“Of what use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings?” ~Diogenes
1.) You are an animal:
You are a naked ape. You are blood and bones with improbable apposable thumbs. You were born from the womb, and you will one day be food for worms.
In your short life, you will piss and shit and bleed. You will rage and cry and sleep. You will go through all the profane motions of being a mortal mammal railing against an amoral universe. Embrace the humility. Prime the primal. Honor the mortality.
2.) You are fallible:
You are terribly imperfect. Moreover, you’re mistaken about a great many things. Most of which you will probably never admit to yourself, because admitting you are wrong is one of the most difficult things a human being can do.
You are more wrong about things than you can possibly imagine, and yet you insist. You force your wrongness. You pigeonhole it. You’re ruthlessly certain about it. You’re so hungry for rightness that you bludgeon the Truth with your wrongness. Stop the bludgeoning. Admit that you are probably wrong most of the time.
3.) You are a hypocrite:
It’s not even your fault. Just the fact that you are a “you” precludes hypocrisy. The Self is smoke and mirrors, masks and mayhem, contradiction and pretention.
The Self is masks all the way down perceiving delusions all the way up. Hypocrisy was inevitable. It’s a biproduct of your fallibility. So be it. Transform it into art.
4.) You will fail:
Failure is a given when you are a fallible, hypocritical, imperfect animal going through the motions of living in an uncertain universe.
When it comes to failure, there is always a deeper abyss. Defeat, hard luck, and utter collapse are always just around the corner. Disappointment is Accomplishment’s kissing cousin. Tragedy is Triumph’s red-headed stepchild. Today’s achievement could very well be tomorrow’s tripwire. So be it. Use it all as a sharpening stone.
5.) You are never not broken:
Wholeness does not imply perfection. It infers embracing brokenness as an essential part of being human. There is never a state in which you are not broken.
You are constantly in a state of repair. You’re a broken heart going through the motions of breaking apart and coming back together again. This also applies to the mind, body, and soul.
Your wound may or may not become a sacred wound. All you can do is hurt, heal, and hope. Hurt, heal, and hope. From fragility to robustness to antifragility, you will always be in a state of falling apart and coming back together again. Embrace it.
6.) You have a dark side:
Becoming aware of your dark side is giving yourself permission to shine your blacklight into the blinding light of cultural conditioning.
An empowered dark side balances out the equation of the human condition. Without this balance, you risk fragile one-dimensionality and a brittle ego terrified of taking responsibility.
You cannot fully know yourself without knowing your dark side and embracing your shadow. Such wholeness breeds wisdom and the ability to experience the full range of what it means to be human.
7.) Your beliefs are a trap:
Your beliefs are incredibly restricting. You’ve been indoctrinated to think that you need to believe. Even worse, you’ve been brainwashed to believe more than you think.
In the battle against bewitchment, all beliefs, no matter how powerful or well-intended, are a hinderance to clear thought and self-improvement.
Better to think rather than believe. Thinking that something might be true allows for error, fallibility, and wrongness. Believing that something is certainly true cuts you off from other possibilities.
Belief is all or nothing, predicated upon faith despite facts or evidence; while thought is open-ended, taking beliefs, facts, and evidence into deep consideration and then using probability and validity to discover the truth.
8.) You are culturally conditioned:
You are programmed to think a certain way. This programming has propped-up a particular worldview that may or may not be true. It might not even be healthy. The identity tied up in your worldview is an abstraction of an abstraction, a story within a story that you’ve convinced yourself is true.
But you have the power to reprogram your programming. The key is to become aware of your conditioning, and then recondition the conditioning in accordance with reality.
We each have our own Plato’s Cave to navigate. The extent to which you become aware of your own “cave” will be the extent of your flexibility, open-mindedness, and personal freedom.
9.) You know less than you think:
Your certainty limits your imagination, creativity, and ability to question. It leads to dogmatic reasoning and close-mindedness.
Your certitude is so powerful that you cannot see past your beliefs. Hung up on what you’ve found, you have given up the search for what could be found. Your certainty has led you to a dead end. You are stuck. And the only way out is to question what you think you know.
Keep things in perspective by accepting that you know less than you think you do and keep questioning. Don’t give up the Truth Quest for the “truth.”
10.) Your life is terribly inconsequential:
Your life is a flash in the pan. It’s dust in the cosmic wind. It’s an insignificant spark in an unfathomably dark, unforgiving, and endless universe. But it is a spark.
What you do won’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but it’s very important that you do it. Why? Because you are the universe becoming aware of itself. You are an awareness machine in an otherwise unaware cosmos. You are a purpose-generator in a purposeless void. You might be nothing more than a speck in the universe, but you are also the entire universe in a speck.
Either way, you will one day be dust. Your life will end. Face that fleetingness with a fierceness. Laugh into the abyss. Transform fear into fearlessness. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Or not. None of it will matter in the end. There’s no way to avoid being the butt-end of the cosmic joke. It’s all laughable. So you might as well have a laugh.