Piece of Paper



The day I’ve been waiting on for the last 6 + years has finally arrived.  College graduation!  This piece of paper has the potential to open doors of opportunity that were inaccessible as an undergraduate.  No longer am I living with my mother, working for $9/hour at the local oil change shop or taking dates to the drive inn in my 96 Ford Taurus (motel on wheels).  Now, I rent an apartment in the Downtown Detroit area, make an attractive salary with paid benefits and  instead of taking dates to the drive inn, they come to my place and my 2006 Dodge Charger rest in the parking lot.
During my oil shop days I was the guy in the pit who gently rocks your vehicle from below as the oil filter and drain plug is removed and installed.  Ever hear someone yell “BAY #1 CLEAR” but never see him?  That was me.  I would deal with customers on very rare occasions.  I preferred it that way.  I didn’t like pushing overpriced items and deceiving customers by offering them unnecessary vehicle maintenance packages.  In regards to work attire, I was accustomed to wearing whatever the Cintas man provided usually a blue top, blue bottoms and slip resistance shoes.  During down time I would study undergraduate course work being careful my manager didn’t catch me or else he would tell me to clean or organize something.
Looking back at the time I spent in the oil pit to post graduation I must admit the work conditions improved.  I went from an oil pit to a 17th floor office at the downtown corporate headquarters.  I have a cubical with three 6 ft. high walls, internet accessible laptop computer with docking station, telephone and file cabinets.  The dress is flexible but mostly business casual, something you would normally never catch me in.  I’m more of a basketball shorts, jogging pants, t-shirt, gym shoe, knit cap kind of guy.  I never liked tucking my shirt into my pants.  Not only is it uncomfortable and impossible to remain tucked, it highlights stomach fat.  I didn’t realize I had stomach fat until I started tucking in my dress shirts.   I noticed some people would be fresh to a T and some people would look like they slept in their cloths.  I was somewhere in between.   Typically I would sport kakis and a button up.  NO TIES NEVER!  Unless it was worn under a V-neck sweater but never hanging.  It must be a special occasion for me to wear a tie like a job interview, wedding or funeral and still maybe.  I personally feel like a tie under a V-neck sweater is as professional as it will ever get for me.  To spruce things up a little I may throw a sports jacket on over it.  But that’s it.  Enough about fashion there was something hidden, something silent yet screaming aloud about corporate culture.
I’m the type of person who likes to know people on a personal level.  I love to talk about life, feelings, possibilities, ideas and interest.  I quickly came to realize that there are very few if any opportunities for this level of dialogue in corporate.  Don’t get me wrong you always encounter like minds but the majority of people I’ve encountered were always good.  I find it hard to believe that someone can always be good, that’s a flat line.  Ever look at vital signs?  Their are peaks and valleys.  Some days good, some days bad, someday ugh.  There are a lot of people walking around the office with a smile on their face but dead on the inside.  At the time I didn’t understand what this internal death was or if it was something that could spread from excessive exposure to corporate culture.  I was in for a reality check.
As human beings working in corporate environments we share certain commonalities such as Fridays, weekends, kids, time off programs, weather, traffic, sporting events, trips to the printer and lunch.  On the other hand, we all have our differences such as religion, sexual preference, morals and values.  I have never been involved in so many conversations about weather, kids, holidays and traffic.  Imagine a scenario where you don’t know someone that well and have no intent on getting to know them but your work responsibilities require that you request information or a contribution from that person.  In order for you to get what you need you engage in small talk to break the ice but not too much to where you come off as actually caring.  Follow me?  Take the following for example:
I need to check the ETA on a part that another engineer working on the same project as me ordered.  The arrival of this part determines when some Outside Contractors I lined up can begin work.
Mohammad:  Hey Mike how’s your kids.
Mike:  Thanks for asking Mohammad they’re great.  My daughter just started gymnastics this past weekend and seems to be a natural and I’m in the process of building a tree house for my son.  He has such an imagination.  He’s already calling it his bat lair.  How’s your son doing?
Mohammad:  He’s good.  Look, I need the ETA of the cooling fan you ordered.  I got Contractors lined up but I don’t know where to put them in the schedule.
Mike:  The fan should be on site in two weeks.
Mohammad:  Thanks (walks away)
Mohammad came off as if he was truly concerned about my kids.  I gave him a colorful description of their condition.  As you can see Mohammad was using this as a way to ease into his true agenda, the status on the cooling fans.  If Mohammad was truly interested in my kids he would have engaged when I asked him about his son.  I’ve witnessed this superficial type of engagement (small talk) so many times and on so many different types of occasions it’s sickening.  I would respect you more if you just came to me straight.  No need for small talk.  Other situations where there seems to be an excessive amount of small talk is on elevators – the most uncomfortable place in the world.  In order to break the awkward silence and avoid the thought that if this elevator were to stop between floors I’d be stuck with this person for god knows how long we engage in meaningless small talk about the weather or some other useless waste of breath.  I look at small talk as missed opportunities to make big connections.  If we would just slow down and get to know people instead of getting what you need from people working environments would grow exponentially.  Imagine an office environment where you had to share living space with your coworkers.  You would see another side of that person.  What if you had to spend a night at your coworker’s house and had access to his/her most personal details.  Would it make working with them easier?  Probably so if you had similar interest or were open enough to accept someone for whom they are instead of expecting everyone to be versions of yourself.
The work doesn’t end.  Corporations are designed to be infinite processes in order to make an infinite amount of $.  Could you imagine a company whose true north wasn’t to be the best in its industry but to build an infrastructure where end users were no longer dependent on its products or services?  Take for example an energy company that promotes off grid sustainability programs.  At some point in time there would be no need for this company to exist because its end users would be liberated from their monthly utility bill.  What about the engine that ran on H2O or Nikola Teslas wireless electricity.  The reason these technologies don’t exist is because it can’t be metered and it comes with too much freedom.  How dare you develop a product or plan to stop billion dollar industries from being billion dollar industries.  The ultimate competitor is customer liberation.
Corporate offices are full of illusions.  One illusion is that employee contributions are rewarded by money in the form of a weekly/biweekly/monthly/quarterly/6month/annual salary.  This can’t be any further from the truth.  Think about it this way.  Time = Money.  The more you work the less money you make.  If Renee gets paid 100k/year and works 40hrs/wk she makes $48/hr.  If Matt gets paid 100k/year and works 60hr/wk his hourly wage drops $16 to $32/hr.  Ever see a workaholic who lives to work and works to live?  This type of employee prides herself on how many hours she works and lets you know by telling you what time she gets to work, what time she leaves, how she works overtime, etc.  The only way to differentiate yourself from your fellow employee is to elude yourself to believe that you’re overly dedicated because you spend more time at the office.  Are you working smarter or harder?  Don’t get me wrong, these workaholics usually are the ones to get the promotions, hot projects and additional responsibilities that come along with additional time requirements.  But who in their right mind willing signs up for less $/hr but more money annually?
To end my lengthy rant on corporate culture I must say that the end is near.  There are far too many employees who are physically present but mentally absent.  I see future documentary’s on sky scrapers that housed hundreds of employees, congested early morning commutes, grueling office meetings and unproductive conference calls.  Why is working less taboo in the office?  Isn’t one of the goals of continuous improvement to cut waste?  If I can perform my 40 hr. work week from home in 20 hrs., do I need more responsibility or a personal achievement award?  How many jobs can be worked from home yet don’t have the option?  How valuable is your presence at your work place?  How many of us are living our passions vs exchanging our time for money?  These are questions that only you the employee can answer.




