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What Is Self-inflicted Philosophy?

“A philosophy of life is something that we all need, and something we all develop, consciously or not. Some people simply import wholesale whatever framework for life they acquire from a religion. Others make up their own philosophy as they go along.” ~Massimo Pigliucci

Self-inflicted philosophy is foremost about creating our own philosophy despite the philosophies, religions, or ideologies of others. It’s rejecting the crutch handed down by our forefathers. It’s discarding the flotation device of our drowning ancestors. Crutches are for cripples. Flotation devices are for people who cannot swim.

A self-inflicted philosopher is anything but a cripple. A self-inflicted philosopher is a swimmer in the Alan Watts sense of the term: “What one needs in this universe is not certainty but the courage and nerve of the gambler; not fixed conviction but adaptability; not firm ground whereupon to stand but skill in swimming.”

Crutches and flotation devices are for the risk averse. Self-inflicted philosophers are risk takers par excellence. They transform fear into fuel for the fire of living a full life.

The crutch may have been useful when we were young and naive, but as mature adults it is a handicap. The flotation device may have prevented us from drowning in the waters of the unknown before we learned how to swim, but as mature adults it is a hindrance to swimming well. Crutches and flotation devices are overrated. They are for infants, non-swimmers, and cripples.

Self-inflicted philosophy is not for the meek. It’s not for the hard of heart or the God fearing. It’s neither for the weak-minded nor the closeminded. Rather, it is for the fierce, the courageous, the vulnerable of heart, the strong-minded, and the openminded. It is for adventurers who embrace the journey as the thing. It is for God killers. But it is also for God creators.

It is not fawning. It kowtows to nothing. It believes in nothing. It is the quintessential Meta philosophy, forever in Flow. Never settling for a state other than the flow state of the metaparadigm. It flies over all philosophies, beliefs, and ideologies like a mighty thunderbird inflicting its razor-sharp question mark talons into the soft underbelly of all things.

When you are practicing self-inflicted philosophy, you are practicing going Meta. You are in the existential throes of questioning. Not for an answer, mind you, but for better ways of questioning. For heightened states of questioning. For levels of questioning reality so transcendent that God rolls over in His grave and weeps. It’s questioning so ruthlessly, so fiercely, so unapologetically that the universe itself is transformed into a giant question mark.

When you are practicing self-inflicted philosophy, you are turning tables, flipping scripts, pushing envelopes, kicking open third eyes, flattening boxes, and stretching comfort zones. Nothing is off limits. Everything is put on blast. There are no answers. Everything is a stopgap. Everything is a building block. Everything is an abstraction of an abstraction and you are the abstract philosopher inflicting abstraction upon abstraction in gleeful nonattachment. For you realize that the web of the sacred is woven out of the fabric of the profane, and vice versa.

As Karen Horney said, “To find a mountain path all by oneself gives a greater feeling of strength than to take a path that is shown.” And so you go forth, resolute, imaginative, empowered, the tip of the spear, creating your own unique philosophy.

Self-inflicted philosophy turns the tables on cognitive dissonance:

“This is exactly what Socrates aimed to induce: a state of ruthless self-interrogation, questioning not only what we know but who we are, in hopes of eliciting a radical shift in perspective.” ~Eric Weiner

Self-inflicted philosophers inflict philosophy on themselves to break through their barriers, biases, cognitive dissonance, cultural conditioning, political brainwashing, religious indoctrination, and, most of all, to overcome themselves, again and again. It’s an infliction because it is not comfortable. It’s an upheaval of the psyche. It’s a leap of courage out of faith.

Self-inflicted philosophers understand that the self is not fixed. It’s masks all the way down perceiving delusions all the way up. They own this fact. They take responsibility for it. They unapologetically don and discard their masks. They swim through delusion with a healthy sense of detachment. They embrace fallibility and imperfection as a natural part of being human, but then they use them as steppingstones toward self-improvement.

Self-inflicted philosophy is a discipline of constant self-interrogation:

“What I understand of “philosopher”: a terrible explosive in the presence of which everything is in danger.” ~Nietzsche

From the deep awareness of the fallibility and imperfection of the human condition arises the obvious need for self-interrogation.

Ruthlessly questioning the self is the cornerstone of self-inflicted philosophy. The question mark is a self-inflicted philosopher’s touchstone. It keeps them ahead of the curve. It prevents them from thinking inside the box or from accepting a thought on faith alone. It keeps them curious, on the edge of their seat, entertained and awestruck. It keeps them in flow so they can continue to swim through the cosmic waters of Truth & Delusion without getting hung up on either side.

The question mark is the self-inflicted philosopher’s Scythe of Truth. It cuts through delusion. It cuts through certainty. It cuts through pigeonholed truth. It cuts through anything claiming to be God. It kills the Buddha on the path toward enlightenment.

Self-inflicted philosophy transforms boundaries into horizons:

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point how