Chris Langan: Extraordinary Man Living Life On His Own Terms

AnonymousBosch

Crow
Gold Member
Quintus Curtius said:
I want to produce, to generate, to create. It's just a personality-driven thing.

Does art need an audience or is the creation all that matters?

I went to a Funeral last week. A good mate's Grandfather died at Ninety-One, leaving behind his wife of Seventy-Four years. My mate is Forty, and has never experienced Known Loss before, so I was ready to catch him in his grief.

After the Funeral and the Wake, in a quiet moment, he commented to me that he'd spent a lot of time with his grandfather over the last few years, and because of that, he wasn't sad about his passing, because the man was genuinely-happy with the life he'd lived.

He'd had a conversation with him about two weeks ago where the grandfather laid it all out for him. He had eight children, twenty-grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren. He and his wife had lasted almost three quarters of a century together, and despite ups and downs, still loved each other deeply. He told my friend he had no real regrets, and there wasn't anything left he felt he needed to do.

"I think he knew he didn't have long," my mate said, "... and he wasn't scared or unhappy. So, I'm not sad for him."

I've seen other people near their end, and have seen the fear and regret that can set in, so I understood what he mean.

My mate continued: "It's funny, I was looking around at my family here. It's the first time all of us have been together in a long while..."

They're very spread out across the entire country.

"... and it struck me that, my family are good people, and how lucky I am for that. I mean..."

He motioned silently to me, knowing my family history on all sides was full of criminals, narcissists, psychopaths, drug addicts, child abusers, shut-ins and, on my mother's side, genius-level women whose genuine high intelligence (not 'modern uni degree intelligence') should have set them at odds with society, but they flourished. (My great-grandmother was a Doctor, with her own Practice - not a Nurse - in 1912, even though third-wave Feminists would tell me that 'couldn't be true' because 'everyone knows' all women were trapped at home until the 70's).

I nodded, taking no offense in his implication.

He continued: "I mean, my sister has her issues, but we all care for each other. Even my Dad..."

...currently in Jail...

"... he can be useless at times, but he does try."

I've always seen his father's sins as recognizably-human ones, and easily-forgivable, and it seems healthy that his children can overlook his repeated fuckups, rather than carrying long-term grudges about them, (aside from the Lesbian sister, who would find an unforgivable offense in a blank sheet of paper).

As such, are the familial bonds of compassion and care any less of an Art than the traditional considerations of Art? If an Intelligent Person chases their personal desires for glory and praise to the neglect of their own familial connections, whom then scatter and have little to do with them as they eventually die alone, isn't it, in its own way, a failed work of creation? A misshapen statue. An ugly, out-of-perspective painting, A song no-one wants to sing along with.

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But think about this: even if Langan's great ability does not "produce" anything, perhaps that very lack of production is a thing of beauty in itself.

I really need to send you one of the outtakes from my last album, mate. You'll get the song.

When I originally approached my collaborator, I'd completed the music for a good eighteen tracks by myself. I hired him as a paid singer and producer, and was quite blunt about what I was doing. I said, I didn't care if anyone else heard it, and genuinely-meant it. I've done the Music Game. This was just, finally, for me.

When I started, it was still cheap to press vinyl, because the resurgence hadn't yet happened. I laid out my plan. I was going to pay two grand and get two hundred copies made, and then, whenever I traveled in the world, I intended to take a copy or two on each trip, and drop them into a second-hand record store, so they could sit unnoticed amongst the Plastic Bertrand, Fairfield Parlour and Bananarama records, until, eventually, someone would chance it for two bucks, take him home, and, hopefully, their jaw would drop over how good it was, and they'd wonder how they'd never heard of this band.

Then they'd go to the internet, look it up, and... nothing. No-one would know who did it. No-one would know anything about it. It would be their own discovery, a private universe, unbeknownst to everyone else.

