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Inspirational

Trickster-Hero: The Art of Having Nothing to Lose

“The Trickster is not a trickster by nature. He is a trickster by necessity.” – Malcolm Gladwell

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(TMU Opinion)Governing the precept that the self is masks all the way down perceiving delusions all the way up, it stands to reason that one of those “masks” would embolden the self to question all delusions and break all masks. Indeed, one of those masks should embolden the self to the extent that it thinks it has nothing to lose. That mask is the mask of the trickster. 

When a person dons the mask of the trickster they becomes the personification of a trickster God in training. Playful yet ruthless. Foolish yet fierce. Contrarian yet cunning. Seductive yet demur. Enigmatic yet chaotic. Flying-by-the-seat-of-his-pants yet free. The personified trickster is an anti-hero par excellence, a hero bound by neither code nor conduct, a hero with nothing to lose. Nonchalant, unruly, passionate, a dauntless maverick testing all boundaries and stretching all comfort zones, despite resistance from the petty, the prudish, the pacifists, from cowards and fence-sitters. Indeed. Despite even his/her own resistance. For the trickster must first trick himself into thinking he has nothing to lose. 

Trickster as Catalyst:

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

The task of a trickster hero is both Dionysian (passionate, artistic, ecstatic) and Sisyphean (unavailing and endless). 

It takes a unique type of courage to be a catalyzing agent. Trickster as catalyst is a planter of unwanted seeds, of difficult truths, and brutal motivation. These are seeds that promise to outgrow the stagnant culture with its antiquated laws and outdated beliefs. These are the difficult truths that bypass convention and face a mirror in front of the fallibility of the human condition. The kind of brutal motivation that kicks us in the a** for being lazy, shoves us into the abyss for being pretend-forgiving, and drags us kicking and screaming into either the self-improvement or self-destruction of our own unique adventure.

Trickster as catalyst is an existential alchemist. He/She bridges gaps from lead to Fool’s Gold, from Fool’s Gold to the Golden Shadow, from the Golden Shadow to the overman overcoming himself again and again. He creates and destroys God, and then rebirths God in so many forms that no human culture can keep up. He’s made an art of it, just as he has made an art out of self-transcendence, self-annihilation, and rebirth. The trickster hero would rather be ashes than dust.

A catalyzing trickster agent is a force to be reckoned with; a force of nature first, a human second. He/She turns the tables on entrenched power through shock and awe campaigns, pokes holes in inflated egos through mockery and high humor, flips the script on any “believers” who place all their eggs into a single basket and then cling to that basket for dear life. They melt down pedestals, knock down high horses, and topple thrones, revealing how nobody should ever take themselves too seriously. They are mighty social leveling mechanisms and nobody is so powerful that they are out of reach from their ruthless irony and unorthodox ire. Not even God.

Trickster as Rebel:

“I rebel; therefore, we exist.” – Albert Camus

Trickster as rebel is the laughter in the whirlwind. He/She is the jest in the apocalypse. He neither cries nor quibbles at the fact that he is the punchline of an absurd cosmic joke. Rather than tremble, tremble, tremble; he laughs, laughs, laughs. Rather than fear the perceived power of authority, he gets power over power through high humor. The kind of humor that somersaults over itself, gaining momentum, picking up jest and ashes, smiles and razors, thorns and laughter. It’s a cutting humor, an unorthodox humor that takes both thesis and antithesis and smashes it into synthesis, shattering all perceived power constructs and paradigms. 

Trickster as rebel embraces the absurdity of existence and rolls with it, juxtaposing juxtaposition, moving into flow states so effortlessly he is overflowing, full of so much jouissance and insouciance that he cannot be contained. Neither by lovers nor jailers. Neither by himself nor God. He is full-frontal dissidence. Too busy transforming demons into diamonds and wounds into wisdom to pay base courtesy or obsequiousness to any perceived authority, whether arbitrary or legitimate. 

Contumacious to a fault, trickster as rebel aims to lay faultiness into all default power constructs. Earthquakes and upheaval is just his game. Turn everything upside down and let the chips fall where they may. For nothing is worse than power corrupting, except power corrupting absolutely. Preventing this from happening is the trickster hero’s raison daitre. He breaks all compasses so that nobody get so stuck on True North that they forsake west, east, south, or even more imaginary directions. Better to start from scratch filled with the knowledge of what not to do than to continue with either sickness or stuckness no matter how comfortable. 

