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You Are Not A Cog

Listen along to this article with additional commentary by author Zack Janson

There is a prevailing belief today that, for some reason, competence comes exclusively through devoting oneself to one particular thing – whether it be an area of study, a sport, a style of art, a language, or what have you. 

Obviously, it can’t be discounted that hours spent are proportional to experience earned – if you want to become an incredible baseball player, the more hours you spend playing the game and practicing its fundamentals, the better you will end up. But a sinister trend that seems to have snuck up on people within the last couple of generations is the propensity for people to avoid branching out into other disciplines, either because of a lack of interest, or because of a belief that being well-rounded is unnecessary.

Family trees are rife with stories from even 60 years ago of men who were farmers, carpenters, local government officials, who might have spoken three languages to some degree aside from their mother tongue to ease communication barriers in the border regions they inhabited. I personally have met old timers who were professional musicians while maintaining highly involved day jobs, I’ve met amateur boxers and tradesmen, men who – despite being white collar estimators or highway cops by day, built their own homes. I have shaken the hands of rotary mill operators with middle school educations who know more about the equipment they run than many mechanics.

Guys like these are disappearing quickly, they are absolutely an endangered species, because for the first time in recorded human history, we just don’t need them. We have a man for every job, and becoming competent in multiple disciplines often seems to be discouraged. “Don’t pour that concrete footing – we have a concrete crew coming to take care of it”.

When we look back on the way people have lived cross-culturally, effectively since the dawn of anatomically modern humans, the sequestering of people into neat boxes of exclusive competence has been relatively unusual. Of course, individual interest, aptitude, etc has always and will always influence success in a given field – the proverbial village will always have a “real” blacksmith whose careful competence with iron exceeds the dinky forges that shod horses on remote farms. 

But for some reason, it’s suddenly become acceptable – even preferential – to stop trying new things, to stay in our lane. We outsource things like basic car repair, like woodworking, or like gardening, to professionals, and certain “recreational” things like sports or art, many of us don’t bother to attempt at all. With professional mechanics, why enrich our understanding of the world around us and the things we use everyday, why invest in our own self-sufficiency? With sports on TV, or the knowledge that surely we’ll never be as fantastic as our favourite athletes or the artists whose speed paintings we follow on TikTok, why even take a kick at the can?

We all need to get over this sort of bullshit.

It’s an unfortunate paradigm for a number of reasons, and it’s downright damaging both to individuals and to society at large, which is quickly melting into a slurry of bug people who know what they’re taught, what they’re good at, and not much else. Human beings, aside from our genetic predisposition as a species to be good distance runners, are ridiculously versatile. It’s how we’ve managed to completely dominate the planet: we can work with just about any set of circumstances in order to meet the world and its many challenges. 

I, for one, found my own early life was marked by the pressure to commit to a skillset. I found my original interest in visual art wane as I began to take music more seriously, never found the time or energy to take sport seriously until my late teens when I began to lift weights, always feeling that my potential was channeled by the expectation that I find a thing or set of things and stick to them. Ironically, while I always felt my energy or focus would be sapped if I strayed too far away from what I felt was my “calling”, the opposite has rung true: the more that I do my best to stay diverse in the commitments I make to my creative, athletic, and professional lives, the more I succeed, and the better I feel, generally speaking.

Elias Lönnrot, the man who compiled the Finnish epic poem Kalevala (a significant influence on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings), was actually a physician by trade in the remote Finnish region of Kainuu. His interest in philology, legend, and myth, led him on a lengthy leave of absence that saw him walking across the Finnish-Russian border region jotting down oral history and folklore. Do you think at any point it occurred to him to stay in his lane? Do you think anybody said “Elias, sit down, you’re a doctor”. Doubtful – but perhaps. Clearly, in the end, Elias said “fuck it” and did what he wanted to do, poured himself into his passion and ran with the burning desire to be more than what he was meant to be. Perhaps his aptitude as a physician, his ability to deal with people candidly as a doctor assisted and informed his interviews with rural people as he collected the stories that went on to inform the Kalevala – often the things you already know can assist your approach to new disciplines. 

Go outside, try something new – your own toolkit of diverse experiences and competences will help you approach things from a different perspective. The bottom line is that man has the capacity to become highly skilled at a wide variety of things, and being able to harness multiple abilities enriches not only the individual, but also the people around him. If you’d prefer to sit indoors doing the two things you were always told you were good at, while you squander your aptitude and your potential standing in the shadow of men who were never told they couldn’t do something (or didn’t care), that’s on you.

