Dienstag, 15. Juli 2014

Terminhinweis: Exobase. Und: ,,The Critical Point''

Zum Vergrößern des Programms einfach das Bild anklicken.
Die chilenischen Freiheitsfreunde der Exosphere organisieren in diesen Wochen einige interessante Veranstaltungen, die unter dem Titel ,,Exobase'' laufen und von denen einige auch im deutschsprachigen Raum stattfinden. Dabei sollen in erster Linie hilfreiche Tipps zur Meisterung des eigenen Lebens und der Umwelt, die einen umgibt, gegeben werden. Der Fokus dabei liegt auf den Unternehmern oder denen, die es werden wollen. Außerdem bietet sich eine hervorragende Möglichkeit zur Bildung neuer, internationaler Netzwerke.
Exosphere ist ein Projekt, das versucht staatlichen Repressionen zu entgehen, indem es in Chile - einem laut Exosphere-Vertretern noch einigermaßen freiheitlichen Staat - eine mehr oder weniger autonome Community bildet, der sich Freiheitsfreunde anschliessen können.

Freitum-Leser bekommen 30% Rabatt! Einfach den Coupon ,,FREITUM'' einlösen!

Ein anonymer Teilnehmer der Exobase-Veranstaltung im italienischen Barletta schreibt:

,,Exobase war ein Erlebnis, das mich dazu gebracht hat mir ein paar grundlegende Fragen zu stellen, denen ich im Alltag aus dem Weg gegangen bin. Sie sind so einfach zu fragen, aber so schwer zu beantworten: Warum bin ich hier bei Exobase? Warum bin ich an diesem Punkt in meinen Leben? Wer bin ich? Wer bin ich nicht?

Als mir klar wurde, dass ich keine zufriedenstellenden Antworten parat habe, musste ich einige Annahmen über mich selber in Frage stellen. In der besonderen, intimen Atmosphäre von Exobase Barletta konnte ich mich meinen Ängsten offen stellen, ohne sofort eine Bullshit-Antwort zu präsentieren.

Als wir anfingen über die Startup-Welt und die dazugehörigen Mythen zu reden, musste ich auch noch mein Bild vom Unternehmertum in Frage stellen. Echte Unternehmer im Raum zu haben, die für Ihre Arbeit brennen und den offenen Austausch suchen, hat mir sehr geholfen, den Unternehmer als ganz normalen Menschen zu sehen - nicht als Gott auf Erden, der keine Angst kennt. Diese Erkenntnis hat in mir die Idee selber unternehmerisch aktiv zu werden sehr real und greifbar gemacht. Der Gedanke schüchtert mich ein aber führt gleichzeitig dazu, dass ich mich großartig fühle. Als uns die Veranstalter auch noch die praktischen Werkzeuge an die Hand gaben, gab es keine Hindernisse mehr, die uns davon hören abhalten könnten, unsere Träume zu verwirklichen.

Daraufhin habe ich mir selbst gegenüber einen Schwur geleistet, dass ich mein Schicksal selbst in die Hand nehme, die durch Angst und Fehlschlagen hervorgerufenen Schmerzen aushalten und daran wachsen werde, keine Ausreden mehr zu akzeptieren - weder in mir noch in anderen - und dass ich die Wahrheit, wie ich sie sehe, meiner Umgebung mitteile.

Was wird am Ende dabei rauskommen? Ich weiß es nicht. Aber ich fühle mich in der Lage, den nächsten Schritt in meine Zukunft zu gehen, ohne absolute Gewissheit zu haben.''


Wien, 19.07.2014, 9 - 18 Uhr und 20.07.2014, 9 - 18 Uhr: Exobase in Vienna: a two-day experience to get away from your daily pressures and gain new perspectives. Ort: sektor5, Siebenbrunnengasse 44. Weitere Informationen: hier. Kontakt: niccolo@exosphe.re. Facebook: hierFreitum-Leser erhalten 30% Rabatt! Codewort: FREITUM.

Hamburg, 28.07.2014, 9 - 18 Uhr - 29.07.2014, 9 - 18 Uhr: Exobase in Hamburg: a two-day experience to get away from your daily pressures and gain new perspectives. Ort: Fotostudio Art 'n Pictures, Maxstraße. Weitere Informationen: hier. Kontakt: niccolo@exosphe.re. Facebook: hier. Freitum-Leser erhalten 30% Rabatt! Codewort: FREITUM.

Im Folgenden ein Essay (englisch) von Skinner Layne, der die Veranstaltung leiten wird:

The Critical Point 

I. First Thoughts 

If I were given a single word to describe the experience of what I imagine being in outer 

space is like it would be “silent.” 

We have few opportunities in contemporary life to be in complete silence, both literally 

and figuratively. Everywhere we go, there is noise. We have become so accustomed to the 

noise that in those rare moments when we are truly alone with only our own deep thoughts, we become unnerved, even terrified. We pick up our adult pacifiers, these devices we call “phones,” to calm our anxiety by filling the void with the cacophony of the masses all chattering at once. 

When we are hungry, perhaps we having not eaten all day, we are tempted to eat a lot of 
whatever we are first able to find--cookies, candy, bread. We do not have the inclination to 
filter for health or desirability when our stomachs are empty. But upon filling ourselves 
with such junk, we become sick. 

