A bit of a late start today for reasons that you can read about in my pages. Will I get up the hill today? I'd like to think of that as a priority, along with getting at least halfway towards publishing a new GMT video.
Today's pages were written with the Waldmann Edelfeder broad and Diamine Bilberry ink.
Media Gubbed Last Week
This is a new weekly feature that I'd really like to lean into in order to learn more from what I'm reading and listening to. I'm taking notes on the articles and podcasts that I learn from and that provide information that will help me to progress as a sober, loving man. I'll share the most meaningful ones here, along with my thoughts.
I thought I wasn't familiar with Arthur Brooks when I was listening to this, right up until they mentioned his book, From Strength to Strength. 'Hang on a minute - that sounds familiar,' I thought. And I was right. I read it last year. So, you see? This is why I want to start taking notes on what I'm listening to.
This was an excellent episode about finding meaning and purpose, exactly the conundrum I write about here. Brooks explained the different schools of philosophy:
- Plato - Essence is meaning. Essence precedes existence. The meaning of your life existed before you were born. Your job is to live up to that meaning. Define that meaning, and live up to that meaning. It’s a cosmic thing. That’s what comes from the cosmic oneness.
- Sartre - Existence precedes essence. you’re born without any meaning. You have to invent meaning.
- Nietsche: There is no meaning. Existence exists and essence doesn’t. You can keep looking for it or trying to create it, but that’s childish. Let it go. That’s nihilism.
It's Plato's philosophy here that is the one that I aspire to. It's a cosmic thing. I love that!
There are good discussions in the pod about the differences between happiness and fulfilment. Tom repeated a phrase I've heard him say before, that happiness can't survive grief, but fulfilment can (or contentment, which I consider to be interchangeable with fulfilment).
I currently have Brooks' appearance on Rich Roll paused so I can take more notes and maybe even follow up with the book.
One of my favourite shows. I've probably heard all 512 episodes. In this one, John Roderick talked about his bipolar and ADHD as possibly being superpowers. He was philosophical about how these conditions must have contributed to getting him to where he is now, rather than considering them as conditions that have held him back. This was a springboard into my researching possible connections between addiction and autism. Turns out there's a whole lot of research on this and it got me feeling quite excited about researching it more and potentially writing about it myself.
Using Psychedelics in Recovery, Part 2 - Holly Whitaker
Holly Whitaker wrote a very candid essay about this, focussing on a guided psilocybin trip and an ayahuasca ceremony. I have recreational experience with drugs, but none of their therapeutic potential for mental health and trauma issues. I'm always interested to learn more about this topic, and Holly's Substack is an excellent place to do that.
This was the first time I'd come across Gad Saad in yet another Impact Theory episode about happiness. There's a theme to my media consumption this week that ties in perfectly with what I think about most often.
“The only road to individual dignity and sustained existential happiness is to adopt an ethos of personal agency. You are the ultimate architect of your own happiness, so get to work.”
This is in line with the stoic philosophy and that's something I'm reading about every day in Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman's book, The Daily Stoic.
The quotation that stopped me in my tracks was this one:
Podcast 2 -23:50 This conversation is my pathway to immortality. Do meaningful things things in life. Anything that allows you to instantiate your creative impulse is well on your way for you to your having purpose and meaning, whether I am a chef, or a stand-up comic, or an author and professor, or a podcaster; each of these pursuits share one thing in common - they create something that wasn’t there before I came along and created it. That’s makes me immortal. So there are ways by which I can seek eternal life without believing in a celestial dictator.
This quotation confirms my belief that the act of creation is godly, provided it is fearless and authentic. Those are the values I strive for in what I write and publish. That's why I keep coming back every day with my daily pages and publishing them, not because I think what I'm writing is magnificent and earth-shattering (it isn't), but because it's fearless, mundane, quotidian and authentic, and because it gives me a moment of connection and contemplation every day.
I'm sure I'll read Saad's book, The Saad Truth about Happiness. I often feel, as I'm listening to an episode of a podcast, that I ought to put my life on hold and read whatever book is being touted right now. It feels like the most important thing in the world. I suppose that's why authors do these podcast circuits. But it's a good lesson to me that marketing can have tremendous value and isn't always icky and salesy and horrible. I get a lot from reading and listening, so being introduced in my favourite podcasts to books that will help is something that I'm grateful for.