Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Horror and the Glory and a bunch of other stuff

So I'm tired, crazy and quite the bum but being the great and glorious Rand I feel it is my duty to spread my thoughts, feelings and ideas throughout this wonderful world of ours and because of that I return once more to this forum. I'm not really sure what I want to write about, but I must continue writing, because otherwise this project of mine will most likely die, then it will come back to life and return to haunt me, most likely in a metaphorical sense, but there is always that small chance it could come back as a ghoul and I'm out of ghoul killing dust. So once more Rand rides again!

I read today about the idea that a mySpace page is an expression of narcassism, and I have to wonder if that is my case. Well, I can't say out and out I'm narcassistic, sure I might repeat the fact that I am great and glorious again and again, but that's just part of the job. Personally I deal with tons of self-loathing, though there are periods where I have feelings of utter grandeur, but perhaps that's not relevant when thinking about narcassism. Am I self-centered? Well, I do tend to stay in my head a lot, and much of my time is spent dealing with my problems, given that I do have legitimate problems this might be justifiable, but yes, a lot of my time is spent on me. But is that what it means to be self-centered? Let's look at it from this angle, am I running my life for my own pleasure? No. Ultimately, I like to think my life is devouted to God and doing his will. And due to my personality and my love of people (not necessarily though a love of being in crowds or something like that though), I believe the best way to do that is to help people through my writing, through charity, and through influencing the world's intellectual, cultural, and political currents, or something along those lines. This blog (I shudder whenever I use that word) is a small part of these ambitions (and yes aiming to change the world does give me pleasure, because it does work with my fundemental ambitious nature, however, I think there's nothing wrong with wanting to do something that makes you happy or at least something you want to do, in fact, we all should be doing what we want to do, but we should be doing what we want to do in a way that serves God, or if you're not a believer, than something that advances the ideal of goodness (I don't want to say greater good, because I'm not talking about utilitarianism where you try to increase overall happiness, I more mean working to promote ideals you dub good in a way that obeys those ideas)), it is not an online journal, it is exibitionism, well, maybe it is a little bit of both of those, but mostly it is a way to write and spread my writings. I should also say that I think the act of writing itself serves God and advances the ideal of goodness, but I also like the fact that this is being given to the greater world, and I think over all this body of work is something of quality, and when something of quality is exposed to the greater world, again that is serving God and advancing the ideal of goodness.

So is it simple narcassism that drives me to make this blog? No. Am I narcassistic? That is a more complex question. You'd have to take in the whole of my personality, including elements which I only have a vague or illusionary grasp on. And then we must face the question is narcassism bad? Here we'd have to face definitions of narcassism and then definitions of the components of the definitions. But I like to think my life is devouted to something greater than myself, and if that is the opposite of narcassism, and depending on your definitions it may or may not be, then there you go.

Many times though I still wonder, am I doing enough? Not as much as I want to. I still don't have the power to change the world and I haven't been putting enough effort into getting that power, I haven't been putting enough effort into publishing more of my writings, and I'm not doing as much as I want to help people in general. So yes I can just try harder on the first two, but third one is the tricky one. What more can I and should I do to help people? Should I be a better friend to my friends? Yes, that's an easy one, well probably, the thing is social interaction is strenuous for me, so, but the answer still is yes. Should I do more volunteer activities? Here we come to an issue that is reaching a head right now in my life. Early in the semester I volunteered to help out with the Rutgers Readers (a fine organization, let me assure you, basically we help out and supervise kids (1-3rd graders I believe (maybe some Kindergarden kids, I can't remember)) in an afterschool program where they do their homework and then play around) and I went to one session. It went well. I was a little uncertain about some things, but overall the whole thing went very well. I helped the kids with their work and played around with them, and so the mission was accomplished, but there's a but. The next week they had President's Day off so there was nothing (Rutgers Readers go once a week, and I went on a Monday), the week after though... Well I chickened out is the short of it. The long of it is that that day was a pretty bad day for me over all. So there's one unexcused abscence (we're only supposed to have two with three abscences all together). The next week, I chicked out again, and this time, although the day was somewhat bad, it wasn't that bad. And I think (I could have my days wrong here), that brings me to this week. Given the fact that I will miss a week in April (although the program might have ended for the semester by then), I really should go to it this week. But I'm not sure if I will.