Trickster as Genius:

“He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.” – Dr. Johnson

Trickster as genius has a transcendent capacity for taking on trouble. Remember: he is not a trickster by nature, but by necessity. His/her trickster powers have been built from the quicksand on up to the summit of a house of cards so precarious that it’s perfectly imperfect. Here, summit and abyss are united as one. Here, the art of having nothing to lose merges with the art of losing everything to nothing. For as Anaxaguras said, “In everything, there is a share of everything.” This is the hard and tough lesson, both for those who take themselves too seriously and for those who are hoodwinked by a profoundly sick society: change your unhealthy ways or be dragged, kicking and screaming, into a healthier way. 

But it is nearly impossible to expect a moral awakening from humanity. To achieve a moral awakening requires a force outside of humanity. That force is precisely the trickster hero. It’s the madcap maverick who decides to stare into the infinite masks of himself and dares to come back wearing the mask which breaks all masks and destroys all delusions: the all-laughing, all-mocking trickster mask. 

There is no courage more courageous than the courage of someone who has nothing to lose. He has already been destroyed by the abyss and reborn into resilience. He has already been annihilated by a Dark Night of The Soul and reborn into robustness. He has already been torn apart by the absurdity of existence and the infinite nothingness of the existential black hole and put back together again by antifragility. No authority outflanks him. No God beleaguers him. It’s all a cosmic joke at best and a delusion at worst. So be it. 

The trickster hero is here to put the cartoon-in-the-brain of it all on blast. He/she is here to tip the scales in favor of laughter over seriousness, humor over power, and adventure over comfort. Most of all, he is here to force playfulness and lightheartedness down the throats of all prudes, goody-two-shoes, tyrants, psychopaths, cowards, and milquetoasts. Screw them all if they can’t stare into the cave they fear, the abyss they dread, or the God they bow down to and have a laugh at their own free-falling delusions of (non)grandeur.

By Gary Z McGee | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

Inspirational

Genius 12 Year Old Boy On Way To Receive Aerospace Engineering Degree

Justin MacLachlan

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A 12-year-old genius is on his way to receive an aerospace engineering degree in just two years, an incredible feat.

If that’s not shocking and impressive, according to CBS, twelve-year-old Caleb Anderson knew sign language by the time he was only nine-months-old, could read by age one, and knew how to do fractions at just age two.

Anderson is now in the process of attending his second year at Chattahoochee Technical College in Georgia the U.S. and Anderson already got his sights set on working for Tesla owner Elon Musk.

Anderson hopes to get an internship with SpaceX founder Musk, speaking to USA Today earlier this year, he said: “When I was like one, I always wanted to go to space. I figured that aerospace engineering would be the best path.”

Anderson doesn’t see himself as a genius telling CBS: “I’m not really smart. I just grasp information quickly. So, if I learn quicker, then I get ahead faster.”

He added: “This is my life. This is how I am. And I’ve been living this way my whole life.”

Being so incredibly smart hasn’t always been a walk in the park for Caleb though, as he admits middle school was “awful.”

“The kids there, they kind of looked down on me, they treated me like I was an anomaly,” he said. “And I kind of am.”

Despite his previous treatment in middle school, Anderson is excited about college stating quite the opposite, telling USA Today: “It’s really accepting. People might think something about it, but they don’t show it which is really nice.”

Although Anderson is in his second year at Chattahoochee Technical College and he has had much success. The young boy and his family want him to attend Georgia Institute of Technology or the Massachusetts Institute for Technology.

His mother Claire explained: “We want him to be in an environment where he is accepted and not tolerated.”

Professor Mark Costello, chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Aerospace Engineering said Caleb was “the perfect candidate” for the course and will “be very successful” if he attends.

What do you think about Caleb Anderson?

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Good News

Michael Jordan feels “great pride” as he opens new health clinic for uninsured in his hometown

Elias Marat

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Legendary basketball superstar Michael Jordan is giving back to his community in a big way, and has opened a second medical clinic in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, to offer critical care to underprivileged community members during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, the 57-year-old former Chicago Bulls shooting guard unveiled the Michael Jordan Family Clinic on Freedom Drive, which he personally contributed $7 million to. The clinic, which provides much-needed access to primary and preventive care to low-income residents, is being operated by nonprofit healthcare group Novant Health Clinics.

During the October 2019 opening, the six-time NBA champion and owner of the Charlotte Hornets tearfully explained that “it’s a very emotional thing for me to be able to give back to a community that’s supported me over the years.”

Jordan has now opened a second clinic alongside Novant Health in hopes to provide comprehensive primary care to underserved communities.

“It gives my family great pride to know that we are making a difference in Charlotte,” Jordan told The Charlotte Observer.

While the opening of the second clinic has long been in the works, the timing couldn’t be better given the dire impact of the ongoing pandemic on people across the United States and especially the Black community.

