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A New Era

Peace all,

Tomorrow morning I am having lung surgery to remove a sizable, low-level tumor.  In doing so, the surgeon will likely have to remove two-thirds of my right lung.  As you might imagine, these past few weeks since the doctors discovered the tumor have been difficult for my family and I, but throughout most of the process, I’ve been at peace with my situation.

Since I can remember, I’ve had tremendous amounts of energy flowing through me, pushing me to create something that the world has never seen before. A strong creative energy like that can be amazingly positive if appropriately handled; if not handled properly, it can be destructive.

To me, the tumor’s development to the point where I need a major operation to have it removed symbolizes a period in my life where, for a number of reasons, I wasn’t prepared to handle that energy appropriately. This surgery is something that may have been avoided if I had taken the time and energy to fully investigate my illness at some point over the past few years when the symptoms associated with the tumor started to emerge.  Now part of my lung, part of my breath–the source of my life on this earth, needs to be removed in order for me to continue to lead a healthy life.

The message I take from this whole situation is the imperative to take care of not just your body, but of yourSELF.  Your SELF is everything associated with the particular life with which you’ve been blessed–mind, body, and soul.  Your SELF is the foundation of your life; it’s the vehicle by which you will fulfill your destiny.  You only get one of them.  I was blessed with a message that I feel the world needs to hear, but no one will ever hear it if I don’t take care of the “delivery vehicle” that is mySELF.

The tumor is a remnant of a past era in my life where I was not taking care of myself, not ensuring that my vehicle was healthy enough to transport my message to its destination.  Its removal symbolizes a transition to a new era in which I am becoming more self-aware and a better caretaker of myself. In light of this perspective, I believe more than ever that the world will hear my message, that my story’s gonna be told.

I want to thank from the bottom of my heart all of you who have been with me on my journey thus far.  I can’t wait to continue it with y’all upon my recovery.

Much love,

Max

Marvel at the world and its history, but understand your place in it…for without you, it is not so.

We sensationalize the legacies of great men, but we forget the greatest of men only want their legacies to be used as ‘stepping stones.’  The hallmark of true greatness is to be a catalyst for progress.  Men of such distinction never see themselves as the end but rather as part of the process that will hopefully lead to that end.  It is truly remarkable when one realizes that he/she will not change the world in some sensational fashion, but still recognize that he/she has a part in that play.  Greatness is never intentional–it is merely a byproduct of a desire to serve, an inglorious acceptance of a responsibility to contribute to humanity.

We make legends of  men and gods of great men.  I have come to realize that this is why celebrity exists.  This has been a problem that civilizations have faced since antiquity, but at least the quality the Greeks sought was godliness.  In the modern world, we have created for ourselves a world of juxtapositions, a world of contraries.  The majority of us think of anything new and ingenious that another man has developed as being solely the power of that man’s mind.  So, rather than being inspired by such genius to build upon that creation or to tap into our own minds, we shrink in the face of such marvelous opportunity.  Instead of taking such opportunities as a wakeup calls to our own potential, we build monuments of worship to greatness and to men.  We picture very little overlay in our “comparative venn-diagrams”.  An underlying reason is the fact that we tend to take a competitive, rather than a contributory, approach to societal living.  We choose to live together in societies under the premise that communal living is a safer and more productive bet for all, but yet we take a zero-sum approach to life.  Such great irony we live in.

History does not live for itself, but rather for the future; it only wishes to be built upon, it only wishes to influence the future.  In the same vein, greatness only wishes to inspire more greatness.  We dishonor the memory of greatness when we loose strength at its sight.  The greatest of men are seekers of truth, not of glorification.  The idea is always to progress and refine truths, methods, and thinking from one age to the next.  To bow down and be defeated by the glory of great achievements is truly a disservices to ourselves and our future because, in that moment, we stunt the progress of society.

Introduction:

On May 26th 2011 at about 10:52p.m. I tweeted “When I pass, please do not mourn me.  I hope I would have lived a life worthy of a celebration.” About 24hours later on the Night of May 27th 2011, we found out our poet and songwriter Gil Scott-Heron had passed.  I employ all those familiar with the man’s work to celebrate his life rather than mourning his death.  Eerie enough, later on the night of May 26th I though and wrote an extended version of the tweet.  On the night of Gil Scott-Heron’s death I could not help but edit the piece a bit and add a few more lines.  The short piece below is the culmination of those thoughts.

A Life Lived

When I pass, please do not mourn me, I hope I would have lived a life worthy of a celebration
When I pass, please do not pity me, I hope I would have lived a life worthy of glory

When I Pass..

