Dirty dishes

I fancy myself to be an artist and a philosopher. I don’t have a degree in either art or philosophy. I’ve never made any money to speak of for my art or my philosophical thoughts but for some reason that doesn’t seem to bother me. I keep doing it because it is what I do. I guess that’s really all the justification I need. It would be nice to be taken seriously and perhaps even financially rewarded for my efforts but I find that when I place external validation as my goal, the creativity suffers. Still, I find it hard to believe that I would put myself through such hell if I wasn’t receiving some sort of validation. I pride myself on being a lazy person who only does what is absolutely necessary for survival yet I find myself doing all sorts of thing that are really very difficult for me. I must be getting something out of it.

Validation is one of the things that I get out of what I do but I’m starting to question if my motivation is actually external validation. I’m starting to think that it really comes from within me and I project it onto the world around me so as to feel less selfish.

So let me tell you a story…

I was at my friends house the other day. She informed me that she had some things to do and left me alone in her house. I have a key so there was not problem with locking up after she left. I didn’t have anywhere else to be so I looked around for something to do. My friend had recently had a party so the dishes had kind of piled up. I figured I could at least do some dishes while I was there. I like doing dishes. It’s an easy way to help and pretty hard to fuck up.

As I was washing the dishes I found myself thinking about how much I would be appreciated for doing this. I thought, what a pleasant surprise in would be for my friend to come home to find a nice clean kitchen. Certainly there would be some future reward in it for me providing such a valuable service.

Then I realized how ridiculous I was sounding. All I did was a few dishes. Even if it made things better for one day it would be completely forgotten by the next when a new pile of dirty dishes arrived. But it didn’t matter. In that moment I felt good. I didn’t even care if there was any acknowledgement of my actions. I had already given myself more validation than I probably deserved. I didn’t even do all of the dishes after all.

When my friends returned home she was pleased although by this time I had completely forgotten what I had done. When she sent me a text message which stated, “You little fairy” I thought she was referring to my sexuality. I still found it endearing but when I realized what she was really referring to I got to feel that sense of pride all over again.

And I’m pretty sure it was pride that I was feeling. I even took a pictures of my accomplishment.



I could show you a picture of what it looked like before but I didn’t take a one of that nor would I post it because I wouldn’t want to embarrass my friend but I will show you a picture of my dirty dishes. 



I like a clean kitchen but not enough to actually clean it. I clean when I have to. I clean when I run out of dishes or counter space. I cleaned my living room yesterday because a friend was coming over to give me a massage. There was no way she would have had room to work if I didn’t do some cleaning. My motivations are very practical; they are utilitarian. I’m sure that gives comfort to those who see me as a selfish prick and not the struggling soul on a path of enlightenment which is how I see myself.

I have no conflict with people who see me as a selfish prick. I also don’t consider enlightenment to be a higher form of being. I still think that we are all equal and we all kind of suck. The only thing that I think enlightenment offers is the understanding of how shitty we are and hopefully the insight to do better. But what do I know? I’m not there yet. 


Are ideas really dangerous?

In a post I made last week I stated that “ideas are dangerous”. Even as I wrote it I had doubts about whether I actually believed it. It has been the number one question on my mind for the past week as I have been spending a lot of time reading, watching and listening to other people’s ideas. I love learning what other people think. I’m a huge fan of the Aspen Ideas Festival and TED Talks – Ideas worth spreading. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend checking them out.

What I have learned is that not all ideas are equal. Some are really good; some not so much. Some ideas are just downright stupid. Still, are any of them dangerous unto themselves? Robbing a bank is dangerous but so is shooting a manned rocket into space. Both of these dangerous acts began with an idea so perhaps it is fair to say that ideas are dangerous.  However, when I made that statement these were not the examples I was thinking about.

I wasn’t thinking about how an idea can lead to an action that is dangerous. I was actually thinking about how thinking can cause harm. I was thinking about how my ideas may conflict with other peoples ideas, or even my own ideas, and cause discomfort. Well, as unpleasant as discomfort may feel, it is not dangerous.  Experiencing discomfort can actually be very enlightening. In fact I’m hard pressed to find an example of how one can find enlightenment without discomfort or the more often used term; suffering.

Still, I did not start this blog to cause suffering, nor did I start it to find enlightenment. These are merely byproducts of documenting my journey.  As for enlightenment, while I have certainly found it, I see no evidence that it is a final destination. It is but merely a flower upon an endless path. The upside is that suffering is but a stone upon that path. Perhaps it’s the stone that you tripped on that caused you to notice the flower.

As for danger, all I can say is that life is dangerous. It’s probably a good idea to wear a helmet.

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