Skip to content

The Ambiguous Face of Suicide

Untitled

On June 8th, Eric Ripert, a famed French chef, author, and tv personality, found himself worried due to the absence of his travel partner and longtime friend, Anthony Bourdain. The American had missed dinner the evening before and breakfast, a trend that was apparently uncommon. Deciding to check in, Ripert found his way to Bourdain’s hotel room, entered and discovered his longtime friend, unresponsive. Anthony Bourdain had committed suicide by hanging at the age of 61. His death came as a surprise to most, and mere weeks after designer Kate Spade decided to take her own life.

As always, celebrity suicide comes as a shock. Why would an individual who appears to have it all decide to kill themself? It’s a tough question that doesn’t seem to have any clear-cut explanation. Despite needless loss of life and the descent of confusion, anger, and other tough emotions on family, friends, and fans, celebrity suicide does provide one shining light in a dark cave of turmoil: it brings the reality of mental illness to the forefront of the public’s mind, allowing people to learn about mental health and how to fight against any pitfalls that come along with it. When celebrity suicide occurs, it allows the world to talk openly about depression and loss and death.

And still, suicide proves to be a frustrating reality to deal with. It’s an issue that transcends all religious, ethnic, gender, and sexual backgrounds; it’s a universal blight on the face of humanity to some and an inherent weakness to others. In honor of the late Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, Tim Bergling (Avicii), and all other individuals worldwide who have decided to end their own lives, staring into the ambiguous face of suicide is something that we all need to do for the sake of prevention and understanding.

The Reality of Suicide in the United States

Across the globe, some 800,000 people commit suicide annually. Although the United States is outside the top ten most suicidal countries—the top five being Lithuania, Russia, Guyana, South Korea and Belarus—it contributes a large number to the collective total of self-imposed death worldwide. In 2016, nearly 45,000 people took their own lives in the United States, making suicide the tenth leading cause of death.

With such a large set of data, certain trends have emerged in relation to subgroups within the overall population that are at risk of self-harm and suicide. Understanding the cause of these trends is highly complicated and something that can’t be summed up without the assistance of more data and intense studies. With that, the obvious nature of said trends is fascinating and food for thought.

In terms of ethnicity, according to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, the group most affected by suicide is Whites at a rate of 15.17 per 100,000 people, followed closely by American Indians and Alaskan Natives at 13.37. Adversely, Asians/Pacific Islanders and Blacks show far lower rates of 6.62 and 6.03 respectively. It should be noted that the AFSP, according to their website, counts Hispanic rates separately from the other four groups because “individuals in all of these groups may also be Hispanic.”

Age is another factor that is clearly correlated with the advent of suicide. Generally speaking, as age increases so too does the prevalence of suicide. The age range most affected, however, is adults between 45 and 54 years of age. On the other end of the spectrum, young people 15 years old and younger have the lowest rates of suicide at .73 per 100,000 people. After the age of 15, rates skyrocket and grow exceedingly higher as age rises.

Gender is closely related to self-imposed death. Men are overrepresented in suicide figures, a truth that can be boiled down to one simple factor: method. Men are more likely to use violent means to end their own life—firearms and hanging—whereas women typically turn toward methods that are more insidious— like drug overdose. Despite men’s success rate, women attempt to commit suicide more often than their male counterparts, but due to their preferred methodology, they are usually discovered before it’s too late.

Is Suicide Selfish?

Among the many views of suicide, there is a strong collection of folks dedicated to the idea that the act is overtly selfish, and that those who act out in such a manner should be seen for what they are. Is it that simple, though?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word selfish literally means ‘concerned excessively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on own’s advantage, pleasure or well-being without regard for others’. The key here is pleasure. Those who commit or attempt to commit suicide typically do so because they’re attempting to escape overwhelming feelings of pain and sadness; flee from said emotions if you will. Pleasure and advantage simply have nothing to do with depression and feelings of self-harm.

A similar word, one more applicable to the reality of depression and suicide, is self-centeredness. While selfish and self-centered are synonyms, they differ slightly when their exact dictionary definitions are compared. Self-centered: ‘independent of outside force or influence’ or ‘concerned solely with one’s own desires, needs, or interests’. Self-centered is more of a connotation free version of selfish, really, and that means a great deal when it comes to the language used in discussing suicide.

