole you’d like to go.

I wrote this to talk more about the “omnipresent thing”. What thing? The craving for power, and all that is related to it (like the temptation of money). What follows is my take on it, my 2 cents.

 

If you have ever heard or read about chaos theory and the theory of complexity, than you might have an understanding of dynamic systems. I am not an expert, but it has influenced my thinking a lot. My idea is that we live in a world that is always changing. The only way for systems to continue their existence, is to adapt, to be dynamic. Otherwise they perish in chaos. Our thinking mind (see previous articles for more information about the thinking mind), which we may also call the Ego, is also like a system. It tries to maintain itself, and to experience a level of comfort while doing so.

 

What does the Ego need? It needs to be able to (or live under the suggestion that it can) exert control; it needs resources like people, self-worth, emotional resources, basic and higher levels of comfort, wealth and money, and energy; it needs the position to be able to leverage between resources, control and the environment.

 

The problems? There is competition, especially at the top of (let’s call it) the pyramid of social existence; resources are depletable and can only be renewed slowly; it is not possible to maintain control of an environment that is constantly changing without changing tactics, or “cheat”.

 

What does the Ego do? It fights the competition by socially acceptable means, or by other means (manipulation, cheating, corruption, extortion, etc.); it is greedy and takes more resources than it actually needs, lowering the chances of the “competition”; it fights a psychological war, by acquiring social or material status; it gains power in its environment and inspires fear into the competition. However, the thinking mind is not the real essence of being. The (let’s call it) soul-mind is the real source of life and consciousness and this pure source has to be intimidated into following the plans and ideas of the Ego, for actually the soul-mind (read more on the soul-mind in earlier articles) does not need the things that the Ego needs. So it has to use trickery in order to survive in its actual form. The Ego feels threatened in its existence and this perceived threat is greater, the higher it is on the ladder of status and power. It will let the soul-mind experience greater fear, and stronger levels of greed, desire for control and need for status.

At the same time, it will become insensitive to things that matter to the soul-mind (like the suffering of other beings, compassion,and empathy) and will offer “the easy way” for any perceived problem. To continue its manipulation and self-affirmation, it can also inspire religious justification for things that are actually more of a political and psychological nature.

 

We see many examples of such justification and manipulation around us, or on “the news”. But it has got nothing to do with spirituality, or even religion.

Is there an alternative? Yes! Power and material fortune, especially when acquired by less humane means, only go so far as to maintain the perceived comfort and control of the Ego. And although fear and greed will keep inspiring to continue on this negative path, the Ego cannot really offer anything lasting and deeply satisfying, it cannot give peace and meaning. The alternatives can, but the Ego feels threatened by them and will do anything to hide them from the soul-mind, its actual real essence. That’s why most people can easily be fooled, manipulated, brainwashed, indoctrinated and tempted.

 

But if they become aware of the false identification with the thinking mind, with the Ego, then they might learn how to let go and find something rewarding and peaceful that no worldy power or money could ever offer. And it is infinite, completely free and available to all!

People who embrace both their true soul-mind, who ignore (but not repress or fight) the illusions of the Ego, and who welcome change and the unknown of the real world that lies beyond this misleading, material one, those people will stop being victims of whatever manipulations or use of power they may be confronted with. It will affect their bodies, but not their soul-minds, and they will not feel the least threatened by it. Because nothing really holds power over us, unless we give it that power by identifying it as such and believing in its effects on us.

The reality that we are served every day by our Ego and the thinking minds of “the competition”, is limited by what can be perceived and constructed in the limited thinking mind world. However, those who partake in it will do anything to further their agendas. Those agendas will only cause suffering to people who still identify with the “thinking mind world”.

 

If you can ignore the screaming tantrums of the brutal, loud and childish thinking mind, the Ego, then you enter a realm of calm and peace. It is this realm that will allow you to see beyond, to welcome the definite reality where all true power and truth reside, where everything is clear and meaningful. In that state of being, the crazy craving for power is transformed in gratefulness and the admiration of the endless beauty of the omnipotent, the omnipresent and the omniscient being of oneness.

The Power of Lust

Why do we trouble ourselves with pleasures that only bring short term satisfaction?

Think of lust as a straight line, from the origin of imagination to the destination of realization. The line is under tension, it is released at fulfillment, but is stretched again soon after… endlessly.

