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.”
Never before in my life have I felt more in control of my life. And never have I felt more terrified (well……maybe that’s an exaggeration. I’m sure my recollection of past anxieties is quite understated, now that I’ve given it more than five seconds of thought (it’s odd how sometimes, it’s hard to forget what you want to, then you want to remember what was previously hard to forget. Being a human is fucking weird, dude)). Due to the nature of childhood, whereby you do what you are told by guides, and due to being taught about how shitty my decisions are in the eyes of God, I’ve coasted. I’ve been very lucky in this coast thus far, but that time has come to an end. The “free ride” is over.
I finally understand that I am free. I am free from the punishment of my sins, past, present, and future. I am beginning to realize what “control” actually means. And I’m growing tired of “guidance”.
I try to write about things that bug me. Because it feels important to do so. I never feel like I have the right words to say what I want to say. I fear this struggle will stay with me forever. But I’m getting tired of common rhetoric. And I’m getting tired of trying to figure it all out.
I need a way out. I need a way out of the intellectual mire I have been in for so long. I don’t know what this way out is. Once again, it feels important for me to be mired in it to a certain extent. But I realize this is futile in many regards. But, I also realize it is valuable. I don’t have a good perspective about this at the moment, and it is bogging me down.
Why write this when no one reads it? Why write at all when there’s so much to be read? Why talk about anything when it’s been talked about countless times before? When it’s been ignored? Debated? What’s the point? I really don’t fucking know anymore. But I’m finally at that point in my life where I realize I need something. I don’t know what it is. But I need something. I need something meaningful. I need to find happiness. And I finally realize this must, ultimately, come from within.
I listen and learn as much as I can. I get frustrated, hit metaphorical walls, and distract myself from it all. I try to contribute valuable ideas. I wish I was like God. I wish I had all of the perfect answers, and that I could perfectly live by them. But I’m stuck being a human instead, where I get tired, commit wrongdoings, become a victim, etc. I also happen to be a quite stubborn one.
The point is, I want some direction. I’m not necessarily saying I want you to give me one, because I know I will reject your advice. But I feel like something large is missing in my life. I want to write about it as much as possible, to find out what that is. I think a part of it is just growing up. I’m tired of letting the misfortunes of my past define me today. I want to move on from it all. And I want to write about it all. And I’m going to dream of financial success. I’m going to write ideas that no one cares about, and dream of success. I’m a mess. My writing is a mess. My mind is a mess. My mental and physical health is a mess. Perhaps I’m becoming more mature, because all of this isn’t crippling yet. Isn’t that what being human is largely about? About coping with these sorts of things? I suppose I’m finally “inaugurated” to adulthood. But I don’t like most adults, and I don’t want to be one of them.
I have to figure out what I’m going to do, and at this point, I’m not sure what that is. My physical health will probably give out on me before I do figure it out (in which case, I won’t have to worry about it), because I can’t have the discipline to avoid a tasty taco for more than a couple of days; and then, I don’t have the discipline to avoid many of them.
I suppose I have to accept the fact that negative things are going to happen to me. Positive things, too. But the negative is here, and is coming. And I can’t figure all of this out. I want to do my best. I want to put forth effort to do something. I want to contribute something. But I’m no Messiah. Thank God. I just want to be what I want to be. I just want to be Cody. But I don’t quite know what “Cody” is yet. And, I suppose, that is what needs to be figured out.
It’s very terrifying, considering my religious background. All I hear in my head is how “bad” “Cody” is. Deep down, I understand that, despite that fact, God still loves me, and forgives me for my sins. But I think about this only from an afterlife perspective. Sure, I know I’m going to Heaven when I die. But what am I going to do while I’m here? Most of the time, I feel pretty confident in what I’m doing. But that’s until, say, my hypochondria starts to notice the wheels falling off. Is that what this is really all about? Did I have a panic attack while eating a taco and wondered if it was a heart attack? Does this have to do with thinking about politics, arguments, and history? Reading, and learning? Perspective? All of the above. I’m finally accepting that my life is my own. It’s my own to figure out. I could not have realized this without diligent studying over the past several years. But I’m truly realizing that my life is my own. And it’s fucking hard to figure it out.
