I’ve been focusing on the problem of what I want from life. I started with the general proposition that I am going to follow my bliss, as advised to do by reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell.
What type of happiness do I seek? If I wanted the happiness of a dog, there would be a high probability of achieving it, but that is no life for me. I want more from myself than to have my stomach scratched and getting to sleep under the coffee table, as Dr. Phillip McGraw points out in his book Life Strategies: Doing What Works, Doing What Matters. I am seeking to name what I want in the most specific and narrow definition possible, so as to know when I am close to or far from my goal. I am seeking to avoid describing my bliss as an object or an event, and instead describing how it would make me feel to have achieved it, and why.
I started with the idea that Stan Lee is my hero, my model for what I want. I say that I want to own a comic book company. But as soon as I started comparing myself to him, my model broke down into further unanswered questions. Why are superheroes a normal fantasy for people to have in comics format? Why doesn’t it satisfy to read a comic book, and why does it satisfy when it does satisfy?
I decided that Plato was right about the ideals of art and literature as being the beautiful, the good, and the true. I then asked myself why I wanted the truth to be told in a story that is fictional. Why are stories true? Why are stories beautiful? Why are stories good?
I’m looking for truth in art. The reality has a sensate and objective world, which is the end of all mathematical ratio of artistic proportion and semblance or imitation of form.
I’m looking to show people an aesthetic experience by quantitating art for them, to show them what it looks like to God that people can create beauty. The story I tell can be anything that is newsworthy, that has truthful merit, by what people are required to say of it, in order to fully enjoy its fruitfulness and derive joy and not just pleasure from the reading of it.
I then began to question who I am if this is what I want from myself and the world. And I began to ask why I want to do this, to create this goal? When I’ve achieved it, will it be a hollow victory? What would it feel like to be successful at something that might not be what I will want after I achieve it? I don’t want to waste my time chasing other people’s dreams. I want something that I know I require for my bliss in life to be complete.
I want to do this, so that I am sought after by men who want the aesthete’s explanation for the world they have been required to explore. I want to show them this explanation as a way of exploring alternative worlds and realities, that they could only know from fictional stories, that could not all have simultaneous existence in any real way.
In showing people the fantasy world that is constructed for their enjoyment, I hope to tantalize their sense of exploration in full, to lure them into thinking about the real world of truth in mathematically beautiful art that shows interesting relations of the self to the world, and how people perceive themselves and the world. The perception I aim at is true, good, and beautiful, in any way conceivable.
I want to be a purveyor of beauty, an aesthete, in whom much is trusted and fulfilled in God’s name.
I want to be an aesthete in this way, so that I can belong to the world of art, in the way that men belong to something larger and better defined than themselves. If art defines me, then I can be that imperfect mirror to the outer world, and the internal world both.
In this way I have defined myself. But I went one step further. I asked myself what a purveyor would be in fiction, in a story that I have read, in the way that I developed myself from youth onward. I found that there was one phrase that has always resonated with me, and I did not know why. I then realized that I now know why.
I want to be the voice from the outer world, or the Lisan al Gaib, a “giver of water,” just as is told in the novel Dune by Frank Herbert. I believe that Frank Herbert was describing in part himself in this passage of his science fiction book. I believe this refers to anyone who comes from one place, is displaced into a foreign world, and then returns, with the gift of his own sacrifice for the sake of the many. Frank Herbert had researched many subjects in order to write Dune. He especially was known to visit the desert and studied its ecology and its biome in order to make his book a reflection of the real world, into fiction. In this way, anyone who sees the truth, reassembles it perceptually, and then shows the many what it can look like, is this type of “giver of water.”
I want to be something true in my soul. I want to answer life’s question of “Who am I?” with an answer that comes from my truest self. Due to my process of self-inquiry, this answer suffices to satisfy my urge to know myself and to be truthful about my nature as a writer and as an artist. I think the idea of the voice from the outer world is what separates me from Stan Lee. It is what makes me unique. It is something that many people can know and recognize, but it is only true about me. I think ordinarily, this is a self-referential delusion, a non-system belief. You can regard it that way. You could also think that I may be able to admit that this is my destiny statement, that it is a purpose beyond which exists a reality and world with my fulfillment and promise achieved. It is a personal goal to change the world to be a home for the type of story that only I can write, by living my life, whether or not I ever become an owner of a successful comic book company.
My work is not in prophecy, but it is in showing the reality of which this world is merely a reflection in a mirror darkly.