A man came by the house today. He was a man I’ve known my entire life. And it wasn’t the first time that he’s ever showed up at the house.
He had some cards that he was wanting to know the value of. Some Yugioh, Pokemon, Magic, and some other cards that I’m not sure of. I told him that I had gotten out of cards a while back, and didn’t know how much they were worth. He then started saying some very profound things that I was not expecting.
He’s had some drug problems that I’ve known about. He was on a scooter. And I don’t recall what exactly started it, but suddenly, he started talking about religion. Unprovoked. But it was not like what you might expect when being preached at. Most of the time, when someone is preached at, they hear about how terrible they are as a human being, and all of the things they need to do to alleviate themselves from the consequences of their sin. But this conversation was nothing like that. In fact, one might say that it was the exact opposite.
He started talking about energy. He said that energy is neither created, nor destroyed, but that it just exists. That there’s no time. That there is only energy. That we are energy, and that we all share this common humanity. We all share upon this energy. And we can give good energy, or we can give bad energy. But the energy is always there, and we can’t destroy it. It reminded me very much of a Bill Hicks joke: “All my point is, all my point is is there’s a lot of ways to look at the world. You know what I’m sayin’? Why pick the way you learn over TV? Cause it’s usually wrong. You ever see a good drug story on the news? Never. News is supposed to be objective, isn’t it? Supposed to be the news. But! Every drug story is negative. Well hold it. I’ve had some killer fuckin’ times on drugs. Let’s hear the whole story. Same LSD story every time, and we’ve all heard it: ‘Young man on acid thought he could fly. Jumped out of a building. What a tragedy.’ What a dick. He thought he could fly, why didn’t he take off from the ground and check it out first? You don’t see ducks lined up to catch elevators to fly south. He’s an idiot. He’s dead. Good! You mean there’s one less moron in the world? Wow, what a fuckin’ tragedy, huh? I guess I’m one car-length up in traffic tomorrow. How about a positive LSD story? That would be newsworthy. Don’t you think? Anybody think that? Just once? To hear a positive LSD story? ‘Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration; that we are all one consciousness, experiencing itself, subjectively. There is no such thing death. Life is only a dream. And we are the imagination of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the weather.’”
One connection I made between the two of them was the drugs. But I don’t know if drugs really tell the whole story. Maybe they do in Bill’s case, but I’m not sure about this guy’s. But he continued. And things got really deep.
He said he’d be sitting around, drinking and smoking a bong with some people, and they’d say to him “How can you call yourself a Christian when you do all of that?” And he said to them that they didn’t get it. He told me that he’d tell them that the Ten Commandments aren’t laws which need to be strictly obeyed, but are rather more common sensical than that. To paraphrase, he said “Think about it. ‘Obey your father and your mother.’ That’s just natural, isn’t it?” The thing that struck me about this conversation was that I’ve been thinking some of these very things myself. He continued:
Once again, to paraphrase, he said “Life isn’t about obeying the laws of God. It’s about love. It’s about all of us loving each other. It’s about giving good energy through love. We are all part of this loving energy. And it doesn’t disappear: it just gets transported somewhere else when we die.”
Here was a man I hadn’t seen in months, if not a couple of years. Who I’ve known my whole life. Who just came to my house and started telling me this stuff. He asked a couple of times if I understood what he was saying. And, to my shock, I actually did. I’ve been thinking some things lately, but they aren’t fleshed out enough for writing. But I actually did understand what he was saying. And when I told him so, he’d say “I know you do.” And I could tell that he was being genuine. That he was serious. We shared a very human moment together. I thought “You know, I know people who would’ve asked him to leave. But I’m glad I just stood here and listened to him.”
He could be pretty emotional at times. Not to the verge of tears, but just very excited. I thought about telling him to calm down because I didn’t want the neighbors to check out what was happening, but he seemed to sense it every time without me saying anything. Of course, he couldn’t contain himself at times. He wasn’t sad, and he wasn’t angry, but he was very enthusiastic. Passionate. But he felt completely genuine to me. He wasn’t putting on a show. This man was pouring out his heart. And I could feel that.
He told me some very personal things about himself that I will not ever repeat to anyone. I don’t know if he was high or not. I believe I could smell a little liquor on him. But I swear, in that moment, I think his head was more clear than it had ever been.
He said he’d talk to Biblical “scholars”, to use his term, at nearby churches. Talking to them, presumably, about some of the things he had been talking about to me. He didn’t seem to think that they actually got it. Once again, it was a miracle that I was on the same brainwave as him. Maybe my natural thought processes are just as scattered as his, but I understood what he was saying. For the most part.
There were some things about tectonic plates and volcanoes and the world opening up that I was skeptical of. But I dismissed those pretty easily, because he was back on the loving energy topic pretty quickly. I don’t know if he’s right, if he’s wrong, but I guess time will tell.
He said “I’ve never told anybody any of this stuff. I’ve rarely read any of the Bible. But something just compelled me to come here and say all of this stuff.” And I understood exactly what he meant. It was a very touching moment.
He also said some stuff about seven nations, like America, Brazil, Peru, and others being a “seven-headed beast”. That “liberty” was just a myth. That there was some volcano off of the coast of southwest Australia that was going to open up like a pit of Hell. I was a little skeptical of all of that. He started losing me there. But I agreed with him, and understood what he was saying, earlier about loving energy, so I stuck with him.
He said he loved me, and I told him I loved him too. And we hugged each other. I could tell that he was genuine. And then, he was on his way.
