/The Dream of a Ridiculous Man

The Dream of a Ridiculous Man

Unintended Collective Impact

It seems like I’m just going to be doing one post a week while school is in session. There is simply too much stuff going on to spend as much time as I want to on this site. Despite that I continue to add to the toolbox of things I know how to do and things I’ll learn how to do someday. This time, I am going to learn this software called Joomla. It is basically a kit for designing websites for people too lazy to do it for themselves, but people I know who know how have told me that I possess probably three quarters of the skills necessary already and I can easily make up for the rest by being clever. So, just like a puppet I dance as the world pulls the strings.

“In old days I used to be miserable at seeming ridiculous. Not seeming, but being. I have always been ridiculous, and I have known it, perhaps, from the hour I was born. Perhaps from the time I was seven years old I knew I was ridiculous. Afterwards I went to school, studied at the university, and, do you know, the more I learned, the more thoroughly I understood that I was ridiculous. So that it seemed in the end as though all the sciences I studied at the university existed only to prove and make evident to me as I went more deeply into them that I was ridiculous. It was the same with life as it was with science. With every year the same consciousness of the ridiculous figure I cut in every relation grew and strengthened.”

 


The Important Stuff

The big issue that always seems to get pushed to the “when I have time got it” list that really keeps me awake at night is how can I live a life that has any value. How do you value a life? Is one person’s life “worth” more than another’s? Is there a “right” way to live? Both of these questions seem to have obvious answers, but the truth is never so simple.

They don’t give parents a manual on how to teach their kids and there is no standard template for a “normal” person. There isn’t a machine (yet) that just replicates the best examples of humanity in some type of utopia. What then is life all about? We are more than just highly organized interacting molecular structures. Right? That is a serious question.

ridiculous cloning experiments

I have no proof whatsoever of any purpose for me, any meaning, or even any proof that I’m not the only consciousness in the Universe. All of this rambling doesn’t get me one step closer to the fundamental question; what exactly am I supposed to be doing with this life? I want to have a purpose, some work that makes a difference somehow, but my wanting some vague idyllic existence doesn’t make it real.

In the absence of proof, or a concrete plan I have to find guidance ( or, inspiration?) somewhere. I read the philosophy of the ancient masters and scour the internet for a glimmer of … I don’t exactly know what I’m looking for. Lately, it is mindfulness practices of meditation, self awareness and discovery that offers a promise of a connection to my fellow human beings and some meaning.

It seems like an awful lot of work, but what else am I doing? Do I really have something better to do than try to make the most out of my life? Is just surviving a worthwhile existence? Despite the lack of evidence I maintain that an existence as a mechanical part in this bizarre reality of civilizations, governments, knowledge and pop culture is not suitable to be called LIFE.

“At first I fancied that many things had existed in the past, but afterwards I guessed that there never had been anything in the past either, but that it had only seemed so for some reason. Little by little I guessed that there would be nothing in the future either.”

Humanity is intended to create, discover, innovate, and explore. It is for us to make this society, this whole Universe, exactly the way we want it to be. Why not? We’re the ones who made the rules that said we should be slaves to each other and life should be a painful struggle. Let’s change the rules. From now on life will be exciting and rewarding, we will treat each other with compassion, sharing our knowledge and peace with the everyone.

I’ll be sure get to doing that right away. As soon as I have paid the rent and studied for my math test. And there’s my work study job, the newsletter, and all these damn college applications. I’ll make time to start having a meaningful existence, as soon as I’m done with all this crap that counts for living today.

A Paradigm Shift

Don’t let me cynicism and sarcasm give you the wrong impression. Sometimes I am really tired and depressed and feel pretty well beaten by life, but there is hope. A lot of the “things that living people do” is actually quite fun; there’s baseball and barbecues and family and math and astronomy and music and art and all sorts of good stuff.

Does it make me greedy to want more? What else do I expect? Should I just shut up and be happy with what I have? I don’t know. I keep racking my brain and searching everywhere for a purpose. Sometimes, like yesterday when I was doing the MIT MOOC (massive open online course-you can check it out here, https://courses.edx.org/courses/course-v1:MITx+15.671.0x+3T2017/course/) class, it feels like there is a path. It’s always tantalizingly close yet just out of reach.

In case you haven’t looked it, and most people I know haven’t, MIT offers a ton of free online courses from everything from Physics to business to philosophy. It’s called MIT Open Courseware, https://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm.

 

“It is true indeed: I am vague and confused, and perhaps as time goes on I shall be more so. And of course I shall make many blunders before I find out how to preach, that is, find out what words to say, what things to do, for it is a very difficult task. I see all that as clear as daylight, but, listen, who does not make mistakes?”

For the whole story by Dostoevsky, click here http://www.online-literature.com/dostoevsky/3368/