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How to Stop Bleeding at The Roots


“We are bleeding at the roots, because we are cut off from the earth and sun and stars, and love is a grinning mockery, because, poor blossom, we plucked it from its stem on the tree of Life and expected it to keep on blooming in our civilized vase on the table” ~D.H. Lawrence


The earth is a part of us. It’s not a commodity that belongs to us, it’s a sacred community to which we belong. Unfortunately, modern culture has become an abstraction of an abstraction that distracts us from union with the natural world. We’ve become twice removed from the sacred community to the extent that we don’t even know that we don’t know there’s a serious problem.


We’re overly domesticated, overly governed, and overly lawyered. Our hearts have become machines, there’s no feeling, no hunger, no soul. There’s only prescribed conditioning, unhealthy excess, and mealymouthed one-upmanship. Culture has become a tyrant.


And there’s only one solution to tyranny: fierce freedom, unapologetic freedom, no-holds barred freedom. The kind of freedom that upsets the settled, reconditions the conditioned, and upends all outdated apple carts. A freedom so ferocious that the Powers That Be piss in their privileged pantaloons.


When culture itself is the tyrant, heroism becomes an act of reconditioning cultural conditioning. The hero’s journey must become a quest to seek union with cosmos, to reunite Nature and the human soul, and to reawaken the God within. The hero must face the dragon of cultural conditioning with the courage to recondition it.


Here are three ways to get started on this most vital path: To stop bleeding at the roots, disconnected from the source, and start reclaiming our place as a healthy species in the interconnected cosmos.



1.) Seek solitude and meditation:

“Too much security becomes boredom, and boredom leads to a decline in vitality. Man has surrounded himself by walls and has built his narrow ‘human world’ as a center of security; but the security has begun to stifle him.” ~Colin Wilson


Freedom is not a given. It must be earned. It must be cultivated, practiced, and acted upon daily. The moment freedom is taken for granted is the moment it is lost.


In the crashing plane of an unfree world, a free human is someone who puts the oxygen mask on themselves first in order to be there for those who are incapable, or too ignorant, to become free.


The oxygen mask is meditation and solitude. The source is Nature, away from the things of man. The oxygen is sacred alignment with cosmos and the interconnectedness of all things. We must learn how to turn away from the grind before it grinds us into a pulp. We must learn to overcome the default setting.


We should seek solitude and meditation in the wild. We should bask in otherworldliness, wear eccentric masks, wield centering energy, connect the finite with the infinite, discover the difference between healthy and unhealthy, and then return and share our magic elixir with the "tribe."


As Rumi said, “There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.”


The most powerful way to hear the “voice that doesn’t use words” is through solitude and meditation. Beyond the banshee scream of culture, where No-mind is free to remind you that you are a force of nature first and a human being second.


Solitude is powerful because it separates us from the rat race and reveals interconnected beauty. We go from being a rat in a cage to a creature enthralled by its connection with Cosmos. We go from being a millstone in a daily grind to being a whetstone we can sharpen ourselves against. We go from being a cog in the clockwork to an alarm clock that awakens us to higher awareness.


In solitude, we can no longer pretend that we are asleep. In meditation, we can no longer pretend that everything isn’t connected to everything else.


Most members of the herd never taste solitude. They get caught up in the rat race, trapped in their cultural conditioning, stuck in religious indoctrination, imprisoned in political brainwashing. They lose sight of the underlying essence. They sacrifice their wildness for mildness. And when their life requires a little bite, they discover that they have no teeth.


Solitude rewilds the domesticated animal and teaches it how to regrow its teeth. In conservation biology the term “rewilding” is the rehabilitation process of captive animals. In the case of preventing ourselves from bleeding at the roots, the captive animal happens to be human.


Solitude and meditation is a way to plant ourselves in Infinity.



2.) Transform triviality into vitality:

“Death reveals to us that our lives have been one long miscalculation based on triviality.” ~Colin Wilson


Shed outdated skin. Cut the dead weight. Burn off the dross. Get ahead of the curve. Life is too short to waste precious energy on outdated concepts or living in regret. The past is the past. Forgive yourself and forgive your ancestors for their ignorance. It’s okay to move on.


