Would you even recognize yourself?

You walk into the frozen shopping mall. It’s winter now and the memories are icy cold. When you breathe, a puff of steam lingers for a few seconds. You’re looking for something.

What is usually marble tile is now covered by an inch or so of white snow. Neon blue and red filtering from some distant light give the snow a cotton candy quality. Each crunchy footstep snaps through the silence in the abandoned mall. Eventually, you find the source of the neon lights.

Before you, there’s a statue. You’ve seen this marble figure before. But, it looks different today. There’s a living quality to it. You’ve never seen it like this. Out of the stillness of the mall, the statue flinches. The eyes open.

In shock, you take a few steps back and stumble to the ground. The marble statue in front of you opens its mouth to speak. There’s a questioning look in his eyes.

Could the most profound question you’ve ever heard come from this statue’s lips? Could this statue’s question change your life? Perhaps you’ll discover your inner genius within the answer.

He begins to talk. Before he can say anything, he bursts out laughing.

“Ha ha ha!” Laughter carries through the shopping mall.

“Serious question?” he asks. “Ugh, as if!”

You wake up from this bizarre dream to find yourself reading a blog on the DARKNET.

Welcome to the unusual ask h e l i o s episode five.

I really had you going there with the whole creepy searching-the-mall-for-answers thing. Its wintertime and things are bored and I’m backwards. No, wait. I’m bored and things are backwards. Don’t be disappointed...plenty of answers to come in today’s newsletter.

2019 is over. I want to thank everyone who asked such profound questions over the last year. It’s been an honor to wax poetic and philosophize about the good, the bad, and the aesthetic in life.

Let’s not waste anymore time. Straight into the questions and answers we dive!

dear h e l i o s, what's the key to spiritual awakening without drug abuse?

A spiritual awakening through drug abuse will almost always be false. It’s like looking at some Instagram pics of the Grand Canyon and telling yourself you’ve already been there. I highly encourage untainted spirituality. Before I can answer you, let me ask you a serious question...are you sure you’re ready for a spiritual awakening? There’s no point going down the rabbit hole unless you are ready. It feels mostly terrible and changes everything. You don’t just go back to work on Monday morning after a spiritual awakening.

If one of you dear readers proclaims you’re ready to take “the neon pink pill of vapor awakenings and truths”, then leave a comment below and I promise to dedicate an entire episode of ask h e l i o s to "spiritual awakenings"! I’ll cover topics like the process of awakening, what it feels like to reinvent yourself, and how to survive this crazy life event very few people even encounter.

Until then, I will offer you ten things I did that changed my life forever (but are not necessarily recommendations for you and shouldn’t be attempted unless you are r e a d y):

  1. I started to believe in miracles, simulation theory, and Plato’s theories (but more on that one later one).
  2. I read Jed McKenna. I’ve never been the same since. My friend read it and he’s never forgiven me for recommending the book to him. It’s that life-altering.
  3. I got lost deep in the Internet and found communities like vaporwave, aesthetics, subreddits (depression, anxiety, and more) and countless niches that expanded my vision, interests in life. They also helped me see I'm not alone.
  4. I started to meditate and explore my own cavernous but busy mind.
  5. I traveled to places I previously only imagined existed in dreams (Osaka, Japan!).
  6. I started to measure my life by the amount of “poetry” there was in any given moment. Things might always be going well but at least it's a movie worth watching.
  7. I started to communicate with a higher power again through some for of prayer or conversation.
  8. I interacted with a million people, had a hundred thousand conversations and heard ten thousand unique (but universal) stories. Awakening through empathy. Empathy through extroversion.
  9. I explored the mysticism in life and made up my own "theory of everything", mission, and purpose in life.
  10. I undertook prolonged fasting for aesthetic and nostalgia gains

dear h e l i o s, what are your thoughts on dying malls?

