Charlie's Blog: Stairway to Heaven


Stairway to Heaven

I think we're in a disposable world and 'Stairway to Heaven' is one of the things that hasn't quite been thrown away yet.

Led Zeppelin has been unfairly linked with the occult for decades. It probably didn't help matters when Jimmy Page bought the former home of occultist Aleister Crowley, a man described as the most evil man that ever lived. Whether that Crowley assertion was true or hype is another matter. But people forget that Robert Plant wrote lyrics inspired by The Lord of the Rings, arguably the greatest Catholic novel ever written. I doubt Plant was deeply religious as the Zep guys were famous for their debauchery. But I can say they have matured since those days of hedonistic excess.

It is the day after Christmas as I write this. This Christmas has been a difficult one because of gift buying. I can honestly say that I have every material thing I desire short of a piece of land for a homestead. Except for that, God has blessed my household, and I am grateful for all His gifts even the ones I didn't like at the time. I have matured enough in my walk with the Lord to see that He keeps you in the midpoint between excess and despair. Life will not be comfortable, but you will know He is there still providing.

I have been working on some material that I have been considering for submission to other websites, but I have come to the conclusion that this would be a bad idea. The only reason I consider these other avenues of publication is because they have heavier traffic than the humble C-blog. In the old days, you sent stuff to publications because they had a printing press and a network of distribution. I remember sending things to The Atlantic back in the day and collecting a drawer full of rejection slips. Then, when blogs became a thing, I laughed because I didn't need the dead tree media anymore. I could be my own publisher and editor.

A Catholic blogger recently elected to leave the Patheos website and begin her own website for her writing. I think this is a good idea. I am a big proponent of the DIY ethos. It fits with my distributist outlook on things. The problem with the world is that people sell out. For instance, a new tech firm starts out with an innovative product or service except now they sell the firm at the first opportunity to Google, I mean Alphabet, or Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft. It probably makes business sense to cash out instead of trying to slug it out for years against the big boys. But this is how monopolies grow. There is no law of the land or economics that demands that you sell out. People just do it because they are lazy.

In Star Wars lore, the question is asked. Is the Light Side or the Dark Side of the Force more powerful? The answer is that the Light Side is more powerful, but the Dark Side is quicker. Now, this is just a stupid movie, but I think this bit of lore is applicable to the real world. Good is more powerful than evil, but evil is quicker. The reason people fall to evil is primarily a consequence of impatience. Likewise, the reason the small guy sells out to the big guy is because of the same impatience.

I have often wonder why hippie types make such great entrepreneurs, and I think it boils down to the fact that they don't sell out. They don't care about money, so they stick with their operations in pursuit of higher values. The most potent example of this would be the Grateful Dead who did every dumb hippie thing in the book as a touring band and became rich as a consequence.

If there is one great business lesson to learn from those guys, it is to never sell out. Distributists agree. What eroded the self-sufficient agrarians of yesteryear was their temptation for an easier and more certain life in the cities and the factories. Then, they ended up broke and homeless in a decade when the factories laid them off. This is what happens when you sell out.

I don't want to sell out. This is why I think I am better off not submitting to other websites that might have better traffic. The most important thing you have is not capital or a customer base but independence. I say this as craft beer brewers fall all over themselves to sell out to Anheuser-Busch InBev.

I am sticking with my blog. I run this thing the way I like it, and I think it would break my heart to see my stuff cut to pieces by some editor. Plus, I can tell you that no one publishes rambling essays like this one.

A new year is upon me, and the mind turns to resolutions. I already have my first resolution which is to not sell out. Perhaps a second resolution will be to write more stuff. Beyond that, I will have to think about it a bit. When you are Catholic, you are always working on self-improvement, and I don't mean gym memberships. The closest thing I have to a vice would be drinking two to three PBR's each week. I have to drink those few beers, so I will have something to give up for Lent. Beyond that, I could probably get more exercise which is hard because of my job which is also exercise. We'll see.