Category Archives: Inspiration & Existentialism

The Poet and the People

Excerpt From New Notebook

“The Poet and the People” 5/13/17

“The poet cannot be afraid of the people” – Pablo Neruda, Memoirs pg. 81

What is the relation between the poet at the people? A poet a weaver of tales and truths, a stanza and soliloquy serenading individual, a wizard of words, an artist and a creator; they invoke the power of words (written and spoken) to express some principle or experience. They rely on the understood, yet mysterious, magic of rhythm and emotion to tell a story. Even now, my words happen to conjure flighty images within the imagination of my own mind. Why though? For whom do I craft these words in such a way? Is it solely for me? If that were honest, then I am truly a selfish individual to hold such statements in, refusing to share with others.

These ideas, these sentences full of power, suffering, passion, and intellect germinated from my mind and yet, as a poet, I feel compelled to share. With The People. The people, or those who aren’t necessarily able to weave a story in a similar manner (entertaining, informative, possessive, and emotional). Those individuals who march through life following only a few pursuits,  spending a fleeting second within their own subconscious. They are everywhere, and there is no escape from the people. They are the collective. And they can be intimidating.

Both strangers and dear friends can be the people; one day their search for truth will bring them to the poet’s path. What happens then when these two fundamentally different groups intercept each other at the crossroads? Classifying myself as the poet, I will speak from my experiences (solely my own opinions). I was too, at an earlier point in my life, one of the people…before coming to know my own personal truth.

When assuming the role of a poet, as a poet should do at all times if considered as such-both by the world and self-one exists in a reality separate from the people. A poet creates a world: they form the foundation, decorate it with their favorite foliages, and even destroy some aspects of their previous world-the realm of the people. Once this world has been established and validated by the poet, they have two options: to grant entry to others, or keep their gates closed.

If one chooses the latter option then they have little fear for their world will not be tainted by outsiders; it will remain pure, completely untouched by the opinions, criticism, laughs, or cries from something other than the poet. There are those who relish in this isolation-there is nothing like having an escape from reality that is positive and progressive. However, they are also selfish and this directly conflicts with the nature of the poet.

“It is the business of the poet to communicate to others the pleasures and enthusiasm arising out of these images…within their own mind.” – Percy Blythe Shelley

The poet is tasked with communicating emotions to others- the “others” being The People. To live up to the title of poet, a being must be willing to extend entry to their world to the others. There are additional steps to take, but this is the initial one. A true poet (if there is such thing) will not only invite an individual, they will also impress their reality, their world, their universal truth, upon them. This is the duty of the poet.

Then, there can be no fear in the poet when it comes to engaging and interacting with the people, and yet, fear inherently exists within the poet (and within all of us). It’s buried in the depths of our being, pollinating thoughts, and manifesting when the words escape-whether liberation was granted from a ballpoint pen or a lubricated tongue. It is fear that will cause a poet to become selfish, and close their gates-preventing any entry into the eternal Eden within us.

There is an external factor that one must be cautious of when dealing with the people, because they are intimidating. Not as intimidating as the internal struggle of inspiration and suffering in relation to the creation of art, but a fear factor that stems from the “Unknown”. The “Unknown” is the entity that exists in our lives, and it will always exist as long as we do. It applies to people, that’s why people are so unpredictable; no matter how well we believe we know them, there is a percentage of uncertainty that rattles the spirit of the poet.

Imagine the child who is having a birthday party. They are excited to share this moment with others, but to do so they must send out invitations. Now, the invitations may be to their party, but the words originate from elsewhere-even though they say exactly what the host wants them to say. In contrast, the poet has no “real” control over their words (or ideas) that synaptically spark into their head.

