Last stop: The end of my teens


Plenty of twists and turns are now behind me in the space between the beginning and right here. I’ve reached that milestone, and I think by now it goes without saying.

Our lives aren’t as captivating or provocative as we like to think they are. Not to brush this off by saying we’re ultimately human. Instead, I think the finality of our lives’ content pulls the veil back from a central and sobering reality: We just kind of exist and do things. We fill empty things with what we like, and a lot of people do this so many times over that nothing is truly it’s own distinct substance positioned on any winning side beyond our own invention.

I think when we try to make sense of life, we’re bound to distinguish between experiences accounting for circumstance (cause and effect) and setting. I use “distinguish” in a very precise way; to underscore contrasting elements of substance that certainly went through the wringer, but impact differently depending on who encounters them. Doing this normally leads us to conclude that the individual experience is as close to relative certainty as we can get. And that seems to always be the goal. To continually overcome uncertainty, being necessary to secure some inner peace. Contentment.

Considering life this way, I’m more inclined to accept how little I’ve done up to this point. I’m more at peace with the conclusion of that period and where it left me. At least my shortcomings existed in a sort of vacuum. But while things in the end are meaningless, this doesn’t mean it’s pointless to look for reason in the madness, or to create it. The absence of meaning is probably a reason to create your own.

So, you’ve acknowledged that coherence will never be given to you on a silver platter, and ventured to derive some from your own experience. Here lies the catch. Personal experience isn’t always pleasant, especially when it’s of the existential sort measured in birthdays, changing shape every five to fifteen years.

There aren’t any answers toward the end to expect. Only angry moments of disappointment and frenzy in real time. Bills. Rent. Why you can’t think straight. Your health problems. There is no time whatsoever to pause and investigate. None of these moments work well with each other, they don’t form a larger whole, and no discernible truth has come from the experiments so far. The cycle eats itself. At the end, you’re really just gravitated to live out the hypotheses without method. That I’m told, is a very liberating point in your life. Where uncertainty becomes the exhale of your whole life, and your desires outlast everything (as far as you know.)

To me, this is the sum of existence. Or at least one way of imagining it.

But I’m not at that point of relief, and I can’t just keep reminding myself that I’ll get there someday. You don’t get a break from hunger by the idea of tomorrow’s lunch. So how do you face the reality that 240 months of your millisecond flash in eternity has gone by? Not disappointed by what you have or haven’t done, but unnerved by the simple fact of time passing and what that could mean for future experiences?

Getting off the brief adventure that was my teenage years feels like the last stop on one or two of a series of travels. A final chance for something significant. An urgent and narrow opportunity to grab something before it expires on me. I’ve talked to so many people who recall chaotic teenage years right the middle of a great social hysteria, while my own are spent at home, all year every year. Alone in small towns, isolated and bland. Mortified of the uncertain. It feels like making up for that in my twenties will bend the fence of my character compared to those I’ll associate with going forward. Should I be ashamed of this, or embrace it?

For whatever reason, I think of Trainspotting (1996) Who am I most similar to: Renton, or Spud? How might I reconstruct this point in life?

Resolving this intimate gloom is different for each individual. It depends on the trades you find yourself invested in, the people you bite your lip for, or the words you write that nobody else reads. For some, this is the end for one set of adventures, probably one where nothing was restricted. For me, it’s a curious glance at what I’m willing to go through for a few tranquil moments before my 30s going on 40s, and where to seek refuge afterward.

None of this is to advocate an obvious point of deterioration. We all rot into oblivion at different rates, but every person has a point in time where they shine brightest. I think it’s worth talking about it, always curious if we’re living it now while admiring the brevity of everything we can ever hope to know. Roughly ten years of elapsed time is good enough for me to reflect on, to chart where things are going; if only for the hell of it.

When you carve a statement into prose about yourself, it’s hard to fool anyone. At least, anyone who matters. You can lie and have everyone know it, but you’re always honest to yourself in the moments between thinking and speaking. You’re the only one who has to bare that emotional labor. You might even take comfort in coming back down to earth. One way or another, truth that only comes from the person living the life in question slips through, heard or not.

