Self-Improvement and Interesting Knowledge

Have you ever been called a complainer in the past? I sometimes get told that I am sometimes a complainer. I tend to look at things in the world about me and I find many things that are wrong or things that I would do better. But I sometimes ask myself why is it that I can see things so clearly when I judge them so, and can find so many ways to fix a problem, but when it comes to my own life there are many areas in which I cannot see as clearly?

If this is your problem or if you have ever wondered why it is sometimes so difficult to see a way to fix your own problems while it is sometimes so easy for you to see how to fix the problems of others, this is an article that might help you.

As human beings, we are naturally born with a very limited perspective. We can only inhabit one point in space and time and as a result, are born with only one single perspective from which to look at the things around us. If I look at a certain object like a chair for example, I can only see the chair from my one perspective because I am only in this one area of space/time. Another person looking at the same chair from a different perspective in space and time will see a completely different chair from me and as a result might come up with a completely different impression of this object. That we might agree that we are looking at the same chair is really an amazing act because in reality we are both focusing on the similarities that we can see and trying very hard to ignore all those dissimilarities between what that person is seeing and what I’m seeing.

This is the case with all things in life; I have one perspective and you have another. Beyond this there is a great variance in how I perceive something and you perceive something as a result of our subjective mental state. Emotions can indeed cloud our judgment and my thoughts and beliefs about certain key ideas about reality can make my perceptions completely different from yours.

All of these differences make my perception quite individualistic and unfortunately quite limited. In order for us to see a way out of our problems we must be able to expand our limited perspective. We must be able to perceive a thing from not just our perspective, but also from every other perspective that we can possibly conceptualize. In this way we are able to see angles to certain things that are not available to us from our single perspective. You could call this ‘flexibility in thinking’ and it is the true act of being able to ‘see outside the box’. When you see things from outside the box you are literally seeing things from outside your own limited three-dimensional perspective.

As human beings we are given one very powerful tool and that is our imagination. With a powerful imagination, our minds can expand the scope of their awareness and therefore see outside of themselves. In order to be able to see things from different perspectives and develop a more flexible way of thinking, you must use your imagination to see things from as many perspectives as possible.

Use your imagination to adopt different perceptual positions


Next time that you have a problem, try to use your imagination to see this problem from a different perspective; try to position your consciousness in a different space/time position so that you can see the problem from a different angle.
When you have a problem that you can’t seem to find a solution to, try to see this problem from a third person perspective. What I mean by this is that you should imaginatively try to see the problem from outside yourself.

You can do this in two ways:

  1. think about how the problem would look like to someone looking at it from a spectator’s point of view. For example, you could imagine that you are looking at yourself and the problem that you face from the perspective of a person watching a television program sitting comfortably in his/her couch. From this perspective you are no longer experiencing your problems directly but you are a witness who is separated completely from the problem; you are a detached witness.
  2. Use your imagination to detach yourself from your physical body and travel away from this body to see the situation from a different perspective. Here you would use your imagination to create an ‘astral’ form of yourself that would look down on the situation that you are physically experiencing, again this individual would be detached emotionally from whatever particular situation is happening physically and would be able to see a broader view of the whole sequence of things that are happening.

Using this method you should be able to get a broad perspective of whatever problem you face. Once you are in this third person perspective, try to imaginatively be there as completely as possible, you will know you have succeeded when you no longer have a deep emotional attachment to your problem. Once in this perspective, try to see if you can figure out a different way to approach the problem and to solve it.

If you are facing a group of people and you find yourself either facing a problem together or trying to oppose a foe, try to use your imagination to put yourself and the other person’s perspective. Again, imaginatively detach yourself from your physical being and try to imagine what it would be like to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. Once you feel that you are in the other person’s perspective and your emotions have changed accordingly, notice the feelings inside yourself. What feelings you have about the situation and how do they differ from your physical perspective? Imagine as vividly as possible what it feels like to be that other person in that situation and gain insight into ways to solve problems or defeat this opponent with this knowledge.

A good thing to do in this scenario is also to try and use a third person perspective. Try using your imagination to go from where you are physically, to where your opponent is, and then finally to a third person perspective. What insights have you gained from all these perspectives? Use this information to figure out a new way to approach a difficult situation where you don’t seem to be able to discover a solution.

The ability to see things from different perspectives is the key to being flexible in your thinking. Using your imagination to give you an advantage, you should be able to come up with all sorts of different information and insight that can help you with any problem that you might face. To think outside the box, you have to literally think from outside your physical perspective in space and time.

We are a ‘symbological’ creatures. Our entire world is based on our ability to create symbolism in order to explain our perceptions to ourselves and to others. Symbolism plays such an important role in our lives that I think it would be fair to say that without it we would not be able to exist as we do. In order to make this point clear, let us contemplate typical human perception:

If you were to close your eyes for 5 seconds and then open them to look at all the things around you, you would be met by a variety of different seemingly external objects and perhaps individuals. If you are an adult, then there would be nothing in your line of perception that you would not be able to explain and understand. But what is this ability to explain or to understand? We tend to take it for granted that all our perception is a type of direct observation of the things and individuals around us, but this premise is faulty.

Perhaps in the future we can go over some of the sensory problems that all human beings face but at the moment it is enough that you understand that our perception of the world has many faults. What we see with our eyes is not what is really ‘out there’; our eyes can only perceive a small portion of what is possibly out there because they can only perceive a very small fraction of the light ‘out there’, and what they do perceive is usually skewed as a result of adaptation. You can discover many of these adaptations for yourself by going to a website that has ‘optical illusions’; these optical illusions are all taking advantage of our perceptive flaws. These perceptive flaws moreover are not just visual but they involve all of our senses. There is no need to go deeply into the subject, the thing to remember is that our sense perception is neither direct nor is it very accurate. If you wish to explore this paradigm further I suggest you read the book: “The user illusion” by Tor Norretranders.