I can’t even write, because I can’t explain what I’m thinking. I can’t organize it. I think about the fact that nobody reads this stuff, and wonder if I’m wasting my time, while, at the same time, realizing that I want to say it for some reason that must be important to me. I want to be informed on “issues”, but it seems pointless, as the wheels of society go round, and round, and round, to, seemingly, no conclusion. I want to write, but what? Everything I write is going to be inferior to someone else’s work. So why wouldn’t I want to read the work of others? Then, I want to do nothing. Not sure what I want to do. In some ways, it feels like I am wanting structure. But I know that as soon as I had it, I would immediately reject it and resent it. So I know that, deep down, the ultimate answer must come from within me. But I’m not informed enough yet. And I try, and I try, to make myself more informed. But it makes me more depressed. More nihilistic. And that makes me more depressed.
I wish I had everything figured out. I wish I was perfectly happy. I know these are futile. But there are aspects within these ideas that are good. I can never figure everything out, but I can learn. I can’t be happy all of the time, but this doesn’t mean that I will never be happy some of the time. And these drive me, thank God. I still have stress, and think about money, my health, my work, politics, “society”, etc. And they overtake me at times, and lead me down dark, confusing roads. But I finally understand that I don’t have to get lost down them. I am the navigator. Albeit an anxious, inexperienced one, I realize that everyone has been, and still is, to varying degrees. So, I must look forward to making my own mistakes and decisions, and look back on them with my own emotions of lamentation and fondness. I’ve got to do this on my own, even if I break into tears. I’ll probably die a penniless author due to too many cheeseburgers. But if there are no other alternatives that I’m willing to take, I must accept the results of my actions, even if I end up regretting them.
I deeply long for an escape from the evils of this world. The only permanent escape is death; but I don’t want to die yet. Does that mean I wish to reside among evil? Perhaps. This contradiction within myself bugs me. “Why would I rather live here, where I perform evil actions and have evil actions done to me, instead of killing myself and going to Heaven, where I believe I’m going?” Well, I don’t want to kill myself. But why? I think there is some uncertainty, even within my “Christian” beliefs of Heaven and Hell. I’d rather do what makes me happy (even if it kills me “in the long run”) than make a decision to end my life immediately on an unimaginably depressing level. It isn’t that I don’t want to kill myself because I think of what will happen to me when I die: it’s that I don’t want to kill myself because of everything leading up to that death. I don’t want to put myself through those moments leading up to the suicide. That isn’t worth going to Heaven sooner rather than later. I’d rather deal with the evils of this world than kill myself (of course, if I ever end up in a prison under a completely tyrannical government, or the world is on the brink of a complete nuclear war, I may reconsider my position). I realize that position sounds very strange to many, but I hope that you will ponder what I have just said and actually understand my point of view.
Finding like-minded individuals always helps with stress. You always hope that you are part of a majority, but it’s inevitable, on some level, that you will be a part of a minority. If the parts of yourself that you identify with the most are part of that minority, it can be very difficult. It can be difficult to be that isolated. It becomes downright infuriating when you feel as if you hold the ethical position to the unethical position of “the majority”. Of course, the question is begged: “What makes you think you are so much more ‘ethical’ than us?” And thus, history is introduced. The same arguments keep continuing, and, many times, the answer lies in some long-forgotten text. It feels futile to attempt to give any knowledge “to the world” because of that fact, but there’s clearly many ancient texts that are not forgotten. (Of course, for you simpletons, I’m not saying that my writing is equivalent to someone like John Locke, but clearly, as evidenced by the fact that I’m writing something, I feel as if that piece of writing has some value, and, depending on what type of writing it is, that can be intellectual value, comedic value, etc.).
