this message is for some random young fool

this message is for some random young fool, lost at sea, adrift beyond the point of no return. back when i was your age, i thought i was ancient and beyond repair. and then, i lived another twenty years like they were nothing at all. i thought i had cares in the world and then i woke up with too many cares to bother with caring about them.

the soul i held in high regard, the one i lifted up and clutched as being so precious, became besmirched by so many attempts to engage with the natives. if i was going to get to heaven, surely there must be some kind of clause i hadn’t heard of.

The latest technology that will transform everything

The latest technology that will transform everything. This is huge. You will want to have it. You won’t be able to live without it.

I want something that will transform me for the better. I am not sure if any technology that I’ve embraced in my lifetime has transformed me for the better. Would I probably be constantly sick or dead without some food safety technologies and advances in health and medicine? Maybe. Except, I am not so sure that I wouldn’t be a similar man in a similar role with all of my similar flaws, were I to have been born a hundred years earlier. Assuming I had survived wars and waves of diseases, I would probably be working as a clerk in a bank, a bookkeeper in a business, a teacher at a high school, a librarian, etc. There is no reason to believe that I couldn’t have figured out how to master the world of 1917 as a forty-something, any more or less than how much I’ve mastered this one.

When I talk about being transformed, I am speaking of something or someone I might believe constitutes the essence of myself becoming something more than or other than who or what I was. For example, I am reasonably competent with high school math, and I can generally follow along with popular math books for the lay person, but I am lost when I start trying to actually do math that is taught in pre-Calc or Calc classes during the Freshman year of most college students. Clearly, there are some individuals who are capable of rapidly understanding the underlying patterns that constitute some such high abstraction, and manipulating the symbols to produce novel theorems and proofs, or at the very least, excel in higher math classes with minimal effort. Why can’t we come up with some type of technology that will just zap the areas in my brain that are deficient at understanding higher math, and make it quite easy to understand?

Naturally, the response might be that I am opposed to hard work–like someone who opts for bariatric surgery instead of trying to diet and exercise their way to thindom. But, this isn’t necessarily the case. I put in tedious hours every week manipulating data and performing routine functions in an office. I do these things because the payoff is quite clear and always available. If my employer stopped paying me, I would stop working for them and vice versa. Except when it comes to attempting to understand more mathematical concepts, the correlation is never so clear. I might spend months plugging away at a college textbook and a problem solvers book and become minimally reacquainted with some of the things that I used to know. Outside of that, I find myself continually thwarted and frustrated by how many times I can’t seem to actually get a math problem correct and how many things I thought I was beginning to understand that I really do not.

What is the payoff for such an investment? A few months where my brain seems to operate at a slightly more optimal level of cognition before I forget everything again and fall back into my old ways of lapsing into my dreams and writing out my stream of consciousness thoughts. I catch enough glimpses of the beauty of mathematics to make it ever-tantalizing for me, but nothing is ever revealed to the point where I would be certain that I, too, might master higher math one day.

It’s difficult to explain, then, what such a transformation of myself would really look like. Becoming good at math is simply one example illustrating one tiny piece of the puzzle. The real change involves a complete overhaul in the way that I think about any given thing when it is brought to my attention, be it a math problem, a painting, a poem, a work of art, a technical or human problem at work, etc. Most of my efforts to meet such things are based on an autopilot mode of being that has for better or worse been locked into place since the end of high school with the only changes happening by degree.

Wouldn’t it be of some exceptional note if I could pick one thing to work toward for the rest of my life and wake up on the last morning of my life having discovered that I was irrevocably altered for the better due to my strivings? I’ve stated elsewhere many times over what my vices and problems are–my character flaws that seem to repeat themselves with much regularity no matter how far along I think that I’ve come.

I’m no fool who still believes that he can step outside of time itself and play around like a merry joker/prankster, dancing in between all of the games of humanity that humans take so deadly seriously. I am caught up in the crush of time like anyone else. I am inextricably woven into the fabric of a single story that will be told, and my impact is marginal at best. There is no time travel, because it would completely destroy me.

I can’t possibly begin to accept that the world will look much like it does today some fifty years from now when I could be drawing my last breaths. Perhaps God will be merciful to me, but I can’t completely believe that, knowing how little I’ve removed the bad parts from me. It would seem that you could unrealistically damn or praise yourself too much–all in the name of hubris or ego. You may not even be worth so much as to be as damned as you think you are. The anger in the Bible directed toward those who would be damned may be reserved for those who are especially heinous or especially grand in their crimes and sins.

I fancy myself to be a big person too much, when, all the while I should know better. I am indeed one of the little people. I am destined to live a life that is mostly spent dreaming and being half awake to engage with others who are similarly still slumbering.

You may have already figured this out, I don’t know.

You may have already figured this out, I don’t know. This world, the one we call our home, is stacked with more mysteries than your poor soul can ever possibly comprehend. There are things happening within every single second of time that could blow your mind. The odds that you have a handle, a grasp on what is really what, are so slim to none, that you’d be better off slipping back into the dark night of dreams than to determine what is up and what is down.

Identity–things that must be removed

Identity–things that must be removed:
I liked this or did this in hopes of pleasing someone in a shallow way.
I liked this or did this in order to rebel against the first thing I liked in a shallow attempt to assert my individuality.
I continued to like or do the above things out of habit, addiction, etc. long after I stopped doing them for the above two reasons.