But how is it that when you opened your eyes, you understood the world around you perfectly and felt assured that what you were perceiving was accurate and real? How is it that we can function so well in this environment even though our perceptions seem to be so obviously flawed? The reason for this, I believe, is because of symbolism.

Symbolism is the ability to take a perception or a group of perceptions and turn them into a quantified object in your mind. You are essentially taking a chunk of perception, whether faulty or not, and you are turning that perception into a definable and quantifiable separate unit. When I wait 5 seconds and open my eyes, in the room that I am in, I see a chair. Through years of life experience, I have been able to give a name to a set of perceptions that tells me that what is before me is a chair. From the time I was born, I was told by my parents and others, that when I saw a certain set of perceptions, I should refer to this set of perceptions as a chair. I was given a definition as to where this chair began and ended in my perceptive field so I could separate it from all the other symbols that were being defined and quantified in my mind.

After I was able to separate this quanta of perception, I could begin to further refine this new symbol so that I was able to find a chair in any environment. Over time I was able to identify many different kinds of chairs, all falling into the same ‘symbological’ family. Further, and because of many years of life experience, I am able to identify this particular quanta of perception so that I can use this symbol to expand my perception of other symbols and to make correlations between it and other symbols that can become quite complex. For example I can think of a 16th century chair and how its evolution might have shaped the way people of that era spent their leisure time.

In the same way, everything that you see around you is a symbol that you created (or was taught to you). When you open your eyes after 5 seconds, you are very assured of the world that you see around you because you have most likely spent a huge amount of time creating the kind of symbolism that allows you to feel this way. Our language is really symbolism at its best. It helps us to perceive the world around us and it also allows us to communicate our perceptions to others.

Understanding that language is symbolism, and that symbolism is our way of being able to perceive the world around us, we can begin to conceptualize the idea that this highly structured symbolism might not be 100% correct. Some of the things that you perceive out there, some of the symbolism that you take for granted, is not as accurate as you might suppose. What I mean by this is not that you are wrong, or that your perception is wrong but that the symbolism that you have created (or has been taught to you) in order to understand a certain perception, might be different from the symbolism used by another perceiver.

If the symbols that you are using are different from the symbols someone else is using then communication with that individual will be very difficult. Communication can actually turn quite violent if you believe that your symbols are reality and cannot conceptualize the idea that they are just symbolic representations of perception.

Since language is a highly developed form of symbolic communication, is there a way that we can fine tune our language so that we can communicate with others more effectively? The answer to this is yes and we have taken the first step in this direction. The first step in this direction is to be able to understand that our language is symbolism and that this symbolism is based on perception that might be faulty.

Once we make this conceptual jump, which can be incredibly difficult for many of us to make, we can begin to use a language that is more accurate and precise. The benefits of this more evolved language are:

  • better perception and understanding
  • clearer thinking
  • more accurate communication (whether written or oral)
  • less conflict with ourselves
  • less conflict with others
  • the ability to expand our awareness (to begin to perceive beyond our current limits)

A language like this has been established in English; it is called E-prime. It is basically a language that excludes all forms of the verb ‘to be’. It does this by allowing in disallowing certain words:

Disallowed words*
•    be
•    being
•    been
•    am
•    is; isn’t
•    are; aren’t
•    was; wasn’t
•    were; weren’t
•    Contractions formed from a pronoun and a form of to be:
–    I’m
–    you’re; we’re; they’re
–    he’s; she’s; it’s
–    there’s; here’s
–    where’s; how’s; what’s; who’s
–    that’s
•    E-Prime likewise prohibits contractions of to be found in nonstandard dialects of English, such as the following:
–    ain’t
–    hain’t (when derived from ain’t rather than haven’t)
–    whatcha (derived from what are you)
–    yer (when derived from you are rather than your)

Allowed words
E-prime does not prohibit the following words, because they do not derive from forms of to be. Some of these serve similar grammatical functions (see auxiliary verbs).
•    become;
•    has; have; having; had (I’ve; you’ve)
•    do; does; doing; did
•    can; could
•    will; would (they’d)
•    shall; should
•    ought
•    may; might; must
•    remain
•    equal

This is a wonderful way to speak and if you wish to do research on it you will find a number of very well developed study aids.

A natural way for you to begin to speak in your own type of E-prime, is to begin to deeply conceptualize for yourself the ideas and concepts that I have mentioned above:

Think about it; if what you see is just symbolism of raw perception and this raw perception can be turned into all sorts of different symbols depending on the perceiver, then what you perceive and I perceive can be completely different. It is also the case that even your perceptions at the moment of one particular quanta of perception might be completely different from your perception of that exact same quanta at a different time. Essentially you cannot take your perceptions for granted and you can’t make the great mistake of thinking that your ‘symbology’ of these perceptions is reality.

Keeping the above concept firmly in your mind, try to communicate what you are perceiving to someone else. Instead of saying something like, “that horse over there is fast” a more perceptively accurate way of saying it would be, “I see a horse over there and to me it seems to be quite fast”. The difference between the two phrases is quite subtle but basically with this new type of communication you are not taking it for granted that the other person sees what you see or that your judgments about what you see are absolute.

This type of communication is not something that you will want to use all the time but it is the type of communication that you should keep in your repertoire because it can help you understand the world around you much better. This type of communication is also very good when you need to speak in what I would refer to as a more ‘impeccable’ manner. If you speak or write in this way, you essentially cannot be wrong. Some might say that what you are stating is wrong; that what you are perceiving is wrong or that you are lying, but you cannot be wrong in the complete sense of the word because you have stated what you personally are perceiving at the time. You are not saying what is or isn’t, you are only stating your personal perception and this perception might be judged by others but it cannot be fundamentally refuted.

