Much like the luminary sculptures he creates in his spare time, Empire star Terrence Howard is extraordinarily complex — his heady mix of charm and arrogance is both captivating and confusing. But in a telling interview with Rolling Stone, Howard shed some light on his unique life philosophy, known as “Terryology.”
Howard has always been a bit of an odd bird, which is part of his appeal. The man is mad and measured in equal doses — such is often the case with creatives. However, perhaps for the first time, Howard revealed to us the very roots of his eccentricity.
And, true to form, it was… bizarre.
When Howard was 6 years old and waiting in line with his family to see Santa, his father stabbed a man to death with a nail file right in front of him. Shortly after the “Santa Line Slaying” stained Howard’s jacket (and memory), the young Cleveland native began busying himself with a peculiar breed of play. He practiced writing forward and backwards — with both hands — and devised a language only he understood. He tinkered with scissors, wire, magnets and other supplies to create seemingly nonsensical shapes.
Only to Howard, they weren’t nonsensical at all. Rather, they formed the crux of his very own burgeoning ideology, one which he would come to call Terryology.
Fascinated yet? Us, too. And since surprisingly little is known about Howard’s secret ideology (hence the secret part), we did a bit of digging. Here, in addition to the few core concepts we do know, are some of the other life philosophies attributed to Howard that are presumably part of the Terryology narrative.
1. We’ve been doing math all wrong
The defining principle of Terryology, it would seem, is that one times one equals two. Not one. “If one times one equals one that means that two is of no value because one times itself has no effect. One times one equals two because the square root of four is two, so what’s the square root of two? Should be one, but we’re told it’s two, and that cannot be.” OK, that kinda makes sense.
2. There’s a reason bubbles are round, and Howard has the answer
“Since I was a child of three or four,” he explains, “I was always wondering, you know, why does a bubble take the shape of a ball? Why not a triangle or square? I figured it out. If Pythagoras was here to see it, he would lose his mind. Einstein, too! Tesla!” So what is the secret, you ask? Well, we’re not entirely sure, other than it has something to do with the shapes Howard cuts out or, as he calls them, “the pieces that make up the motion of the universe… they tell the truth from within.” Mm-hmm.
3. We’ve all got a metric ton of metaphorical faces
Not just expressions — the kind of faces Howard describes carry more weight than that. They’re actual facades. “We’ve got all these different faces that want to come out,” he says. “There’s at least four just in this moment, with a possible expansion to 432. But which one do you let out? Is it the person who’s cool that you’ve mastered? Is it the excited little boy?”
4. Your body is your temple and other people’s temple
It’s not just you who is hurt when you mistreat your body, says Howard. In fact, you’re also hurting your friends, family and other loved ones. “Anything you do against yourself is an attack against the people you care about.” So the next time you go to light a cigarette, just imagine Howard’s face.
5. Mankind needs more socialism
Not surprisingly, given Howard’s many run-ins with the law, but the actor is admittedly not a fan of the authorities or any other governing body for that matter. “I think mankind does better in small groups — with communities looking after each other instead of a huge government.
6. Haters don’t actually exist
Got a hater giving you grief? Don’t sweat it. They aren’t even legit. “The people that judge you don’t matter. They’re not real. Everything is just frequencies.” See? Told ya. Nothing to worry about.
7. Adulthood is merely chasing our scattered child dreams
“As a child, our dreams got scattered all about and all our future prospects got scattered to so many places,” says Howard, “and we spend our lives trying to find the little pieces that make up our lives and make up the dreams that we had as a child that got blown away in the windstorm.”
8. People are clueless
Howard finds the layperson’s level of comprehension about the universe amusing, saying, “I like to watch mankind in its futile attempt to understand the unknown, when they don’t even understand that which they know.” Well, now, that doesn’t seem very nice.
9. If you’re gonna walk the walk, talk the talk, bruh
We’re paraphrasing there, of course. In Howard’s eloquent message aimed at, well, we’re not entirely sure who, the self-proclaimed philosopher espoused the virtues of eliminating bigotry from both our words and our actions. “Hypocrisy is part of the cancer that erodes our binds as an intelligent and potentially loving species called Humanity!” Which makes a lot of sense, to be honest.
10. Everything boils down to “zero point technology”
Don’t feel bad; we didn’t know what that meant either. “Think about the one thing that’s not moving in the universe, that everything holds on to. That’s zero point technology. If you control the one thing everything rests upon, then you control everything — there’s no longer the laws of conservation of energy. It’s the laws of transmutation of energy. It’s alchemy,” elaborates Howard. Ahhhh. When you put it like that… yeah, no. Still not getting it.
11. Madness is a matter of perspective
In response to all of the hullabaloo surrounding his Rolling Stone interview, Howard made a simple, pointed statement via Twitter. Posting a clip of one of his luminary sculptures, er, pieces of universal motion, he quipped, “Crazy is as crazy does… Do the math.”
Crazy is as Crazy does… Do the math! pic.twitter.com/JPxBEjvvfU
— Terrence D Howard (@terrencehoward) September 15, 2015