I’m the type of person who never fails

Then set harder goals.

It’s cool that you accomplish things. Glad you got your degree or the job you wanted. I’m happy you dropped that weight. But why not use your unrivaled ability to solve problems on something like cancer? You know, you’re knocking down your targets left and right, and that’s great, but while you exercise like a person-possessed or get raise after raise and more and more recognition, you could be helping people with your skills. Doing good rather than doing well. Apparently, you’re some special person who will never fail. You don’t know the meaning of the word. It’s not in your dictionary. You never give up. You can’t even comprehend such a notion.

You know who is failing? The people trying to do super fucking hard shit. Because solving major problems isn’t as simple as really, really trying. You don’t set your mind to curing leukemia, then do it. You will probably join the long list of people who have tried, made a bit of progress, failed, and continued anyway. Knowing all the time that you probably won’t be the one to solve the problem but hoping to contribute a tiny bit to the cause. Congrats on running a marathon when you couldn’t walk a quarter mile the year before, but fuck you for acting like you’re some special breed of human. Someone who, unlike most other people, can decide to do something, then bam, it’s done.

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I’m the type of person who never fails

Unorganized

I feel like I have a lot to say, but I’m not sure what exactly it is. Some large, meaningful idea is running away from me. Some breakthrough is being playfully, but obnoxiously, elusive. My mind is a child playing hide and seek when I would just like to lie down. My mind is running on full speed when the rest of me wants to shut off.

I think I may also be recovering from very mild heat exhaustion. (Just learned heatstroke is very serious and though I’ve heard it used often, it must have always been colloquial.) I’m worn out. My body aches and I have a slight headache. More of a consciousness dulling. Catching up to my thinking is suffering more than anything. The physical pain is limited.

Every thought I’m having is 5 seconds ahead of me. By the time it arrives at my fingertips, it has vanished. But it’s not as though my mind is racing. The thinking is normal. The translation has simply slowed.

 

Unorganized

Notes From Last Monday… or something

There’s nothing separating me from the person who works at the Safeway deli, except that I’d kill myself if I found myself there. I think that makes them better than me.

I am weak in most ways. Literal and metaphorical.

I equate meaning with mental. I equate love with life. I have an imbalanced equation.

I am a failed artist turned failed scientist. There’s a constant there but I’m trying to ignore it.

I think I’d feel better about myself if I could build something. Then I’d lament the wasted time.

I’m a self-hating elitist.

The hardest part about writing a best man speech is realizing that my best friend and I would make fun of every word of it under any other circumstances.

Also, I think they deserve Shakespeare up here and somehow they have to settle for a hopeful grad student and weekend drummer. They’re amazing people but I question their choice of friends.

I learned to be responsible with money because my family was poor. I Think we should be careful with limited resources. Love, for example.

I think pets exist to teach kids how to deal with death. Those fucking little tragedies. I want to feel I have some say. I hate being powerless watching her die. There’s nothing I wouldn’t give to keep her alive. And it doesn’t matter how much it hurts, it’s still going to happen.

When you start feeling cocky about being human, do some yard work and marvel at the life living under our stupid noses. Some of which can seriously injury you.

I sometimes wonder if we wouldn’t be a little nicer to everyone if we reminded ourselves how much life sucks.

Notes From Last Monday… or something

Sometimes It Sucks: Take 2

I have a hard time being honest about the goals and desires of others. A lot of time I talk about the general population as if I have a decent understanding of their wants. But really, I think I’m misrepresenting them by worrying so much about philosophy and science. There isn’t a better way to go about it though. You need to formalize ideas somehow or we aren’t having conversations.

I don’t think most people care. Not because there is something fundamentally wrong with them but because it’s hard to care when other things seem more pressing. Meaning in life or figure out to pay rent? Here on wordpress, most of us probably take time to think about our problems and life in general. We think about our goals and dreams, and usually they are fairly lofty. We have a weird sample because only people who are motivated to write about their interests, relationships, feelings, jobs, etc. come here. All we see are those types of people. I think writers, in general, are aware. They analyze and think in order to write. But not everyone in the population is writing a blog. Not everyone is concerned about meaning. Many more are concerned about how to get ahead, how to get out, how to improve things, and other, more practical, stuff like that.

