Tag Archives: freedom

Limiting Beliefs as the Pillars of Human Civilization

Friends,

Recently, I had a conversation with my friend and colleague, Peter Mazzucco about the USMC’s “40% Rule.” The rule itself has interesting implications for will-power, but it also gave me pause to think back and reflect on something which had occurred to me months back then I was on the road shooting my upcoming adventure-documentary, Just Might Be Ok. I was somewhere in Mexico sitting on a rock taking a mid-day water break from walking. I had done 30 km already and was fairly impressed with myself. I reflected on how I had prepared for this undertaking: several full days every week spent in the late-summer heat walking the Hamilton region. My feet had toughened, my endurance had gone up, and the muscles in my legs, hips and lower back had developed to accommodate these new weight demands. But did these factors actually enable me to walk 30+ km every day encumbered with gear, or was I always able to perform this feat and I simply needed to convince myself that I could (with training and gains).

I found it to be an interesting question with wild implications. First and foremost, if a proverbial “97 lb. weakling” who never worked out walked into a gym with a deeply enough held belief that he could lift 400 lbs., could he?  On the other side of the spectrum, is the professional body-builder able to lift the 400 lb. weight because he has increased his muscle tissue and bone density through his workouts or have those physical changes simply had the desired effect of convincing him that he could lift the 400 lb. weight?

henry-ford-think-quote-mood

What we’re really talking about here is the relation of thought/belief to reality. At this moment, there is a Playstation controller on the table in front of me. In theory, if I have a deeply enough held belief that I can’t lift the controller or if I have some fear-based aversion to touching it, it’s not getting lifted, regardless of how much I have worked out. On the back end, isn’t that the same as not being able to lift it?

Ability has at least as much to do with mentality as it does with outward physical appearance and musculature. However, our mentality shapes us and so those with strong mentalities, disciplined mentalities, typically have bodies which reflect this. This too, could be seen as an indication of the relationship between thought and reality.

When discussing this idea further with my roommate, Kelton, he broadened the question by asking if the 97 lb. man could use levers and pulleys and other such machines to perform the lifting feat. I figured that that still counts as exerting one’s will upon reality and so I said sure. When you think about it, this is how society works: We can’t do something; “fly” for example, so we build machines like planes which allow us to do just that and see our will imposed upon the world around us. But this also made me think of another aspect and nuance of the question: We have laws and regulations governing aviation, what if we had laws and regulations prohibiting the use of levers and pulleys? Well, in absolute terms, the 97 lb. man could contravene the law and still lift the 400 lbs., but assuming he came up in the authoritarian public school system and our society more broadly, he would likely have a deep-seated fear-based aversion to using prohibited machinery. Again, on the back end, this is the exact same as not being able to lift the 400 lbs.

I would go further in fact to say that all laws and their corollary rights fundamentally serve as limiters of possibility. They limit what we believe we are capable of. I used to look rights and laws as opposite ends of a continuum, both flowing from a central point (the state/authority/power), the former protecting the individual and the latter protecting the collective, and always in a constant state of tension. There is truth to this view, but within the context of limiting beliefs I began to conceive of a new conceptual model for our relationship to rights and laws.  Imagine that same central point (the state), but it is above us and it projects beams downward and outward to envelope us in an upside down funnel shape. These beams are rights and laws, and while they are touted as guarantors of freedom, they actually act as bars caging us into the activities and potentials the state has dictated to be acceptable.

5-ways-to-overcome-limiting-beliefs

Every law and right is in fact a micro-aggression which limits our possibility. Even the most well-wrought, agreeable laws, against killing perhaps, even these still limit our conception of what is possible for us in this world.

It’s at this point where the unimaginative might derisively retort, “So are you saying that we should get rid of all laws, you anarchist?” -as if such a proposition is completely ludicrous. I think the abolition of laws and rights is a desirable state to get to but it is a state we can’t discuss without talking about other societal changes which are beyond the scope of this post.

For now, it is simply important to recognize that every new law, rule, right, guarantee, statute, and stipulation is coercive. Recognize that you have been conditioned to be afraid of force being used against you for contravention of the laws. Recognize that a law against stealing means that there are consequences for stealing, it doesn’t mean that you can’t steal.

You can do anything. Convince yourself of this. Believe it at an experiential level, and begin to undo a lifetime of limiting programming.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

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Make a Little Somethìn out of Nothin (sorry forrr the typos)

My Friends,
   Tragedy has struck.  While sleeping on the beach on Madeira Island on Sunday night, some (likely mustachioed) rake absconded with my backpack as I slept a little too deeply beside it.  I woke up in shock at its absence and spent the better part of the morning and afternoon with the Machico police, getting my visa cancelled and arranging emergency money.  I spoke with my parents as well and arranged for them to book me a flight back to mainland.   I had everything in that  backpack: money, wallet, passport, shoes, clothes, camp gearr, noteebooks, compass etc..   All in, there was about $2000 worth of backpacking kiit that I had acquired over the last five years.