I thought about that moment. I thought about dwelling on it. About trying to force that moment to be meaningful every moment of my entire life from here on out. But that isn’t how moments work. Moments exist within a specific time and place. Forcing them beyond that makes them lose what made them magical in the first place. But it gave me some interesting thoughts about love, and about advantage.
The way I grew up to think about love is incorrect. I thought that one had to love everybody to the fullest extent that one could, so that the world would be a good place. So that we could all get into Heaven. But the first part of that is actually more important than the latter, believe it or not. I treated love as something to always be working toward and striving for. But not just love: perfect love. “Am I being as loving as I could be?” This question always bothered me tremendously. Religion had taught me that I should love my fellow man, but how do I know how much I need to love my fellow man? Well, this was never answered specifically, but I believed that the answer to that “amount” question was the same as other “amount” questions that religion attempts to answer: “As much as you can, but that will never be enough. But you have to struggle towards that goal, anyway.”
So I put a lot of pain upon my heart to try to love people. But it only made me resent them. It made me hate myself. It confused me. I’m introverted by nature, and my idea of “love” (such as always listening to everything someone says when they talk to you, never disagreeing with someone, never getting angry at someone, etc.) was immature and, plainly, just incorrect. My old way of thinking about love put a lot of pain upon my heart that created a lot of hatred. And I don’t think my old way of thinking about love was even correct.
I believe that guy was on to something. I believe that love is a lot deeper than that. Way deeper than that. He said that he was struggling to find the words to explain what it was that he wanted to explain, and I feel the same way at the moment. I’ll bring up a conversation that I had with my best friend recently, Devin Stevens.
I called him up one night cause I hadn’t talked to him in a while. I was thinking some things about religion, and I know he’s been thinking and writing about it for a very long time now, so I just wanted to hear some of his take on religion. I asked him some questions. And he told me some personal things that I won’t break to anyone, but he’s planning on making these public in a giant religious treatise that he’s writing, so I look forward to seeing the complete piece myself. But as we talked, I came to the conclusion that, even among Christians, each person’s faith is different from one another. Christians experience Christianity differently. That was one thing that seemed very clear to me in that conversation. And I was very relieved.
It made me think of politics. In politics, force is used to make everyone “equal”, but it destroys their humanity and makes them miserable in the process. It made sense to me that, much like humans need freedom to experience the fullness of their diverse, individualistic humanity, that this humanitarian diversity and individuality would be experienced with God as well. God has made us individual, and diverse. That’s got to mean something holy. God created the Earth, and made us out of dirt. Despite our sins, I don’t think that God hates humans, nor do I believe that He hates the Earth. He created it, after all. No, most of the things He hates are common sense, I believe, just like that guy who came by my house was talking about. Stuff that most of us just naturally hate, like murder, or theft. Basic, common sense stuff. Yes, that is the stuff that God hates. That is the stuff that a loving God hates. That’s the stuff that love hates.
My old conservative ways of thinking about love and God, I have now come to believe, were wrong. There was too much emphasis on “completeness”. Too much emphasis, in effect, on the impossible. Which led me to failure, which led me to fear. But the emotion which plagued me the most about love, the old way I thought about love, was guilt. When I was younger, if I would’ve heard a story like that man told me today, I would’ve felt extremely guilty. My life has been nothing like his. And yet, this man was showing me love, and saying that we had a common bond. I would’ve felt guilty about that when I was young. But the truth is that I’ve had a much easier life than he’s had. It does make me feel bad for him, although I hope he can turn his life around, and I hope that what he said in our meeting today continues with him throughout the rest of his life. But I didn’t feel guilty today. I didn’t feel guilty for not having the troubled experiences that he has had. I just felt lucky. I felt blessed. I didn’t feel like a “better” human being than him, but I felt absolutely blessed. I said to myself “I have been lucky. I have been advantaged.” But that didn’t make me feel any need to bring myself down to any level that he has been at. Rather, it made me realize, or rather, it made me continue to think what I’ve been thinking about for a while now, that life is about taking advantage. It isn’t about “taking advantage” of someone else, but it is about “taking advantage” of yourself. Life is about taking advantage of your natural, God-given abilities and desires. That’s how human progress moves forward. That’s how things get better. When people experience the fullness of their humanity, and become the best that they can be. Not out of fear, but out of love for the world. Striving for improvement, maximizing their natural skill-sets. Bringing other people joy. The key is to accept what you have. Accept whatever it is that you have. And the key is to eliminate false humility. The key to love is accepting it when other people give it to you, for whatever reason that they do. Accept it, and move on to the next thing in your life.
For me, I’m pretty smart. Halfway decent with words. I can’t feel guilty about these things simply because I’m smarter than someone else, or a better communicator than someone else. And that lack of guilt on my part does not mean that I don’t love someone else. Advantage and disadvantage aren’t signals of love. Guilt isn’t even love. Love was that moment when this man told me very personal things, I listened to him, and then we hugged each other. The differences in our lives, past and present, had nothing to do with love. I shouldn’t feel guilty for having a much easier life than he had, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t wish him the best of luck in the future, and feel sympathy for his past.
That’s the biggest thing I need to continue developing in my life: how to take advantage of myself. How to remove anxieties and guilts, and be the best goddamned Cody Alan Reel that I can fucking be, with whatever it is that I have been given.
