August 8th, 2001

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Recently I have become concerned by the fact that I have not recently been concerned with grand worldwide problems. This comes from watching the film Sex, Lies, And Videotape in which Andie McDowel's (sp?) character begins the film by telling her therapist how worried she is about the problem of the massive amount of garbage that industrialized nations produce. I never used to worry about THAT sort of thing, because I believe that science will find a way to deal with concrete problems like that. Cold fusion, manufactured ozone, whatever. Before the problem becomes truly overwhelming (instead of merely overwhelming which it already is) something will be done.

I did used to worry about Hutus and Tutsis though. You know, the conflict in Africa. While I don't really have much sympathy for people who choose to engage in war and die because of it, I feel terrible for children and innocent people who are murdered just because their compatriots have chosen to fight, or even worse because of prejudice. I say children and innocents instead of women and children because I don't feel that killing a woman is worse than killing an unarmed and non-combatant man. While it's true that a larger percentage of women are noncombatents then are men, it is not inherently worse to shoot someone with a bumpy chest than it is to shoot someone with a dangling protuberance between their legs.

Anyway I used to spend time thinking about the Hutus and Tutsis and feeling terrible for the things they were doing to eachother. Not so much anymore. I mean when I pause to think about it I'm not GLAD or anything, and I do wish that there was a way to stop the horrible things that are going on over there, but I don't brood about it anymore. There's nothing that I can do about it right now. If at some point in the future my intelligence takes me to a position of power (allow me a bit of arrogance right now? Pretty please? With flowery words of apology on top?) then I can worry about things like that. But right now what's the point?

Anyway I'm not sure whether this new attitude, which naturally shifts the focus of my worries on to myself, is good or bad. Was worrying about Hutus and Tutsis and Kosovars and other people who I cannot help just a cover for not worrying about my own fucked up life? Should I take to politics even though I don't think I'd excell there (I have a tough time telling people what they want to hear, and I don't have much in the way of moral bendyness.)

It all comes back to that familiar fucking teenaged question

What is my place in the world?

My dislike of the death of innocents is also one of the reasons that I don't really want to be racist. In any group of people the innocent (I don't say good because good people are always rare) always vastly outnumber the guilty. Take the group that I am uncomfortable with, those of Middle Eastern descent. What fraction of them are commited to causing pain to an enemy (Be it America or Israel or whatever)? 1 in 100? 1 in 1000? 1 in 10,000? The vast majority of them are probably concerned with family and keeping food on the table and other such things. Sure they may have prejudices put in their heads by corrupt and evil leaders, but so do most people. If they aren't going to act on these prejudices then they deserve to be treated with respect. And while strict Muslim law is offensive to me (publicly flogging people for dancing? Having a different standard for Muslims than non-Muslims? If what you are doing isn't hurting anybody you should almost always be allowed to do it, with the exception of things that might cause other people hurt in the future like drugs.)

The people I am going to meet, however, are not going to be members of the Taliban or subject to these crazy rules.

Anyway I'm not sure why I wrote that except that it was a thought I had and I think it qualifies something I said earlier so I just decided to put it out there. Do with it what you will.
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Dr. X strikes again! And I ramble incoherently in respone! Film at 11!

So I recieved another email from the mysterious Dr. X this morning.

Dr. X suggested that I might want to become a writer because my characters would get to live my life for me. It's an interesting thought but I don't think it's true. What appeals to me most about being a writer is having people understand me better. I think that some of the things I think and feel are foreign to a lot of people, or at least not things that they have carefully shaped into concious propositions. Maybe this is just more arrogance, but I think that I might have something to SAY to a certain segment of the population. Not the idle musings of this journal which is really just an exercise in self indulgence for me, but in a carefully thought out story or even an essay. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong, maybe I have nothing interesting to say, but I would love to go INTO a conversation with someone with them already understanding some of my moral stances and some of the ideas that are complicated enough to not be worth writing down in a journal which is primarily for my own benefit and not influential in any way shape or form.

Dr. X also stated that while s/he offered to let me vent at him/her s/he did not offer to help me. I find this an odd statement since what would be the point of venting at someone if not for the response. If I just want to write down my thoughts I have this journal. Which is not to say that I am upset with the mysterious Dr. X for his/her offer, but merely that I still think that the offer WAS an offer of assistance.

Which comes to another point which is that I think that Dr. X and I have certain interesting things in common. I have surmised, perhaps incorrectly, that we both have an easier time offering help than accepting it. We both seem not to fit well into large, conventional social groupings, and we both have strong interpersonal insecurities. I have told Dr. X in the past that I welcome his/her comments and s/he is having trouble accepting my acceptance. Been there. Done that. Wrote the journal entry.

