On America

In doing a solid amount of recent research, I’ve been able to diagnose the nature of many of my problems with America. I’ve concluded that my issues with the American way of life are a product of conflicting fundamental values and beliefs, many of them stemming from the differences between master and slave morality.

For those that aren’t familiar with the master-slave morality dichotomy, as I understand it, at the center of master morality is the self. Master morality therefore concerns itself with individual prosperity and values things like drive, power, strength, cunning and other traits associated with or useful in gaining individual prosperity. Another way it is understood is that master morality is a strong “will to power or conquer.” So amassing great fortune relative to your community would be a central goal for those who subscribe to master morality.

At the center of slave morality, as I understand it, is the community. Slave morality therefore concerns itself with community prosperity and values things like generosity, humility, altruism and other traits associated with or useful in helping the community prosper as a whole. Another way it is understood is that slave morality is a weak “will to power or conquer.” So helping create a better life for as many members of your community as possible would be a central goal for those who subscribe to master morality.

I personally value things in both moral systems, however I tend to be more guided by slave morality than master morality. My belief is that the community is more important than the individual and that, for better or worse, no person’s life will ever be as valuable as the things they have contributed to the community they inhabited. And though the well-being of others is something I value very much, I maintain that it is only a value of mine, and no one is naturally bound to an obligation to help others.

America was founded on master morality and built as a place for individual prosperity. The prosperity of the community was not the focus of the founding fathers, and any persuasions or obligations to contribute positively to the well-being of other members of the community were deliberately left out of the constitution. The constitution is, and was meant only to be, a set of rules that allow a group of people striving for individual prosperity to live civilly among one another.

If one thinks about the American dream, it is an individual dream; It is to achieve what one wants personally: to do well for oneself. So in America, the rich guy on Park Avenue is king, whereas if you value the prosperity of the community over that of the individual, the person who helps the most people or provides the most opportunity is king.

American culture—the “every man for himself” state that it is—being such that the strong will to power and conquer and all that is associated with it is “good,” breeds selfishness, insensitivity and maliciousness. These are just products of the idea that the self is more important than the community. What we’re seeing now is that it eventually leads to a society that is very top or bottom heavy, depending on how you look at it. There are a small amount of people at the top who have control of most of the resources, and most of the people are on the bottom and make due with a small amount of the resources. This is a slave moralist’s worst nightmare.

A slave moralist’s greatest possible dream would then be something like, if not exactly, a communist society, where everything is everyone’s. Paramount in the communist society is the community as a whole. Life in communist society is such that everyone is naturally obligated to all other members of the state, the resources are distributed evenly, and those resources belong to the state as an entity, instead of the person. However, we’ve seen that this creates a community with diminished drive to do anything at all, as they are virtually stripped of the ability to individually achieve.

Where I fall, and where I think many American’s—consciously or unconsciously—fall is in a place somewhere in the middle; a place that can hardly be legislated, because in our ideal state people have the will to personally achieve in addition to the will to contribute to the whole, and they are altruistic, in that they are willing to sacrifice if ever their personal success is damaging to the well-being of the others in their community. This has less to do with legislation than it has to do with motivation and morality.

Many of us are just realizing that our values and morals clash with the ones that the country we happen to live in was founded upon, and the differences between the ideal Americas of liberals and conservatives are the differences between slave morality and master morality.

On Newtown

It’s been equally tough realizing how much time has just kind of beaten that Columbine shock into just this hardened disappointment thing.

For people my age, it’s just happened all our lives, and it sucks and we hate it, but there’s just always so much going on, ya know? Like, you’re mad because you feel guilty for being somewhat emotionally prepared, but realistically you know that only so much time can pass. It just happens again, and again, and again, and that stillness can only last so long, and lately it feels like there’s been virtually no stillness at all.

You judge yourself for not feeling it hit you like a ton of bricks. Instead, it kind of just slowly washes over you. But for me, it’s like growing up in some vicious sort of circus, and my conscience is standing outside of the cage, judging me for not being completely shocked and terrified when a tiger comes out of the floor, and after 22 years, I want to yell at him and say, “What the fuck do you expect me to do? How am I supposed to feel about something that I’ve seen for the one-hundred-millionth time? Like, I wish I was fucking shocked and terrified, too.”

But I don’t say anything to him at all. I just fight the tiger off as best I can, again, staring the man in the face and asking myself questions I don’t have answers to.

On Why I Don’t Bat For The Black Team

You can call me black. Surely, I’m conscious of the world’s evaluation of my skin. I’ll never pretend not to recognize the box they’ve conveniently and firmly planted me in and all but forced me to accept, as my “race.” I know my hair is black and coarse, and that my tanning needs are relatively low-maintenance, but as I grow older, I’m increasingly less comfortable with my contributions to the world being tallied as points to a particular team.

This team, for which I harbor no contempt—though, never was I presented with the choice to opt either in or out of it—is comprised not of people who share the same values, principles or even residence in the same geographical area, but of people, whose allegiance to this team is predicated solely on the amount of melanin in their skin. With all due respect, I will never bat for this team, nor will I attempt to claim another like it. I understand that I will never have a say in the matter, so you may tally my points and appropriate them as you believe to be appropriate. But like a high-paid baseball player, I will never have a team. I bat as a singular entity.

There are two races of the human species: male and female. The separation of men and women by skin color is an irrelevant tool we use to neatly quantify statistics, that we will judge and draw conclusions from, later, further blackening the lines we draw to separate ourselves with. The fact is that more accurate conclusions could be drawn from data that compares and contrasts cultural—rather than racial—differences. We are as we are, because of the cultures that raised us. Always. Regardless of the skin we wear.

Culture is formed as a community uses its conditions and resources to develop a way of living, and it evolves through trends that tinker with and reshape its foundation. This is why it is likely that if, at the beginning of civilization, white British people, for example, had been placed in Mexico and forced to live under the local living conditions, with only the local resources available to develop a way of living, and brown-skin Mexicans had been placed in Britain, instead, with the same set of circumstances, the Mexican culture would be largely if not exactly the same as it is today, with the only difference being the skin color of Mexicans. Placing a black American on the same proverbial team as a native of Angola, or even a well-off black American, from New York City, on the same team as an impoverished one, from rural Alabama, simply because they have a similar skin color, ignores the cultural differences between the two parties and doesn’t yield results accurate enough for one to draw conclusions from, about anyone.

Yet, these sorts of conclusions are drawn everyday, and our perceptions of each other are affected by them. These perceptions only exist because people choose to accept skin-color separation as race. The acceptance of skin-color separation as race is the acknowledgment of the idea that, because a person has more or less melanin in their skin, they are different, and therefore a member of a species of man completely separate from the one that you belong to. An idea that I have come to reject.

The acceptance of skin-color separation has become inescapable, in today’s world. The notion that one would challenge the existence of race is generally viewed as an exercise in futility, regardless of the strength of the argument. I am well aware that I will always be recognized as a black man, and when I must, despite my feelings on the issue, I will also identify myself as such (generally, for convenience). However, I’ve found that more important than someone else’s definition of what I am is how my decision not to bat for any particular team affects how I decide which issues I will and will not go to bat for.

There are three concepts that I am willing to go to bat against: the violation of human rights, acts that are detrimental to the planet that we inhabit, and acts that unfairly infringe upon the well-being of others. I will never stand up for a “race” of people, nor will I champion or stand against one, solely based on conclusions I or anyone else has drawn about them. It is only if these people are victims of the three aforementioned concepts, because of their “race,” do they have my support, because of their “race.”

You can call me black. You can attribute my contributions to this planet to whichever team you deem appropriate. But like a high-paid baseball player, the only player on my team, is me.

The Man With Limits Versus The Man Without

A few months ago, while doing some thinking, I was faced with the following question.

"If the well-being of a group of innocent and powerless people depends on you having power over an opposing party, who seeks the power you have, only to use these people, with no regard for their lives or well-being, how far are you willing to go to protect these people from such a fate?"

Heavy stuff, sure. I realized, though, the question is seemingly easy to answer, so long as neither party is willing to break any rules, laws or various codes of ethics. In which case, one would do everything they can to win the “game,” fairly. It’s only when the opposing party is willing to do things that are unjust and challenge your ability to righteously win the game, that you are tested.

If you are unwilling to do the unjust things that your opponent is willing to do, to win, your righteousness gives the advantage to your evil opposition. Is your righteousness more important than the remaining lifespans of those innocent and powerless people, who are depending on you? Are you willing to sacrifice their well-being for the selfishness of “sticking to your principles?”

I thought about how often evil prevails, only because it’s willing to do whatever is necessary to get what it wants, and how much of a disservice good people do to the people whom depend on them, by losing battles they don’t have to, only because they value their own ethical limits more than they value what they’re actually fighting for.

If ever you have the power to save innocent people from a Hell they wish not, and deserve not, to go to, understand that in the event preserving justice calls for you to be unjust, and your ethical limitations don’t allow you to do what is necessary, you will surrender justice. If there is anything, at all, that is powerful enough to limit how far you will go to preserve justice, you are unfit to fight a battle of such importance.

It’s a hard line to cross, to do bad, in order to preserve good. However, a man with limits will never beat a man without. And although those you fight for may eventually crucify you, remember that there comes a time where big men must learn to be small men and that sacrifice is for the chosen.

Mundane Thoughts - #16

On Putting People On…

If you put someone on, put them on and shut the fuck up about it. It’s not a trophy. It’s not about you. No one ever even needs to know that you put them on. You don’t own the position your in. Someone put you there. If the ability to give opportunity is bestowed on you, consider it a privilege. You are part of a cycle, and one day, you will undoubtedly be removed from that spot, and someone else will inhabit it.

If you put someone on, put them on because you feel they deserve it. What they do with it after that is on them. You’re not owed shit. If you crave some sort of gratitude for doing what you felt in your heart was right, and they’re somehow not grateful enough for you, then it’s your choice how much more you do for them. But don’t ever mistake doing someone a favor for a lifetime debt. Putting someone on is an unselfish act. Don’t let your selfishness taint what you did. You don’t do it for a thank you. If you believe that people should get what they’ve worked for, therein lies an obligation for you to continue the cycle that put you in the very position that you’re in to even be able to make such a decision.

If you do what you believe is the right thing to do, don’t do it for the glory that comes with it, but if the glory fails to follow, certainly don’t chase it. Do it because you believe it was the right thing to do. A thank you is nice, respect is gravy, but don’t you ever, ever expect that anyone in this world, so long as you live, owes you a goddamn thing. People will handle things the way they choose, and you will never have any control over that. Do what you believe is right. Give them the opportunity or don’t. But don’t be the disgusting, egotistical, gloating pig who tells us all about it.

Why Having Never Gone Through Anything Is A Haunting Privilege

The fact that I’ve never been through anything in my life is a semi-frightening gray cloud, that looms above my life. How I’ve managed to make my way through this life unscathed is beyond me, but it can only continue for so long. I suppose, my tendency to not attach myself to anyone or anything has contributed to my ability to evade any sort of real pain, aside from falling in love with a friend, who wouldn’t have me. Realistically, though, as tough as it has been to deal with, mangled hearts are for the young, and thankfully, that I am.

It could also be my demeanor. Growing up, my experiences taught me never to get too excited, as great plans virtually never pan out perfectly, but also that the longing for things coveted often trumps the actual accomplishment. In short, it’s never as good to have it, as it seems when you want it. And so, my emotions tend to be even keel, my connections few. Though, as I grow older, I’m more open to genuine connections, which might in fact, lay the foundation for this inevitable impending travesty I’ll have to overcome.

Still, it’s a scary thought to wonder what could really hurt you. What could you lose, that would make for a mentally and/or emotionally trying recovery? When your meaningful connections are as scarce as mine, the possibilities are few, but also obvious. However, I find that I rarely worry for myself, at this point.

I figure, any loss I take, I can get through, and I’m not afraid to die. What’s most frightening is that, as I grow older more people will be dependent on my well-being. I can deal with never visiting the places I’d like to visit, or having the things I want for myself. Knowing that the people I intend to help, may never be helped in the way I can help them, or that the change I intend to initiate may then never be realized, is a different beast.

There isn’t a sacrifice I wouldn’t make for the change that I expect I will impose on our planet, and never would I place anything—including my own happiness—above the well-being of the billions, who will one day be affected by these efforts. I’m also smart enough to prepare others to assume my duties in the event of my downfall. If I am destined to be the force behind these changes, no matter how much I try, I cannot help but see what is staring me in the face. If you are willing to lose everything—including your life—for something as great as what I envision, in the end, your life may be all you have to offer. 

