The Plight of the Founder

submitted by jwithrow.
Click here to get the Journal of a Wayward Philosopher by Email

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Plight of the Founder

August 10, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?” – Jesus of Nazareth, Luke 12:57

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $2,181. Gold closed at $1,338 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $42.69 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.545%. Bitcoin is trading around $590 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

My mind wanders off of the beaten path once again this week as I finish up A Lodging of Wayfaring Men by Paul Rosenberg for the second time. As I read this book, I can almost ‘see’ the plight of the founder as it has played out over and over again throughout human history.

In order to understand the plight of the founder, we must first understand a key function of life… all life. The basic laws of thermodynamics tell us that closed systems naturally evolve towards a state of maximum entropy; entropy being the amount of energy not available for work.

Life systematically reverses entropy. Continue reading “The Plight of the Founder”

The Self-Referential Awakening – Heeding the Warrior’s Call

submitted by jwithrow.
Click here to get the Journal of a Wayward Philosopher by Email

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Self-Referential Awakening – Heeding the Warrior’s Call

January 4, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P closed out Friday at $2,044. Gold closed at $1,060 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $37.07 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.27%. Bitcoin is trading around $431 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Happy New Year! As I touched on in my last journal entry, I expect 2016 to be a very interesting year in the financial markets. Credit has been expanding and interest rates have been falling for more than three decades now, but 2016 may be the year those trends reverse.

The “authorities” will fight such a trend reversal with everything they have, but Mr. Market will eventually assert himself. Trees don’t grow to the sky, as they say. For a more detailed look at the prominent macroeconomic trends of our time, as well as how to position your finances accordingly, please see our online course Finance for Freedom: Master Your Finances in 30 Days.

Moving from finance to philosophy…

Socrates: Everyone wants to tell you what to do and what’s good for you. They don’t want you to find your own answers, they want you to believe theirs.

Dan: Let me guess, and you want me to believe yours.

Socrates: No, I want you to stop gathering information from the outside and start gathering it from the inside.

Continue reading “The Self-Referential Awakening – Heeding the Warrior’s Call”

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher

submitted by jwithrow.


October 5, 2014
Hot Springs, VA

This will be my first journal entry in this segment I am calling “Journal of a Wayward Philosopher”.  I intend to post an entry periodically throughout each week going forward.

I got the title for this segment by asking my wife to describe me in one word.  She immediately said “philosopher”.  I then asked her to describe me using an adjective.  She said “introverted”… I remained silent.  Then she said “honest”… I still remained silent.  Then she said “non-confrontational”… and I continued to remain silent.  Then she said “strong-willed” and I thanked her for her help and decided to use “wayward” as my adjective.

What I hope to offer through these journal entries is a unique perspective on life, finance, economics, and philosophy in general as seen through my rugged individualist lens.

Please make no mistake about it:  I am under no illusion of importance.  I have no more intelligence or wisdom than the next guy and I am fully aware of my own ignorance.

I am also fiercely private and I have no desire whatsoever to talk about myself.  And by private I mean that I am sometimes taken aback when asked about what I did last weekend.  “None of your business” is often the first thought that comes to mind.  But then I regain my composure, smile, and say I cut grass last weekend.

I have found this to be the perfect response to all conversations that begin with “What did you do last weekend?”.  Why?  Because people usually ask this question specifically so they can pass judgment on your response.  Maybe it’s subconscious most of the time, but that’s what people are really doing when they ask you this question.

So I tell them I cut the grass.  Cutting the grass is seen as “productive” (a term that has become a misused cliche, by the way) and it is completely uninteresting so it lends itself to no follow-up questions.  Truthfully, I was much more likely to be sipping a glass of whiskey by the fireplace last weekend than cutting the grass – especially if we are in the month of November.  But sipping whiskey lends itself to judgment AND follow-up questions so best just to cut grass year-round.

The point is I really don’t care much for talking about myself.  I find it to be very uncomfortable.journal of a wayward philosopher

So why publish a journal?  Well, because I know you will read it.  And I know that if you read my journal then you are much more likely to buy my book.  After all, isn’t that what philosophizing is all about – selling books?  Either way, I am grateful for your readership and I welcome all questions, comments, and feedback.

Until the morrow,






Joe Withrow
Wayward Philosopher

The Power in Paradoxical Wisdom

submitted by jwithrow.sunrise

There is a certain power that one stumbles upon once they accept the “paradoxical wisdom” concept.

This power is not physical in nature. It is not like money power or political power which must be grabbed by men (or women) of ambition. It is a power only found when one is not seeking it; it is not something to be sought after and possessed. For this reason it is a power that is not corrupting and it is not fleeting. The power inherent in paradoxical wisdom is one of peace and serenity.