I endured new ruminations on what is “ultimate” or “final” in the course of all this. Although I’m not drawing up a final testament before my death, I value the graceful closure of one stage of my life and what I see in it looking back. Maybe I’m just afraid of important moments slipping away, even if I know better ones are bound to come along later. Maybe I genuinely like getting lost in memory, telling myself points A, M and V were the best three out of the others. All neatly sorted with the knowledge that I’ll never have these a second time.

I might have an opportunity to hold my present and future selves accountable to one another, while using past excursions and blunders to hold it all together in the hope of doing better. Though I never want one point in my life to hold every proceeding experience to, there is no safety net of contentment better than leaving a trail for the future self back to a trusted place if things go bad.

After scrawling a few different prefaces, I’m giving myself at least one week of time to collect these scraps of thought and synthesize them into streamline prose; giving the illusion of a consistent and clear thought process behind this article’s production.

I’ll just go through some highlights.

Who is right, who can tell and who gives a damn right now?
Until’ the spirit, new sensation takes hold, then you know

I don’t consider thirteen to have been a fruitful first year of my “teens.” While it was probably the peak of my desire to sort and document things, it didn’t resemble much of the road I still travel, nor is it fully relevant for it.

That said, I like to pay it tribute it for a weird scholarly phase when I learned the basic definition of philosophy. The first name I steeped myself in was Kierkegaard. Either/Or specifically, from Books-A-Million with the money I saved up that summer. At the time, I couldn’t hope to really grasp the concepts of Christian existentialism or Angest and interact with them significantly. But I did gain an impression of the fragility of the charted world’s framework, and it’s poor foundation in the surface level of our minds. Søren’s melancholic charm was also something of a treat for my young feelings toward men.

I’d give it two more years before getting somewhere familiar. I had a number of these impressions stored up with a bit of constructive interaction going on between them. It was just enough to give me a sense of real perspective, first emerging in the social and interpersonal spectrum of issues. I picked these up somewhere between Marx, Kropotkin, Tolstoy and Thoreau. It was exciting that these things had more to do with why things were happening now and how the past informs the present, rather than asking questions about “god” and eternity. The shift from existential and speculative, to immediate and foresighted. A slow, personal divorce from sanctity and a gravitation to realistic projects. This played out at different times: Commending Aaron Swartz and his legacy in online organizing, Internet legislation and the “modern web.” Supporting Edward Snowden’s revelations of global NSA surveillance. Advocating for free culture. My energy had more in common with the present than the present forcing itself on me.

It’s interesting when I think about how my social/political energy redirected over three years. I used to have all my passion stored into Internet freedom: The idea that the Internet is the one thing that people should control and be responsible for, not authorities of any kind, state or private. I think that was a good starting point for my overall philosophy, which meant that it would have to grow out of whatever box it started in. It would eventually find itself side-by-side with ideas that critique capitalism, stratification, expectations of conformity and power imbalance on a variety of axes.

At eighteen, this was changing form through the course of politics that year. Shortly after I stopped taking Bernie Sanders and the election seriously, I was changing political labels and buying different leftist and anarchist literature every three months. Internet freedom was soon meshed with a more general perspective of social change.

Now, just replace the Internet and people’s electronic possessions with every part of life. Whether it’s the joys and spoils of material excess, or the most basic necessities of survival, we have to own all of this and interact with it indivisibly, freely and equally, and establish clear habits to make this arrangement the most agreeable reality. It’s not up to any master to enforce their will upon us at the expense of what we love. At least, it isn’t desirable; yet the conversation gets caught up in whether that thing is or isn’t what someone claims it is. As far as I’ve unearthed, people who advocate against this are in an abusive relationship with something not out of the question to be overcome someday by future generations. Generations of people who had to put their lives on hold for the failures of those before them.

Every logic to the contrary offers nothing. Not a better idea, not a more lasting method. It only wants to pull us back into the tired old misery. It tells us the same thing we oppose in a different way. We have to discard things like this and keep answering to ourselves against all odds. Seeing how right and wrong, whether on a scale of “morality”, “practicality” or “efficiency”, is totally fabricated for the benefit of a variety of elites with only their accumulation of power and wealth in mind, it proved to me that life is kind of awful most of the time. After a while, some questions go unanswered for so long that people can’t hold any self-respect ignoring them anymore. They’re compelled to prove that they’re better than that. To do what feels obvious.

