Tuesday, May 11, 2010

the meaning of life: an motivational-speech-epiphany to commemorate my dad giving me an awesome pep-talk

hell is empty and all the devils are here
___the Tempest

untitled, nobutyes

i'm not good at this world. i mean that. i've met people who have a certain... gracefulness; their lives i mean. not soo much me. i'm like a sweaty pianist, even if it sounds nice, you look at me all you see is toil. there's a laboriousness to my decisions, motions, dreams, incapacities. a sort of perpetual deadlock. my soul has a knot in it. no you don't son. but you can't let your brain run rampant; how is it your brain can take your soul and run it into despair over nothing? thoughts shouldn't be soo powerful they overwhelm your very being. thoughts are... use them to think sure, but not to feel.

success, failure... ___: i'm always saying life isn't a game of win or lose. it's true. it's also not a game. it couldn't be a game, games have rules. set normative standards you could consider consistent. do X work, receive Y recompense - that kind of thing. yet, what you find is not that. outcomes aren't governed by... by anything I control. sure, i can work hard. proceed with good intent. check, double check, triple check. confirm. organize. assert. appeal. demand. persuade. at the last, it's the man with the red pen who decides. chance. who runs a red light and who doesn't. whether your boss receives the phone call on time or not. if FedEx got it there. who you met at a busstop and whether the bus showed up at all. who hates you because you're black. because you speak funny. who refuses to give you a chance because of your religion, your sex. or ignores your merits because they dislike your tie colour; exercises of discretion. valuations. ----> success?/failure?
___: but that's exactly it, you can only control the process. you can't control outcomes. do you know how many times i've been screwed over in life? he proceeds to recount a few anecdotes. what would you do in that situation? [i'd kill him] seriously Q. [i'd kill him]. you can't kill everyone who screws you over kiddo. ___& that solves that i guess. outcomes are irrelevant? arbitrary?, the only possible meaning to be attached to them being moralistic (if one chooses to adopt such an approach)?
so what's the lesson dad?
___the lesson?
___do whatchyou gotta do. bring the fire. handle your business. sleep soundly, you get what you get.
what's the point of working so hard if the results are so... indeterminate?
___wrong question really. the question ought to be: what result are you really after?
what does that mean?
___is a grade what you're really after?, that's it? just... a grade? you're in school to get a grade or an education?

which makes good sense actually.
lately i find my mind frequently to thinking about the Iranian Bahai's currently imprisoned because they bothered to wake up in the morning. because they decided that 1+3 = 4 instead of 2+2. i find my mind thinking about generations of African Americans walking around with eyes lowered chanting yessir/yesmaam; about an entire generation of Jews, some of the most brilliant minds of all time, pianists and quantum physicists and architects aboard crammed trains off to find a swastika-less world - did they fail to achieve their 'goals' or did the world fail them?

my dad reminds me of my own heritage (and i think again whether my undeservedly poor grade is anything compared to men and women whose lives are in jeopardy; which is the greater injustice?), every Iranian Baha'i family living outside of Iran, having left to avoid the persecutions already mentioned, has an uncle, a cousin who was once a surgeon, an engineer, who's been driving a cab for 20 years, working in a rug shop, or selling figs and dates behind a counter (and scribbling Green's theorem on napkins when they take their smoke-break out back behind the Toyota dealership).

THE EPIPHANY, if anything, is that the grade is not the purpose. it can't be - it's an outcome. i can't control those. teachers good and bad, fair and retarded do. paychecks? google GFC and have a chat to some people living out the back of their cars. ask some honest folk who invested in Enron. your whole damn career? surely you can control that?, no? Nazi's can. governments. car accidents. unexpected illness. ___the epiphany, if anything, strips me of everything outside of myself. and leaves with a process. the process. everything i, solely, individually, independently am responsible for.

in other words, there's this big rat race maze thingee called life. it sucks ass and we're stuck with it because no one's really found a viable alternative yet that didn't involve a one-way ticket to an overdose. through this lifelong course in mortality, i have precisely one asset.


the depth and maturity of my wisdom. the sincerity of my eyes. the generosity of my time. the humility of my soul... ___: ___i'm speaking of character. i'm speaking of the invincibility of my character and the perfection of my virtue. that determines my gait from sunrise to sunset. and whether i get sideswiped by a drunk-driver coming home from work and can never compete in the olympics, or fail an exam because some bee-atch didn't like my handwriting or fail every single goal i ever set myself is simply beyond me. my best efforts can't guarantee a result. but my character is perfectly determinate. it's a 'result' i can actually control. in fact, i am the only person/place/thing that can.

isn't that a perfect opportunity to adopt a pessimistic nihilism?
___what? no! ___it's a perfect opportunity to re-evaluate your sense of worth.
to not be so goal orientated?
___be goal orientated if you want - just don't be goal fixated. be... engaged with the process, detached from the result.
sounds easy. it's not.
___you didn't do badly because you didn't work hard. you did badly because it's about time you learnt to manage your brain. and reassessed your attitude to so-called 'failure'. you can't cower in a cave everytime you don't finish where you want.

the problem is faith maybe. trusting the process. since 'the process' is really code-language for getting kicked repeatedly in the balls while already down so that when you stand you're invincible. calm in adversity. brave in uncertainty. decisive in havoc. ___
___since character is not a thing that's developed in isolation. life is needed. events are needed. experiences. troubles and woes. humiliations and obstacles and moments were you sit in the car in the carpark of the supermarket thinking f*ckf*ckf*ckf*ck what am i gonna do? __adventures.

anyway. goodbye semester 1.

ok. great.

dear god, i've worked it all out.
you can kill me now.



capone said...

tell me this timmy: if you go, who will then be left to giggle away this world with me?

a penny for the old guy said...

thimmay! thimmythimmy!

Ghetto Blaster said...

or code-language for getting kicked in the balls only to crawl to the computer to write really great post exam ish.

i mean, i don't support getting kicked in the balls for a good read, but if you muuust go through it, then, well...