What world do you live in? Where I exist, reality does not bow to my whims, comfort and happiness are a result of the ideas and effort of men, today was pretty good, tomorrow can only get better, and I face the world and other people with an earnest and sincerity. I want to see them do well. I want to see me do better. It benefits everyone. Most importantly, if I don't outdo them, it benefits me. Go ahead, write the greatest television show ever and make millions. I won't be jealous. I'll enjoy and appreciate it. (Thanks, Lindelof & Cuse.)
Except, I don't think you live in that world. I think you live in a world that is cruel, cold, and unforgiving. Like the Buddhists say, life is suffering, and that pain comes from everyone else taking at your expense, when all you're trying to do is give, because you're the only damn good person there is. And since you're so alone, it's ok for you to play their game. After all, they started it.
You see, there's something I'm fundamentally having trouble understanding now-a-days. No matter how down I've felt, now matter how dark I thought my future was, no matter what, my instinct is never to lie, cheat, steal, smear, slur, denigrate, manipulate, coerce, sling mud...well, you get the idea. On the other hand, those things all seem to be the tactics on the tip of your tongue. There's literally a time in every day when I sit back and say, "How does someone think of something like that?" ("I'm not a good person, Charlie.") See? I didn't even intend to reference LOST, but I couldn't help it. I agree with them on this point. The only reason you're a bad person is because you think you're a bad person.
DTR is always telling me about "sense of life." He said that's the reason I love LOST so much, we share a sense of life. I'm beginning to really agree with him. Sense of life is your basic feel of the world. Everything you believe, whether explicitly or implicitly, consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally, is thrown into a pot (your brain) and boiled until it reaches the gas stage (your feel of the world). For me, sense of life is the best metaphor I've ever heard for the soul. Except, we can control it.
In our politically correct culture, we're not supposed to say that certain activities are linked to certain types of people. Well, they are. People with similar senses of life are going to be attracted to similar behaviors. I'm going to fall back on my old partying example. Contemporary, partying doesn't mean getting a bunch of friends together and celebrating. It means getting shit ass drunk and, hopefully, fucking. What type of people are going to be attracted to this activity? People with a negative sense of life. They need to destroy themselves because the world, and themselves suck. But wait, this only happens during college, right?
Put aside my drinking rant because I'm about to say something really important. In our society, and I'm speaking as an American here you dumb pseudo-arrogant fucks with "globalized perspectives," we have prescribed moments that are supposed to change our sense of life, moments when we "grow up." Yup, growing up is the contemporary metaphor for gaining the proper sense of life. You hit puberty. You learn to drive. You graduate high school. You have sex for the first time. You graduate college. You get a real job. You get married. You buy a house. You have a children. All these moments are supposed to change your sense of life just by their happen. Supposedly, we've crafted a life path that intrinsically gives us a good sense of life. The only problem is, it doesn't.
To return to the drinking topic, something I've been struggling with is the idea that the partying stops when people graduate from college. Now I understand that while, to me, it's an arbitrary cut off, to everyone else, it's an actual cut off. The only problem is, they're wrong. The partying doesn't stop. These pre-prescribed events don't change a person's sense of life. There's only one way to change a sense of life. You have to truly experience your experiences.
An experience is not worthwhile just by it happening. You have to engage in it. If you don't engage in it, you are a passive participant. If you do engage in it, you are an active actor. This divergence returns to my two worlds dichotomy that I started with. If the world sucks and all that depressing crap, you're just going to let things happen and try to get out live. If the world is good, then you're going to try to do what you can to make it better. The latter builds a positive sense of life. The former builds a negative sense of life.
The problem is, I think, that you form a sense of life before you even realize what one is. Then, if you're passive, things only go downhill from there, snowballing into an emo spin cycle of "the world sucks" and "I suck," and, if you're active, well the opposite happens without a much perkier metaphor, like you constantly get boob jobs and you stare at your breasts in the mirror because they look awesome. Wait, where was I? Oh, right, the problem is by the time we realize what our sense of life is, it's so difficult for us to change it because it's so ingrained in us. It's like Hoyt said in the new True Blood, whenever anything goes wrong he has to stop himself from running back to his Mom and doing everything she says. That's his sense of life. That's one of the best portrayals of sense of life I've ever seen because it's elegant in it's simplicity (insert evil laugh here).
How do you fix a sense of life? You do what Hoyt did. You recognize it and tell yourself to resist it. How do you resist it? You learn. You see, we're not living in parallel universes and I don't need to slide out of your awful one like Quinn Mallory until I find the positive one I believe in. No, you need to seek out new experiences and learn to build a proper sense of life. (Side note: Yes, I believe the way we raise children, generally, gives them a debilitating sense of life because they don't learn about the world properly).
Don't think my sense of life is perfect either. I actually feel guilty about being attracted to a girl. Why? Because I've been taught that when you feel an attraction, you're supposed to stuff it down and ignore it. If you express it, you're being oppressive to the girl...unless she's attracted to you first (which becomes the stereotype of an attractive guy). Then you can express attraction all you want because you're being generous. Generous? Yes sex is used to gain self esteem (not express it), so if someone is attracted to you, they're trying to take from you. Guys should give to women because they've oppressed them through out time. Thus, you should only be with girls who are lesser than you and girls tell you when it's ok to express sexual desire. But, women shouldn't give to guys, because it would be degrading for her to be with a lower guy. All of this crap I've internalized, from when I was young, builds a sense of life that tells me relationships are inherently manipulative and dishonest and only guys who are the stereotype of attractive actually are attractive and get to be with a girl and have sex. Real healthy, right? I know! Trust me.
See, we all have something to learn. My already awesome sense of life is growing as you read this. How's yours?