Am I saying that the answer lies in books? Can the void I am experiencing be filled by literature? And, if so, why am I so hesitant to read? There’s clearly an exhaustion element to it. I guess I’m just not as smart as “avid readers” (but when I look at many popular, say, political philosophies, from “well-educated”, “well-read” and “well-published” college professors, I have to wonder how much “reading” affected their abilities to be logical thinkers (or ethical people)). When you start to go down the road of reading a book, it’s a commitment. It’s a commitment to the ideas of the author. And even if I’m interested in a book, I just get tired of going down that string of ideas for too long. I always get anxious when I’m not personally creating something (even if what I’m creating is vastly inferior to what I stop reading (or consuming in general) in order to create). I have a deep drive to be financially successful, and I can’t do that without a body of work. So I try to create works. But they’re just inferior to what they are going to be in the future by virtue of lack of experience, biological growth, practice, etc. I’m stuck in the mud, spinning my wheels. I want to go as fast as possible to get out of this mire that I’m in, but I’m going nowhere. I know that I’m not exactly going nowhere, but it’s so slow that it feels that way. I know my writing sucks, and that sucks. I compare myself to other authors because I want that stable paycheck we’re all after.
I know, I know. Don’t write for money, write for myself. I fucking hate this shit. I always write for myself. But I always want to become a professional at it. How can it be that desiring to be a professional isn’t for “me” but is only for other people? That’s idiotic.
I know, I’m delusional. I’d rather be insane at this point in my life than “sane”. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t try. I can’t imagine packing in my bags without giving a valiant effort, then feeling so depressed in my old (or middle) age that I never wrote as much as I wanted to. “You can still write, Cody. Just don’t think of it as a job.” I fucking hate conversation. There’s literally no downside to trying to make your passion a career. Literally zero. Damn, I could be an electrician right now. I could have a stable job right now. Learning a valuable skill. But here I am writing some shit that no one reads. What am I, insane? I sure fucking hope so, because I hate sane people. How hard is it to understand the concept that if you really love doing something, you should treat it like a career? Why do so many people disagree with that statement? I truly think they’re soulless people. I don’t want to be as unhappy as they are. (Perhaps that’s unfair of me. But I personally cannot agree with their logic. I would argue they should be more like me, but who doesn’t argue that? “Whatever floats your boat.” (“We all float down here, Richie.” Sorry. I’m recently influenced)).
I have a deeply held conviction that life is not simply about being miserable. I realize this was largely due to my youth, but I always anticipated that adulthood was where happiness came to die. Even as a kid, I always dreaded getting older. “Why do Mom and Dad work at those places if they hate their jobs?” I always wanted to escape that, and I think my parents were instrumental in fostering that desire within me. “Don’t do as I did. Go to school.” Etc. This desire got me interested in economics, and now, my worldview is completely changed. Of course, whether or not I was ever introduced to economics, my life would’ve changed from childhood to now. But economics has had a profound effect on me. I’ll never look at the world the same way again. I always wanted an answer to why they worked at jobs they hated besides the “that’s just the way it is” argument. That argument only works in very limited circumstances. Yes, I’m a hypocrite. Sometimes, I get tired of learning about a subject, and accept the bare minimum. Other times, I’m not that way. What do you fucking want from me as a fucking advice giver?; perfection?
I should state that my best friend has had a profound impact upon me as far as my “happiness philosophy” goes as well. I won’t get too religious here, as I’ve written about it separately before, and will continue to do so, but he has certainly been a key to me accepting this “happiness philosophy” for myself; and, of course, I want to share it with others in an attempt to foster happiness in others. (Yeah, I also like pissing people off from time to time. …Ok, a lot. But still, it’s for a good cause. Give me a break. I’m not God, even though, sometimes, I wish I could be. (“Didn’t Satan say that?!”)). The internal conflict could be settled if I was perfect, so I always wish that I could be, so that I could get an ultimate relief from conflict. In reality, as I said before, the only way to escape conflict completely is to die. But I don’t want to die yet. So, like everyone else, I’m stuck here on this planet with conflicts. In some ways, the conflicts feel so trivial. But, on the other hand, they’re crippling. Yet another fucking conflict…
People will think I’m crazy, but I can very vividly remember the day my life changed forever with regards to this “happiness philosophy” of mine. At the risk of repeating myself, I was finishing up community college, living with my mom. I couldn’t tell you what my future plans were during this time, because I didn’t fucking know. I played a lot of sports video games. Masturbated. And that was pretty much it. (Some things never change……). I knew I was going to need a job eventually, but I’m stubborn in that I don’t jump into something until I understand what I’m doing (is that true all of the time? Not when I really want something. Then I jump right in and figure it out later). Money was always this dirty thing to me. This is what drove people away from God. And now, you’re telling me that I need it to live? Why isn’t God providing for me instead of money? How can something evil be so necessary to life? When I asked myself that question, my life changed forever.
