“Philosophy is pointless.”
Jordan Peterson: “Hold my beer.”
“Philosophy is pointless.”
Jordan Peterson: “Hold my beer.”
Going through life, questioning whether or not you are a “good” person, is the wrong question to ask. “Am I happy” is a more important question. “Have I cared for someone” has the potential to treat your own happiness as always less important than that of others to the point of your own happiness not being important at all. The fact that loving someone makes you happy is the part that is not stressed. Loving someone brings you joy. That is the main point. If the main point is for me to give love to someone else, then that must mean their main point is to give love to me. Who in the fuck is able to accept it and enjoy it? Therefore, that is important and crucial to the whole idea of “love”: accepting it and enjoying it for oneself.
Love is treated as a commandment instead of just being natural. And that’s the problem.
Sitting around waiting for death is a horrible way to live. I do not believe that God put us here to “test” us. I think He put us here just because He wanted us to be here. I don’t know “why“, but I don’t think it was to test us. I think it was more like “Hey, I want to create something that can enjoy something. Here you go, humans. Here’s LIFE.”
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.”
We begin on another journey. Another day; another desire to write. Another piece unplanned, for the plans are too great. Where will this take us? The same place we’ve always been? Are we circling the block again? Has the navigator lost his sense of direction? A real vacation takes a lot of time and effort. A long distance. How about we just drive around the block again? Do we notice anything different? Or are we comforted by the repetition? There’s a folder full of maps. But who needs a map? Who needs a plan? The plans are too great. Let’s drive around town. Have I traveled down this road before? Or have I spent my whole life with the street in my peripheral, but never going down it? Have I lost my mind? Who wants to ride with me?
There already exist maps of the whole world. I can read whichever one of them I want. But what if I wish to be a mapmaker? I can’t copy other maps directly. But they are more accurate and thorough than my own. Why can’t I desire to be something else besides a goddamned mapmaker? I don’t even have a sense of direction. How trustworthy am I, anyway? I can’t sell maps. I barely read any. What makes me think I can do what has already been done, but better, and as a tabula rasa? I know the basics: north. South. East. West. But what about elevation? What about the roads? The rivers? The landmarks already discovered?; already pictographed on maps? Why not choose a different craft?
Let’s not go anywhere today. Let’s stay at home. Let the fat waste us away. Sure, it’s stupid. But traveling is work. And scary. The isolation: what if I get lost? Go down a wrong path? But what is my destination? That’s the greatest problem of them all. Wishing to make maps without a destination in mind. Or is that a blessing? What about reading maps of countries not yet traveled? What map should I read first? What aspects of the map should I study first as someone who desires to make maps? I can’t read all of the maps. But I desire to create my own direction. But this is fucking hard.
Let’s just go to the backyard today. There’s South Carolina. Tennessee. Virginia. Texas. California. Wyoming. Spain. Turkey. Russia. Alaska. Why oh why do I want to make maps…
I’ll tell you what: let’s make bad maps. Let’s just make rough sketches. For fun. Why not? Sure, everyone else will be reading the detailed maps. But they should. If I’m going to make maps, why not start off small? Amateurish? If I want to make maps for a long time, I’ll get better somehow, right? When, and how? I haven’t finished creating the map yet, so I’m not sure yet. But at least I’ve written about making maps, even if I haven’t made one. That’s a start.
Why do I desire to write when I have nothing to say? Or, rather, why do I have something to say when I don’t desire to write? I constantly find myself in one of these two camps as a writer. Sometimes, such as right now, I desire to write. I open up my works of fiction in progress, then quickly close them. “Oh yeah. I don’t know how to write. The fiction that I’ve written up to this point isn’t very good, and I still haven’t even fixed those. Why would I start something new?” So I make a note, to remember to do the new idea eventually, open up the current works in progress that need to be fixed, and then think “Oh yeah; this sucks”, and then close it out.
Then I try to find other things to occupy my time. Music, video games. Anything but writing. Or, at least, if I do write, it needs to be something simple, and easy. Like a status update on Facebook or Twitter. Then, when I desire to write things that have more meaning, I think of all of the writers of history, and all of the writers of today. “Oh yeah. There’s a lot of people that have had things to say. And I haven’t read them. Surely those writers are much better than I. So why don’t I spend time reading them instead of writing myself?” And so, I read a little. I read what I’m interested in. Read about economics. But it starts to become repetitive. “Oh yeah. I already believe this. I already know this. So why am I rereading it?” Then, I think “You know, I’m not sure if some of this stuff written by others is ever going to be read by others. Who is ever going to read Rothbard?” I rarely think of all of the people that have read Rothbard. Just all of the ones that have no idea who he is, or those who levy character assassinations against him, purposefully (or unintentionally) misconstruing his words. And I get very dejected. What’s the point of writing if that is going to happen to you, ultimately? If it happened to Rothbard, a much better writer and thinker than I, then why would I write at all? That line of thinking prevents me from writing quite often. Indeed, with regards to fiction, the likes of King and Rowling create the same line of thought within myself. “I could never write as much as Stephen King does. I’ll probably never be as good as either one of them. So why do it at all?”