I’ll see you out there.

Posted on 17 Comments

The Madness Spark

Listen along to this article with additional commentary by author John Rauðúlfr 

Right now I wouldn’t blame you for calling me insane. As I type this I’m sitting in a small city in the south of Brazil. The other side of the equator, thousands of miles from my home country. In the midst of the Covidian age, nonetheless. I suppose the first question you’re asking is simply: 


You mad bastard.

It’s not unheard of in history and myth for men to come up against precarious odds for the purpose or pursuit of love. Right now, I’m one of those men.  My loved one is a local; while she is out at school, I’m drinking some of the best coffee I’ve ever drank as I give all of you some insight as to how I got where I am. More importantly, what it means in the grander scheme.

They say fortune favors the bold. Men and women throughout history who have decided to take risks rather than retreat into the comfort of certainty. This brings to mind the seafarers of the distant past. Those who set out across vast, unforgiving oceans in order to seek new lands or plunder on the other side.

Many choose to play it safe, and there is something to be said for that. I myself am guilty of this as well. Considering current world events, this course of action is understandable. However, for crazy bastards like myself, and many other foolhardy men, that often just doesn’t cut it. 

Movement is growth. The lack of movement is stagnation. Several of my compatriots have touched on this key idea. We can apply this to any aspect of our lives. Movement through self development, or movement in the literal sense of traversing the mortal plane in search of our own way. 

Certain movements in our own Wyrd can drive us towards places in the corporeal or incorporeal realms which we never thought we’d find ourselves in. I can tell you I never thought for one minute I’d ever end up in Brazil, but here I am. 

The way certain events manifest act as the metaphorical meat grinder. A cacophonous event which blows our cards around on the table. This is necessary. It’s an event which can push us out of our comfort zone. In uncomfortable situations like this, the difficulty itself is what makes us take that next step.

It is a beautiful insanity. 

A spark of Madness. 

As the web of wyrd that winds and turns with every move we make, sometimes a bold move is needed. Certain things that despite everything and everybody telling us we shouldn’t, we know it must be done. It’s a feeling that you get when you know something seems completely bat shit crazy. 

But yet you do it anyway. The voice in your gut tells you must. The thread grows restless in your hands. Turn it. 

I see fate as presenting itself in branching segments. Junctions where the threads of our lives branch into different sections of the web. Opportunities, or chances to make a move will likely present themselves. These may be split second instinctual movements, or a major deviation. 

“Midway, upon the journey of our life 

I found myself within a forest dark, 

For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say

What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,

Which in the very thought renews the fear.

So bitter is it, death is little more;

But of the good to treat, which there I found,

Speak will I of the other things I saw there.

I cannot well repeat how there I entered,

So full was I of slumber at the moment

In which I had abandoned the true way.

But after I had reached a mountain’s foot, 

At that point where the valley terminated, 

Which had with consternation pierced my heart,

Upward I looked, and I beheld its shoulders”

-Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto I.

It is when our lives seem to have wandered from the straight and narrow that we may find ourselves in need of such a movement. I can speak purely for myself here. In many ways where I find myself right now spawned from this feeling. The feeling of my life in a state of non-motion, and in need of a swift push.

If you found yourself in a period of life where your day to day is ridden with monotony. Where that magic that makes life worth living has disappeared. If you were approached by a notion to take a foolhardy leap to the unknown. To laugh in the face of whatever danger you might face, puff up your chest and try…

Wouldn’t you be ready to do it?

Is it possible that you may fail? Absolutely it is. Risk is risk and always carries the chance that the move you made may not be for your best. However, choosing to remain motionless and you’ll never know what could have been, and that to me is tragic.

I’ve talked about fear before, and one of the most prevalent in our human condition is fear of the unknown. I won’t lie, my nerves were firing as I prepared my things to make the journey to South America last week. But, that little spark of madness won over. That necessary unravelling of logic into a bold leap into the arms of fate. 

Rather than play it safe next time, think about it. Is that really what you want to do? 

Are you okay with knowing you may have missed out on a key branch in your path?

Alas, that’s entirely your choice. Meanwhile, I need to go hit up a local gym now, then spend the evening with my woman, and let me tell you what…

I’m fucking chuffed about it.  

Well worth the risk, man. 

Posted on 14 Comments

The Lies of Logic

Listen along to this article with additional commentary by author Ioan Eofor

A burning heart beats big brains. 