I remembered hearing on ABC News, when I was a kid, about the profits that CEOs made. Being religiously brainwashed (I have a lot of the blame to share with this), I thought it was evil (of course, there were people on the network outraged at the amount of money as well). I hated money. Business, corporations, etc., were evil. Money was evil. I was reminded of this when I thought about getting a job, and making money. There was an immediate contradiction that needed to be resolved. Is living evil? Is bare sustenance the work of the devil? Are poor people more moral than rich people? Up until this point, I had always said “Yes” to all of the above. But on this day, in what felt like a lightning bolt of inspiration, I realized that the answer had to be “No” if I ever were to have any chance of escaping poverty. I had to reeducate myself regarding money, corporations, jobs, etc. And now, the subject has taken over my life, and introduced a whole new set of problems (but, of course, healthy perspectives as well).
In addition to my worldview being warped as far as economics was concerned, just my worldview of people in general was severely warped. It still is, to a large extent, due to my previous religious thoughts. It’s very weird to explain. In some ways, it boils down to “Any time a group of people are happy, I’m skeptical of them.” That sounds dumb, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because it is. My red-colored glasses of conservatism made everything “dumb” and weird. It’s really embarrassing, but “it is what it is”. It’s so embarrassing to admit my level of cynicism, largely influenced by religion, of all things. That sounds so fucking odd to say. But, you know: there’s goddamn sinners out there, Cody! Ya gotta watch out for them! God damn, I was stupid. I pity anyone who thinks like I used to. That level of exhaustion is just fucking beyond description.
Let’s continue along the economic-skepticism line. I’ve always been distrustful of successful people. (Let me just say that I fucking hate writing about myself (hard to believe, I know). On the one hand, I want to say that I’ve always been skeptical of people who, say, were famous, or rich. Or anyone who spoke from a position of authority. But I’ve also been very gullible. So I can’t say with certainty whether I’ve been more skeptical or gullible. This is what I hate about being a human: it’s so hard to say that I am one specific thing (which would make writing so much easier……)). As I said, I’ve always viewed successful people as evil, and it’s been hard to untrain myself from that mode of thought. I always look at “celebrities” with this sneering judgment. It’s almost instinctual. It’s because I’ve trained myself to, but now, I’m actually able to observe what I’m doing instead of actually being caught up in the moment. It has been so hard to untrain myself in this regard, and I’m still not where I would like to be completely. I’m basically having to relearn a philosophical position regarding “success”. There are countless people that have this same attitude. It’s depressing, but I wouldn’t like to talk about them too much here, because I know it isn’t really going to “solve” the problem. I’m learning that there are no ultimate resolutions to “sides”: at least not in a perfect sense. There will always be “sides”: disagreements. Conflicts. Things that always terrified me as a child, for some reason. I don’t know why that always bugged me as a kid. Could it have been that I saw “disagreements” as a sinful flaw against God’s perfect plan of peace and harmony? Perhaps. But I think a lot of it just had to do with being a naturally sensitive kid and just personally really disliking disagreements, even if I was only a third party to two other “disagreeing” parties who weren’t as troubled by the disagreement as I was (which is so weird. The best way I can think to describe myself in one word is “weird”). It’s very interesting how I’ve attempted to “toughen myself up” as I’ve gotten older, and it’s also interesting how I still have a deep soft spot within me as well. I should talk about that at a later date, when I’ve given it more thought.
