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Betting on the Daemon
Hey beautiful people,
Luea Ritter and Nancy Zam from Collective Transitions have kindly offered a 15% discount for Stoa patrons for their upcoming course, “Intro Training: Systemic Constellation for Societal Change.”
Join us for an introduction to Systemic Constellations, a 4-part training series. This course is open for leaders, activists, and change-makers who are working at the forefront of societal transformation. Systemic Constellations is a powerful tool for navigating complexity and helping teams move through intense dynamics with greater ease, efficiency and alignment.
The course starts this Wednesday (March 9th), and I have signed up. Luea and Nancy have something special going on. You can check out their recent session at The Stoa below, and I will be posting on Patreon shortly on how to access the discount.
Collective Journaling. Daily @ 8:00 AM ET. Patreon event. 90 mins.
Stoic Breath. Every Sunday @ 10:00 AM ET. RSVP here. 60 mins.
Practicing the Stoic ‘Contemplation of the Sage’ Exercise w/ Caleb Ontiveros and Michael Tremblay. March 6th @ 3:00 PM ET. RSVP here.
March 5th, 2022
The daemon knows. The daemon knows more than my mind can keep up with. To guard my premises more: the daemon seems to know more than my mind can keep up with.
It wants me to go to all these unknown places. And my mind is like: but bro, I do not know where you are taking me.
I am feeling fear these days. This fear seems to be blocking my daemonic transmission. I want to follow the daemon but I do not know where it wants me to go or what it wants me to do. I cannot control this thing. When I feel fear I want to control things. I am reading Hartmut Rosa’s The Uncontrollability of the World right now, and this passage resonates…
The driving force of that form of life we call “modern” is the idea, the hope and desire, that we can make the world controllable. Yet it is only in encountering the uncontrollable that we really experience the world. Only then do we feel touched, moved, alive.
I want to feel touched, moved, and alive, but I am having trouble feeling that way while journaling these days. I keep writing entries, and something feels off, so I end up deleting them. I am starting to realize I have so many layers of fear. They are so subtle, and just when I start thinking - ah bro, you’re good, you are now in the right relationship with fear - I end up getting slapped with the realization I am not.
How do I know this? Well, I basically become incapacitated. I cannot actuate what seems wise to take action on. My new emerging motivational schema does not respond well to unexamined fear. It only responds well to what I’ll call the daemonic impulse. My existential algorithm seems to be this …
Something happens. Fear sneaks into my body. Unexamined, I go into galaxy brain mode, creating a cornucopia of models while justifying doing so with the following thought: you are just sensemaking bro, so you can effectively engage in some choicemaking.
I am actually feeling embarrassed admitting I am feeling fear. Whispers from within my “man box,” the gender studies term for the scripts of “hegemonic masculinity” - aka the scripts that go along with being a “real man” - go something like this: do not be a fucking pussy, bro.
Amazing. Now I have to contend with the shame of having fear, compelling me to reactively retort to my man box: I am not a pussy bro, I have a super manly beard and I really like taking cold showers. I am going to punch through this man box for a moment, along with all the layers of shame that come with not living up to its standards, to be really focused when meeting this fear directly.
I do not even know where this fear is coming from though. Yeah, where did this fear come from? Did it come from what was happening here in Canada, and now Ukraine? Is my empathic ass picking up on a collective fear permeating the noosphere? Is this a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), aka free-floating anxiety? Or what Alexander Lowen calls a “fear of life”?
My man box is back and wants to clarify: I am not that afraid. My embodiment game has increased tremendously over the last two years, affording me the capacity to pick up on subtle dimensions and to put what is subtle under the microscope of my bodily awareness.
While the fear is subtle during everyday consciousness, the amplification of it can become pretty intense when viewed up close. The fear feels primordial. I will pause now, and meet it…
Okay, yeah, this does feel pretty primordial. It is very attentionally demanding, pressing in the middle of my chest, shouting: shut the fuck up already. Run, run, RUN!
Into the mind and more models, further away from the body? Into unwise copes, petite addictions, and sully indulgences? Or maybe into unexamined actions, what Michael Oakeshott calls the “deadliness of doing”?
I have no choice but to be Stoic, so I’ll turn to the fear now, and say: there is nowhere for me to run, bro. I’ll pause and hold space for the primordial fear, and see how my Stoic response lands for him…
Okay. The tension was really heavy in the chest. I sank into that. There was a sadness, and a sense of proto-tears started to emerge, then suddenly a desire to shake. My body really wanted to shake. So I let it shake. My whole body was shaking. It shook pretty well and now I feel pretty light. I used to shake like this all the time when I was doing the Jesus Prayer. I should probably start doing that again.
Now, where was I?
Oh yeah - the daemon knows - or at least he seems to know.
I do not know. I do know there is creative energy wanting to burst out of me right now. I do not know where it wants to take me. I have not been acting on it because I do not have a map to know where it will take me. This is creating frustration. I am not afraid right now. And the thumos is here, along with the following thought: fuck it bro, let us just get after this.
Yeah, fuck it. Let us just get after this. Sometimes a Stoic has to bet on something, and this Stoic is going to bet on the daemon. And yeah, when you bet on the daemon, you do not need a map.
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