These two scenarios are metaphors for the way most of us live. For want of an alternative, 
we fill our heads with noise and our hearts with sugar. 

Yet few among us would say we are leading exactly the sort of life we really want, with the 
achievements we desire and the fulfillment we crave. And it all seems well beyond our 
control to change. There is no frame of reference for understanding our unmet needs, our 
deep sense of boredom, or feelings of meaninglessness. Indeed, we are even encouraged by 
our context to ignore these sentiments. 

“Better not to think about it,” we are told, both explicitly and implicitly from as early on in 
childhood as we can recall. “Just enjoy life the best you can--find a hobby or take some 
time off and travel, then you’ll feel better” is the extent of the advice we hear. 

Many people take this advice seriously, and they go off in search of themselves, as if they 
will discover who they really are and what they really want from their lives in India or 
Europe or South America, that some novel sight or sound or taste will awaken in them a 
sense of purpose. 

I affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions, but I 
am not intoxicated. My giant goes with me wherever I go.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Of the people I have encountered whose lives have truly changed by travel, it is they who 
have realized the veracity of Emerson’s observation. In my own life, I have been in the wilderness of Alaska, to exotic places in South America, and even as I write, I am in the
South of Italy, and my giant has never stopped following me.

The tastes are different, but not so different. The styles are of only slight variance, the 
architecture of another era, but one filled with people quite like ourselves. Now, with the 
hyper-massification of culture in the age of global media and the Internet, what little 
uniqueness of places there was, is rapidly diminishing. 

Traveling, you realize that differences are lost: each city 
takes to resembling all cities, places exchange their form, 
order, distances, a shapeless dust cloud invades the 
–Italo Calvino 

The one place where we can stand against this shapeless dust cloud is in our own mind and 
will. We can set out to establish our own uniqueness, to go on a journey of the soul, one 
where we are not seekers, but creators, where we do not perform a part written for us in a 
script, but where we are the authors of the script. We write not one scene of our play, but 
every scene. 

It is an adventure not because of what we are looking to discover, but because of what we 
will make, what vistas we will paint on the broad canvas of our lives. 

But such a journey begins inside of ourselves. Such a journey begins with the silence of the 
mind, the critical point when we cease to allow the outside pressures of the world to 
dictate desire or direction. 

We must flee from the noise to a still and quiet place where we are free to think thoughts 
long banished by our education and socialization. 

Emerson writes that “Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every 
one of its members.” 

It is not, however, an intentional conspiracy, but an accidental one. There are no 
self-avowedly malevolent forces trying to crush our individuality or creativity. There is no 
organization or person who truly benefits from the rules of society as they are written. 
Some people have a relative advantage because of it, but nobody’s life is better in absolute 
terms compared to what it would be if all people were pursuing with equal vigor the deep 
purpose of their lives. 

Indeed, the rules of society were written with good intentions, and our institutions 
designed originally with good in mind. But as the saying goes, “the road to hell is paved 
with good intentions.” 

We now find ourselves in such a hell. 

II. Heaven is Hell

From childhood, through adolescence, university, and entrance into the world of 
“employment,” we have slowly lost the ability to think original thoughts, or even to think 
old thoughts but anew for ourselves. This is why we are possessed with anxieties and 
boredom and feelings of meaninglessness. We have tried to build our lives with the 
templates of others and when our expected outcomes have failed to materialize, 
disappointment floods us. In response to that flood, we do not try to find the origin of the 
water to shut it off, but rather we cloak ourselves in what is at best a mostly ineffective 
rain suit. Upon complaining that we are wet, we are told that the rain is just part of life. 
This does not mean, however, that life should be devoid of suffering. As Scott Peck writes 
in the lines of The Road Less Traveled, “life is difficult.” Life will always be difficult. Life 
will always be a series of problems to be solved. It is the illegitimate belief or hope that one day there will be no more problems that has created the myth of retirement-as-vocation. 

We will explore this myth in-depth in just a moment, but first we must pause to understand the word “vocation,” as it is central to this entire discussion. 
The word “vocation” has Latin roots that mean “to call out” or “calling.” Each of us may 
have more than one vocation in life, sometimes simultaneously, and at other times in 
succession. We have general and universal vocations as well as specific and particular ones. 
For example, we all have universal calling to maturity and adulthood. We all have a calling 
to life-long learning and personal growth. We all have a calling to be kind and constructive 
in our relationships with other people. The extent to which we answer these calls in large 
part determines our overall joy, happiness, and fulfillment with life. It also determines 
whether or not we will successfully pursue our specific and particular vocations. 

As Emerson writes in “Spiritual Laws,” 

Each man has his own vocation. The talent is the call. There 
is one direction in which all space is open to him. He has 
faculties silently inviting him thither to endless exertion. He 
is like a ship in a river; he runs against obstructions on every 
side but one; on that side all obstruction is taken away, and 
he sweeps serenely over a deepening channel into an infinite 
sea...For the more truly he consults his own powers, the 
more difference will his work exhibit from the work of any 
other. His ambition is exactly proportioned to his powers. 
The height of the pinnacle is determined by the breadth of 
the base. Every man has this call of the power to do 
somewhat unique, and no man has any other call. 

