As an oil painting BFA candidate in 1987, I made this painting. It no longer exists, because a senior student shamed me for liking comics; I’m pretty sure I painted over it.
The world is not worse off that this painting is no more, but it struck me that the Super Human theme was capturing my attention way back then. Then, ostensibly, I lost interest in it until just this year. Or did I? Maybe it’s been percolating in some deep recess of my brain for all this time. Or, if you are inclined to believe in precognitions, perhaps way back then on some level I knew this would become significant to me.
This week I started working on my new novel Super Human: Into The Fire, the sequel to Super Human.
The idea for the sequel was born out of a recent tragedy. Anxiety is a theme in the first book, and it explores reframing strategies I’ve used with some success in my life. A childhood classmate of mine read Super Human and told me she wanted her young adult son to read it because she thought he’d find those strategies helpful. Tragically, since that conversation, her son unexpectedly passed away.
I cannot pretend to understand what her family must be going through, but the news hit me hard. I wanted to extract some meaning and value from this horrible event; I hope I can facilitate something good coming from something very, very bad. So, Into The Fire will examine human despair, hopefully in a way that sparks useful thinking.
If you haven’t yet checked out Super Human, treat yourself to some thought-provoking, inspirational science fiction today:
Speaking of Staples, I want to thank Dawn and Arianna, managers in Staples Printing Services in Stratham, NH, for their excellent customer service. Your efforts have helped me achieve my dream, publishing my first novel, Super Human:
My editor worked nights and weekends to get this to the world as fast as possible:
He got it out so fast he missed that the cover needs a tagline. Until the new cover is out, here is a sneak peek at the tagline: The next stage in human evolution is what you think. I hope you check it out, I think you’ll like it.
“Who is the enemy? Who is holding back more rapid movement to the better society that is reasonable and possible with available resources? Who is responsible for the mediocre performance of so many of our institutions? Who is standing in the way of a larger consensus on the definition of the better society and paths to reaching it?
“Not evil people. Not stupid people. Not apathetic people. Not the “system.” Not the protesters, the disrupters, the revolutionaries, the reactionaries.
“Granting that fewer evil, stupid, or apathetic people or a better “system” might make the job easier, their removal would not change matters, not for long. The better society will come, if it comes, with plenty of evil, stupid, apathetic people around and with an imperfect, ponderous, inertia-charged “system” as the vehicle for change. Liquidate the offending people, radically alter or destroy the system, and in less than a generation they will all be back. It is not in the nature of things that a society can be cleaned up once and for all according to an ideal plan. And even if it were possible, who would want to live in an aseptic world? Evil, stupidity, apathy, the “system” are not the enemy even though society building forces will be contending with them all the time. The healthy society, like the healthy body, is not the one that has taken the most medicine. It is the one in which the internal health building forces are in the best shape.
“The real enemy is fuzzy thinking on the part of good, intelligent, vital people, and their failure to lead, and to follow servants as leaders. Too many settle for being critics and experts. There is too much intellectual wheel spinning, too much retreating into “research,” too little preparation for and willingness to undertake the hard and high risk tasks of building better institutions in an imperfect world, too little disposition to see “the problem” as residing in here and not out there.”
I’m gonna rewrite a bit by Seth Godin: Living with what happens next. His context is self-awareness to improve business; his principles apply to relationship too. So here goes:
Most people are okay with living with the consequences of what happens. Continue reading →
When I moved in New Age circles, and someone was going through something difficult, the typical response was that difficulties were lessons for us. I heard commentary like, ‘we all choose what lessons we want presented to us before we are born’ or ‘the universe sent you this as a lesson’. Continue reading →
Meaning we assign to situations is our own creation; not some absolute truth. Notice when assessments become debilitative. Re-shape them to facilitate outcomes you want.
Or, “We tell ourselves stories about our perceptions, then mistake them for absolute truth.”
The positive thinking mindset/strategy/life philosophy I outlined above has hints of Buddhism; To quote His Eminence Choje Togden Rinpoche: “What a yogi or yogini strives to do is to put an end to the suffering that exists in cyclic existence. In order to do that, a yogi or yogini has to train his or her mind. Simply stated, a yogi or yogini will strive to counter all the negative emotions and try to generate positive energy.”
Notice positive thinking is a bit of a misnomer; generating positive energy does not require constant positivity so much as it requires an understanding of the basis of our own thoughts.
Regarding my definition above, the hardest concept to internalize is the first one: that we assign meaning to situations; that meaning is made up by us. When people say ‘positive thinking doesn’t work’ it is usually because they couldn’t grasp that first bit.
New Age mystics say the world we perceive is a self-generated illusion. I agree, and the answer to this ponderous notion is simpler than you think. Here are some of the illusions we create around ourselves: Continue reading →