Thursday, November 13, 2008

Depressive Rant: Killing Time


That’s all any of us are doing, just killing time. I don’t want to come off sounding like some whining Goth writing bad prose. There’s no romanticism or allure of the concept, just a logical inevitability which cannot be denied.

We come into this world and exist in a state of preparation for 18 some odd years or more. During that time our care, environment, and needs are seen to and carefully managed by parents or guardians. Two things can arise during this time as a result of this state of affairs. We can resent being controlled and rebel against this sense of helplessness. This may be demonstrated by petty illegal behavior, breaking rules, acting out in school or at home, underage drug, alcohol, and tobacco use, etc. This is a senseless defiance of those who we see as the controlling powers and very childish. The other thing which can happen is that we accept the situation for what it is and use that inherent support structure to focus on achieving some sort of goal. In a society as money driven as ours, this goal is typically obtaining some high paying vocation.

At the ends of the period of care the young adult is free to set out into the world and do as he wishes. Before I continue let me pose to you a question. Of those two types of individual described, which do you think will have an easier time of things? The prepared and focused goal-seeker, or the rebel?

If you said the goal-seeker, you’d be wrong. It’s all down to a matter of acclimatization. The rebel has not specific goal or intent and is thus able to adapt to his situation as circumstances change. What’s more, his yearnings for freedom as a child are now realized. The goal-seeker on the other hand is unable to change his plans and cope to changing situations, so hung up on his dreams, hopes, wishes, etc. He sees the myriad freedoms, activities, and ways of life open to him as distractions. The oak stands firm against the gale winds of the storm. The supple willow instead bends before the wind. Eventually the oak will shatter before the force of the wind, but the willow will only ever sway.

Let us also look at the futility of goals. Please do not misunderstand me by thinking they are unattainable, that’s not the case. I’m saying that although goals may be achieved, they are ultimately worthless. Take me for example. As a boy I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to pen stories and publish books. I was told that I would make no money doing this, though I was never technically told not to.

Today I am a writer. Though I make a decent, steady income, I’m no happier or fulfilled than I ever was. I’ve been successfully published several times, though have not yet been able to write a full length book. This is principally because I have no understanding of human nature. As a result I am completely unable to write decent dialogue or banter between characters. This has slowed my attempts to flesh out and complete my full length novels considerably, though not deterred me from trying. I suppose I could say that my day to day work leaves me with no time to devote to those long term projects, which is largely true. Though I suspect I would just make up another excuse for myself if I had all the time in the world.

A goal is nothing more than an arbitrary personal milestone. Having achieved it changes nothing save that you get to ask yourself: What now? I became a writer and looked around. I was still me (more’s the pity), the world was still the same. So what was the point in all that hassle then? It’s nothing more than a futile attempt to give our lives meaning. Save yourself the trouble, accept that life has no meaning and don’t bother. After all, it’s just a way to kill time.

Now let us look at the rebel’s way of life, my own brother being a perfect case in point. He lives with his girlfriend in their own apartment. They have lots of friends and, despite the fact they are dirt poor, are fairly happy. If you ever met him, you would wonder if he had the mental capacity to complete a sentence. He’s not dumb per se, just got his head so high in the clouds it’s a wonder his feet touch the ground. He had no plan, no goals, and no aspirations. He burnt through his entire college savings fund in less than a month on parties and friends, who subsequently ditched him when he ran out of money. Somehow he always lands on his feet through and enjoys meandering through life. This is because that without goals, he keeps himself open to any opportunities that come his way, rather than dismissing them as irrelevant. While he enjoys the way that the journey takes him, I look forward to its conclusion with increasing impatience, though both of us are under no illusions to the fact that what we do on this earth is ultimately meaningless and fleeting.

1 comment:

Christa said...

I do not believe life on earth to be meaningless. I believe we have the purpose and privilege of glorifying God.

I would agree that gaols are a form of personal milestones, but they are also a way of not floating. I would be miserable if I had no direction to go. I flew the nest at seventeen...fully ready to be on my own. Goals help me to remember my purpose; and while, the whole world is not going to change just because I reach a goal or fulfill a dream, I am successful if I am faithful.

To set goals is not meaningless...unless it is only to kill time.

P.S. I like rants. They often tell the truth clearly and concisely, while giving one much to think on!