On “Race”

Until the late 19th century, race was typically based on language and nationality. Following Darwin’s published research, however, humans began to look at themselves as they would other animals. This sparked a new argument of “race” as heredity. The fundamental results were a classification of their fellow humans as “lower” and “higher” races. These ideas were proposed by Caucasian males who argued that those with Nordic traits (blue eyes, blonde hair, and fair skin) sat atop the human totem pole. They claimed that these humans were largely responsible for order, civilization, and social progress. This inherently categorized those with dark skin and dark hair as the “lower” races.

Are we supposed to believe that Caucasians with Nordic traits are genetically superior? If so, I don’t buy it. I am convinced that social history has played out the way it has by chance. Some groups have been exposed to ideas, tools, and conditions that have perpetuated the expansion of “modern” civilization. Whether or not modern civilization has been progressive (especially in terms of its ethical implications) is debatable. We are where we are today because of environmental factors that have given certain groups an advantage in exploiting their environment and other humans.

I understand this is a hot-button issue, and I am merely trying to get my tumultuous thoughts out in the open. My opinion is that hereditary superiority is a fallacy. One’s cultural environment is the sole determining factor (withholding genetic disorders) of their ability to adapt to the world. A person’s genetic traits are beneficial, or not, based on the current trends of social constructs. Unfortunately, the roots of racial bias run so deeply in the United States, that I am unsure if we will ever resolve the issue. This nation was founded by an aristocracy that exploited other human beings. It seems as if social equality was doomed from the start.

Does this mean that I have lost hope? No. I have faith that I will witness legitimate social equality in my lifetime. We have come so far since the founding of our nation, but we certainly have a long way to go. Racial, economic, and gender inequality are still rampant. Until the institutions in place undergo drastic changes, or are overthrown, systematic inequality will remain a factor for all Americans. I am not preaching anarchy or violent revolution, but changes must be made, and they must be made quickly. We are at a critical juncture in the life of our young country. We are teetering between social progress and social regression. It will be a difficult road to navigate, but I am convinced that Americans will come together to create the changes that need to be made.

The color of our skin, hair, and eyes should be a non-factor. We are all earthlings. We are all riding on the same organic spaceship, and we are (so far as we know) the only intelligent beings capable of maintaining a peaceful and ecologically sound existence on this planet. We must continue to work towards social and economic equality, clean and renewable energy, and the conservation of our natural world. We must return to living in harmony with Mother Earth and each other, or we will surely be the authors of our own demise. Be kind. Spread love. Preach peace. Together, we will make it through these hard times.

Dream Interpretation # 1 (Marble Mansion)

This is the first of my documented attempts at recounting and interpreting my dreams. I am doing this in order to tune into my unconscious mind, and in turn, further the process of my individuation. My hope is that I will eventually be able to use my unconscious and conscious minds in a harmonious and complementary unison; operating from a seat of infinite and fluid creativity as my highest Self. Here it goes…

Dream:

I am standing on a flat, pale granite plateau. There are an assortment of vehicles including cars, buses, and troop carriers in a line. Despite there being so many vehicles, there are only a handful of people. A civilian/military conflict has been resolved but we are looking for someone who has successfully avoided participation. Dynamite is thrown into a crack in the granite. The sticks explode and a massive marble mansion rises from the plateau.

A middle-aged Caucasian male with shoulder-length dark hair walks out onto the balcony. He is dressed in a gray unbuttoned dress shirt and suit coat with loafers. He seems relaxed, and welcomes me into his home. He has a European accent when speaking English, but I cannot determine where he is from. The mansion is beautiful and modern, but his wife is unhappy, and curled up on the couch facing away from us.

He gives me a tour, and explains to me that large sections of the house are unfinished, and he is sinking into debt. He mentions that he is trying to develop them into community apartments and showers, but worries that nobody will be interested. We walk to a basement level with many shower stalls. Only one shower is working. My college roommate comes out of the shower in a towel and we shake hands and chat. My roommate continues on his way. The mansion owner and I return upstairs.

I walk past the single TV in the house. It is a flat-screen of modest size, and half of it is shaded by a black curtain. I find myself in a room with my sister-in-law. She is wearing a red bikini and relaxing on a small couch. We are discussing dreams. She tells me that she is going to write a book about lucid dreaming after tripping on hallucinogenics. Apparently she has been having many lucid dreams after abusing certain substances. Her nipple slips out but it is painted over with red. We both laugh about it. Then I wake up.