The myth of retirement is a false vocation, it is the god of gods of contemporary secular 
society, and it is worshiped in nearly every corner of the world by people of many cultures and languages. Retirement is the eschatalogical aspiration incepted in us throughout our
formative years. Here I do not mean retirement as an exclusively or even primarily
economic condition, but rather as a set of expectations. 

The economic condition of retirement as life without paid employment is the colloquial use of the term, and while my usage of the term is inclusive of it, it goes well beyond the mere 
economic. Retirement is expected to be a spiritual condition where we are no longer 
bothered by the annoyances of living. Retirement is expected to be a life without problems, 
or “real” problems, at least. The reason it is so attached to economics is that we believe 
(falsely) that with enough money and no active labor we will not be annoyed by the details 
of life and that we can exist “at ease” for the balance of our days. 

It is in anticipation of this “heaven” that we are willing to sacrifice our present fulfillment, 
that we are willing to endure the illegitimate suffering of contemporary life. Yet we all 
know that retirement is a lie. We know that most of us, by the age in which the economic 
prerequisites of retirement are met, will be physically deteriorating if not already infirm. We know that inflation will erode our financial security. We have met retired people, few of whom seem really and truly happy. 

There is a related myth that follows the same line of reasoning, a myth that is more 
prevalent than the retirement myth in the United States and parts of Europe. That is the 
myth of the “dream job.” As many people have begun to question the myth of retirement, 
they have turned their faith toward a slightly improved eschatological aspiration to perfect 

The dream job variation of the retirement myth goes something like this. You do well in 
school and get into a good university. You do well in university and then take a low-paying 
or unpaid internship at a company or non-profit or government agency to “get some 
experience” and leverage that to gain an entry-level job that will lead to incremental 
promotions (usually achieved by job-hopping from company to company) that after 5-7 
years, will result in the dream job. The dream job consists of doing work that is meaningful with people you like, and that gives you flexibility with your time. Like retirement, it is 
envisioned as an idyllic freedom from real problems. 

The dream job myth has been debunked for most young people by the economic crisis 
plaguing the West since 2008 in most cases because the availability of perceived dream 
jobs is scarce. For the rest, it has been proven a fraud by the sad truth that the dream job 
isn’t really a very good dream after all. 

This state of affairs appears likely to worsen in the coming years. 

A third variety of this myth of retirement (again, the spiritual condition, not the economic 
circumstances) is the start-up myth. This one is really a parody of the other variations, but 
is taken seriously by some of the brightest and most ambitious people in the world. The 
start-up myth says that if you can come up with a good idea, you should drop out of college or quit your job and create a “start-up.” You will make a lot of sacrifices for a few months
until you raise money from investors, and then at some point in the near future thereafter,
your start-up will have the magic number of users such that Google or Facebook will buy 
you for millions or billions and then you can spend the rest of your life either building more start-ups, doing charity work, or retiring. 

Of course belief in this third variety of the retirement myth is like believing you will win 
the lottery. But because you have heard that somebody did it, you are tempted by it 
nonetheless. Indeed, it is seductive precisely because there are the rare exceptions where it 
has been true, just as there are indeed people who win the lottery and hence people 
continue buying lottery tickets. 

If belief in one or more variations of this myth is as absurd as it seems, why, then, do we 
continue believing in these lies? 

Perhaps we believe it because there is nothing else to believe. Perhaps it is the only 
justification we can find to allow ourselves to go on doing the things we do. Perhaps these 
false hopes give us ersatz meaning that we are able to convince ourselves is genuine 

If there is any certainty in the matter, it is that we humans are adept at fooling ourselves. 
We get drunk with lies because sober reality seems like too much to face. 

III. The Hangover and the Recovery 

Recovering ourselves from this extraordinary self-deception is difficult, but it can (and 
must) be done. Indeed, recovery from such condition is the first truly meaningful work we 
will do in our lives. There are two ways to recover from a post-intoxication hangover: 
getting intoxicated again or rest & nutrition. In the long-run, only the latter really works. 

A few words of caution before we explore this process. 

The pursuit of a meaningful life is hard work and perhaps many people might think it is not worth the effort. For many people it may be better to respond to the hangover with another round of intoxication. It’s an approach that works--for a while. 

Just like physical intoxication, more of the same always provides temporary relief to the 
pain. That is, until the liver fails and all of the regrets of abusing one’s body over the years 
begin to set. No longer able to drink, the alcoholic with the failing liver is forced to live in 
the worst of all possible worlds--where persistent, chronic pain coincides with the 
impossibility of relief and the pervasive awareness that it was all self-inflicted. 

There is little difference in the metaphorical realm of intoxication and hangover. There 
comes a point in most people’s lives beyond which they can no longer delude themselves or fill their time with pleasurable distraction, and they live in deep regret of their lost time,
missed opportunities, and wasted life. Those who do not reach this point have merely died
drunk. Some people reach this point very early in life, even in adolescence, while others are able to maintain the ruse well into middle life and even old age. 

Still, your giant follows you wherever you go. 