Depression is exceedingly common in today’s world, and if left unchecked it can grow into a cumbersome burden; even a reason to end one’s life in the most extreme of cases. The nature of mental illness, generally speaking, occurs within the mind of an individual, making their cognitive experience one of a personal matter, or one that is self-centered. Unfortunately, depression, anxiety, and any other observable mental disorder can abjectly alter the perception of an individual. A brief example: researchers believe that serotonin may be directly involved in depression. One stimulus that boosts serotonin in the human brain is exposure to sunlight. When depressed, people often experience low energy, which in turn causes them to stay in bed and sleep. When you stay in and sleep you don’t get enough exposure to sunlight. In this specific case, depression can cause distorted perception that will potentially lead to further detrimental effects. Thus is the nature of mental illness.

So, is suicide selfish? Probably not. But it is a reality lived out in the mind an individual, making the overall experience one self-centered and highly personal in nature.

Looking at Anthony Bourdain’s Case

First and foremost, the death of Anthony Bourdain, and anyone for that matter, is terribly disheartening. Suicide is painful and confusing and abrupt, especially when it’s committed by a successful individual so full of life. The curious case of celebrity suicide speaks to the true nature of depression and self-harm: it’s a threat that has the power to reach anyone in spite of factors like wealth and fame.

Anthony Bourdain’s suicide is complicated for a more pressing matter than the mere fact he was famous. He left behind an 11-year-old daughter, and she’ll have to live the rest of her life pondering her father’s fragility the moment he decided to exit her life. The reality of parental suicide is a confusing subject to confront, and one that few kids have to toil to overcome.

In the current state of American culture, parenting has taken center stage before the collective attention of the nation. Issues like school shootings, social underdevelopment, and obesity can all, in part, be traced back to parental ineptitude. The crux of this particular issue is uncertain, but it’s one that has the potential to enact a heavy impact on future generations, especially when left unchecked.

Objectively speaking, when someone brings a child into the world, they have a duty to ensure safety, structure, and provision for that young person. Because of this basic fact, there is simply no argument to refute the impulsively that led to Anthony Bourdain killing himself; through a parenting lens, Bourdain’s decision was massively irresponsible. Of course, the complexity and runaway mental effect of depressive episodes shouldn’t be scoffed at or forgotten, but instead considered in conjunction with issues like parental responsibility.

In Closing

Evidence of widespread love for Bourdain was expressed immediately after the news of his passing had been released upon the world. Regular, everyday people, celebrities, and beyond all came to the forefront to celebrate the life that Anthony Bourdain left behind. In short, the renown American chef created a legacy of culinary critique second to none; social commentary derived from widespread experience; and a sense of wonder at the wide and variable world man inhabits.

For all he gave to the world, it’s a genuine shame Anthony Bourdain’s journey had to end with a demise shrouded in uncertainty. But that’s the nature of suicide: it seems to strike without warning, without reason. Suicide is on the rise, and it has been for a long time. In order fight against suicide and mental illness, we, as a society, need to look into the ambiguous face of depression and self-harm and decide what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s acceptable and what should be rejected outright. Only then will we be able to prevent suicide and all the chaos dragged along with it.

Advertisements

Andrew Breitbart: Righteously Indignant

Untitled 2

Across the annals of time the greatest warriors to have graced the world sacrificed their lives for a cause larger than themselves: King Leonidas left Sparta to hold back the immense Persian hoard that sought to take all of Greece under Xerxes; Joan of Arc, a committed Catholic and canonized saint (1920), fought and died to defend France from English rule during the Hundred Year War; and William Wallace gave his life defending Scottish sovereignty in the face of the oppressive King Edward I.

In modernity, the face of war is markedly different, and far less personal. Guns have the capability to end life with the pull of a trigger, bombs are launched from impossible distances and strike with unrelenting precision and power, and in some cases, battles and entire wars take place without the loss of human life, on a plane where information is ammunition. And still, in the contemporary age of internet prosperity, heroes arise out of the bits and bytes fighting tooth and nail for their beliefs.

Among the few who have had the gall to come forth and profess their beliefs, there’s a man who fought with such voracity his untimely demise paled in comparison to the brutality of his many public campaigns. Andrew Breitbart, a six foot something, curly-headed baritone of a man, died on March 1, 2012, from a massive heart attack—although conspiracy theorist suggests otherwise. He left behind a legacy of passion, ferocity, and, you guessed it, righteous indignation. He fought against the powers that be, or in American society the Democrat-Media Complex; he raged against political correctness, identity politics, and the idiocy of the far left. Andrew Breitbart was a warrior who went into battle not with sword and shield but word and fact, behind a keyboard or podium, and his sacrifice in the face of virtue signaling, race baiting, groupthink left leaning extremists paved the way for many like-minded visionaries to raise their voices and join the current battle to defend western, American values.