My personal philosophy regarding doing what you enjoy is that you have nothing to lose by trying to make a career out of it. You have nothing to lose by trying to sell your passion. Even if you never do, you have nothing to lose by trying to do so. So that’s my attitude, with things that I love to do. Writing, acting, comedy. My belief is: why not treat it as a business? If I’m going to do it anyway, without getting paid for it, I might as well treat it as a business. I realize this is counter-intuitive to many business-oriented people. Of course, economic activity exists because trade takes place. If not enough people are willing to trade for your services, you’ll have to adopt your services to something more lucrative if you decide it is worthwhile to do so. And many people do. Everyone does, to a certain extent. We all have to live. Shall we grow our own food? Or join retail (or any other line of work that isn’t directly “growing our own food”) to buy the products of those that do grow food in exchange for other goods and services? But I love to write. I do it for free. So I might as well dream of attaining “professional status” someday, regardless of how realistic or unrealistic that dream is.
I often get dejected as a writer. I write something that I think to be good, and it goes undiscovered. Of course, considering all of the writing that exists in the world, this is no surprise. It’s part of the fun of being a writer. Or of doing anything, really, that you wish to become a “professional” at. I think of all of the famous writers that I’ve read very little or none of. All of the “classic” authors in the world. The best writers the world has ever known. I’m entering into this field. I am a writer. They are writers. I am competing for attention. For readers. They’ll always win. And that’s fine. But I still write. I still want to get involved. I still want readers. “Professional” status. Regardless of how much better the writers are than I, I still want in. I’m a child that wants to play with “the big boys”. And I enjoy it and love it.
I get pretty exhausted with reading. I prefer to write than read. Despite the fact that I’m sure my words are not going to be as good as others, I still desire to write more often than read. I guess I’m just relegated to writing shitty words. I guess, as long as I love them, that’s what should really matter to me.
So if I desire to write, and love to write, what should I do when I know my writing sucks? When I’m not willing to partake in the “literary world”? What should I write when I have nothing to say? I don’t know. I write things like this. My writing will, more than likely, never be widely read, and, when actually read, will probably be criticized instead of enjoyed. I’m not saying that’s unethical, of course. I’m just merely stating the fact, and that dejects me. Does my writing deserve to be enjoyed? Of course not. I wouldn’t suggest that anyone enjoy shitty writing. But it’s my desire to not be shitty that motivates me. It’s not necessarily the reason why I write, but why wouldn’t that be an end goal that I wish to achieve through writing?
Of course, all writing is thoughts. So if there is a good book, there was a good mind behind it. Clearly, my mind pales in comparison to many of the great minds of history, and of the present. So if I want to write, it has to come from within my own mind. What is in my mind? Well, the only way I can convey that is through words, and that’s what I struggle with the most. I struggle with explaining what is in my mind. And, of course, that is necessary for writers to do. Writers must explain what is in their minds.
One problem currently, that I’m slowly attempting to remedy, is that I’m not educated enough. I don’t know enough. What do I want to write? And how do I want to write it? I’m slowly developing these things, but the main thing that I know is that I just love to do it. I love to write. It matters little what it is, as long as I’m writing. But, clearly, every piece of writing has to be about something, so I have to figure out what I’m going to write about. It’s kind of odd to me, in a way. I love writing more than what it is I’m writing about. That feels very odd. Of course, there are times when what I want to write about is more enjoyable to me than actually writing it out itself. In fact, this is the case quite often, as I can’t figure out how to start, elaborate, make it better, etc. Or I get bogged down with what I mentioned above (how many writers there are, how much better they are than me, etc.). It’s a constant conflict. I either love the act of writing, with nothing to say, or I have things to say, but don’t feel like I have the ability to say them the way that I wish to. Deep down, I know this is in the heart of every writer, if not all of the time, at least a significant percentage of it. All creative types struggle. We have a desire to create, but often, we struggle. We struggle in our technical abilities, or through an internal conflict of visions. We always struggle. This is part of being a creative type.
The answer, for me, is going to come very slowly. Very slowly will I begin to read more often. I’ll be able to figure out my personal philosophies regarding reading. I’ll develop my thoughts into more concreteness, and then, work on developing the tools to express them as effectively as I would wish to do.