Interpretation:

The civilian/military conflict and vehicles represent the situation of martial law playing out in D.C. right now. The mansion rising from the granite after sticks of dynamite being thrown at it may represent the attack on economic inequality. The wife being unhappy despite being in a massive, modern mansion may represent gender inequality issues that are also being brought to light. The man is also sinking into debt. In my eyes, the mansion, the dynamite, and the man and is wife, the civilian/military conflict, and his economic struggles are a direct reflection of the issues arising in the American social sphere right now.

My college roommate was one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and attended Cambridge on full scholarship for graduate school. I’m not sure why he is the only one in the basement using the only working shower. He may represent the need to keep my mind and intellect clean from the constant bombardment of the negativity seeping out of media platforms. The TV being half-covered by a curtain represents my efforts to filter and monitor the information I am exposing myself to. I have always been attracted to my sister-in-law, which is why she may be scantily-clad and wearing red. The nip-slip, paint covering it, and the ensuing humor, probably represent the attraction never resulting in actuality.

I am assuming she represents my anima in the dream. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Jungian psychology, the “anima” is the unconscious feminine side of a man. I am supposing that she is discussing lucid dreaming with me because of my decision to take my dreams seriously. She, on the one hand, is taking dreams so seriously that she is convinced that she will write a book on it. I disagree with the need to take hallucinogenics in order to have powerful dreams, however it may be my unconscious reminding me of the enjoyment of my experimentation with LSD. Either way, I am going to interpret this as my anima reinforcing my decision to take my dreams seriously and to strengthen my connection with my unconscious.

My interpretation may not be completely accurate, and may actually be far from it, but it is a crucial step in forming a powerful relationship with my unconscious. I am going to continue to recount and interpret my dreams in the hopes of becoming my highest Self. I have a feeling that this is going to be a profound, transformative experience.

Primal Fantasy

In my late teens, I had a recurring fantasy of traveling throughout Europe and spreading my seed wherever I went. The goal was to have as many children as possible, with as many women as possible. I chose Europe because I have an affinity for Caucasians like myself, and for some reason thought that my bastard children’s lives would be easier in the developed world. This was clearly not very well thought out, and was strictly a fantasy. I am unsure of why, but the fantasy has taken hold of me again. After having one child in wedlock, I am suddenly stricken with the desire to make as many as possible, and by any means necessary, before I die.

I have a variety of theories as to why this sudden urge is rising in me. 1. It is a natural biological instinct to have as many offspring as possible. 2. I am having a surge of testosterone from proper diet and exercise. 3. I am unhappy with monogamy. 4. I want to have more kids with my wife, but the rate of reproduction is too slow for satisfaction. 5. I am twisted and delusional and need therapy. The cause may be one, or a combination of any of the aforementioned possibilities. I am unsure, but I know that I am bombarded with the idea throughout the day.

In a perfect world, I would have the means to have a large harem of women who were popping out babies at my bidding. And by a perfect world, I mean if I were a modern-day Genghis Khan. Would it be a healthy environment for the women and children? Likely not. I wouldn’t have the time or energy to meet all of their needs. Would it be enjoyable for myself? There are certainly pros and cons. Will this fantasy ever take place. No. Is it fun to think about? Absolutely. Again, this is just a testosterone-fueled fantasy that has been on my mind lately.

Part of me feels as if it is a good sign that I have healthy levels of testosterone. Another part of me feels as if I have too much free-time on my hands. And still another part of me feels as if I am unhappy and full of regret. I love my wife and child very much. Wouldn’t it make sense that more of a good thing is better? If only it was that simple. Childish fantasies are fun to play around with, but at the end of the day, I enjoy making my best effort to meet the needs of my small family. We are healthy and happy, and maybe we will have more children in the future. For now, that is enough.

June? Already?

5 months have disappeared. 2020 is almost halfway over. Where does the time go? I have several goals for this month in order to reset and re-establish myself in the present. My first goal is to document my dreams and my unconscious fantasies, and to treat them as concrete realities. My hope is that the more in-tune I become with my unconscious, the more it will reveal to me. If this is true, I will be able to navigate life from a seat of fluid, never-ending creativity. I am going to delve deeply into this in the coming weeks, and I will report on the effects or lack thereof.

