For some time now I’ve considered and been intending to write daily journal entries, not just as a written collection of memories for posterity’s sake, but for my writing’s sake: the desire to be a writer, or more accurately a published author, remains as one of the few points of consistency in my life albeit with waxing and waning intensity. Furtherly, writing itself has always managed to help me collect and organize my thoughts in a more cohesive way than internal dialogue alone. And since it’s something I have the ability to do well, at least compared to my ability to do math, it’s one of the small things I can do to try and influence the world, hopefully for the better.
Recently I’ve been thinking about the stories of our lives; the stories that we tell ourselves about who we are versus what we can measure to be “the truth.” For instance, we know that as humans we have flawed psychological reasoning: cognitive dissonance; confirmation bias; inaccurate heuristics; errors in, and the pliability of, memories; selective memory, and literally dozens of others. Along with fallacious logic, optical illusions, and the fact we can only observe 4%-5% of what actually exists -and even most of that is empty space- we can’t say we know much of anything with certainty. Some of our flaws are psychological self-defense mechanisms, meaning that, in some ways, we’re essentially hardwired to interpret reality incorrectly. These stories about ourselves are likely just as incorrect, but does that matter? And is it even healthy to undermine those stories in the name of “truth?”
While self-reflection is important and at times can be devastating yet necessary, a constant barrage of self-criticism and existential dread of the void and meaninglessness of being a bunch of cognitively deficient, naked apes that still figuratively and occasionally literally fling their shit at each other while drifting through cosmic infinity can be just as devastating, if not more so. Besides, the fact that nothing inherently has meaning of grand significance means we decide what has importance. So if at all possible, focus on your story and becoming a better character, focus more on creating meaning rather than finding it.
To pretty good effect, I’ve been trying this myself. So what’s my story? Turns out I was destined to become a king! My story starts when I was born. As the sun burned it’s last day in Cancer and into Leo – the most regal of the Zodiac signs- my parents merely picked a name they liked, unaware of its origin, or the meaning of my surname, yet interestingly enough, my name (not my pseudonym) can be translated as “Little God of Justice” which is a remarkable coincidence and certainly sounds kingly. On occasion, I also survived circumstances that not everyone does. And there are of course people and actions that, had any one of them been different, would likely led me somewhere else entirely. I don’t know if I’d call all that fate, but I know many people who absolutely would.
I also began asking myself “What would a king do?” and not the kind of entitled, spoiled, let-them-eat-cake sort of king. They would get things done, they’d make time for self-care, if writing existed as one of their goals then they would write, and they would actively engage their plans for bettering the future.
Next, I did what any aspiring king would do and began recruiting people to my cause and though we’re limited in number and scope, in a short amount of time we’ve built a total of four garden beds at two locations for the Royal Multi-location Urban Farming Cooperative which has been a rewarding experience by itself: starting everything from seeds, gathering the wood and actually constructing the raised beds. We also have a constitution, a modest treasury, and long term goals with plans for achieving them.
We don’t have a castle, dragons, or gold and perhaps we may never reach our long term goals, but we’re staying active; we’re building an alternative to the mythical American Dream, a multi-location intentional community; we’re creating fond memories with good people and enjoying fresh produce which is likely more than we’d have done otherwise, it certainly is for me. We’re creating light in the darkness and that’s not bad thing.