There are, of course, many obstacles. Getting better as a writer is a giant obstacle. My own personal thoughts about where I “fit in to the grand scheme of things” is a giant obstacle. Justified self-deprecation is an obstacle. My hopes and dreams are an obstacle. My personal beliefs are an obstacle. All of these are obstacles. Ultimately, I’ll have to find my way through them. Contemplation is one of the only ways to do this. It’s all up to me. All up to my own fucking little head. I have to do this all by myself. I have to figure out which books to read, what personal philosophies I wish to adopt, what I wish to write, how I wish to feel about my finances, how I fit into the “writing” market (and other markets). It’s all a process, and this is merely a step in it. Despite my lack of financial success, I’m very happy with my work up to this point. I wouldn’t trade it to be more successful, because the purpose of starting out on this journey of my work was doing what I enjoyed doing. And I have enjoyed it. I do enjoy it, immensely, even if I’m not making any money from it. I am confident this will change with time and practice, regardless of how “unrealistic” it is in the eyes of others. But the point is that even if they are right, I am also right. Of course, I’d love to make a living through writing, comedy, and acting. It is one of my goals to. But even if I don’t, I kind of don’t care. Once again, I have nothing to lose by adopting an attitude of optimism regarding financial success in my arts. But even if I don’t, I’m still going to do them. I don’t understand why more people don’t adopt this attitude. I’m sure there are many that do have that attitude, and that’s a good thing. And, of course, values differ from individual to individual, and yes, we all do have to “make a living” somehow. But individual value scales come into play. Some are willing to work less hours to paint pictures that never sell. Some are willing to sacrifice hours of leisure for more money. It’s all up to each individual to decide what values he or she has, and creating, through writing and comedy, is certainly something that I value very, very much.
It may be asked why I don’t go to school to learn to be a better writer. My answer to that is that I enjoy being my own teacher; completely in control of my own education. Deciding who to read, and when. I want to do everything by myself. That’s also something that I value very, very much. My own independent education. I’m not saying that people who choose to go to school aren’t acting “independently”. I just prefer to do things by myself, and I don’t want to go to “school” for things that I can learn for myself through reading, practice, and self-contemplation.
It remains to be seen what will happen, as is always the case. What I read will shape me. What and when will it happen? I read a little, as I said. About economics, particularly. It’s definitely influenced me. I’ve read a little fiction. In the process of reading a “classic”. I hope that I can learn something from it. Not only do I want to be entertained by it, but I read it as a teaching tool. I read it in the hopes of absorbing what makes it “good” for myself, so I can regurgitate it in my own way. That will probably be what leads me to read more often, as I think is the case with my best friend. He’s fully entrenched in the “reading/writing” world, and I haven’t been up to this point. But I am desiring to get better as a writer, and I can hear his voice in my head as I write that. I think we both want to become better writers through reading. And I think we both recognize the seeming futility of our endeavors. I’ve heard him speak many times about the number of writers there are in the world; the number of books, written by living and deceased. And he’s always talked about how behind he is with reading. How many books there are that remain unread. How he’ll never be able to figure out how to deal with it all. There will always be books, authors, undiscovered. Where do you begin? What perspective do you develop about it all? It’s always bugged him, and now, it’s starting to bug me. The things I have written here, have been discussed by him, to me, for quite some time now. Seems as if he’s influenced me; or, rather, that we were more alike than I realized back then.
So, I suppose, that we both, and all other writers alike, are stuck in the writing struggle, where we read, write, and try to figure out our place among all of the other readers and writers in the world.
A small note: in addition to what I’ve said about historic and current authors, one thing that I also think about is the fact that “history repeats itself”. Especially in economics, my particular subject of interest in reading about. On the one hand, it all feels so futile. We’re all just going back and forth about the same arguments that have always existed. But on the other, if evil won’t rest, neither should good. It’s all just exhausting, ultimately.
It is often speculated
If one is born a monster
Or is developed into one
For what it’s worth,
Tells me both
But the glow in me
Has dimmed down over the years,
Afraid to show it’s shining face once again
I believe that I was born with the glow
But it was dimmed all too soon
I was cheated of the glow
And I lived in the dark for many, many years
And the darkness
Hardens your heart
And makes you wonder
If you have actually become a monster
So you tell yourself you are a monster
And you do monstrous things
But it doesn’t feel good
It doesn’t feel like YOU
You don’t feel like a monster…
But, there’s still no glow
It is gone
A forgotten memory
A missed chance
A cheated opportunity
Never to be recovered again…
But can I continue to let the darkness live forever?
Where is the glow that I so long for?
And who shall be the keeper of my flame?
Will the fire drown me in tears?
Shred my heart into an inescapable chasm?
What does the future hold, besides my heart, and my fate?
And yet, is it so?
How do you know
If you don’t give it a go?
…I don’t know…
They say you should forgive and forget,
They also say a lot of OTHER stupid things…
I guess for me
Is to be
What I wish to be
How I feel after a time
Slowly descending into a self-imposed madness......
These are my public, free poems I plan on not publishing for financial profit. Feel free to check them out. Comments welcome!
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