First, they must make sure the invitation is correct. It has to list the truth surrounding the party; the poet must modify and complete their poems before sharing them. Then, the people to invite must be identified. Who will I give these invitations to? Who will read these lines? Who will listen to my cries, will anybody listen to my cries, is it even worth crying anymore if there is nobody to listen? These are the questions that will plague the mind of the poet (at least me) before they are introduced to their “party people”. Lastly, and possibly the most terrifying, the child must host the party. On the day of the performance, a poet will be asked to open their home to those who responded to the invitation. Bumblebee yellow balloons floating above freshly iced cupcakes, and there are snow-white streamers that catch the eyes of those who are not already mesmerized by the candle flames flickering on the cake. The world of the child will be filled with others; and together, just like the host and their guests, the poet and the people will have an experience. They will share sensations that spark individual thoughts within each of them.

The poet must not only be the commander of another’s experience, but also allow the people to dictate their diction. This dual duty is where fear strikes because of unpredictability. Some may not want an experience, they may want a different one, maybe they expected a majestic world and you offered them a frigid one where you shouldered your grief, or there is the possibility that they enjoy your world so much that they decide to stay for awhile. The best option, personally, is if the people try to make their own world after being invited to the poet’s world.

What is my greatest fear as a poet: the fear that my words will lack the impression of inspiration. But, to conquer that fear, I am dedicating my life to the crafting of a world, no, a universe where all receive an invitation, because I can no longer be afraid of my people.


P.E. Class

Excerpt from “Chapman’s Codex”

“P.E. Class” (Unknown)

Why is it that after centuries and millennia of intelligent life, humanity can still not answer any scientific inquiries regarding art?

Simple, art is the product of an essence.

When an individual has tapped into a wellspring of pure love (love for the soul, and life), then art will be created. It began with techniques being refined, individuals daring to perfect a craft, while, simultaneously, discovering the self that exists underneath both the logic and instinct. Art germinated from the universe that the soul occupies, and, just as we will never know the vastness of space, we must accept the reality that art will always yield unanswered questions.

That is the true beauty of it; humanity is incessantly seeking answers (hence the creation of science), and yet, there are some individuals brave enough to propose a question without punctuation. A sculpture with polished eyes, a watercolor painting of a London fishing wharf, a duet for a six stringed violin and piano; these are not simply creations, but conclusions. They are the final product of an artist’s mind, seeking a truth-maybe within themselves, within the world, or within the moment. It remains elusive, like the shimmering waves of an oasis, lost in a desert of dry bones, tyrannical heat, and endless grains of sand.

Art will inevitably save humanity from itself; without art, man would’ve died out centuries ago. However, now, the culture is depraved. Men and women are mere followers, and art has been tainted. It has degenerated, and instead of a select few providing us with their developed conclusions, we, as a society full of impatient students and consumers, have closed our hearts to them. We all wish to produce a magnum opus without the life lessons from The Master.

Art is not dying, however, it is suffering. Hanging onto it’s last breath as we attempt to exist without it. How foolish we really are.

Existential Expression

Text: Existentialism is a Humanism by Jean-Paul Sartre

“Prior to that projection of self, nothing exists…and man shall attain existence only when he is what he projects himself to be-not what he would like to be” (Sartre, 23).

  • The main and only difference between existing and not is being who you project yourself to be. A book cannot be a book if it is just pages, nor can a heart be that if it is incapable of beating like one. Existence depends on action but the action must be to be. If one is powerless to be, then how can they know they truly exist?

“Will is a conscious decision that most of us undertake after we have made ourselves hat we are” (Sartre, 23).

  • In order for ust to have a will, we must first be. That means there is some significance behind being, and will is a direct result of it. One that is able to be are also able to will; if they cannot will then, they are not yet a mature being. Maybe there is a distinction between those who will and those who have yet to discover their will; but ultimately, if one is unable to utilize will then their existence is limited, for they have yet to make a conscious decision based on their being. Incomplete wills are just wishes.
  • Going back to “what’s”, if man’s obligation to himself is to be conscious of what he is” then that means he must be ready to ask why he must do so. He must understand the logic behind him choosing to become conscious of himself, he must acknowledge that lack of knowledge pertaining to an action does not create a skill, it only creates a reflex.

