“Suppose for a moment, that we define a virtuous act as bowing in the direction of Mecca every day at sunset. We attempt to persuade everyone to perform this act. But suppose that instead of relying on voluntary conviction we employ a vast number of police to break into everyone’s home and see to it that every day they are pushed down to the floor in the direction of Mecca. No doubt by taking such measures we will increase the number of people bowing toward Mecca. But by forcing them to do so, we are taking them out of the realm of action and into mere motion, and we are depriving all these coerced persons of the very possibility of acting morally. By attempting to compel virtue, we eliminate its possibility. To be moral, an act must be free.”
When I ignore what I’m told, and “nerd out”, I’m much happier, and my work is better. I hope I can retain this confidence to “choose my words carefully”, and be “overly descriptive”, because it actually makes me happy. With that being said, here’s the topic that I wish to discuss using said hope.
I can’t stand action movies because of their improbability, especially considering the sheer number of action movies out there.
I get that art is a “heightened” sense of reality, but come on now…
The “explosions” are so saturated in film that I am uninterested in them. “Oh, would you look at that. Yet another explosion. How original.” I suppose I’m an idiot, because I’m superficially talking about explosions in movies instead of stories in movies. But I’m not much of a “movie” person (I guess because of all of the EXPLOSIONS).
It’s the same thing with shootings in movies. Most of the bullets miss. I already know this “going in”. I can’t suspend my disbelief enough to care about the “inherent danger” of those in the bullets’ path.
I feel the same way (most of the time) with “good guys” and “bad guys”. I expect the good guys to win. I can’t believe that the bad guy is any real danger because I’m certain he’s going to lose. I prefer the “bad guy” to win at the end because it is an unexpected suckerpunch. It’s kind of like watching a sporting event where the “underdog” loses. Most people want to see the underdog “win”. But in movies, the “underdog” is the villain. I can’t believe that a hero in a movie is an “underdog” (even if the script tries to describe him as such) because I’m sure that he’s going to win. The villain is the underdog in movies, in my mind. I usually want the villain to win. I want the unexpected, and I want to be excited and a little depressed at the end. I don’t want the telegraphed “happy ending”. There’s exceptions to this rule (usually when the movie is about a historical war), but this is generally the case for me. Movies (particularly “action” movies) are mundane to me. I need some twists that I can’t see coming. I want very little predictability (unless it makes me laugh). I think I should do some in-depth movie reviews to try to illustrate what I like and dislike about specific films I have seen to make this easier.
I’ve always been one to care more about why and how movies were made than “enjoying” movies in the typical way most people do. There, of course, have been many exceptions to this. But generally, I have always been more interested in why there was so much money involved in movies, and why and how the movies were made, as I have already said.
Almost every time I watch a movie, I try to predict what will happen. Sitting there, “waiting” for it to unfold when I already know what is going to happen is so excruciatingly boring. Why would I watch it if I know what is going to happen? It’s like a scientific experiment that has been done forever: sure, when you first have a theory, you need to test it experimentally. But expecting me to “shut up” and “just watch it” is expecting way too fucking much from me. The formula is played out, even if the details vary. I need to experience something else. I recall being younger, watching a movie in school (I forget which one), and I said “Such and such is going to happen.” I was bored to tears, and I kept doing this. Someone finally said “I know, but shut up.” This person was intently watching. Why watch if you know exactly what is going to happen? I never understood it: especially something “serious”. Romance is disgusting (of course). Action movies are boring. Comedies are good, historical movies are good. Drama is a mixed bag. Most of the time, it falls flat on its face to me. A movie like “Jack” starring Robin Williams is an example of a drama done really fucking well. I cried when I first saw it as a teenager. It wasn’t cliché (it seemed very original to me, but I’m no expert). It was incredibly moving. So many dramas seem to be of the romantic variety, so perhaps that’s why I have such a problem with them. It is also just so fucking easy to become melodramatic. It is hard to create a compelling drama. And it is hard to get me to suspend my disbelief (especially with drama).
But I do enjoy the “horror” genre of movies. The more extreme, the better. Why do I get tired of explosions, but not blood? I don’t know the exact statistics, but is murder less “probabilistic” than explosions “in the real world”? Why do I care more for blood than explosions?
I should specify that I’m still not an avid “movie watcher”. I don’t gorge myself with horror films. I’m not really a “movie guy”. But when I do watch a movie, I want it to either be a comedy or a horror film. (Or a Batman film. I’ll have to leave him for another piece).
So why do I love blood in movies so much more than explosions?
I guess it’s because I enjoy purposeful, evil darkness more so than accidental explosions (even if the explosions are purposeful. I want to see some fake blood where the tone is more “dark” than “exciting”. To me, “dark” is “exciting”. “Exciting” is “boring”. It has become cliché).
Couldn’t it be said that murder is also cliché and boring? How many stabs and slashes can you watch? Once again, I repeat, I’m not a big “movie guy”, but murder films are more refreshing to me (believe it or not) than “The good guys always win and the horror doesn’t even look that bad” films. A guy robbed a bank. Who cares? Why should I be invested? Does he have a hostage? How bad does he treat the hostage? A “bad guy” is selling drugs. Who cares? I want his reason for being bad to be almost incomprehensible. Why does he kill? He just does. Or something traumatizing happened to him. I don’t want it to make any sense. Money makes too much sense to me. If a villain is going to be a villain because of money, he needs to be a really fucking brutal villain for me to care. (Color is also a big deal to me. I want everything to look dark and dirty: not bright and flashy).
If people are racing in a movie, and there’s an explosion (or a chase scene leading to the same thing), the “accident” doesn’t feel real to me because I know it was scripted. There’s just a certain tone that movies have to have for me to like them. A guy walking away from an explosion in slow-motion while rock music plays makes me want to blow my brains out. It is possible that I found the character compelling before that moment, in which case, his previous circumstances may make his “badassery” interesting. But I hate explosions for their own sake. I just, more often than not, can’t find explosions compelling. It depends on the characters and the tone of the film, but most of the time, it feels like explosions are the reasons why movies are created. “People are gonna pay to watch shit blow up. Nothing else matters, but let’s have some really fucking fast cars in there as well. We need to have something to happen in between the explosions, and people expect to see a movie that’s at least an hour and a half, so let’s make it happen!” I don’t watch a lot of movies, but I get the sense that so many movies revolve around explosions, and I find that quite lazy. Once again, I’m probably wrong, because I don’t watch a lot of movies, but that’s just my impression of them. There probably needs to be some parody involved if I’m going to care about explosions. Or, ironically enough, some drama surrounding them. Not action. I’m fucking tired of “action”.
When I first saw the movie “Atomic Twister” as a young teen, I was hooked. The idea of a tornado hitting a nuclear power plant was fucking terrifying to me. That was, really, all I needed: the fact that it could be real, and be really devastating. And it was original: sure, there’s the movie “Twister”. But this was “Atomic Twister” (lol). Yes, I was younger, and I know this affected my perception of the movie. But it wasn’t “Cars drive real fast – anti-hero – drugs are involved – bang-bang shoot ’em up” movie. Most of those make me want to fucking vomit.
However, when you have a very sadistic killer, I feel like the writer of the script is trying to understand these killers on the deepest level possible (besides going out and killing someone in real life), and that attempt to connect humanely with something so inhumane is appealing to me. “Why does he kill?” “No one knows.” That is a compelling story to me.
When you can move past the fear (at least the nearly-religious fear of being so afraid of it that you ignore it and try to get away from it as much as possible, including not attempting to empathize with it in any way to humanize it), it becomes a deep, heartfelt, gut-wrenching journey between trying to relate to those so despicable. It is, in my opinion, one of the most humane things one can do. If you can try to understand a serial killer, even if you are trying to empathize with someone who has no empathy (which may or may not be possible: topic for another time), to me, that’s as empathetic as you can get. It may or may not be possible, and I certainly wouldn’t say that you should go out and kill people to know what it feels like, but all the same, I think that, at least for me, and through art, connecting to that type of human is exciting. Conflict is extremely important when it comes to art and storytelling, and there is no greater conflict (in my opinion) than extreme life and death; peace and suffering; humanity and complete evil in human form (which, it could be argued, isn’t even human AT ALL. A very interesting discussion).
All I can think of, when real tragedies happen, is sadness. And I try to move on from them quickly, and I don’t try to waste my time trying to understand it, because I don’t think that I could.
But through art, I believe that one can empathize, ponder, and try to relate to these (as they are called) “monsters” in that way that is less angry at their actions (which is understandable), and turn that into tragedy, in trying to understand why they did it, and, perhaps, forgive them for it. It’s a great philosophical topic to think about: empathizing with the unempathetic. It’s too complicated for me to analyze it here, but there’s a deep part of me that wishes to understand human-created horror (I don’t think I’m any different from anyone else in that regard), and I think that the type of art that I create is my way of doing that. I don’t know for a fact if this is correct, but it certainly feels that way…
Also, I think another reason (a potentially BIG reason) that I am “obsessed” with “offensive“, “violent” art has to do with the fear of being one myself, which, no doubt, was greatly influenced by religious preachings of wariness, lest we sin every possible sin, and become a murdering, incestuous, raping, homosexual thief…
I, also, feel the same way about choreographed fighting as I do explosions. I get that to people that enjoy these types of movies, they are some of the more “exciting” parts of these movies. But choreographed fighting (usually) bores me. No one takes a good, solid hit for the first five minutes of fighting (both sides block every blow, or the strikes just completely whiff), and then either the good guy or bad guy gets hurt. They stop, look at their wound. If it’s the bad guy, he gets more angry than he was before, and the good guy can barely defend himself from it. If it is the good guy, the movie makes you think he’s going to lose. But, by some miracle (either from a compromised structure due to earlier in the film, or another character, or whatever), the good guy wins. I know it sounds like I’m always against good guys winning. (Most of the time, I am). But I want the good guy to be compelling to me. Most of the time, this just isn’t the case. I’m rarely invested in the story, because I’m not a “movie” guy. “Dur, then why are you writing about movies, huh?”
I also want to bring up one more aspect of acting in general: dialogue. Maybe I’m being overly-critical here, but the way dialogue is delivered today drives me mad. Cop shows on television are fucking terrible for it. Detective walks in, almost power-walking, throws a folder down on the counter of the “main guy in charge” talking in this low “serious” voice. A question is asked. The dialogue is delivered in the same monotone voice. Guy asks another question. Detective asks a question back in a higher tone. Lead guy answers with a “Well blah blah blah blah.” I can’t fucking take it. I can’t fucking sit through that shit. (The only exception to this was “House”. It was a “detective” show, but it wasn’t a “cop” show. House was a very interesting character. The formula worked for that show. It was like they combined a detective show with a hospital show. It was quite original, and very well done). I have problems with dialogue in action movies, too. They just don’t sell me. I’m not buying into them. Once again, admittedly, I’m not a “movie” guy. But it’s not like a movie or a show can’t capture me. Most of them just don’t, though. The formula is played out. The tones of dialogue are so predictable (as is almost everything else about the movies) that I can’t bring myself to watch them. But, they sell well.
I enjoy movies that are a little weird. A movie like “Teeth”, for instance. A vagina with teeth. Fucking beautiful. Hilarious. Now that is original. It’s got comedy and horror: two of my favorite things.
“Rubber”. A fucking tire that blows shit up. It’s so dumb, and that’s why I love it so much. It’s so “absurd”: “out there”. I find that refreshing. I don’t need to find it believable, or emotional. Give me dumb, but give me original. I think that’s what I enjoy the most about movies.
“Human Centipede”. Need I say more? A fucking hilarious horror movie. My only problem with the movie was the main villain, believe it or not. I enjoyed what he did, but I didn’t enjoy his personality. He came across as a little cheesy to me. I guess I wanted him to come across a little more like Jason, or Jigsaw.
One of my favorite movies of all time (and I’m not joking): “The Descent”. I know that is going to sound weird to pretty much everyone. “I can tell you really haven’t seen a lot of movies, Cody.” The whole setting in that movie was wonderful to me. There’s a real terror involved: what if you do get fucking lost in this cave? What if you can’t get out? I found it very compelling. The bullshit at the end was funny and cheesy, but I was emotionally invested before that.
I want my movies to be a little bit weird. A little bit “off-kilter”. Once again, I’d like to write some movie and show reviews. Some reviews of movies I watched a long time ago. Same with television shows. I’d like to even do the same thing with some books, eventually.
I’m not going to claim that any of my reviews are “objective” in any way, and, of course, you have the right to disagree with everything I say about any review. I’m not claiming that “I’m right and you’re wrong”: I’m just writing my opinions.
If the process of growing up has taught me anything, it is that individuals must live their own lives, with their own feelings, and experience the world in their own ways, make their own mistakes, and pursue their own passions.
I was introduced to the concept of “evil” at a very young age. It was introduced to me through religious conservatism, as well as through television news. Both were saturated with incessant talk of evil things that people were doing all around the world. When my religion taught me that I was evil, when I watched “the news”, I equated my evil with their evil. I equated myself to the murderers on the television, even though I hadn’t killed anyone. If we’re all lost as sinners, then who cares about comparisons?
Just thinking about evil is exhausting. There is no way to create a perfect man. How do we “measure” ourselves as good? Or, better yet, is there value in measuring how “good” we are?
In the past, I would’ve said “Yes”. I measured my good (as well as the good of the whole world) to see who among us, including myself, was going to Heaven. But I never knew what that amount of good needed to get into Heaven was. But I measured away anyway, completely dissatisfied, as the only result I came up with was that “None of us are good enough.”
Well, my religious beliefs have changed over time. And so have my ideas about “good”. But evil still bugs me. I still notice it everywhere. I seem to notice it all of the time. I don’t think it is really possible to ignore it. Throughout the day, I think everyone will, at least one time throughout that day, say “Damn. That isn’t right.” Evil is simply too prevalent to ignore. Sure, when we’re playing with our kids, or reading a book, we aren’t thinking about someone getting raped or murdered in the world. But surely it’s happening. There will be no “end” to it until we die.
Since none of us are sure when we are going to die, and surely we don’t want to think about death constantly, what do we have to look forward to? Why does “looking forward” matter? What do we have but to “look forward”? We look forward as well as looking back. We pleasantly reminisce about the past, while being thankful for getting passed the negative times. We dread the future, while looking forward to what we believe we will enjoy about it. There’s no “constant settling point” with regards to the past and the future (besides the fact that we are alive in the present). There’s no “perspective” that ultimately takes precedent. The past, the present, and the future engage all of our minds. But there’s something special to be said about “moving on”. To hoping. And to just being thankful. You can’t be thankful for anything when your whole life is spent anxiously lamenting and condemning the lack of perfection in the present. Sadly, even this can be taken over by anxiety. There’s nothing that anxiety can’t ruin. It’s a shame.
I should state that, once again, I’m not against lamentation completely. Of course, I’m not completely (there’s that word again) against anxiety. Both serve important functions. But there’s a difference between compassionately bringing up a serious subject that needs attention, and being an asshole about it that no one wants to listen to (being an asshole, I should know this). The latter ultimately boils down to a fear of the lack of “perfection”. I think, ultimately, the motivation comes into play, as well as the “soundness” of one’s argument when one brings up an issue. Is it objectively an issue? That should be argued. After that, why are you bringing up the issue? That should be discussed as well. After those are discussed, it can then be determined whether or not the issue being put on the table is worth “tackling”. Even with this, there will, ultimately, be breakdowns in communication, as ends will conflict with ends, means will conflict with means, etc.
My solution to this is: do what you want. If you want to argue, then argue. If you don’t, then don’t. One can try to bring to the attention of others as many wrongdoings as one can. My measurement is “However many one wants to”. Does it bring you some sense of joy to bring a problem to light? Do you receive something from it psychologically? If so, bring it up. But if you do not gain anything from it, I think the whole situation is fruitless. The nurse that tends to others as a “duty” without getting any pleasure from caring for others is missing the point of her helping others. Of course, they are being helped. That’s important. But the issue is: why wouldn’t that bring one joy? That is the even deeper issue at hand. If one is compassionate, wouldn’t helping others out bring that person joy? (Personal Happiness as a Virtue).