So ends my noteworthy evolution in that regard. The most recent development is probably my gravitation toward an anarchism without adjectives, spelled out nicely by Aragorn! and Voline. One that disregards excessively prefiguring a hypothetical future world. Instead, it favors proactive engagement with the present and associations of individuals living out their desires. It values anarchist projects equally for whatever reasons those involved decide on, and whatever methods are necessary for their common interest. But this has more to do with widening or obscuring boundaries than moving beyond something. A pattern I found myself falling in and out with.

Maybe the emotional sphere of my teens hasn’t been as constructive as I’d like in that sense. There is nil to gain from widening those particular boundaries, reducing oneself to one or two jaded emotional gears after seeing too much of everything. As much as the individual’s contrast with life itself is admirable, it’s often painful. My early to mid teens comprised a web of introverted strains that I’m still working to untangle.

Leaving school in my early adolescence was rough. Although I was being spared a long and grueling few years of bullying, I had little in the way of validating my deepest thoughts and feelings. My refuge was in the imaginative assortment of reality that different writers strung together, telling myself “maybe.” I used those as indicators toward the likelihood of a better day, but I didn’t consider that a better day isn’t synonymous with any kind of redemption.

New relationships built on honesty and intimacy conflict with my adjustment to solitude. If I’m not ungrateful, I’m easily weary of the emotional warmth that I need at different points, only to be overwhelmed by them after a few days of their use. While I need the embrace of my partner, the voices of my friends, and my ever-changing interests, I don’t need them to become the same centerpieces of my conscience as melancholy was. Retreating back to scenes from my old neighborhoods at early morning hours, outraged at the vast emptiness of every day, is one way of reminding myself how stagnant, if not worse, things could be.

“Intense” is one of a few words I think succinctly describe having senses and emotions. Intensity makes or breaks. I fully understand the desire to cease interacting with this reality. But I think there are ways we can get by, if only to numb the pain with vague reassurance. For instance, the belief that being hopeful is reasonable is also incredibly difficult. This difficulty is then artfully expressed through a culture, defiantly mad against the absurdity of it all, understanding that doing so is the means toward accumulating reason to illuminate hope. There is self-evident action in these ideals, and questions only answerable by the one asking them.

What I was hopeful for and what I’m presently hopeful for are steps in the unique process of myself, doomed to cycle back to each other without connecting or forming a stable whole. The chaotic pattern I’ve become accustomed to. I fully recognize the anguish on almost stereotypical levels of romantic sentiment, but I don’t see why anyone should exhaust their energy to cover up the simple fact of life being overwhelming and strange.

And in those moments as if we’re seated comfortably on a hill watching the vibrant blaze of social life in all the cities and towns on earth, we look for a few simple words to decorate the obvious. But why spoil those moments? I’d rather say what I would if given the full opportunity to elaborate on a few scenes from these last ten years. To attach my own reason to a couple glimpses back that meant something to me.

It’s time to go ’round
A one man showdown
Teach us how to fail

For the foreseeable journey, all of my genuinely creative energy is invested in this medium, which specifically entails the pattern of tone one would expect from an author’s usual spiel. I feel like I should consciously tend to that or let the tyranny of legacy set the standard for me. The common themes that fall into place are the first things people read on an author’s wikipedia page; their appraisals, and the verdict of public opinion. It’s the checklist of things likely to be twisted or exaggerated about me. That’s a crucial point of communication left out of my control, if I allow it.

I consider much of this to be necessarily detached from the intimate experiences and influences of the author. The basis of criticism is pointing out and stressing the divide between one perspective and another, always highlighting impression instead of deeper intention, which can only be assumed. This isn’t to say all criticism is faulty because it lacks that insight, but it could probably do well for itself to acknowledge this. Adapt, maybe.

How to actually steer a medium is hard to visualize. I guess it depends on what I’m interested in burning energy over. This particular set of paragraphs and epigraphs isn’t guaranteed to stick the landing and I don’t care. Getting to the destination I set out on is my prime concern. Getting there gracefully is always someone else’s concern. Looking at what I want out of all this, the sacrifices I haven’t made and won’t make, I should preface any attention I get with a disclaimer of impulse: I write the bare minimum notes and do the least possible outlining before steeping in the intricacies of what I want to relay. Only after I judged it in my best creative interest do I go back to overly producing a frame for my prose.

