The Divergent Path: from JFK through Yang to Naval and Beyond

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
–The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost


The year is 2020. It was merely a dream to me 5 years prior, when I diverged sharply from the well-known ways of man and culture to complete my search for an unbeaten path. And today, here I am, awakening within a rich, fruitful, forest of debate-able perspectives and unexamined wishes; unseen dreams. Amongst the bugs and decay of social order, I postulate for consensus. In moments of dissent, and disorder, there is also value and reason, but the value and reason seems destined to only grasp the wise, wasted thinkers; while suffering accelerates.


The overriding narrative in America was quite different in 2015. Climate change certainly was at the forefront of our minds, and the Uber-driving gig-economy gave glimpses of a new paradigm for service work. A global health crisis was far from predictable..I had little doubt that in just 5 years time, it would be difficult to board a plane to visit family at will…

In 2015, the American media was much more concerned with the threat of uncontrolled tyrants in developing nations..while searching for solutions for the global refugee crisis. This form of suffering continues to accelerate to this day as population density increases in hot, coastal communities throughout the equatorial latitudes.

In 2015, many Americans, just like myself, searched for new paths toward a brighter future where suffering is justified through value, reason, and individual purpose..regardless of birthplace, skin color, or political ideology. Many optimists saw the nebulous outline for a new narrative, but none saw it quite so clearly as Andrew Yang.


What a visionary man. For months, his book “The War on Normal People” has sat resting upon my coffee table, waiting for a normal day, where I find a few minutes of free time. What an irony. Normal day..Free time.. In the urban forests of 2020, normal has become insane, free is far too costly..who has a moment to care for value and reason..

One fateful day, however, I did finally manage to do it. I said to myself: “The deliveries will be delivered; take a break and see if this CNN sell-out included any overlooked reasons for adding value to my life.” And so I sat down and sifted through the first several chapters where Yang discusses his aptly labeled, ‘normal childhood’ — very relatable I must agree.

Nevertheless, I was in search of the real punch, and to the dismay of third grade teachers everywhere, I skipped ahead a few chapters.. Ahh, here’s the good stuff. Automation is taking our jobs. Wealth creation has abandoned the working class. Welfare Consolidation, Value Added Taxes, and Digital Dollars are the best way to inspire freedom…

On the one hand, I am inspired by Yang’s vision of the government working for the people. The economic mechanisms currently in place, in America, were geared for a different culture, and Yang is doing plenty to make this obvious. He proposes a new vision of culture where the economic inputs and economic outputs are entirely insulated from our daily lives ..but on the other hand, I am left wondering.. “Is this idea not just another form of oligarchy in guise?”

Perhaps ‘entirely insulated’ is a naïve hyperbole; hopefully hard work and good ideas will generate long term economic returns for generations ad infinitum ..however, from my standpoint, the path that Yang proposes in “The War on Normal People” is one that seems to wind its way towards a unionized corporate world, aimed at an equality of outcome; where Normal is the only way..Extraordinary is banished..as a compromise to the Disabled and Non-Ambitious. Hyperbole or not, the outcomes from a sustained UBI program will accelerate our country towards a philosophical nexus: what remains to accomplish?


..for far too often, we only notice the value and reason escaping our timeline; bound for the history books..or buried too deeply in our brain..as someone else’s story..will we defer our necessary cultural upgrade off to another generation of leaders??


Can you see any value and reason in changing the driving forces of economics?


Industrial accomplishment has been the driving force in American economics, since its birth in the early 20th century continuing through today, where many of us will soon cast votes for or against proposals to change our energy sources; update our infrastructure; develop residential communities; all of which boil down to subsidizing the use of technology through taxation.

It is hard to imagine industrial accomplishment without an economic incentive for the men and women sacrificing their ‘free time’. Yang argues that even with a basic income, incentives would remain available. But which family of oligarchs, or philanthropic corporations will offer the incentives? If UBI pays for our rent, our food, and our energy consumption .. what’s left to work for…

..is a comfortable desk and secure cubicle the incentive we all should strive to achieve.. or should we each build a tribe of media consumers, and weave together the ideas therein over time..

Perhaps the best goal is to become a self-sustainable family farmer; living at the will of the sunlight and rain, to stay in good health… but oh how stubborn is this Naturalist in maintaining their weedy-garden; constantly cursing the machine driven industrialists for their automated bounties and data-driven vision.

The incentives for maintaining shelter from storms are more obvious to me, but without the industrial earthwork, who will lay the foundation? Will modern man just devolve to a simpler life; sheltering amongst nature, in trees and caves?


So upon digestion of Andrew Yang’s “The War on Normal People”, I cannot help myself from drawing a comparison to John F. Kennedy.

— “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” —

JFK’s Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961

I do believe that Yang’s plan for Universal Basic Income, is the proper contemporary rival to the charismatic ideas from our not-too-distant revolutionary movements of the 60’s ..but for too many, it is missing JFK’s call to action.