(Am I violating the good Doctor's confidence by commenting so directly on his/her emails in this journal when s/he has made it clear that s/he intends these as private messages? Is it what s/he is saying or THAT s/he in particular is saying these things that s/he wants to keep private? I don't know. I don't consider this a violation but if it is I guess I'm sorry, not because I wrote the above paragraph but because I couldn't decode/remember what you said as well as I wish I could.)

Dr. X also asked me who my social group is, and the truth of the matter is that I can't easily answer that. In school I tend to gravitate towards the mid to late twenties crowd. Charles is 39 and he and I get along pretty well. Jeff is 48 or so and he's pretty swell although that relationship is not so much a friendship as a muddled mess of different stuff (and no you sickos it's not sexual, it's just that occasionaly he lapses into very patriarchal comments such as "I guess you inherited the feeling that you have to save the world from me." Is a patient supposed to inherit from a shrink? I leave that for you to figure out.) The fact of the matter though is that none of these relationships is entirely fulfilling. I would say that my relationship with Jeff is the best. I feel that I can tell him almost anything and he will at least have some idea what I am talking about. He's very bright so I don't need to reign in my intelligence with him. The thing is that it's so structured within the context of the sessions that I don't feel comfortable doing friendly stuff with him, and that the amount of honesty in it is almost frightening at times. He knows more about me than I do about him and that makes it unbalanced.

I don't know that I've ever had a truly tight friendship. They've all been qualified by other stuff. I have yet to find a true counterpart male or female. Is that becuase I'm inferior, superior, or just plain different than most folk? I don't know. Do most people have a true best friend? I don't know. I don't think most people have what I would consider true love.

I do feel like I'm at an advanced age in certain respects. Most Americans lose their virginity at age 14 or so (I don't know how accurate that statistic is) whereas I've never even so much as danced with a girl (besides when I was like 10 and at elementary school and even then I was so shy that I held her just by my fingertips and she eventually got fed up and grabbed my hands and put them around her waist and I was so embarassed that I couldn't talk to her for a year.) Most people my age have held jobs and I never really has. Part of this is because I don't want to do some mindless task over and over again. Part of it is because I don't have enough confidence to believe that I could even GET a job. Part of it is because I have a fair amount of money and don't need 11 bucks an hour at the moment. Part of it is because I am afraid of having to pay taxes and making a mess of it. Part of it is because I don't know.

A lot of it is that I am terrified of failure, something that a reader might not know if s/he has not read my back entries.

I am behind in many ways and the gulf gets bigger and bigger and bigger. In terms of females, I don't know how to ask them out, what I would do with one if she said yes, or what she would expect from me. Considering that I would only ask out a girl who intrigued me in a specific and meaningful way, and that they are few and far between, by not dating at all in high school I leave myself unprepared for any opportunity that might eventually come my way. Not that I'm ready for it right now, but if I were to be some day I would find myself emotionally ready and without the neccesary skills. Ahh sweet irony.

Dr. X suggests that I am afraid of appearing to be a woman hating misogynist. This is true. The thing is that I don't hate women, I'm just conflicted in my thoughts/feelings about them. The other thing is that for whatever reason the only people who appear to be interested in responding to this journal happen to be female. Maybe it's because I'm not masculine enough although I've always considered myself to be a decently manly man for a geek. I don't want to offend the people who are reading this journal, or make them feel like they're not welcome, because that's exactly the problem I often have when reading/watching "chick" flicks/books. Like there is an inherintly anti-male energy there. When that energy is not there, I find myself able to enjoy whatever is. I don't want this journal to have anti-female energy, like "Estrogen soaked braintissue BEGONE!" Which is not to say that I really want to censor my journal, but more my writing in general. I pride myself on my writing and I want it to be accessible to more than 48 percent of the population. This journal is not brilliant. It is not life changing. It is not even all that interesting to people who aren't me. I can at least make it honest and inoffensive at the same time.

I also recognize that there's a lot of anti-female energy out there. A lot of men view women as sex objects. All but the most emotionally healthy men would rather be defeated by a man than a woman in certain areas. A lot of the anti-female energy is not based in rational thought. It is based in greed and fear and the fact that men are more physically powerful than women and it makes some feel superior. Or at least I think it is. Anyway I am not the type of person who believes that just because you have a feeling you have the right to act on it. If my feelings about females are based at least in part in irrationalities and bad thinking (which I believe in part they are) then I don't want to have those feelings. I don't want to own them and be responsible for them. I want to state that I have them but I don't like having them. And that's not for any audience, that's for me. Because I believe in the golden rule of do unto others, and I don't want to be seen as "bad" just because I have a Y chromosome and a penis.