They’re not dying! In fact, I just visited one. It was nice. This man gave me a tiny sample of chicken teriyaki and strong-armed me into buying a gigantic plate of meat and rice. Someone tried to sell me exfoliate from a kiosk but my social anxiety stepped in between us.

An old man stepped in dog poop and dragged it through the mall for a good fifty feet. A little stagger step of a brown stain. Left foot, left foot, left foot. The security guard stood there making sure no one stepped in it. Six people waited around expected someone to step in it. I walked on, looking for the hidden source of creamy cinnamon bun smell.

Malls are certainly alive and teeming with joy, life, and innovation!

dear h e l i o s, can a being's soul be measured by their capacity for self reflection?

I think so. But that’s because I do a whole lotta navel gazing. I am...biased. Does that mean I think people who never reflect upon themselves have no soul? No. I’m secretly kind of envious of that ability. I have a very successful friend who is pure execution without any self analysis, a brain like a robot.

Vaporwave was kind of born out of self reflection. It’s music for the introverted. It’s the soundtrack to isolation. In that solitude, there’s a lot of self reflection. I must warn you. Self reflection can easily snowball into self criticism and over-analysis.

Perhaps what draws you and I together is this capacity for self reflection. Our souls need one another. Our strengths and insecurities draw us together.

You know I overthink. I know you overthink. Let’s be friends? You know, with shared insecurities, even your most humiliating thoughts will be met with a soft “you are not alone” from yours truly.

That’s rare.

dear h e l i o s, why did she leave me? Please answer me.

I’ll save you the platitudes like “it’s her fault” or “it gets better”. There is only one real truth in the vaporwave plaza of relationships and love.

There are plenty of fish in the sea.

You see, vaporwave is a sort of ode to and mockery of 20th century consumerism and materialism. In the consumerist and materialistic manner of thinking, anything and anyone is replaceable.

This is terrible news for humanity but great news if you’ve fallen in love with someone and they’ve gone and vanished. Don’t like what you got? Lost something valuable? Old stuff ain’t working like it used to? No problem. Get new stuff!

Seems kind of messed up, doesn’t it? Let’s rewind so we can frame this theory a little better...

A long time ago, I found a weird video called The Cave. It's a video explanation of Plato's Allegory Of The Cave.

Plato, one of the greatest minds in history, had this crazy theory about reality and perception. While its truth will always be up for debate, it made me think in a different way.

(I'm not going to try to convince you of its legitimacy. I only want to share my experience.)

Essentially, it made me realize we are all experiencing life in a false perception. It is our own reality...and that makes it okay.

What does that mean for our lonely boi question-asker? You see, it’s not about trashing old stuff and getting new things. It’s about understanding you never had the old stuff anyway. It was merely something you thought you saw in your perception for what you think is reality.

If this is getting too deep for you, let me put it this way: you get to choose your beliefs.

Which belief empowers you?

  1. "She left me and I feel sad because someone is missing from my life and I will never replace that good feeling with someone else again. Certainly not anytime soon."
  2. "Ah, we co-created a feeling together and she decided to leave but I unconditionally love her. As long as she's happy, I cannot ask for me. No big deal. I can co-create another feeling with someone because I’m at least fifty to one hundred percent responsible for any good feelings I have anyway."

You choose, lonely boi. I’m here for you either way.

dear h e l i o s, what's the meaning of life?

Get buff. Eat chicken wings in a thousand flavors. Have sick style. Make people feel good emotions. Make them go “awww” or “ha ha!” Do lots of simple human things (which marble statues cannot do) like move your body, dance, make love in interesting places, cuddle for an entire Sunday, laugh like it’s therapy, drop what you’re doing to go watch the sunset everyday, play with strangers’ dogs and give the owner a big human hug when you’re done and say “thanks for what you do”, give catnip to felines and watch them get weird, make pottery by hand, paint something silly in a serious way. Wake yourself up. Ditch mainstream news. Make up your own stories.

