Mar 23, 2022 • 16M


You might be a Visionary. Can you be a good one?

Open in playerListen on);

Appears in this episode

Simon Ohler
Examining life and celebrating the art of conversation. Speaking mostly with funny philosophers and other people I like.
Episode details

Hi everybody!

On Friday, March 25, 2022, I’m holding an Interintellect salon on Visionaries. Click the link and join, if the spirit moves you!

It’s part two of a three-part series, titled “Living Well and Thinking Big”. The first part was on The Village, a metaphor for understanding life and work.

Part three will be on Size of Life, which to me means finding the correct degree of expansion in our life. You can join that salon here.

Visionaries is the topic of the hour. The salon is coming up this week, so I better make some material to have on hand!


I want to start with definitions. I’ve googled “Visionary” once and what came up was a YouTube video that was titled “Is Elon Musk A Visionary?”. Aha! — here is a problem.

This question and its frame loads “Visionary” with exclusivity and nobility. Elon is a visionary (of course), Kanye is a visionary, and that’s probably about all the visionaries in the world right now.

That’s obviously (or at least if you can see clearly) not the case.

I’m a visionary. You might be a visionary. And your slightly awkward and shy neighbor might be a visionary, as well as thousands of people in the city you are in.

So what is a visionary?

I would say, a visionary is somebody, who sees something that isn’t there (yet).

The people we attribute visionary status to in popular culture, are people, who see/saw something and moved towards it with determination, and made it a reality. Realized visionaries, so to speak.

Okay, but what about the rest of us? Those who don’t have visions of electric cars in space, or of a gospel choir wearing 400 EUR crocs?

We might still have visions of what our lives might be like.

We might have intimations of something that might happen to us later in life.

And I’m sure there are other versions of this that I don’t know about yet.

My visions tend to be forward-facing, but I’m sure there are people with visions from the past, or visions from the now, far away.

I hope that many visionaries join us in the salon on Friday because I want to hear about other experiences.

To conclude definitions,

it seems to me that being a visionary is more of a condition, than something noble and exclusive. Something like having a very active third eye that you actually have to (painstakingly?) contend with and integrate.

Whatever your form of creative living is, you won’t get around some sacrifices.

Whatever your condition asks of you, you’ll have to make due and feed it somehow.

If you don’t it might take you under. If you do, it still might.

Look at Kanye’s and Elon’s lives. Glory and suffering. Riches and separations. Fame and misunderstanding. You want to live like that? Go ahead, but be careful what you wish for.

Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster - Wikipedia
Better put a car into space or you’re not a visionary.

The problem with visions

is that they can be very confusing. I often feel very thrown off the present moment, when a vision penetrates my perception. It can last for an afternoon, or for days if I don’t actively bring myself back to the present moment.

That’s why practices for mind and body are important to me. Otherwise, my inner eye just slowly tilts upwards and I will start living in the clouds and in the future. And unfortunately, in that space, I can see a lot, but I can’t act. Because I am not there (yet).

Often times I start browsing the internet incessantly. The internet, Twitter, and external content are great tools to feed a vision. Sometimes I observe myself scrolling like a madman. I’ve learned to ask myself: “What are you looking for?” and just watch myself searching. Often enough, I find something that scratches my itch.

This perspective and self-understanding are already quite advanced. My behavior humors me now. But my tone hasn’t always been this kind when talking to myself. I’ve had years of not understanding this behavior. I’ve labeled it as procrastination. I was angry at myself for not getting the things done that I was “supposed to” get done.

And in a way it was true, I was often caught up in my visions and paralyzed in the present.

An elemental piece in learning to deal with my visions was to separate the vision from the now. I needed to understand that I couldn’t take a whole system that I saw in my head and implement it right here right now.

Paying the proper respect to a vision means being pragmatic and realistic about what is needed to actualize it. That might be time, attention, ability, other people. And on a recursive note, experience, the ability to judge pragmatically, how much time, attention, etc. is needed to make your vision real.

The consequence of this knowledge is finding an organic, natural starting point, that has a good chance to lead to your vision. Plant your own apple seed, that, so God will, has the chance of becoming a beautiful tree bearing much fruit, instead of trying to conjure up a whole tree from somewhere, ripping it out of its place and trying to fit it in your own yard, roots and all.

I’ve tried this aggressive migration with a couple of things, and it does not work.

A relationship with a certain woman looked great in my head, so I went through fire and flames to get her. But our interest in each other hadn’t formed organically and freely, and so this endeavor left a whole bunch of scorched earth.

I wanted to found a company and I had all the people I needed, as far as I could see. But our working relationships hadn’t formed organically and freely, so it was fabricated. The bonds broke soon and nothing came to fruition.

. Organix! Art by the great @evanmcohen. Please check out his art, ‘tis so good.

The counterbalance

to my (sometimes aggressive) visions is to recognize what they show as a desired state. Or even as a state that WILL happen. I just need to serve this vision, and live my present moment with open eyes.

My visions are helpful as guidelines and concepts, but the reality that I’m in right now, which asks me to set one foot in front of the other, asks for a more tender touch.

The vision is the tree, and the now is the seed.

By definition, whatever you have on you in the now, is the seed that leads to the future that fits you, to the tree that you need in your backyard.

Be an organic farmer:

      let your
grow from your
     own time

That’s what I have for you today.




Some notes before you go: today was a day, which plagued me with a need for stimulation. Sugar, alcohol, something to smoke, sex — would be the normal list that I frantically go up and down to quiet the craving. This feeling corresponds with my vision-having. I didn’t want to give in to any of the above-mentioned urges.

So I was wondering what I could do RIGHT NOW.

Well, I suppose I have an article to write. Well, I suppose I just wrote it. Took me an hour. Not too bad.

If you seek stimulation from the world, see if you can stimulate the world yourself with your work. Something like that?

Please let me ask you,

dear reader: Do you have visions? What type? How can we make our ordinary visions useful, instead of distracting? What kind of visions have you seen through to fruition?

Leave a comment

On March 25th, 2022, I will host an Interintellect salon on this topic. Interintellect is a platform that is reinventing the French salon for the internet. If you would like to discuss the ins and outs of this topic with me and other visionaries, please join me here. Tickets are $15, and you will join a ~3 hour Zoom call, with other interesting people, discussing this very idea.

Join the ii Salon

If you’ve enjoyed these thoughts, and you would like to see more, please subscribe, for free, and I’ll see you next time.

Join our community on these platforms:

Twitter · Instagram · Twitch · YouTube · Discord