Reaching Out from the Streets: My Official Statement

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My name is Phillip O’Donnell. I’m 22 years old and homeless in San Francisco. Homeless with purpose. I’m on a journey to save my life from the crippling depression that has plagued me since as early as 7 if not earlier and other social-institutional factors that exacerbate my depression like the toxicity of my family and the loneliness I felt in the social world of Houston, Texas. When I arrived in San Francisco, I was shocked to see so many cultures aggregated into one place, and I spent a large portion of my time observing. Once I began truly interacting, I discovered an abundance of intelligent, likeminded people who soon became my friends. I learned that I really am not alone, that I belong. Most importantly, I learned I can be happy here.

Soon after my arrival a month ago, another surprise came my way when I learned of the services this city provides which I was completely ignorant of, and hope swelled within me. I remember thinking This is where I belong, and I can get the help I need to truly build a life for myself, however, the reality of the limitations of these services hit me. Namely, the difficulty in receiving housing. I have been trying to get an SRO, but the waiting lists are long and space is scarce. Nonetheless, I am determined to keep trying, and in the meantime, I sleep on the streets, Golden Gate Park, and when luck comes my way, a hostel or a generous person’s apartment. Although I am surviving, the lack of consistency makes it extremely difficult to move forward especially when the tendrils of my depression strike at my soul.

Upon receiving housing, I plan to work for one of the organizations providing the services that are critical to my survival. I want to contribute to the effort to end homelessness as well as meet more people facing homelessness and learn their story in an attempt to gain a better understanding of the root causes of homelessness. Homelessness is, in part, a consequence of the flaws in the design of our civilization. If we can illuminate these flaws and how our civilizational design creates homelessness, we can make more effective efforts to help people get on their feet and keep others from facing this hardship. Also, I will write a new book now that I have published my first novel Rise from the Mud…Breathe and finish my college education, so I can work towards building an institute for Optimal Civilizational Design to work on finding a true solution for homelessness and all other manifestations of our species’ pathology.

Living on the streets is a difficult thing to do and an easy place to get stuck even if you have the drive and resolve to do the work required to escape. I fear the struggle will get the better of me, that I will get hurt physically and suffer subsequent psychological damage like PTSD or that my depression will push me to kill myself. It’s a scary position to be in: to depend on strangers for survival who also struggle to stay afloat. I cannot wait to become self-sufficient and have a safe, consistent place to stay. A place I can overcome my depression with the help of my old and new friends. A place I can build my life and manifest my dreams. A place I can call home.

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4 thoughts on “Reaching Out from the Streets: My Official Statement”

  1. Hi Phillip. I am Adrian Armaselu. I have suffered much in life myself and have shared your perspective for quite some time. I’ve had divorced parents and a toxic environment at home and at school, where my elementary teacher got fired for child abuse and I received constant bullying. Nevertheless, I totally disagree with your current choices and way of thinking. Permit me to ask you something to ponder about and give you some personal harsh criticism.

    Are you in control, or does life just happen to you? If you are not in control of your own life and emotions, then how can you decide to change the optimal existence of the facets of civilization? If you cannot manage your attitude in response to your environment, how can you think you can manage that of many other lives through inventing new systems? You think that because the environment has harmed you, it is the fault of the environment, and that it requires change. That is an illusion. The environment and reality is the product and the reflection of the collective consciousness. Things are shitty around us because we ourselves are shitty people, and if we do not face that misery and exasperation, then we would not understand how to evolve ourselves.

    Go get a job, read some books, and open your mind to the different possibilities and realities of our world. We need people that help society through serving needy people, not redesigning society and telling people to change their ways. We do not need societal blueprints. Stop reinventing communism.

    “I fear the struggle will get the better of me, that I will get hurt physically and suffer subsequent psychological damage like PTSD or that my depression will push me to kill myself” – please; Nature/God/Universe, whatever you want to call it has bestowed upon you the ability to navigate perspectives and manage your attitudes through emotional intelligence. Learn to harness it. People need you alive more than you think it. It is people like you who suffer alot who learn the subtleties of life and lead us to a better future. Quit being a pussy and stop being so stupid.

