Set Your Head On Fire: The Way of the Liberation Artist


All interferences to self-actualization can be summed up under one obstruction:


You are being inhibited in some way, but it’s not likely coming from somewhere “out there.” YOU are probably the one that’s holding yourself back. That’s because 99% of limitation is self-imposed.

These limiting beliefs are the enemy of the free mind.

But what’s really important to note is this:

Whatever beliefs you have, whether they define you as a person or define the core of your reality, are not true in and of themselves. They are only true in your mind. Your thinking makes them true.

When I really started to see the impact of this truth, I started becoming more and more aware of all the limitations I’ve placed on myself. Some of them were unintentional, some were created by copying others, and some were habituated by fear.

At first, these limitations were annoying to me. I knew they were holding me back, I could clearly see that. But my knowledge of that limitation didn’t stop it from continuing to limit me. Awareness of limitation is only the first step to uprooting it. It can take a lot of deliberate focus to permanently disarm it. And it can be incredibly frustrating when you desire to act out of a more empowering context, but the previous pattern keeps creeping back in.

That’s when I began devoting myself to the path of the liberation artist.

But really, all my life I’ve had:

Revolutionary tendencies

Much of my life has been spent in the pursuit of breaking down boundaries and eradicating limits. Since a young age, I’ve had a hard time accepting anything prostrated as “one true way.” I’ve always had a strong urge to question anything that is accepted as common sense. (The past two years of my life especially, have been centered around the theme of Liberation.)

When I was younger I would often question my parents, religious leaders and teachers. Basically anyone who would listen to my questions, I would probe. What I eventually came to realize is a lot of people don’t know where their answers come from, and a lot of people have the same answers as everybody else. But when you ask them why they’ve come to the conclusion that they have, they’re at a loss for words. The best you can often get from them is something like “That’s just the way it is,” or “Because this really old book says so,” or ” Because it’s just common sense.”

Well, I never really liked those answers. Other people seemed fine with it, though. It just seemed natural for them to live in a quiet subjugation, abdicating their right to actually understand the beliefs they were expected to live by.

I find it extremely unethical to tell others they need to live a certain way, when you can’t intelligently explain the logic behind your doctrine.

So, yeah, that just didn’t sit right with me. If I’m expected to live my life based on a certain idea, concept, or belief-system, I better damn well understand it.

Because when you have this kind of supercilious administration, what you get is…

Blind leading the blind

When you postulate something as unquestionable and absolute, it becomes an autocracy. And when you claim something as irrefutable, you poison it.

I think this is because when you place yourself within a fixed pattern, you automatically interfere with its usefulness. A fixed pattern is not capable of elasticity. Like a tree that has no bend, it will give way during the first hurricane.

That’s because real, unadulterated truth has no need to be explained or validated by a set of edicts or mandates. Pure truth, by it’s very nature, is true whether you believe in it or not.

What all of this has had let me to is:

The Way of the Liberation Artist

The art of liberation is not something you devote yourself to partially. You either give completely, or not at all. There is either total liberation, or none. Committing your life to the way of liberation is an act of polarization.

When you begin to liberate yourself, you will see at first that you tend to seek liberation in external forms. You search for liberation from a dead end job or boring work. You examine ways to liberate yourself from the physical limitations you’ve placed on yourself, or addictions you may have collected.

You may seek outward liberation from:

  • Work that isn’t meaningful.
  • Living your life on a schedule or routine (self employment helps with this).
  • Being a slave to the clock.
  • A partner that doesn’t fully respect you.
  • A boss that takes you for granted.
  • Addiction to substances: alcohol, tobacco, coffee, food, etc.
  • Addiction to unmeaningful pursuits: obsessive organization, excessive email checking, etc.

But ultimately, as we seek our liberation in these things, we find that what we were looking for wasn’t freedom from things at all. What we were looking for was inner freedom.

So if you take the rabbit hole far enough, you end up following the path of internal liberation.

You seek sovereignty from:

  • Self importance and the need to be right.
  • Being anti-you.
  • Playing the judge and the victim.
  • Human domestication.
  • Social conformity masked as trying to fit in.
  • External validation.
  • Your story.
  • Taking things personally.
  • Thinking you need to be liberated.

Ultimately, the pilgrimage to liberation leads you to question a lot of things. This cannot be done half-assed. If you want to experience true illumination, you must seek it as if your head is on fire.

So this naturally leads you to…

Intentionally setting your head on fire*

They say the cost of freedom is high; that you have to protect and guard it with all you’ve got. They say many corporations, religious groups, the government, and institutions have a vested interest in taking up the precious real estate of your mind. They say that if you don’t have a plan, someone else has one for you.

This may be true, but it’s all secondary.

That’s because when you devote yourself to the path of the Liberation Artist, what you realize is that you’re defending your mind against your own internal division. As they say, you are often your own worst enemy. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

You can be your greatest ally. This is called owning your own mind.

Embracing the path of the Liberation Artist is the practical and radical pursuit of living on your own terms. It’s a way of galvanizing and defining what you and I have been pursuing all along: Freedom.

Maybe you’re reading this blog because you’re already living the life of the Liberation Artist. That’s because if you’re anything like me, you’ve found that freedom is addictive.


PS: I realize that I talk a lot on this blog about living on your own terms, authenticity, and not rebelling against yourself. I know some of what I’ve said in this article I’ve repeated many times in other articles, so I hope you’ll forgive the redundancy. My purpose here was to give form and put into words a way of life I’ve been living and have been trying to define for some time. The Liberation Artist is that clarity.

It should also be noted that I didn’t make this word up, I stole it (with permission) from Carl, who writes the incredibly awesome blog, Slacker Reform. I recommend that you go subscribe to his blog now and talk to him, before he gets too famous to consort with little peons like us.

*I do not endorse literally setting your head on fire. That would just be dumb.

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