My weird, stupid life.
This blog post includes a big melodramatic vow.
So I’m a wizard who has discerned some sort of interesting notions about reality and is attempting to alter the course of our whole civilization. Also, before I was doing this I invented an open source, democratic, nontheistic religion powered by a new, free social media platform that’s designed to pay people who use it in helpful ways.
So if you’re like “Wow, that’s a lot of crazy shit. What the fuck does this guys life look like?” this post is for you. If you’re not like that this will be a massively cringe overshare so I recommend instead reading my views on foreign policy or conspiracies. I also have views on reality and views on views.
Dating is A Challenge
Who doesn’t want to date a divorced 41 year old wizard? Well, some people, that’s for sure. But not everyone — which is nice. Still I’ve got a lot of crazy baggage.
I’ve yet to use a dating app, having originally locked in a long term relationship in the beforetimes, and I’m not sure if I want to change that. Especially since I’ve recently left all social media. Dating apps seem like a slippery slope back to social media usage.
I’m trying to go analog with things right now, which has been fun and interesting, but I’m finding I need to be very careful about approaching people compared to 20 years ago. It’s always been important to find people who are open to being approached, of course, and I’ve heard a lot of negative things from folks with negative experiences, but that hasn’t really been mine. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent so much time working around crowds. Approaching someone who isn’t open to it is viewed as pretty aggressive for valid reasons, but it looks like reasonable levels of experience and discernment are enough to figure out who’s open to it, and when.
I’ve written about Fetlife before, and am an eccentric weirdo, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn I’ve been active in my local kink scene. I go to events but I try to be pretty cautious and take things pretty slow for a wide variety of reasons. If you’re like “The kinky wizard who invented a religion is gonna start a sex cult!” you should calm your fucking horses. I’ve had sex with 4 people in my life — total, not all at once. A sex cult would mainly play to my weaknesses 😅
This will come across as a humblebrag but it’s actually causing me a lot of anxiety: I guess I’m pretty appealing to some folks and it looks like a wide variety of people are interested in me but I don’t know how to handle the attention. All of this stuff smacks down right dab in the middle of my neurodiversity. I didn’t understand this at all for the first 40 years of my life.
I’m also not really looking for a serious relationship. I’m a big fan of that whole self-partnered thing Emma Watson did a while ago. My rebound relationship after my divorce (I’m 100% in favor of divorcing me) was really good for a while and kinky as hell but I need to focus on other things now.
Since I started writing this article I’ve decided to take a step completely back from dating. I dunno what I’m looking for and I’m just wasting everyone's time trying to half-ass it — plus feelings and stuff or whatever. It’s unfair to be in a relationship with me because of what I’m doing with my life.
I’m not really sad about this because it’s self-inflicted. Wizarding and dating aren’t compatible in a way I’ve figured out yet (though the problem is certainly me). What I have figured out is that I’ve constructed an elaborate drapery of red flags around myself.
I’m clearly laying in a bed of my own design, which is a recurring theme in my weird stupid life that I’m very aware of.
I’m a much better acquaintance than friend these days. Mostly this state is self inflicted because I spent years doing stuff people were uncomfortable with and didn’t want to be associated with. I consider “I don’t have a problem with what you’re doing” to be among the most overt support I’ve ever received — which I think explains why I choose not to associate with folks whose support I can’t rely on during periods of increased hardship.
The obvious solution here is to not be a wizard or whatever but that’s clearly not on the table. No one in my life has ever really shown an interest in my wizarding, and I’m grateful that folks have respected my wishes enough to leave me to it rather than try and fail to stop me, but unfortunately this work is more important to me than the quasi-relationships that can only arise during such strained circumstances. I mostly just focus on work these days. I’m sure many of the people I love would prefer that I not.
I’ve bobbed in and out of various social groups over the past few years — enough to recognize that if socializing ever becomes a priority for me again I’ll be able to get back into the swing of things easily enough. I’m just limiting myself in this area because I have other priorities and limited resources.
I consider physical socializing and digital/remote socializing to be very different things. I find a lot less satisfaction from digital socializing these days because I think our tech is tricking us into thinking it’s more satisfying than it is. Throughout my life many of my relationships have been digital/remote/online ones, so I definitely see the value in those types of relationships.
As with my dating life, any hardship here is often self inflicted.
The only thing I’ve really managed to get a handle on is (non-wizard) work — and even there it’s a tenuous thing. I’m fortunate because people seem to enjoy my company and I work well in teams, so that’s great for a bunch of reasons, and one of them is that it’s great for finding jobs. Also, before I started living my life in a way that has often rendered me unemployable/cancelled I amassed a wide variety of skills and experience. I amassed many connections as well— although I burned through all those pretty quickly once people saw what I was doing.
TLDR: I’m qualified to work managerial or technical positions in a wide varieties of industries but with a strong focus on tech and tourism. I can step in and basically run a small hotel if needed, and also I could build most of the technical systems required to run a hotel or a chain of hotels. My ability to build technical systems extends to many industries. I’m multilingual in both of my national languages. I like learning things and I find a variety of things interesting. I hop from place to place/job to job because of this and I’m pleased to say that all my latest hops have been promotions. I do contract work these days because that’s way better than having someone like me as an employee of a company, and also it allows me to jump around and do a variety of interesting things. My technical skills and freelance experience allow me to work effectively this way.
I’ve struggled with employment over the past few years because of mental health issues relating to all the crazy shit I’m doing and not because employers don’t see value in my skills and experience. When I deactivate/delete my socials I’m always able to find work.
Hardship I experience in this space is also often self inflicted. I could definitely be making more money than I’m making if I really tried to but I haven’t figured out how to do that that’s in line with my values/efforts.
If I’m just quietly a wizard it’s fine, the issues only really arise if I’m a wizard on the internet. People will ignore my weirdness if it’s easy to ignore, and a lot of the time they do it out of respect. I live in a secular nation and I’m protected from overt discrimination for my religious or spiritual beliefs.… and also because I have skills that make other people money. If I didn’t have skills that made other people money it would be much harder for me to be a wizard and afford food for my kids.
Speaking of which:
I’m often a pretty lousy parent
My kids don’t think so but they’re horribly biased about it because I’m pretty fun. Unsteady income makes child support a challenge, although it’s often been my main financial priority over things like rent and food for myself. My landlord is not a nice corporation but the person they send my way is a nice person, so that’s been great. When things have been very bad I’ve always failed to pay child support last every month, but it’s happened. There’s also been months where I haven’t paid it as much as I should have. Now that my employment has stabilized this is improving — which is nice — although I’m still living paycheck to paycheck. Still, after living nocheck to nocheck this is an absolute treat and it’s nice to see better financial stability in the near future.
I can be an unstable person despite not having a formal mental health diagnosis and this impacts my relationship with everyone, my kids included. I make a pretty solid weekend dad when I’m at my best these days and I’m happy to land there when I do because I often don’t.
I blame the state of world for part of the reason I’m often a shitty parent because the state of the world is why I’ve spent years doing a lot of the shit that’s harmed me in ways which have increased my shittyness as a parent, but that’s an obvious cop out. Obviously I’m just a crazy weirdo doing insane shit on the internet who should re-fucking-prioritize, but also I’ve put thousands of hours of effort into various projects that are designed to offer massive support to people all over the world… and the projects can achieve their goals.
This is all a mess.
I’m pretty rational about this shit but also I’m fucking crazy and I’m up to a pile of irrational shenanigans. It’s fucked my life up in ways that I’m rational enough to analyze and too stubborn to do anything about. I’ve been in therapy on and off over the course of my life and have a good handle on how to navigate my mental health issues, but obviously this can only ever be imperfectly done. I don’t have a formal diagnosis for anything despite having seen a variety of mental health professionals under a wide variety of circumstances at multiple points over the past few decades, including recently. Someone from the American Psychological Association once creeped me on LinkedIn without privacy mode enabled. Yeesh.
My mindset when it comes to my mental health is: If something consistently harms me it’s bad and I need to protect myself from it if I can. That “if I can” is important because obviously my wizarding and related projects consistently harm me yet I’m unwilling to walk away from them. That places a bunch of serious constraints on what else I’m able to adjust in order to stay healthy. An imperfect but reasonably accurate way to view this is that I’m addicted to wizarding.
Can’t stop won’t stop.
If this were all just some blog about undiscovered physics of consciousness I’d walk away from it, but I started all of this by developing a system that I sincerely believe is capable of, for starters, mitigating income inequality in a huge way all over the world. It can do so much more than that, and this fact isn’t changed by the reality that people don’t care.
Here’s the code for the project:
GitHub - EricLortie/Church-of-Earth-Platform-MVP: Church of Earth
The creation of this platform was a subversive act. I built it to change the world. It can't work unless enough people…
Who knows about me?
By which I mean: “Who has seen me enough that we can plausibly say they get the gist of what I’m on about?” (that doesn’t mean they support me or anything)
As you read these names it’s totally valid to think “Holy shit this guy is stalking the fuck out of these people.” I don’t view it that way because of what I’m trying to do and how I go about doing it, but why should my word be the final word on things? Feel free to call me a stalker in the comments below. In a lot of ways this is an unrelenting pile of sad cringe… there isn’t a cool way to spin this.