Now I do hope you use this language to try and expand your perceptive awareness and not just to win arguments. This language is a language that all scientists should be using whenever they are speaking about their theories. This is the kind of language you should use when you’re trying to explain your beliefs to others. This is the type of language you should be using when you are trying to explain your perceptions to others (this is a great way for example to explain those perceptive oddities for which we still don’t have much symbolism for such as; UFOs, ghosts, crypto zoology, religious apparition, etc.)

If you wish to develop your ability to perceive and to relate those perceptions more accurately, I suggest that you learn E-prime (or your own version of the E-prime using the ideas discussed in this article). Using E-prime or your own semantic methodologies, you can become a formidable debater and a true scientist. I think that if we would all begin to talk to ourselves and others in this manner, we would take a huge step in personal and societal expansion. Perhaps we could all agree to disagree, that we all have the right to our own personal perceptions because they are indeed personal. Perhaps we would not need to be so darn ‘politically correct’ and instead start to experience and describe our experiences more freely. Language is symbolism and this symbolism is quite malleable and never absolute; you must never make the mistake of thinking that your symbols are reality!


The one thing that has caused the most grief in the world, can arguably be said to be limited thinking. The problem with many seems to be their ability to only see things in black and white. That is most people tend to only see things in one or the other extremes and they fail to realize that such extremes do not exist.

The more that we understand the reality around us, the more that we realize that there is no such things as ultimate extremes. A good example of this is black and white and as a result I call this kind of thinking ‘black and white thinking’. The analogy here is that there is no such thing as true black and in the same token there is no such thing as true white either. What you might considered to be black is actually a grey tone that goes beyond a certain threshold in your visual perception and you therefore consider it to be black, but true black can never exist because you will never be able to find a pure and completely undiluted black tone. Essentially what you are seeing is a shade of gray which you consider black. In the same way there’s no such thing as a true white tone; you might look at something that you consider white but if your eyes were able to perceive in greater detail, you would realize that the white tone that you thought you saw is actually a shade of gray.

Just as there are no absolutes in tonality, there are no absolutes in any part of life either. Everything in the world is made up of shades of gray and the only thing that stops you from seeing this is a lack of perception.

In order to expand yourself and your thinking potential, you must begin by realizing that everything is far more complex than you now imagine. And even though your perception may tell you that something is good or bad, wrong or right, in reality these are just subjective judgments. What is meant by this is that these judgments that you make are based on your internal state, personal perception, and the capability of your senses. If you could see more, change your subjective state, or be aware of more, it is quite possible that you would change your judgment. Any increase in awareness will also change your internal beliefs about things and as such will definitely color how you experience reality.

Since we all occupy different spaces in a 3-D environment, we therefore perceive things from different angles. My perception of the tree is not the same as your perception of that same tree because your perception is in a different space than mine. While we could agree on the similarities and therefore create a reasonable conceptualization of what we have both seen, we can never truly see the same thing. It is also the case that our subjective past experiences and our belief systems affect how we perceive reality and since my beliefs might be quite different from yours, my perception of a tree might also be quite different from yours as a result.

You begin to expand your awareness by realizing that everything is far more complex than you currently imagine. That there is more going on than your senses are telling you. While science has attempted, quite successfully, to expand the possibility of its awareness using instruments to increase its perception, it has hit a dead end in many fields because of the fact that it is not able to expand its belief systems and structures.

This gives us a clue as to why we seem to have great technological advancements and yet our perception and spiritual clarity seem to be quite limited. The answer is that we are creating technological tools that might expand our perception, but that these technological tools are created to try and see what we want to see or expect to see. That is our technological tools are being created by individuals with limited belief systems and because of these limited belief systems, these individuals are creating tools that are only allowing them to see those things which they expect to see.

Religion does no better in that it’s not even willing to create new theories and advancements. Most religions tell you that this is so and that is the way it is. There is no fighting this belief system, you either accept it as fact or you don’t, and these beliefs tend to usually be of an extreme nature; that is they are either black or white, there is nothing in between. And as we have discussed, the most limited kind of thinking possible is black and white thinking.

In order to expand your thinking therefore you must get over any perceptive structure or beliefs that you have that makes you only see something in a black and white perspective. The exercises below are a fun way to try and expand the areas in your life where you know that you are seeing things in only black and white:

1. Look at your subjective experience right now and find something that you believe to be a fact beyond a shadow of a doubt. For example you might believe that evolution is a complete and utter fact. It is also possible that you might believe that creationism is complete fact. You might believe that Coke is the greatest soda pop in the world.
Examine your subjective experience and your subjective beliefs and discover for yourself something that you believe to be utterly true or utterly false, something that is beyond question in your mind. When you have discovered this one thing, ask yourself ‘why’ you believe what you believe. For example if you believe that Coke is the greatest pop on Earth, ask yourself why you believe that. If you answer this question by saying that you know that this is true because it tastes the best. Ask yourself why you believe it taste the best.
This might seem like a kind of a silly line of questions but if you do it with a bunch of different beliefs, you will realize over time that each one of these question-and-answer games is like a funnel were you keep going, sliding into a tighter and tighter squeeze. At the end of it all you always find that there is a part of you that is seen or experienced only so much and is making a judgment call. For example with the Coke questions, it’ll most likely be that it is the greatest tasting pop that you have ever tasted. But have you tasted all pop in the world? Will other people in other places agree with you on your tastes? Do they have a right to their own answers? Is there an ultimate right answer to this question? Do you care? Should you care?

