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My Path of Turning Myself Into an Intellectual Renegade

Val is a life-long student of unexplored human potential and many challenges that self-honesty throws at us on that path.


There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.

-- William Shakespeare

So Much to Forgive, So Much to Grow Beyond

It may still be buried somewhere in the depth of my unconscious, but I can't remember any practical teaching received from my family.

The time was close to the end of the WW2 when everybody was way too busy staying alive and rebuilding their lives on that little that they got left, as to be bothered much with kids who might as well had been conceived by accident between two bombings, not as a result of a family planning.

Fear is attached to the same brain centers with instinct for procreation -- so it's a small wonder that there are so many of us "baby boomers". Or at least such was the case with my parents, as I was allegedly conceived during a one-day leave that my father got from his commander while the unit was in the city's neighborhood.

In a retrospect, I love my family, in spite of some members who tried so hard to create kind of memories which have something to do with what Werner Erhard, the founder of Erhard Seminars Training, once said:

"Why love your family if there is nothing lovable about them."

However, it was that very family drama, poignant at some times and at other times resembling a cheap soap opera -- that propelled me onto a non-religious spiritual path where I am still leaving some deep footprints these days, seven decades later.

Thus, in my case, something like "forgiveness" got transcended into "gratitude" for all that early experience without which there would have been no inner push towards a self-creation.

So somewhere at the bottom of that wholehearted gratitude there was an attitude similar to the one expressed by someone speaking from a cross:

"Forgive them, Father, because they don't know what they are doing".

That was an attitude which I took into adulthood -- as I observed the people acting out their limiting programs chronically switched to their autopilot and not knowing that they are not using their own mind.

While it makes them responsible for all their outcomes in life, it also makes them innocent, because in their narrowed field of consciousness they don't know that they are acting out the spirit of their time -- a matrix, a deeply hypnotic volition of cultural, political, religious, medical, and business paradigm.

I saw them replaying those programs which they inherited from their parents, who got it from their infinitum back along the family line. So that over time this world gained a character of a grand theater, where everyone is merely playing their role by a script which may not have much to contribute to their happiness and their general well being.

Only relatively few are sitting in the audience of that theater and observing, and aware of what's going on.

It was not an easy task evolving into that audience, even if for a long time that seat must have been somewhere back in the last rows with vision not entirely clear yet.


I am convinced that, except in a few extraordinary cases, one form or another of an unhappy childhood is essential to the formation of exceptional gifts.

-- Thornton Wilder

Times Prior to an Inner Quantum Leap

They are telling us how our personal emotional makeup, along with those basic beliefs about "ourselves & others", gets formed within the first seven years of our life. That would have to define me as a total emotional wreck, considering my own first seven years.

They even say how that process actually starts while we are in mother's womb, which would further have me somewhere on those pages of shrink's textbooks on psychopathology.

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Namely, while pregnant with me, my mother was in a constant fear due to bombings and sirens alerting people to take cover -- besides, due to food scarcities she certainly didn't have a diet suitable for pregnancy.

Hey, damn it! -- in terms of the modern medicine which measures everything with apothecary scale, I shouldn't have survived my first seven years, with that subclinical hypoglycemia -- which I outgrew later on -- and with my daily breakfast consisting of heavily sugared coffee and bread.

Low blood sugar made me extremely sensitive, actually irritable, shy, scared of dark, of strangers -- a definition of a cry-baby getting tired fast, which was "diagnosed as laziness", loudly criticized, ridiculed, especially with my terribly bad muscular coordination which made me clumsy and literally tripping over my own feet.

However, this is not meant to grow into a pathetic chapter of a never written autobiography, but solely to provide some background to something that I see as a personal "quantum leap" into an intimate reality that would have defied any shrink's prognosis.

So bear with me for another moment, as I am mentioning how in those crucial years I had no luxury given to most of the kids to run around some meadows and chase butterflies.

Namely, I was watched over by a polio-stricken aunt while grandma and parents were working, or going around so much that I hardly have any memories of seeing anyone around me but that beloved aunt Barbara.

For obvious reasons, while unable to walk, she couldn't let me get out of her sight, so I was spending my first six years playing on the floor with some household items which I imagined to be toys.

And as I did my share of misbehaving, I had to bring the whip to my auntie and stand there to receive the punishment, the other part of it being to kneel in the corner, until I would beg for forgiveness -- which never worked for the first thirty minutes or so.

At my age of six. we moved from grandma's and aunt's place into our own apartment, in another part of the city. Now, aunt's whip got replaced by a belt of my overly strict father -- and I must say, it did hurt considerably more, since I often peed in my pants even before his merciless punishment would commence.

And then, it all started unfolding in a miraculous way, as father deserted us for another woman -- and that opened new vistas of a freedom undreamed of before. It meant camping, drifting, sometimes for days, climbing the mile high mountain at night all by myself -- and reading...reading a lot.

Anything from astronomy, philosophy, medicine, with my first book in psychology at age of ten, followed by some thousand books on human nature in years and decades to come.

I would need much more space than this to do a justice to those teenage years filled with yoga, guitar, chess playing, soccer games in street vs street competitions, and excelling at school -- even though twice sick on my lungs due to undernourishment.

Life was simply blooming in me, along with this unsatiable quest to explore the depths of my human essence.


No one's family is normal. Normalcy is a lie invented by advertising agencies to make the rest of us feel inferior.

-- Claire LaZebnik

What's "Normal" Anyway?

It's been said that something is not necessarily normal just because it's customary, or common.

