I don’t like being an audience member. I prefer being an active participant. And this goes for all of my life’s activities. Whether it involves one-on-one interactions with people, or small groups, or society at large. The situations and people I want apart of my life require that I function as an active participant in their development. I can’t afford to be a glassy eyed bystander all the time. I hold the same desire for others as well; specifically that they may maintain the same attitude and relation to me as I hold for them. I want them actively contributing to the development of my life, my perspective, my abilities, my ideas, etc.
Regarding people, I don’t want to listen to them all day talk about their personal problems. On the flip side, I don’t want to talk about my life problems all day either. I don’t want to talk about fleeting circumstances, nor do I want to talk about flaky people. I want to talk about, first and foremost, good ideas. Sure, I can talk about events and the people involved and what not but, in the greater scheme of things, those topics are insignificant aspects of life. They change. People change, and our opinions about them change even quicker. Events happen, but there are always more events to talk about the next day. Ideas are the most resistant to change, but “truth” (in the proverbial sense) and understanding certainly don’t (Unfortunately bias and stubborn habits of thought don’t change as quickly as they should). That’s why I desire talking and thinking about ideas, visions, goals, things that endure.
I’m sure some people may find my position disagreeable, but the bottom line is that I don’t care about problems you don’t want to fix. In fact, I don’t care about any problems that A) cannot be fixed or solved or changed and B) that you don’t want to fix. The consequence of this philosophy of mine is that I don’t spend time with too many people. However, the people I do spend time with are either thinkers, or they are easy going. Ideally I could have the best of both worlds, but that’s just me being ideal. Usually I find the easy going people. Less frequently I find the thinkers. But usually the easy going people don’t think, or the thinkers are not easy going. Oh well.
Whatever the case, I don’t want to share your problems. I wouldn’t want you to share my problems either. I want to talk about solutions, about a better life more generally, about the positive aspects, or the critical aspects, with the thought of improving or accreting understanding. It’s good to be skeptical, it’s good to challenge and exercise doubt. But lets not get carried away and allow ourselves to fall into complete skepticism, or worse cynicism or nihilism. But skepticism is good, and sometimes being discontent is a great thing, but only if your intention is to improve circumstance, to actually develop or change things for the better.
If you are being discontent for no reason, and have no desire to improve, I don’t want to talk to you. And you shouldn’t want me to because that would serve no benefit to my life. Simply commiserating is not an admirable or worthwhile past time. Empathy is good, but only when a perspective is gained that will allow me to contribute to their life, to help solve an issue or problem. My empathy falls short when it works to simply bring me down, to simply have someone to share a miserable state of being just to feel less alone, less weak.
Contrary to popular belief, we can choose our problems. How is this possible? Because we can choose how we look at things. There are no problems apart from a subjective perspective. So how should we choose our problems? First and foremost, we need to define our ends. What do we want? What is our goal? What do we desire? What am I willing to sacrifice for this end? When these ends are defined we can decide which obstacles prevent us from their attainment. It is then that we recognize problems and only then that these obstacles become our problems. But they shouldn’t stay our problems. Why? Because we want to accomplish our ends, our goals and desires, more than we want these problems.
But this requires having goals and desires, clearly defined and enunciated. If you don’t possess clear ends, everything will potentially be a problem and you won’t know why and you want ever improve yourself and you want ever get anywhere.
But some people LOVE problems. For some, problems ARE the goal. They give them a sense of purpose and place. Problems become their identity. Their sense of being. And they never ever progress beyond them. They stay a pathetic victim of themselves. Always hungry for attention and pity and futile support that will never solve anything. These people are like a diseases whose literal life supporting function is actively feeding off the life of other people, quite like a parasitic organism or bacteria or virus. Their life is attained by sucking from the lives of others. But changing this behavior would require changing their function and in turn change their ability to survive in life. Unless, however, they decide to adapt and adopt another identity, another gestalt for living.
On the less extreme end of the spectrum are those people who simply survive off attention without directly harming the person. They don’t intentionally drain your life, nor to they directly detract from your well-being. In fact, they don’t think of you at all. These people simply want an audience that reflects back their self-image. They gain their sense of self through people and as a result use them as an audience in which they can extol their accomplishments in order to derive a sense of approval. These people are simply ego maniacs driven by extrinsic motivation, by the external rewards dolled out by the people, by the values amplified by the herd. Their sense of self is derived entirely through an artificial sense of achievement; that is, through approval from others. It’s a way to live, but a terribly sad way to live. In my eyes anyway. There’s no properly sense of self. It’s distorted through a subjective lens that’s entirely created from the opinions of others.
There’s a ton more I want to write about, but I’ll save it for later. For the record, I need to elaborate thoughts on monetary expansion policy and how it relates to investment, inequality, debt, and finance. I also need to write on technology and culture. Specifically how there could be potentially dangerous consequences due to an over reliance on the processes that derive semantic content and the source of that content for reliability and “truth”, as well a atrophy in our very ability to derive semantic content for ourselves, that is think critically about things in order to empirically acquire semantic content for ourselves. But more on that later.