Do not be saddened by my ever absence, be glad that eternity has found me favorable

Do not remiss that you were unable to have another word with me, be happy that in this great existence of design, our meeting was purposeful.
So, when I pass, please do not mourn my death, I ask that you celebrate my life and your place in It.
Celebrate the circumstances and design of our encounter
Celebrate the happenstance and nuances that made our friendship possible
Celebrate the fact that in the infinite possibilities of time and space, the Sun shun upon us equally
Celebrate the fact that we shared a time and or space in this great divide
Please do not mourning me…

Find me worthy of your most joyous smile                                                                                                                                                                      Find me worthy of an increased heart rate and a rush of blood to your brain

Please do not mourn me…

Celebrate my life as I celebrate the year Mozart wrote his Jupiter Symphony
Celebrate my life as I celebrate Emerson’s dissertation on History
Celebrate my life as I celebrate the moment Kerouac discovered his pen                                                                                                  Celebrate my life as I celebrate the vibrations in Scott-Heron’s voice

Do not mourn me…

Celebrate my life as I celebrate the hour Bach learned to fly
Celebrate my life as I celebrate the brain twitch leading to Einstein’s theory of relativity
Celebrate my life as I celebrate the birth of Buddha, the roads of Mecca, and Mariam of Nazareth
Celebrate my life as I celebrate the lost years of Mussa and the parting of the Sea.

Do Not Mourn Me
Celebrate my life as I celebrate the eerie feeling of finding kindred spirits in lives lived long before mine.
For, if you should find favor in the next life before I…I shall celebrate the memory if your existence
I will celebrate all that happened leading to You and Us
And I will celebrate all that you have touched
All that your existence has influenced and by definition that will be ALL.

 

Dedicated to the life Gil Scott-Heron

Slaves of the material world are all externally motivated.

By externally motivated, I am not speaking of folks being pushed forcibly by others, but rather, that people tend to be motivated by the material world. They are motivated by things to be gained physically and other rewards and also are driven to please others. The biggest mistakes one can make in any endeavor is to find ones motivation in an external source. What we often fail to remember is that the material world around us and those man-made physical things we cherish so dearly are all so very fleeting and temporary. When externally motivated, we spend so much energy chasing after physically unstable things, the value of which can change by the minute.

Internal motivation– the desire to achieve that stems from within an individual’s own consciousness– is a beautifully pure phenomenon. The will to achieve that comes without the need for external rewards is truly a joyous spell to be under.

I realized some time back that the only motivation that leads to lasting happiness is one that stems from an internal source separate from the whims of the world around us. The world as we know it is very fickle in terms of what it deems important, acceptable, and worthy of praise. External motivation always points towards those things the world finds important, while truely internal motivation stems from your soul’s desires. There is a certain lasting and satisfying quality to those things our soul seeks. When we make the mistake of allowing the external world to motivate us towards an endeavors we leave ourselves open to chasing what others find important and rewarding, rather than whatever it is that satisfies our heart’s desires.

External motivation leads us to chase after external objects for happiness. This type of happiness is never lasting; it is as fleeting as the objects themselves. Why would we think anything so changing can somehow substantially fulfill us? The hilarity in chasing external object to fulfill our need for happiness is that it’s a lasting chase because as soon as we have attained one object it is no longer important and does not bring us any more happiness, so we find another thing to chase and inevitably results in the same. In a repetitive manner, we spend our time and shed sweat on endeavors and professions we do not truly love in order to attain objects that won’t be a source of happiness for any significant amount of time.

How insane is that notion?

In trying to understand himself and his existence, man naturally took up the chore of distinguishing and defining all he saw around him. He distinguished himself both from his environment and from the other men whom he came into contact with. Unfortunately, in this process of differentiating , man lost sight of the commonality of all. He has lost sight of the existence of a life force that runs through all men and through everything else around us. He lost his appreciation for the fact that we were all placed on the same planet and share the same universe.

Man’s success in individuating himself has been the single most detrimental factor to his ethical and spiritual progress. In separating himself from other men, man lost his ethical self; in separating himself from his environment, he lost his spiritual self.

The easiest way for a man to lose his ethics is for him to see himself as separate from the whole, to recognize himself as being in one way or another not only different but more worthy than the next man; to recognize that somehow, even though he shares an existence with another, he is superior and, thus, entitled to something the other is not. Once one is able to distinguish between himself and others, he is then able to ethically justify treating others differently.

The extreme of those justifications comes when one is able to enslave, kill, or injure others without an ethical conflict. The gruesome acts of history are rooted in man’s method of individuation.

The irony of man’s differentiation is that in the process of distinguishing himself, he often includes himself in a group. The group he includes himself in is usually set opposed to another group. This mentality and process of differentiation is detrimental to the progress of humanity; it has never led to a positive outcome. The list of what it has led to is grim: clan and ethnic conflict, tribalism, nationalism, and religionism, among others.