Like, suffering is greatly advertised in all forms of art, and we probably wouldn't enjoy them as much without that element of emotional pain in them, being dignified as a normal part of being human.

However, if we really give it some good and honest thinking, all that is nothing but emotional malfunctioning, because our normal state is the one of an emotional equilibrium, upon which we build all emotions which feel good -- like happiness, love, friendliness, creative curiosity, wonder, playfulness, humor...etc.

So, should we draw a parallel between poetizing and dignifying that emotional pain dipped in tears, sweat, and blood cocktail -- which is actually emotional malfunctioning -- and poetizing and dignifying also something physically painful, like our inflamed appendix or constipation?

I know it sounds ludicrous, but one malfunctioning is just like another if both are giving us pain, and what is so dignifying about human suffering that it found such a prominent place in our art?

We are giving some special significance to our crappy feelings, as a "normal" part of being human. If you just change the perspective on it, it may almost sound like people are proudly advertising their emotional malfunctioning through poetry, music, paintings, etc.

This definition of normalcy is all coming from fathers of our cultural paradigm, who are also programming us with appropriate times to be sad, joyful, jealous, insulted, guilty, ashamed...the whole emotional repertoire. At those TV sitcoms, with that recorded laughter at the background, we are even told when we should laugh -- being taken for dummies who otherwise wouldn't recognize a funny punchline.

So it's all about the cultural system of beliefs, with hardly anyone using their own heads but tuned into collective consciousness like flock of birds, schools of small fish, or swarm of bees.

In some parts of the world people see as normal that woman walks behind man; and somewhere people rejoice after their dear ones pass away, believing that now the soul is at a better place.

We, Christians, mourn sometimes so intensely and for such a long time that it became a sort of normal that one spouse doesn't live much longer after the other has died. Of course, unless the one who died used to be nothing but a pain in the ass to live with.

Then we also have something like a "common sense" -- which is another cultural bullshit, because Republicans have one version of it, and Democrats have another, which defeats the word "common". All different religious denominations are also enjoying their own version of common sense dictated by their different gods and their interpretations.

I still have to find a Christian who ever asked themselves why is Jesus mostly portrayed as suffering on the cross. Why advertise pain of our spiritual teacher who is embodiment of love, happiness, harmony, and everything worth living for?

Indeed, who wanted it that way? It's like that background laughter in TV sitcoms telling us when it's time to laugh -- but this time it's telling us it's time to feel sinful and guilty for Jesus' dying on that cross to save us from our god's wrath. So that, whenever we see that crucifix, it's giving us subliminal nudge to go to the church, to do that confession, and yes -- leave some money on the way out.

Really, what's normal if we can't see the difference anyway?


One of the things I admire about millennials is they celebrate individualism, and their singularity is encouraged. To be different is to be cool, as opposed to weird.

-- Sutton Foster

Some More Intellectual Oddities of My Individualism

By the standards of this western, materialistically oriented culture, I have not amounted to anything worth an applause. Well, suffice it to say that I am far from measuring my inner achievements by using that yardstick.

All those studious years spent on my non-religious spiritual path made useless those parameters of life "success", as I was turning into an intellectual renegade, an individualist of my own design.

My parents gave me my body, but I have created myself out of the proverbial thin air, with no one ever nudging me to put my foot in this or that direction -- although, truth be told, quite a few tried to push me off my chosen path.

And even this body, which started back there as one of a constantly sick kid, I evolved into this 77 years young dude enjoying a robust health.

The one who, unlike most of those of my age, can thread a needle without glasses, and have nothing to do with the medico-pharmaceutical establishment, except having fun by writing some satires about it.

Which brings us to probably the most peculiar of my individualistic views -- which talks about nation as an illusion.

In my view, nation is nothing but a mass of very unique individuals sharing the same territory, speaking the same language, and living under same rules and traditions.

With our patriotism and other labels which would allude at a "national fingerprint", we just don't see the proverbial tree for the forest. Seen from the bird's perspective, there are no borders, there are only humans in their diversity -- some smart, others stupid and those in between; some friendly, some not; some good looking, others not...and so on, no matter which society you are looking at.

It's all an artificial crappy arrangement that we see other nations as "different" from us. We are so indoctrinated by the cultural paradigm that we can't fathom these simple human truisms.

Canada, where I live, is officially a multicultural society -- and looking around myself, I am so tempted to call it "multi-individual". I have worked, and otherwise communicated, with all possible ethnicities, without ever being able to generalize about any of them.

Ask me what I think about Americans, and I'll ask you: "Which one?"

I personally never had a role model, and never wanted to be a copy of any other human being. I am myself, can't live anyone else's life, can't think for them, breathe for them, eat and sleep for them -- albeit, in my honestly-dirty imagination, wanted to sleep "with" some, lol.

And, saying this, I hope I pretty much succeeded to describe how and why I turned into an intellectual renegade.

The only question remaining to be clarified -- why would anybody want to know about my own spiritual path? Maybe just to get inspired and see themselves as O.K. to be different, being unique, while only artificially identified by a flag.

Being an immigrant and a citizen of Canada, with a dual citizenship, I would really have some "identity crisis" if flags were to identify me -- since I have lived under two different ones.

And then, there may be a reader or two who may get inspired by this testimonial about a traumatic childhood not necessarily making any negative impact on the rest of life.

Indeed, those memories are affecting us only if we refuse to evolve them away.

Once emotionally free, one just can't but become one's own version of an intellectual renegade, de-hypnotized and liberated from all suggestive advances from the cultural market of lies.

© 2022 Val Karas

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