Nevertheless, to gaze upon your giant, wherever you are, is painful and difficult. To wake 
up every morning and do the work necessary to build from nothing the work of your life, to create your magnum opus, is to suffer alongside the experience of intense joy. Every high is 
higher, every low lower than anything you have ever encountered before. 

You must consciously decide to emigrate from Mediocristan, but citizenship in 
Meaningland comes at a price. The price is your comfort of average, your soma of stability, 
your security blanket of false acceptability. You must check them at the border--the 
customs agents of Meaningland won’t permit you to enter with them in your luggage. 
Indeed, there is not much you can bring with you on this journey. Only yourself, your 
thoughts, your will. 
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow 
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, 
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only 
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, 
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, 
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only 
There is shadow under this red rock, 
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock), 
And I will show you something different from either 
Your shadow at morning striding behind you 
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; 
I will show you fear in a handful of dust. 
-T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland 
The border crossing is treacherous, with dangers lurking around every corner. From here to the other side you will encounter ferocious animals, poisonous plants, raging rivers, and 
towering mountains all trying to stop you, all trying to slow you down. You will have to 
endure hot and cold, desert and glacier, rain and drought, flood and famine. The scenery is 
incredible, but your feet will tire, your back will ache. When you think you should be 
halfway, you will look at the map and see you have just begun. 

When you look up to see the border to the other side, you will look down and discover
there is one last river to cross, deep and flowing fast, as cold as ice. You will be tempted to
quit and turn back. But you must persist. 

As you arrive, tired but relieved and full of accomplishment, there will be others to greet 
you, others who have made the same journey. You will eat and drink together, sharing 
stories of the voyage, and then when you are rested, it will be time to begin the real 
journey. It will be even longer than the first, even more uncertain, but by then you will be 
prepared, you will have practiced, and most importantly, you won’t be going alone. 

IV. Accept the Pain 

The first step is to expect and embrace the discomfort of the hangover. Sobriety is 
necessary for clarity, and sobering up is a process. Throughout the process, there will be 
headache and stomachache alike, and it will be tempting to reach for some easy medicine. 
But it is important to resist the temptation. 

The pain of sobering is legitimate suffering, and it is inevitable. Whether sobriety comes by choice or is forced upon you by the exhaustion of available intoxicants, it cannot be 
avoided. But it is better to embrace that pain now than to delay it. Better to endure it while there is still time to have a life post-intoxication. 

You should transform the pain of sobering up into a reminder to yourself in the future, 
when you are tempted to reach for that bottle of instant gratification again, that there will 
be consequences afterward. When you emerge into your life of self-reliance and are faced 
with a set of difficulties that you must endure in order to progress, you will think about 
your old life nostalgically. 

It is an evolutionary defense mechanism that in times of pain our memory selectively 
recalls the positive parts of our past. It is so common as to be cliche that we often 
remember our past relationships with fondness, neglecting all of the frustrations, hurts, and difficulties that led to their demise. 

This happens with our vocational life too. 

You will say “oh, it was so much better when I had a normal job and didn’t have any real 
responsibilities,” or “it was easier when my parents were supporting me, even if I did have 
to live by their rules,” or “it was easier when I had a boss to tell me what to do, even if it 
did cause me more stress.” 

These doubts will lead you to question your newly discovered calling, so remember the 
pain of sobering up; it will discourage you from going back to being misaligned with your 

Whenever the way you spend your time is out of alignment with your calling, you will be in
pain. You may not yet know what your particular vocation is, but you know that what you
are currently doing isn’t it. Or maybe you have known for some time what you should be 
doing, but you were afraid of doing it, or perhaps have just been unsure of taking the first 
steps. Nothing could be more important to your life and happiness than determining your 
calling and pursuing it with all of your energy. 

Accept the pain. Resist the false promises of a return to Eden, for it will only disappoint, 
and the next hangover will be worse than this one. 

The discomfort of the hangover, in addition to being a useful reminder, is also instructive. 
If you examine every uncomfortable sensation and emotion closely, you will find hints of 
what to do next. When you have a headache, you know that you need to hydrate. When 
you have a stomachache, you know you should eat something healing. The same is true in 
your vocational hangover. Your discomforts will point you in the right direction. 
Remember the lessons you learn here as you continue the recovery process. 

V. Trace Your Path Backward 

The second step is to examine your current circumstances, how you got to where you are, 
your achievements so far, and the hidden assumptions about your life and possibilities. 
Whatever you have been doing with your life has not been a waste, and your path to the 
present has shaped you as a person in both good ways and bad. The key at this stage is to 
dispassionately analyze your life’s story until now, its characters and events, and evaluate 
the assets and liabilities you have inherited from it. 

When we pause for such reflection, we begin to realize that many of our past circumstances 
led us to create rules for ourselves that we have adopted across our lives. These rules might have value in certain applications, but applied too broadly, limit our range of motion and 
close us off to valuable experiences and rewarding relationships. 

As you relive some of the painful experiences that led you to create such rules, you will 
have to determine how to relax or remove these self-imposed barriers. When you reflect 
soberly, you see that in a particular instance something negative happened as a result of a 
certain action, but that not all--not even most--actions of the same kind would have led to 
that outcome. As a result, the rule you made for your life has to be amended. 

