The Enemy We All Seem to Ignore

The “enemy” in question today is one slick operator. You don’t easily notice it and when you do you’re prone to look away. You won’t hear about it often. The media certainly won’t cover it. Yet, there it is, hidden behind a wall of smoke, a cover it has gotten very good at using to its advantage.

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What am I on about? I’ll tell you a story. Back in 2008 I started my first blog, The Illuminate News, the purpose of which was to inform and illuminate people about certain hidden agendas and groups operating in the shadows, working hard to enslave all of humanity. Yes, I wrote on conspiracy theories. And I was eighteen. That’s a bad combination. For one, you don’t know shit when you’re eighteen (now, I’m twenty-seven, so I know so much more). And what’s more, you get depressed really fast when you dwell too much on all sorts of odd theories. I stopped writing on conspiracy theories two years in, and I’m glad I did. I’m also glad that I started The Illuminate News in the first place. It was my first venture into the world of content and the vastness of online.

A couple of years later I began another blog. This one was, humorously, and at the time, very seriously, called I Am in The Success Business! What About You? It’s still online, and you can check it out here if you want a kick. Funnily enough, I had completely forgotten about this one for half a decade. I just recently found it whilst searching Twitter’s dusty archives. And I was rather amazed. How could I have forgotten about something that at a certain point in my life I (probably) had a strong intention of doing? Makes me wonder about our memories and what other things are forgotten, left behind to the vacuum of life. It could be argued that what we define as ourselves is a collection of memories, and if so, it is rather scary to think that you can forget about something you did in the past, something that wasn’t all too banal as if it never happened. How much do we curate these memories of ours? It’s not dissimilar to social media. Technology once again seems to be replicating innate human behaviour on an external level, doesn’t it?

Last year I took another step forward in what is apparently my wish to produce content. I started vlogging. Yes, I replaced the written word for the spoken one. I think I was nineteen when I first had the idea to shoot videos and post them online, in a kind-of coaching capacity. I had no idea what I’d coach at the time, but there it was, a desire to spread some sort of message once again. First, it was conspiracy theories, next business advice, and last year it turned to personal evolution.

And I tell you, it’s much harder to do videos than to write. People usually fear public speaking. Well, this is public speaking with the added touch of infinite remembrance — it’s being posted to the internet, after all, for all 700 (social media) friends to see, etched into the fabric of time. But more than just doing the video performance itself, the really hard part was posting this to Youtube and sharing it on Facebook. It was rather nerve-wracking. There was shaking. And sweat. My amygdala was on fire as if a tiger was in my nearest vicinity.

But it was just the computer screen, the publish button and the enemy. Me. The inner critic and the judge. The invisible prison I stuck myself into — the prison of beliefs. Publishing that very first video was an important act, I dare say, for it helped me get one step closer to slaying the dragon. The first video was arguably the worst of the twenty-five I was to make in 2017. The lighting was terrible, my hair unkempt, I wore a stained sweater and worst of all, I wasn’t myself one bit. Ironically it was by far the most watched video I’ve shot so far. It faired over three thousand views on Facebook. So, yeah, that’s one heck of a way to start.

I got better at it with each new episode. I began enjoying it. But it didn’t last long for the dragon to rear its head. It would appear I’d only cut one of its many heads. I stopped shooting after twenty-five episodes. I reasoned that I had nothing more to say. Self-sabotage has many a name, after all.

Then I proceeded to hide all the videos from the public eye, deleted my Instagram and Facebook accounts, deleted my Medium account (I was the member of a popular publication at this time), and generally wanted to delete myself from the web. Rather extreme? Yes. I have found out that I’m quite an extremist. I swing one way or the other. Which, when I further investigated the matter, seems to be the de-facto mode for most people. We’re not that good at operating in the golden mean. It’s either or, not and. But life is and so many times. Most times perhaps. We just don’t see the higher version that exceeds both poles and offers us a better outcome.

A year flew by and in early October of 2018, I had once again started to feel my desire to spread ideas. I peered back ten years and saw a pattern. It appeared to me that it was the same desire that led me to do my first blog, and the second, and vlogging last year. What they all had in common (despite the stark difference in content), was the desire to help other people evolve. Evolve to what? Who knows. If you sat across from me and we spoke face-to-face you’d see me do this thing with my hands saying the word evolve in this context. I see it as the seed growing into a mighty tree. That’s what I mean with evolve. That’s what personal evolution means to me, even if the term is utterly loaded by now.

In reality, the one who I really wanted to help out all along was myself. The one who I spoke to was me. I surprised myself at what came out of my mount often doing A Fool’s Paradise. So it would seem that what you teach really does teaches you. Have you noticed that it’s impossible to give advice to yourself? But this is an effective medium. Pick up a camera, and talk to yourself.

I spend a lot of time pondering the human condition. It’s my favourite hobby. Why we do certain things, and why we don’t do certain other things. Why do we sabotage ourselves? Why can’t we move forward at times and in very specific endeavours? We’re fast to blame externalities. The government. Parents. Teachers. My friends who don’t support me enough. The wife. The weather. The neighbour’s dog. Trump.

It’s hard to face up to the truth and see that in reality, the problem is with me, not with anything outside of me. Truth can hurt at times, but it sets us free. Cliché, yes, but hey, the truth is rather a cliché isn’t it? Doesn’t make it less true. Can’t take away from the truth. It just is. You can blemish it all you want, it will just keep on staring back at you unwaveringly. We can run, but we cannot hide. It follows us where we go. Always.

And there it is, the seven-headed dragon. The enemy. The parasite nestled neatly in our minds, controlling our actions with sheer glee and feeding on negative emotions. It’s invisible, and watch yourself because if you point it out to others, you might get smacked on your head. You’ll quickly become the scapegoat, the new enemy. It takes courage to say I’m an ass, you’re an ass, as dear Tony De Mello would say.

What am I to do, now? Well, I’ll continue with vigilance. I’ll post one essay and one video per week and let’s see if I can tame the dragon.

Domen

I post weekly essays, videos and podcasts. Join my free newsletter A Fool’s Paradise for weekly inspiration and (hopefully) thought-provoking, sometimes perhaps even mind-bending content. Check out my vlogs.

Serenity now.