”Man is an individual, and absent the chains of men, man is free. To chain man — in say, the chains of government — is then not only anti-liberty, anti-life, anti-man, and anti-reason … but anti-reality.”
I went to the beach with my girlfriend the other day. The beach is pretty secluded, not to mention gorgeous. In addition to being a less popular beach (distance, tolls, etc), we went late in the day, so while it wasn’t completely empty, it was pretty quiet to say the least.
And not only was it quiet/sparsely populated, but it the weather was ideal. The water was warm, super calm, no wind, warm air, but not super hot or humid. Just right.
I think in large part that because of these factors happening in tandem, I was able to think deeply about a number of things. Namely, my former best friend, and the greatest hero I’ve ever known on this earth, Curtis Noll.
I was inspired to think about him because of the beach itself. While so far as I can remember, we never stepped foot on it together, we passed by it, fished, and boated around and within yards of it countless times. Maybe upwards of 50. In his boat, in mine, and in mutual friends.
In fact I remember vividly one of the first times we hung out, I was barely 14 at the time, we took a mutual friend’s boat out and “tubed” behind it. The fun part being that the wind was blowing upwards of 20 miles an hour, and in addition, my friends boat was fast. So at full speed we discovered that when alone on the tube, the tube itself began to “fly”, rather than tow on top of the water.
And by “fly” I mean stay 4-5 feet above the water at 50 miles an hour for 10-15 seconds a pop. While this doesn’t sound very fast, this is absolutely nuts in open waters, on an inflatable tube, and with the wind blowing like it was.
We coined it “para-tubing”. Million dollar idea for sure.
Being on the beach that day helped me to realize a few things. For one, and in the entirety of the experience, it was a clear reminder of just how much Curtis added to my experience of life, and to my fundamental view of existence, and subsequently, of man, and of my-self.
While I did not think of it in such terms at the time, to say that the sum result of my friendship with Curtis was anything less, would be an insult to the relationship, and to him – even in death.
Similarly, and on that note, this brings to mind just how fortunate I was to have encountered Curtis at such a young age myself. Unlike Rand, my concept of the ideal man was not formed primarily from self-generated abstractions and from characterizations in novels, but was formed primarily by my shared experiences with Curtis in real, physical life.
I had the unique experience of forming my concept of the ideal man by and with an abundance of concrete, sensory perceptions. I was able to experience what a man could and ought to do in love relationships, in friendships, in social settings, in leadership roles, in work, in school, in recreation, in leisure, in purpose, in (an astronomically high) self-esteem, in personal growth, and so on and so forth.
I even experienced how such a man faced a slow, painful death. How he dealt with it physically as well as, and more importantly, psychologically.
In a sense, I value, and subsequently, miss him so much, that I nearly cried just thinking about him while at the beach that was such a painfully clear reminder of him.
Perhaps more specifically, I realized that I did not consciously understand these things while he was alive, and I suspect that if I had, my experience with him while he was alive, would have been significantly if not dramatically amplified – which is difficult to even conceptualize because the experience in it’s sum is so great, even to this day where it remains primarily in my mind and anywhere I choose to express it.
Difficult to conceptualize because the experience is so important in my mind that it is the standard by which I gauge all other interpersonal relationships.
Which at the time, brought to mind the immediate relationship staring me in the face, the relationship I hold with my girlfriend. Feeling the pain of loss of a loved one like Curtis made me appreciate all the more concretely and intensely just how much she has added to my life and the enjoyment of it in a relatively short amount of time.
This is not something to be taken for granted.
At the same time, loss, I think, is not necessary to realize and actualize just how much someone means to you, nor to appreciate how much joy they add to your life.
While I had thought about this previously, the same can said of work. Take a website like MarksDailyApple.com for example. I think many of us fail to realize what a marvelous source of knowledge Mark Sisson has created for us, both in content and in form. Brimming with valid, reality based information, the blog is updated daily, primarily by Mark himself, and secondarily by the team he has built.
This did not always exist, and it is unlikely it will always exist, at all, or in the same form it is now, which is extremely effective and efficient to navigate. If Mark so desired, he could end it all in a single day.
To a lesser degree, the same can be said of this very blog. This blog is updated constantly and commented on frequently, by myself, and others very capable of contributing highly competent comments.
The same can be said of BodybyScience.net, where Doug Mcguff M.D. (and on occasion John Little), post weekly thoughts and updates not found anywhere else in the world – ideas that rest on basic premises that have changed my life (and the same can be said of countless others, including the bulk of TDL readers I would think).
And, finally, the same can be said of The 21 Convention. It is now in it’s 6th consecutive year of events, with 7 completed events fueling the three events being held this very year, putting us at a clean 10 when the year 2012 is said and done.
I think it would not be erroneous to say that many fans take it as a given that T21C will continue because it was created and already exists. But this is simply not true. The maintenance of wealth, of any creation, takes the same level of effort by man’s mind that it’s creation did. It will likely be in a different form, sure, and much of the effort, even most of the complex knowledge will be automatic – but this does not change the nature of the contribution by man’s mind. It merely changes the speed and way it is delivered – speed and way in such a fashion that it frees man’s mind to pursue new knowledge and the advancement of his values, and creations.
The successful maintenance of wealth, in a sense, produces the freedom to produce new wealth. Such wealth is not possible without the freedom to create it – both metaphysically, and of course, physically, as man’s mind cannot function under compulsion or force.
The maintenance aspect is even true of the video footage, which is largely stagnant in form, being a series of 24 still images per second of video attached to a string of audio recorded in tandem. This is especially true in the still emerging digital world.
Even for example with a video “gorilla” like Youtube, I sometimes wonder if in the grand scheme of things, T21C footage will find it’s ultimate home on another video host such as Hulu, Netflix, Itunes, etc.
While I’ve taken a bit of a tangent, the primary point of this post is to point out that I am strongly convinced that someone or something does not have to die for you to appreciate the full contribution to your life and the enjoyment there of.
Such a thing I think, would be contradictory, and therefore, could not and should not exist in reality. Life is for living, not dying. And to think that only in death could a person or creation be fully appreciated, would be to deny life as an achieve-able ideal, quite possible and pinnacly desirable in reality.
You can know happiness before it’s source is gone.
– Anthony Dream Johnson