The Beginning

Andrew James Breitbart was raised in the Mecca of celebrity intrigue: Los Angeles. He was adopted by Gerald and Arlene Breitbart at three weeks old and raised in Brentwood, an affluent neighborhood that’s considered one of the “Three Bs”—the other two being Beverly Hills and Bel Air. It’s also where Nicole Simpson, O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife, and her friend Ronald Goldman were murdered, in case you were thinking, “is Brentwood near any high profile celebrity murder mysteries?” Andrew’s parents enrolled him in the Brentwood School, a highly exclusive institution known for its academics and athletics. As you can imagine, other notable people have attended Brentwood School over the years, like Jonah Hill, all members of Maroon 5, and two of the five Schwarzenegger children, among others.

Appropriately so, Breitbart was raised in the exact environment he would eventually end up railing against, but in youth, he reveled in it; he loved being around the rich and famous, delivering pizza to public figures, growing up the son of a restaurant owner who catered to the Kennedys. Who could blame him? After all, being raised in Hollywood was akin to growing up in Florence during the Renaissance: it was and is the epicenter of art and expression and popularity in the United States and, more broadly, the world.

Andrew developed a leftist political sense in his youth, which proved to be in direct contrast to the stoic views of his conservative parents. He thought them odd, and perhaps a bit outdated. Progressivism was the future and political correctness the pathway to the holy land of equality and true, universal happiness.

Tulane University in New Orleans housed him for four standard years of self-proclaimed partying and underachieving. In Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World, Breitbart’s first self-authored book, he claims his graduation from “Sodom and Gomorrah” came by the skin of his teeth. Somewhere in the drunken madness that was his college career, he took a semester off to experiment with drugs in New York, after which he returned some $20,000 poorer and many credits behind his would be graduating class. In a feat of FOMO, or fear of missing out, Breitbart fought hard to catch up. And he did.

After graduating, he returned to California with a degree in American Studies and no apparent life direction. He worked various odd jobs for a time before breaking into the political scene, where he eventually bloomed into the person he’s known as today.

“I am the ultimate example!”

Somewhere along the way, something switched in Andrew Breitbart’s brain, an awakening of sorts that would change the path of his life forever. This discovery was a culmination of factors, the most potent of which being the confirmation hearings of now justice Clarence Thomas. During these hearings, Anita Hill accused Thomas of sexual misconduct. Her allegations were decidedly unfounded. In this moment of vulnerability, it appeared as though some were attempting to shame Justice Thomas for his conservative views on topics like abortion, gay marriage, and affirmative action. Breitbart watched the hearing with great interest, and he slowly began to realize that something deeper was going on. A man of high stature was being thrown under the bus by way of baseless accusations, simply because he held a different set of beliefs. It seemed unfair.

A series of events led to Andrew Breitbart discovering his righteous indignation, all of them reinforcing an itching suspicion that had been creeping into his consciousness over the years. At some point the liberal boat in which he’d been safely secured. For the majority of his life tipped and threw the L.A. born man into the harsh waters of reality, thus igniting his endless diatribe against a fallacious, shameless left.

During a talk at the University of Redlands in California, Breitbart summed up his views rather pointedly when a female student questioned him on race, the underlying tone of the query implying that Breitbart was a racist. Being a Megalodon in spirit, he took the bait, fisherman, and crew down in one gargantuan mouthful. He said, “You are the definition of the indoctrination and you don’t even understand what you’re saying”.” He went on to tell the crowd that he was the ultimate example of what the modern university produced in an individual: a person who is able to judge other people based off their group identity, be it race, sexual orientation, or gender. With an American Studies degree, Breitbart said he emerged into the real world with the ability to judge other Americans, and that political correctness and those who employ the shaming techniques therein would orchestrate the demise of the United States as we know it. This particular instance defined Breitbart for the man he truly was: a person who cared deeply for the United States and what it stands for. He ended his response with “E Pluribus Unum beats multiculturalism.” E Pluribus Unum is Latin for “out of one, many”. If that’s not American I don’t know what is.

Righteously Indignant

The Breitbart that’s remembered today isn’t the young, Hollywood born youth struggling to find his purpose in the world, but instead the combative conservative who was obsessed with exposing his opponents, or the left-leaning media and presidency of the time. A writer and commentator taking on an institution that provides news and entertainment to the vast majority of the public is not unlike the biblical battle of David and Goliath, though there are a few differences. For one, the Democrat-Media Complex as it exists is certainly a giant, but one of a more pathologically lying, sensationalizing brand. It’s also a zombie; it represents two avenues of influence and refuses to die down, even after being injured with a series of heavy blows. Additionally, Andrew Breitbart didn’t use a sling to fight his battles, but the internet, truth, and a bit of charisma.

Breitbart and his allies—conservatives, Tea Partiers, truth seekers, and others who were sick of how things had been going—fought and continue to fight in the culture wars with steadfast conviction, and with the odds stacked against them. Its hard to challenge an enemy that doesn’t believe in accuracy and honesty; an enemy that can call you a racist, xenophobe, or homophobe without having to provide even a modicum of evidence to support their claim. But it’s possible, and as the reality of the effects of media—especially internet-based media outlets—on public opinion became increasingly obvious, those who opposed the left realized that they too had to take up their keyboards, mice, and monitors to fight. Breitbart’s BIG websites were at the forefront of this movement, although the Drudge Report proved to be the tip of the spear for conservatives.

Despite the overwhelming power and influence of the Democrat-Media Complex, Breitbart struggled against them with persistence and bravery. Among the plethora of campaigns that Breitbart and friends took part in, the ACORN and Anthony Weiner scandals standout as feats of investigative persistence. Additionally, they proved to be major hits against mainstream sociopolitical belief and the ideals and modes of operation of the organized left.

ACORN

ACORN, or the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now—quite the mouthful, eh?—had its hands slipped into multiple cookie jars—like health care, affordable housings, and voter registration to name a few. Republicans often criticized the organization for alleged voter fraud but weren’t able to bring enough against the organization in the eyes of the law. That changed when Hannah Giles and Jame’s O’Keefe came along.

The two young conservatives had traveled to ACORN offices all across the country where they posed as a brother and sister who were involved in human trafficking and prostitution. They filmed themselves asking ACORN employees questions on how to subvert taxes as an illegal immigrant, as well as queries on underage sex trafficking. The videos were pretty damning, but also heavily edited. Despite the controversial nature of the videos, Breitbart, considering the astute advice of his business partners, decided to post the six videos recorded by O’Keefe and Giles steadily over a few day period. The end result, after months of battling, was the liquidation of ACORN as an entity.

Now, the primary issue with ACORN wasn’t their goal to bring underage prostitutes into the United States—the tapes of O’Keefe and Giles appears to have been an isolated incident—but voter fraud. Before and after the scandal employees of ACORN have been accused and arrested for varying degrees of voter fraud all across the nation. Breitbart didn’t decide to go after ACORN because he had a vendetta against the majority of the work they had done, but because the Democrats employed them as a tool to persuade voters and, as we can see through countless arrests, cheat the system by turning in fake ballets. Did ACORN deserve to go down? Yes, and as a result of their morally corrupt practices the Democrat-Media Complex actually flinched.

Weinergate

Anthony Weiner was a congressman from New York’s ninth district. He was married to Huma Abedin, the vice chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. He was a well-liked man and won all of his campaigns with more than 60% of the vote. He had it all. And now he’s in prison for sending lewd images to an underaged girl. Needless to say, he’s fallen from grace—to the displeasure of the Democratic Party, especially his ex-wife and her boss—and is currently serving a 21-month prison sentence for his disgusting crimes. How did such a high standing politician go from hero to zero? Well, Twitter and Andrew Breitbart of course.

In today’s world, social media is a powerful weapon that has the ability to build empires and destroy them, but only when placed in the right hands. In Weiner’s case, the initial photo he accidentally leaked to the public was captured by a cognizant Twitter user by the name of Dan Wolfe, who immediately sent the photo to Breitbart, deeming the conservative commentator responsible enough to harbor such sensitive information. Boy, was Mr. Dan Wolfe correct in his assumption.

The picture of Weiner was plastered across his BIGGovernment website the following day, and what ensued would be the beginning of the end of Anthony Weiner. The New York congressman denied any allegations against his character with frail determination. At one point he said the photo could be of him, but he wasn’t quite sure. Then he blamed hackers for the getting into his account and retrieving the sensitive information therein. Accordingly, along the lines of the Democrat-Media Complex’s directive, Breitbart was blamed for the hacking and attacked for releasing them to the public. That was expected of course.

Then a group of conservatives came forward and claimed they’d been monitoring Weiner’s interactions over social media, namely with women. The haymaker that downed Weiner came when another woman stepped forward with multiple photos of the congressman in question, each more risqué than the last. Game, set, and match. Weiner came forward and admitted everything, apologizing to his compatriots and family for his unruly, dishonest behavior. A little over a week later he officially resigned from his position in government.

Weiner’s sharing of sexual content with a minor, the final blow to his career, would come four years after Andrew Breitbart’s untimely death. It’s a shame he wasn’t around to see how morally deprived the New Yorker truly was, because in life Andrew had to face unfair and absurd claims from the media and Weiner’s proverbial corner, simply because he wasn’t of their ilk. But he ended up being correct in displaying the photos of Weiner on his website; individuals needed to know that they weren’t safe on their high perch, mainly those with such close relations to the Democratic Party. Furthermore, the left’s tactics were exposed for all to see; they were willing to defend a married man who had adulterous tendencies; they were willing to sacrifice their morality to defend a despicable human being based on selfish, self-preservative motives.

A Wildfire begins with a Single Flame

Andrew James Breitbart wasn’t perfect; in fact, he was far from it: he squandered his college years with excessive drinking and gambling, fell into pettiness at times, and even approached some of his attacks from a misinformed angle (namely the Shirley Sherrod incident). But no one is perfect. Without the mechanism of identity politics in the way, the individual—their beliefs, actions, goals, and dreams—is what people look at to properly measure another. Take away the groups Andrew belonged to, his religious beliefs, political beliefs, and skin color. What you have is a man who recognized the presumptuous tendencies of far leftist thinking, and their self-aggrandizing, virtue signaling fashion. Breitbart knew some of them were trying to do good in the world, but they were going about it all wrong. By applying the complicated and detestable post-structuralist, cultural-Marxist ideologies, society loses its meaning. When everything is criticized things cease to matter. Things fall apart. And as young adults emerge from their universities and into the real world, vomiting critical theory onto their would be oppressors, they do more damage to society than good. Breitbart recognized this victimhood mentality and grew angry. And thank the heavens he did.

Fortunately, the flame that was roused in the heart of Breitbart has become a raging, cultural wildfire, and one that continues to grow with each passing day. Most see wildfires as destructive, but they aren’t; they clear the way for new life to flourish, they get rid of dead material so the sun can beam down and feed the many ecosystems of the world. The nihilism that was introduced into the United States in the early part of the twentieth century was and is a decaying ideology, it always has been, and thanks to the work of Andrew Breitbart, an army is at work fanning the fire he left behind.

These men and women, the new guardians of the mantle of responsibility, come from all walks of life. Ben Shapiro is an Orthodox Jew who used to work under Breitbart and runs his own media outlets; Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, an intellectual of the highest degree, discusses the downfalls of certain ideologies and educates the public on what one should focus on in creating a responsible, constructive, good life; Joe Rogan uses his podcast as a platform dedicated to free, unadulterated speech, where controversial ideas are discussed in depth and with great interest; Lauren Southern, a young Canadian conservative, puts herself directly in the action, asking pointed questions to activists and protestors who oppose her belief system; Anthony Brian Logan and Mark Dice fight the conservative battle on YouTube, where they expose the idiocy of the leftist media with simple logic and fact.

And the list goes on.

It’s a shame that in modern America the left has grown so extreme in their beliefs and efforts. For all the positivity liberalism stands for—gay marriage, focus on instances of prejudice, and care for the poor and peripheral, minority groups—the mode in which they are currently operating is doing more harm than good; it divides, playing on people’s emotions, and forgoing caution and patience when it comes to instilling change. Above all else, the complete disregard for the whole of the twenty-first century is frightening. Baseless accusations of white supremacy, Nazism, fascism, authoritarianism, and other ideologies that led to the death of millions of people is blatantly unproductive, not to mention patently false when applied to the current state of United States government.

In the face of the confusing and ever-changing political landscape in the United States, it’s important to remember people like Andrew Breitbart. He reminded the world that it’s ok to stand up for what you believe in; he proved that fact and the dogged pursuit of the truth is a way in which any fallacious ideology can be defeated. When he suddenly passed away on March 1st, 2012, the United States lost a true freedom fighter who stood for many great principles. But what he left behind was a legacy of honesty, passion, and a deep care for the American people. The adopted, L.A. born, liberal-turned-conservative, hyper-passionate, naturally charismatic man will be remembered for his righteous indignation.

A final word from the Andrew Breitbart himself: “I am righteously indignant, the Tea Party is righteously indignant, and our goal is to not just save the country, but quite frankly, if America goes, so goes the world, so in our desire to save the country, we are trying to save the world.”

The Answer to the Immigrant Crisis Isn’t Left or Right; It’s Dead Center

If you air on the side of conservatism you’re a racist xenophobic, and if you fall down the path of progressivism you don’t care about national security and native born Amercian citizens. The language being used to discuss the issue of illegal immigration across the southern border of the United States is extreme and entirely unproductive, and I’m sick of it. The truth is simple: both sides of the argument have a valid point, and in order to locate a resolution we need to pick the gold nuggets out from the surrounding excess.

The Conservative Approach

Illegal immigration isn’t an issue unique to the United States, nor has it been a problem tackled with insane levels of scrutiny during past presidencies. For context, Obama deported some 2.5 million illegals aliens between 09′ and 15′, becoming the president to have deported the most illegal immigrants in the history of the United States. For whatever, reason, Trump implementing the same policies that have been in place fore along while is suddenly an issue of epic proportions. The public’s despise for the current president of the United States is alarming to say the least, and completely ignorant of the past. To clarify, I’m not defending him, but if we are to have a clairvoyant conversation about certain issues, context and history matter. 

Now, conservatives believe in national security and the protection of the rights of citizens. That’s not to say they think illegal immigrants don’t have human rights; they do. Rather its’ to say the rights of citizens should be priority over that of illegal aliens. So when it comes to pecking order, natural born citizens should be taken care of first and immigrants second. Conservatives aren;t against immigration either; they just want people in this country who want to be apart of this country. That translates to law abiding citizens under US laws and legal immigrants assimilating into American society.

Conservatives aren’t racist or xenophobic, they just want to have a safe country filled with people who want to follow the laws that are in place. This is not morally wrong, in the least. There are aruements against it, though. Some of which are valid and reasonable. Hence the progressive approach. 

The Progressive Approach 

Humanity is also important, especially as a country that purports to stand for goodness and morality. The reality of the current illegal immigrant situation complicates matters. Many of those trying to get into the United States aren’t Mexicans but Central Americans and South Americnas fleeing bad living conditions under oppressive governments. Who can blame them for leaving? Obviously, the solution to such a situation at home is complicated, but trying to find a better life for you and your family isn’t far fetched. It is a situation which we should be treating with a certain amount of care from an American perspective. 

Also, diversity is good for the United States. And no, I don’t mean multiculturalism; that doesn’t work. Diversity is good in that it supplements existing American culture with traditions, specialties, and genetic diversity. There is nothin wrong with adding ethnicity to a nation that shares the same values. The United States of America is an active conversation that never stops in its evolution, and the moment we allow the our values to runaway, we will fall. 

The Solution

The solution to the immigrant issue is the same as it has always been: somewhere between conservatism and progressivism. There is efficacy to either side of the argument. By looking at Europe, the only other epicenter of western values in the world,  the result of too much progressivism and too much conservatism can be observed by looking at the current condition of the EU and by looking at the twentyieth century.

Rampant immigration, as we can see in Germany, England, and Sweden, has led to a state of multiculturalism, which pits different groups against each other due to differing values within said groups. If immigration happens too fast, with little restriction, and in huge volume, the immigrants have no time to integrate into whatever society they are joining. The Roman Empire is the ultimate example of this.

Hyper conservatism is also detrimental. If all foreign additives are denied, an echo chamber is created within a country. This is the type of environment that harmful nationalism is created in. Look at Nazi Germany. Yes, it is a typical example, but one that hits with the desired effect. 

The point is, the middle ground is always the best route, one that balances risk and defense. Now, I am not a policy maker, but I do have common sense. I would urge the rest of the nation to exhibit some sign of logic to their approach of this current issue. 

Extreme Ownership|Jocko Willink

Over the past few months I’ve been tussling with the concept of ownership and responsibility. Looking out into the world, its easy to recognize that responsibility is a  major issue. Diet, nutrition. and exercise are ignored and even rejected for the strangest of reasons; impulse control with things such as drugs, alcohol, and sex seems to be at an all time low; and relationships are a dying at the hands of selfishness and an admitted lack of ownership.

It’s sad to see such a decline in passion and work ethic for the things that matter in life—goals, dreams, relationships, and health—but where turmoil exists, so too does a need and want for more. There are many great men and woman in the world who discuss what it mean to be responsible, but no one does it better than Jocko Willink. An ex-navy seal, Jocko had a long and intense career in the military where he was responsible for a multitude of soldiers. In the video below he discusses a specific instance during his military career where something went wrong and what he decided to do in the face of adversity. Also, if you’re on instagram and enjoy some good ol’ motivation, follow Mr. Willink; he’ll certainly inspire you with his 4:00 am daily workouts. Enjoy!