Unless my active project isn’t sorting my personal thoughts, I don’t feel the urge to be scientific about this. I consider it a “moral” duty to transgress as much of the bourgeois how to be a successful writer culture as possible. If I must brave this swirling concrete void, soaking up our decomposing dreams in the humidity, I only ask that my words are laminated before being swallowed by the ocean.

So I prefer to separate that noise from “writing.” I think “medium” is akin to a vessel that makes ideas more engaging and open to scrutiny, while “writing” refers to free acts in the form of text: A few pages of monologue. Two verses scrawled on a napkin. Graffiti lamenting industrial society. With or without attribution, every act of writing is a willful blow to an imposed social fabric (sometimes woven by highly formal mediums), with every pause giving time for new parts to be developed and applied.

Does it follow that mediums lack the spontaneous energy of writing? Probably not, if you build one out of what inspirations come naturally and immediately. Fixing the same revised narratives to a publishing or marketing scheme is just another thing to be avoided when pursuing impression while making a clear case for intention. Most of us are aware of publications (especially with the expanded partner program) that invest excessive creative effort in aesthetic, leavened with trademark micromanaging analysis on culture that hardly makes a case for anything beside completing the look.

The question is not if mediums make us less sincere, or if writing has to take on an insurrectionist vibe for us to have it at its most raw. The question is how the author relates the sum of their work to an overarching profile or aesthetic, and how to change it to fit, if at all. We should ask if we’re actually reading someone’s words, or just admiring the medium.

I prefer to make the medium’s aesthetic from what one might contrast it with, simply because it wouldn’t feel like my own craftsmanship otherwise.

Whatever helps you get by.

I guess I should incorporate the setting I work and live in. There are separate ventures from my personal medium based on such willful acts of writing. Local newspapers and the handful of college zines. While their range is limited, I think that’s exactly what a consciously written medium deserves. A small and manageable project, if only for a short time. At least it could be an opportunity to critique workshops, prepare notes on how to collaborate better and open to participants.

Probably half of writing is just listening to yourself talk or think. Getting familiar with how you think and what habits to exploit. Highlighting a few keywords when brainstorming, slowly building an idea for something. But this process enters new and difficult realms when it’s time to translate to a structure. Align the scattered thoughts into something you can read back to the point of origin. There’s always disappointment in what you read, which is the function of ourselves being our worst critics. This is where it becomes a tightrope.

One might lack a coherent stream of thought. It might be the wrong weather. One’s access to helpful substances might be broken. This is where we get irritable and it becomes paramount to find the right order of words, if only to be rid of the stress.

There have been grueling nights at the looming hours of my own deadline where I’m sitting over my fourth cup of coffee at 3 am working on another draft, hating every word I put into it, nauseated over every paragraph. Why do I do this!? Persisting is the only thing that feels right, making little investment in mental breathing room. I am the pawn of my medium, but only because the landscape uncovered by continually reshaping my writing is one of the most enticing and urgent self-realizations I ever experienced.

Dadda and surrealism were probably manifestations of surrendering to this impossibility, handing control over to anguish. Not expression as science or pulpit, but as a scream or plea.

Bukowski gave his own advice, now beat to death by creative writing students.

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.

I think the safest and most appropriate bet is to work on something according to how much you want out of it. Blogging removed the publishing mechanics of a book from the author’s concern, so people now have a much wider range of options than what he had. A more potent sense of constructive rage is probably to blame, common with “not getting published” during his time, which is now “not getting read.” Still, the basic idea remains.

unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.

I don’t plan to formally publish a book: I’m going to stitch things together as I see fit and throw it at people’s heads for free whenever I can. That said, I’m not opposed to tip jars. Consistent sources of income aren’t as immediate and manipulable as writing, so I think both will be happening simultaneously. Some writers think we should survive on this, but at what cost can this be promised?

Adopting the identity of a writer is an angle (if not a reach) into some intricate sliver of life, either presented by a medium or inserted through writing.