I don’t want to be on any “side”. I hate “sides”. But by virtue of learning, you are put on one. I don’t think there is ever any escape from “sides”. At least not if you wish to speak. (I suppose, even if you remain silent, you take a “side”: you make choices as far as what your ethics are, etc.). Perhaps that is what I need to learn: to just keep my goddamned mouth shut. I don’t want to be in a position where I never take positions, but I also don’t want to take positions. Or, at least, I wish that I didn’t feel that it was important to take positions. I wish I lived in a situation were there were no positions to take. Or perhaps I just wish that my “position” was apathy. But that’s not how I am. I need to learn to become more apathetic in some ways, and more well-spoken in others. I fucking hate how life is such a confusing, delicate balance when it comes to the mind. You can ask someone the same question on two separate days, and get a different answer depending on their emotional state. I fucking hate that about being human. I know it’s inescapable, but I need a personal philosophy to be able to learn how to live with it. My old philosophy was that all humans are broken. My perspective began in an incredibly judgmental, unproductive way. It morphed to depression, as I paid attention to evils in the world. I finally had to turn it to humor, because the tragedies grew too great. I do get exhausted focusing on negatives so often. I need a real way out. I need to find it for myself. I don’t want some jackass self-help guru to tell me some shit that isn’t going to resonate with me; that I’ll either feel bad because there must be something wrong with me to not get what this “expert” is saying or I’ll analyze every fucking word he says and pick apart everything I see wrong with what he said (which I really don’t want to waste time doing). I’d rather just ignore the motherfucker altogether, but that’s hard for me to do. It’s just so hard for me to ignore people, and that’s what I need more than fucking anything right now. I need to ignore you cocksuckers who tell me dumb moralistic phrases like “Sometimes it’s good to listen to other people, Cody, you know.” God damn, I fucking hate you people, and I need to fucking learn how to ignore your stupid self-righteous asses. It’s so hard. Sadly, I think biology is the main key.
I have always admired people who through their sheer individualism change the world around them. I think of someone like George Carlin. Who was “instructing” George Carlin on how to live his life? What “boss” was George Carlin obeying? This was a man living individualism to the fullest. He created his own world. He made the people around him subscribe to his ideas. Of course, he had to have been influenced by others: it’s impossible to be completely uninfluenced by others (perhaps feral children are the only ones “uninfluenced” by others, but, of course, it can be argued that they are “influenced” by the parents that abandoned them if they were abandoned, etc.), but through his will alone, he changed the people around him. I can’t tell you how inspiring that is to me. I admire anyone who does that for the better. I deeply wish to emulate people like that. But when I think of how far I have to go in that regard to get to that point, it just depresses me; that, and also the uncertainty of whether it will even happen at all.
I know, I know. I’m a dumbass, grandiose little boy. Is that out of your system? Do you feel better now?
I personally have learned that, speaking for myself, it is almost always better if I make up my own mind instead of going for advice. Most of the time, when I have gone for advice, it has only made things worse. I realize that my independent mind must make decisions regarding who I listen to, the types of ideas that I believe for myself, etc. Taking those first steps toward accepting that were very hard for me. “What if I make a grave mistake?” That’s always held me back so much. But I’ve spent so much time looking for answers from others (answers which never satisfied me) that I just can’t take it anymore, goddammit. I’m making up my own mind. Creating my own thoughts and solutions. And it’d be great if those influenced other people for the better. But I’m done looking for advice. “Does that mean you’re never asking for advice ever again, Cody?” God DAMN you fucks are stupid. It feels so great to point that out. I hope you feel like shit when you read this, fucking retard.
It is so hard to be bored, and desire mental stimulation, and then constantly find problems with your source of mental stimulation. I do this constantly. I think of how I can do what the people I’m “consuming” are doing. Constantly. It’s relentless. The idea of being mentally braindead and just consuming what someone else is doing without thinking of a way to actually use it for myself terrifies me. That’s how people fail, in my opinion. I want everything I consume to be beneficial to me in some way. Just something that I can use. And when I get exhausted with that, I’ll relax, and just consume to relax (which, of course, is still “beneficial” to me). But I want to observe successful people, and try to figure out what I can take from them to make myself successful. I don’t need a fucking Mark Cuban book to figure out how to do this. Life is an independent “project”, and I want to work on it by myself, in my own way. That’s what I crave. I want people to say “Damn. I can’t believe he fucking did that. How in the fuck did he do that?!” I have a natural desire to create ideas more than consume them. But I always end up consuming more than creating. “WHAT’S WRONG WITH HEARING THE IDEAS OF OTHERS, CODY?!?!?!?!?!” You fucking retards……
The uncertainty of the future is bugging me at the moment. The restlessness. The back and forth of “common” arguments. I need a way out. Maybe that means reading more. Maybe that means reading less things on the internet. I don’t know exactly, but I’m certain that it will come with time. (It’s so weird how I can ignore my past. I have a fear of being “stuck” in the past, so I don’t think about it much. But, one day, when I’m not feeling so anxious, I really should go back and analyze my past mindset regarding “the future”. “Haven’t you been doing that in this piece, Cody? Haven’t you been talking about your religious past?” Yes, I have been. But there’s many things in my past that I haven’t written about yet, that will be very difficult to put into words. But I would like to do so sometime in the future).
It’s hard to find a way out and express yourself because other people can express themselves to your expressions. I don’t enjoy this, whether it’s praise or criticism. I just like to be left alone in general as much as possible. It’s always weird to me when people start talking to me. I do enjoy being a troll, though, so there is some enjoyment that comes from it sometimes.
In fact, I’m honestly just so fucking sick of these arguments where there’s multiple viewpoints, and “the truth” just comes down to your own personal opinions. I don’t want to discuss criticisms of my personal philosophies any longer. It’s necessary to address them every so often, because by virtue of being a communicator, you’re opening yourself up to being communicated to, but, thankfully, we’re all given wills, and that includes the will to ignore. It’s not always easy, but at least it’s there.
Literature truly is going to be an incredibly slow process over my entire lifetime. I’m not going to be the best writer I can be overnight. But whatever happens overnight is important. Perspective is a very important thing to me (I think it is to all of us, honestly, but maybe I just talk about it more so than many people I’ve been around). I’m not satisfied with what I hear. I can almost say that I never have been. I used to think this was some problem that existed within myself. I spent many years telling myself that I was somehow broken because so many things didn’t satisfy me. Those “phrases” that just exist in the world, those “words to live by”, just never did anything for me. Well, they annoyed me when they inevitably didn’t work (thanks to a process I was taught by religious conservatism). But I’ve almost never been satisfied with what I’ve heard from others. I’ve always had to create my own world. My own happiness. And it’s hard, because people get involved, and I just don’t fucking like them. I don’t care if my words don’t make sense to you, you think I’m some kind of psychopathic killer, whatever. I don’t fucking care. I don’t like you. Say whatever you want to about me, but don’t say it to me. Perhaps this is part of the reason that I hate cliches so much: they just don’t apply to me like they do to, seemingly, so many other people. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “If you’re going to say something, say it to my face.” I don’t think that applies to me as much. I don’t want to hear what dumb shit you’re going to say about me, and I’d rather you spread unfounded rumors as to confront me about some ethical flaw that exists within my person as perceived by your mentally-impaired mind. “To each his own.”
It has always been very hard for me to ignore other people. I’ve always been painfully thin-skinned. Being as apathetic as I am (the exact measurement is questionable) has been an extremely difficult process over many years. I’m thankful for the end result, but I’m glad I don’t have to repeat the process again. Isn’t it weird how that’s how life is? We do shit that we hate so that we don’t have to do it anymore? On a philosophical level, I have to question why we’d have to do it in the first place, if we’re doing it simply to avoid it later on in the future, but I digress. “Duh, life isn’t perfect, Cody.” Sorry. I just wanted to make you sound like a fucking idiot there for a second.
