I am often asked what it is that I do to make a living. Let me be clear right from the get-go: I do not “make a living” in the traditional sense, much to the chagrin of some investors and Sallie Mae. My job is to be a human and explore this experience to the best of my abilities.
What is doing anyway? Generally speaking, its activity for which one gets paid. But “generally” here refers to the generality of a particular group, namely Americans. I have grown away from the notion of “doing” things to get paid, I prefer to do things because I have a burning need to understand the underpinnings of the human condition…
Let me start from the beginning, a retrograde that is necessary to explain the panopticon that has become my mentality. When I was a kid there was no doubt in my mind that I would eventually become successful. I was naturally gifted in a variety of subjects, but for the most part, uninterested in any of them.
As far as education goes, I more so reveled in my ability to not have to work, rather than feel some pull towards this subject or that. I did, however, have a rapt affinity for the conditions of others and I often times found myself as the willing ear to a myriad of my friends problems. People opened up to me and I eagerly absorbed it all, methodically codifying every story, every misplaced emotional particle, and every pubescent modicum of existence with fastidious care.
By the time I got to high school, I was on full cruise control. Within my first year I had more or less found my lane and even though its duration would bring a few social changes, I thrived in my own bubble. Again, this bubble warranted no predilection in academia and I found my stride as an above average student who existentially did the minimum.
Music was a staple of my childhood, but it was an escape and I had no interest in sullying it with the necessary demands of a life dedicated to it.
College was a nightmare, as many of my close friends have heard me say. My chosen institution was and still is the incarnation of almost every failure I have ever endured. From academia to socialization, I made every mistake that one is warned about in freshman orientation. I chose a major that wasn’t thought through, I got a girlfriend within my first week of school, and I isolated myself socially, a trend that would plague me for the next 5 years.
However, these persistent failures forced me into a mode of thinking that would catapult me into the individual I am now; they would come to serve as a benchmark against many of the experiences to come. Everything has a lesson embedded and I had to learn the bittersweetness of failure if I ever hoped to break the trends I was mired in.
I left my first college and embarked on what can be thought of as a sabbatical at a drastically different school. A public institution in the middle of nowhere, I was reinvigorated by the notion of possibility. In a new place where I knew no one, I was allowed the particular solitude of self-reflection; I made new friends, forged healthy alliances and tried new things.
I was discovering what it meant to be a human.
This question, what does it mean to be human, would be the implicit impetus that drove me. Upon my return to my first college, I would begin to understand myself and my need for creative freedom. This creativity was not founded on any principles of aesthetic or classic sensual qualia, but instead would be founded on something proto-sensual. It was focused intensely on the nature of meaning itself.
Meaning presupposes aesthetic; one cannot know beauty until they know what it means to them. For most of my life, I didn’t know what life meant to me. I was going through the motions laid out by the society that provided me a framework. I was an automaton whose actions coincided with the necessities of contribution and therefore meaning was simply a hand-me-down.
My senior year of college I founded my first business and as I got my hands wet with entrepreneurship, I would go into business with a good friend of mine.
This is honestly where the journey of “what does bryce do” begins.
For years I tried to explain what I did, but words usually failed me because I honestly didn’t know what I was doing. I knew that I was injecting somendimension into the social order, but this gossamer answer wouldn’t suffice as an elevator speech. I had no deliverables, I had no proof of efficacy; I could only transfer a feeling.
In this regard, I was your classic Millennial. I was truthfully selling myself as an asset and telling a client to probe me as an objective entity. I tried to teach people how to be a myriad of things and this ultimately led me down the seminal paths to who I am now. It was through my work as a consultant of human nature, what it means to be a human, that I came across those concepts that sparked the proverbial “aha!” moment deep inside my being.
My proclivity is people, even though I am disparaged by who we are at this time. People have, much to the discomfort of millions, siphoned off but a sliver of the human condition and have attempted to pass this off as life. Thus we force our children into flawed educational systems, we swear by illusory bipartisan politics, we argue various religions, and talk through a variety of emotions, all in the name of “reality.”
Let me make this clear, what we experience is not reality as we proclaim it to be. It is a reality, but it is not the reality. This delineation is of paramount purpose.
Everything around you is the eventuality of a universe that began 13 billion years ago. Whether you believe in a supreme creator or not, this is a point that cannot be lost on you. Scientists, scholars, theologians, and philosophers have debated about the course of events leading to now, but the fact remains indelibly pure, this human condition is amazing.
Our brain is plastic; it is an apparatus that not only responds to sensory information, but attentional or mental information. It is in a state of flux, constantly changing and rearranging itself. It is an evolutionary marvel, a testament to life’s resolve to survive, yet, we try to pigeonhole it in the name of arbitrarily created rules and conventions.
This is why I get so up in arms dealing with individuals. In a world where nothing has to be, but so much is extant, the idea that rigid rules or ideas must be is laughable to me.
So, what I have done for a living is continually probe the human condition as a means of discovering what I believe it means to be apart of this condition. My answer is as labyrinthine as you’d expect, the meaning of being a human is the process of creating meaning. This encompasses all walks of life and does not place any pursuit over another; the homeless man is just as entitled to his way of life as the CEO woman.
What I do is make sense of life for myself and attempt to explain that in a cogent framework with a little inconsistency as possible. The obvious result is that it is impossible; life is far too complex and humans are still too far in the existential dark for us to really make ground breaking headway into this massive universe.
Simply stated, I have gotten paid to think about how to help form new modes of thinking in the hopes of inspiring new humans. Every business on the earth is obsessed with making life better for humans, but who, really, has been interested in making better humans for life? I mean, over the millennia we have essentially embodied various types of deterministic societies in which the “have’s” and “have-not’s” were the result of the natural order of things. In this mentalistic society, myself and others like me, have taken up the charge to develop new methods of thinking about age old ideas in the hopes of inspiring regenerative thought.
Social evolution, if I may.
The notion that everyone must be doing something contributive to the economy or to society is one of the major obfuscations for so many. We often times don’t get the opportunity to learn and explore since everything must have a direct “purpose” at any given time. Don’t get me wrong, capitalism is a useful concept, but unfortunately, it contains much disuse once one extracts themselves from the rat race that is society. It amplifies triviality and forces people to make snap decisions. It is fundamentally unhuman.
This summarizes quite concisely why as a kid I was never intrigued by most professions. It took failure, academically, socially, financially, entrepreneurially, and so forth, for me to really get to the bottom of what confounded me. Although my life has been met by very many blessings and a greta number of victories, the lessons learned in my moments of depression, fear, or discomfort elucidated my interests. I’ve never cared much about money, never cared much about tangible things, never cared much about the physical world, quite frankly, but deep within me has been a drive to organize thought in ways that would inspire harmonizing conversation. Discourse that would inspire multilateral disarmament of destructive ideological arsenals. We have been at war with ourselves and our brothers and sisters by proxy since the beginning of recorded history. So much so that we still believe there’s nothing that can be done.
Religious wars, economic wars, ideological wars.
I’ve traversed these last 5 years in search of deeper connections and now that this nomadic journey is coming to an end I have already ascertain the first bits of its chosen successor, an in depth foray into the formal understanding of the human psyche and its physiological counterpart the brain. With neuropsychology I have elected to commit to a series of still arbitrary rules, however, their contrivance is in the name of universal understanding. It is my goal to continually unlock the mysteries of the human condition to the best of my ability, suspending judgment, bias, and ego in the hopes of inspiring the next generation of thinkers.
At times my journey has seemed resolutely impossible, many of my friends and former friends have experienced the ugly side of such a transient existence. However, I am confident that this won’t all be for nought and I am excited about what the endless tomorrow may hold for me.