I’m not going to suddenly do more worthwhile things or make smarter choices in my second decade of life, and taking this opportunity to carve out a fragment of a memoir isn’t going to do much beyond leaving a personal record. I feel compelled to do so because the subject exists in the same environment as the creative process. A particularly useful reach into how to make sense of it and leave behind some documentation. When I find myself in the middle of the next leap for the anarchist movement, shift in society or in myself, I’ll consider the opportunity and act on my own terms.

I don’t feel like I need to be compensated, because the part we each play in all of this is a reward in of itself.

We’re off the streets now
And back on the road
On the riot trail

There’s a basic idea underlying most of what I create. I like to think we can imagine that idea in basic terms, knowing it won’t be perfect. That idea is that none of this should have to be complicated.

Every day we could wake up and physically build on our desires, discover new ones, share in the necessary labor for what a group of people agree to maintaining, and find the wherewithal to point out and remove the gunk from life. Sadly, people had to ask if this is idealistic or sensible, falling into the trap.

The more we interact with a toxic web of displeasure and confusion, the more we become the thing we hate: We get into situations where complexity is mandatory, the only thing that space is made for. We meet complication with more of it, playing into it’s own game and recreating the nutrients for social, emotional and existential disarray. We build brick walls around ourselves and keep building higher to try to escape.

Ultimately, nothing is secured in place by our own diluted sanctity. Everything is recycled around the impersonal changing nature of social stratification. But in the moments before that, we can get better at consciously disassociating from its ideals and patters of social organization to make way for our own worlds, becoming more and more familiar with how to overcome.

The prospect of overturning the nightmare is endearing. Perhaps a little more hopeful than I’m comfortable with, but a worthwhile standard to act on. But in the meantime, the suffering and limitations imposed on us inspire more ways to attack. We’re continually inclined to overcome, which seems like a fact of this world being unsustainable on all fronts.

Living a life is more akin to a radiating, shifting mass of energy than a hopeless journey of submission on a straight line of time mapped onto a hollow notion of “progress.” If we enable individual actualization over the blank frame of reality, we can outlast imprisonment in all its forms.

Until then, we’re all basically slowdancing with reality, awkwardly grinning at the horrors staring back at us, catching a few brief glimpses of something interesting in the background, until the music stops and the lights go out.

We all just want to surpass the constantly current mode of “average.” I’m glad to be moving in some direction with people doing the same in their own unique ways.

Twenty years. Huh.

To erase everything from the slate from one day to the next, to be new with each morning, in a perpetual revival of our emotional virginity this, and only this, is worth being or having, to be or have what we imperfectly are.

Last stop: The end of my teens

Content’s Phenomenon

Its quite remarkable to see the planning phase, the execution and the reflections or footnotes afterward in the course of creating any type of content. If we lay all these out in one straight line, we can read an entire month’s or decade’s time of work as a single sentence, and take a shortcut through a huge part of following a creator. This is slightly like memory as well, when we consider ourselves 365 days previous to where we are now; how much we’ve learned and grown in that time, and how those all made us the person right now. Perfectly listing all the differences that emerged in that course of time would probably leave one dumbfounded. Studying this in media certainly will, when we replace the constraints of time with the vastness of mediums, and the person in question with the odd and manifold forms of thought

The creator often never has a perfect idea mapped out, even when a synopsis and several drafts are done. All the notes implemented and weird little bursts of “Damn, thats a good line!” included. Putting it all in a main draft and piecing things together is still just winging it, all things considered. This is why a lot of times the final piece is very different from the original concept, and even after that there are leftover tidbits to add in interviews or comments on one’s own work when its become known to a group or shared the world over. The understanding that the source is ambiguous about the core and the insightful ridges of the work leaves a lot of questions open about its meaning and flexibility. To think that the one who created that great movie or wrote that long, epic story is vulnerable to any degree makes the observers feel as though they have an equal amount of power in determining the direction of the content. It also supports the notion that a story conveys itself by its various perception than by its solid form.

Film and books experience this phenomenon way too often. So often in fact that it ought to be incorporated into that sector of expression altogether. “When I wrote [so and so] I had the intention of conveying X, but ended up seeing the deeper meaning being Y when I looked at how people were reacting to it.”, “The film took on a totally different meaning when it reached the audience.” and so on.

