Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Final Night Farewell

The most tragic choice thrust upon us by the contemporary culture is the one between others and ourself. Choose the former and you are headed for a life of classlessness, pleasure seeking, and underachievement, where your greatest goal (never acknowledged explicitly, of course) is to collect them all, as if people are nothing more than oddly name creatures that fight for you on command. Choose the latter and you are headed for a life of respectability, happiness, and achievement, where your greatest goal is to produce what your mind finds that you should, as it is the highest authority of which you can think. The choice is tragic because the former excludes the latter, yet is the popularly endorsed perspective, but the latter doesn't exclude the former.

You can be you or you can be everyone else. The popular response, of course, will be to say it's not such a black and white choice, not so cut and dry, not so easy. You can't not care about people at all, they'll say. Except, they're missing the point completely. The point is to care about people because they make your life better (because they seek to make their life better), not merely because they are people. If you spend time with people who are classless, you are telling them classlessness is acceptable. If you spend time with people who seek pleasure, you are telling them pleasure seeking is acceptable. If you spend time with people who underachieve, you are telling them underachievement is acceptable. These statements are especially true if you are around a person when he is immediately acting in such a manner and you don't hold him accountable for it. That accountability is how you care.

True friends, lovers, family members, and human beings want others to act respectably, find happiness, and achieve. Everyone else is participating in an animalistic race to the bottom.

(Note: Pleasure is immediate and dissipates rapidly. Happiness is long term and sustains indefinitely. Pleasure is a good thing when it is part of your happiness, but is debilitating when it is not.)

5 comments:

Daniel T. Richards said...

Cheers to reason.

Maria Delgado said...

So... you left Clemson? Lucky you! I am still stuck here like a hostage with the Stockholm Syndrome. Anyways, I just found out (your blog and)that there are people actually studying Capitalism. And you consider yourself a "punk"? Is that a bad thing?
Regards, Maria Delgado

Jayemel said...

Maria,

I consider myself "punk" as far as what I believe to be the valuable parts of the movement, thinking for yourself and (supposedly) determining your own identity. The punk movement itself is internally contradictory, claiming to be about fighting the man, but then supporting left wing politics that champion the power of government.

The term I tend to use is "Repunklican."

Vertical Teaching Apparatuses said...

JML,

Your description totally clicked with me. I didn't think about how I am giving sanction and reinforcement to bad behaviors just by spending time with a person who has a bad sense of life. I have one person in particular who has a horrible sense of life, and it's been getting worse for a long time. As it happens, I want to help her make it better. Already, many of our friends have given up on her. Thank you for describing their decision and mine in a way that makes sense to me.

Rainbows and sunshine kisses,
AJ

Jayemel said...

AJ,

I'm glad I could help, but I don't want you to think it's quite so simple.

You can always sanction certain behaviors and not sanction others by being explicit. IE: "I'll hang out with you when you do X, but not when you do Y." Likewise, if you stop associating with someone for a reason, it'll be more helpful to them if you explicitly tell them why (even if they get angry) rather than if you simply disappear from their life.