Or, do none of those things. The meaning of life is to create a meaning and then give it your all in pursuit of it. Let that be your resolution this year: invent my own purpose in life.

After all, why would you choose to play by someone else’s rules when you can decide your own?

dear h e l i o s, how do i think of a question?

What the hell are they teaching you in school? Sigh.

A good friend once told me “the what’s work for the how’s work for the why’s”. Those at the top of society are those that ask “why?” Someone like Elon Musk asked “why do we rely on fossil fuels to drive an automobile?” He hires people who ask “how?” The "how's".These are the engineers, managers, doctors, etc. They have to know how things work and live to figure out the framework for the world. At the bottom of the pyramid, there are people who ask “what?” They ask “what do you want me to do? Tell me orders.”

If you need to ask how to ask questions, then you probably aren’t a “question asker”. No worries if you’re not. Some people aren’t meant to ask questions. Find your lane and enjoy the ride. (but, you sure as heck better not complain when the ride’s over and you didn’t like it.)

If you do find yourself asking “why” all the time, hold on to that. You could change the world.

I know I’ve sort of dodged your question better than George Bush dodges shoes (and intelligent answers). So, how do I think of a question? Turn off everything. Shut the curtains. Silence notifications. No music. No conversation. Just a pen and paper on a desk. Write one question on the paper.

“What do I not know that would improve my life or make me feel excited to know?"

Think hard. Then, stop thinking. Questions will appear in the emptiness. These will be your questions.

dear h e l i o s, who’s your favorite bust?

Bust of Alexander the Great at Sotheby's 

Why him? Military badass. Conqueror. He had the best mentors. His job was quite awesome. Ya know...conquering things. The actual bust is fiery and wild and masculine. I love it. He’s got better hair than h e l i o s, I’ll admit.

The runner-up is not a bust (there’s a pun in here somewhere waiting to blossom).

It's called Veiled Truth by Antonio Corradini.

(Click picture for a better view)

It's an incredible sculpture. Intensely detailed. Tasteful nudity. The sculpture created a divine woman. In this age of genital pics and thirst traps, it's a testament to eternal feminine beauty. In a time where sexuality and nudity is a manufactured, weaponized currency expressed only to get something in return, one can see the craftsmanship in this.

The person who created this was obsessed. They didn't just turn on their selfie camera, drop their drawers, and snap. This took work. I can’t imagine how long this took. What a craftsman. This took courage. The artist wanted you to feel something.

Much like I feel about crafting these newsletters to make you feel something deep in the gut.

Did I just compare my blog to one of the greatest statues ever? Yes, I did.

No one said sanity was a prerequisite for being here.

Until next time, be well.

h e l i o s


For the next episode of ask h e l i o s, will you help me? I’ve been dying to ask you humanoids some important questions. Believe it or not, I’m curious about you.

I'm asking you a bunch of questions about life, humanity, the aesthetic, and more.

Reply back with your smartest, deepest answer to one (or more) of the questions. If they really tingle my marble, I'll feature your answer in the next letter to my fans.

Questions for you humans from a curious marble statue:

  1. Are humans obligated to better themselves and will that make them happier?
  2. If everyone spoke their mind would this world be a better place?
  3. Is there a perfect life?
  4. Why do we strive for perfection if it is not attainable?
  5. Are highly intelligent people less happy than individuals with average intelligence?
  6. Is death a new beginning?
  7. What is the extent of freedom human beings should have?

Of course, there are some questions that just baffle h e l i o s. Here's not from this world, remember?

More questions you can possibly help me with:

  1. Why don't twins take 18 months to be born?
  2. Do you think NASA invented thunderstorms to cover up the sound of epic space battles?
  3. Is it possible to tattoo to be passed on genetically from parent to child?
  4. Where do lost socks go when they go missing?

Go ahead and answer in a comment below! If we love your answer, we'll add it to the next ask h e l i o s newsletter.