I have a tendency to write about “human nature”, but for this piece, I will try to focus solely on myself. Sometimes, I feel brain-dead. I feel as if no stimulation is entering my brain, or that the stimulation that is still, for all intents and purposes, is not enough to alleviate my “brain-dead” status. And it isn’t anyone’s fault but my own.
It isn’t that I don’t have things to do. I have plenty of things to do. But I’ve written about this problem before. It’s partly a commitment issue. A fear issue. An independence issue. I am fully aware that my decisions now will affect me forever. And that weight often produces a crippling anxiety within me that freezes (or, at least, limits) my decision-making ability.
It isn’t that I’m not making decisions because I’m anxious. I’m just making anxiety-induced decisions. It’s a type of homeostasis: a comfort level. A security issue. This safety net conflicts me. On the one hand, I have set routines which, although not perfectly ideal, are, at least for the moment, tolerable practically. There are still bigger hopes and dreams, but the routines are tolerable. But, at the moment, I find myself asking what my purposes are. I don’t want to get caught in a routine where I don’t think about my life and what I’m doing. I don’t want to become an automaton: I want to actually think of what purpose my actions have, and what I wish for them to lead to. And the best way for me to do this is philosophically. A big part of this, I believe, are three things: independence, commitment, and acceptance.
I am becoming better at the “independence” part. I do not feel as gullible as I did when I was a child. I’m making progress. I’m writing my own independent thoughts. Trying out various things to gain internet attention. Listening to the advice that others give me, but still making decisions that I feel like are my own, whether I apply their advice or not. There’s a lot of creative independence in my life, but even this has started to become “automatic”. A large part of this has to do with how few people care about my work. I’ve already decided that I do my creative work for myself, and whatever I enjoy doing, but I still dream of making my creative endeavors a career. Laugh if you wish. Suggest all you want. But I can’t get this idea out of my head. I can’t get the thought of writing and making people laugh for money out of my head. I don’t want to know what my life would be like without these thoughts. I don’t care about making more money if it means I hate my job (there’s obviously a bare minimum amount of money which I must make to sustain my life, and if it fulfilled what I’m looking for in this piece, I obviously wouldn’t be writing this). It’s obviously “about the money” to a certain extent, as I’d like to get paid for what I like to do so that I don’t need to do anything else to sustain myself. But that figure may simply be as much as I’m currently making (which is on the low-end of five figures). So it isn’t about being rich (although who could reject that?): it’s more about the labor. Enjoying the labor. Feeling a sense of purpose with my life’s work. That’s what I’m after more than anything.
I’ve written about my lazy nature here. And it is difficult for me to feel independent when everyone gives their advice. Of course, I listen to most of it, even if I don’t take it. But it never feels like something I need to do. The problem is the uncertainty factor: the future is always uncertain, to varying degrees. Although some people are better at predicting certain things than certain others, there’s still no “perfect blueprint” that everyone must live by in order to be “best prepared for the future”. If that were the case, then we, as humans, would not feel free, but would rather feel like pawns in the “grand scheme”. We, as humans, have wills, and make decisions. This is what we do. This, indeed, is a large part of actually being human. When faced with an uncertain future, we combine our desires and our forecasting abilities to make decisions to maximize our level of happiness, and then we gauge the results as they come in. That’s all we do, every single day, for our entire lives.
Leaving “desires” aside, and not trying to say which desires are “more valuable” than others, how do we determine whose decisions are better than others? In other words, how do I know whether or not my decision-making process is better or worse than anyone else’s decision-making process? First off, I have my own desires, which I will use my decision-making ability to try to achieve. And sure, I’m sure there are people whose decision-making processes would be better suited for me to achieve my own desires than my own decision-making processes. But how do I know? How do they know, and how do I know? How do they know they are right, and how do I know they are right? How do they know I’m wrong? The only answer, in practice, is to test the hypotheses: do it my way, and do it their way.