While it may look like stalking — and let me tell you that’s a shitty way to start a sentence — it’s worth noting that I often just use the strategies I used to teach tech entrepreneurs who were trying to launch a startup. I also think I always cut off contact with someone who asked me to stop or said they weren’t interested, but I’ve been real high and sent a lot of weird emails. Anyway, technically, a new religious movement is a startup. That being said: Shit got weird for me because I was also trying to do strange stuff with parasocial relationships as part of my wizarding. (#InfluenceTheInfluencers)
It’s worth noting that I wasn’t a wizard when I worked on that project. I didn’t know what I was. I eventually settled on being an artist. One of the things I was trying to do was use art to make a point.
Another part of what I’ve been doing for the past few years is monitoring a variety of influencers and content creators in spaces where I can find ideas which apply to my projects. About this time last year I was starting to wonder how many of these folks were capable of achieving something substantive.
How many of the people who earn money and influence telling us things are out of control are actually providing us with a plan?
Coming up with plans is hard and the best ones will be the most collaborative.
The following is an incomplete list of people I like and respect and annoy.
- Russell Brand: Dozens of emails, significant engagement on social media and in YouTube comments. I applied to work with him a few times for jobs I was relatively qualified for.
- Lex Fridman: Dozens of emails, significant engagement on social media and in YouTube comments. I applied to work with him a few times for jobs I was relatively qualified for.
- Robert Wright: Dozens of emails, significant engagement on social media and in YouTube comments. I applied to work with him a few times for jobs I was relatively qualified for. I’m active in his Substack community.
- Joe Rogan: I spend a lot of time filling out his contact form on his website and calling him a rich pussy. I’m certain Lex Fridman has spoken to him about me despite having no clear evidence of this.
- Jon Stewart: I’ve left some voicemails for him since his show lets you do that, as well as some YouTube comments and a few blog posts were written to/about him.
- Pod Save America: Lots of emails and YouTube comments. I told them they should build a version of my platform with reduced features and different branding designed around community organizing (because that’s why I originally built it while briefly associated with my local provincial Green Party).
Honestly I could list a lot more people. I’ll probably publish a book of my best or weirdest emails at some point — if only to prove that I wrote most of them on an ad hoc basis and used minimal templating. I spent years emailing various relevant academics following their appearances on the podcasts of the people listed above in order to let them know what I was up to or to ask them questions. Some of those people answered. One of them corrected a shitpile of my spelling mistakes and that was fucking awesome.
Here’s a big melodramatic vow:
I’ve decided I’m pretty disappointed with the state of all of these parasocial relationships, especially the efforts and commitment of the individuals at the other end of them. I’ve decided I won’t speak to any of the content creators I listed above on their platforms. It’s my view that they unambiguously know what I’m about and they’ve all chosen to ignore me for extended periods of time. Now, I get it, they’re allowed to do that and it’s what I expected. That’s all fair and valid — regardless of my feelings about it. They don’t want to risk their economic stability, or they simply don’t want to platform me or my ideas, or any number of other valid potential reasons, and they believe their behaviour is more appropriate than acknowledging me or my ideas in some way would have been.
That tells me they all think the world this way is better than it would be if they’d spoken to me or platformed me.
So that’s my problem with them and it’s pretty irreconcilable for me right now. I’ve watched the world deteriorate alongside many of them for years. I’ve seen many of them use rhetoric that completely ignores the existence of my work. I’m not complaining about the fact that I’m not being platformed. I don’t want to be platformed. I really consistently hate this aspect of whatever the fuck it is I’m doing. I absolutely hate writing posts of a personal nature like this. I built systems and tools for those people, and others, in response to their calls to action or because of information I learned about the world we share through the content they create. Many of them have been the folks who have best informed me about the things I’m trying to prevent or achieve. They all have large or active communities. There’s a bunch of weirdos like me in them in ever-increasing quantities but it feels like all we’re getting is more effective content monetization strategies from the influencers we consume online who are telling us about how harmful the systems they’re using to get paid are.
I’ve spent time defending the approach those folks are taking to people who are pretty critical and skeptical of them. In person, in public posts, via email… I’ve pretty consistently been a fanboy for the folks who pretty consistently ignore me and their logic just doesn’t track at this point. If they don’t want to promote my ideas why aren’t they promoting other similar ones? Why are they only giving us massive chunks of content to consume and limited real-world change? I guess I’m opening up to the possibility that the criticism levied towards folks who occupy pseudo-guru spaces in our culture is more justified than I realized and their good intent isn’t enough to truly offset things. I don’t think it’s everyone though. I’m confident some people in this space want to do something more than create content, so I just need to go find them.