LOVE DEATH Death to all and may all things eventually return from which they came. There is no need to fear death for it’s inevitable. Accept death and fall in love as a part of us dies every day. Living a life of deterioration is comforting knowing that eventually infinity escapes from its grotesque confines and has the opportunity to return to greatness. I feel heavy. Heavy in a sense that everything is weighing down on me keeping me in this dense configuration of flesh and bones. I wake up and have to stretch as my physical lay motionless through the night. Upon standing I feel stiffness in my joints and tread lightly as they return to normal. My nightly fast leaves me parched and the inside of my mouth feels like a fine grade of sandpaper. Mucus has accumulated in my chest cavity and I proceed to purge by inhaling violently through my nasal and exhaling in a gargling like fashion. The color varies. Normal evacuations are clearish-white; based on the prior nights indulgence, yellow and I’ve even experienced green. My point is our physical bodies are foul smelling, disgusting, shit-piss filled biological organisms covered with pimples, ingrown hairs, wrinkles, keloids, warts, blemishes, scabs and injury. Our bodies are so disgusting we depend on chemical products such as perfume, soap, deodorant and body sprays to mask natural odor. We don’t even want to smell human yet we’re infatuated with appearances. It’s not the prisoner’s responsibility to perform upgrades and modifications to the industrial structure that keeps him confined. The prisoner’s only objective is freedom. What did I do to get here in the first place? How do I escape? How do I make sure I never return here again? These are questions we must ask ourselves. For no BODY has the answer.


Quit doing

Why do anything?  Why blog?  Why post? Why speak? Why read?  Why write?  What’s the point of any of it?  Too stay competitive in an ultra-competitive society?  Too monetize ones expression?  Too display dominance and superiority over others?  To obtain a sense of satisfaction, accomplishment, pride?  This may sound extreme but why not just lie down and die.  Just give up.  When did quitting get such a bad reputation?  A quitter remains in control and maintains a certain level of freedom.  A loser comes up short and a winner follows the rules on an advanced level (work hard).  Quitters never win or lose and those who choose to play the game never quit; Duality by design.  What does an athlete usually do when she plays a game regardless of the outcome?  She continues to train, competes against the next competitor and this cycle continues until she retires.  What happens to the quitters?  The people who start an activity and for whatever reason back-back and eventually fade away?  What’s their story?  We’ve all quit at some time in our lives.  When I was 18 years old I dropped out of high school.  That’s right I quit going to school.  My mother made me enroll in summer school to make up a years’ worth of English and guess what, I quit that too.  I wasn’t going to an Ivy League school or some top ten university so I decided to get a GED.  It made more sense and required a lot less effort than going to school especially when most job/college applications require a high school diploma or GED.  Hell, I could have saved myself a few years had I quit going to school sooner. 

