Martijn Schirp • • 9 min read
Creative Destruction: A Farewell Letter to Jordan Lejuwaan (And A Message to All HEthens Regarding the Future of HighExistence)
Aren’t you surprised how utterly random the series of events that has led you to this moment seems?
I’m sitting here right now wondering where to begin — at the beginning, the end, or on the road ahead?
For simplicity’s sake, I’ll pretend I just answered my own question. The beginning may begin.
Five years ago, I quit the ‘career’ that wasn’t serving me any longer. This wasn’t easy. It never is. The things you’ve done and created become your identity. You’ve been swimming through an interdynamic ecosystem of activities, filled with insiders’ knowledge and language, and perhaps most importantly, forming relationships with amazing people.
While this was a difficult period in my life, in retrospect I can say I was lucky. As they say, every ending makes room for new beginnings. Wasn’t it Nietzsche who called it “creative destruction” somewhere? I like that juxtaposition. You can’t create something if there is no room.
I believe I was lucky because I wanted to do something else I was passionate about. However, I had no skills, no experience, and honestly, absolutely no clue what I was getting into.
Compared to the person who’s sitting here and wondering, I was hopelessly naive.
And perhaps that was a good thing, because I probably would have talked myself out of what I did that day if I understood the obstacles ahead.
After I quit, a close friend shared a few blog posts with me from a place called ‘HighExistence.’
I thought it was the best thing ever. (Which often happens when I’ve indulged in earthly herbs.)
Of course, in my stupored state, the idea came to me that an even better thing would be to help it grow.
Perhaps because it is my modus operandi to subscribe to the clichéd bullshit that those who actually make things happen in the world force their own luck. I did what I believe more people should do: I took a leap of faith and contacted the guy behind HighExistence.
I send him ardent e-mail, sharing a few things about myself and a bunch of thoughts I had about HE’s potential. Few people know that I ran a small poker strategy community back in the day, and my experience in that circle helped me to see many unexplored possibilities for HE.
The next morning, I eagerly opened my inbox to check whether my vision was a shared one.
Jordan Lejuwaan, the founder of HighExistence, messaged me back, essentially saying, “Let’s do this!”
We started mailing back and forth, discussing the business side of things, our vision for the future of HighExistence, thoughts on consciousness, shamanism, psychedelics, festivals, OOBE’s (remember that one J?), meditation, the future evolution of technology, society and the human being, and all these other amazing in-depth subjects for which HE is now renowned.
It was an amazing time in which I slowly learned how to write, use all kinds of software, and how to work together with someone half a planet away.
HighExistence 2.0 was launched soon after. The most important change was the addition of discussion functionality.
Over time, we’ve launched 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0, with mixed reception. We started calling ourselves HEthens, and the site attracted (and still does) more than one million unique visitors each month.
I am proud of what we achieved, and I want to thank all the volunteers, moderators, and interns we have had over the years. I can only hope they learned as much from us as we did from them.
In particular, I want to thank Jordan. First of all, for taking the dumb risk of bringing me aboard (and sticking with me for so long). Second, for developing himself into an amazing human being every day.Although we have never actually met face to face, I have come to know Jordan as a truly compassionate and wise individual. I can’t count the number of times we have had strong disagreements in which both of us nonetheless ended up satisfied. I can honestly say he is one of the few people who has had a lasting and positive effect on my life and the values I hold dear.
Over the years, many people have asked me how this is even possible: how can you build trust and understanding when you don’t really know the other person?
What those people don’t realize is that I do know Jordan. Deep down, for me, there has always been a basic level of respect for how he sees things, for how he approaches problems and the way he admits his own blind spots. This has made it very easy for me to concede that in some cases, he probably knows better than I do, and that I could very well be mistaken. I think that is the answer: over the years, it has been a necessity to rely on one another, and relying on one another has allowed us to develop an unshakeable trust.
I know it must have been hard at times. I decided to go travel the world, in effect leaving him with the dirty work. I also decided to pursue my interdisciplinary science degree (which I received this summer!). But that also cut deep into the time I could work on this amazing project.
This time, however, it is not I who leaves. With great sadness, I must announce that Jordan Lejuwaan will no longer be involved in the day-to-day operations of HighExistence. He will still be serving as a board member, assisting with major decisions, but he has decided, after long deliberation, to pursue new paths. Right now, he is working as the CTO at Futurism.com, while tying up loose ends at HighExistence. I wish him all the love in the world and remind him to never forget his dream, the one he wrote in 2009 in ‘The Origins of High Existence’ (do check the comments, they are a goldmine):
My Dream: To become completely location-independent financially so that I can travel the world without worry. I never want to work for anyone EVER. The only plan I have is to go with the flow of things. Crazy right? I certainly hope so.