I remember a couple years back, in a forgotten time where we were able to freely travel, and you know… do shit?  Me and my friends had found ourselves fresh off a boat from Estonia covered in sea salt and stale liquor. We joined several hundred blue color Baltic bastards on a quest over from Finland for the cheaper beer. 

This was becoming an annual quest for us three at this point. We had a good thing going with our pals in Finland, and our bandmate up there was always kind enough to provide shelter with a nice cabin located between here and Elfland. Every year we would venture up there to make a new black metal album, and shelter ourselves and our ideas away from the modern world for about 2-3 weeks at a time.

This year I had found myself a killer earache on this fuckin’ boat courtesy of the sleeping conditions of some of Tallinn’s finest hostel beds. On top of that we were up all night with the local scene drinking, and admiring the Medieval/Soviet rot of Tallinn from atop a large hill… Despite knowing our boat trip was going to be an extremely stormy one, and first thing in the morning. 

I remember the people, the sounds, the lights, the magic, and thinking ‘wow imagine if I was rational and decided to stay in tonight and not get absolutely bollocksed with a load of Estonian broads on a hill.’ 

…As if.   

As my two other good buds rested a bit on the front deck of the ship and the polka band played down below for the increasingly intoxicated Finns. I remember the deep and raw emotions I felt on that boat as I looked over the sea. I remember thinking to myself that I once dreamed of sailing to Finland in some sort of grade 10 folk metal wet dream I had conjured in my youth. It was simply powerful.

I’m not ashamed to say I teared up at that moment. Here I was sailing the Baltic to get to my Finnish black metal band deep in the wilderness of the far north, on a fucking huge boat with my friends and the most local of locals. It was everything I set out to do and be in my youth. It was the application of dreams to reality like a wand conjures lightening from some ethereal wizard’s big fuck-off tower.

But as I stared off at those ancient waters, and searched for the coastline of Finland, I couldn’t shake a collection of words that had struck me years before by a close friend.

It was around 2009-2010 and I was struggling for my life to start a folk metal band in Ontario Canada. Miles away from the main sources of inspiration of all kinds and levels. I was not very good at any instruments, I was just learning how to scream, and getting worse and worse at all the sports I was still involved in through a lack of interest in the game and the personalities I was meeting, the older I got.

Every time I found a dude who could play a decent riff he was vacant for practice, disinterested in my vision, or had some sort of other ideas for how fast we should be getting picked up by a label. 

It was right after school one day that I remember my good friend, the guy who was struggling with me to form a band came up to me, and heard the latest news in our long line of disappointments. Whatever it was, I was always willing to bounce back. Perhaps not even willing but rather forced to by something beyond myself deep within my subconscious, or from within the primordial waters of my personality. 

Although I suggested we might just go at it alone with a drum machine, or suggested we do what we can, instead of focusing on what we can’t so-to-speak he looked me dead in the eyes and said,

‘Maybe being in a band isn’t for us.’ 

What I found funny, is that’s the sentence that stuck with me years later. As I traveled across the sea towards my next album which was set to be released on one of my favorite labels as a kid.

I wasn’t angry, I didn’t hold it close to gloat. But I do hold it close.

And I woke up this morning thinking about why that might be. Why do I remember these sorts of comments? Why do any of us?

And I think It’s because a lot of the time, the people who say these things are right. It’s a safe bet to say that most shit you shoot for in life won’t work out.

But as corny as it is, you have to fucking try. Because if you don’t then yeah, you are absolutely correct it wasn’t for you, and not even for me if I listened to that lad then and there. 

He’s a good friend, we still talk, but one of us is in bands and one of us isn’t. Thankfully he has found his passion also, and does what he does, yadda yadda, but the point I’m trying to make here is that: 

People who give you logic like that arent wrong…they just aren’t right either.

Especially when it comes to that certain personality type that I seem to be a prime example of.

No description available.

It’s that type of person who revels in being told you can’t. I see it as a challenge, and have dedicated my whole life to saying ‘fuck you, watch me’

I have many friends that think cautiously, but guess what? They hang around, they stick around, and they seem to like the warmth that mad fuckers like me and my other bright hearted friends bring to the table in terms of friendship and team dynamics.

Now again, this isn’t to shit on any type of person, it’s fantastic to be cautious and you will probably have more security and stability than someone like me will ever get to enjoy, but you really can’t let that sort of negativity kill your ideas and passions.

If someone tells you that you both can’t do something, it’s literally no skin off their ass if they submit to the logic they find comforting. But if you are someone like me, you have to one day realize that there is something deeply uncomfortable about regrets and not trying something simply because a bunch of people you like to spend time with told you can’t.