May 21: Motivational Monday: Wim Hof

Look into the eyes of Wim Hof and tell me you don’t feel primal intensity and deep-rooted potency. Wim was born in the Netherlands and began developing his techniques after his wife committed suicide. A father of five children (four of them being born to his late wife), Wim found peace in nature; more specifically in the freezing cold. He found refuge in understanding the most archaic systems in the human body. Twenty-six world records later, the Dutchman is revered for his breathing technique, a methodology that allegedly helps with physical and mental ailments alike. Even in hearing him speak you can feel his agency. Wim Hof is an incredible person, of that there is no doubt. Check out the video below to hear him discuss the struggles he’s been through. Enjoy!

May 18: Intermittent Fasting and Exercise.

Before committing to the fasting lifestyle, one of my two biggest concerns was how I’d feel during a workout without any ‘fuel’. The other concern was managing hunger while in a fasted state, but I’ll get into that another time. For now, let’s focus on fasting and working out. Most resources suggest doing fasted cardio in the morning after waking up. I did this once and, admittedly, it felt amazing. Getting to the gym early, busting out some sprints, and having a quick sauna before 7:00 am is one of the best feelings in the world. But it’s unsustainable if you don’t stick to a schedule with the rigidness of an authoritarian.

So I had to adapt my schedule.

As of now, this is roughly how my schedule stands: I live most days with a 16:8 split, where I have an eight hour window to eat; around twice a weak, I’ll employ the 23:1 split, where I eat one big ass meal either in the mid-afternoon or during mid-evening. I eat zero carbs and instead focus on lots of veggies, protein, and fat. I also cheat now and then and treat myself to some pizza or fast food. Having said that, it’s rare, and the more you exercise your impulse control muscle the better off you’ll be in the future.

I go the gym at 4:00 pm 90% of the time, and when I first started fasting I could feel the effects of having not eaten. The initial sessions were tough; I was hungry and physically and mentally weak, but I recognized that. I pushed through those workouts and ended up kicking major ass, pushing myself to the limit. Within five days, my hunger disappeared. Instead of feeling weird at the beginning of my workout, I stopped feeling anything at all; normalcy had established itself.

To any of you out there who are toying with intermittent fasting, stick with it. Find a way to get used to the initial discomfort. If you’ve lived an unhealthy or relatively sedentary lifestyle it might take awhile for your body to adjust. Just stick with it. The results of your hard will show and your body will feel great.

On a final note: find what works for you. Fitness and nutrition isn’t a one-size-fits-all type scenario. It’s complex, far more than we understand, so allowing yourself time and patience to figure out what helps you perform is extremely important and shouldn’t be rushed. Having said that, push yourself when you can; build up a tolerance for pain and a propensity for mental toughness. Make yourself uncomfortable. Sweat like you’ve never had to. Throw up in a bin if you have to. Don’t give up. And most importantly, enjoy the process, the wins and failures.

 

May 15: Serial Killer Rabbit Hole

Ever since the Golden State Killer, Joeseph James DeAngelo Jr., was captured a few weeks ago, I’ve been revisiting the topic of serial killers, a regular occurrence in my life when movies, tv shows, or real life news comes to my attention. Last time it was the book and tv series Mind Hunter that send me into a fury of research, and I’m hoping my next binge is after the Zodiac Killer is arrested.

This dark passage of the human psyche is fraught with images, stories, and realities that are truly disturbing. It’s hard to come out on the other end with a positive opinion of man, and in the rare case a story ends somewhat well, you count your blessings.

DeAngelo, the Golden State Killer murdered 12, raped 50, and burglarized 100 homes. And those figures might fluctuate over the coming weeks. Serial killers are oddities unlike anything else on this planet, and when law enforcement gets them to speak on their crimes it’s like looking through a dirty window into hell: it’s horrifying. The nature of their mental state and crimes cannot make sense to the normal, well-adjusted person. Sure, we can look to the darkest sides of who we are as individuals and consider the evil that exists there, but to imagine the ugliness hidden there to manifest is unfathomable.

My vigilance grows considerably high after reading about the crimes committed by the psychologically disturbed. The mere fact that law enforcement has to deal with these atrocities is hard to believe. It produces a whole new level of respect and admiration in my heart for those who dedicate their lives to preventing and capturing the most destructive people that walk among the general population.

