“He has stripped away his body and – realizing that at some point soon he will have to abandon mankind and leave all this behind – had dedicated himself to serving justice in all he does, and nature in all that happens. What people say or think about him, or how they treat him, isn’t something he worries about. Only these two questions: Is what he’s doing now the right thing to be doing? Does he accept and welcome what he’s been assigned? He has stripped away all other occupations, all other tasks. He wants only to travel a straight path – to God, by way of law.”
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus became emperor of Rome in 161 AD and died 19 years later at the age of 59. From his earliest years, Marcus was a student of philosophy and spent the better part of his life searching for truth and meaning in all things. There is a knowledge of all the things that are, those that have been, and those still yet to come. It is the hidden knowledge of the self which had in later years found homage in the writing of Charles Dickens.
A Christmas Carol is the symbolic story of a man discovering the hidden knowledge of who he had been, who he has become, and that which may alter his tomorrow. As with all great human tales, it can be traced back to the ancient wisdom which has been transferred down to us through allegory and fictional narrative. Words are powerful when infused with the energy of truth and the magnetism of self-recognition.
When I look back on my own words over the years and decades there is a pattern which can be observed. This pattern is about the dark places I’ve been, where I am now, and the places, like Writer’s Island, which are still before me. Somehow all the words flow inward and outward with the archaic motions of a never-ending mental creation.
In the willow and wallow fields,
Under the dirt and in filthy birth,
Crawled the worm of words and squiggly things,
Life and death and vile kings.
Christmas is a special time for all of us to reflect back on the year behind us and define what we wish to become in the days before us. Change is always waiting for a willing companion. But change will happen regardless of whether or not we are consciously attempting to manage that change. Hope is not a method of change, but hope does serve as a foundation from upon which change can evolve. Christmas time is filled with such hope.
Throughout 2018 the Philosophy of Metrics (POM) Community evolved and became something which can exist with or without me. This ragtag group of random individuals began coming together back in January of 2014. At first, everything was focused around the articles I would write as the group bantered about the subject material and started introducing their own research and supporting evidence.
Since then it feels like the POM Community has surpassed the limitations of one person and has broken free to become a truly independent and powerful source of shared wisdom and shared experiences of self-reflection and evolution. POM will have to continue long after I’m gone because the seeds we have planted together have only just begun to take root. It’s the understanding of where we have been, where we are now, and where we will be tomorrow. Our very own Dickens tale set in an online Victorian technological and philosophical era of anonymous suffering and loneliness.
Another milestone in 2018 was the growth of the XRP Community. The digital asset XRP is on a course to greatness and there appears to be little that can stop it at this point. Those that have been following the events throughout the year understand what I am referencing. The light bulb cannot be uninvented. This community was very welcoming to me and my abstract and sometimes challenging interpretation of XRP and the Ripple strategy, which is building software solutions upon the XRP ledger.
Sometimes you just see the totality of something but the words to explain and describe it don’t come easy. Throughout 2018, like with POM, XRP took on a life of its own and it became accepted fact, even promoted, that XRP would continue long after Ripple was gone and no longer existed. For me this year has been about both POM and XRP attaining the allegorical principles to maintain their own transformation across the expanse of endless tomorrows.
It was humbling to watch as those in the POM Community followed me over into the XRP Community and some in the XRP Community followed the path back into the POM Community. For months I found myself floating between both worlds as I sought reconciliation and alignment between the two. Pastel morning skies evaporated upward into photoshopped afternoons which in turn were pulled downward into the thick grey of early evening. It’s at night when the tether would break and the nothingness of never fulfilled hope would fragment the resolution which had been so unbreakable at dawn.
Things. These words. This worm of words. These squiggly things on the screen. Sometimes I don’t know what is coming out through the keyboard until after. Much after. Years later in some aspects. Gnosis, visions, illusions, confusion, and musings, all jumbled together in a collage of hidden meaning and ancient wisdom.
A filthy birth in the snow. Brown willows and silent wallows. It all means something. Somewhere. What vile king becometh the light of his own darkness. The false light of self-inflicted ignorance. Becometh what thy will beggar king. King of the beggars. Beg for that which has passed beyond your grasp.
Madness, I tell you.
There are so many people who reach out to me across both communities expressing thanks to me for helping them to think and reflect on their own lives. This is the power of truthful and open words.
“Words are powerful when infused with the energy of truth and the magnetism of self-recognition.”
We see ourselves in each other, which is why I often write about my own very personal experiences. Everyone has their own hopes, dreams, challenges, and method of understanding and processing information, and in turn, life. We teach by sharing and share by being fearless in our own truth. We recognize this in one another and find comfort and trust in that fearlessness. Those who can’t be open and truthful with themselves linger in the shadows of their own worlds, seething and lashing out at those who pass by in the light.
As we move into 2019 let’s reflect on the words of Marcus Aurelius once more:
“And along with not getting angry at others, try not to pander either. Both are forms of selfishness, both of them will do you harm. When you start to lose your temper, remember: There’s nothing manly about rage. It’s courtesy and kindness that define a human being -and a man. That’s who possesses strength and nerves and guts, not the angry whiners. To react like that brings you closer to impassivity – and so to strength. Pain is the opposite of strength, and so is anger. Both are things we suffer from, and yield to.”
Merry Christmas to all the wonderful friends I’ve made in both the POM Community and XRP Community. You are some of the best people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. You all have had an impact on my life one way or another. But that is the point. We sharpen one another. Search for the hidden knowledge in your own life. It is there, I promise you. It is waiting for you to discover it. You only need but look. Seek and ye shall find.
I love you all for that which you have suffered – for that which you have also loved. Find one another in the grit and hope of the Dickens narrative. – JC
JC Collins can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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