This poses some problems, however. There’s time constraints, as using multiple complex methods to achieve complicated ends can take more than a lifetime to achieve. There are people who spend their entire lives mastering crafts and skills to achieve their goals. If they are already spending their entire lives doing this, why should they listen to anyone else, and do it their own way and the way of the one suggesting the new way? The time and effort that it would take to do this for even two different ways can take too much time and effort to do effectively. But what about the individual desires of the one acting? What if he doesn’t want to do it the other way? Why are his desires seemingly neglected in almost every single piece of advice given when it comes to making decisions, career choices, etc.?
Of course, there are many people with lots of life experience who know things that others don’t: people with skills in various industries, who have had enlightening experiences that have guided them positively throughout their entire lives, and who are simply wishing to share that positivity with others. But the point is that each decision ultimately comes down to the person making that decision, and he or she will have his or her own reasons for making that decision; indeed, each individual has their own desires, and this is the most important part. Each individual is born with desires, and these desires happen to be diverse. Therefore, there will be no “universal blueprint” to satiate the desires of everyone. So what is one to do? That is up to the individual: one must decide, for himself or herself, what he or she believes to be the best course of action for him or her.
…And that’s that. There will be regret, mistakes, triumphs, and jubilation to be had along the way, for all participants in “life”. That, I think, is the ultimate point. There will be “ups and downs”, and the point is to figure out “Why am I here? What am I doing? What is my purpose?”
That is the eternal question.
I see that I have failed in my initial goal to talk more about myself than “human nature”, so I’ll close with this: What is my purpose? Why do I feel like I am here? What do I want?
I can’t say that I know what my “purpose” is. I can give what my purpose is for particular actions, but not for my overall reason of existence. Obviously, the purpose of my actions, as stated above, is to attempt to maximize my happiness. What makes me happy? Dreaming of getting paid for what I love to do. What do I love to do? That’s a deeper question that I don’t think is completely answered yet. At the moment, I enjoy writing. Things like this. I like making myself laugh, and sharing those thoughts with others to try to make them laugh as well. How do I get paid for these things? And can I? I have no idea.
But it is my purpose to find out.
How do I know when to “quit”? How and when will I know whether or not I have “succeeded” or “failed”? Once again, I do not know. I will only know that when the time comes, and right now, my only purpose is to dream of having a career that makes me happy, do what makes me happy, and then work on making money at that by, somehow, getting people to care. It’s very tentative, as, as I’ve said, I don’t really care if people like it or not. There’s an obvious conflict: if I don’t care, then how do I expect to get paid? For one, I don’t think that me caring has anything to do with whether or not people find the work “good”: they will find it “good” or “bad” independent of how I feel about them (although perhaps if I said “I hate any fans I may have”, they may decide to hate my work from that point on). But I’m confident in my abilities to create work that people will like. What evidence do I have to justify this claim to you? My response is: I don’t care about justifying my response to you. My goal is to make it happen in order to prove to you that I can do it. I simply want to prove “everybody” wrong. More than anything, that is what I want. I want to do it simply because of the voices that tell me that I can’t, or that I won’t. They are as big of a motivating factor as any, if not more so. I want to prove everybody wrong. That is a major purpose of my work.
Obviously, I want to enjoy my work, and I want to get paid to do it. I enjoy work like this, which is simply a writing down of my thoughts, which are too complicated to organize in this piece (I can’t tell you “what my thoughts are”: you simply have to read things I have written). I enjoy making myself laugh. I suppose I’m simply looking for “like-minded individuals”. If I can’t find that, then I’ll settle for vitriol, as long as I’m known of (you can’t get paid if no one knows who you are. “You also can’t get paid if no one likes you.” See, vague phrases like that are dumb. It is very rarely that someone is universally hated. Even someone “universally hated” like Trump (Trump parody 1, Trump parody 2) is beloved by many. This is simply hateful, stupid language to use by miserable people who want to bring others down (I know this from intimate experience)). So, as I have said many times, and will say again, my purpose is to get paid for work that I enjoy doing. I enjoy writing jokes, making myself look like an idiot, and, from time to time, trying to sound intelligent (like I’m trying to sound in this article). I still have a desire to write fiction, but it is so much work that I don’t want to exhaust myself by bringing it up in this piece, so I’ll end my discussion of fiction here. I don’t know when or if I’m going to “call it quits”. I don’t know when or if I’m going to change careers. I do not know. All I know is that I want this, and I’m going to do it and see what happens.