I focused deliberately on a small group out of a large pool of relevant individuals with my annoying behaviour in order to not burn too many bridges, and I’m pretty close to being acknowledged regardless of the efforts or desires of the people listen above. An assessment of my interactions with them has brought me to the conclusion that I can’t trust their intentions and see no reason to associate my efforts with them any further. Yes, there are a bunch of people who know about me who would only use contact with me to make money for themselves. I get it, that’s the system, and I can mostly be fine with that for everyone who I haven’t been yelling at about this shit for years.
Part of this is probably me being a petty and resentful little bitch.
The media ecosystem is a large one and it’s probably for the best if I avoid wasting further energy trying to convince the cultural elites listed above to use their influence in the various social or media environments where they operate to achieve something more substantive than what they’ve done so far. If they were going to agree with me in a way that mattered they would have by now (given the timelines unfolding). Unfortunately I’ve also come to realize that if they agree in reaction to the agreement of others I’ll probably always wonder if it’s only because others did first.
I’m fine if other people want to go talk to them about me — or if they talk about me. Frankly I’d much prefer people discuss the shit I’m saying among one another than with me anyway. I hate that I’m having to get this personal with things, which is why the religion I invented is democratic and why I didn’t want to be a part of running it. I get that they didn’t want to either but their behaviour tells me they don’t think anyone should. I disagree and I think their mistake will cost lives (They’ll no doubt also go on to do a bunch of good because they’re a bunch of generally well-intended and imperfect people). I wish them the best with their brands but I don’t really respect those brands at this point. I’m sure the people who are associated with them are good people doing good work, as are they. There’s just an incompatibility for me now based on what I thought they were trying to do as a result of what they’ve been saying versus what they’re actually doing.
It’s not just influencers
Also a bunch of intelligence agencies and other scary organizations know about me, often because I went up to them on the internet in a very deliberate and effective way designed to ensure they know about me, so I’m not sure how that’ll all play out. I don’t mind being monitored by them because I already have weird views and insights into about how we’re all being monitored in other ways. I definitely understand how to get my blog read by someone at an intelligence agency. That’s like one of the easiest set of eyes to connect with. The key to my success at doing these impossible things is to put my content in front of peoples whose job it is to ignore their cognitive biases and actually focus on what they’re seeing. Once you look at my shit with blinders off it’s all pretty straightforward. I’m relatively confident that the people in the agencies funded by my tax dollars aren’t out to get me in some malicious way, although I suspect they’d prefer I not be doing this. I imagine they recognize it’ll resolve soon.
The trajectory for someone like me doing something like what I’m doing is pretty clear and easy to predict given the limited number of matching conditions found in history. I was most likely to be ignored indefinitely. The calculus for that has changed over time (which I predicted, otherwise I wouldn’t have been doing this shit for fucking years). The next stage of what I’m trying to do ends in a limited number of ways and most of them are pretty shitty for me. All predictable and obvious and shitty.
A bunch of the people who know about me will talk about me or my work if I’m out of the picture. I spent some time considering self-immolation as a means of solving this problem but I decided against it because there’s no reason to believe that would be any more effective than all this other shit, and this method burns slower and hurts less.
So what do you think?
I started this work before the pandemic hit but it’s been my primary focus during the pandemic and it’s obviously cost me a whole lot of stability and happiness. I believe that I’m right enough that it would be a tragedy if I stopped because I’m not seeing anything else like what I’m doing that’s as cohesively put together as my efforts. Someone has to propose a counter-hegemony. If not my super inclusive, open source, hyper-democratic one… then which one? And do they need a social media platform?
The worse things get the more evident this all becomes.
I’m not alone in having big weird ideas. Here’s a great list of efforts intended to come out ahead of the same type of stuff I was trying to address through the development of the Church of Earth.
There’s some awesome work here being done by amazing people but last I checked no one has ideas about tech like mine. My next efforts at promotion will probably be geared towards finding a group like one of the above ones and amplifying their efforts through some version of some technology I’ve already built.
I’d love to see things take a more hopeful turn in the next few months. If they don’t I’m going to:
- Get the internet to advocate for me to become Pope: I have a much better name chosen than PopeyMcPopeface.
- Go to Ukraine with Ethan Hawke if he’s still interested: American actor Ethan Hawke appears to have expressed the most feasible collaborative idea to address a global issue.
- Start as many big conversations as possible while en route: We need to talk about what we know, how we understand things, and the next big that will happen to us.
- (probably) get killed