The way life lessons collide with us in a sudden and resonating way have become a similar unspoken trait of creativity. The work doesn’t seem to end until the viewer has a long, introspective moment to assess what was just absorbed, as with the author when the instruments of creation are put away. The work, however complex, is perhaps only the vehicle for getting the viewer as close as possible to the intended message, than for one to follow through objectively.

My modest thought experiment is this: Lets assume a writer has a concept for a book — but he wants to explore the deeper themes of the work in a published assessment of real instances of that thing. Having taken the essay into consideration, basing most or all of the book on that, the larger body incorporates the findings of that publication and perhaps expands on it when the author has time to step back and examine it under a different light. The book is complete and when its reception blows over, the author recounts what went into making that and notes the interesting values learned upon second, and now, third, glance. With all these three steps: The initial essay, The story based on the essay’s concept, and the remarks encompassing the two previous steps, is it wrong to say that the third step is the most pure and complete instance of that whole cycle of ideas? We can arrive not only at three, but at five or ninety or five-hundred instances of that third step after so many of the first two have been done — constant expansions and developments that take us someplace else after each other. Of course, after a while this would be cumbersome and annoying to keep up with, but nevertheless its still a form of filtering out the abstractions and getting to the purest batch of that idea. Ringing it dry.

The when its all said and done effect seems to be what trails off of finished work, being the spore that plants the natural continuation, or at least the afterthought, of media. This isn’t so unrealistic on the surface when we consider the reverse of Symbolic Self-Completion, e.g., doing less, or at least not enough, and being left with more to add.

I suppose its safe to say we’ve found an exploit for media; until, perhaps, we invert the phenomenon I proposed and not-self-completion, and we end up just making another mess. I guess time will tell if we get this one right.

Content’s Phenomenon

Self-Importance in the Expressive Realm

The modern age affords every person in the developed world the remarkable ease of living and doing things. We arrived at a point where the standards of easy and hard have shifted dramatically compared to past social periods. Hard became something along the lines of getting a book recognized independently (as opposed to firstly needing the right to free expression) or getting customers to your new coffeshop on Second and Main (as opposed to being extorted by the local mob upon opening), whereas easy is now getting these things done through crowdfunding or advertising from the Internet at home in less than an hour. Thats roughly a 100 year gap between the standards of what could be done with serious ambition and effort and what can now be done with technology at your disposal. Not very long when you think about it.

On our end of the line, when the Internet exploded, we applied this to communication. Forums, Blogs and eventually social media and the whole culmination of Web 2.0 emerged from the machine. We eagerly grasped it as a normal medium in our circulation within a few short years, and we ended up with insane amounts of communities, exchanges of ideas, and information and reporting became an instant standard. Knowing me, I could go on.

This became apparent in activism as well — namely Chanology and Occupy. People got messages across worldwide and connected with media outlets in correlation with the massive access to expressive tools. It became impossible for corruption to simply hide in the shadows without it being leaked and beamed off one Twitter account or report to another. People jumped aboard all of this while it was new and sunk into their corner of the appropriate public discourse, people like Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky: Acting and speaking first, and dealing with their image and biography later, circa 1999 – 2010.

Bringing it all up to now and maybe the last three or four years, we see a different course in emerging personalities taking place, most likely a consequence of the immense ease of getting things out. People, especially young ones, investing more in making the qualities of their personality and aspirations the formost bold points in the first-impression portion of outlets and communities, rather than focusing that energy into actually doing things or what they’re capable of.

Understandably, many will overlook this aspect as people simply being enthusiastic in what they do: Perhaps they just want this information up front so people know what they’re about. And thats completely fine, but the problematic area is outlined when we see this being a bigger trend on its own. It became increasingly obvious that its a matter of some people looking to fit into a mold before having a genuine interest in something, or at least a partial one. The scourge of “Lol yeah I’m a total nerd” that the technical crowd endured when CBS’s The Big Bang Theory became a thing was an early example, one that people could sniff out and cringe at in a moment’s notice.

Or maybe people are simply far more self-important, rather than it being mere feigning. Perhaps legitimate content-creators and people in certain positions are just more likely to be obnoxious fucks.

Either way, understanding and inferring on the origin of these attitudes is something I think is key in making critical points on why creativity and originality seems to be fleeting, among other things.