I’m not claiming the practical stuff isn’t important, but it’s just not the same. And it’s hard to honestly talk about the society and intuitions and morality when our underlying drives are so different. Does everyone want the good life? Probably but we aren’t going about it the same way at all. I’m a super important college graduate, more worried about getting into grad school than eating dinner tonight. I’m not rich by any means, I’m just okay not being rich by any means. I can survive and I’m okay with that. I’d rather sit around and imagine idealized worlds to argue some, probably, irrelevant point about human nature (that won’t change a thing even if it turns out to be completely true) than think about how to make money and “move up” in the world. I’m sure many people around here feel similarly about different types of things. I think people here would sacrifice money and stability for the chance to write books or sing songs.

The trouble is, that isn’t how most of the world works. Hearing the word business puts me to sleep, but we’d really need to rethink society without it. I feel the same way about fame and celebrity. But how I feel doesn’t change the number of gossip magazines in the check-out line of Safeway. A study found that many people want fame just for the sake of being famous. There isn’t an internal drive to make art. To act. To sing. To write. It’s just the recognition and money. (http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/2013/09/04/why-do-you-want-to-be-famous/)

So how do we talk about people who want fame and people who want meaning under the general heading of the good life? How do we do it, philosophers?

Sometimes It Sucks: Take 2

Life Can Suck

I sometimes wonder if we wouldn’t be a little nicer to each other if we reminded ourselves how much life sucks for everyone.

Not entirely, of course, life is often awesome, but there’s a whole lot of struggling going on that we seem to ignore. Out of all the people you see on the average day, how many do you think are absolutely killing it? Maybe you live somewhere full of success, but for me, the percentage isn’t high.

I feel so wrapped up in my own need for success (whatever definition I’m using). I constantly see people focused on becoming happy or changing their situation or what their next step in life is, that we forget that everyone else is just as worried about it. It’s not always greed, it’s forgetting that not everyone knows and understands what you’re trying to do in life.

I really think we focus too much on obtaining happiness. I think we care too much about ourselves. I understand the drive to be satisfied with life, and we shouldn’t lose it, but it’s almost all people think about. My goals. My dreams. My relationships. I want to make those the best I can. But so does everyone else. And chances are, they are messing up just as often as you. They are just as scared. Just as upset. Just as frustrated.

Maybe if we stopped trying to convince ourselves that we are awesome all the time to cover up the fears, we would be a little more understanding. You wouldn’t need to turn your hat backwards and run into me on the sidewalk. You wouldn’t need to run a stop sign downtown with your music blasting. You wouldn’t need to cut in line at the restaurant.

But I’m tired, and I’m sure you have enough on your minds without needing to worry about a stupid rant from some idiot online. But I hope you keep in mind how tired I am and give me a break.

Life Can Suck

Irresponsible Creatives slash Irresponsible Support

I love finding weirdos with weird interests and illogical pursuits. Though I love reason, passionate hope is the stuff of life. (It just so happens that my passionate hope is a hope for more understanding in all dimensions and less divisions.) The trouble I’ve come across is unconditional support for the dangerous.

There are certain types of celebrities who glorify the odd genius. I think it’s irresponsible to encourage with no consideration for reality. Yes, dreams should be pursued, even when unlikely, if that’s what you want. But some famous people seem to encourage behavior that would prevent someone from functioning in the world because it just so happened that she was able to capitalize on that and become famous. It’s true that there’s a chance that the other person will become famous too, but not everyone can be famous (and more importantly, rich. So  when there are repercussions to your behavior you don’t suffer all that much. ie you still have a place to live and can survive). There are certain celebrities who can afford to be irresponsible and sometimes flat out mean. Not for the sake of being mean, but because he or she has a vision and anyone who tries to alter that vision is essentially trying to drown his or her baby. But other people have to play by some rules. Not all of the rules. Not total conformity and submission.

Celebrity A can be the guy who doesn’t shower or go outside unless he feels like it and who wipes his ass with old tshirts because he can’t bear going out to buy toilet paper. He can live that way because he has been successful. He has tv shows. He has money. He has an assistant now. It worked out for him. He got out of that room with shit covered tshirts. And he felt it was valuable experience. He felt living how he did allowed him to create. That’s valid, but encouraging others to live in similar ways is dangerous. For every 10000 people with certain social or emotional issues, how many get famous and rich? More importantly how many are motivated by those issues? And how many more don’t recover? Being afraid to leave your apartment isn’t a trait you should encourage, it’s a potentially serious issue that should be addressed. It’s only a cute quirk when you couple it with a creative genius, but those aren’t a dime a dozen. They don’t grow on trees. In the end, what’s being encouraged is asocial and possibly self-destructive behavior. When it reality, most people with those issues should seek help.

Encourage people to pursue dreams. Mark Duplass delivered a genius speech at SXSW recently. But his advice was sensible. There’s a difference between encouraging people by giving them a peak into how the industry works so they can go about trying to create art however they decide and encouraging people by glamorizing destructive behavior. It’s cute when a famous person talks about his or her inability to function in the world, but it shouldn’t be seen as a goal to strive for. It’s generally somewhat quirky behavior, like deciding not to go outside because you feel like no piece of clothing in the world could possibly fit your body, but is also incredibly selfish if you have any relationships. You treat people like shit because you need everything to be exactly how you like it to work/write/whatever. It’s part of your process. It’s part of who you are. At least, that’s what some people say. But not wearing socks for more than 25 minutes isn’t cute and does not make you who you are.

Irresponsible Creatives slash Irresponsible Support

Fraternities should call it a day

Frats have always have always been casually associated with terrible people doing terrible things. The stereotypes are drugged drinks and racist behavior, but are maybe more accurate than we like to admit. Most people can think of a massive incident in the last few years that had to do with a frat. If you pay attention at all, you can probably list several. Most recently in Oklahoma, some kids from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity were caught on video chanting some horribly racist stuff.

“There will never be a n***er at SAE. There will never be a n***er at SAE. You can hang him from a tree, but he will never sign with me. There will never be a n***er at SAE.”

Not long ago, kids from the Phi Delta Theta frat had this sign hanging.

stupid frats

The sad truth is those two disgusting acts aren’t even the worst these frats do.

A list was put together here, citing all the incidents related to rape in 2014. Even if some of the cases aren’t true, the simple fact that this list needs to exist is crazy. Whether or not frats are the worst offenders is irrelevant. They are offenders, and repeatedly so, when they have every opportunity to improve their image themselves. They write the rules, they throw the parties, they encourage the attitudes. They control everything in their houses and they are being caught messing up over and over again.

I have a limited understanding of fraternities, so please excuse my ignorance. I’ve been reading up on them, though, and the information is confusing. Some seem to be linked to the school, insomuch as, the school can ban them. They also appear to be supported by some schools, with tax payer money going to building and maintaining frat houses and related things (and donations to fraternities going to the school). Where this is the case, I think frats and sororities should close up shop. Other frats and sororities seem to be loosely tied to specific schools, self-run and self-sustained, and off campus. In which case, nothing can be done about them. My main desire is for the universities to cut ties with these organizations as they don’t represent what a university should represent.

Fraternities are another thing that invites the tribal mentality to take over our autonomy. We aren’t individuals when we form these types of brotherhood relationships. Your actions are not seen as your own. They reflect your groups values. If you go against the group, you aren’t seen as an individual making a decision, you are stepping out against your own. It’s common in wars, all the way down to high school sport teams. It’s an extreme “us vs them” mindset. You can see why it would be useful in some situations. War is a constant risk to your life. You need to trust the people around you completely, so that level of bonding and that mentality make sense. In sports, you don’t want to like your opponent. Off the field, that’s fine, but when gearing up for the game, or playing, they are an enemy of sorts. Both of these can be, and sometimes are, taken too far and should be dealt with when that happens. But why do frats need this mentality? I hear people say it’s to form close, lifelong, deep, meaningful friendships, and that might be true in some instances but it’s nonsense. You don’t need to form a brotherhood to be lifelong friends. Friends can disagree, can argue, can tell each other to stop being stupid. There aren’t rules, explicit hierarchy, rituals, hazing or other weird stuff like that. (Other people say frats are for networking, but again, you don’t need hazing that cause deaths to network. That’s ridiculous.)

We can talk about racial and gender discrimination, too. We can talk about how they are basically a caste system.

There are plenty of other problems that make it impossible for me to see how the positives outweigh the many, very serious, negatives.

Now, smart reader, you may be thinking, “Yes, but…” and you’re probably right. For a far more complete look into fraternities, I recommend this article. http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/02/the-dark-power-of-fraternities/357580/
It’s well written and thoroughly researched. My post was a silly little rant and should be treated as such.

Fraternities should call it a day