Still Recovering…

I’m still recovering. Everyday is a new battle, but you never win. You never get over it, but you do what you have to in order to get through it. Everyday. And some days are tougher than others. Some mornings, you check your phone as soon as you open your eyes. And many of those mornings, you have messages: a few missed calls, maybe, an email or two, an occasional Facebook alert. And for the moment, there’s a hint of excitement. Maybe not even enough to bring a smile to your face, but there’s an inkling of a possibility that maybe, just maybe, she fell victim to an urge. Maybe she fell victim to an urge not unlike the many urges you fight each night to keep yourself from sending her a message telling her how much you love her; the ones you overcome by picturing her looking at your text while she’s thinking about another guy, or worse. But you never get that text. You go through all of your emails, and text messages, missed phone calls and Facebook alerts, and none of them are from her. And it sucks, for a moment. And on the bad days, you can’t get out of the bed so quickly. She’s on your mind, and that pain is growing familiar, and it just feels better to sulk for a moment. And then there’s the nights. There’s the nights when you lay there thinking about how great it could be, and how you wished they could see the same movie you’ve played in your head over and over again. And you can almost feel a tightness in your heart, so real that you may even take a deep breath. And you end up looking at her Facebook pictures, or her Instagram pictures, or her Tumblr pictures—all of which you’ve looked at a hundred times already, but she’s still beautiful, and that smile is still perfect. And you start to realize that there’s no solution to what you have. There’s no “fix” for what you have, but you’re broken, and as much as you can mend yourself, you’ll never un-love her. Shit, you’ll never even un-know her. You’ve known the best, most beautiful, most perfect and incredible woman this world has in it, and…you fell in love with her. Who do you date now? How do you lay down next to someone who loves you, knowing that if at any moment she walked in the room and decided she wanted to make it work, you would jump at the chance and leave that person? No matter how good something is, it’s never as good as what you want. And if you can’t have what you want, you learn to live with it. But the alternatives will never be as good, and you’ll never not want what you want. So do you settle? Is that fair to the person who loves you? Is it worth carrying around one heavy box of discontentment and one even heavier box of guilt and shame? Is it easier to be alone, in order to not hurt someone else? Do you give up hope? There’s no answers. No fix. There’s just you, and these nights, and these mornings. And the days get easier, but the nights and mornings don’t. You’ll find a place in your heart to tuck your feelings away and get on living your life. And it’ll continue to burn. Just keep telling yourself you’re recovering. Lies seem to work better than hope does, sometimes.

Spit a Couple Flows, To Try And Be Like Our Heroes

Spit a couple flows, to try and be like our heroes

So we can drive a Rolls and scoff at a couple zeros

And maybe bag some hoes

But lately, I suppose,

I’ve been thinking ‘bout some bigger shit, and ain’t been buying clothes

On some “Can’t nobody stop me”

ain’t no slippin, fuck that hockey shit

I’m passing on the tennis shoes, ‘cause cool ain’t never got me shit

Ain’t got no rivals

Supporting all my niggas

And we’re all just starting to realize that we’re smarter than our idols

Ain’t got no girl, ain’t got no titles

But you best believe I’m safe

I ain’t trying to have a baby ‘fore I have a second date

I’m not trying to buy real-estate, but make a realer state

Trying to pick up all my niggas, make sure all my niggas ate

And it’s cool, niggas hate

But I love them all the same

Guess my way ain’t the only way,

It ain’t about the fame.

My niggas ain’t performers.

My niggas ain’t playing games.

My niggas ain’t in the movies,

But y’all know my niggas names.

Tags: rap writing

Sadness Is A Place

Sadness is a place.

It’s the place you went when your heart was broken the first time.

It’s the same place you ran to the first time you embarrassed yourself

and when you lost your first loved one.

And maybe you haven’t been back much since.

Maybe you’ve tried to forget.

But you’ll be back.

Eventually, you’ll return to that familiar place you’ve been avoiding.

That place where your soul gets a little weaker,

and your heart gets a little heavier,

and your spirit is broken to pieces.

And you will remember.

And while you’re there, you’ll probably sulk,

and there may be some tears,

but you’ll be alone.

You’ll be alone with your feelings.

And as you stand there,

or sit there,

or lie there,

face-to-face with those feelings,

they will slowly begin to make their way out.

It hurts like hell,

and you can barely stand it,

but in those moments,

it all seems so familiar.

You’ll realize that you’ve been here before.

And as bad as you want to leave,

you can’t help but feel comfortable.

It’ll all be over soon,

so take your time.

Stay for a while,

just not too long…