In basic terms, [some] young people grasp onto something like activism, publishing, programming, etc. — mainly things which allow a division for oneself — and either commit a good deal of energy to expressing how they feel within that group, or simply use what they’ve grasped onto as a platform for personal expression. The underlying theme is a sense of mild ego that overlaps the purpose of what they do just enough to produce a sense of revulsion.

Where this comes from might be of a few simple factors. The most obvious one to me, as touched on earlier, is the way information and platforms are so accessible. How people can join onto something, start saying anything and make themselves appear how they want. But thats more of a means than an initial influence, which can’t be totally pinned down. But what I can speculate (and potentially be called an asshole for suggesting so) is that its a desire to find anything that one can mold into and use as a foundation for who they are. It isn’t something malicious or tragic so much as its something people should recognize and learn to tone down for the sake of the responsibilities they burden themselves with.

My generation obviously has an ingrained want of belonging and communion, something reasonable and good for the advancement of cultures and social experimentation. But in the case where it blurs out the legitimate work of communities they join, that has to stop if we want to see a balance of things being done and people expressing themselves.

Lets be clear that we shouldn’t doubt the legitimacy of someone because of their personality, since what they do is what counts. But when what they mostly do is interject their biases or personal motives, its a real problem.

Nor should we curtail enabling the level of exchange and speech that we have today. Expression, discussion, information-sharing and the means of making these things more common are gifts and should be protected and expanded, no doubt at all. What balances everything out is recognizing the potential power of your access to the world sitting at your desk before you make everything about yourself picture-perfect and end up wasting that potential. Do something new and great, and then worry about getting people gravitated to you.

Self-Importance in the Expressive Realm

Doing Good things among Better things

There’s a kind of sour feeling among productive and creative people which plants its seeds where they mingle with others in their field and the work they come up with. Around this sort of environment, people see and compare what they’ve done and the differences between the works; what embellishes them and defines them deeper or broader than others, what works better or is just more popular. We can see this sort of environment in programming communities, news outlets and confederations of writers, artists and so on. Basically any group or community that houses a medium which members collaborate and build around can see this happen, its something quite ancient and common to us. We see this play out in movies and stories, sometimes a character being the victim of this sour feeling becoming the antagonist, and a moral served up about this subject at the end of the story. To put it simply, it’s the feeling of trying your best but not meeting goals or expectations, or failing to outdo those of others.

This feeling, this discouragement brought on by seeing oneself as the lesser or undeserving part of something, is quite a tragedy for many people. It’s stunted passions and careers, caused discord in attribution to creative works, and — from my experience — caused depression, anxiety and sometimes a loss of interest in something. But while this feeling utterly sucks, and can be bad for us, coping with it is the key. We should realize that we can look at this as a driving instinct to push onward no matter the conditions of what we work in. On one hand, for those willing, its their mental instructor pushing them and not allowing them to quit. It seems synonymous with the approach that there are no limits to anything and to continually expand that concept by moving past what limits other people have set up.

But on the other, for those who either don’t have the capacity or want to move on, it’s a sign of the slow end of that particular road they’re moving forward on. It doesn’t necessarily mean to be the end of that passion or that career, but rather the end of a specific endeavour within that passion. So for example, accepting that the article you wrote on NASA’s discovery of flowing water on Mars wasn’t as good as what Miriam at Mashable wrote, doesn’t mean accepting that your passion in the field of journalism is now finished.

It’s about either pushing forward and doing your best, or accepting where you are or where you’ve been — not giving up or being finished entirely. Somehow I think that some people enjoy being a step below others as a form of modesty and simplicity in what they do. To not take on a major role or to conquer much, but to do and create small, good things and be satisfied with the outcome. Some would think that everyone will gravitate only to the best creations and contributions, but that will only be the case if everyone is discussing one sector of doings and not the fullest span of the subject. If we devote an entire discussion to Picasso’s paintings, of course we are going to only talk about what he has done. But talking about the whole of painting will be more likely to include other painters as well, and this conversation would probably include modest painters among the bold ones.

I think with these things in mind, understanding when to move forward or draw back, and remain in a position where you’re satisfied, we can make this instinct a healthy part of our productive lives. No matter what you’re doing or the quality of your work, you’re still contributing and making something worth absorbing, and thats what matters.

Doing Good things among Better things