I've changed a lot since childhood.  As a kid my values were substantially different because I thought a religious value system was necessary. Basically that means the fear of god scared me into submission… I mean, hell is scary. But the ‘why’ is not so important anymore; nowadays I just wonder why I gave my environment so much control.

Nevertheless, I’m aware convention has a purpose. If you do choose to follow an external ruleset, you will expend less thought and energy following that established method. But this seems like a limitation of human potential, and an excuse to lament. You surrender independence and responsibility to the method when you practice life this way, so you have more time and energy for questioning. And since you grow up being taught not to examine the method or develop independent values, how could you ever derive an answer to any of those questions?

Self-Portrait Chugiak, AK, July 2019

Self-Portrait Chugiak, AK, July 2019

After adopting an independent approach, I feel like I see more of life’s realities, but the newfound complexity is often overwhelming. I’m constantly learning that greater awareness requires deeper thoughtfulness — to better understand reality, and to defeat the system of thinking I inherited before shifting away from convention.

The change also alienated a lot of people. The tradeoff is still a good one, though, because now there is nothing to question, and I’m the only one to blame for anything — no apologies or fucks given.

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