                                                             “And now its all gone.”
 Obviously, this theft, especiially so early on, has been a serious blow to my confidence in  my ability to complete this undertaking as planned.  Sadly, I think we all know what  this means: I must noww do this trip in  hadcore mode.
   Let me explain: yesterday, in spite of the theft and the hunger, and the hoours spent with police, i managed to hold it together betterr than i would have expected.  However, when the saleslady forr TAP airline gave me 10 euros for food I broke down and cried.   More tears came when the flight attendats, learning of my circumstance gave me all food and cookies i wanted on the plane ride to Lisbon.  In spite of getting robbed by one strrrray douche, many people are still so good and helpful and itts them who i typiccally have the pleasure of running into.  As well, somewhere in all of this crying I realized that what i was upset abbout was not the loss of my gear; its just stuff that is eminently replaceable.  I was crrying because having initially decided to go home i felt i had failed and was going to miss my window of opportunity in life for this undertaking.  That thought depressed me more than any other.
    Also, drunk off Port wine on myfirst night in the country i wrote in my notebook something alongthe lines of how CCanadians arre the strrongest, most rrobust (sorrry this keyboarrd sucks) people on the  planet and that i wasnt going to let any nation get the best of me.  Well, Hemingwwaay said that “you  should always do sober whatyou said youd do drunk, (that way  you learn to keep your fool mouth  shut)”.  I  subscrribe to this point of view and its pretty much why iw went to afghanistan and australia lol. 
  So heres  what i was left with afterr the theft: desert camo cargo pants, eucalyptex shirrt long sleeve, eucalyptex bandana, flip  flops, spandex underrwear, petzl headlamp, 2x nalgene bottles, toque, sleeping rrroll, belt, wwatch.  I have since augmented that with a new lighter duty backpacck, which should be adequate for my new lighter load. 
  Herre is a small list of some items lost that couldneverr be rreplaced: my rrregimental flag, my  kabar knofe i ccarrrried on  all of my afghanistan patrols, my  rrhyme book (sorrrry shane, the album might be delayed) and of courrse my two pipes, both of which werre given to me by fatherr.  The loss of these saddens me morre than anything.

   Of ccourse, i  aalso lost my copy of Don Quixote but his lessons came thrrough in  my time of sadness: He and Sanccho  have been rrrobbedd sevveral times so  far (and worse) and he keeps on keepin on.  Setbaccks are parrt of adventure and i could not claim to be  any kind of adventurer if I turrned and went home att  the first impediment.  One day I will  laugh at this setback and hopefully i can offerr some futue  traveller calm rrreassurance that as long as youree alive you are ok (especially ifyou have a lovving family as a supporrt base).  Basically, the worrld fucked me so Im going to fuck it back.
   I realize ihavent said much regarrding the time between my lst entry and the theft.  RRest  assured oll make some point forrm notes about the food, tthe sights and even  an errrant nipple when i get to a keyboard that  isnt like fucking lego.
Remember: “The best way out is through” -Courage Wolf
Stay Thirsty
-Andre Guantanamo

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Breaking the Ice

My Friends,
   Today in preparation for an upcoming excursion around the globe I ventured to the travel clinic to receive vaccinations.  Whilst waiting in the aptly named “waiting room” I overheard a frustrated, middle-aged receptionist commiserating with her co-worker about patients demanding estimations of expected wait times over the phone.  “The wait will last until someone calls you in,” she went on, speaking the words she wished she could have said to the caller instead of the more placating answer she likely gave him.  The great irony in this is that noone, the receptionist included, wants their time wasted.  So we cannot fault someone for trying to plan their day and asking for a time estimation; but should we indulge them?
   I understand the importance of timings; they provide structure and allow the world as we know it to function (for better or worse) but for far too many people (regrettably, myself included more often than not), life is nothing but a series of timings: be at work for 9, pick up the kids at 6, dinner at 630.  It all seems a little mundane but we can justify it because we all think we are working for something better.
   Do you know what that “better” is?  I do.  It is the day when we don’t have to have our timings dictated to us and we are free to live as we please.  But we’ll never get there.  Because as stultifying to our flourishing existence on this planet as the rigidity of timings is, it also provides a modicum of security and stability; two things people feel lost without.  Therefore, people, even those who answer to noone, will always be slaves to the self-imposed rigidity of timings because it is, like a well-worn pair of underwear that has served you well, something that is difficult to part with.
   I opt to go without the proverbial underwear and forsake these timings.  If I must rush for something, let it be something I eagerly anticipate.  If I am late for something they will wait for me or they won’t; either way, I’ll be fine.  If I am early for something that gives me extra time to read something interesting or plot an escape route should things get out of hand (depending on the type of appointments you book). In short, inasmuch as possible, we should be attempting to throw off the twin yokes of imposed timings and obligations and revel in the time we can free up for ourselves.  If we don’t learn to live life on our own schedule now we will never know how to do it.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo

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