— “Seek not what the government can do for you, but what you can do for the government.” —

JFK’s Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961

Despite the ease that Universal Basic Income may bring to our lives; I also can see the potential fears it may provoke.. it isn’t far-fetched to imagine that UBI will only invite vultures to ravage our culture; allowing the suffering to continue, all-the-while self-interested scavengers recycle the economic scraps into highly complex data sets.

But JFK would never allow fear to hold him back; so I must push through alongside Andrew for more optimistic outcomes.

And rather than fear the vultures of culture,

— “..we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom–and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.” —

JFK’s Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961

So today, in the fall of 2020, I remain hopeful that stronger minds will prevail–to save us from feasting on carcasses..and to manifest far greater dreams!


Rather than understanding UBI as a safety net against poverty, I think it could be even more bountiful to recognize recurring economic stimulus, the same way our bodies recognize fresh air; inhale..exhale..inhale..exhale..

UBI just adds more fuel to the fire of life and production; we the people will always organize around the best resources; it’s time to fix all that economic household math that steals bandwidth from our brains…


So let us heed the advice of President Kennedy..

“..if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved. “

JFK’S INAUGURAL ADDRESS, JANUARY 20, 1961

So Andrew Yang has unearthed some deeply rooted concepts, in parallel with JFK; setting a great example for innovative future thinkers everywhere. We all have the power to bring about change in our worlds, but if we are genuine in our missions of change..we ought to have a code to follow..


Queue Naval Ravikant


Invigorated with visions that end poverty, starvation, and homelessness, my path wound itself away from the doom of a government savior..and towards a hopeful, yet much more difficult path: ethical wealth creation.

Deep within the jungle of Amazon, I found a new map “The Almanack of Naval Ravikant” and thankfully my Discover-card cash-back-bonuses were a valid token for barter.


Naval picks up right where Yang drops us off.

Ethical Wealth Creation, Visualize Value, Everyone Can Be Wealthy

..I was blown away..where had these ideas been hiding the last several decades..


Naval sees beyond the modern plagues of man: lack of self-confidence and unjust comparison/impossible expectations leaves many potential leaders in stasis. Our notions of wealth have fallen into the trap of mathematics. But wealth is so much more than the debits and credits in your bank account. Certainly, the mechanisms of capitalism contribute to any definition of wealth, but the true understanding of wealth is a much more complex web of interaction.

And throughout Naval’s Almanack, he weaves together the story of ethical wealth creation, with the purpose of data-driven decision making, and the self-determinable nature of modern media consumption. What results is a pot-pourri of timeless wisdom for the sage-seekers of each and every culture.


So it is now 2020, and I continue to wander from Robert Frost, to JFK, from Yang to Naval, and I am now headed beyond..to become a Meme Spreader as proposed by Terence McKenna in his 1991 publication of “The Archaic Revival”.


“Well, life comes first. Death is nothing to be afraid of; it’s a natural part of the process. Sexuality is the glory of the living experience, and so forth and so on. They are, in fact, the humane, caring, ecologically sensitive values that are attempted to be communicated by the New Age, by the ecology movement, and so on. The problem is that these movements politicize everything immediately, turn everything into agendas, turn the opposition into the enemy, then embark on the old-style primate politics that have led us into this impasse..patriarchal politics. The politics of propaganda. The politics of money. The politics of hopelessness. I am a political activist, but I think that the first duty of a political activist is to become a psychedelic.”

-Terence McKenna – “The Archaic Revival”

Not too long ago, the year was 2015 and I began to diverge away from the established path of the scholar. In my search of fairer weather and fewer taxes, I wound up deep in the Heart of Texas, far from family, but among my tribe.

Then, “The War on Normal People” emerged just in time to tee up the problems that Automation poses to service workers without any safety net.. and my Divergent Path, diverged, as way leads on to way, crossing with the path of the ever-resilient, Naval Ravikant.

I continue to wander, from Pennsylvania to Wyoming, through Californication and into Texas, searching for the bridge connecting Naval to Terence McKenna..and I’m very close to my discovery, I can feel it..


“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country. 

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. 

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own. “

JFK’S INAUGURAL ADDRESS, JANUARY 20, 1961

..just be sure to meet me at the Archaic Revival..

..and if you want a shortcut, look no further.. you’ve already arrived upon that bridge..it’s named coffeefordessert.com.

Be Infinite..Take it Easy!

-Brose

P.S. Meaningwave Exists

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Related Links:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44272/the-road-not-taken

https://www.jfklibrary.org/learn/about-jfk/historic-speeches/inaugural-address

Published by Chad Ambrose

As I continue along this blogging adventure, I am 28 years old, coaching youth chess virtually due to Covid, and delivering take-out orders and groceries to fill my days..all the while, searching for more truth, more patience, and more enlightenment. I intend to guide you along my journey through life, via life stories, essay excerpts, philosophical reflections, and questions yet to be answered.

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