#10 > go fall in love, dopey

Just so you know where we’re headed, here is an outline of where I’m going with this

  1. finish up the idea of judging that which we don’t know (3 posts)
  2. what to do when doubt surfaces because of that single choice (5 posts)
  3. what to do when doubt leads to despair: it is time to say goodbye (4 posts)
  4. being helpless. being hopeful. (2 posts)
  5. concluding thoughts (1 post)

I’m going to continue on the judgment talk in my next post. There’s still 3 more things I want to say about judging others/judging ourselves/judging those inside our community.

But now that we’re getting close to halfway I just want to make sure we’re all on track.

Have you figured out what this whole thing is about yet?

These 25 cents?

Rule-following, language-games, judgment and all these other things I’ll talk about are painting a picture for something bigger. Don’t get me wrong, these topics on their own are important. They are very important. They are like the trees. Even a single tree can be find to climb and sit under, but if you want a forest you need all the trees. Don’t mistake the trees for the forest.

The main topic here, the forest if you will, is Identity.  

Everything I’ve talked about and everything I’m going to talk about has to do with the topic of Identity. I don’t think there’s a more important question we can ask in these sort of times. So much divorce, so many changes, so much confusion, so much emotional pain… can we really say that there is a more important question?

The question is simple: who are you?

What grounds you? Where do your roots originate? What keeps you from falling over when there’s a tornado? What is your one non-negotiable? What is your identity? Where do you find your identity?

Trust me, I’m not trying to push you into making a particular choice or to commit to a certain thing/way of living.

I am simply encouraging you to make a choice. 

I don’t become more or less comfortable when you tell me you’ve chosen X instead of Y. I don’t care if it’s X, Y, or Z. All I care is that you care. All I care about is that you’ve thought about it and made an honest commitment.

I’m your friend and I want you doing what you believe in. I want you to believe in something.

That’s it. That’s what it boils down to.

A commitment.

A fellowship.

An identity.

As we’ll see later on, our despair comes from our inability to make a single choice.

Despair comes as a result of being double-minded. We struggle to choose and end up not choosing; thus leaving us choice-less and with an identity crisis.

Let’s get practical.

Do you want to make money?

Then make money! Go! Find people who are making money and surround yourself with them. Live like they live. Play like they play. Sleep like they sleep. Work like they work. Don’t ask so many questions; just follow them.

Do you want to get physically fit?

Then get fit! Go! Find people that regularly work out and join in. Watch how they eat and do the same. Watch and learn. Immerse yourself in healthy living.

Do you want to fall in love?

Then fall in love dopey! Go! Get out of your room and off your computer. Go meet someone. Give her a chance. Read the poets and romance her! Hang out with couples that have proven their love. Don’t hang around couples that are always fighting. Immerse yourself in the world of love.

But you have to commit. You have to join in, follow your heart and follow their direction. Wholeheartedly, you have to do it wholeheartedly. There’s no other way. You have to go all in.

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Categories: 25 cents, certainty, ideas

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5 Comments on “#10 > go fall in love, dopey”

  1. August 26, 2011 at 6:38 am #

    Hey Mike – This might seem random but your blog post came up in my fb feed tonight so I started reading through it. I think you have some really interesting and thought provoking points… life is short and too many people whine and complain about things and go through life with regrets and desires and questions that are never satisfied rather than taking chances, moving forward, risking and sacrificing and loving despite the odds, and living life to the best of their capability than in doubt and fear. I believe we all have something to offer but that our identity is found when we stop looking at ourselves as if we are God and start looking at the bigger picture. I do disagree with what you appear to be saying in terms of creating your own purpose in life, if that’s what you are speaking about… as in playing ANY game and finding success in it. In the end, what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul? I think you are bang on when you talk about searching for purpose and truth and finding what that means… but I believe that the world does have a purpose bigger than our own individual “game” and that we as human beings need to seek after that. I don’t believe enough people do really seek – but I don’t think it’s wise to just jump on any bandwagon and make a choice, no matter how definite, to believe in something – especially if that something is indefinite or wrong. I don’t think it is judgmental of me to point out the fact that there are many more wrong paths in life than right ones, or that all people should search and strive for the right one. I commend those who are actually running and striving, but it isn’t wise to work your butt off running that race blindly, thinking that we’ll all end up at the same finish line either. We all essentially believe in something, even if we call it nothing. What we need is something real. We need truth. I agree that the question of identity is one of the most (if not the most) important questions we must ever ask ourselves and that it is crucial to seek for the answer… but I don’t think we should just make a choice and go with what feels right either… isn’t that what everyone is already doing? Isn’t that why everyone is constantly flip-flopping and changing their minds? How can there be any real commitment in making a decision to accept something that you don’t even fully believe is real or true? Because if we don’t actually determine anything based on what is true, nothing is concrete and nothing is real or trustworthy or worth fighting/running for… it’s all meaningless and making a choice holds absolutely no weight. Any of the gifts or talents or actions/accomplishments/goals, etc and everything we do in life (ie things you mentioned such as making money, keeping fit, falling in love, raising children, working, blogging, etc etc) will then hold no real meaning unless it’s all filtered through a lens of purpose and truth. I realize that you have not stated your opinions openly on your blog about these issues and have chosen to remain relatively vague… so I really don’t know where you personally stand on any of this and therefore all of this is just my own thoughts spurring (in some sense) from yours… I hope you don’t think I am attacking your views here – just sharing mine in response to your invitation to do so. And obviously I am getting carried away, because my response is longer than all your posts together… I’m so sorry. A few more thoughts and then I’m done… I’m not saying that we don’t have to seek for what’s real and true because I definitely believe we DO and I get frustrated by those who just don’t care. It’s refreshing to see someone who not only thinks about these things but acts upon them as well. I believe that there is only one truth, and that it’s not the way that seems right to men… “Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we had always expected, I should feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about it that real things have.
    -CSL”

