Saturday, September 24, 2011

Raison d'être

You Can't Get There From Here

I should probably add "directionless" to my under-achiever status. Every time I even plan a little bit, I come face-to-face with the fact that my life is largely directionless. Even this blog is. My posts are sometimes personal and sometimes analytical and really it goes nowhere.
My friend Tad's blog, The Leisurely Historian, makes me want to die. He has, you know, thoughtful opinions on interesting topics and gets involved in exciting projects. He recently had a Foreword to a book/project published. He has lots of things that I want. I wonder if I could possess those things if I killed him and devoured his heart. . . Sorry, just musing. . .
My sister-in-law's blog, now inaptly-named The Decayed Gentlewoman, is an interesting lifestyle blog. It's one of those yuppie/hipster blogs
(Yes, Shelly, "hipster" - it was recently pointed out to me that when you moved to Portland, it was still "the Portland that you've probably never heard of") about her interests and passions, full of pictures of food, alternative lifestyles, her activities (pronounced: pɪˌkjuːlɪˈærɪtɪs), and, for some stupid reason, occasionally features pictures of a wannabe Redneck with too much domestic beer-related paraphernalia. I can't plan to kill her though, she and her husband are armed to the teeth. I wonder how long it would take me to get to Portland, ME, in the eventuality of the Zombie Apocalypse. . .
My blog bounces all over the place without the charm of the latter or the erudition of the former.

Vox Dei

I have to wonder if my inability to find my voice in this blog is because I don't really have concrete plans for myself. It is one thing to project something that isn't there, but goals provide focus. My life goals have been pretty general and I have or had no plans for the intermediate steps. Actually, who am I kidding? I didn't really have plans for the introductory steps to achieve any of my long-term goals. This, perhaps, for my total lack of intellectual focus and skill development. When I was younger, this was mistaken for attention-deficit disorder, but I, frankly, liked it. It is part of who I am. I pursued many a variety of academic interests in an effort to avoid myopic viewpoints and because I was relatively successful at blending disciplines into new and interesting thoughts. However, I never really developed passions or even what could be justifiably called interests. Kate and I listened to a bunch of idiots at a dinner table next to us fighting about the Civil War. They were clearly not academics, most of their arguments didn't stand up to a rigorous, or even sometimes simple logical, analysis. However, they had clearly read a great deal of material and knew a number of obscure facts that only academics and true devotees know. They were "enthusiasts" and I realized that I am an enthusiast of nothing. Thus, my blog has no structural purpose, no "topic" other than my musings on nothing concrete.

I Did Go by "Savonarola" Once

I'm like a poor man's Renaissance Man. A lazy Renaissance Man. The good folks ("good man" sounds wrong) over at XKCD put it best, except that I'm not a Malcom Gladwell fan. I've always rather gotten off on the fact that I can at least follow and participate in most discussions: history, sociology, literature, economcs, politics, pop culture, technology, sports (not including basketball). I can even follow many science discussions, even if I can't do the math. At least the interesting science discussions about exo-planets, general relativity, and lasers. But as my friends and colleagues have developed definite expertises, I have been less-and-less able to follow. In the meantime, I have developed no expertises of my own, lacking doctorate level studies or job experience that interests me. No one would ask me for an "expert" opinion or even seek to necessarily engage me in a discussion about a topic in which I consider myself interested, simply because I am unlikely to know the minutia that passionate people have acquired. It's not that I have "fallen behind" my friends. I still think I am smarter than everyone and I am still proud that I have the rhetorical capacity to argue most anyone into the ground (I try to do this less as I am told it is off-putting). I am different and my approach is different, but I am envious of their passions and disciplines and it is something that I hope to learn.

An Attempt to Create a Microcosm

The lack of focus for my blog needn't come from my life's propensity to meander. In this case, however, it does reflect it. I am starting to believe that because my interests have been so varied and that I have never really developed a real attachment to any topic or activity, I now need concrete plans for my activities. I think I do not naturally flow progressively deeper into my activities. In fact, this may be why I flounder when forced start something. While I am fine at creating end-points and measuring their relative justice or utility and even evaluating the inputs, but I just don't look toward how I would actually realize those means. Planning is now opening up whole new worlds to me. We'll see if I stick with it and actually achieve anything. Of course, I'll still consider myself an under-achiever; I'm far too egotistical to ever believe I am achieving my potential.

Ayn Rand: What a Misleading Tool

So what's wrong with my blog? Well, why would you read it? Unless you are interested in me, there is nothing here for you. There are few jokes and even fewer of them actually amusing. I've linked a couple good blogs to read. But this is a selfish post on a selfish blog. It is, at this point, written for me. I have no plan, after all, a plan would probably include a projected audience and then I would actually have to write something to interest that audience. Much like my life, I have focused on me and have little concrete to offer anyone else (particularly in a Capitalist sense, as my job search has made abundantly clear). Maybe my blog will take focus later, but I think I need to find a focus or two (foci?), other than myself, before my blog will.

Like Sand Through the Hourglass, So Are. . .

I'm starting to create better plans; the aspects of my life that they address are more varied and they have greater detail. I've found my general discipline has improved even in tasks not related to my newly-created plans. I don't have everything worked out. There's still a great to of haziness in my life that I prefer to call flexibility. After all, I'm still "working on working on it."

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