It is the understanding that there is something greater and more important than money, status, or worldly power. It is the understanding that each one of us are so much more than what we appear to be on the surface and that each one of us is here in this moment for a very specific reason; we are not irresponsible little people that are here by chance.

There is an inner calmness that develops once one comes to the realization that he (or she) does not know. The trivial occurrences of the day become completely irrelevant.

Those who have not yet found this power worry and fret over small mishaps or social popularity or what have you. But those who have found the inner peace care little for any of these things.

This is why those who possess calmness of mind and spirit cannot be gossiped about or ridiculed. They are not very interested in playing the worldly game of ego, power, or status and so insults do not bother them in the slightest. This makes it very unsatisfying and a bit embarrassing for the one doing the insulting; insulting another without receiving a reaction is like playing a game of catch with one’s self.

The power contained within paradoxical wisdom allows one to maximize his (or her) productive energy. He no longer wastes energy worrying about trivial events. He no longer wastes energy worrying about physical appearance or fashion. He no longer wastes energy worrying about how he is perceived by others. He no longer wastes energy playing the power game.

As it turns out, we tend to waste quite a bit of energy just in perceived self-defense or in attempts to justify our thoughts and actions to others. This wasted energy can be applied in a much more positive and creative way once the need for self-defense and justification fades away.

The power found within the paradoxical wisdom concept stems from acceptance.

Once one understands that he does not have all of the answers then it becomes acceptable for him (or her) to be fallible and make mistakes. And it becomes acceptable for him to stray from the popular path in search of knowledge and wisdom. And perhaps most importantly, he no longer needs to justify his thoughts or actions to others and he no longer feels as though others should justify their own thoughts or actions to him.

He is free.

Paradoxical Wisdom

submitted by jwithrow.Agora

Let’s go back to ancient Athens.

Somewhere around 400 B.C., a man named Chaerephon asked the Oracle of Delphi if there was anyone alive wiser than Socrates.

The Oracle responded that there was no one wiser.

When he learned of this, Socrates suggested that his must be a paradoxical wisdom because he knew very well that he possessed no wisdom at all.

Socrates set out to interview the other men in Athens who were considered wise – statesmen and poets mainly – and Socrates found that each man did indeed consider himself to be quite wise. But Socrates did not find them to be wise at all.

Socrates determined that the Oracle was correct. He was indeed the wisest man in the land – but only because he was aware of the fact that he possessed no wisdom at all.

Socrates was quoted as saying “All I know is that I know nothing”.

It was this paradoxical wisdom that enabled Socrates to both learn with an open mind and to develop the Socratic Method of problem solving based on logic. Socrates was able to admit that he lacked wisdom and because of this he dedicated his life to the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. In this pursuit of knowledge and wisdom, Socrates discovered a profoundly higher purpose.

This was demonstrated in Plato’s account of Socrates’ self-defense at his public trial in 399 B.C. The charges brought against Socrates were corrupting the youth and impiety – the penalty for which was death. The trial took place in the People’s Court located in the agora (city square) of Athens. The jury consisted of 500 adult men, each 30 years old or older.

In his trial, Socrates demonstrated to the jurors that their moral values were misplaced because they were each primarily concerned with money, status, and politics whereas they should be primarily concerned with the welfare of their souls.

“Men of Athens, I honor and love you; but I shall obey God rather than you, and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy, exhorting any one whom I meet and saying to him after my manner: You, my friend, a citizen of the great and mighty and wise city of Athens, are you not ashamed of heaping up the greatest amount of money and honor and reputation, and caring so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul, which you never regard or heed at all?”

We share this brief interpretation of Socrates’ philosophy because we think that there is tremendous value found in the paradoxical wisdom concept.

How often are we inclined to think that we have all the answers and that our way is the only correct way? How often do we tend to ridicule and look down upon others who do not share our way of thinking? How often do we impede our own ability to learn with an open mind because of our tendency to believe in our own wisdom?

Paradoxical wisdom is the key to humility. Those who think that their way is the only way tend to be arrogant and rude towards others. They simply do not know that they do not know.

We suspect that this is what Christ meant when he said, according to Matthew, “Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”.

And we suspect that in just the same way this is what is meant in Hinduism, as translated from the Upanishads: “The Brahman is unknown to those who know it and known to those who know it not”.

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out – A Modern Interpretation by Paul Rosenberg

 By Paul Rosenberg,

This was a big phrase in the 1960s, as young people turned away from
the corporate conformity of the 1950s and decided that they wanted more
out of life than being an adequately-fed cog in a big machine.

Let’s be honest and admit that the modern corporate script involves
selling your own wishes and dreams for paychecks. I know that a lot of us have played along with it because of necessity, but this is not a way of life to cling to, it’s a way of life to escape.