Logically oriented personality types are really good at keeping others in check, if the others let them. But at some point you have to ask yourself ‘to what end’ you know?

To what end do you want to keep assuming that everything is too hard and that we should literally just do what we’re supposed to be doing.

People told me I was fucked for even trying to get a job in history, or to pursue a craft in blacksmithing.

Both of those are absolutely true statements, for anyone not willing to try.

But damn it, even during my uni years I was working full time as a blacksmith at a museum.

It doesn’t get more classic than that. If you are willing to try and be different, these crazy situations will find you. Law of attraction, baby. We’re talking Crowley, we’re talking Hermes’ Emerald Tablets. We’re talking about “if everyone else is bogged down in grey gridlock on all levels of their being, there is plenty of fuckin’ sky for you to soar in.”

Keep a bright heart, and let it burn until your last day, boys.

Have a killer weekend. 

Ioan Eofor

Posted on 53 Comments

How Do I Join A Tribe?

Listen along to this article with additional commentary by author Ioan Eofor

I’m going to go on record here and say that one of the most common questions I get on a weekly basis usually involves someone seeking advice in finding or building a tribe. 

This is a question I’m never unhappy to receive. It brings me and my colleagues great joy to hear of new inspiration, burning passion, and individuals seeking a greater purpose beyond the hypnotic :I: of today. 

Tribe is a powerful word, and stands for something far beyond its dictionary definition. The spectrum of this word is vast, and goes beyond many different collectives, ideas, customs, and most importantly people. 

The individuals who make up that organization are the living embodiment of the word tribe. They give it power through pooling their own various skills, quirks, powers, and principles. 

Tribe is one of those words like weight to me. Well, weight sounds pretty heavy, but what are we talking about? 1lb? 10lbs? 1200lbs? 

Because, like weight, the power of your tribe is not up for debate. You can feel it in the collective ideas of your gang if it’s a group of posers, you’re going to be entirely devoid of energy and ability.

Alternatively if you feel like your creativity is sparking beyond what you ever thought you were capable of, then your tribe clearly has some weight to it. 

A tribe should function like a beast in its prime. Not an animal of this world, but a creature of myth. Faster than all, stronger than all, imposing, mysterious, nature incarnate. 

Now imagine if that beast had a bum leg. 

If the heart pumps as strongly as ever.

If its roar can be heard from all corners of its realm. 

Its hunger still surges through every fiber of its being. 

What do you think will be blamed for it not functioning at top performance?

Those who run with the wolves should be wolves, and if they are not?

You don’t know shame like that. And you don’t want to.

There is nothing more crucial to the tribe than all of its entities resembling that of the characters from holy texts. Only then will this pantheon be remembered. Only then will that mighty tribe conquer all. 

If you are the reason that the tribe cannot do so, then you will be lower than all in the eyes of your so-called brethren, your so-called creed. 

Before you worry about aligning with a power such as a tribe, be sure you are capable to wield it and be of use to it. 

Oftentimes you find many men seeking a tribe for its protection and (dare I say it?) – It’s a safe space. 

There is no room for this type of creature.

The one who will post picture after picture of himself in the patches, in the sacred spaces, lighting up his various platforms with elusive words and pictures surrounding the organization.

Paper thin.

As soon as shit gets hard for those people, you can bet your ass he’s out of there.

See the true test, and the true difference between friends, and brothers is the simple question of can you see this guy dying for you? Could you see him go to jail with you? Can you see him standing by you and what you said when everyone is telling him he was wrong to say something?

There is very little more daunting in our day and age than social pressure. It’s a truly Foucaultian nightmare out there, and the panopticon is stronger than ever.  You need people who will stick by you no matter what.

And I don’t care how strong you are, you aren’t going to do that unless you know that no matter who said it in your group, you all know it to be true.

See, honest and noble men will stand by their beliefs – no matter what’s going on around them.

If you are making it up, and you are only pretending to get the message, then you’re not going to be of much help when shit hits the fan for that collective. 

In order to find the right people, you need to be the right force. 

The rest comes naturally, and shouldn’t even concern you until you understand how important you being the best possible you is for an organization that wants to take on the world, and show the youth that there is more than the horseshit you find outside or online today.

So, before you ask anyone for advice on finding a tribe, or how to join someone else’s, think about how truly ready you think you are for a commitment like that.

Nobody likes a quitter. 

And I’m sure as fuck that nobody likes a poser.