My other goals are to exercise, read, write, learn a language, meditate, and visualize on a daily basis. These are mostly habitual already, but I am going to exercise more discipline around the practices. As the world heals and opens back up, I am also planning on exploring new places, people, and things with my wife and son. My goal is to burst out of the comfortable bubble and to see something new every day. While things seem to be getting out of control around the world, I am going to take the opportunity to implement deep gratitude, send healing vibes, and show compassion and love to everyone I encounter. I am going to make an effort to become a part of the solution, and not a part of the problem.

I am meditating and visualizing on a peaceful and prosperous world. Time heals all, and this too shall pass. Please do your best to preach peace, find solutions, and spread love. Heal your inner world, help others do the same, and eventually the outer world will follow suit. Stay positive, stay safe, and help others when possible. With love and cooperation, we can build a new world. I believe things will have changed for the better by the end of the month. The positivity of the second half of the year will outshine the negativity of the first. I love you all, and I am looking forward to this healing journey in June.

Pursuing My Dream

The idea of becoming a psychologist has begun to surface time and time again throughout the course of my day. I see myself starting my own private practice somewhere near the ocean. I can picture myself biking to my office, and occasionally making long trips to help those in need. I visualize my family’s home on the beach, and all of the nuances and details that come with a new life. I can see myself and my family thriving. It is a profession and lifestyle which I could see myself enjoying for the rest of my time on earth, and I have decided that I am going to pursue it.

Anything worth having does not come easily. This journey will be no different. It will require me to go back to school, and for many years to say the least. It is a subject which I am interested in, and it will certainly become a lifelong learning process. I will need to once again acclimate to higher education, and accustom myself to online learning. With a working wife, and my duty as a stay-at-home-dad with a two year old, I will need to find ways to carve out time in order to achieve my dream. The financial aspect, the length of the journey, and the academic challenge are things to consider, but I see nothing that will prevent me from reaching my goal in the long run.

While in pursuit of this dream, I am going to make sure that my family comes first. Things can change, and I will be vigilant in terms of adapting to their needs. My wife and son (and potentially more children) will always be my top priority. I will make sure that they are cared for and provided for, and that my goals align with my wife’s vision of the future. I feel that as long as a strong level of adaptability is maintained by my wife and I, we can make any and every situation work for us.

The most critical aspects of this journey will be desire, determination, and discipline. If I maintain those three things, I am positive that I will be able to achieve my dream of becoming a psychologist. If I am able to couple those three things with adaptability to the constant fluctuations of my life and my family’s, the journey will become an enjoyable challenge. I have made up my mind, and I am going to take the necessary steps in order to achieve this dream. Updates will be made on a weekly basis to keep myself on track. The first step is looking into schools and programs that fulfill my wants and needs. Research is going to be my task for the next few weeks.

I am excited to once again be goal-oriented for the first time in as long as I can remember. It fills me with a renewed sense of purpose, and potentially with a lifetime of meaning. My highest Self is telling me that this is my calling, and I am going to listen. If things change, I will transition smoothly. If things become difficult, I will remain disciplined and determined. I know that I am capable of achieving this dream. My highest Self would not be telling me to pursue it if I wasn’t. My path has been marked, I must now take the first step toward my destination. I am going to become a psychologist: Dr. Taylor Richard Cook.

P.S. I am going to start self-interpreting my dreams and exposing my fantasies in order to make a stronger connection with my unconscious. I am choosing to do this in order to complete the process of individuation. I am going to become the cosmic man and my total Self. To accomplish this, I must surrender to my unconscious, treat my dreams and fantasies as real things, grow the trust and connection within, and operate from the seat of the unconscious mind. Last night I had a dream that the World Health Organization outlined a one year course of action for people to follow. I ignored the guidelines and did not heed the warnings. Even in the midst of coming face to face with the repercussions, I was walking around eating an orange without concern. I am going to assume that this was a reminder from my unconscious to take precautions without losing touch with my own health and mental well-being. I know that these are strange times, but becoming paranoid will not help the situation. I have recently been grappling with the fantasy of returning to younger days and living a bachelor’s lifestyle. I’m going to assume that this is because of my recent boredom and relative unhappiness with married life. It is not something I am going to pursue, but I am going to recognize that the energy must be displaced into something more constructive and beneficial. Those times are over, and I must find happiness and fulfillment in my current situation.