The idea took me back to my childhood, when your favourite album was an identity that separated you from others, especially if no-one else knew about the band. I said, 'Somewhere out there, there's a teenager who feels out of place for his intelligence, and the accidental discovery of this album could be his refuge.'

The idea simply struck me as both pure and beautiful.

The problem, of course, being I was always serious in my intention, whereas my collaborator, not understanding that someone could attempt to create something great only for it to be thrown away, though he could talk me out of it, seeing dollar signs, personal praise and career advancement for himself, none of which could ever hope to fill the void I've since seen yawning in his soul.

In the end, I relented, just hoping it would get the work done faster, but I still stand by my original idea. Sometimes beauty is a private thing, and exists without the gaze of an observer.

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One night recently, I woke up in the middle of the night and walked out onto the balcony of my new property, and saw how the pale moonlight threw the fields into sharp relief. I ended up taking a walk in the quiet night air down to the mailbox. There's an short avenue of trees flanking the end of the drive, the filtered light falling through them was beautiful.

I wondered on how many nights that beauty had existed, but was unobserved by human eyes.

--------------

I used to jog in the summer evenings with a mate along the steeper streets across the valley in my last town. All the big houses were there: large and pretentious, where you could see people had enough excess money to start furnishing their front yards, like they were rooms. There was a fire trail behind the highest ones, and the views there at sunset were incredible, and would take my breath away.

Evening after evening, the pair of us would comment on the sunset, and the view across the valley, and how stunning it was.

Evening after evening, the balconies and entertaining areas of these big houses that faced the valley were completely empty.

After a while, I commented on how it seemed like such a shame that the occupants were missing the beauty in front of them. That town always had incredible sunsets.

My mate grunted. "They're probably still stuck at work, so they can afford to pay for their damn houses. We get the same view, and all it costs us is a little sweat."

-------------

I have had stillness on my mind, since my first post. As usual, if I ask for information, it is delivered. There's a direct indirectness to this pattern, so I know when something seems small and insignificant it's worth looking closer.

Cleaning out some old boxes from the barn, I found an old book of devotional sayings, and it fell open on a page as I flipped it. Broken spine probably. A common thing for books.

I looked at the page.

It was a quote from Exodus 14:14: "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."
 

TheBoom

Sparrow
Gold Member
Fascinating post. I can't really judge Langan because I don't have enough context and some of the criticisms seem to say more about the commenter than Langan. To really understand whether Langan has taken the right road in his life I would need to understand at least whether his low key personality is a sign of someone at peace with himself and happy with life or a symptom of someone stunted due to some inherent personality quirk or aspect of his upbringing.

If he is happy and at peace then, from a Buddhist or Stoic outlook, he has taken the right path, or at the very least one of them.

I also have no idea whether his big idea is intellectual masturbation or a truly groundbreaking one. If the former, then it may be a loss for society. I write "may" because a lot of brilliant people have used their brains to build businesses (e.g., processed food or advertising), wage war or gain power that can be said to have made life worse.

Take Steve Jobs who in many ways typified what most people value - he was a fabulously wealthy visionary who built an empire and great products that people loved. On the other hand the iPhone and its ilk can be said to have made life worse for people and society by shortening attention spans and isolating people from one another. Jobs was also a miserable excuse for a human being in how he treated people especially his oldest daughter.

If Langan's idea is truly a groundbreaking one, maybe he was freer to pursue it by working jobs that weren't mentally taxing allowing him to use his mental powers on his idea. Maybe not. Beats me.

For me Langan's life ultimately raises two big questions:

1. What is the definition of a life well lived?

2. How much or little do we owe society?
 

Razor Beast

Woodpecker
Men as smart as him are best suited for research academia. They have a heavily philosophical mind rather than a practical mind. His underachievement is living proof that it's possible to be "too smart". Put him consistently in situations where he needs to make important decisions under pressure with money on the line and he'll overthink everything and ultimately fail in his role. Seen it with plenty of very smart people before. Smart people make the world go round, but once intelligence reaches a certain point (outliers like him) it definitely becomes more detrimental to personal success.
 

Truth Tiger

Kingfisher
Gold Member
From esoteric studies I have done (specifically I nvolving the multi-dimensional human design system) and from observing various people (modern and historical), it seems that there are different personalities among highly intelligent people, just as with those of average intelligence. It seems fairly universal that Nature is a genius's best friend and Time their jealous lover.

I believe personality differences plus upbringing are important factors in when / how / if the work of such as individual appears in the world. Barely detectable patterns, momentary flashes of delightful insight, and appreciation for the sublime are available to all of us but often only arise when we limit distraction which requires solitude and often when pain from past experiences is processed and released. There may be periods of inner reflection and outer expression, with healing and growth (and trauma) occurring in fits and starts; no one but the creative person can know what is the proper balance between outer and inner expression as the cycle of life pulls them along. Often an excess of one (external expression) provokes a strong pull to the other. It can look very chaotic even to the creator but they are working with Nature's rhythm which only someone also in tune with Nature could possibly understand.

We all can discover the root of our own genius ('Is Your Genius at Work?' by Dick Richards) and see how we express it, as opposed to only believing genius is limited to other special people. There are degrees of course and Chris is at the far end of the bell curve. External understanding or acceptance may play very little part in the life of the creative person except as a reminder that, 'this above all - to thine own self be true.'

Regarding outer expression, I can relate this anecdote. As I began to spend more time in quiet and meditative self-reflection, a shift in perception occurred. I had noticed, after some prompting by a spiritual teacher, that instead of the sense of me as a body moving through the world, that I realized that a more fundamental aspect of me, my awareness, was ever-still and unmoving. It is the world that moves within your awareness - not that we 'own' awareness but rather it possesses us.

This surprising but deeply-felt shift made the world feel far more intimate than before, as all the people and things within it are actually within me, in a deeper sense of what 'I' am. It doesn't mean everything is bliss bunnies and rainbows, but I could now viscerally know that any real sense of separation is only an artifact of the mind attempting to create a division where none actually exists. I mean, how can you truly understand or relate to someone or something that feels aliens and outside yourself? It would be a sham, a lie. Intimacy with whatever compells us is a prerequisite for our genius to express itself. The mind can be a useful tool in service of our goals or feel like a cruel master yanking us around on a barbed wire chain. So I believe for any degree of genius to be displayed there is an interplay between sensory intimacy and the role of mind.

I think that even and perhaps especially among the very very high IQ, coming to a clear understanding of one's relationship to mind, body, soul, and Spirit / Universe is essential to not go mad. And by no means do I believe understanding resides solely in the mind. The mind is the smaller part of our entire being and freedom is seeing our totality of Self in relation to otherness. It is the external dance of One and Other, Space and Energy, Shiva and Shakti, Creator and Creation.

I'd say if Chris lived a few hundred years ago his lifestyle would be more the norm and, as several have said, any fruits of his genius meant for public viewing would arise in their good time. I've read that excessive conscience is a hallmark of genius - one cannot ignore his fellow man's suffering except at the cost of great heart pangs, though it can take time to become clear on how to best influence and impact the world. A redwood doesn't provide shade but for the passing of many years.
 
Neo said:
He seems like an interesting man. I hope that the theory that he is working on comes to fruition and helps humanity in some way.

After a certain age you quickly realize that superficial or material achievements do not lead to happiness.

That's why if you study the lives of very wealthy and successful men they tend to focus on philanthropy and altruism later in life. They may have been cutthroat to accumulate their wealth, but eventually it goes back to where it came from. Is this some type of universal law? I'm not sure.
I'm of the belief that we really never own anything anyway. We're just leasing everything we have, and eventually it goes back to nature where it came from.

We're on a travel and game forum, but if I'm honest with myself has bedding women brought me profound peace and satisfaction? I must say it has not. But you know a few recent things that have brought me happiness and contentment?