*insert “Not everyone gets what they want”, “Sometimes, you have to compromise”, and other pieces of advice here. My secretary will be ignoring you shortly.
Commitment is very intimately related to independence. Indeed, if I commit, it will be me that does it. What am I talking about here? What am I wanting to commit to?
I’m wanting to commit to the work that makes me happy. I want to work on my projects at my own schedules, which I do. I’m typically lazy, but, as I stated above, my routines are becoming stale, and I need a change. I think this is going to involve becoming more committed to my work. My work exhausts me, and I hate that. No one cares about my work, and I hate that. But I still want to do it. It almost feels like all I want. I can’t describe the rate at which I want to work on my work: all I can say is that I don’t want the load to drive me crazy, but I also actually want to get things completed. I don’t know how to pinpoint it more than that. Most days, I don’t really want to work on it. It’s exhausting, and I think “Why would I do this right now? I won’t be getting paid for it. So why put that much effort into it?” And so, I don’t. And I consume the works of others instead. And I do this until my routines become too boring, and then, I start to write the things that are on my mind, like I’m doing here. Or, I bring that thing that made me laugh to life. And then…that’s it. Again and again, over and over. I haven’t figured out how to commit to this yet. It feels more like a hobby, when I feel like I want it to be my life. But I’m afraid of committing and later finding out that I don’t really want it anymore. That fear prevents me from committing to a lot of different decisions. I believe my raising has a lot to do with this, as my parents always told me to “do something different” than they did. I interpreted this to mean actually liking my job, even if that isn’t what they meant. And I’m going to keep this interpretation.
Although, in the previous “chapter”, I discussed how I want my own independence (and I’ve written about it here), I’m still terrified by it. The truth is, many of these routines are comforting to me, as I feel like I know what to expect, even if what I expect is less than desirable. There is something terrifying to me about committing more time and energy to writing, acting, and comedy. A large part of it is the unknown factor. And the regret factor. What if I become elderly, and regret and lament all of the years I spent doing this stuff? It’s a very complicated mess that I haven’t quite figured out, regardless of the gusto with which I wrote the first “chapter” “Independence”. I get bogged down with the amount of time and effort it takes to complete something, and then, I “take a break” (or “quit”). But then, once again, the routines bore me, and I come back.
Something that terrifies me is maybe I’m not as “committed” to all of this as I wish I was. Perhaps none of this work truly is a “life-or-death” matter. I think I wish it were; that way, I would feel more compelled to actually do it. But the truth is that the work exhausts me, and I don’t want to do it. But then I get bored, and want to do it. It frightens me that maybe I’m not truly a writer, because then, that begs the question: “What the fuck am I?!” And that triggers the immediate post-high school graduate existential crisis of “What am I going to do with my life?!”
As I’ve stated, my purpose is to make a career out of what I like to do. And I’m doing what I like to do. I like to write, make people laugh, etc., which I’ve stated ad nauseam. But how committed am I to all of this? Is this just some hobby? What is it? At the moment, it is a way for me to pass the time and not feel a crushing level of boredom. But will it ever be more than that? The lazy side of me wants to make it a career, but I don’t know if it ever will or not. But my perspective about that is that if I like doing it, then I might as well adopt the “I’m going to try to make this a career” attitude, because I’m going to do it whether or not it becomes a “career”. So, from my perspective, adopting the “I’m going to make this a career” attitude gives me nothing to lose (although, of course, people will say I could be learning a more marketable skill, etc. etc. I’ve addressed all of this above in the “Independence” “chapter”).
I’ve written an article on laziness called…”On Laziness”…, but there is another aspect of my laziness that I want to write about here. As smart economists know, being productive is not the same thing as working hard: you work harder digging with a spoon than a shovel or a bulldozer, but you aren’t as productive. And I realized that early on, working hard wasn’t really all that it was cracked up to be. This was particularly apparent to me in school, involving reading. Due in part to the fact that I was intelligent, and didn’t need to put in a lot of effort to get the answers “right”, I never really “worked hard” in school. At one point, I tried to make things harder because I was bored. But that felt stupid to me, so I stopped. But the work became so boring, and never fulfilled my “philosophical side”, that I stopped caring. I barely passed, and started to fail more. But it didn’t matter to me, because the subjects sucked. It still doesn’t matter to me. I only wish that I had been around subjects that I actually cared more about, but educational reform is a topic for another piece (and for other people). Once again, this goes back to the “desire” portion of this piece, its individualistic nature, and why or why not some desires are “more important” than others.
