the way it is

27 12 2008

i hate to begin by saying i hate something.  but i do.  so i must.  i hate that people believe that saying “well, that’s just the way it is,” is the effective end of a conversation, as if the truth of the statement transcends any possible further examination or argument.  people seem to truly believe in the infallibility of the “way it is” and act as though it’s the Berlin wall being patrolled by the tyrannosaurus rexes, the SS, and thousands of evil Jedis.  what about thinking about why it is the way it is?

my biggest problem with it is the confoundingly smug manner in which this statement admits defeat… and those who stand on the sentiment couldn’t be less aware of it.  to wit:  you’re saying that you’re recognizing whatever concept you’re discussing as being reality, but you’re implying that you don’t believe it’s they way it should be, and worse, that you accept it.  if you’re the kind of person who accepts something they don’t believe is right, then you’re the kind of person who believes in the way it is.

which is an excuse.  why do we use excuses?  to excuse ourselves or someone/thing else from responsibility.  to free ourselves/otherselves from feeling at fault for not making sure that something desirable happened, or that something undesirable didn’t happen.  but if you’re going to go to all the trouble of rationalizing any perceived failure, you may as well go ahead and have a second look to see how rational it really is anyway.

i’m well aware that if your municipality doesn’t offer recycling service, it’s a pain in the ass to separate your recyclables and take the refuse to a recycling center however often it’s needed.  but don’t complain that your municipality doesn’t offer service.  it’s the way that it is–true enough. but that’s no excuse. what you’re really saying is that you are aware that you have things to recycle, and even feel that it’s a worthwhile endeavor, but the obstacles presented overcome your will to make it happen.  i think the second part of this realization, while implicit, is often overlooked even though helps to offer a little insight into the impeccability of your life.

it’s an issue of motivation at its heart.  the fact that one laments not “being able” to do something proves that they know it’s the “right” thing to do.  that they don’t do it is just a fact.  that they let themselves off the hook at such a flimsy explanation is a hole in their character.  does that sound dramatic?

when i’m at my mother’s house, as i now am for the holidays, i don’t collect her recyclables and take them to the recyclery.  i have traditionally excused myself because it’s a pain in the ass.  how much of a pain in the ass?  i’d be basically spending time i use otherwise to overeat and dick around on the computer, or watch television and play a video game (pinball lately).  so it’s probably a small thing in the grand scheme, but refusing to do what i believe is right and filling that time with activities i knew aren’t constructive or positive exposes me for what i am.

now, i have to be exposed for what i am while i’m on the path to being who i wish to be, so i don’t mind such revelations.  i also know better than to think myself awful for every lazy moment–we’re all entitled.  but to feel as strong and as good as you can feel, i know that you have to live as impeccably as your mind knows you should, and i know that each flaw that i leave unpatched is a hole in my character, as it would be for anyone.  you have to look your excuse in the eye and, most likely, find that it’s not a worthy excuse and that you must act differently in order to put that issue to rest.

as much discipline as it takes to handle personal inconsistencies such as these, and they are important to handle, it’s all the more difficult to deal with relations to the rest of the world.  or, as i like to call it, capital R reality.

a common problem loop i find myself in is the culture/role debacle.  i have this argument with some people who want to know what i’m planning to do to support myself now that i’ve been intentionally jobless for almost 6 months.  i have no idea.  i tell them so.  i tell them that i have a hard time seeing myself being happy as part of the system.  i used to say that i was satisfied working for the dental school because nothing i did brought harm to our environment or to other people, but i couldn’t stop thinking about my other role as consumer.  the food, the electronics, the clothes, the furniture, and anything else i bought all carried the mark of unfair business practices, exploitation, and environmental destruction.  i didn’t know how to handle it.  so i quit and started really thinking about a proper reintegration. and i don’t have my answers yet.  i know that i can live happily with basically none of the physical trappings of my previous life, but that i also really get a lot from some of those trappings.  like this computer.  even still, i could live in what wouldn’t be considered poverty to billions of people around the world and could feel much better about myself.  i guess that would be patching one of the big holes in my character–to live well on little.  a minimum wage joe who lives reasonably and harms as little as he possibly can.

and the person i’m speaking with says “well, if that’s what you want, then do it,” usually with a little disbelief or pity in their voice.  except, i have to tell them, that then i’m an indentured servant to a horribly run and decidedly exploitive economical structure that’s finally on the verge of collapsing under its own greedy manipulations.  i’m helping the people who have control and are using it to intentionally (it seems) careen billions of people toward devastation, when what i really want is to have everyone see that our financial system is a scam and hope that we’ll figure out some sort of meaningful and pragmatic revolt–like walking out of cities and jobs and gettin’ real agrarian, man.  and whomever i’m speaking with will say, “well, that’s not going to happen.  you have to get a job.  that’s just the way it is.”

it is?  it still sounds like an excuse to me.  i guess i’m still undecided because of how difficult it is to look this excuse in the eye, or worse–to act in an impeccable manner so put the issue to rest.  that doesn’t mean that i–or anyone else–doesn’t know what’s right for them even though we claim to be excused due to circumstances or undecided because of difficulties.  i categorically roll my eyes at all of us.

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