“Choosing himself he is choosing for all men”

  • When we choose to define ourselves we inevitably begin to create our own nature, this nature is our understanding of all men. For example, if I choose to be a man of justice, then I expect all men to share my ideals of justice, for my viewpoint of men is based on my definite self. If may be there reason that I believe that everybody is capable of doing something, meaning that I match up with my nature if I expect it to be applied to others (even if this is false, which it often proves to be). The main principle to take away from this is that I believe that my being has a relationship to all men, and more importantly that being is mine. In the end, I choose for all men, because I choose for myself.


  • Anguish – a man who commits himself, but then realizes that he is not the individual that he chooses to be. “What would happen if everyone did what I am doing? (Sartre, 25)”. You must ask yourself if your actions could represent the entire human race.
  •  Abandonment- God does not exist, this was a debated topic among the existentialist. Without the existence of God, then some aspect regarding existence will left to be forever unsolved, this ruling this notion improbable. The tools for consciousness and thought were not arbitrarily created, rather they were purposefully given to humans to utilize; so then who is capable of giving us such a gift, but God?

Ayn’s Axiom

Text: Journals of Ayn Rand by Ayn Rand, Edited by David Harriman

“The moral law of man must be based on his nature as man” (Rand 251). We come back to morality, which is a set of principles concerning what is right and wrong. If this doctrine is based on man, then the questioned presented by Rand is “what is man’s nature?” (251). If we examine the moral law, we find that good and evil are disproportionate, goodness is greatly overshadowed by evil. What does this say about our nature? That we are evil? This is doubtful. All living creatures have an aspect of their nature that aids them in survival, Rand believes that man’s attribute is reason. “His brain is his only weapon” (251). Just like any other tool, one must use it in order to improve its level of proficiency. Man has tapped into his tool of survival and created a world. Sartre believed that a man must exist before his purpose and Rand has stated something similar; we are given our mind, but without any instruction on how to utilize it. We must be the ones to discover how to use it, and then shape ourselves with this tool. This is how we discover our being, by crafting it with what we have been given a mind born as a tool from our nature. “Man’s life ultimately depends upon every conclusion within his brain” (252). It is stated that conclusion is the final step in the process of discovery, then how does one reach a true conclusion? I believe it is by placing an action towards the thought. Simply put, it is not enough for the brain to think, it must do. In order to do, we must choose an appropriate action, which leads us to, as Rand says, “the ultimatum of man’s existence” We were created to choose, to utilize a force other than instinct and primal logic in order to survive. Choice is defined by Merriam-Webster as “to decided that a particular person or thing is the one you want.” Want. What then is the importance of want? We want, that is what defines us, all other creatures have needs but only man understands want. There is proof in all of us: we seek, we hope, we dream, we wish. All of these have one fundamental quality in common and that is want. It is what drives us to do the things that are against our universal nature, in an effort to choose something, even if it is against his survival. “He [the animal] enjoys a safety that man can never have” (253). Our true nature isn’t based on survival, it is based on want; and oftentimes that want will overshadow our survival. Just as the birds learn to flap their fragile wings before flight, so to must man utilize his tool for survival before entering the world. Then how does one test his brain? By choosing the need over the want, by focusing on survival and rationality, but can this truly be obtained? Is man capable of always choosing survival? No, because the want that resides within him is too great. The want is what separates us from each other, and by watching others “deducing” we have learned to choose wants over needs. What this entails is that if men, unanimously, choose want then that is the fundamental principle of mankind. From a moral standpoint, want is neither good nor evil. Exactly what happens when man does not behave like a man and misuses his process of thought, his tool, to seek something other than survival? “There is no proper name for that thing which he becomes (253)”. In the end we are not men, but a new form altogether with a nature that was dismantled and reshaped with want at the core.