Event by event, rule by rule, looking back on your experience not only removes 
impediments to your future possibilities, but it also strengthens your self-confidence. As 
you see what hardships you have endured so far, you begin to understand that you really 
are resilient. This confidence is part of the foundation for the life you want to build. 

VI. Examine Your Identity 

The third step is to think about your identity--who you are, your motivations, desires, 
habits, and fears. 

Identity is a difficult concept for anybody to grasp above a superficial level. Philosophers 
have been pondering the question of what makes a person, a mind, a life for many 
centuries, and likely will be fore centuries more to come. Such abstract philosophizing is 
not useless, but you must be willing to reach a practical conclusion for yourself even if it 
doesn’t satisfy the philosophers. 

Your answer should be open to improvement and change, as your experience more in life 
and as those experiences lead you to deeper reflection. Thus, the examination of your 
identity provides you a base onto which you can add later. This flexibility will allow you to 
keep your map of reality more up to date, the primary activity in Step 5, since self-identity 
is the lens through which we see the world around us. 

What makes you you? Is your answer to this question comprised of fundamental or 
superficial qualities? 

Rarely do we think about our fundamental qualities. We think instead in terms of tastes 
and preferences, of skills and physical features, abilities and disabilities. These are all 
details, some of which are more malleable than others and some of which are part of us 
entirely by our own choice. 

There are probably many superficial qualities of your identity that you have come to 
believe are fundamental qualities, qualities without which you would no longer be you. 
Some of these qualities are counterproductive, some may even be malignantly destructive, 
and yet you cling to them because you think they are part of you. 

“That’s just who I am,” can be a convenient excuse to avoid the pain necessary to grow 
and mature. 

You have to eliminate all such excuses. The process to defining your identity’s 
fundamental qualities must be via negativa. It is a process of subtraction, not addition. You 
cannot ask yourself “what are my fundamental qualities?” but rather “What are my 
qualities?” and then, one by one, eliminate each one that is harmful our 
counter-productive, deciding that such a quality will no longer be part of your identity. 
Your identity is like the soil for a garden. It should be sifted to remove rocks and tested for 
chemicals that might kill anything planted there. To observe and then remove the rocks 
and chemicals from your soil, ask yourself this kind of probing questions: 
Do you have a desire that makes it difficult to maintain healthy relationships? 

Get rid of it.

Does a hobby you have take up so much of your time that you can’t experiment with new 
career possibilities? 

Give it up. 

Do you think things like “I’m just impatient by nature,” or “I’m not the kind of person who 
can learn how to __________”? 
What are your daily habits that waste your time, draw your mind to unhelpful thoughts, 
cause you to be depressed, make you anxious, or distract you from your calling? 

Cut them. 

What are you afraid of... 

Being seen as a failure? 
Dying alone? 
Death itself? 
How are your fears holding you back? How are they getting in your way of meaningful 

Fears are part of our identity. They comprise a significant part of what Carl Jung called our 

Some fears are conquerable, others may linger for all of life. But you must encounter them, 
you must face them in order to overcome their debilitating effects. By facing them, some 
may even be transformed into allies, guardian angels on your journey who sit on your 
shoulder and remind you why you must keep going. 

It is difficult--and painful. But there is no escaping it if you want a more joy-filled and 
meaningful existence. To some extent, it is a process you will have to repeat many times in 
your life, as qualities get unconsciously added to your identity, but the more honest you are now, the less you will have to repeat the process in the future.

VII. Understand Your Nature 

The fourth step is to understand your nature--what characterizes your personality and how 
does it affect your perceptions, decisions, and relationships. 

Where identity is the soil, our nature and personality traits are the seeds available to us to 
plant. Some of them we have in greater quantity than others, and which all require sunlight, water, and fertilizer to grow. They also need careful attention to ensure prevent weeds from stealing all of the nutrients, and pests from destroying. 

It is important to understand before proceeding that your personality is not a fundamental 
quality, it is not your identity. The limitations of your personality can be overcome. The 
purpose of understanding your personality (and that of others) is not to categorize and 
classify, to say “I am this, he is that,” but to see how and why your most natural tendencies 
function in your perception of the world, the way you make decisions, and in the dynamics 
of your relationships with other people. 

There are many methodologies and schools of thought on the subject of personality. They 
all have their advantages and disadvantages, and none of them are perfect. Some 
approaches are overly precise and scientific while others are based on complete hokum. 
Worse, the tests used in evaluating the subject are often woefully inaccurate. You could 
spend a lifetime studying the subject and still have countless questions left completely 
unanswered. Each person should explore the subject on their own and reach their own 
conclusions. What matters is whether the information derived from such study is useful, 
mostly accurate and consistent with your own common sense. 

People are not easily fit into boxes, and we shouldn’t force them to either. However, with 
the above proviso, we will look at a basic way to construct an understanding of personality 
that is familiar to many people as the Myers-Briggs system, which was derived from the 
work of Carl Jung and further developed afterward by David Keirsey, among others. What 
follows is our own interpretation and addition to this system. 