I always compare a current state of being with perfection. Why do I do that, you may ask? Because I lament the original state of man. I believe that, when man was first created, we lived in a perfect paradise. And we fucked it up. I think that, deep down, I know we had perfection, and we lost it. I think this is why I naturally compare all current states of being to perfection. I accept the fact that we cannot get it back (until we die, if we are a Christian), and I think this is where I differ with a certain (seemingly large) group of people. This is an incredibly difficult topic, and I look forward to my best friend’s thoughts about this subject, as I’m sure he’s given it much thought, and he could probably shed some light on the subject. But, for example, there is a difference between helping someone who is drowning because you don’t want to see that person drown because you yourself are a human being, and don’t want to drown, so you have this almost kindred connection with that person (also known as “empathy”), and helping out the drowning person because you remember that this book you read taught you to care for other people and if you don’t do that then you’re going to burn in Hell for all eternity so you live your entire life based on trying to avoid that eternal fire. In both cases, you are helping the drowning man: a noble act. But the motivations are so different from one another that I’d consider them two separate actions. (This is where wordplay gets tricky (and why I fucking hate language): can you say they are different actions, when the act performed was the same? Surely, the intentions are different. Fuck words. Fuck semantics. I know I need to know this shit if I’m going to be a writer, but it’s so goddamn mundane that I’d rather be harvesting hay, or some other monotonous, laborious shit (well……….almost)).
I cannot explain to you the level of boredom that I’ve experienced throughout most of my life. It’s painful to think about. I wouldn’t go back to that time period for anything, because now, I have so many things to keep me busy, and I feel like I’ve never been happier. I’m convinced that a large reason why I have been so bored throughout most of my life was my early experiences with reading, that I’ve written about before. That’s quite depressing, but it is what it is. I’ve also, (like everyone else), just been weird. When I say something, people don’t understand what I’m saying. And I fucking hated explaining myself (growing up), because I just wanted someone to relate to me. But, ironically enough, as with everyone else, so few did relate to me. Isn’t that so odd? How we can all be in the same troubled boat? Why can’t it be that two people with the same problem solve each other’s problem? Humans are FUCKED up. I think this troubles me so because I’m always comparing any current situation to the Fall of Man. “Then just don’t do that, Cody.” No. “Well then, I guess you’ll just be miserable then.” I guess I will. “But is that any way to live?” Once Pandora’s Box is opened, you can’t close it. I do not want to will myself into an ignorant situation, even if it makes me feel better. “I bet you don’t think that way when you’re eating fast food, huh, Cody? Bet those health problems are just gonna sneak up on you, aren’t they, Cody?” Fuck you.
On a side note, I hate it when people try to use my words against me and fail. “Uh, Cody, you don’t want to will yourself into an ignorant situation, but you actually think you can become a professional author? What gives with that contradiction?” All I care about is waving my check in your face.
I suppose I should give thanks to all of those who have gotten me out of the mental-badminton quagmire. I hope to find more out there.
There is a beauty in life in that we exist as individuals. This means I have my life, my thoughts, and my beliefs. I have my desires, my goals, and my actions. I really think that should, ultimately, be my saving grace. When faced with the unknown, I, like probably everyone else, try to fill in the gaps. I realize just how stupid those fillings were from my childhood. Now, I was a child, but still. It’s taken me this long to realize this extent of my stupidity. I know more of it will be revealed to me as time goes by, and I just pray that it doesn’t hurt too badly. It feels great to be an individual. Over the past several years, I have surrounded myself with a philosophy that heralds individualism. I have been reconditioning my brain from the moralism of yesteryear. When I was first introduced to this “rugged individualism”, it felt refreshing, but I was still unsure of it. I was hooked, and listened to every word of those that expounded it. But I wasn’t immediately sold. I still had questions. I needed to learn more beyond the initial sales pitch. And now, I find myself as a “libertarian salesman” of sorts. I’ve been ingrained in the “libertarian philosophy” for so long now that it’s branched out into other areas of my life that it hadn’t before. Many of the questions that I had with religion were filled by libertarian (individualistic) philosophy. A lot of things are making sense now, and I’m actually feeling confident in my decisions and actions. And I have to thank libertarian thinkers such as Ron Paul, Murray Rothbard, among others, for that. They have provided me with “a way out” as much as anyone else ever has, if not more so (and that’s certainly arguable).
