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For five years and a season, I’ve been a runaway from a forced “marriage“. Prior to my lapse of freedom, my professional life revolved around branding start-ups while developing and guiding their marketing strategies; I was exceptionally proficient at those tasks. I’ve been unemployed now for nearly two and a half years, aside from a few failed attempts to push past my triggers, lingering ghosts from traumatic yester-years. During this revisit with poverty, I’ve yet to go hungry, meanwhile, increasingly, people are unable to survive without an employer to grant them paper credits and find themselves firmly within the ballooning dependent class. Our governing bodies glorify the seemingly holy job creator - yet I am about to execute a cross-country move and provide for my needs on the other side without one. It is through my investments in people, and the trust that I’ve been willing to extend to them - and they to me - during these years of my recovery.

One of the few benefits of my extended unemployment has been the ample time to craft a comprehensive statement for my life‘s work:

I am the sensitive child who needs to be seen beyond the languages of words, crafting the wordsmith capable of painting tapestries of metaphysical inquisition to task upon the human mind into the paradigm of the adult; forged in privileged academia and [what psychiatrists have labeled] “an exceptional amount of violence,” my life is indebted towards breaking the cycle of conquest and domination that has blinded my peoples - those who would find similarities with themselves in my community, culture, values, etc - to the normalized, global epidemic reality of their perceived-exceptional perspectives; aiming to manifest a symbiotic relationship between creativity and reality in an empowering environment, with a positive global impact and a cooperative framework.

Auturgy is defined as “work with one’s own hands; self action,” but it has much deeper meaning in the context of first philosophy. In that realm, whether called first philosophy or metaphysics, auturgy is part art, part power, representing individual work against the ego to control the human will. While a lack of auturgy enabled my enslavement, it has been the development of auturgy that has spurred me to reclamation of my right to a liberated existence. As I continue to struggle with the manifestations of post-traumatic stress in my own life, it is auturgy that battles the man-made wolf clawing at my insides, fighting the primal adaptations that have been necessary for my survival and keeping them caged beneath the surface. Through strengthening auturgy, I slowly work to overcome the lingering reminders of my traumas and strip them of their power to invade my present.

Eudaimonia is an ancient concept; coined by Aristotle, it is the antithesis of hedonism. Eudaimonia’s root, daimon, represents the true nature of a person and all of his/her potentialities - the “divinity” and the “spirit” inherent in all persons. In recent years, the accepted translation for eudaimonia has shifted from “happiness” to the more literal interpretation of “human flourishing”. It is the daimon in action, as realized in individual lives towards the maximum fulfillment of human existence. For Aristotle, eudaimonia “consists in those lifelong activities that actualize the virtues of the rational part of the soul.” It is the chase for a eudaimonic existence that drives all subordinate goals, in this ethical frame, and eudaimonia which is the highest end attainable by humanity.

Aristotle himself believed that maturity was a prerequisite for ethical discourse, believing that experience was necessary for an individual’s capacity to grasp the concepts of good and bad to develop. He believed that we come to know those concepts through experiences, and it is only through our evaluations of those experiences that we are able to assess that which we call ethics. While Aristotle and I disagree on which characteristics make up the virtues, on the necessity of experience as the basis for ethical discourse, we are in alignment.

I am compelled to rally behind cries of peoples around the world to remedy the manifesting symptoms of our trauma-begets-trauma cultures. As I continue my metanoia - the journey of changing my way of life after much soul-searching - I’m going to be using this space to share stories, challenge constructs, and re-learn to trust my own voice. Topics will be as variable as experiences; anything that creates an impact against individual eudaimonia may find its way onto the discussion block. In my upcoming move, I join a civil engineer I’ve known since my early college days to renovate his newly-acquired property into a self-sufficient refuge, working to develop an understanding of how aspects of eudaimonia may be manifested within spatial and interpersonal realities. We affectionately refer to the developing space as Auturgy House.

It is my pleasure to share these projects with the readers of In Motion, and more so that our journey together begins today, as this safe space for dissenting voices celebrates its 19th year. My auturgy begins with an end to my silence, as it must. The fear of rediscovery by my self-proclaimed “husband” has kept me largely hidden from the world this last half-decade; that ends today. I am coming out of the shadows to share what I have learned about the world, about reality, about humanity, and about the daimon of consent - that the world may come to know the secrets that we keep hidden in the darkness, in order to build a more eudaimonic future together.

Published in In Motion Magazine August 2, 2014