2. Write down something that science believes to be utterly and completely true. In other words find something in the scientific sphere that scientists believe to be true beyond all shadow of doubt. Now this might be a tricky situation because most scientists will always hide under the “theory” qualification. Unfortunately, even though they can always fall back to the, “best theory so far” remark, they will always speak of these theories as if they are fact. Evolution for example is a theory, it is a theory that scientist say that they are very sure about and a theory that has provided some wonderful discoveries and benefits, but it is still a theory. I don’t suggest that you mention this ‘fact’ to the average evolutionary biologist though, unless you like being ostracized and treated like an uneducated idiot.

In the 1800s, scientists believed that it was impossible for stones to fall from the sky (meteor, meteorite). They would go to great lengths to prove their point, even if it meant incarceration. 20 years ago scientists believed that a planet like Earth was incredibly unique and that we were probably the only other planet in the galaxy that existed in perfect relation to its Sun so that it could sustain life. Even though this was essentially a theory, scientists spoke about this as if it were fact and anyone who said otherwise was looked badly upon (if you know anything about the academic field then you will know that being different, or looked down upon, can have some rather harsh consequences). Now scientist have discovered hundreds of planets and they believe that many of these planets could actually support life, possibly even complex life.
Write down one of these great scientific theories that scientists seem to go to great lengths to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt. Keep it in your personal papers somewhere and then go back on it in a few years. With the incredibly fast pace of scientific discovery at the moment, it could be that you will not have to wait long until scientists look back upon this theory and talk about how silly they were then but that now they have a theory that is true beyond all doubt.

3. Pick up a copy of the “weekly world news” and read the articles therein believing that they are 100% truth. Pretend, make-believe, or just out and out act as if what you are reading is completely and utterly true. If you don’t believe that Bigfoot gave birth to six human babies, then you might find this exercise rather challenging. It will though allow you to see things from a different perspective.
Next get yourself a copy of “the skeptical Inquirer” and read the articles therein believing that they are 100%  truth.
Finally do this with the “Christian science Journal” (I do believe that these magazines now have websites so you won’t have to go out and actually buy them you can just go to the website and read these articles for free).
While you are reading any article you must make sure that you try to believe completely what you’re reading. Try to read an article from each one of the magazines in succession. You will have succeeded when you can read each article believing completely that what you’re reading is true and then seeing and experiencing the difference in your mind as you go from one magazine to the other. The knowledge that you get from this exercise can change your personal beliefs and, at the very least, will allow you to develop incredible perceptive flexibility.

Nothing in life is ever black and white. Anything that you believe to be absolute truth is really a type of sensory focus; where you are allowing yourself to perceive only those things that agree with your beliefs. By changing your beliefs you change your perceptions, and as a result you take a step into a broader and more complex world.




Nietzsche can be an incredibly difficult philosopher to try and understand. Perhaps I know this better than most since he is one of my favorite writers. I have read many interpretative books trying to explain Nietzsche in one way or another. Some have called him a crazy anarchist while others have referred to him as a Buddhist of the highest order. While I do believe that there were some authors that did capture some very interesting points; I fundamentally believe that interpreting Nietzsche is a personal endeavor.

I present here a little e-mail conversation that I had with a great friend of mine. His name is James and he is a huge intellectual, someone that I love to talk to whenever I get a chance because it is always the case that I will learn something new. He has a very logical and orderly mind which in many ways is completely different to how my mind operates. I consider him one of the greatest thinkers that I have met.

He sent me an e-mail a while back asking me about Nietzsche because he knew that I was such a fan. As you can see from his e-mail below, he is able to grasp many of Nietzsche’s ideas and is able to give certain perspectives on his writing that I have not seen anywhere else. The only problem that he seemed to have with Nietzsche’s work was Nietzsche’s fundamental insistence on the fact that true understanding could not be achieved through systematic thinking and obsessive self-control.
I try to answer his questions in the best way that I know how.

After reading his e-mail and my response, I found that his take on Nietzsche and my final attempt at a type of explanation was very unique. It was unique because it gave Nietzsche’s work a perspective that I have not seen in any of those books that I’ve read, those books that said that they understood Nietzsche and presented his ideas in the supposedly clearer fashion. I do not claim to understand Nietzsche, I just claim to understand Nietzsche in my own way.

I present our correspondence here so that whoever is interested might get a different perspective than he/she might be used to. As I said this is in no way some kind of final conclusion, it is just two subjective perspectives that might help anyone that is interested in Nietzsche; I hope that this helps you understand Nietzsche a little better:

Against intellectuals huh? Isn’t that kind of communist – and a tacit admission of intellectual inferiority?

So I was reading a bit of beyond good and evil, interesting book. I like how reading Nietzsche feels like having a conversation with someone smart. Unlike some others he leaves things more open ended, he allows you to interpret him without the usual defenses of vagueness, or layering his writing with passages meant to serve as some preemptive defense against criticism. He just gives it to you raw and lets you chew on it.

Which is what is really amazing to me, because I get him very easily and to me that’s what makes him distinct as a writer – he’s easy to ‘get’ – he just speaks his mind and to hell with the consequences. It amazes me that a writer like that would be so misinterpreted, and so poorly understood. Even the very essence of his philosophy is about the value of energy, vitality and strength itself; Nietzsche values the energy required to paint a picture as much as the picture itself, perhaps more so. To me it’s a conundrum how someone like him could be so misunderstood.
I remember when I was younger I ran into quite a few people who: 1) Claimed to be big fans of Nietzsche, who also claimed to be very intelligent if not outright superior because they had read him and I hadn’t. or
2) Were anti-Nietzsche, and claimed to be superior or in the right for having REJECTED him instead.

For years and years these people were my only insight into Nietzsche and for that reason he remained a big puzzle to me. It wasn’t until I finally picked up one of his books and read it that I understood that all that didn’t even matter. Either you get him or you don’t cause his message is quite simple: persevere, persist, ask questions, don’t give in – he stands up to what Spinoza would call the abyss, and under circumstances Descartes would consider hopeless, with an air of aloof triumph. I think it’s exactly that attitude that gets him hated, people resent the way he can shrug off issues like God that usually have profound emotional impact on others, but that for him are about as uninteresting as his daily bowel movement.

Which is refreshing, and something I really needed to read. I’ve found that ironically I’m very opposite to him on many points. My meticulous, systematic and cautious way of thinking is very contrary to his values. I find that it’s perhaps something I SHOULD read, not because I don’t ‘get it’, but because he had a very different perception than I do and it’s important for my growth to see things his way. But returning to my point, I don’t understand the intellectual #$%#@# that surrounds the guy. Sure, he values ego, sure he values the kind of rawness that talented, tactless egomaniacs usually possess, but I don’t see why he should stand as some definitive intellectual benchmark for so many people –  the equivalent of an intellectual 400 pound bench-press. His writing has a humbling effect on me, perhaps because he and I are so different. I just don’t see how puffing up their chest would bring someone in line with him.

Conversely there are people like another friend of mine, forgot his name, who rejected him and claimed only egomaniacs liked Nietzsche. Although I have to admit he ended up becoming more and more of an egomaniac himself until I couldn’t stand him anymore.

Myself I look at it very differently, perhaps because I’ve built a very complex internal reference for understanding human thinking and emotions, but I can see how Nietzsche can be both correct about the value of those motivating energies, and almost contradictorily humble and self-effacing. The things themselves overlap because the energy that serves as their source are the same. So I hence take a very objective and mechanistic view of the issue which would hypothetically leave me lauded by Nietzsche for my courage in seeking unconventional answers and scolded by him for my cowardly tendency to obsess over finding a systematic answer I can take comfort in.

I was wondering how far into this you’ve gone. I can assume you’ve been through all this before with many other people given your history, and since you have more of an intuitive grasp of these things maybe you can shed some light on it, something that I can’t do through my systematic way of thinking.

My response:

I believe that the great difference between you and most people that read Nietzsche lies in the fact that you say that Nietzsche is easy to understand. Indeed it is the case that many people read Nietzsche as a type of test where they see his work and his ideas as intellectual weightlifting as you have said. I always wonder what Nietzsche would have said about all the things that are now written about his writings. I personally believe that he would say that those that read his writings and go on and on about how difficult his thoughts are, find this difficulty because they are not the people that should be reading his material. He was after all quite raw as you say and he did not pull any punches, and I doubt that he would pull any punches now. I do also agree that criticism meant very little to him.

I must begin by saying that I have changed greatly since the days when I used to read Nietzsche on a regular basis. But in those days, Nietzsche was a breath of fresh air that allowed me to begin to understand concepts that were forefront in my mind but that were considered taboo in many ways by the rest of society. Nietzsche is after all a live wire that creates a direct connection between you and the abyss. Those that truly love his work and fundamentally understand it, are those that are willing to sink their teeth into that live wire and discover in their own way a window into that abyss themselves.

I personally think that the reason why most people can’t understand Nietzsche is because they are trying to find some underlying principle that will allow them to feel comfort from his ideas. Many begin to read Nietzsche because they are told that they should read him in order to understand some greater truth, try as they might though those people cannot find this truth and all they find are what they consider to be inconsistencies. If you see Nietzsche more as an Oracle, as a Seer that is staring directly at the abyss, then you will see that he is not creating some underlying principle. That even though he did want to make such a principle known to the masses, so that they might understand the true reality of life as he saw it, he was really an Oracle that had a direct connection to the infinity of life.

Nietzsche, especially in his book beyond good and evil, represents a person that is willing to challenge the most basic premises of Western culture. Nietzsche is essentially the most politically incorrect philosopher of modern time in my opinion. As such he expounds upon the reality of human achievement;  how this human achievement can only be possible by the expansion of the ego firstly and the expansion of the self eventually. Nietzsche tells us to do the one thing that everyone else tells us we should not do, he tells us that we should become more ourselves and that we should question and battle against anything or anyone that would tell us that there is something above our individuality.

Many of those that read his work and only understand a little of it, tend to view his doctrine as that of egotistical selfishness but that is only half of what he is saying. It has become very apparent to me that the most horrible of lies is the half-truth. Essentially it is not what he is saying that all I suppose, what he is saying is that you must begin your internal development by placing yourself first and everything else, that others are trying to impose upon you, second. Unlike just about everyone else, he believed that the ego is a good thing. He understood that even those supposedly evil desires, represent a natural instinct in man that drive him to greatness. That these natural instincts are not Original Sin that should be suppressed but that these instincts are man’s natural impetus to become more himself. If followed honestly, these natural instinct would lead any man to go beyond this ego.

Unfortunately those that read his work and try to live his methods, tend to only see in his writings what they believe in themselves. As I said, I have changed greatly since my early days when I read Nietzsche on a more regular basis. I do not believe that he is the be-all end-all of awareness and like everyone else he is flawed in his own way. He is though a true test in a way I suppose because he is a wonderful starting point if you wish to unshackle yourself from the oppressive ideologies of the world at large. If you do not understand his work, if you are not able to or capable of letting go of the belief systems that are imposed upon you, then his writing can actually confuse an individual even more. He is a test because properly understood he provides a window and impetus, but if he is not understood or only partially understood then he becomes a type of poison.

If you think of Nietzsche as an Oracle then you might be able to understand what your problems are with his methodology. An Oracle essentially grasps a gigantic flash of insight. This insight is sort of like an electrical vibration within his mind, he must then turn that vibration into language. The Oracle must take a large chunk of energetic essence that exists in the eternal present and convert it into language, our current symbology, and must try to explain this concept in linear time. Our language is based on our belief systems and our understandings of time. It can therefore be incredibly difficult sometimes to take concepts that are beyond our language and to try to convert them into language patterns that will naturally restrict and sometimes skew that original flash of insight.

My interpretation then is that Nietzsche is trying to tell you that a systematic thinking style can sometimes interfere with the understanding of these flashes of insight. If you’re thinking process is too rigid then your understanding of these insights (that might be outside of your current ideas of space, time and possibilities) might be impossible, or you might only be able to understand certain portions. As I’ve said before a half-truth is a horrible lie.

Let me know if this is what you meant and if you understand the point I’m trying to make. He is essentially coming from a perspective where systematic thinking can be detrimental to how ‘he’ acquires his knowledge and perspective. Mind you this is his perspective and not yours, and as he tells us himself, you must question all those that would impose their beliefs upon us. Is this what you meant?

He wrote me back that it was.









I have been accused of a number of occasions of taking way too long to answer a simple question. Some say that I will go on about things that absolutely have no bearing on the subject, before I finally get to the answer to a simple question. I must say that more often than not I am guilty as charged, but there is an actual method to my madness.

There is a great difference between simply learning a thing and truly understanding. Learning can be defined as the ability to memorize a certain set of supposed facts. When we go to school we generally learn things. Teachers go through a well outlined curriculum and teach a certain subject by presenting certain data as fact, and then expect the students to memorize these facts. Being a good learner usually depends on your ability to memorize this data well and then apply this data in a very limited and focused manner.

Truly understanding anything on the other hand involves being able to correlate a whole bunch of data in order to come up with a more holistic conclusion. While being a good learner is always a positive trait, being able to truly understand depends on your ability to comprehend the underpinnings of this data. You could say that while learning is the act of memorization, understanding is the ability to discover and see clearly the beliefs and connections that created this data in the first place.

Whenever someone asks me a question, I want them to be able to understand what I’m saying. If I were to expound a bunch of data, which I believe to be facts, then I would be doing two things that I do not intend to do:

1. I would first and foremost take it for granted that my data is fact. While I do have a bit of an ego, it is even beyond my presumption to believe that I hold facts while the rest of the world is either wrong or agrees with me. I will let science, religion, and politics handle facts. Whatever I might state as specific data; my personal belief is that this data can never be ultimate truth and that truth is only a relative thing that can only be found through individual perspective.

2. The second thing that I would be doing that I do not want to is to have someone ‘learn’ a basic idea without really ‘understanding’ anything. I think that we can all agree, thanks to our experience in school, that something learnt is easily forgotten. When you learn a thing and you try to memorize the data relating to that certain thing, it is very likely that you will be forgetting this data and therefore what you have learnt within short order. Understanding a thing on the other hand is something that you might remember for the rest of your life. Since understanding involves correlating data from many different aspects and different angles in order to understand the underpinning beliefs. It is far more difficult to forget what you now know intellectually when you have so many new neural connections to that idea. Understanding  also allows you to make your own judgments; it does this by first showing you the data, then demonstrating to you how this data interrelates into a belief system, and then you are free to discover your own beliefs in this area. Understanding demonstrates that all is hinged on belief, that this belief is relative; It is then up to you whether you wish to also believe what you now understand or to pursue your own beliefs in your own manner.

When somebody asks me a question, I want them to remember what I told them. I do not take it for granted that the person believes what I believe and it is always my personal belief that a person should be free to make up their own mind on any subject. If you ask me why neutrinos can move so quickly, then I will begin telling you about ‘Thales’ and his desire to characterize matter. Unless this person has the prior understanding of what physics is all about, then not telling this person about what physics is and what its core beliefs are, I would only be telling this person some data snippets that would never truly answer that person’s question.

Why is it so important that you understand something instead of just learning a thing? It is very important because it’s quite possible that the belief system that underscores this data is quite wrong. It is up to you to decide whether physics is right or wrong. Anyone who tries to tell you that physics is something beyond question is someone who is not to be trusted because they truly do not ‘understand’ what they are talking about. It is also possible that physics could be partly right and partly wrong, it could be that physics might be totally wrong to you personally; your subjective world is as important as any objective truth that is expounded by anyone else. Perhaps it is an egotistical desire of mine, I wish that everyone would understand so that they could begin to question what they have learnt.






Most of us are very educated people. Most of us have spent many years in schools learning a good many useful things along the way. Some of us continue our studies and go to college or university. Others take public courses in order to learn more about their hobbies or about personal interests of different kinds. Jobs often provide on work education and the job itself has a way of teaching you about what you’re doing and about the world in general through experience.

You must realize though that what you have learnt or what you are learning is only useful if you are able to put this knowledge into action. Turning what you know into action is what it’s all about. Don’t waste years of your life spent in study because you are not able to put what you have learnt into any kind of good use. Personal experience is the most useful and most powerful education that you can have, but it can also be wasted if we are not able to use this knowledge in a positive way.

You can take what you’ve learned and act upon it by asking yourself; “What have I learnt that I can apply to this problem now?” Contemplating this question will allow you to look back in your life to see what experiences applied to whatever task or problem you now face. This question will also allow you to formulate ways to use that knowledge in the best way possible.

Whatever you have learnt either through scholastic education or through experience can be applied to life in one way or another. Try to consider scholastic education as personal experience as well and in this way you can pool all your knowledge into the greater experience of your life. In this way you can ask yourself; “what did I learn from my past experience that I can apply to my current life or into this particular problem now?”

All knowledge is power if it is used properly when it is needed. While some would tell you that personal experience is best, there is always a case to be made for whatever you have learned scholastically. This scholastic knowledge after all is personal experience; what you learned from attending school is just as important as what you learned from books. All this experience should be considered and contemplated so that you are able to access this huge resource of past knowledge in order to overcome difficult problems now and in the future.

When you are able to apply what you know, what you have discovered through your own personal life experience, you can get far more done. You are also able to foresee problems because it is quite possible that you have faced similar problems in the past. You are also able to do things quicker and more efficiently because this past experience creates confidence. Confidence is always an edge because it puts you in an optimistic frame of mind and it helps you to stay relaxed in difficult situations.

If you look through your life, you will discover that there is a huge amount of stuff that you have learnt. Most people have spent decades in schools, but even if you have not attended school at all, life has a way of teaching you what you need to learn through direct experience. In other words, no matter what your past situation has been, you have access to incredible amounts of information that is yours to use if only you can take this knowledge and turn it into power. You turn knowledge into power by acting on it, by using it as a catalyst to get things done.






Have you ever run across a visual puzzle that you could not solve? Sometimes we are doing crosswords, word jumbles, or sometimes even mathematical formulas that we just can’t seem to crack. Often we get so into it and so focused on what we can’t figure out, that we just can’t see the whole picture. By not being able to see the whole picture, we are not able to access deeper intuitions that might lead us to find a quick and easy solutions.

If you are having such problems, here’s a really interesting technique that has worked very well for me in the past. I use it to solve any kind of visual puzzle or problem that I cannot seem to find a solution for quickly. It can work with things as complex as math and chemistry equations. If you are a student or an academic, you might want to try it for some of your bigger visual problems.

It works in a similar way to the “Technique to let your creative genius come out”, in that you are momentarily trying to distract your conscious mind and in this way engaging your subconscious intuitions. In order to use this technique all you will need to do is to get yourself a book or even a very interesting photograph or picture.

What you do is that you take this picture or the book and place it next to the visual puzzle that you are trying to solve. Next, try to look at the visual puzzle through your periphery while you are paying most of your attention to the book that you are reading or to the interesting photograph that you are looking at. What you are trying to do is to give the book or the picture about 70 or 80% of your attention and the rest to the visual puzzle which you are only slightly aware of through your peripheral vision.

As you look at the photograph or read this text, it is quite possible that you will receive a certain flash of intuition that might give you an idea as to how to solve the visual puzzle that you have. When this happens attack your visual puzzle and see if your intuitive flash is workable. If not, just return to your photograph and begin to once again look at the visual puzzle from the corner if you’re eye, giving most of your attention to the text or the photograph.

It’s a good idea to play with the amount of attention that you give to your visual puzzle. Always though try to look at this visual problem that you are trying to solve, through your peripheral vision. This makes it much easier for your subconscious to focus on it without the interference from the conscious mind.

I have personally figured out some very difficult problems in this fashion. The trick is to feel out just how much attention to give to the visual puzzle. In this way you are able to judge your feelings and come up with just the right amount of attention required. In this way you just have to wait for a little while and ‘click’, you have your solution. Learn to use your subconscious mind in this way to solve your visual problems and you will be amazed at your success rate.







Trying to think in a creative solution can be quite difficult sometimes. Trying to make yourself more creative can actually complicate the situation because the more that you try the harder that it gets to come up with a good idea. There are different techniques though that can allow you to change the angle of your focus as it were and bring out your creative side by seeing things in a new way.

A real good way to get you to think more creatively is to begin to use the power of metaphors. A metaphor is defined as:
1.    A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.
2.    A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else; something abstract.

It is essentially a symbolic terminology for something else altogether. What metaphors allow us to do is to be able to relate to certain things in a completely different way by comparing those things to something else. Using the power of metaphor you can begin to see the world through different angles and in this way discover new possibilities and new creative intuitions.

Get stated by looking at the world around you and try to see a similarity between one thing and something else. You can for example compare a building to a Lego block and in this way see the building in a completely different way. Poets do this all the time and most poetry is really this symbolic use of language to find metaphors to try and describe inner feelings. By trying to find similarities yourself, you can begin to understand the power of metaphor to give us fresh perspective and more creative insight.

Whenever you can, look around and pay attention to how others are using metaphors. Pay attention to the way people are describing the things that they are doing, study how others use metaphors in expressing themselves both consciously and unconsciously. You will discover that most of us use metaphors in a very natural way, sometimes not even realizing that we are using them. It is most natural for someone to compare one thing to another in order to try to describe something to someone else. Metaphors therefore are a natural process of human communication.

Also begin to notice how you use metaphors when you are speaking. You might be surprised at how often you use metaphors and how easily you create relations between one thing and another. This will allow you to discover how creative you truly are when you just allow yourself to naturally express your inner feelings. Metaphors are such an incredibly powerful thing that they can actually limit our thinking if we are not aware of how much they are guiding our thoughts. For example it is quite possible that we might think that a firefly is actually a fly, but this is not the case, a firefly is actually a beetle.

Communication is essentially ‘symbology’. You compare one thing to another in order to try to express yourself to someone else, you try to find something that you both know well and you use it as a symbol to try and describe your internal reality to another. Metaphors are the natural expressions of this innate ability within us, and we are constantly using metaphors both consciously and unconsciously. By discovering how you and others use these metaphors in everyday life, you will discover your natural creative abilities. If ever you have a problem, or are finding it very difficult to try and come up with a creative solution, make a metaphor.




There are many strategies to try and deal with others. Many books are written about persuasion, body language, positive emotional interaction, and just about any other thing that you can think of that would allow you to interact better with others. What many forget is that unless they live somewhere out in the boonies, they are constantly surrounded by people. There is no better resource to learn how to interact with people than to ‘People Watch.’

People watching is something that not many in North America take advantage of. For example in Europe, you can always find all sorts of little cafés everywhere. People will sit at these cafés for hours watching the people go by, studying them in minute detail. If you are trying to learn how to interact with others, perhaps you should try an old European custom; people watching.

If you are having trouble dealing with people, then I suggest that you do a little people watching yourself instead of buying another round of self help books. Go to your local coffee shop or maybe the mall and just sit back or walk around and look at the people interact around you. If you let yourself watch people in this casual way, you will be able to discover incredible things about them. People out and about usually let go and relax, they show you their private moods and they act on these moods quite naturally. You can study their body language, what they say to each other, how they deal with problems, and how they interact with each other.

You can learn in this way to pick up on their personal signals. You can observe their interactions and figure out their underlying motivating emotions without ever having to interact with them yourself. In this way you are able to begin to recognize the moods and motivations of others and to become far more socially aware yourself.

Take the time to just study people’s body language. See if you can discover exactly what they’re doing and how they are getting along by studying them through their physiology. You can even watch people that are pretty far away from you and try to discover just what they might be talking about and what they might be feeling. When you are up close noticed their facial expressions and how these might change when that certain person might be interacting with a peer, a sibling, or perhaps even a parent.

You can notice different tones in people’s voices. You can discover how people group themselves or how they school in different formations. You can begin to sense what you feel around certain people and question yourself as to why you might be feeling these feelings. By doing this you can begin to go beyond the obvious signals that others give out. You can discover how to begin to even sense subconscious data and in this way begin to use this data to predict human behavior.

People are a great resource and people watching is just a fun thing to do. You get to realize that people are sort of like strange and beautiful birds, and they go about their way using their own natural methods. That these methods are beautiful and captivating if only you detach yourself enough so that you can watch them objectively. Discovering their natural beauty, you discover yours. You discover how you fit into this web of humanity and how you go about interacting with others yourself.

Next time that you get a chance, get out there and watch the people around you. Pretend that you are an alien from another planet and that you are watching these highly interesting beings go about their business in their natural habitat. I highly recommend people watching, it is really fun and you might learn a thing or two.




We all want to be more creative. Being creative is something that is considered to be very important because it can help us in all aspects of our life. Whether we are writers or business people, creativity can help us in our personal professions. Creativity allows us to solve problems and to come up with answers that are usually considered to be ‘outside the box’. In this article I would like to focus on creative problem-solving and to give you a technique that can help you in this area.

As I’ve told you in other articles true creativity is a subconscious affair. What I mean by this is that it is seldom the case that we come to a conclusion by adding one plus one, it is nearly always the case that our creative inspirations come to us in a flash. These creative insights are usually discovered through personal contemplation, by following our instincts and our inner feelings. This is the case because it is the subconscious part of our mind that has the power and the broadview necessary to be able to come up with conclusions and ideas that are far too complex for the conscious mind.

Any genius that you have ever heard of was quite likely, admittedly or not, a person that had a deep connection with his or her subconscious mind in one way or another. The trick to creative problem-solving then becomes; how do I access this subconscious creative genius?

I’m going to suggest a very fun and interesting technique here that you can use to solve everyday problems. It requires little effort and can give you answers to problems quickly which is something that many other techniques, that try to access subconscious knowledge, can’t do.

There is one thing that you will need in order to use this method; what I want you to do is to go out and get yourself a little booklet of ‘word scrambles’. These are usually little booklets that have a whole jumble of letters and you must find a word or a bunch of words within this jumble. You could get one of these little booklets for a very cheap amount, I doubt that you would be spending more than five dollars if you’re willing to look around in the bargain section of any book or magazine store. I want you to also get yourself a pen and some scrap paper.

Once you have your jumble book and your pen with scrap paper, what I want you to do is to find a nice quiet area where you can relax and focus on the problem that you wish to solve. Find a nice relaxing chair and open up your jumble book to a jumble. Have your pen or pencil ready so that you can begin to do the jumble that is before you.

Once you’re ready in this fashion what I want you to do is to concentrate on the difficult question that you have to solve. Focus on this question, the one that you wish your subconscious to help you with. Contemplate it for a little bit and if you like you can also state your question out loud. For example you could be working on your personal budget; you could contemplate for a while what this means to you, really desiring a solution to this problem. Once you have focus like this for a while you can ask yourself out loud the question, “how can I reduce my budget without losing the luxuries that I love?”

Right after you have done this begin to work on the jumble. Working on the jumble in this way will allow you to consciously forget about your problem and the question that you just asked yourself. It is therefore imperative that you focus as much as you can on the jumble that you are doing, forgetting about the question and letting go of any worry that you might have. Now you could work on this jumble for a while or perhaps you only need to discover just a few words in the jumble. What you want to do next is to grab the scrap paper that is beside you and without thinking too hard about it write down any ideas that you get about that initial problem. Personally I would say that you should just try and finish half the jumble and then write as I stated above on your scrap paper. It is possible that as you are doing your jumble, you will get flashes, insights and answers. If you get a flash of insight, stop with the jumble and write it down and see what else comes up.

The trick is to not get yourself to involved with the problem again or to start worrying about any particular consequence from the problem. You want to very lightly shift over to your scrap paper and write down any creative ideas in a natural fashion.

If you spend enough time on the jumble and you allow your conscious mind to let go of its tenacious hold on your problem, you will be incredibly surprised by some of the creative solutions that you can come up with using this method. Once you get very good with this method and you begin to understand the kind of feelings that the jumble gives you, it is possible that you might not even need the jumble for future problems. The jumble is there to just distract your conscious mind so that your subconscious can work better in an unrestricted fashion.

Once you understand these feelings and have a basic idea of how this technique works, it is possible that you can come up with your own ways to create this detachment without the jumble. Da Vinci for example used to love to look at stains wherever he found them. In this way he was able to do the same thing that the jumble does for you. Try this technique, you will be surprised by its results. Experiment and try your own methods once you get the hang of it. By giving your subconscious mind greater free reign, in this way allowing your creative genius to come forth, you will be able to solve many of the problems that you thought were beyond you.