The evils and problems of the world will always bring me down to a certain extent. But I’m fairly certain they will never ultimately defeat me. Perhaps my way out will involve more reclusion than I ever thought myself actually comfortable with. Perhaps it will be developing thicker skin. I don’t know exactly where the end road will be, but I do imagine myself being much happier in the future as I continue to develop this mode of thinking. I don’t know exactly what “the way out” will be, and I know I will always get sucked back in, then escape, then sucked back in, in varying intervals, but I hope to keep my mind in a good place and contribute good to the world. That’s ultimately what I want. I consider myself blessed to not want to rule the world, and I pity those that do desire that. They’re missing out. They may put the bayonet to my neck, but I don’t anticipate they’ll ever have my mind, nor my spirit. I think I’m on the bottom steps of the way out. I’m in a hurry to make it to the final destination, but not enough to speed up the process any faster than biology and my lifestyle choices regarding diet and exercise will get me there.
I do not look forward to the next time I get trapped, but it is so strange how getting older makes your brain change.
It is so strange how age makes your perspective change for the better. What was once a cause of social anxiety is a source of pride. Why in the fuck couldn’t you have made me that way originally, God? I ask this at the risk of you casting me into the Lake of Fire, of course. But I think it’s a legitimate question, no? I guess this is why the last chapter of the Bible is called “Revelation”. (Go ahead and make fun of me, atheists. Once again, these debates are so petty to me. Do what you want).
So, the whole point of this is: what is the way out from this all? I know age is a huge part of it, but is there anything else? How can I escape? What is my escape? There is no complete escape, I would argue. I’m too smart: I know what is “out there”. But how can I handle it all? Will only time tell? Or is there anything else that I can do to help myself? I know my best friend will continue to help. Venting to a man with his own problems that I can’t solve. Having the willpower to just ignore the arguments in general will help immensely. Finding something to replace the nervousness when someone asks me “Don’t you care about ‘the issues’?” I need something to say to that person. I need the willpower to ignore that person. I just don’t have it now. I need a way out, but I think it’s going to take a while before I get there. That’s very sad. But “it is how it is” (oh how I hate that sentence, if only for the way it is used often).
It is so odd to me how, so often, desiring something immensely, and doing everything in your power to satiate that desire, just leads you further and further away from it. That’s so fucking weird. We’re all strapped into this ride, that sometimes has some pretty brutal bumps on it, but we keep moving forward. Life is so fucking odd to me. I don’t think that is ever going to change. I think life is just always going to be fucking weird to me. I guess it takes weird to know weird.
“…they may take our lives, but they’ll never take…OUR FREEDOM!” – Mel Gibson as William Wallace in “Braveheart”.
I look forward to seeing the day, in the future, where all of this takes me. Where will I see debating and arguing in the future? What all will I have written 20 years from now? What all will I have read? How happy will I be then? What will be the overall “state of affairs” in the world?
I don’t anticipate really wanting to talk to people. I think this format of thinking and then writing will work well enough for my purposes in the future. I can’t stop analyzing people, and regardless of what people have always told me, I personally don’t see any problem with it. That’s how I am, and I personally accept it. But because other people don’t, I just need to get away from them as much as possible. I need a way out. (You see how clever that was? It’s like the title of the piece, and I tied it all together. Aren’t I smart? Damn, I’m smart……….and funny, too. Now, if only the world noticed……………….. c’est la vie).
I’m in a constant struggle between a desire for success and a desire for anonymity…
That struggle isn’t going to stop until I die…