With an ever-growing presence of psychological disorder in society, I believe that we as individuals need to as observant as ever when navigating the world. We have a duty to our fellow man in ensuring that the innocent are secure while the morally impaired are either helped therapeutically or locked away indefinitely.

May 14: Motivational Monday – Les Brown

We have the power to shape our own realities, no matter what people tell us we can and cannot do. Les Brown grew up being told he was educable mentally retarded, which means he would never exceed the capacity of a sixth grader. But he did, and he went on break the many barriers that had been placed before him. The lesson of this video: hunger. Stay hungry and keep running toward your dreams.

May 12: Some Thoughts on This Beautiful Saturday

Most people complain when heavy clouds occupy the sky and the temperature drops a few degrees, but I rejoice. There is something inside of my psyche that loves dark and dreary days; they make me feel at home. Perhaps I was some sort of explorer in the upper northwest. Who knows.

I live in Colorado, and when thick dark clouds roll in from the west, they hang over the foothills like wet blankets—I know, it doesn’t paint the prettiest of pictures, but they are my beautiful wet blankets. As a result, the front range is turned into one of the most beautiful landscapes there is to witness. When I look to the north, toward Boulder and Flat Irons, all I can see in my ADD ridden mind is the setting of an epic adventure.

The state of the endless sky is limited to a finite scene of color, character, and ominousness (one of the worst words in the English language). It screams drama and suspense. In this atmosphere, murder stories run wild, spilling blood everywhere as they go, and epic journeys take a turn for the worst, the perceptions dampened by inclement weather and darkness.

This is the time to create. So I must go create!


On another completely different note, I had a long workout (chest day) at the gym, and as I went about my business, some heavier folks came and went, working and sweating their asses off.

This makes me incredibly happen: to see someone taking control of their lives and changing for the better. Say what you will about body acceptance, what speaks volumes to me is someone accepting the scientific truth that being overweight/obese is NOT good for you, and then taking the responsibility to shoulder that truth and press forward.

One thing that most people advertise about the gym is that you feel amazing when you have a good work out. And as time progresses and your fitness improves, this feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment (not to mention the physical euphoria that comes after having busted your ass) increases, creating a positive feedback loop that convinces you into going back. If you want to change your habits, health, and overall happiness, go the damn gym people.

Have a great rest of your weekend and kick some ass!

-Logan-

May 11: Postpone Pleasure for Productivity (Enjoy the Alliteration!)

Choose to postpone pleasure for productivity, people. Seriously. For me, I’ve always found it hard to forgo pleasure, especially under certain conditions. Self-control, like many other related things, is a muscle that needs to be worked in order to remain strong. For some, it needs to be worked A LOT.

In understanding habituality, it’s imperative to understand what stressors are and how they work. Addicts are a prime example of understanding stress and the mechanisms they have developed to deal with them. Here’s an extreme example: Bob is an alcoholic, but when he was young he wasn’t. In high school, his mother passed away from breast cancer on Christmas Eve. With his mother’s passing, he began drinking to deal with the pain of her death. He eventually gained control over his impulses and put the bottle down. A year passed and Christmas time came around again. Thoughts of his mother made him sad and the sadness led him back to the bottle. He felt better when he was drunk, it blunted his senses mind. Again, Bob managed to get control of his drinking, but only for a while. A few months later, he saw a woman that looked at his mom and he picked up the bottle. The stress told him to drink. Now, whenever Bob is faced with even the smallest stressor, he drinks.

This may not be the most articulate expression of how addiction and stressors work, but I think you get the point. Also, not all people are addicts, but if applied to the micro, methods designed to avoid distraction work.

When I’m writing I often come to a place where I have to stop and deeply consider where I’m going with my words. It’s like getting stuck in quicksand: the more you wiggle the less you can move. In these moments I experience stress, and I’ve noticed that when I do I tend to open a new tab and navigate my way to YouTube. It’s the strangest thing, but it makes total sense. To deal with stress, I’ve developed a habit of escaping into videos when I need to de-stress. But this isn’t always good. If you give in to your cravings so easily they will begin to dominate you. And with this mindless reaction I’ve developed, I know that I’ve gone too long without addressing it.

The ideal way to approach stress habits is to see them for what they are and to not react in an overtly negative way. This is easier said than done but infinitely helpful. In strengthening our focus muscle, we become masters at dealing with stressors, which inevitably leads us down a path of heightened productivity and happiness.

Don’t give into your stressors people. DO NOT GIVE IN!

-Logan-

1 2 7
%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar