Tell the Truth

It’s been almost six months since I last wrote on this blog. It has been a time of difficulty, as I try and navigate my way through an ever changing world. With the COVID-19 pandemic finally on the wane, and life starting to return to some semblance of normal, I’ve come to realize that I have neglected many aspects of my life, and need to take time to mourn the things lost during the last year and a half.

See, the last eighteen months wasn’t just lost time in a lockdown, for which I am fortunate that I live in Vermont and we hardly closed, though we took many precautions. It was damage to relationships, of which the relationship of five and a half years I was blessed to have, ended in the early days of the pandemic. Alienation from friends; I have only kept in good contact with one of my friends from before the disaster, though I attend a virtual tea group on a weekly basis, something I directly attribute the current status of my mental health to. Job issues, something I did not experience despite the business I was working for closing (not due to COVID, it was planned); I was quickly picked up by another agent that needed my experience. Now as COVID wanes, we see the aftershocks as the economy sluggishly tries to restart amid overwhelming government programs that were designed to keep people alive during a forced lockdown still in place as we try and gauge the proper reaction, and inflation looms, threatening to strip the value from the savings of the people that managed to save despite the downturn.

In times like these, most people turn to the things that help them manage through the hard times. For more traditional persons like myself, I turn to my faith and try and get a grasp on the foundation of those things we have in life generally. It’s not that I am overly religious, though I do attend the church of my grandmother irregularly and am trying out the idea of a small group Bible study, something I have rejected in the past; but rather my knowledge that the Judeo-Christian framework is the foundation for western values and social structures informs my need to dig into that philosophy to ground myself.

I also remember what helped me get my life back in order in the first place, and return to the voices that kept me going when my life was in utter Chaos. The irony of this being that in many games, particularly the Warhammer and Warcraft Mythos games, I often play either a villain or anti-hero–Tzeentch-aligned Chaos in the former, and a Death Knight in the latter– I had found that for the first time in many years, where I used the Chaos and entropy to disallow the order that my life required from making me too rigid, I had slipped into a time period where the opposite had finally taken hold.

It was in this time period that I ran across Dr. Jordan Peterson, a man whom I heard of from a YouTuber I watched, Lorespade. After a livestream Lores posted on his channel, I was compelled to look this quirky psychologist up, and discovered something I had desperately needed–the seed of a new foundation to rebuild the life I had abandoned when I returned to my family’s halls in Vermont, half a continent away from where I lived in North Dakota. In his lectures, and his book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, I was able to rebuild the foundation of the life I had left and start to remember who I really was; to put myself back into order.

As I did this, it became obvious that the structures I had built for myself during the time of tumult had become outdated, and I evolved in such a way that it caused me to do things I never would have done prior to then. I directly attribute this as a leading cause to the demise of my romantic relationship; not because she or I did anything wrong, or that we didn’t necessarily love each other; it’s that we had developed in such divergent directions that we were no longer compatible at a fundamental level. This became apparent after a dispute over one of my McBain Moment segments that she felt was a jab at her employment, even though it had not been intended as such. I share in the guilt over that, as I had not considered my words to be controversial, though I have reviewed the video and could see her point. It took me nearly a year to properly mourn that loss, but it has been done, and though I regret that it ended, I understand why it had to, and wish her well.

At the same time this was happening, we lost my grandmother to a Cancer that we knew was taking her for some time. It was something that she herself admitted was ultimately self-inflicted; much like my grandfather, who died of cirrhosis of the liver brought on by alcoholism, my grandmother had been a smoker in her younger years, quitting only after the age of 50, and the long-term side-effects of that had taken their toll. My grandmother’s initial reaction had been in her humorous way; she broke the news to us shortly after Christmas, and to paraphrase her announcement: “bring on the cheeseburgers and tacos”. She then had me serve her enough wine to make here giggly; she was always a silly drunk; though I have only seen her as such a handful of times in my lifetime. Throughout it all, she attended church until she could no longer do so, and then the priests of her church came to us, giving her time to speak, and speaking in turn; then giving Communion. I think, in the end, that’s what drew me to return to the church as the pandemic has left; I attended service alone for the first time in almost a decade this Sunday last. They truly cared about her, not only spiritually, not because she donated into the box (which she hadn’t been able to do for some time), but because they actually cared for her.

As I had dug into what I have dubbed “Petersonian Philosophy”, of which I am a student and hope the term catches on, I have come to understand why Dr. Peterson’s words have so much impact on me, and perhaps on the disaffected people that have come to love his work. The things he says ring true, in a world that has been overwhelmed in the mundane and shallowness that technology brings. Not that I hate tech; I am someone that is stepping headlong into VR and hope that by the time I leave my mortal coil, my body has had enough cybernetic modifications to make a character in Cyberpunk 2077 blush, but I recognize that there is more to life than the mundane.

To that end, I have decided to try and parse the 42 Quora axioms he posted many years ago, and have served as the foundation of two of his works, and write an essay on each. Although I don’t know how successful I will be in this journey, I will endeavor to complete this effort better than I have paid attention to this blog in the past. Thus I have started with the first axiom, and given you the truth of my life in the last eighteen months as best as I can give it. The truth shall set you free; it is the core of trust, and the most important thing you can do. People will love and hate you for it, but you must continue to speak the truth if you are going to be true to yourself and others.

And I promise to do my best to always tell the truth to you.

“Always tell the truth; or at least don’t lie.” –Rule 8

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