What is LiveReal?
"Existential Renovations"? "Dig Deeper"? What the heck is this about?
"The search for the truth
is the most important work in the whole world,
and the most dangerous."
- James Clavell
Here's a question:
How are you spending your life?
Are you searching for meaning in (what appears to be) a meaningless world?
Are you searching for happiness in (what seems to be) a world full of suffering?
Are you searching for something "authentic" in (what often feels like) a world full of phonies?
Are you searching for sanity in a world that seems fully intent on driving you crazy?
Are you searching for your unique place in the world, which - for some reason - seems determined to hammer you into something - anything - else?
Are you searching for love in a world that seems to not give a crap about you?
Well, so are we.
(OK, sorry - that was more than just one question. It was, like seven.)
But the point is...
If any of the above applies to you, then - the way we describe it, anyway - it means this:
It means that, at least on some level, you're a seeker.
This site is a headquarters for seekers.
What does that really mean, to be a "seeker"?
It means that, on some level, at least, you're searching for "the meaning of life."
OK, these days, at least, that phrase - "the meaning of life" - seems to nearly start riots. Arguments. All-night debates. Street protests. Police cars on fire. Or even worse, some philosophy professor (or wannabe philosophy professor), deigning to explain to you what it's really all about, usually by saying something that makes zero sense.
Luckily, this isn't really a place for them.
This isn't a place for "arguers." Or "deigners."
It's a place for seekers.
A "seeker," the way we're using that term, is someone who is sincere, genuine, real, about, on some level, in their own way, searching for what could be described as "the meaning of life."
Sometimes, you just have to stop and ask some basic questions: like, where did I park my car?
Another way of saying it:
What the heck are we doing here?
Why are we here, in this world, in this life?
Where did we come from? Where are we going?
Who am I?
What the heck is going on?
- all pretty basic questions. Very simple questions. Questions that sit at the foundation of all our other beliefs, activities, perceptions, feelings, worldviews.
- questions that are, more often than not, are extremely difficult to answer properly.
And that's what this site is about:
The epic personal quest of answering those kinds of questions, and others like them, like, properly.
Not haphazardly. Not just stealing someone else's bumper-sticker tagline to parrot. Not just slapping something together as quickly as possible so we can move on to other, more important things, like celebrity gossip and ball games.
Doing it right.
Authentically. So the foundation is solid. So it's real.
This is the kind of personal quest that results in what we'd describe as an "authentic life."
...and at the end of the day,
I think that's what it's about, is...
Are you wasting your life?
Or are you not wasting your life?"
- Hanz Zimmer
So, to recap: what is this site all about?
Here's the story:
Once upon a time, a small band of seekers decided to embark on an all-consuming, no-holds-barred quest to find the meaning of life.
And then things got crazy interesting.
For now, we'll just say this about it:
An authentic life never comes easy.
“Every man dies.
Not every man really lives.”
- Braveheart/Randall Wallace/Mel Gibson/William Wallace
/ some other guy he probably heard it from
What does that really mean?
- after all, that phrase is a little vague, and could mean a lot of things. Does it mean we like organic food? Is "Authentic Life" the name of some kind of new bottled water? Does it mean we like running around naked?
(Seriously, this is what we're reduced to. In a time when "philosophy" to a lot of folks means overpriced face lotion (umm, not kidding)...you need to start with the basics.)
Anyway, it's really pretty simple. (But once you start talking about it, it probably seems more complicated than it is.)
For starters, we aren't talking about food, water, or gratuitous nudity.
It's something much bigger, and better.
“The ways in which most men get their living,
that is, live, are mere makeshifts,
and a shirking of the real business of life.”
- Henry David Thoreau
Here's an idea: "There's the 'real you.'"
Not who you pretend to be.
Not who you just say you are.
Not even who you think you are.
This is probably something you already know, or can sense about yourself.
There's a "real" you, and there's...well, everything else: what you pretend to be, what you appear to be to others, what you declare yourself to be, what you hope to be, what you think you are, and so on.
And whatever your life story is, and wherever you are in it, right now, it might very well be that you're in the process of either becoming more authentic, or less. You're either becoming more of "who you are," or less. More real, or less.
“One’s real life is often
the life one does not lead.”
- Oscar Wilde
OK, does any of this seem really heavy? Far out? Weird?
It shouldn't. What we're talking about is pretty commonsense, and should be self-evident if you just stop and look. After all, at the core of it are ideas that have been around for thousands of years.
- ideas that can be summed up fairly well in two words.
OK, so what does THAT mean?
Well, another good question. But one thing we'll point out: "Know yourself" wasn't just a bumper sticker platitude when it was tossed around thousands of years ago.
(Of course, they didn't even have bumper stickers back then. Unless they stuck stuff on mules or something. But the point is...)
That wasn't just a "casual suggestion" or "handy tip."
It was a mission.
It was a major life objective. It was a mandate. An imperative. It was The Great and Most Urgent Task. It was what you were here for, in this life, whether you've forgotten it or not.
It was something to DO.
And not just that. It was something you SHOULD do.
We're all tasked with "becoming ourselves."
"Become who you are!"
- Friedrich Nietzsche
- the modern cliche Disneyfied
version of the same basic idea
It suggests that it's possible to go through life not knowing yourself.
- as strange as that might sound.
The mere fact that, thousands of years ago, this had to be said, much less carved into stone (which it was, literally), seems to indicate that, contrary to popular belief, this doesn't just happen by itself.
It's not just a punchline. It doesn't just happen naturally and effortlessly. You can't just sit back passively on cruise-control, couch-surfing Netflix, hoping it will all magically plop into your lap on its own.