We live in a world of pain and uncertainty and a straight line from chaos to an illusionary, but straight-forward heaven of bliss provides a way out. It is short-lived, of course, but the whole train of obsession that moves along the tracks of desire creates its own kind of false order, it keeps all the psychological chaos at bay. In a way, obsessions focus all our complex psychological energies together into a beam of unity, like a point or line. The mind is always struggling to define itself amidst a range of at times threatening, incomprehensible and opposing states of being and it seeks an equilibrium that obsessions can help provide.

 

Of course the mind can be fooled only so far and part of the tragedy is that we often already know how useless and harmful is the kind of fake unity offered by obsessions. But we still follow it, because we are bound to the sensations of the five senses and the characteristics of the thinking mind, if we are not able to transcend.

 

The “real kind of unity” is of a more spiritual nature and it provides a more profound kind of exstacy. To experience this deeper, unlimited and inexhaustible reality, however, we must be ready to sacrifice more than we usually care to part with. To the extent that the mind-world, where the ego reigns supreme, will feel itself threatened in its existence and will become the strongest opposing power.

If the ego finally fails to seduce the soul-mind –  the more real self beyond the limited illusion of the mind-world – into craving for the easily attainable nirvanas of physical and mental gratification, it will fall back on other strategies.

One of such strategies is to make it seem that the other, the “more real nirvana” can impossibly be attained by the individual, for instance by implanting the idea that the individual has committed too many “sins”, or is “lacking faith” in the “higher realms”.

This kind of manipulation is typical for the shadow side of the thinking mind.

Other tactics include creating a sense of self-pity and making the soul-mind believe that life is just opportunistic, and the higher reality nonexistent or unjust.

 

The key is to realize that suffering is only suffering because the soul-mind overly identifies itself with the material world, with the body – something which could be considered a trick of the shadow side of the thinking mind as well.

Suffering cannot be dismissed, but it is not absolute. However, the ego, the thinking mind, needs to propagate the idea that it IS ABSOLUTE, because suffering is in effect just a symptom of a more essential phenomenon: the chaos of change, which offers a way to the higher reality because it helps dissolve the order and structure of the illusions of the thinking mind’s experience. The irony is, though, that the thinking mind would not exist without the soul-mind, it is just a derivative thereof.

 

Fully embracing the way to the higher reality would mean the death sentence to the thinking mind, because all that defines it ceases to exist as soon as the veils of its illusions are lifted.

That’s why it has to make sure the soul-mind actually believes that suffering is real, and the higher reality, where it would be found relative, not. Why? Because if the soul-mind accepts this, it will steer away from suffering by all means possible, and the best and easiest means are the “solutions” offered in the form of obsession, the mini-nirvanas of physical and mental satisfaction.

 

But also the tools of science, logic, philosophy, personal experience and even the less spiritual aspects of religion will be used to keep the soul-mind away from the real solution. That’s not to say such areas are to be distrusted altogether, but they should be put into perspective.

Obsessions and lust will help escape emptiness, will escape the frightening idea of the ego’s death, even though they only create new emptiness and fears of themselves. That’s why the cycle usually becomes stronger and stronger, like in the case of addiction.

 

Fake-enlightenment keeps the soul-mind trapped, pulls if out of the light and into the shadows.

Coming to acknowledge this insight is a first step on the way to enlightenment, but the thinking mind is an enemy not easy to surrender and with plenty of tricks up its sleeve.

Perseverance is the hardest way, but the ONLY way.

The Overwhelmingness of Emptiness

The Overwhelmingness of Emptiness

Try to picture yourself floating in a dark, black room, with no sound, no smell, and no noticeable air friction. It is totally void of any substance that could trigger your senses. There is no background noise. That is hard enough as it is.

Then try to also get rid of everything you think, all your values, your desires, your fears, your plans, your expectations, your assumptions, your beliefs, and… well, you get the idea. Try to experience something like “true emptiness”.

 

This is so hard that Buddhist monks have to learn how to meditate on emptiness for years on end.

Our minds are busy organizers. They continuously shape our mental universe, our mindscape, into a meaningful whole.

You can see this in the way optical illusions work, and in the way the memory of witnesses of a crime lets itself be reshaped, making it susceptible to suggestion and prone to mistakes. You can see it in the way psychologists use varieties of the Rorschach Inkblot Test, where the minds of their clients see meaningful patterns into what in reality are just random patterns of inkblots on a piece of paper.

 

What does this suggest? Our minds want to create meaning. What psychology and other sciences reveal about this might just as well be the tip of the iceberg.

And natural sciences already  suggests a deeper level of reality where things are behaving counter-intuitively.

 

I would like to take it to another extreme: the “real” deeper level of reality is not in any way definite and is much more profound, non-dual and yet infinitely diverse, and unimaginably more fluid than we could ever perceive in our current state of mind. It is like an infinitely small and dense dot where timeless, spaceless reality is a coexistence of endless possibilities, that never take absolute form, but still are able to take meaningful forms and shape meaningful experiences.

Here in mindscape things are finite. We have limits, we die, things break apart, and time passes without ever repeating the same point on the grand scale of history. Here we see certain colors and discriminate them from a small set of others. We observe shapes and clearly recognize them as objective entities that are separate from others. But what if you really try to experience a greater depth in the things you see? If you see a place in nature with a lot of green colors, maybe your mind will notice a few shades, but that’s it. But what if you try to meditate on one shade of green, and then try to experience thousands if not millions of different shades and a kind of perception of “greenness” that connects them all in a kind of unlimited flow, like a never-ending rainbow?

This is just a first little step on the path to trying to understand and appreciate the overwhelming beauty of deeper reality.

 

And yet, it is empty. It is as empty as the dark black room I mentioned earlier, even emptier. That does not sound as beauty, does it? That does not sound like the overwhelming beauty of deeper reality.

The fault lies with your mind. By emptiness I mean the absence of substance of the mind. Absence of the mind is hardly possible, as we are still living in this current reality. But emptiness can be achieved. It requires us to surrender all our presumptions, beliefs, emotions, values, morals, ideas, shapes, percepts, knowledge, and our experience of space and time. It asks us to let go of everything that dictactes reality, everything that our mind tries to influence or control. And when surrendering this, at the same time we surrender ourselves to what lies beneath this “emptiness”, which is in reality overwhelming emptiness, as it is the very opposite of emptiness. Deeper reality is the fullness of emptiness, it is the screaming silence and the flashing darkness, it is shy humility that overpowers you with unimaginable force. It is the smiling diamond that is both fluid AND crystallized, it is every possible shape and percept AT THE SAME TIME, in a now, a present, that never ends. Of course, the words “time” and “end” do not apply, but such are the limitations of language, which is connected to the mind, being is bound to the same limits.

 

So, if surrendering to deeper reality is so wonderful, why is it so hard?

One word: EGO. Our mind is like an organism, it tries to survive and shape its environment. If fears the unknown, it fears chaos, it fears the unexpected and things it cannot comprehend. It fears this, because it means it cannot maintain its equilibrium, its order, its comfortable little universe that makes sense and gives meaning. But change IS inevitable, just as it is necessary. The comfortable mindscape is actually suffocating and it slowly dies, turning into a meaningless void, a psychological hell. Like in the theory of an expanding universe where the distance between stars will grow so vast, and the temperature and energy levels will decrease to such an extent, that it will become like a frozen void. Why is this? Why can’t the mind just create its own meaning? Because it is not FIT to create meaning. It gets its inspiration not from itself, but from deeper reality, which triggers the unconscious. The ego, the control center of the mind, does not want to acknowledge this, and so struggle and suffering are the logical consequences.

The more the ego resists, the more suffering it will cause, and the more rigid its little orderly universe will be in response. It will experience mental chaos as a result of fighting change, and at times it may give in and surrender, but without full-hearted surrender of the spiritual consciousness that actually falsely identifies itself with the mind, it is bound to return to its rigid state.

 

So, emptiness is beauty, and it requires our FULL surrender, which may take a lifetime to accomplish, but is fully and utterly worth it, because it is more than anything else in mindscape can ever be!

Teaser5: an Excerpt of my Fantasy Writing

 

Jasmine ran her fingers through her tousled red hair. In an unthinkably distant past, in a place that only existed in her imagination, it was impeccably groomed, clean and shiny, as if still uncontaminated by the horrors that took away her childhood and innocence. Separated by hundreds and hundreds of kilometers, her triplet sisters were doing the exact same thing.

“Jasmine?”

“Camilla! I’m glad you’re with me.”

“And I’m glad you finally let me in. I’ve missed you.”

“You’re a Lusor now.”

“I MIGHT BECOME a Lusor in the future, mastering the art is like a long and hazardous road. And even here, in Eccarius, those who should know better see me as a witch.”

“I need you to use whatever powers of ‘the Lusors’ art’ you currently have access to.”

“That can not be… it doesn’t work through you, from a distance.”

“You just need to feel what I feel… and interpret it. You can do that better than I can.”

“Jasmine, darling, that’s just my femininity, my sensitivity. That’s not ‘art’.”

“Whatever it is, I have a terrible feeling and I need some guidance.”

“Tell me. No, wait… let me. Let me feel you.”

Jasmine sighed and prepared herself for the emotional invasion.

I might never get used to my sisters violating the privary of my mind. Cursed be this special connection of ours!

“Jasmine…”

“Yes?”

“You have to accept it. You have to allow him to do as he plans.”

“What?! Turning me into a cold-blooded killer?! He said he would teach me everything, that I’d be like him, only better.”

“Are you sure this was all?”

“Uh… no… he said that I should not embrace it, that way, it would be more like an invisible hand directing me at the hours of need.”

“It is inevitable. It’s not about revenge, it’s about doing what is expected of you by the omniverse,  when you stand before a crossroads of destiny, where, under threat of greater darkness, only the lesser dark, not the brighter light can be chosen.”

“Now you sound cryptical! Melissa, what do you think?”

“Melissa?”

“It’s no use, Camilla, she’s playing hide ‘n seek behind her mental wall again.”

“I’m not hiding behind a wall!”

“Melissa!”

“Yes Jasmine, I understand your dilemma. You want my blessing, or what?”

“Your logic… you are the more rational of us.”

“Is that meant to mock me?”

“Does it sound that way to you?”

“No. Well… the logical answer is that… that Camilla’s usually right.”

“That does not sound like you! Not at all!”

“OK then! I think that logic does not matter anymore if half your family has been massacred, and the rest’s been tortured, maimed or otherwise damaged! If the world is sick like a rotten tooth, is my logic then the cure that can heal it, like nothing ever happened? No, a real surgeon must do what is necessary to prevent worse. If that means cutting out the rot, then so be it. If our lady Jasmine can be turned into the perfect weapon, mastering the art like no one else before her, that might just be what’s necessary to stop the world from decaying. At least it might give us an edge when the whole world is out to get us again. And…”

“And???”

“And you have us. We are ONE through our mystical connection. We will make sure that this beautiful, innocent core of yours will not be touched by whatever horrible deeds the invisible hand of fate will make you do.”

“That’s right!” Camilla said to the spiritual image of her triplet sister.

“Together three, together free!”

“TOGETHER THREE, TOGETHER FREE!”

 

And this time, when she ran her hands through her hair, he had turned on the light next to the mirror. Gradam, veteran and former assassin, was now standing beside her like a caring father. Her hair was not red, but silvery grey and her skin was as dark as the hard black stone which the Zartians always loved to incorporate into their buildings. The transformation was complete. She was now a Zartian, ready for the journey to Zartia. The dye also masked her many scars, just as the fake hair covered her bald, scarred skull, which always made her recall the fire and torture.

He had become a dark North-eastern man too, his height and proportions a bit unusual for the Zartian breed, but otherwise spotless.

“Ready?”

“Ready.”

His touch was warm and soft, but she trusted him not as she would trust her own father… and even her father had finally proven himself unworthy of her trust.

Gradam collapsed and spit out red saliva. His breathing sounded heavy, like a rattling machine.

She crouched beside him. “Your illness…”

“It’s nothing … we do not have time right now to find a healer.” With difficulty he stood up, but he had to lean with both hands against the wall.

When Jasmine got herself up on her feet, she knew something was wrong. Camilla’s mental apparition inside her head let out a pervasive scream. “HE’s COME! HE WHO BRINGS DESPAIR AND CHAOS!”

 

When she looked into the mirror, she saw it herself. Having human proportions, this creature was inhuman in every other way. It had an exoskeleton, four small white eyes and a blackish, transparent skin, just like the flying monsters called volosts. The summum of its fearsomeness, like in the case of the volost, was its second, shadowy body that floated just behind, as a kind of failed shadow or lost soul.

“YES HE IS HERE CAMILLA!”

“What do you mean?! I’m talking about the omnigentium, the foul, intelligent, immaterial beast of higher reality, that is seeking access to our world! It has found me here, while the Priests of Virtue would protect me, hide me from it!”

If Camilla does not see the same horrible creature…

She turned around. The creature bowed slightly, the four pupil-less eyes staring at her all the while. When he spoke, his voice sounded like a shrill echo in a hall with distorted acoustics. “I can help, old friend.”

She could not marry the kindness of words with the repulsiveness of voice and appearance.  Gradam carefully let go of the wall and turned, staggering on his legs.

“Vion an Chor. You are most unexpected, but all the more welcome. “

“They killed your noble volost.”

“So you already know.”

“We feel it. You would feel, if you’d worn your Phantom of Duritasa. It’s a shame the creature is dead.”

“Its physical embodiment is dead, the shadowbody still floats around, somewhere…”

“Volosts rarely die. The shadowbody of a volost is more powerful than you can imagine. Much more than the shadow body that contributed to your ‘cloak’. But first I must heal you.”

Jasmine had already seen a volost before and could therefore more easily get used to looking at this Orburironese man. “Sorry, I had never…”

“… seen an Orburironese man in all his glory? Don’t worry, little one, you’re one of the few who’ve ever been so lucky. Small wonder the other races all want to either exterminate, or isolate us. Which is why we ultimately did the latter ourselves. Isolating, I mean.”

“They said there will be a war.”

“The ‘war’ has never ended. Not from ‘your’ side, anyways. Your leaders seek only an excuse to do what their hearts most secretly desire.”

Competition in the Academic Jungle

The frontiers of science form a harsh world where competition is fierce and intrigues are not unheard of. The kings of this jungle pride themselves on more articles, more citations in more respected magazines.

This type of culture in my opinion leads to at least two things:

  1. Scientists focusing on publication in quantity, rather than on a sincere, qualitative search for significant answers to questions that matter.
  2. Possible data manipulation, favoritism, plagiarism and a kind of science pop culture, where groundbreaking, controversial and science-advancing theories with good methodological and empirical foundations might shatter, as ships on the stubborn stony shores of “science Hollywood”.

It might not be that extreme, and I admit that in many cases, flawed science gets filtered out, but it neither is as objective and definite as many of the uninformed public – including those who use science as a means to discard theological and pseudo-scientific ideas – would like to believe. That is not to say, however, that because of this, the scientific community is by no means equipped to disprove claims of such aforementioned ideas.

Notwithstanding the value of science, I strongly believe that there is a large subjective, political factor that cannot be cancelled out and unless you are in the trenches yourself, fighting for your own “fame” and accomplishment, you might mistakenly assume that science is just an objective road to truth. It is much more complicated than that.

We, who remain unscarred and unbled, or have never personally experienced the war of academic politics, need to be aware of this and cite and interpret scientific, or scientifically sounding ideas accordingly. And along the same lines, we really must be careful in assuming what information is just speculation, and how much significance a finding or theory has. Because the significance and explanatory power are usually only understood by those who actually work in the field. For the uninitiated, claiming something based on science we cannot verify for ourselves, is not very different from believing commercials, preachers, and whatever is written using popular media.

You Owe your Creative Child

Giving birth is one of the most profound and miraculous life experiences, something we men can only be a spectator of.

But for both fathers and mothers it is quite evident that raising a child is a life-changing responsibility. And when we marvel – during those times when our fears or frustrations do not overshadow everything – at the mysterious wonder that is continuously reinventing itself, you notice there is so much of you, so much of you both in there. Even if they grow up to develop very distinct features, you can still observe the traits – the annoying AND charming ones alike – that remind you of who you are and who you were.

Taking care of them is then, in a sense, taking care of yourself – or, at least, of a part of yourself.

 

However, this enchanting phenomenon is also a good metaphor for your creative children.

Creativity is a dynamic world where reality, centered around you, is continuously reinventing and redefining itself, similarly to how a child changes over time and becomes more complex and self-aware, with many layers of feelings, impressions and concepts. Parts of yourself are projected onto and into that painting, song, sculpture or story, they have a life of their own that is connected through an invisible umbilical cord to your very soul. You are interdependent, because it cannot live without feeding off your subconsciousness, and you, on the other hand, will learn that the uniqueness that emerges through its medium and being gives you a perspective that could not have existed without.