    I blog too and I think this issue of truth and identity is SO important to not only think about but to speak about. But I believe (contrary to most peoples’ thinking) it is our origin that ultimately defines us and give us purpose and identity, rather than the paths we forge for ourselves or any success we find in our man-made identities. I think it is important to find our own unique gifts and utilize them and work them into our purpose in life, but I don’t believe those gifts and talents are the purpose. We are all unique, but truth is not relative… we are all made with the same blueprints despite our cultural differences and I believe there is something in all of us that yearns for truth and purpose because of our maker (who ultimately is both). I’m reading lots of CS Lewis’ stuff lately and a few quotes came to mind when I was reading through your posts… “An open mind, in questions that are not ultimate, is useful. But an open mind about the ultimate foundations either of Theoretical or of Practical Reason is idiocy.” (The Abolition of Man) … Concerning rules, etc – “[One] can regard the moral law as an illusion, and so cut himself off from the common ground of humanity.” (The Problem of Pain) …If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that is has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning. (Mere Christianity)

    Forgive me if any or all of this sounds like a big tangeant straying from your original points that I had started off thinking about. It’s after 2am and I am in blogger mode… lol.

  2. August 26, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    Thanks for your post alicia.

    I studied Lewis in length during my first masters. I’ve written close to 100 pages on him on various topics. He is a great resource and I’ve actually worked in depth with his last students student.

    As I said in this post, I don’t need to know where you stand. It doesn’t give me comfort hearing that you’re on one side or the other. This is about me working things out for myself with the community and I choose. This is about you working things out on yourself with the community you choose. This is a major theme in the Bible that goes back all the way to Adam/Eve, Paul says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

    My only goals with this bog are to 1) help me articulate my own thoughts and 2) perhaps help a few friends see the importance in making a single honest commitment.

    I’m not endorsing any one thing. Particularly any one religion. Things like religion and ethics are far too important to discuss online. I leave those topics for the real world.

    Thanks again for staying up late and reading this. Hopefully some who read this will be motivated by your commitment.

  3. August 26, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Yeah, I understood your stance and totally respect that Michael – I just stated that I wasn’t sure where you stood in order to clarify that the point of me stating where I stood was not out of judgement or as some sort of an attack or criticism – that I was mostly just reflecting on the thoughts you had presented and responding with the thoughts your thoughts evoked. I hope nothing I said was offensive to you… probably not the wisest thing to just spill that late at night when my brain’s sense of structure is compromised a little. 🙂 I thought you were looking for other people to share their thoughts for the same reason you share yours, so I did… hopefully that is okay. I’m not into babbling for the sake of babbling and though I do write in order to organize my own thoughts and to get the things on my heart out (as part of my sense of purpose and in working out my salvation), I try not to do it just to hear my own voice and make myself louder than anyone else either… working out your salvation should be through fear of God and humility and I think it’s awesome that you are doing just that and teaching others to do the same. Anything that anyone has to say will in some way be stating where they stand, so I find that unavoidable. However, my point was that finding meaning in life and finding the truth are two different things, and that from the way I understand truth personally, I don’t think anyone can have real meaning without truth… though I believe it is possible to find truth and not understand it’s meaning, or appreciate/place value on it… which is sad. I’m not saying that people need to find MY truth.. I think that is dangerous. I also think it is dangerous, however, for ME to seek MY truth as if truth is relative and conditional to me. I think we all need to seek THE truth and keep the perspective centred around God, otherwise we essentially become god to ourselves, which is certainly cause for fear and trembling.

  4. estolte
    August 26, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Thanks, Alicia, for your comments. Michael and I also dialogue and appreciate your perspective. Michael, I really resonate with a lot of what you say, especially, “Despair comes as a result of being double-minded. We struggle to choose and end up not choosing; thus leaving us choice-less and with an identity crisis.” However, when you say, “I’m your friend and I want you doing what you believe in. I want you to believe in something.” I’m wondering how unqualified that stement is – in context, it seems wihtout limits. Should I choose Neo-Nazism as my one thing/identity, and thus commit myself to violent xenophobia, will you still say to me “I want you doing what you believe in.”?

  5. August 26, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    @Alicia – I certainly welcome your comments! There are a few categorical mistakes/confusions going on with terms like meaning, truth, absolute and relative. I haven’t felt the need to focus on them so much but I’ll try and be more clear in the coming posts.

    @Eric – I hear what you’re saying and I get this as an objection. (I can’t wait till we get to have these conversations face-to-face) The answer, if they are my friend, is yes.

    A year ago I had an even MORE extreme situation take place in my life. In this situation I had to remain faithful to my own beliefs/actions/uniqueness, but he was my friend and although I couldn’t understand why he was doing what he was doing and although I didn’t believe what he was doing was good… I believed in him. I still believe him and live side-by-side with him.

    Onward to #11…

    PS. Christianity is the only religion that has private schools in North America which are exclusively for those who believe the same thing… if that isn’t an “unreasonable fear or hatred of strangers” i.e violent zenophobia – I don’t know what is.

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