Narrative:
Big brother(s) did it, parents didn’t approve of it, I was sad when big brothers left, I did it and tried to do even more of it to get parents attention (to make parents see that bio kid was just as bad as adopted kid and re-unite with adopted kid), after these motivating factors ceased I continued to identify myself as being a rock n’ roll rebel or marginalized from the main crowd.

Do I even like rock music? It’s okay, but it’s not really not that good. Most of it is too simple, obvious and re-hashed from previous decades. Even the Beatles and groups like that sound simple and lacking in depth compared to classical and jazz music.

Do I even like music enough to learn it intimately? I’ve proven that I have no ear or talent for it in order to be nothing more than a casual fan of it.

But, this is just an example of one thing that has directly shaped and defined my identity. Yet, I never got tattoos, I never played music professionally, I never even played in front of an audience beyond rehearsals and talent shows.

I could throw out: writing (except when using it as a tool to help me understand myself better), painting, liking or not liking certain movies, sports, travel, etc., drinking beer, running, hiking, riding my bike, computers, technology, science stuff, etc.

All of these were taken on at some point to impress, please, or rebel.

I can’t really determine how/when I will actually have a few days to myself to put everything on pause and consider who I really am. Life doesn’t work that way when you are married with a three-year-old and a brand new mortgage. You are doing what you need to do to get by during the work week, and dead tired on the weekends–it’s like you’ve given completely of yourself with mind, body and soul and you have nothing left to give back to yourself.

So, I have to steal away minutes here and there to consider these things.

At my core, I am not someone who really needs much of anything. I could spend most of my day in my head, alone, just letting my imagination wander and drift into dreams, being entertained by the weirdness and novelty produced by the subconscious. This I could do in a tent in the woods with minimal provisions.

I am compelled to do and be more only because of a sense of duty to pay forward what was given to me from my parents to someone else. I have a sense of duty about keeping the family line going. This sense of duty is harder and different than the silly people-pleaser whims of my younger years. Those were really more about giving me immediate gratification–I was pleased if someone close to me seemed immediately pleased as well. I had no need to climb a corporate ladder as long as I was pleasing my coworkers. This has boxed me in to being someone who appears to be only fit for service and support roles rather than managerial ones.

But, I am not setting out to change the professional rut I’ve gotten stuck in. I’ve tried that too many times only to be met with failure. That is simply a survival thing that is tied to the above sense of duty. It is my duty to be a decent father and husband, if never a great one who is highly honored and flattered with special attention.

That said, I don’t thing that the sense of hard duty that comes with being a father and husband encompasses or makes up the totality of who I really am. At the end of the day, I crave an identity that is uniquely me, and set apart from my familial roles.

For me, there is also a sense of duty in removing all of the bullshit in me that has accrued from past misguided attempts to please others and be someone I am not. This is far more important than picking up a new hobby and seeing if I like it, and then moving onto another one and another one.

There are bullshit vices and bad habits I don’t need to detail here, that get in the way of me being more focused and productive.

***

Yesterday morning, after writing the above, I smashed our security system control panel out of pure frustration at something taking control over my house. I took personal offense to it. I felt bad afterward, sort of, but I was still mad.

My dreams have been pretty varied and interesting, but I haven’t been inclined to try too hard to remember them and write them down as of late. The reason being that so much dream journaling has never seemed to get me anywhere.

I feel like I need to spend much time focusing, re-focusing on what my core identity must be, and less time latching on to some thing that I will just allow to lead me around by the nose.

In essence, most of my failed attempts to get anything done stem from an unwillingness to improve my self motivation–my proactive output, where I give out of a self-initiated willingness to give and work. I keep trying to find some kind of interest or activity that will engage me because I am so captivated by it.

In other words, I have this weak-willed character flaw that prefers to be led and motivated from the outside. Think of the example of wanting to get into learning mathematics or going to seminary. I was hoping that sheer necessity and compulsion laid upon me by outsiders would keep my momentum of moving forward in play. But, the truth is, unless you are being compelled by the necessity of a paycheck and familial survival, you aren’t going to remain engaged in something unless you yourself keep pushing yourself forward.

It all seems obvious and yet at the same time it subtly is not. It is easy to slide down a slippery slope of going back to your old ways of hoping that variables outside of you will keep you going.

Suddenly, I find myself doing almost nothing at all on weekends. I am not getting myself up off the couch to run, ride a bike or anything else. I continue to write, just because habit dictates that I do. My writing is probably not much different than any other vice or habit. It isn’t usually done out of pure self-motivation.

Keeping my mind in a state of being solely compelled by my own will, and not falling back into a trance, a learned pattern of behavior, an autopilot mode, a willingness to be passively entertained by random thoughts, etc.–it can be exhausting and feel like I am constantly walking on a tight rope.

Can you feel yourself pushing against the walls of your inner physical self?

Can you feel yourself pushing against the walls of your inner physical self? You might think you are simply becoming more observant of how your mind controls your muscles. But really, you might also be stuck inside a cage.

Even the way you can roll along your eyeballs, looking, moving, questioning whether this is really you. With eyes closed and tensions stilled, you enter into a stream of racing and conflicting thoughts. You sense an attempt to seize control of your mind, to the point where your mind will not be your own.