I’m not being stabbed right now. That’s a good thing. I focus on doing things in the present. And that’s what we all do. We all go through our day, working our jobs, reading books, doing a whole range of actions without thinking of the people getting violently attacked throughout the world.
Many would see this as a bad thing. Many people spend their whole lives pointing out these wrongs. Indeed, I would have to say I’m included among these “Hey, this is bad” pointer-outers. Should it not be the case that each and every single one of us should point out each and every single wrongdoing that we are aware of constantly? Wouldn’t this be a good thing?
In the first place, most “moral” ideas never take into account man’s limited nature. Man has to sleep. Poop. I’m not going to be able to help a man getting stabbed while I’m asleep. Nor when I’m pooping. What if the murder is happening hundreds, if not thousands of miles away? What if I have to poop? Not only that, but even if I didn’t have to poop, am I really to fly all the way around the world, only to risk my own life to save someone else? I’d certainly find it noble if someone decided to do that themselves. But should I do it for the “overall good”?
I have reasons for not flying to Africa to help out, for example, someone getting murdered, or for not flying anywhere to help out anyone suffering any kind of injustice. Why? Well, I don’t want to spend the money on a plane ticket. Nor drive to the airport. Figure out where I’m going to stay once I got to wherever I was going. Not to mention, I’d, more than likely, be putting myself in danger. What if I, for example, get kidnapped? Who will help me? My point is that when it comes to “good” and “action”, there has to be some other way to think about it besides the “perfection” attitude: that everyone must spend all of their time and energy to combating every injustice in the world all at once until every justice is eliminated. That is impossible. But, more importantly, I don’t want to do it.
This, of course, does not mean that I am completely against helping out people in need. I, personally, am not going to go out of my way to search for people in need (I commend those that do), but if I see someone get hit by a car, I’d, of course, have no problem with dialing 911. It isn’t that I’m against any person receiving help at all, but I am against an attitude of “moral perfection”. Words like “perfect”, “complete”, etc., really can’t be applied to humans; especially when “good” is involved (this, of course, does not mean that punishment should never happen).
I learned a long time ago that nobody is perfect (I don’t think I learned it in a particularly healthy way). But I was asked “WWJD (What would Jesus do?)” I was taught that I should live a “Godly” life. I spent much of my life being worried over “doing enough.” But enough is enough.
There comes a point when we have to accept our own limitations. I certainly don’t ever think we should say “Welp, that man raped that lady and stole her purse. Oh well. What are ya gonna do.” In an immediate circumstance, when one becomes aware of a wrong, it is certainly commendable to try to “right” the wrong. And there’s various different ways to go about trying to “right a wrong”. But the key to this and what I mentioned earlier is anxiety. Anxiety relating to “perfection”. Of course, it is perfectly natural to feel anxious if one witnesses an attack. But why do you feel anxious? You feel anxious for your own safety, anxious about the health of the one attacked, anxious about the safety of anyone else that may happen to run into the attacker, etc. Anxiety isn’t the problem, but why are we anxious, and what are we anxious about?
“Moralistically”, “good” must be done because one is unsettled by the lack of perfection or perfect good. Any philosophical axiom based on “perfection” must be rejected. We are not God. We don’t have the strength of Superman, the speed of The Flash, etc. Perfection is a destructive goal. It becomes counter-productive. The purpose of doing good is that…well, it is just good. It spreads good will throughout humanity. Compassion is natural and genuine. But the idea of “perfection” waters down “compassion”. Imagine you are a nurse. There are one-hundred seriously injured people under your care, all wailing out in immense pain. “Good perfection”, besides being the case in one definition that no one would ever suffer anything negative ever, would require you to be able to at least completely alleviate the pain of all one-hundred patients instantaneously. This simply isn’t possible. The “ultimate good” would be that no one ever experience pain. The “perfectly good” action would be helping everyone at the same time. But these are, quite obviously, impossible. Striving towards an impossible goal is pointless. Life is not about “the struggle”. “The struggle” just exists: we don’t have to manufacture it. In fact, our whole lives are spent alleviating “the struggle”. If “the struggle” is such a noble idea, why do we all spend so much time trying to relieve ourselves from it? We naturally hate our human condition. Conservatives exacerbate this problem by perverting the human condition, and telling us that we must enjoy it: that God is “testing our faith”, and that we should “be thankful for it”. That our suffering gives us credit that we later redeem to God when we die to get into Heaven. (In addition, according to these same conservatives, there’s a billion little things that will take away this “credit”. I think the fact that we all naturally hate “the human condition” says a lot about these perverted conservatives). Liberals exacerbate the problem of the human condition by striving for perfection to pursue the good. They equate compassion with perfection: if we don’t spend every hour of every day fighting poverty, rape, and racism, then we aren’t doing enough good. And, once again, “enough” is only a complete elimination of poverty, rape, and racism.
The problem, once again, is one of “perfection”, or “the perfect good”. “Perfection”, “completeness”, etc., are words that should not be part of one’s ethical vocabulary. One can never be “completely good”, or “perfect”. “Good”, “helpful” action should never be based on perfection, but should rather be accepted as they are: as “good”, and as “helpful”. One man being saved from starvation is good, even if there are countless others that are, at the same time, not being saved from starvation. We must not lose sight of “the good” simply because we can never achieve “perfection”.
Of course, it is true that, in the Christian belief, perfection is required to be saved from eternal damnation. But it is also true that, in the Christian belief, Christ died as a forgiveness of sins as this perfect requirement. That is Christianity. Christianity is “Perfection is required. Welp, here you go. With love.” That’s it. That’s the “extent” of the “perfection”. A nurse can’t alleviate the severe pain of one-hundred patients simultaneously. I suppose God could. But what if He doesn’t? What is the nurse to do? Should she sit around “believing” that she can simultaneously alleviate the pain of all at once? Or should she focus on each patient, one at a time, doing what she can with compassion?
The thing “to do” is what you want. Eat what you want, read what you want, do what you want. If you want to do evil (besides the fact that you’d do it whether or not you had my approval, or anyone else’s), people are going to want to bring you to justice. I think that is the ultimate point of all of this. Expecting everyone to be a sheriff, an executioner, etc., is impossible nonsense. It is an impossible “moral” goal. Someone will want to bring murderers to justice. Someone will want to be a nurse. The key word is “want”. People’s wants will find a way to meet people’s needs; whether people “want” to get paid, or “need” medical care, things find a way to get done. Never perfectly, nor completely, but they happen enough to be significant enough to garner well-deserved positive attention.
This diversity of values truly is a testament to how peaceful coexistence can happen at all. We’ll go back and forth, arguing over how to increase “the good” and decrease “the bad”, but a perfect, complete elimination of “the bad” will never work.
True compassion does not need an anxious duty to ignite action.
“Perfect love casts out fear.”
As so eloquently stated by Mises (and elaborated by Rothbard), human beings use means to achieve ends. This is known as “praxeology”. I decided to embark on writing this as, not too long ago, I was sitting and thinking about what I was doing. Now what exactly was it that I was doing? Good question. I was thinking about stuff that I do: namely, writing and making Youtube videos. I decided to do these things in an attempt to make a career that I thought I would actually enjoy. It is my life’s mission to have a job that I actually like, and not one that I hate, but need. I’ve written before about how I came to have this “philosophy” for myself.
But I sat and thought about writing, and Youtube: specifically, how unknown I am in these regards. Although I’ve, most of the time, been optimistic about my ability to succeed in my “ultimate endeavor”, on this occasion, I was not. I thought about the work that I had done, and how unknown it was. And thought about continuing to put even more fervor into my work to get things done, only to have the work continue to remain unknown. Perhaps I’m just an “immature adult” that needs to “grow up”. But, deep down, I have been convinced that I can succeed. I looked at the current level of my “success”, and was dejected. Knowing how much more work I wanted to create, and my vision of where I could take it financially, felt destroyed. I felt like I had to find something else to do. I felt like I finally need to factor in money more so than the enjoyment of the labor.
Perhaps you find that funny. I’m not going to go into detail about my current financial state. But, as I have said, my main goal is to find a career that I actually enjoy. And, currently, writing and Youtube are the only things that I can realistically (go ahead and laugh) think of. The only things that I think I can work towards that will make me happy. Any time that I’ve tried to come up with an “alternative” (specifically “realistic” ones), I have not been happy. You may say that it doesn’t matter if I’m happy or not, but I have, and will continue, to address my philosophy about “happiness”.
I’ve written about my laziness before. And, clearly, that contributes to my lack of financial success in some way. But, perhaps it’s because of my youth, and the natural “rebelliousness” that comes with it, I’m not satisfied to only dream of financial success at my current “dream careers”. Nay, I also desire to, in almost every way possible, succeed in every way that should be “impossible” to succeed in. What do I mean? Well, for one, my Youtube thumbnails. I enjoy the atrocious thumbnails that I make in Microsoft Paint. The thumbnails that literally anyone could make better than me. All across Youtube, there are professional thumbnails that are pleasing to the eye. And I don’t dislike that. But, perhaps due to my “youthful contrarianness”, I can’t help but “prove to the world” that I can succeed without those “professional” thumbnails. Trivial and childish? Perhaps. And, once again, perhaps it is because of my youth, my youthful ignorance, or my ignorance. But that is also included in my “career goals”: not only proving that I can turn what I enjoy doing into a career, but that I can also do it “unprofessionally”.
The final, and much more difficult aspect of this, is, admittedly, insane. The final “contrarian” point is that I want to purposefully make people dislike me in order to make people like me. This one is much harder for me to reconcile (obviously). What do I mean? Well, I have found (as has everyone), that throughout the course of my life, I have made people feel anger, discomfort, or other negative emotions, simply by the way that I naturally wanted to be. What do I mean? Well, my sense of humor, for one. It’s very dark, perverted, profane, etc. I have experienced that it makes many people uncomfortable, and, after I started putting it on the internet, that it makes people angry. And I’ve honestly started to fuel off of these things. I think it is because if I wish to express what I naturally desire to express, then I have to fuel off of these things. I can either adapt, shut up, ignore, or use that for motivation, and because my desire to express myself honestly is so strong, I choose to fuel. It isn’t enough for me to just ignore people’s anger and discomfort. I want to magnify it. I don’t believe this is out of sadism. It is about me speaking honestly, freely, and confidently. It is my overpowering desire to not be silenced. My desire to speak is stronger than my care for the feelings of others (to a certain extent, of course). The thought of proving people wrong, succeeding in a way that no one thought possible, motivates me. It’s what drives me to continue. My love of the work is the strongest reason why I create the work. But my desire to sell the work stems from, obviously, the desire for financial security, but also just because I’m told I can’t. The typical immature, childish reason to do anything in this world. When I developed this belief (thanks to how I was raised), I listened to successful person after successful person, and tried to find something within myself that I felt like connected me to them. And a big thing that I related to was that all of them told of how they were always told that they’d never succeed. That right there clicked with me. “Hey, me too! I can succeed, too!” That was pretty much my only reason for feeling like I could relate to these successful people. It wasn’t because I believed I was particularly talented. Just that I was told that I’d never succeed in finding a “dream job”.
Perhaps, one day I’ll finally accept one (or more) of the, I’m sure, many reasons that people finally “grow up”. But I’m on a mission to find out everything for myself, regardless of the scale of the negative consequences that I may experience because of my choices.
Of course, I don’t really know how to convince anyone that I can do this. The work speaks for itself, and do I truly believe that my work as it stands is enough for success? No, I don’t. It’s a starting point, but there’s a Hell of long way to go. But I believe that I can do it. You can’t arrive at a destination without steps, and I believe that articles like this, and the work that I’ve done up to this point, are steps (it remains to be seen just exactly how big these “steps” will truly be in retrospect).
I’ve already written about how I believe my writing stacks up with “the best”, and you can read that here. I’ve also written about how I feel about my writing, and how I can get better. I’ve written a little bit about why I write, but I believe I could elaborate on that further; and I’ve also written about selling writing, but I will write more about that as well.
I’m currently at the stage where I realize how important my mental independence really is. I’m starting to realize how important my choices are, and that I have control (to what degree, I don’t know). I don’t need to be told what to write, or how, or when. I’m in control of all of that. Even if I suck, I’m in control. And it’s just going to take time and experience to figure out what I’m going to be taking, where I’m going to take it, and how I’m going to get it there (and why is important to know as well). It’s a slow process, but I’m thankful I don’t have a formal “teacher” distracting me from my own personal literary journey (no canon!)
I am beginning to understand that literature is a slow process; especially for me. I can’t explain why I want to write when I do, or what makes me want to write about something. But I can tell that, whatever it is I’m ultimately doing, it is a long process. There’s a lot of quitting involved. A seemingly infinite number of baby steps. There’s a method to the madness. The more mad, the better, in my opinion. Deep down, I think I know that time makes things better. The brain ages, and gets better at things, before it gets worse at things. It’s very odd. It seems out of my control. When I was younger, I remember trying so hard to do so many different things, and failing spectacularly. I was frequently discouraged, and reached many breaking points. Developed coping mechanisms that I thought I would continue for the rest of my life. But, eventually, the coping mechanisms became problems themselves, and I had to hope and pray that things changed. I finally just got better at stuff. I have no idea how: I just fucking did. And I know writing will be no different. I can already tell, as I read stuff that I started writing several years ago, just how bad it was. What has changed over those years? I honestly don’t know. I don’t feel like I’ve written enough to say that practice helped me get better. All I can say, similarly to the past, is that divine intervention just changed some things, thankfully. I have big dreams in my head, but I know it is going to take painfully slow steps to get there. But the good thing is that once they are taken, there’s no need to backtrack. The work you put in will make you feel good when you get to where you are going. But you need stops along the way, even if they are frequent and lengthy. I think breaks are just as important when working on something as the “working” on it is. They shouldn’t be avoided.
I need to learn to love the process. The struggles, although annoying, are important. It makes the task at hand more fun. Looking at a vision of the future, and all of the obstacles that stand in the way of that completed vision, are very interesting. They make the journey more fun. They just give you something to do with life, and that is very important. It’s the difference between living and feeling alive.
I don’t know when or how I’m going to get better at writing. I can tell that this is a huge challenge. I’m sure that, the more I get involved, the more of the iceberg is going to show. But, hopefully by that point, I will be prepared enough to do with the iceberg whatever the fuck it is that I intend to do with it. But the point is that I want the iceberg, and I want to see what happens as a result of it.
It’s quite humorous to think, just a few short years ago, that I thought I was a “good” writer. Now, those “good” writings are just godawful. Now, today’s writings feel good. I’m encouraged that, in the future, these words will be horrible, and I’ll have beautiful words to replace these with. It makes the journey worthwhile, even if it is hard to figure out what the first steps should be. And, of course, even if, many times, I wish to just stay at home and watch T.V. instead of traversing the tough terrain of the tundra looking for the tip of that iceberg poking through the membrane film of my mind.
Reading is a struggle as well. There’s so much to read. The brain has finite energy. “Exhaustion” is the name of the game for everyone. Writers and readers are no exception.
There’s a fine line between fate and will. I’m constantly balancing between the two. Action leads to failure. But it also leads to success. It leads to exhaustion. But it leads to purpose. It leads to bad work. But it leads to good work.
I’m just one small writer in this world. In the past, I thought I could be one of the best. Now, I don’t care as much. Just one of those weird differences that just happen with time. It’s just hard to explain. Experience. Biological growth. It’s just destiny. It’s just weird. The shitty writing of today will be funny in the future. And the future writing will have to be better, because that’s what happens when you put time and effort into something. Usain Bolt once crawled. We all just want to be retired gold medalists as soon as possible.
My mind has visions, and it’s a slow process. There’s no way around this. This is “just how it is.” But I long for the days when it’s all better than it is today. As much as I hate bringing up my age, I can “hang my hat” on the fact that I’m young, and if I live long enough, will be writing for a long time. That has to bear some fruits of quality somehow.
There’s a certain craziness I wish to unleash to the world. It’s frustrating to dream when your dreams aren’t completed. It’s hard to continue when it is so daunting; when you’re as bad at doing what you want to do as I am. The process is a slow drip; but time creates the erosion. Drips make a significant impact over time. If you stare at each drip, the process takes even longer. You can’t be an observer to your own drips. You just have to drip, and then, one day, someone else will bring the erosion to your attention, and you’ll say “Holy shit. Those drips actually fucking did something.” I can’t wait for that day to come, but the problem will be that day is only going to come after a lot of things go (such as my legs, memory, etc.). Of course, I can’t forget my lunch breaks (and I love to eat).
Of course, I want to marvel at the works of others. Learn from them; be inspired by them. In some ways, that means turning off the faucet. But, ultimately, it helps the goal. It slows down the process. Gives the process more steps. But, ultimately, it helps the process. It’s all part of the complicated process. Before you know it, there will be another change, and you’ll be better than you were before. At least, you will be if you don’t stop dripping.
As frustrated as I get at the amount of times I “quit” (or take a break); as frustrated as I get, I can tell when I’m dripping. I can tell when the faucet gets turned on a little bit more. I can see progress. It makes sense that the more you do something, the better you will get at it. But when you start, and you suck, it’s hard to see where, when, and how that progression is going to come.
I can see all of the visions in my head. But they can’t be done instantaneously. They can only be done with effort and experience, and only over a period of time. I’m finally able to accept that, instead of being frustrated at my inability to create good pieces of art instantaneously and just making the entire process harder on myself. I can only say the difference is experience and biology.
I literally have nothing to lose by having an optimistic attitude about my work. I wish more people would adopt that attitude for themselves (but mainly just so they’d leave me alone).
Even if I don’t succeed, the mental stimulation and spiritual satisfaction provided towards working on this goal, I truly believe, cannot be fulfilled by anything else. I don’t desire to have kids, so raising a child would not provide me with this level of fulfillment. I don’t believe any career other than the ones that I desire could. “Well, have you tried?”, you may ask. No, I haven’t. And I don’t plan to. All I plan to do is write and make people laugh at me. That’s it. That’s the challenge: getting paid to do these things. I can’t think of anything more fulfilling than trying to make this happen, and I truly don’t want to find anything “more fulfilling” than this. Aside from my lack of financial success, this is already perfect for me.
There are always voices of doubt in my head. Many of them are related to voices I have heard in the past. But there are other voices that silence them, if only momentarily. And it is during those moments that the dripping begins. I’m in this for the long haul. My love for writing is never going to leave me. This means that I am going to be doing it for life, and, as such, it will have to improve. That’s encouraging, whatever my struggles are. And, currently, those struggles are pretty significant. Small steps. Drips.
I need to work harder on developing my own voice. I want my voice to drown out the voices of all others. “You’re going to drown!”, they yell from the shore. “You’re crazy! Why don’t you pick a different hobby? You’re wasting your time!” Do I want to listen to them? No, I don’t. I just want to write. I just want to make people laugh at me. And I want to make money. These are all I care about. No amount of “advice” is going to change this. All my eggs may be in one basket, but I’m imaginative enough to see the Easter Bunny in my head. And I like that thought.
And as far as how I fit in with “the market” in the long term, although you may say that my prospects are bleak, I’m going to hold out hope, if only because I feel like I, realistically, have no other purpose. Or, perhaps less “drastically”, that I don’t want any other purpose. Feel free to equate me with a child having a temper tantrum; I’d rather be a dreamer than a miserable “adult”. I’ll take that any day of the week, even if I get strange looks as I frolic with the Easter Bunny.
I have not written anything for quite some time. I have been consumed by other things: namely, having fun and relaxing. I have a deep hatred for writing. A deep hatred. This hatred comes from a place of intelligence, combined with whatever it is that makes me a bad writer. How can someone so smart be so poor at communicating?
Why and how can I have things formulated in my head, but no words to express them? That’s the universe’s most cruel joke. Either that, or giving an introvert a desire to communicate through words. Why give an introvert a desire to communicate at all? Would not his life be better without it due to his introversion?
There are those that say that the universe is not conditioned for the human experience. I would hope that these people do not identify as “Christian”. For what kind of God would create a world in direct opposition to the human experience? Especially a “loving” God? Does the loving and knowing parent subject the child to poisons?
How many times in my pieces do I need to ask myself why I write? I believe I’ve asked it in at least twenty different things that I’ve written. I briefly had a compulsion to ask it here. But I caught myself. The real question is: why am I not writing?
I have at least one theory. One theory I have comes from a perspective of independence and approval. You see, no one is telling me to write, or to not write (at least, there isn’t a significant number of people in either camp). And, being still young, I’m accustomed to being told what to do. In school, by parents, etc. And considering my naturally anxious nature, I constantly sought affirmation; lest I do something I’d regret later.
I’ve done some really ignorant things in my lifetime. I’ve wronged others, and have been wronged. I have been ensnared in that common humanity. But things change.
I am not the same person that I was when I was younger. I mean, I’m still me; Cody. But I’m not the same Cody. But I am…
Let’s get back to my hatred of writing. Why do I hate writing? I believe it stems from a couple of things:
The first, I would say, is that it is a very independent process. I can’t have someone over my shoulder, telling me what sounds “good” and what doesn’t. I also can’t have someone telling me what to write. So: what do I do?
I have the ideas, but not the confidence to do them. Although over the years, and still currently, there are friends and family to encourage me to write, I desire independence. I desire to write because I want to write. And I do want to write. But I’m so goddamned bad at it.
Relatively, I may be a good writer. And, relatively, I may be a bad writer. I think that, relatively, I’m good at determining my “good” writing, and, relatively, I’m bad at determining my “bad” writing. But who is to be my ultimate judge?
Me, of course. Unless, of course, I wish to let the general public decide (a thought which I deplore at my core).
So what am I to do? How am I to become a better writer by my own standards? Who am I to judge? Sure, it is my work. But by what criteria do I judge my own work?
I fully believe that I’m too inexperienced to decide this for myself. At the time of this writing, I think the only qualification I have regarding decision-making is the recognition that I am not happy with my life. Or, rather, that I am not happy with my career. “No one is,” you may say. Well, I suppose that I should just give up. Thanks for reading.
…Nah, of course not. I have something else in me. Maybe not the best. But I have something different in me.
There is something in me that I need, if only for self-therapy. And what is that? Well, at least in this instance, it is writing.
So why haven’t I been writing? Several factors. One, as I said before, I don’t really know how to do it. But I don’t want to learn from others. I want to take my writing lumps just as I’ve taken other lumps from mistakes in my past. I want my words to be my own: even if they be intellectually inferior to whomever the fuck reads them.
Lack of confidence. This stems from being told that I’m repetitive. Maybe I am. But I don’t want to take my writing and make it more “original” simply because someone would enjoy it more. Maybe it is repetitive. Maybe more people would like it if it wasn’t. Maybe it makes people want to rip their hair out. I just don’t fucking care anymore. I said, I just don’t fucking care anymore.
Why else am I not writing? Well, for one, there’s that giant, daunting wall of success: that elusive success. The goal that 99.9% of the population strives for. That financial relaxation. “That shouldn’t keep you from writing.” You are full of shit. If you think that you can hold down a job, write, and steadily maintain a litany of other interests, then you, quite simply, do not have as many interests as I do. Period. Not saying you need them, but it’s clear that your interests are more limited than mine.
And what makes me different than all of the other people out there who are unhappy with their financial lives? Not a goddamned thing. And do I care? Of course fucking not.
If I were to say “Well, no one is happy with the amount of money that they have, so I guess I’ll just accept that, too,” I’d think myself a goddamned fool. And I care not what you think I should think about that. I’d think myself an idiot.
I think I have potential. And I’ll have to convince the world of that. And I’ll have to accept the indescribable wave of criticism that will come my way to start out. And that’s ok. That’s fine. I like that, actually. I like criticism. Granted, I don’t like unwarranted criticism. But I like justified criticism. (And, sometimes even, unjustified criticism, depending on the claim).
I have spent my entire life fearing my own actions. Fearing my own decisions. I shouldn’t anger God. I shouldn’t anger my parents. I shouldn’t anger my friends.
Fuck all of that. Fuck. All. Of. That. That is what unconditional love is for.
So what does all of this ultimately mean? Well, it means a couple of things:
One, I’m pretty fucking unhappy with my life. I need to do something about it. And I think this writing thing has something to do with it.
Two, I need to be more independent. I want to be more independent. I’m tired of listening to people. I’m done. I’m done listening to you commenting on the fact that I’m tired of listening to people. I’m tired of listening to you “Yeah, but”ters. I don’t fucking care. I don’t fucking care if you have a valid point. I don’t fucking care if I’m making a terrible, dangerous decision. I don’t care if I’m immoral in your eyes, or even in the eyes of God. I just, don’t, fucking, care. I don’t. I don’t. I’m done pleasing others. God forbid, I’m done pleasing the Almighty. I am just, fucking, done.
Now, of course, this means something really big that I haven’t quite mentioned yet. This means that I will have to accept the consequences of my actions. So how do I deal with that?
Well, the best answer that I have come up with for myself is that “I’ll be dead someday.” Now, my inevitable fate does not mean that I will become a terrible person who steals, murders, and rapes under the justification that I’ll be dead someday anyway. But it isn’t to please God. It isn’t to please my mother or my father. It’s because I don’t want to. I don’t want to do those things. Finally, I am starting to realize that my convictions should only please myself, and if they so happen to please those that I care about, then that’s just an added benefit.
So, in conclusion: I really need to start writing like this more often.
But I don’t know how in the fuck I’m going to do it…
…And I damn sure don’t want to hear your goddamned advice about it…
(…Should I tell you that I wrote this in about 15 minutes to make you “ooh” and “aah” about my writing ability? I don’t really want to. But I need some kind of selling point…and some word of mouth would be nice, of course, if you found this insightful. And if you think my cockiness is unwarranted, feel free to leave a comment below, and if it isn’t too egregious, I’ll approve it, and let the rest of the internet read it and judge its validity as well).
But without this “inner peace“, alleviating the world of problems is an action almost certainly suited to ultimate and complete failure (“complete” meaning a complete failure in the attempted results).
Changing someone’s mind is the most difficult process in the universe.
One can create stars more easily than changing someone’s mind.