I’m sure I’ve heard this a lot growing up, and I’m sure I’ve dismissed it frequently, but all of those phrases about “Life being about the experience”, and “Living life to the fullest”, make a lot more sense to me now. The lesson didn’t come from the church. But I’m going to continue to take full advantage of myself, and figure out how to feel emotionally about myself as I go along. There has been a large transformation on that front as the years have gone on. A complete 180. A lot of blessings, and a lot of introspection. It’s a process. It’s an odd mixture of myself and things outside of my control. I’m going to think about it and write about it as much as I can stand it. As much as it brings me satisfaction to do so. But that’s part of my individual journey here on Earth.
I wish everyone the best of luck, and I hope that everyone can take full advantage of themselves.
I remember you once asked,
“How should I best serve the people?”
What I’ll tell you will sound hard
but is naturally and fearfully easy.
First, you wanna work at night
when the dazzling stars inspire smooth rhetoric.
In private, mind you. Public needs require secret newsfeeds.
Be sure you have the right tools and the right spot.
What you design in the dark should sound like this:
Each American should have their own place of rest,
fashioned with our lightly taxed cloth
pillows full as a soft father’s hands,
blankets tight as a woman’s grip.
His bed should be framed by the sturdiest wood,
fitting all and only his substance;
teach him to be an individual
and chase his own American Dream,
with no helping hand but yours.
They may wonder about random stuff like
the grave, or the coffin, or what happens at night,
but you can…
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“If men were like ants, there would be no interest in human freedom. If individual men, like ants, were uniform, interchangeable, devoid of specific personality traits of their own, then who would care whether they were free or not? Who, indeed, would care if they lived or died? The glory of the human race is the uniqueness of each individual, the fact that every person, though similar in many ways to others, possesses a completely individuated personality of his own. It is the fact of each person’s uniqueness—the fact that no two people can be wholly interchangeable—that makes each and every man irreplaceable and that makes us care whether he lives or dies, whether he is happy or oppressed. And, finally, it is the fact that these unique personalities need freedom for their full development that constitutes one of the major arguments for a free society.”
I don’t feel like this is “done”, but I’m tired of fucking looking at it, so I guess that means it’s “done”. I’m tired of considering it “not done” and spending time trying to think of what is wrong with it when I know that so much other work that isn’t done remains undone. It’s time to move on.
What does it mean to be insane? How does one know if one is insane or not? I have wrestled with the status of my sanity for many years. My eccentricities have often been the source of great anxiety. I attribute this to just being young. But my eccentricities have only matured and moulded me. Increasingly, I long to lose my sanity. I deeply desire to be maniacal. It is, because at that point, I will no longer have any fucks to give. Social stigma will be a complete thing of the past.
It is so odd how the viewpoints through which you receive information about the world shape how you yourself view the world. I recall news interviews, where the interviewer thought the guy at the fair or protest or wherever that he was interviewing was a little weird. I then thought the guy was a little weird. I didn’t care to hear what the point of view of the weird guy was. Because he was weird. Who cares? You adopt the prejudices of your superiors, and then you grow out of them. I realize that it is a “normal” process, but “normal” things are very often weird.
I learned at a young age that being a little crazy was fun. It made people laugh (even if they were laughing “at” you). I typically welcome any laugh. I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule. But I like acting like an idiot, knowing that I’m going to be harshly judged because of it. That doesn’t mean I’ll find every criticism levied against me funny, but I do enjoy finding humor in a great many of them. I enjoy playing the “game”. Serious gets hard real fast. Before you know it, you’ve got cancer. (I don’t, thankfully).
My craziness has matured over time. I want it to mature even further. I want to see how far I can push it. It brings me great joy to be insane. Once again, I feel like I am on the other side of that interviewing microphone. I’ve done a complete 180 as far as perspective is concerned, and that’s quite a shock to the system. I don’t long for the previous viewpoint: in fact, it is the old way that is most shocking to me. “Why did I ever think that?” I find myself asking constantly. I certainly don’t think I’m unique in this case. I think it is quite common.
My entire life revolves around entertaining myself. I got tired of always being bored. So many things “out there” weren’t stimulating enough for me. There was always something missing, it felt like. “I’d do that differently,” I always thought to myself. There were certainly, for examples, movies that stuck out to me that made me happy. But it would be hard for me to explain why those did, and why so many others didn’t. I’ve always enjoyed being a “class clown”, and this has helped me deal with crippling existential boredom. “You could be a nurse.” “You could join the military.” You don’t understand. I fucking can’t. Something is going to be missing in my life if I don’t develop my own world. Much like Bob Ross discussed “worlds” as he painted, I have my “world” with regards to writing and entertainment. I want to create my own entertainment “world”. I want to build my own amusement park, even if I’m the only one riding. That brings me joy, and that’s what I want to do. I have always admired comedians because they aren’t afraid of acting like idiots (in fact, it actually helps them out) and having fun, and bringing that fun to others. I realize that doctors “are the real heroes”, but there’s no one I’d rather emulate more than comedians. My heart yearns to create a crazy world of my own.
There’s always that point where someone “gets” what a crazy comedian is doing. I can’t imagine a more thrilling feeling. I don’t want to come right out and say “Ok, here is the point of this piece of comedy.” I like dragging the audience (however minute it is) along. I have fun messing with them. But the thought of someone saying “Huh. I actually get what this guy is doing. He’s a fucking lunatic, but he’s a genius.” I love that thought: the thought of someone getting it. That’s a great thought.
I hate how it seems so often that maturity only comes over an extended period of time. As I said, my desire to be funny has been with me for a long time. But the social anxieties of youth are almost always unbearable. It feels freeing to be able to say “I don’t care” and dance around like a fucking jackass. Why did it take so long? Who knows. Maturity and biological growth are just one of those mysteries of the universe that we are subjected to, and there’s nothing we can fucking do about it. Oh well. At least it happened.