In April, the Freedom Drive clinic became widely used as a respiratory assessment center where locals had free access to coronavirus “screening, testing, treatment and education.”

“When this clinic opened, I said ‘We’re here for the long haul. Not just in a crisis’,” said Novant Health CEO and president Carl Armato.

“In fact, the first clinic enabled us to better respond to the [coronavirus] crisis. It gave us the infrastructure to set up walk-up testing – no referral needed. It gave us a platform to educate and treat patients – close to home,” he added. “It even gave us a distribution point for our universal masking initiative, where we provided free masks to anyone who needed them. This second location is critical, as it expands our impact and reach.”

Over 14,000 tests for the deadly virus were provided while around 12,600 mobile health appointments were conducted, forcing the Michael Jordan Family Clinic to direct those in need of primary care to another location – and proving the need for the second clinic to urgently begin operations amid the spiking demand in treatment.

“When we came together to mark the first clinic’s opening last fall, no one could have predicted we would be facing a global pandemic just five months later,” Jordan said in a Zoom meeting to launch the new healthcare center.

“I’m so proud of the positive impact our clinic has had on the community so far, especially during [the pandemic],” he added. “Our second clinic will provide critical services to improve the health and lives of more Charlotteans, which is so important to me and to Novant Health.”

The new clinic will be opening on Statesville Ave. in the North End of Charlotte, and will include 12 patient exam rooms, an X-ray room, and a physical therapy center. A full-time clinical social worker will also be on-site.

“We are thrilled the North End community of Charlotte will have access to the same comprehensive care that is transforming lives at the Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic in west Charlotte,” said Armato.

“The impact of the first clinic has been measurable and if [the coronavirus] has taught us anything, it is the importance of having accessible, safe and quality care in communities that need it most,” he continued.

“Michael Jordan’s commitment to improving the health of our communities, and society, is deep-rooted,” Armato added. “We’re so grateful to be his partner in bringing care and resources to those who would otherwise be without.”

Jordan is hopeful that the community has better days ahead.

“We’ve been dealt with some very difficult cards in 2020,” he commented.

“I hope 2021 is going to be much better.”

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Inspirational

Ocean Spray Buys New Truck For Star Of Viral Fleetwood Mac TikTok Video

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(TMU) – In the midst of all the pain, suffering, and hatred going on in the world right now, a TikTok user named Nathan “Doggface” Apodaca, inspired millions with a short and uplifting video of himself skateboarding down the street while listening to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and drinking a container of cranberry juice.

Nathan was riding his skateboard that day because his car broke down, but he was making the most of a bad situation and enjoying his life as much as he could in that moment. The short clip quickly captured the world’s attention, and turned into an accidental advertising campaign for both Fleetwood Mac and Ocean Spray.

The video sent streams of the Fleetwood Mac song soaring to record numbers, and inspired Mick Fleetwood to join TikTok and post his own video.

Dreams had 8.47 million streams in the US last week, which far surpasses the previous high of 3.83 million.

The song also returned to the UK charts last week, at No 85.

Rumours, the album that features Dreams, returned to the US Top 40 for the first time since 2013, reaching No 27. In the UK, it holds its position from the previous week, No 22. Rumours has spent the last 41 weeks in the UK Top 40, and a total of 856 weeks in the Top 100 since its 1977 release, according to the Guardian.

Ocean Spray has not revealed exactly how much the video has boosted sales for them, but the company’s stock price has climbed significantly since the video first went viral. The increase in sales and stock price was enough to catch the attention of the company’s executives, who decided to give back and get Nathan a new truck. The company posted a video of Nathan’s reaction on its Instagram page.

 

Representatives from the company showed up at Apodaca’s home with a new 2020 Nissan Frontier truck, and a large supply of Ocean Spray cranberry juice.

“This is from Ocean Spray to you. Thanks for keeping it positive. That truck is yours. All the Ocean Spray is yours. All from Ocean Spray to you, man. Congratulations,” the representative said.

Ocean Spray is not a traditional corporation, but an agriculture cooperative owned by more than 700 grower-owners.

Chris Ferzli, Ocean Spray’s director of global corporate affairs, says that the video “struck a chord.”

“Just the fact he was making the best of a situation despite a challenge really resonated with people. There is such a calm and positive energy to the video and given 2020 is an especially challenging year, it was just so welcome,” Ferzli said, according to The Drum.

“We caught notice of it about a week ago and we knew we wanted to get involved. We heard his story and wanted to help so we took some time, pulled together a plan to buy him a new truck, and filled it with cranberry juice,” he added.

Ferzli also hinted in a recent interview that the company may be bringing Nathan on as a full-time brand ambassador. This may be the beginning of a new partnership and possibly a new path for Nathan.

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