The Dream You Guys Never Got to Meet

I was discussing the possibility of an investor in The 21 Convention the other day with my dad. He mentioned a problem I had was that if something ever happened to me, the whole business goes adios.

For one, he’s right. If I ever got into an accident and died, T21C would go bye bye.

For two though, there was once a possibility that this did not have to be so. Contrary to how it may appear now, I was not always the lone wolf. I had a friend that was a brother at the same time, and his name was Curtis Noll. He was the best man I’ve ever known.

He died of cancer August 1st 2008 – although that is a bit misleading considering his treatment, his doctors, the information those doctors were working with, and the medical status quo then, that prevails to this day.

In any case, Curtis dieing presented a difficult time in my life. It was the first time someone so close and so prevalent in my life had died.

Even that however, is only the surface layer to a deeper discussion.

Curtis was not only my best friend, but also the only man close in age that I’ve ever met, that I felt truly able to relate with. I believe this was as mutual as it was unspoken.

In light of this, it should be noted that Curtis and I had our differences at times. However similar, we were different people, and this showed occasionally.

Which is what I find interesting, and is the purpose of writing this post – Curtis and I presented a balance for each other.

Curtis presented X where I had Y. Particularly charisma – something I only express in rare sparks, where as Curtis radiated it constantly, even in his darkest hours.

Of course, he’s dead now. So that balance is gone … or is it?

As mystical as it sounds (or once sounded to me, before reading Lights Out), I believe I “inherited” much of what Curtis had, or am in the process of inheriting.

A passing of the torch, so to speak.

*How would this be possible and what have I inherited?

Well, the what is in The 21 Convention.

Curtis died only days after the second one in 2008. Had he never been sick in the first place, I find it hard to believe he wouldn’t be running it with me side by side in today’s world. That would be totally inconsistent with what I knew of him and the path he was heading, sickness aside.

In line with this, I believe I have been slowly becoming the man we would have been together, as brothers.

Or in another sense, consisting as an individual what we would have been separately. This is a concept we see in fiction, but maybe, is not so far from reality.

In Lights Out, there is a small part that discusses cells never ceasing contact with each other once initiated (or, something to that effect). The author then goes on to mention that the energy required to transmit signals from satellites millions of miles away, is significantly less than what you have in your body at any given time.

An explanation for telepathy to some degree and of some type?

Maybe, maybe not. What’s of interest to me though is that not long after Curtis died, I felt the need to pickup where he left off. To take responsibility where he would have. To finish what we never started, but could have.

A great example of this is the Cayo Costa camping trip we started in 2007.

The last thing I ever asked Curtis was whether or not he wanted to continue it. He said he did, and I have.

At first glance, it appears I do this for Curtis, but, I don’t believe this has ever been the case – because when I asked him that question, it was under the premise that we would continue it – he and I.

Interestingly enough, while he was still alive, we were never able to figure if the camping trip was his idea or mine. We both remembered simply talking about it, and next thing we know we are planning it and inviting people to go.

Another example was the oath I took to protect Curtis’s family, and anyone he would protect as dearly as immediate family, in his stead. This is something I’ve never taken the time to speak about to anyone, but it is something I take very seriously.

What would I protect them from? Anything Curtis would. Mostly likely, and as a best case scenario, the second great depression we’re slowly sliding into in the federal union of our united States (notice the plural in that phrase, and the absence of a monolithic entity).

Perhaps most relevant to our discussion is The 21 Convention, where I think Curtis would have played a major role, but as fate would have it, would never even be directly involved.

In essence, I’ve had to do things that were originally meant to be divided between two people, and by necessity of those actions, mature very *rapidly – perhaps equal to the sum of Curtis and I both.

This sure would explain why I look and feel 30 at 22 when I look in the mirror.

*I’ve wondered how coincidental this is, considering the exponentially increasing rate of moral and cultural decay in the world, which we are not far from feeling the blunt effects of.

In Closing

As tragic as it was, I believe Curtis’s death had long term positive effects on those closest to him – or at least, his death provided the possibility for such effects.

As far as I know, I was closest to him when he died. Not to the degree his family was, but in ways even they were not. There is something unique about a “brother” close in age, if not in blood. That “something” is not anything I have ever experienced elsewhere, although I do get a sense of it when I read the comments of James Steele II here on TDL (someone I have never met).

This is also something I can observe when Peter Murphy is on his edge, be it at T21C, or when called to action with a camera.


ps- I’ve wondered if the above is something driven by biology, psychology, or both (the desire to fill in where Curtis is artificially absent). If anyone has thoughts or reading on that I would appreciate them.

About Anthony Dream Johnson

CEO, founder, and architect of The 21 Convention, Anthony Dream Johnson is the leading force behind the world's first and only "panorama event for life on earth". He has been featured on WGN Chicago, and in the NY Times #1 best seller The Four Hour Work Week.    His stated purpose for the work he does is "the actualization of the ideal man", a purpose that has led him to found and host The 21 Convention across 3 continents and for 6 years in a row. Anthony blogs vigorously at and

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7 Responses to The Dream You Guys Never Got to Meet

  1. James Steele II November 10, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    A moving post Dream. Thankyou for the mention. As I’m sure you are aware that ‘something’ experienced is mutual.

    “As mystical as it sounds (or once sounded to me, before reading Lights Out), I believe I “inherited” much of what Curtis had, or am in the process of inheriting.”

    I’ve not yet read Lights Out, but are you aware of memetic theory? Richard Dawkins postulated it in his book The Selfish Gene, whereby meme’s, much like genes, represent units of scoial evolution. As such they are dictated by selection pressures and may be subject to mutation, variation etc. An interesting topic to consider after reading this post.

    I do need to fish out the book to re-read. After reading Ayn Rands works I remember realising many comments that would appear to misleadingly support the concept of altruism from an evolutionary perspective in Dawkins works. As an example he talks of reciprocal altruism evolving through memetics. I made a comment on facebook about this concept before.

    “Reciprocal altruism is a contradiction in terms. Altruism is altrusm. If its reciprocal, meaning that you expect the favour to be returned then it is not altruism. It is rational self interest.”

    Must blog about this at some point. His theory of selfish genes would more closely support the morality of rational self interest.

    • Simon November 11, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

      I wouldn’t think a altruist person would expect the favor returned, but there’s no harm in he/she would want or desire it returned. The end goal of altruism is in fact of interest to all, which would eventually include the self. I think I would read something about all.I’ll add your blog to my reading list.


      • Anthony Dream Johnson November 11, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

        I think the problem is the “eventually” part. It never comes when one’s life is lived in the service of others. This I think, kind of has a domino effect on the sum of man. Hence the old saying from Howard Roark in TFH “the world is perishing in an orgy of self sacrifice”.

        You want to see the world around you change, change your self first.

  2. Simon November 11, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    Hey Anthony, that was really deep.

    I see you’ve really realized that everything happens for a reason – but not in the sense that there’s necessarily this puppet-master backstage creating events like these for the purpose of learning lessons etc.; but more so that it’s up to us to create reason, or meaning, from it all. Something like that has the tremendous potential to motivate enormous positive results (or negative for that matter) and it’s cool to see you’re making sure it happens with the conventions and otherwise.


    • Anthony Dream Johnson November 11, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

      Thanks Simon. And I agree, it is up to us to derive meaning from our own lives in the pursuit of our own happiness.

      Reminds me of another quote from TFH : “I know one man who will know it all meant something at the end of his life” (Keating in reference to Roark).


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