On Insanity And Pride

The full readings are here."Hang The Medal On That Guy" / Marino Frost

Mk 3:21
When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said,
“He is out of his mind.”

The big news in my life recently is that I’ve been hired into a retail position at a technology company that wouldn’t want me blogging about them by name. What this means in practical terms is that I’m making slightly less per hour than your garden-variety lab monkey (and I don’t mean the monkeys used in brain experiments, either).

To be honest, it kinda hurts my pride.

After all, for the last seven years I’ve been running my own business and setting my own schedule. Now, suddenly, I’m just another nobody at a Big Fucking Corporation. I have to clock in and out according to the whims of The Man, and my bags are checked every time I leave the store. On top of that, my co-workers are all much, much younger than me. I mean, they were probably conceived to Prince music! I’ve gone from Master of My Destiny to Whiny Old Guy In The Break Room.

So this afternoon, as I’m channel-surfing to avoid having to write another Sunday Sermon, I click into a self-produced interview by Marino Frost. I want to make that very clear: this is a self-produced interview. Marino hired a woman to interview him in his recording studio, edited it together with music, and it is now broadcast semi-regularly on a cable access channel. I saw it twice today.

Try honestly
to love someone.”

My first instinct was to write the guy off as a nut-job. But the video looks much better than most cable access content, and the Jets were down ten points with five minutes to go so I watched for a while. When it was over I looked up his website. It turns out that Marino has developed a very complex, highly systematic spirituality based on the Ten Powers of Eternal Truth (my favorite of which is “The Power of Q & A”).

Really, if you have an hour to kill at work I highly recommend his site. It’s a masterpiece of irony-free self-delusion.

Every ignored blessing
becomes a curse.”

What troubled me, as I pored over Marino’s aphorisms (including “A solider is there not to think, but to follow orders. Don’t be a soldier!” and “Drink plenty of water!”), was the realization that I am exactly like him. Only I don’t even have a system! I write these Sermon Sundays every week, desperately hoping that someone will read them and find them useful. That’s why I got into writing anything, in fact. But I’m starting to think that’s a real long shot.

It is rewarding to know
how to take advantage
of yourself.”

It’s a rare thing to actually affect someone in this life. I don’t know what it takes; I think naked honesty and a dedication to erasing the lines of ego are a good start. Intention probably counts for something. Clarity of thought is probably not as important as clarity of feeling, and neither are as important as luck. For the reader must be as ready as the writer, and as open to a new idea.

Life is good,
it just seems bad!”

I found Marino’s website ridiculous at first. His ideas are vague, written in broken English, and frequently contradictory. His Pollyanna optimism (“Don’t stop, don’t quit, just love!”) is reminiscent of 1960s “hippie” rhetoric, which to my mind has done little but cement an unhealthy dedication to the Self, at least in America.

But the more I thought about his aphorisms, the more I pried open the vise grip of my prideful mind, the more I thought: “Yeah, man. Yeah.” After all, didn’t Jesus contradict himself now and then? And Buddha? Isn’t that the whole garrulous glory of religion? To undo ourselves by untying the mangled words of the masters?

So. Hat’s off to you, Marino Frost. Don’t let these youngsters get you down.


  1. Don’t know if this is what you’re getting at but in the original research on deliberate practice they talk about the very, very few expert performers (in any field) who move on to what they call eminent performers. These might be the ones you’re thinking of, those who influence people.

    While expert performers have very deep domain knowledge, the eminent performers go beyond that to contribute new knoweldge to their field. They work very hard for many years towards that objective.

    But then, they are researchers. WTH do they know?

  2. Then again (after sleeping on it) if you really want to influence people then do what you’re doing and write plays/movies. There’s your audience, literally.

    I’m no fan of what William Goldman calls “medicinal movies” — the ones that are supposed to be good for you, the films that have as their primary purpose social activism. Far better, in my opinion, to first tell a good story then put a thread of the message woven seamlessly into the fabric of the story. That way I don’t have to use the word “didactic” again.

  3. Greg,

    I think these are all good points. I agree especially with your sentiment about “medicinal movies.” I frequently use the phrase didactic as a synonym for morally/aesthetically repulsive.

    I sort of feel the most brilliant of writers/creative types are perhaps blissfully unaware of their greatness. While us mortals toil in the muck and filth, studying for years the techniques of Shakespeare and Joyce and never achieving more than mere mimicry, these giants just write from the gut, calling it like they see it.

    But then perhaps that, too, is a romanticism. I don’t know. But I appreciate your dedication to the battle of the Blank Page! It’s good to have comrades in combat.


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