Like A River

Like A River

In A Rush?

Personal update: Thoughts on cancel culture invoked paralysis

Song To Study: A Beatnik Banger

Album To Live In: Contemporary Bossa Nova

Hey, hi, hello 👋

Last week I sent out Winter Winds, immediately I noticed a new sensation in my body after hitting publish. That sensation was perhaps the feeling of danger, by way of vulnerability, by way of some degree of social anxiety. After publishing that particular grouping of words I began to fear for my place within the tribe. Put simply, I became worried about being cast out. But, what was so different about Winter Winds compared to other editions that came before it? In retrospect, this post was more charged perhaps, Its language more abrasive, more incendiary, less universal, more likely to offend sensibilities. What's strange, is that these words felt more personal and more inspired than others of mine, they felt truer to my experience. I didn't write them to create content nor to persuade, I wrote them on an early morning before the sun had peeked over the horizon. They were stream of consciousness ramblings from a man not yet an arms reach from from the realm of lucid dreams and Jungian symbols. I woke up and felt compelled to express myself, to communicate to my mind alone what I think the harmful drawbacks of pursuing comfort could be. Then I decided to democratize those thoughts.

Sure, no one asked or forced me to share private diatribes on a public forum, but there is still something to be said about the very real fear that was felt around pressing Publish. That feeling became extrapolated in my mind and made me think about the general nature of our current online arenas. It made me wonder if our society has forgotten how to create space for character and individualism. I wonder how Charles Bukowski would've fared in today's society. When he referred to love as being A Dog From Hell, would today's world listen and accommodate the words that would follow, or would he have been cancelled on Twitter for spreading myopic vitriol around something that should be celebrated? Would we have tried to invalidate his experience? Then I wondered: have we already discouraged generational talents from developing, exploring, and publishing their voices and ideas?

I by no means think it's impossible to share perspectives these days, thats a sensational take, but living in a world with cancel culture and fierce tribalism definitely seems to take a toll when one is desirous to share matters of the heart. It feels very much like a you're with us or them dynamic at play. I do not fear criticism or debate, in fact, I welcome it, even crave it to a degree. I seemingly fear being cast from the realm of someone's awareness without an opportunity for vindication and/or explanation. Being unknowingly exiled must be the cruelest of fates I think. So, to that end, if you ever disagree with me or want to share critical feedback, please do.

Looking back through time it is character that has been humanity's pièce de résistance, it's only now that character is getting bottlenecked, and sometimes worse, treated as a dangerous divergence, a haphazard flaw that can lead one astray. I don't know who's to blame (if anyone) because I believe some people don't necessarily deserve to share their opinions online, but where do we draw the line, how do we know when our attempts to be virtuous and righteous create diminishing returns? When do we begin to do more harm than good? Are we inadvertently scaring relevant and poignant voices from speaking up all in an attempt to keep others silenced? For what it's worth, I don't think theres anyway we could've avoided these crossroads. I believe society evolves in the dark, bouncing blindly from wall to wall before taking a step back to find center, this is the nature of iteration.

We seem to live in a time where virtues are valued more than ideas, where having a demonstrably good opinion is more important than practicing critical thought and searching for the merit through all polarities. Why did I feel the need to preface my words with a disclaimer around my socioeconomic background and degree of benefit from racial privilege? It was almost as if I knew that was a way I could diffuse any misplaced conflict with my thoughts. But that intention did not crop up naturally, it did not appear in the flow of inspiration where my words were found for Winter Winds. They only appeared when I was worried about protecting myself and thoughts from merciless militant glares. Are we worried about creating an environment where people signal notions that may not naturally present themselves, all because we've forgotten how to have conversations with each other? Will all great essays and poems of the future end with a disclaimer where the author bolts out a list of social causes they care for, how they grew up, and what party they've historically voted for? To advocate against these last words, could that actually be the way forward? Is that actually desirable? Will society be better off if all perspectives are buffered by acknowledgments, virtues, and temperaments?

I guess in conclusion, my fear was offending someone who pursues nothing more than comfort, or offending those who have to fight incredible adversity just to experience a comfort level that others of us can intentionally forsake in the name of self-actualization. That is all very real, and my perspective on comfort is undoubtedly a privileged one. The point of this piece is perhaps to invite others who have felt that same paralyzing fear to push against it and to publish those thoughts if you feel so inclined, you will likely have thoughts and ideas that will make you cringe in 20 years when you retread them, that's alright, that's why we're here; to learn, to grow, this is the nature of iteration. Society needs you nonetheless.

If you decide to write, write for you, write to understand, to distill, not to persuade, not to influence, but to document, to catalogue the infinitely complex experience of being human.

Writing is merely a river between the heart and the mind, treat it as such and you will be rewarded with knowledge of self, the most decadent of gifts.

I'll finish with a passage from Rick Rubin's new book, The Creative Act. Enjoy!

Nothing in this book
is known to be true.
It's a reflection on what I've noticed--
Not facts so much as thoughts.

Some ideas may resonate,
others may not.
A few may awaken an inner knowing
you forgot you had.
Use what's helpful.
Let go of the rest.

Each of these moments
is an invitation
to further inquiry;
looking deeper,
zooming out, or in.
Opening possibilities
for a new way of being.
Before you go on, may I suggest brewing a cup of coffee or tea to accompany the following listens?

🎧 A Song to Study

This week's choice was a no brainer. As Liza and I blazed down the 405 on our way to The Getty Center for an afternoon of art, vistas, and overpriced Reeses' peanut butter cups, I couldn't stop myself from belting, at the top of my lungs, this Summer of Love classic from Tim Buckley, father of 90's virtuoso, Jeff Buckley. This track is filled with such bountiful positive energy that it has the ability to turn any rainy day into one filled with joy and optimism. Twangy guitars, radiant vibraphones, and warming vocals, if you like Van Morrison, Nick Drake, Karen Dalton, or Joni Mitchel you will find great comfort in this week's pick. For many of you, this may be a song you've encountered in the past, if that's the case, take this as an opportunity to revisit a beloved ballad. If it's a new discovery, you're in for such a treat. Enjoy.

🏡 An Album to Live In

Now a relatively new release for you all. I would probably have more to say about this album if I knew a lick of Portugese, but I don't, so I can only comment on what I feel. Fortunately, in this case, I feel f*cking wonderful listening to Sessa's latest album Estrela Acesa. For a 2022 album, Sessa channeled Brazilian legends from its rich musical heritage like Joao Gilberto, Antonino Carlos Jobim, and Caetano Veloso as if he was mentored in close proximity to their methods. This album is beachy, breezy, humid, and free floating. It won't be the most enthralling thing you have ever heard but it will certainly be a low stakes and much welcomed break from the chore-like practice of keeping up with new album releases. This will be one of those albums you put on when your core objective is just to feel at peace. I like giving this a spin while my partner and I cook dinner while sipping on a freshly cracked bottle of natural wine. Enjoy!

👋 Until next time...

I understand how sacred privacy is in our day and I feel tremendously honored when someone trusts me enough to let me into their inbox week after week. Thanks for being here ❤️.

If something resonated from this edition please do not hesitate to reach out, I hope for this to be a two-way communication channel. Let's chat and discuss music and/or ideas.

Where Do We Begin?
Meet Christian Archer. Learn what to expect as a subscriber. Understand the meaning of Attack and Flux.
If you want to learn more about who I am and wtf "Attack & Flux" means, I suggest giving this a read, consider it a proper intro.