I’m Back…After 144 Days

My last post was on January 3rd. So much has happened since then. After twenty years of contact sports, a car wreck, and periods of substance abuse, my brain was in need of some TLC. SPECT-scans at a specialist clinic confirmed my suspicions. I had damage to five different regions of my brain, along with an overall decrease in activity. I received 40 hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy treatments between mid-March and mid-April. The results have been nothing short of remarkable. Blood and oxygen flow has been increased, new connections have been made, and my brain’s capacity has been restored by up to 40%. It feels as if I have had a brain transplant- that is the only way to describe it. I feel like a new person. I have been gifted with a second chance at life, and I plan on making the most of it.

So far, my energy, focus, endurance, and mood have all shown improvement. Not only has my overall mental capacity and outlook improved, I have been inspired to take on new challenges. In a matter of a few weeks I have learned how to juggle three balls with relative ease. I have coupled this new physical challenge with learning a language. My wife spent her early life in Norway and has a strong grasp on the language. With the possibility of moving to Norway at some point during my son’s childhood, I have taken on the task of learning Norwegian. I now know a few hundred words and do my best to spend 20-30 minutes a day on lessons. My wife and I have also made an effort to play chess a few times a week. These three changes, although seemingly mild, have had a dramatic impact on my quality of life.

I have a renewed desire for learning and growth, a rejuvenated interest in spiritual development, and an outlook on life that is rooted in positivity. I am excited to see new places, meet new people, and do new things without hesitation for the first time in my life. Despite these positive changes, I have a lingering sensation of regret for lost time. I feel as if I completely lost a decade of my life. From 20-30, my life was a continual struggle. Little did I know that I was battling with bipolar disorder, brain damage, and adult ADHD. I am much more forgiving with myself than I had been before these diagnoses. I just couldn’t seem to get myself or my life figured out and I was very hard on myself until now. I have forgiven myself for my ignorance and lack of action, and am focusing on making the most of the time that I have left.

Following the chamber treatments, my remaining medication is no longer needed, I take care of my two year old son for 40+ hours a week, I’ve started exercising again, and I am exploring Jungian psychology in hopes of reconnecting with my Self. I am going to take the necessary steps to tap into my unconscious mind and operate with an unprecedented level of clarity. I am going to surrender my ego and conscious mind to the power of my unconscious and allow it to properly guide me for the rest of my life. It should allow for an inexplicably fluid and creative journey. I am looking forward to writing again, interpreting my dreams, and tapping into a deep relationship with my unconscious in order to complete the process of my own individuation in order to become the cosmic man and my complete Self.

A New Decade

The twenty-twenties have begun. A new set of ten years- a new decade. It is fun to reminisce about the previous decade. The past ten years hold so many experiences and memories, that I am more than excited to see what the next ten years have in store.

In the past ten years I decided to leave the United States Naval Academy. I received my undergraduate degree in political science from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. I was awarded as a USILA All-American in lacrosse. I became a husband to a beautiful wife, and the father of an amazing son.

On top of those things, I became engaged in the Coliseum in Rome. I stayed in a villa in Tuscany, swam in the Mediterranean, and explored the Amalfi coast. I moved to and lived in California for two years, and coached lacrosse at the youth, high school, junior college, and college levels.

I worked in San Francisco, dipped my toes in the Pacific Ocean, and spent many days on some of California’s most admired beaches. I drove up and down coastal highway, and visited some of Sonoma and Napa county’s famous wineries. I spent a few weeks in rural Oregon, and a few days at Yosemite National Park.

I made a trip to the Dominican Republic, lounged on white sand beaches, and drank out of coconuts. To top it all off I was lucky enough to visit Kauai and surf in Hanalei Bay. I would have never had any of those opportunities and experiences had I not lived by myself in Annapolis, MD for a year.

My time alone when I was 25 was when I first truly connected with self and spirit. Before then, I had never really known who I was or what I wanted out of life. I set down roots and built a launch pad which was sufficient to propel me through a wild five years. Looking back, it all seems like a dream. I suppose you truly can’t put a price on experiences.

I must admit that I am a much better person than I was in 2010, and I guess that is what truly matters. I have bettered myself and my life and not the opposite. There were many times that I felt as if life was at a standstill and potentially over. There were times when I have pondered cutting it short and ending it myself if I am going to be truly honest.