The entomology of quit states – c. 1200, “free, clear” (of debt, etc.), from Old French quite, quitte “free, clear, entire, at liberty; discharged; unmarried,” from Medieval Latin quitus, quittus, from Latin quietus “free” (in Medieval Latin “free from war, debts, etc.”), also “calm, resting” (see quiet (adj.)). – etymonline.com.  Based on the aforementioned, quitting doesn’t seem to be all that bad especially for those of us looking for a change.  Other than high school I’ve also quit dead end jobs, relationships, cigarettes, red meat, the list goes on.  Instead of playing the back and forth game of “some you win some you lose” adopt more of a quitter’s philosophy. 

More than meets the I

As a child I always knew there was more than meets the eye.  I remember as a teenager falling asleep on my back with my eyes open and floating out of my body observing the room.  Sometimes I would just stop what I was doing and be still.  At the time I didn’t know what I was discovering or why I had the sudden urge to pause.  Fast forward to 2014, I’m sitting on my living room couch and ask aloud “God show me a sign”, nothing happened of course.   I turned the television on and searched you tube for something to fill the void.  What I stumbled upon would shift my outlook on life.  Without dropping names I stumbled upon a life coach.  This particular life coach provided a book list which included The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization by Anthony Browder, The Art of Effortless Living: Discover Health, Emotional Well-Being, and Happiness by Ingrid Bacci, The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot and others.  I went on amazon ordered a book, started reading and haven’t stopped since.  Something inside of me was reactivated and there’s an insatiable thirst to know more about everything.

When I was eight years old I lost my father after he lost his bout with cancer.  He was 51.  My mother had “know thyself” inscribed on his tombstone.  I asked her why and she said he always talked about how important it is to know thyself.  For many years I never gave it any thought then one day I googled it.  According to Wikipedia: The Ancient Greek aphorismknow thyself” or “gnothi seauton” (Greek: γνῶθι σεαυτόν, transliterated: gnōthi seauton; also … σαυτόν … sauton with the ε contracted), is one of the Delphic maxims and was inscribed in the pronaos (forecourt) of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi according to the Greek writer Pausanias (10.24.1).[1] The aphorism came from Luxor in Ancient Egypt.

Yeah, I had a similar look on my face.  I didn’t know what to think nor could I pronounce all the words.  It wasn’t until I started going within myself did this start making any sense.

My definition of “know thyself” can be summed up in three fundamental questions.  Below I will quote excerpts from The Forbidden Religion by Jose M. Herrou Aragon.

  1. Who am I – I’m a spiritual being imprisoned in matter
  2. Why am I here – I am here to be used as a lab animal in a crazy insane experiment conceived by an inferior God. This plan requires an eternal spirit to be imprisoned, in order to use its antimatter power to impel the evolution of this impure and mortal monstrosity called body-soul.  The power of a spirit is essential so that man can at some point achieve the final objective for which he has been created:  his transformation in the demiurge.  This antimatter energy, capable by itself of putting all creation in danger, is partly deactivated and diminished so as to be used safely.  This is why the spirt must be chained up and confused, so that it contributes only an extremely small part of its potential to the sinister work of the demiurge.
  3. What must I do in this life – I must wake up. I must become aware of my real situation and find a way out.  Then I must liberate myself and escape from this prison.  As man, is transformed, he becomes aware of the absurdity of everything.  He gradually notices that other men are nothing more than spectres and ghost, and that he himself has always been one too.

I chose the aforementioned based on where the journey has lead me thus far.  It’s possible that as my journey continues I may revise how I choose to define things.  I guess that’s the beauty of it all.  At the end of the day it’s up to you and what you choose to believe in.  I’m interested in knowing your answers to the three fundamental questions above.  Please leave your answers in the comment section.

Boxed in

The story starts with our character stuck in a box trying to break free.  It could be that after some time in the box the conditions became undesirable or maybe he was placed in this box against his will and finally decides to break free.  Escaping the box is not an easy task.  A considerable amount of effort is involved.  Once free, the character is able to stand and see that hes been boxed in.  He goes from being the contents of the box to leaving an empy box behind and not looking back.  After a while outside of the box he doesn’t know what to do with himself.  He soon stumbles upon another box slightly different from the one he recently escaped.  Once again our character is boxed in.  The point of this story is that what we are looking for is not on the exterior.  What we are looking for is within.  So in actuality, we are the box!