I started writing this when I was 19. I had less chill then, was prone to imagining that hardness would allow me to be what I wanted, though of course time has taught me more the magic of softness and flexibility. Still, this is something I�d like to return to, tend to, grow even at the risk of contradicting myself. I may disavow some of these words, now; even as I might disavow some of my today words sometime soon.
1.Know that these are your truths thus far, unfit for your journal or any other medium. These are your maxims stripped of sentimentality, your cadences. These are things you must ever have in mind.
2.Know that you will always be beset by easy answers. know that you will ever be tempted by easy truths, maxims and cadences. Know that you must resist this. Burn away what is untrue, and be ready to resurrect the ashes if you find another reverse. What you ‘know’ is as sand poured through a child’s fingers. Steel yourself for this. All is simply as it is, it is not your theories or beliefs.
3.Know that the world is a many sharp toothed thing. Know that there is much you would feast upon, and much that would feast upon you. To worms and the like, your a banquet of meat, blood, and bone. Some men will feast upon that which you store away, some men will feast upon your labor and use you for their own ends, and the rarest of men would feast upon your pain. Protect yourself and your clan and eat in turn.
4.Know that there are many who love you, and many that you love. There are more whose love you would have and perhaps more who would have your love. Know that they would eat, and there are things that would consume them. Protect them.
5.Know that it is not your eye, nor ear, nor nose, nor tongue nor touch that deceives you. It is your mind. It is that flabby bit of wrinkled grey flesh that allows you to be deceived, that would fill in the blanks that should remain so. Your mind is soft and would spare you of pain. It would dip this barbed world in honey or leave you cowering at every sector of a shadow. It would deny or ignore inconvenient facts, and leave you as cattle in times of trouble. Your form must be hard but your mind must be harder. You must learn to know all you can at first glance without lies or ommissions. Open your eyes, or they can be closed forever.
6.Know why you live, and know it well. Know that if you do not pain or a moment’s weakness may overwhelm you. The bleakness is ever waiting.
Know that you live to touch the face of your creator or the abyss, whichever is beyond the veil. Know that you live for those you are bound to by love or by duty. Know that you live to take as much joy from your time as you can. Know that you live to help those you love do the same. Live for knowing, live for love and duty, live and enjoy.
Know that life is precious, and rare. Know that death is only to be courted where it allows more life. Know that human life is more precious still, and that human death is only to be courted where human life threatens those or that which you love. Still death is the lover of the all and someday they will be together. What lays beyond death’s bedroom no man can say.
Know that you have a gift for words, but that you often use it to lie. Know that words were meant to transmit truth, or to forge the bonds of love and duty, or to help you against your enemy. Do not muddy the waters of comprehension or build walls around your heart with meaningless words; unless you must - where you must use your words as a weapon, or tool against your opponents.
Know that you were intended to be brought into this world first through pleasure, then through pain. Know that when you are in pain, as you heal the pain is part of stitching you back together. Know that if you are to learn, at times it will be through pain. Know that when you bleed, when you cry out, you must seek the reason and let pain run it’s course. If you know pain, but do not give birth, do not heal, or do not learn… then you are a fool and your pain is meaningless.
Know and be willing to pay the price of what you seek. Most often the price is effort and planning, if you do not pay with that you will pay with pain and sweat. Everything has a cost, and sometimes you must pay with your life. Know that you must never pay by betraying the reasons you live.
Know that the world does not exist for your sake. Know that fruit growing wild on trees does not grow for your succor, but for the tree’s progeny. Know then, that if ravens come to feed you they were sent. Always remember to thank the sender. (Was this world sent especially -if only partially- for you? Know that you do not know.)
Know that somewhere is the eternal. Know that somewhere there is the always was, always will be. If matter is eternal, then you have significance only to yourself and those who know of you. If all has been created… who knows the thoughts and feelings -or the lack of such- of the creator. Know that you do not know. Know that you are a mote in time’s eye, impermanent and temporary as far as you can see. Yet perhaps that is the seed of the eternal you feel stirring in your belly?
Know that every battle you fight is a losing battle. A clean house gathers dust again. Medicine and exercise will only prolong life so far. Every building will crumble, all that is flesh will rot. Only the cycle of remaking of things continues. Know that you can not fight for or against this cycle, and be content to fight to shape the cycle as far as you can.
Know that you tend to walk in circles, that your mind and your feet tend to retrace out the grooves you wear into the age. Know that this can be used against you, and know that this will cause your mind to become brittle and flacid before your time.
Know that all that you know is limited. True wisdom comes from knowing this and compensating, and know that you can do what you can when you may.
Know that your actions will always have unintedned consequences. Know that you must ever content yourself not having all the information you would. Know that you must ever gaurd yourself against being paralyzed because you don’t know all that you wish. Choose your demons and take the plunge.
Know that there is no creation without hunger. Know that even though this is so, you must find some wells of fufillment or your spirit will become frayed and parched. May you always be more then a trifle hungry, sated only just before death.
Know that the world strobes before you and dazzles the mind. Know that events flash before your eyes, keeping you from knowing the treasure and horror that lies in wait in the darkness most men know not. Learn to blink and gaze beyond the blinding light.