I have never been more appreciative, excited, and grateful to be alive. Despite its inexplicable complexity, its sometimes mind-boggling trials, and its ups and downs, life is a gift and a miraculous experience when lived properly. I suppose the key is to do your best to become the best possible version of yourself, hang on for the ride as best as you can, and have a positive influence on everyone that you meet along the way.

I am so grateful to be alive, so thankful for each and every day that I am still breathing, and am looking forward to a new decade of experiences and opportunities. The real question is, am I choosing my path, or am I just along for the ride? Is it free will or destiny? Either way, I feel truly blessed to be a part of this cosmic play in an infinite universe. I’m going to do my best to stay grateful, stay positive, and live life to the fullest for as much time as I have been allotted. I wish all of you a happy new year, and a rich and fulfilling decade.

A Break at 100 Pages

I have written 100 pages of my second novel. I am also now on the last day of my one week break from writing. The routine of 1,000 words a day became burdensome rather than enjoyable- which let me know a stop was needed. While it has been a nice reprieve, I know that diving back into my novel will be difficult.

Patting myself on the back for 100 pages felt nice, I must admit. However, the finish line is still in the distance. With approximately 50,000 more words to go, it seems daunting at best. The project may end up being a little longer or shorter than the standard 80,000 word count, but, either way, I have a significant task set before me.

I am going to recommit myself starting tomorrow. I am going to take it 1,000 words at a time as I’ve done with the first 30,000. As long as I make it routine, the rest will essentially take care of itself. With a completion date of March 4, the task is manageable. My urge to start today is a good sign that I am ready to begin writing again. One foot in front of the other starting tomorrow morning. Wish me luck.

CTE

I recently read an article about a former USC defensive back. It wasn’t about his charity work. It wasn’t about him pursuing political office. It was about him wandering into traffic and getting hit by a Chevy Astrovan. He was 31 years old.

Like many football players, he was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE. It’s a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated head injuries. Symptoms include behavioral problems, trouble thinking, and mood problems. It often becomes worse over time.

After 20 years of contact sports, I am intuitively inclined to think that I have and am developing the very same disease. Reading the article was like reading my own biography. We shared the same issues, same mood and behavioral problems, and “a headache that never seemed to go away.” We have both self-medicated to no avail.

CTE is often misdiagnosed as bipolar of schizophrenia. They share similar characteristics, especially as the disease becomes more injurious to the mind. I have trouble staying awake, I have focus issues, and chronic depression. I’ve had too many concussions to count, and I feel like the effects are finally catching up with me.

I find myself in a time warp of sorts- days, weeks, and months are gone in a flash. I have memory problems which only seem to get worse. My sense of smell is almost non-existent (an early indicator of CTE). And instinctively, I know that something is wrong between my ears. I know that I’ve done severe damage to myself, but I’m unsure of the extent. I’m hoping a new test and treatment options are made available soon. As of now, there is no conclusive test until death, and there are no treatments available. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Really? Maybe…

My fingers tap out letters on my keyboard without my doing. They fly to buttons here and there with ease. How and why I’m doing this is unclear at best. Am I typing of my own free will? Am I actually typing these letters, or is it the mere production of a stream of subconscious that destines me to publish this post? I’m not sure. I don’t think I’ll ever know, and I don’t think I’m meant to. None of us are. Wouldn’t life be an incredible bore if we knew we weren’t in the driver seat- that we were just along for the ride? Then again, maybe it being out of our control requires what people refer to as “faith.” That concept had eluded me until writing that sentence. What a powerful concept. But, is it blind?

What if we are the in the driver seat and in control of our destiny? It seems to make things more complicated, but it’s no more complicated than the first scenario. However, your decisions may very well be an illusion of choice. Even if that’s not the case, would you still end up at the same end point? Or is there an infinite number of actions, and an infinite number of outcomes? I feel like there would have to be an infinite number of parallel earths, and the frequency of your vibration would have to determine which earth you experience…because thus is the nature of energy…right? Not quite sure of that one either.

The first two paragraphs are a bit jumbled, but that’s typically how my mind runs laps around this question. I think this life is a combination of free will and destiny. I think we can make choices up to a certain point. I think the choices have to fall within a certain spectrum of frequencies of vibration. I think our destiny varies as much as our narrow band of choices does. I think there are a multitude of possible outcomes (destinies), but not an infinite number. Mind is all over the place. Enjoy.