It seemed to indicate the exact opposite: you have to make it happen. You have to go at it, as they used to say, "hammers and tongs" - meaning, you've got to "come at it" with everything you've got.
It's something you've got to dedicate yourself to, to dig deep into to uncover, to give birth to.
It's a mission you're already on.
(Whether you're accomplishing that mission or not is another story.)
And this is all really important. Important enough to be discovered, carved into stone to remind ourselves, forgotten, rediscovered again, over and over again.
But not easy.
"Man's main task in life
is to give birth to himself,
to become what he potentially is."
- Erich Fromm
Maybe, once upon a time, it was easy to live an "authentic life."
If it ever was easy, it definitely isn't anymore.
These days, we're pretty much surrounded at all times by thousands of pressures, sometimes subtle, sometimes not: "Do this, don't do that. Think this way, think that way. Believe this, don't believe that. Buy this, not that." And so on, ad infinitum.
Commercials. Ads. Teachers. Celebrities. Television. Politicians. Even our friends, families, schools, institutions, religions, jobs, bosses, best friends.
Even, at times, ourselves. (Or what we think is "ourselves.")
Of course, some of these folks might genuinely, truly have our best interests at heart.
Can we be blunt, and brutally honest for a second?
Unless you're really lucky or really isolated, these days, you're probably surrounded by at least a certain amount of complete and utter bull.
Phoniness. Lies. Posing. Pretending.
Sometimes it might seem like you're swimming under a tidal wave of misinformation and nonsense.
This is what we're up against.
If you're tired of it...well, we are too. The hard part is not letting all that misinformation and nonsense really get to you.
And the worst kind of misinformation is the kind we feed ourselves. The most malicious kind of pretending is the kind we do to ourselves. The smelliest and grossest kind of bull is the kind we feed ourselves.
"To be yourself
- in a world that is doing its best, day and night,
to ask you to be like everyone else
- is to fight the hardest battle
any human being can fight."
- e. e. cummings
So this is our situation:
Our mission is to become ourselves, to live our authentic lives, to become "who we are"...while surrounded by a world that often seems to have other plans for you.
It's your Great and Most Urgent Task, and mine.
And it's not easy.
And to boot, we're pretty much alone in this. We have to do most of it ourselves.
After all, "living" is like eating, drinking, breathing: it's best when you do it yourself. Nobody can do it for you. (Umm, not very well, at least.)
Same with thinking. It's easy to think the way everybody else wants you to, to compromise, to become a trained seal. But really thinking for yourself?
(Of course, most folks think they think for themselves. After all, that's what we've been told to think.)
Of course, the cliches come fast and easy: "Be yourself!" "Be true to yourself!" "Follow your heart!" It's as simple as that!
Easy to parrot. Hard to actually do.
Many parrot. Few do.
"Easy answers" can have the effect of tricking into thinking we know more than we do. It's way easier to parrot "just be yourself!" than it is to actually become yourself.
Because the process of really becoming yourself, for anyone who has actually attempted it, in real life, is hard: it's messy, it's confusing, it's anything but a bumper-sticker platitude.
Because more often than not, we are our own worst enemy. It's ourselves that we're trying to figure out.
It's easy to be phony.
It's one thing to have fake shoes, a fake watch, fake food. It's another thing to have a fake life.
Fake stuff is inexpensive and easy. The real thing is expensive, and hard.
An authentic life, the way we see it, means living your own life. Not someone else's.
It means living in a way that your body, heart, mind and soul are truly yours. Unless you give them away.
And of course, sometimes we wind up living inauthentic lives without even meaning to.
Especially with all the hype, bull, and misinformation out there.
- and nowhere is the hype, bull and misinformation more prevalent and harmful than in the treacherous realms of modern spirituality, psychology, self-help and relationships.
That's a lot to sort out.
"Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself."
- Leo Tolstoy
We're working to sort this stuff out.
It's more than we can keep up with. (But we're working on it.)
For every nugget of practical wisdom, there's an avalanche of half-baked misinformation.
But our job in all this is to sort out which is which.
We're working to sort out the great from the bogus, the authentic from the fake, the real from the phony.
And that's a brief snapshot of what we're up to here: trying to navigate through the flood of misinformation and nonsense in search of practical nuggets of wisdom that help all of us (ourselves included) live more authentic lives.
"The proper function of man is to live,
not to exist."
- Jack London
Our approach is essentially this:
"See for yourself."
Our approach is practical, no-nonsense, see-for-yourself, take-what-you-like-and-leave-the-rest.
We're hunting practical nuggets of wisdom anywhere we can - science, religion, mainstream, alternative, from ancient wisdom to hot-off-the-presses - high and low, from rooftop to outhouse.
The idea is also that all our efferts can possibly save you time and energy in trying out all the many potholes, ditches, cliffsides and dead-ends that we've found, and that could have otherwise been easily avoided, to save all of us from unnecessary suffering and wasted time.
Because life is too short. Our task really is urgent.
This quest takes us all over the place.
But we have to organize into something halfway coherent.
So this is how we organize it: body, heart, mind, and soul:
Heart (Relationships - The Search for Intimacy), and
We attack big questions. We explore dangerous territories. We work, dig, discover, test, experiment, build, and serve up here, in hopefully ways that are at least halfway coherent, what we find, all in hopes that we - and you - wind up discovering something more valuable than all the wealth of the world and magnificent beyond words .
It's quite an adventure.
So if this sounds like you...
This is LiveReal. We hope you dig it.
"Many men go fishing all of their lives
without knowing that it is not fish they are after."
- Henry David Thoreau
If you want more...
And here's a kinda silly video about it: (Also here).