May you keep realizing those crazy dreams of yours, buddy.
I would have loved to work together at a time when we both could fully commit, but alas, it won’t be that way. And perhaps it is a good thing that the torch has been passed, because this has opened up the possibility to finally meet one another. I am looking forward to that moment and the highs and lows we will share in ‘actual reality.’
The Future of HighExistence
For those who think this signals some kind of stop for HighExistence, I am happy to report that you are mistaken. My journey with HighExistence began with creative destruction, and fittingly, creative destruction seems to be the theme as we transition into a new phase of HE’s evolution. As they say, this is just the beginning. 5.0 is not even our final form.
The HighExistence team has been fortified within the past year by the addition of Jon Brooks, founder of ComfortPit.com . . .
. . . and Jordan Bates, the creator of RefineTheMind.com.
I am extremely grateful for the enthusiasm, ideas, and spirit they are bringing to HE. They are pumping refreshed lifeblood into the veins of our mission, building higher perspectives along the way and envisioning new and exciting projects to come.
Behind the scenes, myself, Jon, and Jordan B have been devising an array of exciting new ventures for HighExistence. Our vision continues to expand, and in the coming weeks and months, we will be unveiling a number of beautiful enhancements to the HighExistence universe. Beyond that, we have several more secret projects in the works that we hope to see come to fruition in the next few years.
This post would not be complete if I did not send out one final thank you.
Dear readers, thank you.
Your interest, engagement, and support of HighExistence have carried us through the years and will carry us into the future. You are truly the backbone of this world we have created, as there can be no HighExistence without our wonderful community.
It is my sincere hope that all of you will continue to care about and support HighExistence in the months and years to come, as we delve into previously uncharted territory. There’s so much more to come, and we need as many dedicated HEthens as possible to collectively realize the Highest Existence we can imagine.
Once again, thank you to everyone who has helped to make my first 5 years with HighExistence a powerful and unforgettable experience, and thank you in advance to everyone who will help us to make the next 5 years even crazier. :)
In order to propel HighExistence forward during this time of transition, we have decided to create a True HEthens group for insider discussions about the future of HE for those who truly love this community. Drop your email below if you would like to be the first to hear about our new developments and to play a larger part in the future of HighExistence.
A note from Jordan
**Martijn surprised me with this wonderful post so this is my hurried, rather emotional attempt at a goodbye note!**
Wow. 7 years since I started writing blog posts, that no one read, in my dorm room. I never dreamed that HE would grow and evolve into what it is today.
People are constantly writing to our team about how HighExistence has impacted their life, and I just realized I’ve never written about how it’s impacted mine…
Every single best friend, lover, and business partner whom I have met in the past 7 years has been through this website. That isnot
an exaggeration. I have met the most AMAZING people because of HighExistence. People that have taught me, changed me, loved me, challenged me, and everything in between.
Thank you to everyone who ever reached out to me, even in a small way. You are what made HighExistence an absolute pleasure to create.
It’s so funny to see that quote of mine from the origins article. I almost didn’t realize that I reached that goal! It happened! Dreams do come true if you work hard!
Over the years I’ve created more than a few companies and projects on the side. I’ve been simultaneously running 3 companies for a few years now, and finally decided that I need to cut back so I can give each project the attention it deserves.
Luckily Jon and Jordan found their way HighExistence in the last 6 months, giving new life to the site and ensuring that HE will only flourish more in my absence. Seriously, these guys are good. You will love them if you haven’t fallen for them via blog posts already!
Even my newest venture was co-created with a HEthen :) As Martijn mentioned, I’m now focusing my energy on Futurism.com, which writes about the advances in emerging science and technology like artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and synthetic biology. In 2016, we are raising a fund so that we can invest in technology companies with the ability to radically impact this world for good. I believe technology has tremendous potential for good, and seek to do everything I can to steer it in that direction.
I will continue to write for HE from time to time (actually you may have noticed that I haven’t been writing at all in this last year because I’ve been so overwhelmed with work). I’mvery
excited to have that mental space for creativity again :)
I love you all. Thank you for everything.
I guess it would be fitting to leave you with one last nugget of advice. My theme of this last year has been…
Surrender to every little thing life puts before you, and life will flow. If you can’t do that, take baby steps and have faith in small wins.
P.S. If you’re in NYC, hit me up!