The Account of a Lifetime

February 16, 2008

Green Earl Grey

Filed under: Cogitations — xisor @ 2:59 pm

It’s surprisingly delicious!

 In any case, it’s the weekend after classes have started back, and it’s going quite well. But that’s not what I want to blog about. Rather…

Dreams, friends, obligations and logic

 It’s a strange topic, but we all do have aspirations. Whether it’s to go out and have a good night out with friends at the weekend, to become rich and prosperous, or even something humble like making a few people happy along the course of life. In any case, we all seek to pursue something. In my own time I’ve had little future desires. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a scientist, when I was a teenager I always simply assumed I’d go to university to do something sciencey and only when I got to university did I really consider what it was all about.

What good is science? What is the need for good? What makes for a valuable life? Why does anyone do what they do?

 Everyone has dreams. Just last night my good friend said that, more than anything she could want, was a cigarette and a glass of Dr Pepper. Bizarre? Of course. I dislike Dr Pepper and ciagarettes are perhaps the only thing in existence that’d be a serious candidate for recieving my hatred. She knows this, of course, and I know this. But it’s become increasingly apparent to me over the last few years that just because I think something or I disapproveisn’t really any reason for me to exert this on anyone else. The only things I really share with almost all of the rest of humanity is a tentative grasp on logic and reason, and a mutual desire to ‘share this little circle’, as Russel Brand’d say. (This little circle being the Earth, as viewed from far away).

 Now, sharing this little circle is all and well: one has to compromise, to be insightful, to be compassionate and to know when to exert oneself and one’s desires and when to forfeit them. Perhaps not even that, one need not know  that, but one must be prepared to make decisions based upon that. (Indeed, choosing ‘indecision’ is a respectable choice in itself, as much as I wish it weren’t)

 But this is something I struggle with when it comes to other people. I see the importance of forfeiting my own desires, but it is rare to see visibly that other people do. To many people “Because I want to” is a very fine justification for many things. And in most case, they’re perfectly justified in wanting whatever it is they want. But for myself, I am almost always not justifed in my desires. I see them as destructive, selfish, fruitless and ultimately dangerous…I ought not to be trusted with such things as real responsibility.

And yet? I still jump into conversations because I want to. In day to day life, I find it exceedingly difficult notto simply indulge myself. I’m a reasonable guy, I’ve had a fine moral compass over the years and fair enough…I’ve made a fair few abysmal mistakes. But it has, to my knowledge, never been the case that I’ve not tried to change or ammend my ways, in the end. It might take some time…but I try.

 But with other people?It isn’t even that I feel they should feel the same way. My perspective is loosely unique to myself, I haven’t yet encountered it elsewhere (though I imagine there’s people who share my views but have refined them much more, and of course there are people out there who’ve got far greater, far better views…), but the important thing is that I meet the original criteria: That I continue to share logic and reason with the rest of this little circle.

 That isn’t because it’s important, but because it’s essentially everything that there is whilst I’m still in this frame of mind. There’s no particular way to go left or right with it, I can’t forcemyself to change my views. But I can keep them, try to make them internally consistant, and then start working on their outward exertions.

And that’s where obligations come into it. All people expect something of you. I know for myself that I’m likely to be disappointed, I realise why my expectations are fruitless until I can convey them meaningfully to other people. So, until I can do that, consider my life one lacking in expectations of other people. Of course, I’ll still hurt, I’ll still bleed, I’ll still cry…but I’ll have the wholesome reassurance of logic to reason things out. But strike all this, reverse it. My obligations to other people? What if their expectations are irrational? Ought I to ‘lower’ myself to an epextation from someone else? Betray my principles?

Once upon a time it’d have been a firm no. But I only just said that my principles are to be treated as non-existant. I know I’ve values…I disapprove of smoking, I find myself…repulsed by any sort of mind-altering drug that isn’t alcohol (and even then I still don’t sit happily with alcohol), I amn’t too fond of the idea of people knowing something for themselves without thinking outside of themselves….and this sort of principle will always stand between me and any sort of tangible happiness.

 Well, not entirely, but you might see what I mean: It’s always an obstacle. So long as I think in this manner, I’m not likely to be able to simply vault emotional foibles without a severe set of revelations or epistles from elsewhere.

And that’s the crux of it. Tea/laughter/time heals everything.

Of course it doesn’t. But these are things I find myself clinging to, not out of reason, not out of logic or empirical evidence. Not even out of sensible speculation…but because that’s what’s there. I have time, and I have laughter. Excellent defence mechanisms…but I can’t really rely on them.

 So, where to go from there? Well, there’s only one left! A harmless(?) cup of tea. Delightful!

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