Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Concerning Pathos

I should preface this by saying that by no means should anyone ever do or think or rationalize what I'm about to propose, because it is bad.

There's a terribly unpractical way you can gage how unhappy you are. A couple times when driving down a long straight road at night without any cars in sight, I used to close my eyes and count. Despite knowing I would be safe from crashing, the situation would immediately intensify. If, in that moment, you feel enough affinity for the world and life and people, three seconds is all you can do. 1 Mississippi. 2 Mississippi. 3 I want to live. After three seconds, I would begin to doubt if the car was driving straight. I began to fear and shake and question what I was doing. These four seconds are for those with a great indifference to the world, life, and people. 4 Avocado. 5 Stromboli. 6 Iguana cage. 7 I want to live. I can't describe the last three seconds. I only got there one time. I can only say that the whole period of time didn’t make much sense and I’m glad I didn’t hit that pole. It was the worst possible, most intense feeling of anxiety I’ve ever experienced. The numbers only go so high. It will always be agony, and my day will come when I will face it and move on, but that day is not soon. I could never put myself in that position again. If we all did what I did, we’d all eventually die from it, and I want to live.

People have told me that they don't "understand" me, leading me to believe that there are even more people who would claim to not "understand" me but merely haven't informed me.
I don't really understand that. In my eyes, these people either haven't tried very hard or just suck at understanding people. Yeah, yeah, people can't completely understand people, but people can understand people enough so that they can fairly claim that they understand people. I know this because I understand people. Now shut up.

This generalization is how we base our judgments and convictions of the world and its workings. What is also fair to say is that people suck at this process of compensating for another aforementioned process that people suck at (see: racists, over-generalizers, people who claim to know everything, people who HAVE to know everything, ego-centrists, 14 year-old girls, selective listeners, retards of emotion, Sylvia Plaths, texters, libertarians, et. al. assholes). What people do well from the process is probably what seems like what we shouldn't be doing at all, which is what I just did.

What I just did was outline the type of person who I don't want to be, without identifying who I do want to be. That's because it's easier to remember more specific details of undesirable attributes. If you were to try to think of things you would like to be, words like "trust-worthy," "kind," ”empathetic," "creative," "hard-working," and "enthusiastic" may come to mind. Those are all great aspirations, but those are also all words. It's hard to wake up in the morning and think, "I am going to be creative and trust-worthy today." As much as we admire words, we never really exist though them. People would argue that this is because people simply ARE, but I call
bullshit on that. People “aren't.” Our resilience to “aren't” is so much more powerful than our will to “are.” Kudos to thoughtful people, but mad props goes to those full of thoughts. These are those who are doing the work of good people. I'll back up.

Easiest example. Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy were great people. They did the work of good people, despite personal decisions pointing to what the general public would point to their being not only not “great people” but qualities of "bad people." But as history has shown, it's not what you do, but it's what you do. History never makes any sense, and we are all going to be a part of it.

For my entire life, I and everyone I have known have been encouraged to find role models. I could say I have five people who I can look at their worst moment and think, "I love and respect and want to be like this person, even now." You marry your role models (watch out, Jacqui Sheehan). That’s why most people marry their mothers. There are also those who you look at their best moment and think, "I can find no desirable characteristics about your personality and I will never be envious of you." These are who I call our role supermodels, and they deserve to be shown respect for shaping our lives just as much if not more so than our role models. I've always admired the, "love your enemies" aspect of Christianity. That's why those “great people” I mentioned before had sex with supermodels, apparently. Of course, all of my pastors have interpreted this as, "Love your enemies in order to piss them off and confuse them into becoming Christians," but I feel my interpretation has made myself and those around me better people.

(Un?)Fortunately for me, I will never be a great person and a supermodel will never have sex with me.

I can find no discernible reason why every person I meet should not be an experience of which to cognitively and socially grow off of. The more you look really is the more you find, and peace of mind is the single most important objective of life (or at least of the Sims, but there you achieve that by buying things, not introspective growth— this is beside the point).

People usually find peace of mind through love and Marriage. Maybe that’s all there is to it, but I doubt that Jacqui Sheehan would date a student. Sigh. This is going to be so much more difficult than it has to be.

Having “role supermodels” isn't some affirmation to the asshole lifestyle. "Truth will out," as an asshole once said. People know if you’re an asshole, for the most part. There’s no masking asshole. Again, it's about what you do, not what you do. It's not about whether you wake up in the morning and think, "I'm going to do something out of my ordinary routine in order to make someone else's day by sacrificing part of mine," but that you eventually will on your own if you're living the right way. And these people who live the “right” way live each day as a standalone unit of life, abiding to the unshakable and inexorable creed of, "Live today or don't." Because if you aren't "living," then what are you doing? This is what a person who is alive would ask himself-- every single day. It’s about what you are, what you aren’t, and what that makes you.

Keeping in mind, what makes you is always an ongoing process. We’re in such a hurry to get to wherever we’re going that we rarely end up going anywhere. Patience is certainly a virtue reserved for the virtuous. Sometimes I wish I weren’t so patient all the time, but it has its advantages.

Mr. Wall, the other teacher who made my role model list, once straight-up told the newspaper staff a couple years ago what love entailed, and half of them weren't paying attention and probably never will.

He told us that love can only exist when one person makes a clear and conscious effort beyond what anyone would ever expect to treat and interact with another person with kindness; the other person finally catches on and responds with an equally clear and conscious effort; the two find that they've moved far past each other, turn around, and realize they have made themselves room to build a relationship. He actually said it with the words, "You have this person who comes this far and this person who comes this far, and then you have room to make a relationship WORRRK. People don't think about it this way anymore." He made a drawing of it while explaining it to us. Then he scribbled all over the heart. We kept it up on our board for months, at a time where we averaged 14 or more hours of school every day working on the paper. I like to think that we kept it up to remind us that love exists when we feel we feel nothing but frustration.

Many are turned off to love's give-and-take relationship, but I see love’s dilemma as an essential indicator to life’s.

It's about knowing when to give and when to take, about when to know and when to forget and forgive, about feeling and empathizing, about sacrificing much to receive little in return, about the best/worst of times, about trials and tribulations, about misunderstanding and lying, about dying and living and existing without while holding onto the faintest living memory, about door holding and satisfaction, about sex and realizing it's one in a list, about seeing that it's always and never and nothing without promise, about leaving, about the mundane and the monumental, about getting what you want and then not wanting it anymore. At least, this is all that I gathered from this one picture.

Of all that I doubt and question, of this and only this I am completely sure.

I’m still figuring it out, but I want to live and I want to love.
All the same, really.

2 comments: