Hello. I’ve been away for a while. Quite a lot of time, actually. I didn’t leave or go anywhere, I’m still here in New Orleans and I am still legally Jacob Germain. I just left myself to visit the world for a while. I learned of things and experienced life and found myself stuck in some places and terribly ahead in others. I approached reality from reality’s battleground.
In concise terms, I gave up the idea and mantle and practice of being a shaman for a time. Maybe it was intentional, but it was definitely inevitable, and now I must actualize what I’ve learned. Asceticism is valuable but impractical. How can I comment on a system I’ve never been involved in? Emic vs. Etic is the tension here. But the most important part of asceticism is not freedom from the world around you, but freedom from the self that limits you, limits your understanding, tells you you’re pretentious or petty or incapable. Your self is also valuable, but again yet impractical to adhere to. When living the self, the entire world becomes framed in your being, rather than your being framed in the entire world. One truly must learn balance in all such things.
I am in the physical practice of attempting to garner the education credentials necessary to stand a reasonable chance being published and given grants to study the cultures around me. It’s what I’ve decided my life goal should be, because I frankly cannot imagine another (barring very fortunate circumstances) that would sufficiently help define me as a person and not simply a producer/consumer. In the process, however, there are many hoops that I must jump through and much time and patience to exercise. I must learn what this means and be content with it, as I have not been.
Recent events have reminded me that yet again I have slowly become grounded to my self, clinging to it and grasping at its appreciation of the world around me. This is not amenable to progress, as my self is very much like putting blinders on and hoping to see out the sides anyway. My self is not philosophical but emotional. My self is not objective but irrational. My self is an adherent to the surroundings in which it was formed and rarely capable of viewing life outside of those surroundings. This simply cannot do.
Things I have learned in my time away (or, more appropriately, in):
I am human. I have flaws. I have needs and wants and desires and petty things that push my buttons and irritate me beyond any reason. I keep secrets, I hope desperately for unlikely things, I hurt those around me merely out of convenience. Just because I am aware of and am sometimes party to a world outside of myself and occasionally an objective observer of reality does not mean that I am any less fallible, and indeed may render me more so as I learn arrogance for my supposed enlightenment.
Those around me are also human. I cannot expect miracles and objective truth and deep philosophical understanding from those I interact with. I cannot expect that they will align with my view, I cannot even expect that they are interested in my view. I cannot walk around the world and wave around a stack of (digital) papers and demand that they read them and suddenly gain the insight and ability to understand me and how I act and how I react and what I want or need or desire or how I think.
I cannot allow this, either, to affect the way I do interact. I cannot assume that a person is “lost” or less valuable because they do not have any inkling of what I mean. I cannot expect that they’ll ever want to hear it, either. I must learn to appreciate people on their terms, rather than my own, and make peace with myself knowing that they may not understand or appreciate or even like me. I must do what I will do and nothing more.
I must understand that these are lessons that are unlike ordinary lessons. These are not the kinds of things that are simply taught or learned or practiced. These are things that must be lived and developed and appreciated and continued and always always always kept in sight. Religion and faith is not a matter of simply knowing the precepts or believing in the concepts, but a matter of living the truth and being the change you know the world needs. I must understand that while I am fallible, I am also capable beyond measure, simply because I can be the truth I know is in the reality around me.
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