Know that money and rescources are amplifiers, but are selective in what they amplify. Money increases your capacity, your reach, your ease, sometimes your security, your authority and your influence; but never your intellect or that of anyone else. Money may also amplify your amplify your fear, your paranoia, your greed and make you a target as a man standing on a barren hilltop. May money only amplify what is best in you.
Know that there are razor blades in the carmel apples of this world. The more you eat the more you risk bloodying your maw. But there are always signs, and as you grow in wisdom you can eat without slitting your throat. Know that every human way is honeyed as well as barbed, that every mortal thing is twisted and twisting.
Know that hate is often purer and more constant then love. Men often knowingly hurt the ones they claim to love, though they never willingly help those they hate. Know that hate is a more useful lever, for it’s results are far more constant.
Know that if you wish to reason with, seduce, or break a human get them alone. Know that if you wish to inspire men to do terrible acts, or act based on instinct or base emotion… then the momentum of the mob and the moment are your tools.
Know that anything that has been made can be unmade. Know that you can be broken. You were made from the union of your parents’ seed, from the sun and flame that burnt you, from the pleasure that confondouded you. If your enemy, or cold nature, touches you in the right way or with the right chemicals; if they have sufficient patience or knowledge or luck then you can be made to betray what you wish to gaurd, or be shaped into any kind of tool. Know then, that is your adversary is worthy, it is better to die then be captured.
Know that you must not create more needs for yourself. To do so is to hand another a bit for your mouth, and spurs for your side.
Know that it is right to acquire everything you can, so long as it does not become an obstacle or a crutch or creates enemies.
Know that everything you acquire can become and obstacle or crutch or create enemies.
Learn to resist the temptation of binary: a thousand mouths and your own sloth would have you divide the world into black and white, us and them, off and on. The only true binary is existance and non existance and in all manner of existing there is not a 1 and a 0 but an endless spectrum of ever blending possibilities. Forcing everything into a binary is a way to avoid thinking.
Learn that the enemy of your enemy is not your friend but your tool.
Learn that it is not everything you say that can and will be used against you, but everything you are and are not and appear to be.
Learn that change is inevitable, progress is not.
Learn how every knife cuts both ways.
Learn that you can be violated, you can be hurt, but that there is no degradation except that which you allow.
Learn how -when you are in need- anything can be your tool, your weapon.
Learn to drink poison, learn to court pain (and avoid injury). It would toughen your softness, or kill off those portions of you that would betray you when a storm comes.
Learn that it is never the storm but only a storm.
Learn that strength comes from synthesis. Much as alloys are stronger then their component metals, so to is the mind and the life that melds and molds disparate elements that is not so focused on one thing, not so complete feeling that it becomes closed off to new ideas. Men shall tell you that diamonds are harder, and diamonds are made of only one thing… carbon. They shall claim that you need to follow one idea fully, to focus and belive and reject everything that is not that diamond. Diamonds are not man made, and serve their own purposes. Much the same, ideology that force you to reject all other inputs do not serve you… they shall be what they are whatever you or the moment’s needs may be.
Learn that only monsters kill well with full stomachs.
Show me what is safe and I will show you what is dead.
Learn that the only laws that matter and hold are those that eventually people willing to die for.
Know that you were given gifts in their thousands and thousands and thousand thousands. You must be a giver in kind, or else stagnate from all the unexpressed goodness. You are not an inland sea, you are a slight widening in a river that began far from sight in the mountains of history and flows out where no man can know.
Know that your symbol for you is the ring you wear on your finer. It is but one link in a chain. You are chained to those and that which you love, what you would bleed for. You are chained to those and that which you care for, that which you would sweat for.
Know that blood and sweat are the only true currencies. All else is art and obfuscation, useful though it may be.
Know that you are not the model of you that any other man has built. Know that you are not the model you have built of yourself. You are something far more primal, more terrible and more awesome.
Three things you must struggle against as you age: fear, bitterness, stagnation. These three ogres destroy nearly everyone.
Learn how so much of this world only has power insofar as it can make you afraid. So many of the fields do not have farmers, only scarecrows.
Know that you are more powerful then you can possibly comprehend. Is it any wonder that the world is buried in cages and traps, prophets and guns when seven billion ones such as you roam the planet?
Learn that the knack of the two male ideals, the nomad and the patriarch speak to different shapes within you.
Know that you as you, are incomplete. You can function of yourself, and indeed you must at times. But a man by himself is as a man with no eyes. You were bred to be part of a pack, and you are complete, you are safe, you are whole only when gathered with people who love you.
Learn all the ways in which the pack instinct is betrayed, how many men and institutions cry out ‘The country is your pack’ or ‘The Army is your tribe!’ The terror and the glory is that, in the end, you and only you will choose who you are willing to bleed for.
Know that when you read yesterday�s words, ever you�re tempted to rewrite, modify, reinterpret, reconfigure to meet your modern preferences. Resist this. Let yesterday�s words be yesterdays � sit with the mystery of one who is not you grappling with the totality as you now do the same.