You are meant to live your life. Yes, I know it can seem hard, but
it’s the only life that’s really worth living. You have to give meaning
to your life, and you’ll never get it by following the televised script and hoping for pats on the back from the people who are playing along with you.

This life you have is precious. Human beings are engines of creation;
we are able to imagine and to turn our imaginations into reality. And we
are capable of supercharging our creative abilities by sharing our lives
and loves with other people. We are astonishingly capable creatures.

Don’t waste all your life’s abilities in a corporate cubicle. You’ve
already seen how that goes: Work excessive hours, go home tired, watch
TV, sleep, and start over. Your kids end up in mini corporate worlds
called “schools,” where they are taught to sit, be quiet, obey, and turn
off their internal desires and loves. If you play that game you’ll miss
most of your life in the process, as well as most of your children’s

Once you get some corporate inertia going, it is all too easy to get
sucked into it permanently. Don’t let that happen to you.

So, here’s my modern (and slightly adjusted) interpretation –
Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out:

Tune In

Wake up and see the world as it is. Turn off the
talking heads on TV and get to know the real world. Stop spending all
your brain cycles on celebrities, sports heroes and gossip hounds – get
to know your neighbor and the old woman who lives around the corner,
strike up a friendship with someone on the other side of the world. Travel. Spend your time with real people; get to know them, and reveal yourself to them. It only seems weird because the people who programmed you didn’t want you to think freely.

Do you think I am being dramatic by referring to “the people who
programmed you”? If so, read this:

Education should aim at destroying free will so that
after pupils are thus schooled they will be incapable throughout the rest of their lives of thinking or acting otherwise than as their schoolmasters would have wished.

That was from the highly esteemed Bertrand Russel, by the way, and
I’ve got plenty more of them. Take this seriously, because your
programmers have been.

Tune in to yourself rather than your programming: What do you really
want? Most people can list a dozen things that bother them, but not a
single thing that they really want. This is a problem. Find out what you
want. What do you love? What do you want to work for?

Do you remember all those times in the Bible where Jesus berates
people for being “hypocrites”? Well, the real word he used was actors –
as in stage actors. And whether you are religious or not, this is
crucial: Stop acting in someone else’s play. Take off all the masks and
find yourself.

Turn On

Start doing what you love. Don’t wait for someone else, do it
yourself. Start helping your friends and neighbors, spend serious time
with your children – not at a game or a party, but just you and them,
talking. Find out what they love. Tell them what you love, what you are
proud of, what you regret. Tell them you love them. Tell them things you
don’t tell your friends. Let them know you.

Start living, not merely existing. DO the things you feel an urge to
do. And don’t fall into the usual trap of “what if I make a mistake?”
That’s simply fear-based conditioning. Resist it. Do what you love, and
in so doing, you will turn yourself on.

Are you going to go through your whole life and never follow your own
wishes, always sacrificing them to the tyranny of other peoples’
opinions? Please don’t do that to yourself – you’ll suffer greatly for
it when you’re old.

Screw all the expectations and turn on – act on your own will.

Drop Out

Stop wasting your time and energy on governments and arguments and
politics. Drop out of their mindset and start reclaiming all those
wasted hours. Lying politicians are simply not worth your devotion. Drop
the endless party fights and stop arguing about them. Politics is ugly,
and politics on the brain makes us ugly.

Stop paying attention to the hundreds of ads you see every day – they
are scientifically designed to grab your thoughts. Turn away. Stop
buying trendy things, and definitely stop buying things for the purpose
of impressing other people.

Stop trying to fit in, and stop living according to other people’s
expectations. Let them call you weird. Let them talk about you. Stop
caring about it. If they were real friends, they wouldn’t treat you like
that. So if they are willing to call you names, you’re better off
dropping them now.

Don’t fight the system – that just keeps all of your energy and
attention focused on them. Forsake the system and start creating a
better life for yourself, the people you love and the people you
respect. Stop giving all your life’s energy to a barbaric system of
force and manipulation.

Let the system go; all of it. Move on and let it rot where it sits.

But We Need A Plan!

No, you don’t. You need a life!

Let go of the plan addiction. Life is organic, not mechanical.

First of all, you need to identify what you want to create with the
precious life you’ve been given. Not what you want to stop, but what you
want to make.

If you’ve never been told to do this before it may seem hard, but you
can do it if you try.

Don’t sit and wait. Stop talking and start doing.


[Editor’s Note: Paul Rosenberg is the
outside-the-Matrix author of, a site dedicated to economic freedom, personal independence and privacy. He is also the
author of The Great Calendar, a report that breaks down our
complex world into an easy-to-understand model. Visit his site to get your free copy.]