Step into the Unknown
An introduction to this Substack and my approach to writing
Step into the Unknown
What is life, but a step into the unknown? And keeping on taking that step, day after day. What is life, but a story we tell ourselves? A story that changes shape depending on our perspective. What is life, but an ongoing process of transformation, unfolding in mysterious and unknowable ways?
The Uselessness of Writing
I have many questions. Yet, the more I ask, the vaster and stranger the questions seem to become. I might find an answer, only to realize how very incomplete that one answer is. For a while this kept me from writing. What use was it to do so, since it simply resulted in more confusion? Another reason that I refrained from writing was that I read a book called Tao te Ching, which made me question the value of an approach to life where I was constantly analyzing and compartmentalizing my existence. I realized that I spent a lot of time constructing a narrative about my life, instead of just experiencing it. Here are a few lines from Tao te Ching that stuck with me:
The softest things on Earth
Overcome the hardest
The insubstantial can penetrate even where there are no openings
This is how I understand the benefits of Not-Doing
Teaching without words
And the benefits of Not-Doing
Are things achieved by very few.
After reading this, I spent some time contemplating these concepts. For a while I felt like writing or creating art was simply an act of reducing the wholeness of existence into smaller shape, so I took long walks in the forest instead. Instead of drawing or writing I took photographs of the scenes or details that I saw on my walks and posted them, but without any kind of text to accompany them. I wanted to be a witness to that natural miracle unfolding right before my eyes. No words were necessary. And words couldn’t compete with the beauty that just was. No work of art that I made could ever match the beauty that already existed in the world around me.
Yet, overtime, I felt something starting to gnaw inside of me. it was like a soft voice, clearing its throat, trying to give me a crucial bit of information, but in a very gentle manner. I suddenly realized that the thing that had ignited such a profound shift in my perspective and in the way I carried out my life, was exactly the same thing that had caused me to question its entire value: the written word.
For such a fascinatingly paradoxical result to be possible, I thought, there must be something truly powerful going on. Something magical. And I was curious to learn more. I wanted to be a part of that magic. I started to write again.
The Magic of Writing
A book is a magnificent piece of technology. Or a magnificent magical object. The words that fill its pages have the potential to transform lives. And I have felt my own life transformed many times over by countless books, by countless writers. Poetry. Fiction. Teen novels. Research dissertations. Fairy Tales. Books on Quantum Mechanics. Mythology. Science Fiction. Fantasy. Self-help books. Comics. I started out my life with a focus on visual art, but my first love was always stories. Not that those have to be opposite in any way. There are so many amazing stories told through visual form. Or auditive for that matter. But there is a mysterious quality to writing that I am eternally fascinated by. How reality can twist around and change right before our eyes depending on the way we choose to describe it.
Why I started this Substack
This writing is coming from a self-centered place. I am mostly writing for the sake of my own enjoyment, as an experiment, or as a learning process. All those are essentially the same thing: Experimenting. Learning. Enjoying. I want to dance with the stories I tell myself. I want to play with the conflicting narratives and contradictions that form a foundation of my life. And in sharing this process, there might be something interesting for someone else. That would be a win-win situation, but the place where I am writing from is ultimately a self-reflective, introspective one. I guess you can call this Substack an ongoing process of uncovering. A live transformation unfolding as I write. And you are welcome to join me.
Why I hope that you’ll join me
Even though the starting point for my writing is introspective, I am aware of the existence of an entire universe around me that I am connected to. A world inhabited by other beings going through other similar or very different experiences in their own lives. The main reason why I chose to start a substack instead of simply writing these thoughts into my diary is that I am acknowledging how intertwined my existence is with everyone else’s, in ways that I am aware of, and in ways that are entirely unknown to me. As I am now taking a step to open up and share my contemplations with the world, I am in turn opening up myself for the world to share its contemplations with me on an new level. Unless that wasn’t entirely clear, I mean that You, dear reader, are warmly encouraged to share your own view points and life stories with me. Please feel free to write me a comment if a post resonates with you (or not!) I am looking forward to embarking on this journey together with other souls. Through sharing our unique perspectives we are adding further dimensions of understanding (and confusion and mystery) to the great story that is life.
A Gentle Flow
With this Substack, I am aiming for a gentle flow. I am first and foremost aiming for depth. And depth takes time. That is why I am starting to write this substack on a bi-weekly basis: one week for writing and sharing. Another week for processing and contemplating.
The contents of my posts may take different forms: essays, poems, excerpts from my diary, sharing my dreams. I may also include more of my visual works over time, or maybe this Substack will develop into a hybrid consisting of different media, of words, visuals and sounds. I do not know yet, and I do not need to know. That is the beauty of it. With this Substack, I am trying to let the expressions flow out, in whichever shape they choose. Still, I suspect that the foundation of this Substack will rest mostly on the written word, combined with photographs I’ve taken over the years. Let’s take it from there, and see where it goes.
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Excerpts from Tao te Ching are from the translation by James Trapp (2015, Amber books). For finnish speaking readers, I highly recommend the wonderful finnish translation written by TaoLin (2022, Arktinen banaani).
*The first image, Step Into the Unknown, consists of AI-generated visuals of the phrase “step into the unknown”, generated using Stable Diffusion and edited by me
**The other images are of some of the photographs I took during my searching, silent phase, when I was questioning the value of my writings and the constructions of my mind, in order to attune more to the physical world around me
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