If it dies, together with its hopes and potentials, part of you, and your hopes and potentials, will die with it, or will at least be buried under the sands of the desert of forgetfulness.

 

There are those who sacrifice their children for what they perceive as a greater good, but the premise of interconnected love and consciousness predicts that this will lead to a weakening of the soul, a sickness of your being. You might be asked to let go of your most beloved ones, but only when it is asked by the omniverse, there being no other way, will you need to accept such a sacrifice. No self-aware being should voluntarily sacrifice life.

 

The life that lives in your art, the blood that flows through the pages or makes the paint and musical sounds come alive, is also dependent on you and unless circumstances force you to let go, it is unwise and even harmful to sacrifice your creative offspring. It will lead to a withering and wearing out of your spirit, because it is part of you that is sacrificed as well.

 

That’s why you should cherish and protect it like you would your own blood, stand in awe of it like you would at your breathing son or daughter’s latest accomplishments. And like children teach and change you, them being the ever-changing mirrors to your self that they are, so does your artistic progeny change you, forever!

Teachers do not Teach

Dictionaries have clear, but not so useful definitions of what teaching and learning are, and academics offer many theories about how, when and where learning takes place. I want to propose my own view.

Whether or not teachers (in both the specific and general sense) use structural and formal methods to teach and assess students, one can raise questions about the extent to which teachers can influence learning.

 

Communication is not digitalised in human beings, information is processed consciously and unconsciously. Signals from the environment trigger the senses which in turn trigger the brain. In the mind information bits are transformed into constructs and are incorporated into the concept of self. It has to make sense, understable in our own language and frame of reference, and has to provide meaning. The physical process is much more complex, but the point is, whether one sees it from a physical, a spiritual, or just a simplistic point of view, we do not simply receive, store and retrieve data like a computer.

 

Learning theories and common sense tell us that learning is highly influenced by motivation, attitude, curiosity, openness to experience, and previous learning experience. I think this is even more profound on a deeper level, where processing is related to the true self in the more definite reality where information and consciousness seem to be interconnected. More profound learning might take place on this level deeper than conscious experience.

 

Constructs inside the mind will help de learner find the necessary information to communicate and therewith reflect what is being taught. But if learning takes place on a deeper level, then there is no easy way to tell what the mind, in its unique mindverse (or mindscape, the thinking mind’s universe of perception) is actually experiencing when learning or retrieving these concepts.

 

Many teaching methods and conditions seem to make it more likely for the student to be triggered into learning, but it all depends on the readiness and processing mode of the mind. It is like deeper level (sub and/or un)consciousness has to be aroused into a certain state of readiness for meaningful learning to actually take place.

 

I honestly believe that on the deepest level of consciousness-accessible reality all information that may ever possibly exist is already there, undifferentiated, like a fluid flowing without taking a solid, finite state. And I think that this information is accessible if the true self is no longer hidden by the fabrications of the mind.

 

So that, to me, means that learning is just a form of remembering and re-connecting, rather than the acquiring of novelties, of new information.

 

All this, in my view, seems to support the notion that the mind teaches itself (and more notably, if applicable, the true self connects and becomes aware, at a deeper level), rather than that the person is being taught by an external agent. Teachers have little influence on the deeper personal learning experience and more specifically with regards to the forms it takes in the mind and self.

But teachers do have influence on the circumstances that trigger the self to “open up” for learning and that allow for the availability of information that can easily be processed. The mindverse will process consciously, but the true self will just become aware, if it is ready.

 

I think the best way to stimulate a positive learning environment is to let the teacher connect to the students’ mindverse and if possible, to the students’ deeper unconscious perception, that takes place at the level of the true self.

But the teacher can only make this connection by becoming aware of, and expressing his or her own true self and deeper experience.

A teacher who is blind to the true self’s experience or whose consciousness is distorted by emotions, desires, conceptions and other fabrications of the thinking mind, will have to deal with a classroom of students who are also less able to connect to the ideal vibe for learning and growing.

A teacher who is aware, unhindered by the thinking mind, and in a state of acceptance, peace and love, will connect and will allow the students to also more easily open up to learning – depending on the willingness of their own thinking mind and deeper self.

Love for writing and people