I do have a problem with people who say "Women can do anything men can do as well or better" though. I'm willing to except equality but inferiority. There are also differences and things that men can do better than women along with things women can do better than men.

So anyway Dr. X, if it still suits you to send me email feel free to do so. I appreciate feedback and find some of your opinions/ideas interesting. I think that you do have your own issues which perhaps have not been dealt with to an extent, but that doesn't invalidate what you have to say. We're all just flawed entities learning about what it is to be human, right?

P.S. What is Narkiness? Those of us from the colonies don't know your crazy britspeak (I assume Brit because you say bloke, but that could be an affectation or Aussie?)
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Hmmm. I'm displeased with how this journal is going. I'm not editing my posts because I want them to be meaningful to me but I think that a lot of them are far below the standards I set for myself. Especially the one about Gabe and Paul. I just put raw unqualified emotion out there and it ended up looking a lot more pathetic than it was. They came, I had conflicted feelings about their being there, I sent them away. 1-2-3.

I want always to come off as intelligent and interesting. I don't always succeed. I don't think anybody who'se remotely healthy is always 'on' Sometimes you need to step back and be stupid. The problem is that this Journal is such a one sided affair. I send and send and send out into the void and I get little in the way of feedback (which is appreciated, but still quite limited.) So it's hard to tell when I'm being an idiot. The other thing is that if someone thinks you are being an idiot, chances are they will just look for another random journal. A more interesting one. They won't say "hey, that was a dumbass thing to think/feel/write." So in effect no news is bad news. But then again I don't WANT to make this artificially easy reading and dilute the complexity or depth of my thoughts. So it would stand to reason that in that case no news might be good news, meaning that the journal is sufficiently meaningful to drive away those who are just casually browsing for light reading. Argh.

There's something inherintly unfullfilling about this project for me. I've still got the safety on. I can say "People don't connect with what I'm writing because I'm writing for me and not for communication" or "People aren't commenting because they don't know what to say" or "I probably don't pop up on that many random requests so I would bet only tens of people have even seen this journal, and a large percentage of them might have been turned off by the barebones presentation and pretentious writing." I am still giving myself an out. That's not really healthy for me at this point. I should force myself to come to a point where I can say "No Ben, nobody is responding to your writing. But that's okay. You just need to work on YOUR craft and not worry about THEM. You aren't perfect, and maybe you aren't even good YET. But that doesn't mean you can't become good." But I won't.

Because I can't. (force the issue, not become good. I think I might be able to become a good writer with training focus and discipline.)

Dr X asked me to define "Fulfilling People."

I don't remember where in my writings this concept came from, I'm not even sure it's from my writing, but it's interesting and it does have too seperate meanings. I will try to define what I think they are.

Fulfilling People as a noun modified by an adjective:

I think that this differs for everyone. Who are the people who fulfill neccesary functions in your life? What are they like? The people who you are better for having met. The people who give you something you never got anywhere else. For me the people I have fulfilling relationships with are those who have both their heads in the clouds and their feet in the ground. People who can get deep into academic or philosophical discussions but who never forget grim realities either. People who can balance a discussion of aesthetics with one about how unfair capitalism is and balance THAT with knowledge of how to do practical things and the desire to make a difference. I think that fulfilling people is an incorrect construction, I would think you could only have fulfilling RELATIONSHIPS with people, but it's an interesting one.

As a present partciple verb form acting on an indirect object (I think, I dunno, I'm not so hot with grammatical definitions.)

I think that while you can't fulfill someone you can fulfill a role they need for their advancement. You can act as a catalyst for someone to step from one stage to another and in doing so help them fulfill their promise, or fulfill the role of that part of their life or whatever. I think that it's very important for people to do this for one another since we ARE social animals and the benefit gained from a strong interpersonal bond is quite startling in its size and complexity.

I guess a third, even less clear, definition would be the act of turning a person into the person that they are capable of being. Helping them fulfill thier potential as a human being. That's kinda stretching it though.

If I used this phrase myself I'm sorry, it was a bad turn of phrase. If not, well it's an interesting concept but I'm not sure how easily it can be comprehended. On the other hand, the things that need to be said are often the ones that are not easy to understand.
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