Before I continue I am inclined to explore this concept of want. By determining it’s origin we have found some understanding of it, but why is it such a dominant force in our lives? What is inside us that would force individuals to pursue an object that is within direct conflict with our nature. It is a blessing, for it provides us with something more than a survival; but alternatively doubles as a curse and removes and hope of safety from our minds. For this I will examine two types of individuals, the laborer and the liberal (in the sense of the man free from work). The laborer is exactly what a man is supposed to be, a creature who acts and chooses that will enhance his survival. He chooses to awake and enter the greasy factor, or the claustrophobic cubicle and he does so without question. The reason he does not ponder his decisions (or even acknowledge the possibility of choice) is because it benefits his chances of extending his brief stint of life. He is acting in accordance with his given nature. But the liberal has erased any notion or idea of survival, no longer fitting his form. Instead, he does whatever he desires with or without question, by utilizing the three steps of discovery (deduction, observation, conclusion) in order to choose; but more often than not, he chooses his want over need. This is a “dangerous” choice because it puts “survival” at risk, but this also yields a new alternative to solely existing. The liberal who pursues this adjunct to life discards his title-and his pre-determined nature-as a man in an attempt to become a new being. This being is then “nature-less” which ultimately means that he he is now capable of authentically defining himself, in other words, becoming an existentialist.

An existentialist is a being who has cast away the definitive, and original, nature of man in order to chase desire. It is this new adventure that will give one an opportunity to define his self. “Man is the only being that is capable of being something that it is not.” (253) Does our “responsibility to remain” men help or hinder us, especially in this digital age? The choice is yours may be the most damning statement I have ever heard. If man’s nature is capable of transforming, then we cannot expect a moral code to exist, because it is based on a transformative foundation. If the tides of life continue to wreck the sandcastle, how can we expect to have any fundamental foundations? Morality is based on an individuals own desire and choice. Think of how quick we are to condemn an act evil, contingent upon the scenario. The classic example is murder. It is immoral for a man to take a life, yet it is justified for a man to take a life; then it is either both good and evil, or neither, to take a life. How can we expect morality to truly exist for man, when he is constantly revamping his original nature into his own authentic definition, and one that isn’t shared amongst his neighbors. The modern man is moral-less, he is constantly defining his nature, constantly choosing options other than survival. Drinking liquor, smoking tobacco, practicing monogamy, all of these are “irrational” options and yet each day, millions of humans will choose to follow them. Does that make them less of a man? Negative, it makes them their own man for they are out actively seeking their wants. The world we live in has forced men to do something more than simply survive. We no longer exist to survive instead we are here to choose, and more importantly, choose our desires, our intentions, our wants. If this is to be our existence then we are no longer the same men as before, even though we’ve retained the same look.

The moral code cannot be shared, yet there is a universal ideal that can be applied to each of us. “Am I right? (254) is the “first, most crucial question a man asks of himself.” Why do we seek to be right? We don’t, we only want to choose what’s right. If one has done that then they have fallen within their personal moral code, and they have done good. If this is the case then can a man truly consider himself evil? Possibly, but he is only evil if he cannot answer the question. Society may view him as evil-based on that universal morality that has been generated by the collective-but the individual will not consider themselves to be evil, so long as they believe they made “the right choice.”. That is the true danger of a nature-less nature; “the right choice” may in fact be pure evil, but he may not consider it that because it was his want. It is vital that we utilize logic and weigh out the consequences of each choice before taking them, it is this rationality that ultimately aids in strategizing to survive the modern world. A man is able to define his nature, thereby defining his morality. This principle is the sharpening stone for the brain, if one is able to make moral choices, then they are good. However, are moral choices morally correct? Social media has given way to a brand new nature, a collective an individual nature that spans the globe. The platform has increased the desire for want, and has significantly aided in the discovery process. We are now able to observe others discard their nature, and don an entirely new one (the creation of an avatar/profile/esse) ; witnessing this process surely must have an effect on us, but to what extent? Did it increase our desire or did it affect our choices, or must we have patience giving the results time to be analyzed? This demands further reviewing. Our world may very well be becoming what it is because so few of us are acting as original men, and instead pursing the wants of our lives, regardless of the moral compass that was originally thought to drive us. “Man exists and must survive as men, the axiom of the only morality proper to man” (254).

