The Dongola Times

(Anachronistic) Dispatches from the Kingdom of Makuria.
16th of June, 2013

My Advice: Take No Advice

O my children:
Whenever you live in keeping with yourself—if you are true to yourself, and if you live according to your unique spirit and calling—you will be different from everybody else. We are all individual, and everyone of us is different from the next person. Yet the goal of civilised life seems to be to pound the unique quirkiness out of everybody, such that in the end they are all members of one amorphous group of “people”. God created a unique individual, and we spend our lives trying to be identical to the crowd.

Now this would not be a problem at all, if the crowd had something to show. But they take away our blessing of uniqueness and silence yet another life of calling. They themselves are unhappy and unfulfilled, because they will never attain what they chasing after. They are trying to be someone else—their father, their neighbour, their President—and they never attain it, because God created individuals. So they continue in this frustration, and they never miss a chance to transmit it: by giving advice.

All the people who followed the common wisdom, where are they now? The only way society keeps the myth of common wisdom going is by changing what “success” means. Now it is no longer about your own passions—hobbies, interests, loves—it is instead about what society thinks of you. So you buy the car and prostrate yourself before the lie you have been sold, without asking why everybody else who is doing it is distinctly unfulfilled—often even by the definition of success that the society has handed down.

So it is in those tough times of making a serious decision that society will seem to scream the most. They tell you two things: either that you are stupid and you are gambling your life away, or that you think you are so clever but you are going to fail and be disabused of your pride. The first one they tell you when they do not know (yet) that to be the individual God made you to be is to be an excellent specimen of success. This is the case for everyone, but it only ever shows up in those who have dared to be as God made them to be (from the individual level to even the level of culture and race, but I digress). The second one they tell you when it is no longer possible for them to ignore that you succeed in what you do. Then they charge with being so full of yourself and thinking that you are so clever, and that history is going to make fun of you.

The problem, of course, is that they do not say these things for the myriad losers who followed common wisdom and paid for it by being unsuccessful. They keep quiet when the man who set aside his unique journey ends up living a bitter struggle that is made harder by the need to hide it from the eyes of those whom he seeks to lie to about where success is found. So they will not forget to laugh when, in their eyes, you have failed. They will always remember to gloat over the failure of those who dared to be different. When you fail like them, however, then they will just tell you about their similar failures in private. They seek to recruit you to their ranks, that you may be biased for the lie—having given your life for it, you would be incapable of judging it fairly—that you may also dispense strong advice that is clearly wrong.

So never take advice. Just make sure you have the right spirit in your heart, and follow your spirit. In all this, only God can guide you well. No human can even so much as communicate a correct message well; so if they had the truth, they would still never give you correct advice, because their communication is itself corrupted by a lack of words that build rather than break. My advice, in pure Gödelian fashion, is: do not take advice.

When I think back to the tough decisions of my life, the decisions I am happiest about, I find that I did them in opposition to common wisdom. They are also the decisions I am happiest about. Everybody said I was chewing off too much (and I probably was). Everybody said I was going to bask in failure, and the exact opposite has happened so far. Who has known the mind of God, that he may instruct Him? But we have the Spirit of God. I will gladly bear their gloating, as long as I know that I was honest to the individual quirks—madnesses, even—that God planted in my heart, because I know for sure that He never made a mistake. (Yes; this view seems to me impossible to separate from faith in God.)

In your day of adversity—when you have to deal with “mental strongholds”—tell them to bring on their worst; and then we will see who has favour in the eyes of God. If this sounds like my rendition of 1 Corinthians 1-2, that may be because (as I am coming to realise), it is.