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  2. Well, I find this to be the best criticism I have received since I started this journey, but still, I think I owe you an apology for not taking the time to clarify my position. I am working on more entries but have been breaking down lately due to a myriad of stressors. Most debilitating were the bedbugs.

    For now, I must clarify that I am not reinventing communism nor am I striving to create blueprints to tell others how to live. I strive to understand what is optimal to facilitate our current form and our cognitive evolution. I want to understand what structure best facilitates our self-actualization, and then I wish to create a “micro-civilization” (please, forgive my crude terming) in order to test the theory. The idea is to make a science out of designing civilization, so we no longer rely on arbitrary affinities to ideas and platitudes.

    I actually want to build a foundation that provides people with every means they need to pursue what they feel is their role in existence. That means providing them access to tools to build their own perceptions of reality and then manifest a self sufficiency that only propels them forward completely ridden of all unnecessary hindrances. I strongly believe we all have a purpose that drives us and that only we can truly interpret the direction we need to travel. The ultimate goal of this organization is to shield people from social and civilizational constructs that prevent them from realizing their potentialities.

    My Facebook has more snippets of updates on my situation, which I would suggest you rely on for now:

    https://www.facebook.com/phillip.odonnell.90

    Still struggling to get this blog together. I am now housed and have a job, however, there are many issues with this route as well.

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    1. I owe you an apology for being so rude. I hope you do not take it personal. I also hope you break down as much as possible, and hit rock bottom. “In the deepest darkness, we find our light”. I hope you find yours. I understand your journey. I was fearing you would make the same mistakes I did in the past.

      Now for your comment. You seem to analyze life from your own perspective. I have some open-ended questions for which I myself have no answers to give.

      “I strive to understand what is optimal to facilitate our current form and our cognitive evolution”; is it that important in life that we evolve cognitively? Why just cognitively? Why this focus in western society on the intellect, and not everything that encompasses the self?

      “I want to understand what structure best facilitates our self-actualization”; based on what information do you make the conclusion that every person on the planet is seeking self-actualization, either consciously or unconsciously? Do you realize that self-actualization is a relative concept?

      “The idea is to make a science out of designing civilization” We already have science for designing civilization. We have political science, which deals with the organization of governments; we have social sciences which study culture and people; we have economics, which study people’s activities in their quest to solve the problem of scarcity; we have psychology, to study the mindset of people; and we have civil engineering, to lay out the physical infrastructure for serving civilization. These are active sciences that I can name at the top of my head which lay in the category of “designing civilization”. Do you disagree? What would your “science” add or make different? In my opinion, it seems, we have no science that studies the people’s holistic experiences. Everything related to the science we are using is materialistic and reductionist, which is what I think leads to all the problems. What do you think? You think you will be capable to build upon the ideas of the Enlightenment, or to even propose something better than it?

      “[…], so we no longer rely on arbitrary affinities to ideas and platitudes.” The reason we rely on arbitrary affinities to ideas and platitudes is because life is imperfect. Everything in life is not absolute, and you can only have absolute decisions when you have absolute knowledge of the world. But we will always lack information, and it is impractical to make a decision after gathering enough data. You can never gather enough data. I study Computer Science, and I learned the techniques to automate reasoning and human intelligence. The reason why AI is so bad right now is because it is based on absolutes. I can go into details if you want, but it is a lot of theory.

      “I strongly believe we all have a purpose that drives us and that only we can truly interpret the direction we need to travel” If you are going to do something on a large scale to solve a problem, you will need to arm yourself with a lot of information – not faith. Again this is your perspective and you have no way of knowing that other people feel the same way as you do.

      “The ultimate goal of this organization is to shield people from social and civilizational constructs that prevent them from realizing their potentialities. ” I think the ultimate goal is to let life take its course and to focus on what is most important to you. I still think your motivations are sourced on illusions about the world, and not your true self. But I might be wrong. Your answers come to you when you do not just think deeply about life, but when you feel it every day and every moment, with your whole being. The intellect is excellent for reasoning and making sound decisions in certain situations, but many times it misleads us because we never have enough information. Many times it distracts us from living the current experience in order to understand it. Our model of the universe is always full of bullshit, and the more we focus on living life through our model, the more we are dead and not alive.

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