But why work hard on something that you don’t care about? For a long time, I didn’t really know what I cared about. I just went through the motions (as I feel like I still do most of the time). But I didn’t care, so I stopped working hard. When it was easy, I tried to make it hard. And when it actually got hard, I just stopped caring. I don’t have any regrets about this, as, as I’ve said, the subjects were boring and uninteresting to me (I know you are going to tell me how I should’ve paid attention to things I didn’t care about, but I’m going to ignore your advice by ignoring you right now, other than this small response sentence).
I don’t really know what I’ve cared about. I’ve cared deeply about philosophy. I care about economics. I care about money. And I care about being happy. I care about maximizing the time that I do things that I enjoy. Other than that (and, of course, friends, family, and a general wish for good for mankind), there isn’t much that I care about. I’m still figuring out what I like do to, and figuring out what sticks.
The final “chapter” of this piece is acceptance. My first thought is people saying that I need to “accept” that I’ll never become a professional writer, that I’ll never make it big on Youtube, etc. etc. But, once again, none of their alternatives make me happy, and why in the fuck would I purposefully make myself less happy than I am currently? Don’t we all live to be as happy as possible? Isn’t that what we want? Isn’t that why we work? Isn’t that why we want families? If it isn’t, then why in the fuck are we doing what we’re doing?!
I’m not so naive to suggest that absolute, complete happiness is possible. You’d be an idiot to suggest that that is my point. However, if we do not take actions to maximize our happiness, then why are we even fucking alive? What is it that we are actually doing if we aren’t trying to make ourselves happy? And what’s the point of what we are doing? Few people I’ve encountered have a satisfactory answer to those questions. Indeed, few people I’ve encountered even truly understand those questions.
So if I’m not talking about “picking a different career” acceptance, what type of acceptance am I talking about? Well, it isn’t “picking a different career” acceptance yet. The first acceptance is accepting that I am not “famous”. My work is not renowned around the world; my words are not “massively influential”. I stock groceries for a living. That is my life. (Yes, these words are coming from a grocery stocker. If that makes you more impressed, I’ll gladly reveal that to you. And even if they don’t, I may find your response entertaining, so I’ll let you know, anyway). My hobbies include watching Youtube videos, and…eating. I get too mentally exhausted to read as much as would probably be beneficial to me. Same with writing, making videos, etc. I watch content from other people that makes me laugh, post a few jokes every now and then, play some video games every once in a while, and act stupid for 10 seconds at a time in internet videos. And that has been the “routine” for a long time now. And it is becoming stale.
The solution to that, as I’ve said, is writing more like this, figuring out how to make my fiction better (on my own accord: I do not want to be “taught” from someone else), and working on making more (and funnier) funny videos. Of course, I have to accept the fact that if none of it ever goes “viral”, I will be putting a lot of time and effort into things which will never make me the money that I wish would. And I will have to decide if I will do something different, or stay the course. In my opinion, it is too early to tell. I believe very deeply that I can get people to pay attention to me. I believe that I can get people to find my words insightful, as I believe some people will find this. I believe that I can make some people laugh, through Twitter hashtags and Youtube videos. I believe these things deep down. And doing them makes me happy. So I have incentives for doing these things, even if I’m missing out on “truck driving money”, etc. I accept the fact that no one but me really cares about what I’m doing right now. I accept the fact that nothing I’m doing is making me any money. And I need to decide how much more time and effort I’m going to invest in these things that I enjoy doing. I don’t ultimately know the answer, but I want to keep doing these things if they make me happy; and the thought of seeing my creative visions come to life, and adding more and more completed visions as time passes, and thinking of the possibility that some people might actually like them, and that enough of those people will eventually give me enough money to live off of, is enough for me to keep doing it, regardless of how “realistic” any of these dreams actually are……