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How to Possess Your Soul Before You Die

“It's tragic how few people ever possess their souls before they die. Nothing is more rare in any man, than an act of his own. It is quite true. Most people are other people.” ~Oscar Wilde

Don’t be an automaton. Be autonomous. Don’t allow yourself to remain a fear-filled creature hiding in a fear-based culture. Ram the gates. Seize the night. Take a leap of courage. Choose a courage-based lifestyle.

The conveyer belt of life won’t stop for you. It will keep churning. It will keep forcing you toward oblivion. The void is everywhere. It is behind you, mincing pre-existence with random persistence. It is ahead of you, mocking your short life. It is beside you in the form of Death whispering in your ear. It is inside you in the form of your shadow bobbing and weaving in and out of repression. You are drowning in it, in time-crushing gasps of “this is real” “this is true” “this is life.”

But “real” “true” and “life” are illusory at best and delusions at worst. The only sound strategy is to double down on “I don’t know” and see what happens. Yank tragedy from the jaws of comedy and create mastery. With enough honesty, humility, and humor, you just might achieve the uncommon ability to take possession of your soul despite the soul-possessed world that outflanks you.

Step 1: Destroy your illusions

“Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed.” ~Nietzsche

In the delusion-generator that us the human mind, there is no more effective way to stay ahead of the curve than by destroying your cherished beliefs. Be ruthless. Be fierce. Be daring. Your Self, which holds your Soul, is buried beneath heavy layers of cultural, political, and religious dross. It’s hidden inside the trash heap of cultural conditioning. It’s guarded by comfort, placation, ignorance, and cognitive dissonance.

But the Infinite has no time for such finite games. Pettiness is too heavy of a weight for soul-caliber recalibrations. Get out in front of the game by playing the infinite game instead. Recondition your conditioning. It’s time to usurp thrones. It’s time to topple empires. It’s time to murder Gods. Only you can do it, for you. Nobody else can do it, for you.

It’s all a song and dance, and you’re both the singer and the dancer. It’s all a cartoon in the brain, and you’re both the artist and the thinker. It’s time to out-sing yourself. It’s time to out-dance yourself. It’s time to create art outside your comfort zone. It’s time to think outside the box. And it is high time that you do it and not just say it.

You are a fallible creature perceiving an infinite reality using finite faculties. Own it. Honor it. Respect it. You think you know, but you do not know. The sooner you can admit that you do not know the sooner you can begin the difficult task of knowing more of what you can never know.

As Gustave Flaubert said, “The more you approach infinity, the deeper you penetrate terror.” Indeed. The quicker you can get to the terror, the sooner you can integrate it and make it a part of you (courage) instead of allowing it to be separate from you (fear).

Get out there. Stay ahead of the almighty conveyer belt. Destroy your illusions.

Step 2: Inflict yourself with philosophy

“Philosophical thinking that doesn’t do violence to one’s settled mind is no philosophical thinking at all.” –Rebecca Goldstein

If you want to continually remain ahead of the curve and become the sole owner of your soul, there is no better method than self-inflicted philosophy.

Self-inflicted philosophy is a discipline of persistent self-interrogation. You “inflict” philosophy on yourself to break through your barriers, biases, cognitive dissonance, cultural conditioning, political brainwashing, religious indoctrination, and, most of all, to stretch your comfort zone.

With self-inflicted philosophy you are armed with a question mark sword. This sword symbolically slices through all perceived truth. Nothing is off limits from its cut. As Hattori Hanzo said in Kill Bill, “If on your journey, you should encounter God, God will be cut!”

But this is no walk in the park. Self-inflicted philosophy can be existentially painful. It hurts to cut through what you imagine is true. But it unearths the mystery from the misery. It even gets out in front of mastery by planting curious minefields in the mind field of certainty.

When you inflict yourself with philosophy you are one-upping your fragile ego with your antifragile soul. In the throes of self-infliction there is no place for self-preservation, only self-overcoming. Laurels are wasted on the philosopher who challenges him/herself to next-level heights of conscious awareness.

Where the ego wants certainty, the soul craves curiosity. Rather than certainty, self-inflicted philosophy instills curiosity. Better to remain curious rather than certain. For certainty only bolsters the fragile ego. Certainty builds walls around the ego’s codependence. Certainty buttresses comfort zones. It reinforces boundaries and bolts down the horizon.

Curiosity, on the other hand, transforms boundaries into horizons. It unleashes the ego. It lets the soul breathe. It keeps the otherwise existentially lazy human animal on its toes. Rather than stopgap religions it offers opensource spirituality. Rather than fragile one-dimensionality it offers antifragile multi-dimensionality. Rather than the illusion of surefire certainty it offers flexible yet fiery uncertainty.