Peer pressure made me shut up. When I made people laugh, I felt good. When I didn’t, I felt bad. But, I eventually decided to make myself laugh even if no one else was laughing. In fact, I taught myself to find that fact humorous. I’m going to do something to make myself laugh, even if it irritates you. It is much easier to get what you’re looking for from an audience when your audience is yourself.
It is going to take time for me to build my confidence up. Certainly, I’ve made tremendous strides. But I am still very anxious. I still fear being incoherent; being stale. Failing. I want to put myself in a longevity mindset. I’m going to act like an idiot as long as I find some joy from it. I anticipate doing this for a very long time. I suppose “anything could happen”. I can look at past and current tendencies and use those to say where I’m going to be at in twenty years, but one truly never knows. My goal, at least currently, is to continue along the path I have started, and have been going down. At present, I would love to say that I’d still have fun acting like a jackass at 60. But maybe in 20, or 10, or even 5 years I get tired of what I’m doing. I don’t know. I don’t anticipate that happening, but anything is possible.
A part of me does feel like this desire to be insane will become more mild in the future. Currently, I actually have the time and energy to work on my insanity, but this won’t be the case in the future. I will probably “mellow out” into something more mild. I can’t even analyze the past. I don’t have a clue how I’m going to analyze the future.
I do believe I will always admire successful, insane people. People like John R. Dilworth. People like him are admirable. This guy has made a living out of just being “a little off”. I love that. I’ll probably dream of that while doing my factory job in the future. It may just end up being a dream, but the alternative is just not having one. What in the fuck would I do? Why is not having a dream somehow more noble than having one? Why does it matter whether or not I succeed? Why should I give up? What good does that do me? I don’t understand that attitude, and I think most proponents of that attitude just like to hate on stuff.
I think the biggest motivator behind how “insane” I become in the future will be my level of boredom. I don’t anticipate it becoming any less than it has always seemed to be. Boredom has always been a problem for me. It initially was crippling. Entertaining myself made it bearable. Can I say that I will be less bored when I get older? I, personally, don’t see it happening. I see the future becoming more mundane, as years and years of repetition take hold, and, thus, I will need something stronger to relieve myself from it. I anticipate this to be insanity. Insanity induced by repetition. But more purposeful than happenstance. A conscious decision rather than a trap. That is my hope, anyway.
I anticipate that the more that I do what I want to do, the better I will become at what I do. If I want to do something, and, thus, do it, I might as well have the highest possible goal for myself. There’s no downside, if I’m going to be doing the thing regardless. The biggest stumbling block that I foresee is war. Only because war is the biggest stumbling block to pretty much everything. However, I certainly believe that I should exercise freedom when it exists, so I’m going to try to write and become more insane for as long as I can. I know there are going to be many growing pains, but at least they will be something different.
I know that as the years go by, I will become more and more of a turtle: less influenced by outside factors. More “stubborn”. I’ll get better at things until I start to hit a decline: and, even then, I’ll still get better at certain things while becoming worse at others. At least for the time being, I look forward to getting better at the things, even if there’s a downside that comes with that. At least for the moment, I’d rather be old and confident than young and anxious.
I fully embrace the challenge. In many ways, I enjoy making things harder on myself. Just to be able to say that I am my own actor. The satisfaction of succeeding in ways everyone said you couldn’t is enough for me to desire to blaze my own trails, even if they are dead ends. I don’t want to travel common roads when I can see where they go.
I truly hate it when I start to second guess myself. I have these “mad” plans, and how I’m going to achieve them: the building blocks I’m initially going to choose, and how I plan on developing them. It is extraordinarily intimidating. I’m an island. It’s fucking hard to be an island. It’s hard to be your sole motivating factor. It’s hard to get better “by yourself”. But that challenge makes the joy that much sweeter. Sure, you may enjoy playing with that rubber paddle and ball attached to a string, just hitting it around. But do you want to get better? How fast do you want to be able to hit the ball? How fast and how accurate do you want to be? Do you enjoy improving?
I enjoy piling things onto myself. A big problem that I see with everything that I’m doing right now is that I just don’t have enough experience. The only way to gain experience at doing things is just to……do it, but it’s hard to do it when you’re figuring out what exactly it is that you are doing: when you’re still figuring out what your goals are. My heart desires for a finished product. But this truly is an experience. This is about growth. I’ve heard many people say growth never really ends, and I don’t have a good reason to not believe them.
Confidence is a big stumbling block at the moment. I enjoy a healthy amount of “My writing is shit.” It gives me something to work on. But I so often find that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew at the moment. I’m confident that at some point I can chew it. But the problem is that it just takes a long fucking time before I feel like I’m ready to chew, and the even bigger problem is that by that time, I’ve discovered that the initial bite was fucking disgusting, and I want to toss it out completely. Then, I’m back to the beginning, except more time has passed. So I fall behind. Or, the bite just still isn’t ready to chew. How much fucking longer will it be before it is ready to be chewed? For better or for worse, one of my philosophies that I have developed through my relatively short life is to “Let it be”. I don’t handle “control” very well. Some people can effectively take charge when things fall apart, but I become frustrated as to try to ignore the problem for as long as possible. I am not interested in changing this. But I do struggle with writing because of this, in my opinion. The problem is that in the past, control didn’t work out. But I do need control now because I am writing. I am now completely in control, I need to be, and it is a whole new world. “Remember those other times you took control? Well guess what, fuckhead, what makes you think things are going to change? Sure, you’re older. But you’re still the same person. What makes you think you got better? What gaul. What evidence do you have that you are any better than you used to be, huh? Prove it. Oh, you’re choking up, are you? Look at you: talking to yourself in third person. ‘What will the people think?’ your second voice asks you sarcastically. ‘Shut up’, I say, as my armor glistens, and I raise the sword of self-esteem against the dragon with sarcastic fire. ‘Did I leave the oven on? Why am I in this cave? Fuck this dragon, that’s for sure. How big is this cave? How am I going to die? What shitty things are going to happen to me in the future? Fuck. Stay on task. You left your home for a reason. Let’s go. Fuck. Where am I going? Bah, who needs a map. I don’t want no goddamned map. Fuck. I don’t have any idea of where I’m going. I know where I want to go, but what do I want to do to get there?” And on, and on, and on. I could elaborate on this metaphor, but fuck it.
The reality is that, to this day, there are still so many things beyond my control. There always has been, and always will be. The “magic” is figuring out that balance between control and acceptance. But I want to do that as an island, and it’s still fucking hard. Dreaming of the rewards makes it all worthwhile, as well as just the love of the journey itself. But those demons sure do love to tap on my shoulders. (And, honestly, I need them, at least to some degree).
I long for insanity because, as I have said, it will mean I have tuned out the world. I won’t be listening to people tell me that I’m wasting my time by writing. That I should do something else with my life. That I should take classes, or whatever other advice I could be given. My desire to be insane is as much intrinsic as it is to reflect externally: I want to enjoy my own insanity, but I want others to think me insane as well. Because I feel like they will finally leave me alone. No more trying to help, because I’m a “lost cause” in their mind. I love that thought. It makes me want to become crazier and crazier to drive people away, just so they’ll leave me alone. I welcome anyone that enjoys it. But as soon as someone tries to change my course, I want them gone. Scaring them off seems to be a good way to do that.
The problem with freedom is the people that try to take it away. Offensive speech is the hardest speech to keep free. This is because people are babies and are willing to attack people that say things they don’t enjoy hearing. That’s never really going to change. There will always be significant pockets of those people. There’s nothing we can really do about that. All we can do is speak out and try to deal with them when they become violent. But that doesn’t mean you’ll survive. It’s a sad fact that people will always be murdered, and it’s a sad fact that people will always be murdered for what they say.
Regardless, I long to be widely considered as insane. To me, being insane is the ultimate freedom. You aren’t caging me up, drugging me, destroying my free and independent mind, violently beating me into submission. At least, not yet. Tyranny always exists: just to different degrees. Innocent people face unjust punishment all of the time. I honestly kind of expect it at some point. There’s nothing stopping a rumor from being started that, say, I have drugs, or am running some kind of child-trafficking ring, and then the police break my door down and search my entire house to find nothing. That wouldn’t surprise me in the least. I just expect that type of tyranny. I expect people to be that hateful and stupid as to try to “get me” by calling the cops on me, and then, for my house to be raided, my computer probably stolen (which I’ll never get back), then I’d have to pay money in court (which I’d never get back), and then, I still have the potential to go to jail: all because of a rumor, with no evidence. It happens. It could be 25 years before I was exonerated, or it could be never. That type of shit happens, and I just sort of expect it to happen to me, because I enjoy “offensive” speech. Some people just can’t handle it and retaliate neurotically and inappropriately. “The justice system”, government, should never be trusted. But I think that ship is sailed. I think trust of government is too ingrained at this point. There’s pockets that aren’t, but talking and listening to a statist is a great way to feel hopeless about the future.
I’m not a doctor, or anything “important”. All I desire is to entertain myself, and being crazy is one of the most effective ways I’ve found of doing this. My heart needs it desperately. It recharges my soul when evil wears it out. I look forward to seeing just how insane I ultimately become.
To be human is to be individual. Although all humans share a common humanity (that’s why they’re called “humans“), and this fact is used to consider individual human beings as part of a collective, the truth of the matter is that each human is an individual at the core of his or her being.
To be an “individual”, one must have a mind, which creates thoughts, desires, and plans and takes action. Among these desires is a sense of belonging among fellow humans. Humans have an intrinsic social need: a need to be accepted on some level. We are created in such a way as to need communication, both in speaking and in listening. The thoughts, desires, plans, and actions among humans differ. This is another characteristic of humanity, and a byproduct of the fact that humanity is composed of “individual” humans. If humans were not individual in nature, but were rather homogeneous, such as atoms sharing the exact same molecules and molecular structures, then concepts such as the ones mentioned above would be mute.
But, as it stands, humans are individual in nature; and individual with a desire for sociability and beloningness.
With the individual nature of the thoughts, desires, plans, and actions of humans, comes many influences. Although each person has his or her own will, that does not mean that our wills are not influenced by external forces (forces outside of our bodies). Other humans influence through their words, actions, etc. We react to each other. And we are reacted to when we react.
But despite all of this complicated interplay among humans, there is still a desire to be individual. To be independent. To be one’s own person. And this is not to say that in order for one to be an individual, one must not be influenced by outside forces. For this would be impossible. In that case, babies must not learn, because almost all of the knowledge that they obtain comes from outside forces.
And, in fact, it is impossible to not be independent. This is another aspect of our humanity: being individual in nature, we are inherently independent.
So what is all of this about?
To preface this, I would say that given all of the concepts and ideas that very intelligent people have communicated throughout mankind’s history, I have no expectations that my own ideas will have any influence that I would deem significant. Sure, if one person is influenced in a manner that we both deem positive, it could be argued that that would be “significant”, because the well-being of each and every person on the planet is important.
But you get my point.
However, for whatever reason, I have a natural desire to think and express my thoughts.
My thoughts, as are everyone else’s, are independent.
And one of my desires is to write my thoughts down.
I have no explanations as to why my thoughts may be of superior objective quality to anyone else’s thoughts, so I’m not going to attempt to argue that here.
And if you were to ask me how I could characterize my thoughts generally, I could only come up with vague descriptions such as “unique” (which isn’t very unique, by the way).
However, I have them, and I think them. And they exist.
Next, I have a natural desire to express those thoughts. I have a feeling that my thoughts have enough quality to be shared to others (and some agree with me and some disagree with me). And so, I share them. And I share them and I share them and I share them, in the hopes that someone can receive them and say “Hmm…he’s got a good point. I never thought of it that way.” Or “You know, I’ve always thought the same thing, but he elaborated upon my original thought in an effective way.”
Don’t misunderstand me here: I’m not simply looking for praise for praise’s sake. If you will recall what I stated earlier, I have thoughts which I think are worth sharing, and a desire to share them. It’s not so people can tell me how smart I am. It’s more than that. It’s just who I am. It’s just me. It is me to think, think that my thoughts are of fairly intelligent quality, and then attempt to share those thoughts with others in the hope that people can make sense of them and, even perhaps, learn something.
And, once again, this isn’t to try to “prove” to people how smart I am.
It’s just naturally who I am.
Once again, you may be asking yourself:
What is his fucking point?
I’ll try to begin explaining that to you now.
I have always struggled with being mentally independent. At least in some ways. There are some ideas that I would say I have “independently” (meaning void of any anxiety-peer pressure driven acceptance), and some that I do not. I have no way of describing any defining criteria between the two, because I’m not sure if there is any, besides just a recognition that one is one and the other is the other.
But, at least for me, it is extremely difficult to be mentally independent in a way that I would consider to be “independent”. I have always attributed this difficulty to two things: a desire to understand objective truth, and assuming that people are well-intentioned.
Let me explain what I mean a little bit further. I’ve always loved learning. I love knowing truths. I think many people share those same loves. So, I’ve always tried to absorb knowledge, from whatever I could. To be mundane, this would include anyone speaking to me (as a child: keep this in mind); basically, any form of information that I absorbed through multiple forms of media (books, magazines, etc.). And, I always assumed that people were telling the truth. Or, at least trying to. But I encountered a couple of problems along the way, which I couldn’t begin to comprehend until I got older.
The first problem that I encountered was that some people are just fucking stupid. I kind of knew this when I was younger, but I almost felt bad for knowing this truth (sympathy for them because they were stupid), so I tried to ignore this truth so that I didn’t feel like a bad person. But the truth is the truth. Acknowledging that a stupid person is stupid is simply that: an acknowledgement that a stupid person is stupid. That in and of itself is not necessarily a value judgment upon said person. It is simply an undeniable fact. This was very hard for me to accept when I was younger.
I always wanted everyone to be the best at everything, but people are just different, and differ in ability, desires, etc. I felt bad when I felt like I had an advantage in, say, intelligence, as opposed to someone else. Just a general sadness. It wasn’t fair that they were born less intelligent than I was. And I didn’t think it was fair because I knew of the advantages one would have when one is intelligent, and neither of us really had any control in our respective intelligences. We were created that way through genetics and our environment, and didn’t have much (if any) say so in the matter. That was always soul-crushing to me.
Likewise, I felt bad for people who were physically disabled. I could go on and on and on about the things that I felt sorry for.
And although I still feel that sympathy in many different respects (nowadays, it more manifests itself towards criminals), I, through what I can only attribute to age, experience, and various lessons people have tried to teach me along the way, have learned to accept (at least, more so than I used to) the differences in advantageous and disadvantageous traits and life experiences from one human being to another.
But one thing that I’m not content with my grasp on is my own personal mental, ideological independence.
I realize that, at the time of this writing, it is only 5 days until my 24th birthday (it, apparently, took me over a year to finish this). And I realize that’s a pretty young age to expect “complete mental independence” (for lack of a better phrase due to laziness). But still, one area of my life that I would like to develop is mental independence. All humans, as they age from children, to adolescence, to adulthood, wish to be mentally independent. Once again, it’s part of our nature. But I think I have a way of expressing this more effectively than most (although there are surely writers who could communicate this more effectively than I).
I realize this is a very humorous thing to say, but the thing that scares me the most about independence is the responsibility. I just don’t fucking trust myself. I know how I am. I remember my history. I remember my mistakes, and how devastating they were for me. The more I tried to control a situation, the more shitty it became. Once I “shirked responsibility”, the shit was still there. But it was more manageable. I could just ignore it until it went away. The idea of being in control never appealed to me. There were several things outside of my control (such as the relationship between my parents), and the more I tried to control something, the more shitty I felt when things didn’t go my way. So, I just accepted the shittiness. And that was really hard to do. There is nothing more devastating than feeling like you have done a good job, only to find out that you hadn’t. I feel like this was the case for me in school a lot. I was a smart student, and I wouldn’t say that this disappointment was the majority of the time, but when it happened, it seemed to cripple me. For instance, reading the wrong chapter for homework. That type of failure was always crippling to me. Why? Why couldn’t I just say “Woops”, and move on? I think a part of it had to do with always being told how smart I was by teachers, and hearing my mom talk to other people about me. I just set my own personal standards too high (especially for my age). I couldn’t tolerate mistakes. And it all ate me alive.
The carefree attitude saved me, although it also caused a lot of problems. Instead of feeling like shit for not getting the grade I wanted, or for making a mistake, I just stopped caring. I stopped caring about my grades. Luckily, I didn’t flunk everything. But straight As went to Bs and Cs really quickly. And I was content with that. I didn’t care about school anymore. The subjects were boring, and I already knew what it was like to “Ace” everything. Why did I need to continue doing that? I didn’t know. And, so, I stopped trying as much.
But even when I did try, I still made mistakes. And it made me angry. So, I “ragequit” again. That has been my modus operandi for a long time now: just quitting everything. Barely getting by. The idea of college was terrifying to me when I was in high school. “You mean I’m going to have to decide what I’m going to do with my entire life? I can’t even remember what page I was supposed to read for homework!” I had zero confidence in myself as a decision maker. I believe, knowing my history, this was justified. My “decision” was to coast, and I know I got pretty lucky along that coast. But still, I made the “decision” to coast, and it seemed to work out (in some areas). Of course, every decision will lead to mistakes somewhere, and this was certainly the case for me.
Coasting has worked out for me, but I think it is, at least to a significant degree, at its end. “The writing is on the wall.” I can see, pretty clearly, what my main option is for the future. It is in contrast with what I dream to do. I will probably have to do both simultaneously, and it is very probable that my dreams are going to be opposed to what it is that I ultimately have to do. My only option is to try to do both simultaneously until the dream can become the job, and that is uncertain (unlikely, most would say. I know I won’t succeed without optimism, however). All of my thoughts need to develop over time. I have to figure out how I want them to develop. I’m still so anxious about what it is that I want to do that this anxiety freezes me. I want to write about “big” things. And when I try to go down the path of thinking about them, I become anxious. Either because I don’t have everything that I want to say figured out, or I start thinking about after the piece becomes completed, and what is going to happen. It is hard to concentrate. In my opinion, I think this is a good thing in several ways. I am cognizant of the sands of time ticking away. I realize that the journey is long. Doing what I want to do is going to be really fucking hard. And it is all for an uncertainty. It is hard to concentrate when these factors constantly occupy your mind. The only saving grace from this as far as the work is concerned is the joy that you obtain from doing the work. But I don’t want to treat my work as digging in the sand with a stick. I treat my work as a future career. That’s my attitude. “How is it going to work?” “How can you expect to-” blah blah blah. I don’t care to listen to your concerns, regardless of your motivations.
I want to write my thoughts down. This means that they need to be developed. This just takes fucking time. Learning takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of labor. It’s just hard to learn something. It’s even harder to write about something. I think that all writers are “teachers”. When you write something, you want to impart ideas to the reader. You want these ideas to be beneficial to the reader. You don’t want to have the reader say “Yeah yeah yeah, I already know this”, and stop reading what you wrote. You want the reader to say “Huh. That’s good.” That’s hard to do. There’s so many good writers out there that the prospect of you being a good teacher is slim. But, once again, that’s where the love of the work comes into play. In a sense, it doesn’t matter how good of a teacher I am. Even if I’m a shitty teacher, I’m going to keep writing. I’ll keep getting bad reviews, but I’ll keep fucking writing. Because I love to do it. I firmly believe that persistence is what I’m going to need to succeed as much as I can succeed, whatever level that ultimately happens to be. I would encourage everyone to write about how shitty I am as a “writer” or a “teacher”. Start your own blog called “Cody Alan Reel SUCKS”, and lay forth your arguments as to why I’m a lazy fucking sexist neckbeard who lives in his mom’s basement and is going to be flipping hamburgers (1, 2) his whole life. Maybe you’ll end up being right. Don’t you want to be among the first to be able to take credit for your predictions?
Of course, if one is going to take action, one must assume responsibility. There’s always some difficulty with this. Even when one takes responsibility, there is a guilt that comes with it. Or a somberness, when facing punishment. I can’t say that I’ve ever had, nor kept, many responsibilities in my life. The fact that I’m struggling to think of them really signifies that to me. I would characterize myself as a “weasel”: I’m always able to “weasel” my way out of things. I’m thinking something like chores. I never really did them. For one, some of them didn’t make sense (and still don’t). For instance, making one’s bed, or cleaning one’s room. Making one’s bed makes zero sense to me. It gets messed up every night. It doesn’t matter how it looks in the morning. And as far as one’s room goes: well, it’s my room. Sure, my parents owned the house. But it was still my room. The toys are going to come right back out the next day. So why not just leave them out? It still doesn’t make any sense to me. Authoritarianism is not a valid argument. Why should I put the toys away? “Because I said so” should never suffice for a youngster. If you can’t explain why something needs to be done, then it doesn’t need to be done. Teach your child how to reason: not how to fear authority. I’ve weaseled my way out of many other things besides chores, but I won’t get into them all now (chores were certainly a significant part of it; especially early on in life).
I suppose I should talk about things that I was “responsible” for in the past: namely, times in which I got in trouble. There were plenty of fights with my brother that I was responsible for. But the main thing I can think of for getting in trouble and being “responsible” for is porn. I don’t recall a time where I felt like I was “in trouble” before it came to porn. Looking back on it, there was definitely an overreaction. So I drew some pictures of boobs as a kid. Why do I need to see a guidance counselor because of that? So I planned on bringing some porn over to a friend’s house. What’s wrong with that? I can’t describe the embarrassment when I was “discovered”. I can’t even remember what was said to me at the time, I was so embarrassed. All I remember was the porn fell out of my shirt, I didn’t get to go over to my friend’s house, my mom called my friend’s parents and apparently he was asked about the porn, and I don’t know what else happened. I think they really made a big stink out of nothing. Maybe that was just my young mind overreacting due to embarrassment, but it seems to have been made a bigger deal than it actually was. So I was “responsible” for drawing pictures of boobs and trying to take porn over to a guy’s house. Big deal. (I can’t remember exactly how old I was at the time. I think I was in my very early teens: maybe even 12). I think this is partly why I still have a problem with “responsibility”: inconsistent, nonsensical parenting. My mother certainly provided a lot of that, and confused the Hell out of me. Then, there was the parents fighting, pitting one against the other, then, as a kid, I had to “take sides”, yadda yadda yadda. Except it wasn’t like a regular divorce with two “normal” parents: at least one of them was insane.
I seem to be finding it harder and harder to write about anything. I would hope that I become a better reader and editor as time goes along, but I continually find that things that I wish to write about overlap so much that distinguishing between things to separate them into “pieces” becomes very difficult. It truly feels like I just want to write about my life, my one life, and it is hard to write about my “life” in separate pieces. It is hard to decide how to frame each piece, or to keep it “on track”, when I feel like there are so many things that I want to say that intertwine.
One of the hardest things for me to deal with with regards to mental independence is how to handle other people. I envision someone screaming dumb things at me an inch from my face. Or punching me in the face. I desire to express myself honestly. And I accept that there will be people that hate it. But some of those crazies will think it is a good idea to stab me in the stomach. That’s the risk you have to take when you wish to speak honestly. (Or when your sense of humor is as fucked up as mine is). But it certainly occupies a significant portion of my thinking when I desire to write something, or do something.
One good thing about getting older is that you start to learn who, in your past, was wrong. As I write this, I think of the times that I tried to write in my mid-to-late teens. Writing was so much harder back then. Who was I writing for? I didn’t know. Well, myself, obviously. But who was going to read it? I had no idea. The few that did read it made me feel very self-conscious. I don’t think the small sample size understood what I was trying to say (and clearly, my inability to articulate myself had a significant role in this). But what changed in those 9, 10 years? Why am I so much different today than I was then? It bugs me that this development is “out of my control”. It just happened. Naturally. I just naturally became a better writer because I got older (and practiced a little bit). My language skills got better just because I had more experience, my brain chemistry is different, etc. That’s such an annoying, hopeless position to be in. To just be stuck as a shitty writer, with the only “saving grace” being time. That’s so fucked up. Why can’t I be the best writer that I will ever be right now? Sure, that thought frightens me. But why can’t I be at my max level all of the time? Why must I grow? Why can’t I control my growth? That tortures me. There are some things that become worse the more that you try to control them. That is a significant theme throughout my life. I have accepted it, and have become moulded by that philosophy. And, in my opinion, it is completely justified based on my history. It is how I have found my personal level of “contentment”. But it eats me alive sometimes to have development out of my control. Sure, it isn’t completely out of my control: because I desire to write, and thus, write, it will inevitably get better over time with practice. So what I’m getting better at is within my control. But so many things aren’t. And it is those that bug me.
I deplore when I realize that I was wrong in the past. I’ve had some pretty weird viewpoints about life that are really hard to put into words. I think that is what my mission shall be: trying to explain my past ways of looking at the world. I think they’re quite interesting, and I don’t care if you disagree with me. It is really weird, the things you think when you are extremely mentally dependent. Some really fucked up things can happen very easily. It is quite frightening.
Once again, there are so many different directions that I could take this that I find it hard to decide which way to go. I had certain mindsets in my past that I maintained, even if all they produced was failure. My mind was constantly focused on Hell. And so, naturally, the thought of Hell affected almost all of my perspectives about everything. I don’t really need to lay them out here: it’s the same old suspects. But some of them truly are odd. The way it affected my overall perspective is so strange. It produced this deep skepticism that still remains to this day. It was an ethical skepticism: “Is this person a Christian? Is this person a Christian? Is this person a Christian?” The skepticism that remains today isn’t about whether or not a particular person is a Christian. But my cynicism definitely remains. And it is so odd to me. Over and over, I find people to be trustworthy. But I’m still painfully cynical. I’m content with quite a bit of my cynicism, but I find myself in situations often where I’m asking myself “Why am I being so cynical right now? What has this guy done to me?” It is a conservative hangover. It’s very fucking odd.
I am looking forward to my confidence building over time. “Coasting” has been my saving grace. I’ve been very lucky. I don’t handle failure very well. And it has always seemed like the more I have tried to fix something, the worse it made it. But my philosophy has changed over time, and I’ve “settled in” to something that works for me. That’s what we all long after: just that way of moving throughout the world that satisfies us the most. I think I’m pretty good right now with what I have. I want to explain it and elaborate on it more throughout time. And, of course, I hope to be able to write about more subjects, and just get better overall. I’m confident that it will happen with time and practice, even if there are many things that I write that I end up not happy with, for various reasons.
I love writing, and I just look forward to becoming a better thinker. I accept the fact that I’m repetitive, but I believe it is all related. In my heart, I believe that every “repetition” is a building block upon an entire life’s work. I can’t ask someone “Hey, do you think this builds upon this? Or did I just repeat myself?” I have to interpret my work how I wish. And I need to make my work fully my own, to my full potential. That’s (one of) the lifetime challenges……
I want to be a good thinker. And I want to be able to say “Hey, here are my thoughts.” I hope they can be received honestly. And that’s all that I can hope for from them (besides the dreams of them somehow paying the light bill down the road).
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.”