Giving to the victims of the LV shooting.

Standing next to an elderly woman in the line of the supermarket who just wanted a listening ear. Out of the blue she told me she had recently come up with some good jokes and asked if I was interested in hearing some of them. Of course I was. They weren't bad (I'm a harsh critic) so I told her about a local place that has open mic night and that she should sign up. She smiled and was thrilled, and said that her own kids and grandchildren haven't given her a word of encouragement in several years.

All this isn't to say one should be passive. There are many things in this world to fight for. I'm still motivated to achieve goals and complete projects, but the focus has shifted from external to internal. In the past I tended to do things because I wanted external admiration, now it's mainly to develop internal qualities.

And if you really look deeply aren't the internal conditions much stronger?

When I look at it in that sense, attempting to develop a theory that unites the mind, the universe, and may give us a glimpse of God seems like a worthwhile endeavor.

I think what's telling is the fact that his life is so confusing to so many people. It shows how deeply entrenched we are in the material and superficial paradigm, and how much spirituality has been lost.

The rich guys who are focusing on philanthropy are not doing it anonymously, but they want their name on the libraries they build and they make sure to let everyone know which illness they are trying to cure at the moment. It's just another way of feeding their egos.

The best time of my life was when I started out in business, with a goal of making a lot of money. Waking up early, working all day. The road to mastery (in whatever subject you pick) is what brings true happiness (in my experience). Not the end goal in itself.

So, after you've made the money you wanted to make, it's natural to find a new goal (in some cases, philantrophy) that is more exciting. Or after you've had your 500 girls, to start aiming for something else.
 

Sandstorm

Kingfisher
sterling_archer said:

I feel that this guy, however high he scores in IQ tests, suffers from the same delusions as any other high level thinker. That is, that if everyone just followed him, let him be in charge, did what he told them to, allowed him to make all the decisions for them in their lives... then life would be perfect.


Well yes, for him, for his life, from his perspective, that is entirely true. But what he fails to see, despite his high IQ score, is that many people have come before him and many will corm after him, with the same idea, that if everyone just did things their way and followed their vision, then everything would be perfect.

Essentially, it's narcissism. Ego. Arrogance. And that to me is actually a sign of a lacking of certain intelligence. It's like intelligence undeveloped, that hasn't been tempered with humility.

I see no difference in the way he sees the world than other elitists, such as George Soros with his General Theory of Reflexivity. To George, that theory is his particular framework for his understanding of life and if everyone just followed it, the world would be perfect.


It's all very dangerous. All dictators, are exactly the same. Do it my way or face punishment. They never last. Their way always turns to dust and slips away. It takes real insight, something beyond high IQ scores, to really understand that I feel.

Which segues nicely into the next point!

RexImperator said:
AB said:
I find great peace in stillness, more peace and satisfaction than in any of my life's 'superficial' achievements that might impress others, none of which were really that hard beyond putting in regular work. The quieter I am, the more distractions are lessened, and the less I need to prove myself to the world, so the closer I feel to God.

Eckhart von Hochheim (1260-1328) said:
"Be sure of this: absolute stillness for as long as possible is best of all for you."

"Since it is God's nature not to be like anyone, we have to come to the state of being nothing in order to enter into the same nature that He is."

"Above thought is the intellect, which still seeks: it goes about looking, spies out here and there, picks up and drops. But above the intellect that seeks is another intellect which does not seek but stays in its pure, simple being, which is embraced in that light."

Essentially, this is what meditations purpose is, to take you to that plane. It's above thought, above intellect, above high IQ.

It just is and always will be.
 
This guy is unhinged, unapologetic, and absolutely correct. I couldn't care less of him phrasing life in terms of the meta-physical, because it seems if men like him can come to the same conclusion as lower IQ people walking the streets, then truth must be a universal constant that draws the righteous, no matter their quality or lack thereof. Someone should reach out to him.
 
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