June 23rd, 2003
Sometimes, I start thinking about very dangerous things. Like I did today, while I was waiting for my car service, I started pondering "why the world is the way it is."
So much of... well... society seems so arbitrary. Why do we drink milk from a cow, instead of a goat? Why do we buy beef in the supermarket instead of deer? Why is garlic popular, but I've never heard of ramps outside of West Virginia? It all seems so arbitrary now.
Historically, it was always a matter of what's available. Meat? What animals naturally live in the area. Vegetables? What naturally grows in the area. But now that we have agriculture and the ability to grow vegetables year-round... why is the American standard what it is? Which could be generalized into a question on why any area has their selections.
And it goes beyond food to drugs. Why do we foist caffeine on children? (Heck, Coca-cola originally had trace amounts of cocaine in it when it was first sold at soda fountains in drug stores!) Why is tobacco smoking common, but I'd never heard about cloves until just a few months ago, and cannabis is illegal? Why is drinking alcoholic beverages okay when you're 21 but not when you're 20?
It all just seems so arbitrary, and I want to just shout at the world to stop being so arbitrary. Make sense, world, damn you!
Why do we work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week? Why do we have 7 days in a week, anyway? Why not 14? Why mess with weeks at all, when we have lunar months? Why do we have 12 calendar months but 13 lunar months? Why do people rarely talk about lunar months and the more natural time systems? Why do we divide the day into 24 hours? Arbitrary, at least to me. Why not 360 marks in a day?
It all just seems to be rules other people have put down. Go to school until you're 18. Why 18? Why not 16? 24? So many kids in West Virginia drop out at 16 anyway and just go to work, logging or coal mining or who knows what else.
Bachelor's degree in college? Master's? Doctorate? Multiple doctorates? How much formal education do we need? Some days I feel that I'm more technically skilled (and a better designer) with my Bachelor's degree than some people who I have worked with who had Master's degrees. There's so much that's just the person, that's hard for a university to train someone to do. An intuitive nature in programming, something that's not entirely scientific but instead creative.
You can train people to do something, but there are people who just take to the field as well. Normally, the people who take to the field perform much better than those who are just trained. At least in my observation.
So who's made to be a politician? Seems like we put the wrong people in charge; the politicians are looking out for the wrong people, or so it seems. Why is it so hard for these people to realize the crap information they're being fed? Why do people have such a hard time seeing the parallels in history? Do politicians not understand the real concept behind "you must learn from history or you will repeat it." ("Again. Next year. In my class!" continues the professor :^)
Prohibition of alcohol didn't work. Just as prohibition of all sorts of other drugs today doesn't work. Especially when many of the drugs have very minor risk compared to the drugs that are outright legal.
At some point, you have to tell people to be smart, but let them be stupid and kill themselves. Natural selection. Eventually we'll either learn how to teach people better, or any genetic variations that cause tendencies to do stupid things will be removed. Natural selection marches on.
That's a terrible thing to say, but at some point... freedom requires it, as long as you aren't hurting anyone else. Of course... you're always hurting someone. Your parents. Your friends. Your loved ones. No matter how not-hurting the activity may be, you might hurt someone. And we all have to look out for that.
Take the last coke from the fridge? Roomie may be unhappy. Forgot to take the trash out? The cat's gonna be mad at you. Stealing cable? Mom wouldn't be happy with you.
Sometimes I feel that I don't have enough push to change anything in the world. Sometimes I think that I can change the world. Or at least myself.
I think everyone dreams that they are the center of the universe, in some form. That the world is designed for their exploration, and that the goal is to discover the truth. And I think everyone gets that opportunity in life.
I think the world wants to be "found out." There's an ultimate truth out there, waiting for us. We might smack ourselves when we find out what that truth is, for it being so simple; or we might just sit there and puzzle some more, for it being so complex. Maybe Hitchhiker's Guide had it right... maybe the answer will be simple, but the question will be hard and we won't understand our answer.
And I'm left wondering... what do I want in life? Being able to provide for someone... I saw it growing up, as my dad provided for my family; and I do it now, for Dee. Being able to give her what she wants, which I didn't see my dad do for my mom, my sister, or me... that makes me happy.
I have to learn to not take control of the situation, through. I was sorta bad about that while we were setting her computer up. She was trying to do something that I thought was wrong, and I just wanted to tell her what to do; I resisted. I confessed to Dee. I think she understood; maybe she's a bit like that too.
I like giving things to other people as well; providing drinks, snacks, birthday gifts, treating to dinner. I worry about feeling that I'm rubbing noses in my success; in a way, it is a bit of that, giving is a way of showing my monetary success. I feel at times I need to push less but give more; I have to trust that people will let me know how I can contribute.
Trust. Nothing in our nature seems to be naturally connecting to trust. Trust seems to be something higher, not really a natural thing per se and much as... a developed thing. Maybe that's something that separates people and animals... some animals have trust as well, I think; cats and dogs seem to trust people (at least some people). Maybe we're not as different from our pets as we might have thought?
I don't know that I've ever really trusted that many people. It's not something that comes easily. I think that I've got the largest sum of "trust" going out that I've ever had. There's still more trust I want to develop though; I second-guess too many things, even if I second-guess less now than I did a month or two ago.
At one time, I thought I wanted to try everything right now. Today... I'm more happy to stick to what I know and move more slowly. I've probably made too many missteps simply for going through things too fast.
The world seems to go too fast anyway. And I feel that I'm running behind schedule, doing things too late in life. I know that it's just a byproduct of being in this frame of mind, trying to not take it too seriously. I want to catch up; I know that people aren't going to wait for that. Life goes on, no matter what I might want.
It's odd... being older than those who are leading you in new experiences. At some point I'd have to go through this professionally. It's how things tend to work; or at least how I've expected them to work.
Not that the world works the way I expect it too. Sometimes, I really would like to go to the supermarket and get some venison and ramps.
Current Mood: contemplative