The Humanism Hour

Existentialism is a Humanism by Jean-Paul Sartre

“How can we measure the strength of a feeling?” (Sartre, 33). We begin with a comparison of the values of man versus his instincts, specifically feelings. What are feelings and should man trust them? According to Webster’s, feelings are “an emotional state or reaction” and “a belief, especially vague or irrational”. Based on this definition, we can conclude that feelings are not natural aspects of man; somewhere along the social evolutionary timeline, feelings were given a greater role in our lives, but should they have been? They are also described as reactions and states-both which are varying-yet not described as laws or principles. Feelings do not contain the permanence required to assist man, then what exactly does a feeling do for us? It lays down the blueprint for us to perform an action that has stemmed from a thought. Sips chilled henny Now the dilemma that Sartre warns us of is the cyclic nature. “Performing an action that confirms and defines it [feeling]. However…I am depending on this affection to justify my action.” (Sarte x). We often act on feelings, but we also act because of them. These mental constructs, lined with immature passion, both govern and destroy our basic existences; they are a tangent to the fated life. Yet, it is the inclusion of feelings that ultimately aid the modern man in the discovery of self. Want is nothing but a feeling, and even though the desire may change the origin of that feeling is still the same. And want is a way for us to utilize our brains to form conclusions based on our experiences. “Feelings are developed through action” (Sartre x). Imagine when a young boy meets a woman for the first time. By performing a series of actions, his soul forms a preemptive conclusion about this woman (love). Now, after enough actions have been completed, he will be compelled to perform more actions. Over time he may believe that it was this feeling that begun his actions, but in reality, it was the the initial acts of recognition, pursuit, or whatever else that spawned this motion. “I shouldn’t seek within myself some authentic state that will compel me to act,” Sartre is justifying his earlier claims regarding feelings. Acting upon a feeling will only end in us becoming caught in a cycle, we must act then deal with the consequential feeling that follows after, and how we internalize this type of feeling, will determine the type of being we are. This personal understanding of a feeling is what leads a man through his life, and we alone, are charged with the dismantling of this process. However we choose to interpret a feeling, will ultimately aid us in the dissection of the next feeling. It is how we deal with life’s obstacles that determine our existence. In short, it is imperative that a man tackles his feelings, and turns them into truths before they overload his mental.

“Conquer yourself rather than the world.” – Rene Descartes

What Is Existentialism?

Text: Existentialism is a Humanism by Jean-Paul Sartre.

We start out in Sartre’s work (Existentialism is a Humanism), by defining what existentialism is not. During his era, it was a “fashionable trend” to call oneself or be classified as an existentialist. It seemed that artistic individuals were mainly subjected to this title, possibly because art has direct ties to philosophy. Art may be the physical form of the thought of man, however, existentialism seems to exist (ha!) in a realm reserved only for “specialist and philosophers”. It takes more than deep thought or profound conversation to be considered an existentialist. There is a common agreement between all existentialist that “existence precedes essence,” and according to Sartre, this is the first principle of the definition of existentialism. He utilizes the idea of the paper knife, a tool created a certain way and has a definite purpose. The craftsman does not create the knife without a formula or purpose, but man is not solely a tool. In order for one to be an existentialist, he must believe that he existed without definite knowledge of his purpose. Although man may be created, he is crafted from “nothing”, a concept rooted in Heidegger’s phenomenology. We cannot understand the nature of nothing, but we can assume that it is being devoid of anything. After being born from nothingness, without a universal nature-also known as human nature-man can begin to define himself. It is similar to the zygote and embryo, cells are unspecified at first, and only after time will they be differentiated and defined. To be an existentialist, you must believe that our being is a stem cell, that must be exposed and defined, rather than given a set definition.