In this framework, there are two modes of Perceiving (or information-gathering) and two 
modes of Judging (or decision-making), individuals are either Extroverted (energized by 
being around people) or Introverted (energized by being alone), and are dominantly either 
information-gatherers or decision-makers. The two modes of information-gathering are 
through the five senses and intuition. The two modes of decision-making are thinking 
(logic & data oriented or objective) and feeling (emotion & morale oriented or subjective). 

Everybody gathers information, makes decisions, thinks, and feels, and everybody has a 
limit to their extroversion or introversion. The extent to which one side of any particular 
dichotomy dominates us pushes us toward having identifiable tendencies or patterns that 
we could say are due to personality. We may also display them in different ratios in 
different contexts, which is almost assuredly learned behavior. Hence, these tendencies are all malleable to an extent, and consequently, once we have determined what our identity is
(or better, is not), we can set out to minimize the negative attributes of our personality,
enhance our use of its positive attributes, and strengthen areas of weakness where we do 
not possess much natural skill. 

The better we understand the starting point of our personality, the more effectively we can 
transcend it, learning when to use certain traits and when to refrain from using others as is 
appropriate to particular contexts. At the same time, we cannot expect ourselves to be 
godlike. We can improve upon our nature and personality, but we cannot ignore it. 
Extroversion & Introversion 

There is a lot of confusion about introverts and extroverts. There are warm and friendly 
introverts just as there are shy extroverts. There are extroverts who hate parties and 
introverts who love them. The manifestation of our preference for being around people or 
alone is always going to be context-dependent and thus, is more useful as a descriptor of 
the cognitive functionality of our modes of perceiving and judging. 

The way a person deals with the external world, for instance, will be the extroverted 
manifestation of one of the modes of perceiving or one of the modes of judging, even in 
introverts. Myers uses a helpful metaphor in this regard. 

She says that when you are dealing with an introvert, you are dealing with the Lieutenant, 
as the General is back in the tent. The General in the tent is making decisions, while the 
Lieutenant is carrying them out and negotiating with the world. This is one reason 
introverts prefer time to consider a matter before rendering an opinion--the dominant 
decision-making process is never actually seen by the world. 

The General of extroverts, on the other hand, is on full display and is his own operations 
officer, with the Lieutenant back in the tent writing reports to advise the General, if and 
when he ever pauses long enough to go back to the tent to read them. 

Because of this, it is important for introverts to develop their extroverted functionality to a point of some comfort, lest they be sidelined by the loud confidence of the extroverts. 
Conversely, extroverts should develop their introverted capabilities of reflection and 
processing lest they rush to judgment or stick their foot in their mouths. 

Sensing & Intuition 

The difference between sensing and intuition is often difficult to comprehend because of 
the colloquial use of the words, such as with sentences like “I have a really strong intuitive 
sense.” For our discussion here, sensing refers to what can be gathered through the five 
sense of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Intuition would be what many refer to as a 
“sixth sense,” which is to say not a sense at all. The world of intuition is the world of the 
mind, the abstract. The sensory world is the world of the body, the concrete.  

Interest in objects and experiences in physical reality tends to be the province of sensing
types, whereas an interest in concepts, ideas, and theories is the province of intuitive types. 

Sensing types seek to affect physical reality for its own sake where intuitive types often 
look at physical reality as merely a way to prove or disprove a theory they have developed. 

Thinking & Feeling 

Each day we are faced with many decisions. The way we make those decisions, serious and 
trivial alike, is informed both by reason and emotions. The extent to which one of these 
dominates our decision-making process determines whether we are identified more as a 
thinking type or feeling type, respectively.

Feeling types tend to be more soft-hearted and forgiving of error where thinking types tend to be the opposite. Thinking types are less likely to consider their own feelings and the 
feelings of others when making a decision, and as a result, can be viewed as cold or 
uncaring. Feeling types, on the other hand, caring about the emotional impact of a decision 
on themselves and others, may be viewed by thinking types as “irrational.” Thinkers care 
more about efficiency, feelers more about morale.

Perceiving & Judging 

Finally, much of our personality is determined by whether we spend more time in 
information-gathering mode or decision-making mode. For sensing types, the perceiving 
function pushes them toward the continual stimulation of the senses. For intuitive types, it 
pushes them toward getting lost in theories, ideas, and visions. When the judging function 
dominates, in sensing types, it leads to extreme fact & detail orientation. For intuitive 
types, the concern shifts to driving an external order out of internally-developed theories. 
This is all a very cursory and introductory discussion that warrants much more depth than 
is consistent with our present purposes, but we must move on for now.

VIII. View Your Life in Context 

The fifth step is to reexamine your life in context--how have you been shaped by your 
culture, family, friends, and the “rules” of society. Now you must decide the extent to 
which your perception of your context is consistent with reality and proceed to draw a 
more accurate map.

Only once you have clarified an understanding of yourself, your personal history, your 
identity, and your personality can you begin to honestly and accurately assess your life in 
relation to others. Quite often you see something as being your idea or a part of you when 
in reality it is somebody else’s idea that has been around you for so long that you have 
mistakenly been under the assumption that it was yours.

 Everybody is raised in a layered context. Your nuclear family is part of your extended
family which exists within a local culture that belongs to a national culture that is now an
inevitable part of a global mass culture. Every layer has its own assumptions about its 
components and its status and relationship to the higher level systems it is a part of. 
In order to live more meaningfully, you must, with brutal honesty, examine these layers, 
the complexities of their relationships to each other, and your own individual relationship 
with each. It can be daunting at first, but you will find it liberating to see that so many of 
the constraints you think govern your life are just artificial constructs that have been 
handed to you by others and that by mere decision and force of will, you can set aside. 
This is the beginning of the process of individuation and leads to directly into the next 

IX. Commit to Self-Reliance 

The sixth step is to come to an understanding of what self-reliance really means and why it 
is essential to building a better life for yourself.

Self-Reliance is often misinterpreted as meaning to do everything yourself. That you 
somehow must provide everything for yourself without any other people involved in the 
process. This is both an unrealistic, and also extremely superficial understanding of 

Self-Reliance means standing apart from the desires and expectations of the crowd, of 
deciding for yourself what you want and what is the best use of your time, resources, and 
talents. Ralph Waldo Emerson, writing famously on the subject, tells us-- 

Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist...Nothing 
is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve 
you to yourself and you shall have the suffrage of the 
world...What I must do is all that concerns me, not what 
people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in 
intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between 
greatness and meanness [being average]. It is the harder, 
because you will always find those who think they know 
what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the 
world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude 
to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the 
midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the 
independence of solitude. 

By this point you will have seen that the contrary to self-reliance, which is the way most
people live, is the road that leads to dissatisfaction, lack of fulfillment, the feelings of
anxiety, boredom, and meaninglessness that plague so much of our life. 
You will truly be prepared to progress when you can embrace without reservation, 
Emerson’s concluding lines, “nothing will bring you peace but yourself. Nothing will bring 
you peace but the triumph of principles.” 

X. Develop Your Strategy 

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. 
But tactics without strategy is just the noise before defeat. 
-Sun Tzu 

The seventh step is to craft a new strategy for yourself that is characterized by optionality. 
If you have devoted this much time and endured the painfulness of questioning all of your 
assumptions, looking at your life with brutal honesty, and determining what your calling is, then you need a strategy to ensure it is not a wasted effort.

Strategies are not plans. You can develop a plan that is consistent with a strategy, but a 
truly good strategy can remain firm while plans come and go. This is why you must start 
with the strategy. 

Because all good strategies are flexible enough to bend with circumstances, the best 
strategies create options. A person who has many options is much wealthier over time than a person who has a lot of money. Mere financial wealth is fragile. Inflation, government 
policy, bad luck, and poor investments can all wipe out a mountain of financial wealth in a 
moment. You can go from thinking you have everything you could ever need to having 
nothing, and no way to recover. 

Options, on the other hand, provide you with many ways to succeed and many ways to 
recover from failure at the same time. The larger your network of people, the more options you have. The more areas of knowledge you have mastered, the more options. More skills, 
more options. More ideas, more options. More experiments, more options. 

If it’s so obvious that optionality is the key to successful strategy, you might wonder why 
more people don’t focus on it. The answer is that human nature resists change, especially 

It is not easy to build a network of people. Yes, it’s easy to collect business cards, enter 
their information into a database, and call that a “network,” but it isn’t. A real network 
consists not of people you can call to ask for something but of people who call you to tell 
you about an opportunity they discovered. 

 It is not easy to become a coder or to learn Mandarin. It is not easy to come up with truly
good ideas and then establish a framework that allows you to exploit them when the timing
is right. 

All of these things require work. All of them require growth, and thus the psychological 
pain inherent to it. Writing a strategy on paper isn’t a strategy. You must be able to act 
upon your strategy. Consequently, strategies are designed in an instant, but implemented 
over time. 

Options cannot be created out of thin air, but there is no better time to start creating them 
than now. 

XI. Transform Fears into Friends 

The eighth step is to understand your strategy in a realistic context and embrace chaos, 
uncertainty, and instability as your new allies in life. 

Most people’s strategies are fragile. They are fragile because they make too many 
assumptions about the conditions that will be present over the life of the strategy. These 
assumptions are frequently based on predictions about future circumstances that cannot be accurately predicted, or worse, are being predicted based upon bad information. 

A good strategy must be implemented in a context where future circumstances need not 
follow a particular script, and that in the event that the future is worse than expected, the 
challenges act as fuel for your endeavors rather than roadblocks. 

This is the essence of Nassim Taleb’s concept of antifragility. 

You may fear the uncertain, the chaotic, and the unstable. You may worry that you don’t 
have enough information to make certain decisions. Most people have these fears. Instead 
of simply trying to neutralize them, the path to both survival and success requires you to 
embrace these things you fear and turn them to your advantage. 

Not only will this attitude empower you to hone your strategy, it will also prepare you 
psychologically for the inevitable challenges you will face, the unpredictable events that 
would spell ruin for most, but that you will now be able to treat as just another valuable 
piece of information, or even better, an opportunity. 

XII. Practice Discernment 

The ninth step is to learn the practice of discernment in order to remove things and people 
from your life that are holding you back, distracting you from your calling, or not 
contributing to your growth. 

Discernment is something you have already practiced by now. The entire process until this
point has been discernment. Determining your calling is an act of discernment. But you
must make this practice part of your everyday life. It must become second nature to you 
because the process of adding things and people to our lives is more unconscious than we 
realize. Charged with a sort of static electricity, new things and people attach themselves to us, new habits form, new thoughts invade, most without conscious choice. 

Thusly your perceptions become distorted, your actions hindered, your path diverted. Your life may gain the force of a mighty river, but if it is diverted by the unconscious 
construction of some levee, you may miss your mark and spread your force. 

Discernment is your only viable defense, for if you attempt pre-emptive measures, you may close yourself off to new people, new opportunities, new ideas, new interests that you 
likely would never have consciously chosen. The new and old must be constantly 
incorporated, rearranged, and reevaluated, and what you cut today may need to re-added 

Discernment is also the mechanism by which you continually adjudicate whether you are in alignment with your calling, and how your calling is evolving. Because vocation is not 
fixed, and because it also does not necessarily change along clear and distinct lines and 
categories, you must penetrate layers of motivation and desire to determine if your heading is still True North. Sometimes your vocation may remain unchanged, but as circumstances evolve, the way you answer the call will be different. Sometimes your vocation will change, but your day to day actions remain the essentially the same, only redirected in some manner. 

There are endless combinations of possibilities, highlighting the importance of the 
unceasing practice of discernment. 

XIII. Devote to Discipline 

The tenth step is to devote yourself to a life of discipline--delaying gratification; assuming 
responsibility for your thoughts, actions, & outcomes; remaining radically dedicated to reality; and balancing, knowing when to relax discipline itself. 

You may fully understand yourself, your calling, the world around you and your place in it. 
You may have the right strategy and the attitude to match. You may even become adept at 
taking the scalpel to your assumptions every single day. But without discipline, you will 
never get started or else will grind to a halt somewhere along the way. 

In many ways, this step is the summation of the preceding 9. You have already thought 
about the need to delay gratification. You have already been asked to take responsibility 
for yourself. You have already seen the necessity of being dedicated to reality by having an 
updated map, and through discernment, the way to achieve balance. 

But these tools of discipline are the beginning of the rest of the journey. In everything you
pursue, in everything you want to build, each step must be propelled by discipline. Only
then can you solve problems as they come. Only then can you eliminate the anxiety of 
knowing there are more problems on the horizon. 

As Scott Peck observes--without discipline, we cannot solve any problems. With some 
discipline, we can solve some problems. With total discipline, we can solve all problems. 

XIV. The Long Adventure of Living 

Life is long, in addition to being difficult. It is not long in the sense that it goes by slowly, 
but rather in the sense that there is much time to try many things. There is time to make 
many mistakes and recover from them. Even if the mistakes are so severe that you must 
start over with nothing. 

You may even succeed wildly at times only for failure to put you back at what feels like the 
beginning. But it isn’t a beginning, it’s a returning. A returning to the path of a meaningful 
life where new problems assert themselves as old ones are solved.

You have as many chances as you are willing to take. 

This is the Long Adventure of Living, and it is your adventure to make of it what you will. 
Do not look to your left or to your right. Do not look up or down. Do not look back. Look 
ahead, envision your future, and then materialize it with blood, sweat, and tears. 

You have the grit to see it through, and don’t listen to anybody who tells you otherwise. 

XV. Community, the Missing Link 

The journey of a meaningful life characterized by discipline is difficult. So is solving 
problems day after day. We get tired, worn out from it. Sometimes we are tempted to give 
up and quit. 

There is only one sure way to avoid terminal burnout in the long-run, and that is by sharing your journey with others. Not the story of your journey, but the actual journey: the day to 
day living from the mundane to the exciting to the absurd. 

You must begin filling your life with people who support you in your pursuits without 
judgment or expectation and with whom you are at ease to be yourself--even to honestly 
expose your weaknesses, fears, doubts, and shortcomings. 

This is what true community is. It is a safe place to be vulnerable, to disarm yourself, to 
show your wounds and find healing, to repair your relationships, to be nourished and 
strengthened to return to the struggle. It is sad that we find so few examples of community 
in contemporary life, but it is possible to create out of nothing with a few equally dedicated others. Once created, it will grow and take on a life of its own, but it must be maintained
and nurtured. 

It must go through the life cycle of community-building over and over again, from the 
pretense of pseudocommunity, to the chaos of conflict, to the emptiness when it seems all 
is lost impossible, to the emergence and re-emergence of that comforting feeling of being at home again with people who truly care for you. Like anything else meaningful, it is difficult 
to build, but well worth the effort and sacrifice. 

XVI. Where Outside Pressure No Longer Applies 

The title of this essay is “The Critical Point.” It comes from the astronomical definition of 
the “exobase,” which is “the critical altitude where barometric conditions no longer apply,” 
and represents the border between the thermosphere and the exosphere. 

At Exosphere, our Exobase workshops are designed to be a place where external pressures 
can be momentarily bracketed so that you can think about your life and goals with ease of 

We believe that everybody has the potential to create a meaningful existence and make an 
adventure out of their life. For two days we will go through this process together to help 
you chart the next steps of your personal journey. 

(Barletta (Italien), 26.06.2014)

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