As we observe our history, almost naturally built into these lines of grouping is conflict at every step. Once we are able to remove or ignore the common thread between man, killing another man is but child’s play.

Even more tragic and basic than man’s loss of his ethical self, is the lost of his spiritual self. The separation of man from the world around him is the beginning of man’s loss of his spiritual self. In putting himself on a throne above all as the pinnacle of creation, man took a great step in his spiritual fall. In our arrogance we have failed to see the common spirit that runs through all of creation. We like to think that somehow our existence is very much separate from the existence of everything else in the universe. We have separated man from the universe he exists in and in doing so we have cut the line between us and our spiritual life. How foolish of us to deny a coexistence and dependence on our environment.

The same force that sustains our life, also powers the world around us and the universe at large. Recognition of a common spirit between man and every bit of the universe is the beginning of true appreciation for our existence. Once we can appreciate the wonder of our universe, we can appreciate our fellow man, and also ourselves. We can’t Truly appreciate how special we are as individuals until we can recognize and appreciate the universality of all existence. Recognizing the bigger picture allows us to appreciate how special we are just to be a part of that larger whole–the universality that links all existence.

This post is a submission by our brother and comrade Silent Intelligence of WRBG Radio. The brother has something worthy to say, so we gave him a platform.

Forward: Mr. Morris

With the end of the civil rights movement and the apparent attainment of equality, African American are faced with living in America as fully free citizens.  What is to happen to people who have lost many of its leaders during the fight for equality, a minority living in a nation controlled by the majority that treats them as second class citizens, a people who were united by a struggles that has now been hurdled?

By: Silent Intelligence

Malcolm X once said “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”  Although this may appear to be true, it seems like the Afro-American family has found it difficult to live up to this, for we are still playing catch-up; since our introduction to the land of the Americas.  Since then, the Afro-American race, and more importantly, the Afro-American family has overcome many obstacles and much adversity within their race and society, in an attempt to fully acquire and solidify equality amongst the rest of civilization.  The Afro-American race reached its peak during the middle of the twentieth century.  With the civil rights movements sparked by great minds such as Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and others, it seemed as if the Afro-American race was on track for equality.  Although it appeared the Afro-American race had universal equality in its grasp, we as a race have begun to take a turn for the worst as the twentieth century came to a close; and when the race made this drastic change, ultimately; the deterioration of the Afro-American family soon followed.  Starting in the middle of the twentieth century and leading up to the end of the twentieth century, it appeared that everything that the Afro-American race had fought for had become inapt.  Instead of making further progress; the Afro-American race has fallen into a retrogression, resulting in a dismantling of the Afro-American family, and is on a steep slope to failure unless change within ourselves and our race occurs immediately.

By: Silent Intelligence

We live in a society where the idea of “success” is ever shifting, but somehow, it manages to stay in a particular box.  People generally don’t define success on their own terms–they leave it up to society to determine the meaning of success.  People then dedicate their life to becoming “successful.”  While the desire to achieve and accomplish is an integral part of a vibrant society, it is an issue when the premise and those endeavors we count in the box of success is determined by societal judgment, rather than by the individual who undertakes these endeavors.

In any particular time, we find certain achievements to be praiseworthy and branded as “successful,” while others are not even recognized. It would be cliché of me to say that society often limits the success label to those works and professions that garner large monetary value, but, nevertheless– it’s true. We value money making ventures–especially when they also bring along power and influence. When an individual’s goals do not fall into that money, power, or influence garnering box, we often don’t see their value and often question why that individual would undertake such work. We go as far as to relegate work not targeted at making money to the status of “dreams” or “fantasies”. We see a banker as someone chasing success, but those who don’t prioritize money making we label as “dreamers.” Why exhaust your time and sweat for fanciful goals, we ask?
Why is the value of a goal determined by anyone other than the endeavourer? The idea of success and, thus, the value of an achievement should also be determined by the individual, rather than the price-tag society is willing to place on it, as it is he or she who knows how much it honestly means to him or her. The pursuit of a goal and its subsequent attainment should be intended to give the individual a sense of fulfillment; the appreciation of it by others is but a byproduct. The individual should determine what success means and what is worthy of chasing.

As a society, we do ourselves a disservice when place restrictions on the realm of success. We push our members toward particular works, professions, and endeavors and, thus, limit the potential of our society’s members.  As a consequence, we lose out on impactful achievements that could benefit our society.  By valuing particular professions, we value particular use of our minds and bodies; we limit the range of thought and exploration. The mason and the banker should both be valued. The choice to be a thinker should not seem strange, while ambitions to be a head of state praised.

Success should be determined on ones’ own terms.

“The most important motive for work in school and in life is pleasure in work, pleasure in its result, and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community.” ~ Albert Einstein

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