As Joseph Campbell said, “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. If we fix on the old, we get stuck. When we hang onto any form, we are in danger of putrefaction. Hell is life drying up.”


Don’t allow your life to dry up. Don’t allow your trivial ego and base pride to soak up all your vitality. You are the tip of the spear of human evolution. What came before you may have made you, but it doesn’t own you. It’s your responsibility alone to break free.


It is the trivial that has plucked you from the source. The trivial is anything that prevents you from connecting with everything else. It’s anything that distracts you from the soul. It’s anything that prevents you from becoming one with all things.


The best way to transform triviality into vitality is through healthy nonattachment.


Healthy nonattachment is a way to transcend egocentric codependence through soulcentric interdependence. It teaches you how not to take yourself or your ideas too seriously. You see how everything is transitory. All things are fleeting. The be-all-end-all is always beginning and always ending. The wisdom of nonattachment is the ability to remain connected to everything else with neither pride nor ego messing up the works.


It takes courage to choose a flexible disposition over a rigid expectation. It takes courage to choose humility over pride. It takes courage to choose uncomfortable nonattachment over comfortable attachment.


Learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others, lick your wounds, quiet your ego, and transform triviality into vitality. Stand on the shoulders of giants in order to see further and farther than they ever could. Capitalize on the ignorance of our species’ past. Rise up as a shining example of how to be a healthy human being despite an unhealthy world.



3.) Make a virtue of your peculiarities:

“There's a point, around the age of twenty, when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life, or to make a virtue of your peculiarities.” ~Ursula K. Le Guin


The keyword here is virtue. Preventing our roots from bleeding out hinges on eight core virtues: courage, curiosity, temperance, humility, liberty, honor, wisdom, and humor. These virtues are vital rungs on the ladder toward achieving wholeness in character and fulfilling our life’s purpose. They lead to moral virtue, which is best encapsulated by the concept of arete. And arete cultivated over a lifetime can lead to eudaimonia: human flourishing.


Courage frees character, curiosity grows character, temperance balances character, humility grounds character, liberty stabilizes character, honor unifies character, wisdom guides character, and humor overcomes character.


This kind of character creates an antifragile spirit despite an otherwise fragile culture. With a character such as this, we can stand tall, strong, sincere, and fierce. We become a force of nature to be reckoned with. A dynamo amidst dominoes. A lion amongst men.


With the sharpness of our mettle, we’re able to cut through all golden calves, superficial hierarchies, and delusions of grandeur.


The only sin is unfulfilled potential. It is the darkest place we can sink. It’s the only thing worthy of fear. The only true failure is to abdicate the responsibility of fulfilling our potential. So, we abdicate to no one. No authority. No state. No God. Not even Death.


As Oscar Wilde truly said, “Disobedience was man’s original virtue.”


Instead, we go all-in on our peculiarities. We double down on our uniqueness. We individuate our individuality.


True value is emboldened uniqueness. Everything else is moonshine. Everything else is pretend forgiveness. Everything else is a false virtue. Everything else is faux medicine. Emboldened uniqueness is our potential. It’s our deepest longing to create and express our own values. This uniqueness is our life’s purpose, our soul signature.


True power comes from emboldening what makes us different. We should assert this uniqueness, even if that offends some people along the way. Sometimes what makes us different may not be agreeable to others. Oh well. As long as we are being authentic. As long as we are being genuine, sincere, and real, we should let our freak flag fly, let our Shadow shine, let our art have some shock value. Party-poopers be damned!


Should our medicines clash, so be it. We can learn from the collision. We can glean greater medicine compounded from the confrontation. Iron sharpens iron. Diamond sharpens diamond.


As Epictetus said, “Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.”


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About the Author:

Gary Z McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide-awake view of the modern world.


This article (How to Stop Bleeding at The Roots) was originally created and published by Self-inflicted Philosophy and is printed here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Gary Z McGee and self-inflictedphilosophy.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this statement of copyright.


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