The thing about me is the idea of being there, with all those kids depending on me, surrounding me, watching me, well it is pretty terrifying for me. During the actual experience I'm hit by generally only a vague discomfort, with perhaps some points of sharp discomfort, but thinking about going, well, it's very annoying. On the other hand, the experience is also nice, since I do enjoy playing around with kids. So I have to decide, should I write an email resigning from the Rutgers Readers or should I continue, pushing myself to attend despite my discomfort? Yet I have to wonder why am I doing this? Do I want to help these kids? Yes. These kids in particular? Well, I did get to meet a couple when I went there (although I've probably forgotten all their names which will make our next meeting, if it happens, all the more ackward), but overall not really. So am I invested in this activity in particular? Not especially. So why don't I quit?

Beyond the fact that I made a commitment (I don't think that fact is that important since it's not like people were actually depending on me, it just would have been nice if I helped out), there's also the fact that any other volunteer activity where I'd work with crowds of people would likely be roughly similiar. Maybe uncomfortable in different ways, maybe nice in different ways, but the fundemental social anxiety remains. So do I need to do this type of volunteering? Well, as it is I'm not doing much public service, which maybe isn't a big thing. I mean I've lived my life pretty well, and I'm hoping to do good with my life, so do I need to do public service? Do I want to do public service? It would be nice to feel like I was improving people's lives. It would also possibly, possibly, possibly (because my volunteering at a hospital previously didn't really give me this, but there the limitied interaction with patients and my heightened mental problems of that era dampened the experience) make me feel like I was making a difference. But I could also do more private volunteer work, like tutoring, it might be easier with me to work in a one-on-one environment (although then I would be more depended on and given my spotty attendence at well everything this semester I might not be reliable enough for this). I could also join a group working for a charitable cause. The Children's AIDS network is on campus and I could help out with their fundraising, etc. I could also steer my church and college youth groups in more charitable directions, but that would perhaps require more leadership than I am able (or is it perhaps willing) to give for a youth group. But all of this would require a rather sudden change in my activities, and it is already half way through the semester. Perhaps the easiest thing to do would be simply to give money whenever I have cash on me (although lately that's not too often). Is that enough?

Is it enough simply to give cash instead of directly participating in a volunteer activity or a directly helpful profession (this is not taking into consideration the fact that the cash is really my dad's although my income from my summer job went into that pool)? Well, overall I'd have to say yes. We all help in different ways according to our gifts and personalities. Some perhaps only directly help (although perhaps through produciton of art, good job performance, or good relationships they help indirectly and more importantly) through cash (although even that is not a requirement if you're too poor to give anything at all), and that cash then goes to support those who can help in other ways.

Maybe it comes down to unjustified guilt. Maybe it's ok for me not to participate in some charitable venture, but just for me to give to charity. But given the fact that the money isn't really mine, well, though it is more money than would be given otherwise. It would be nice to join a charitable organization probably, but maybe a more private one, or maybe a more abstract one that isn't interacting with crowds. But then there's still matters of time, and matters of my chronic mood swings this semester. So I don't know. But overall I'm living a pretty good life, I try to treat people nicely and I'm trying to do good with my work and future ambitions, so even if I'm not doing all I want to do, I'm doing alright, perhaps most importantly because I'm trying.

So that's about enough for now, well, perhaps not all I would like since I didn't address the philosophical basis of charity very well nor did I attack the cultural implications of charitable activities at all, and even my analysis of my own charactible activities is perhaps not as clear or well brought out as it should be, but I think there's enough to chew on, and more perhaps would keep me typing for way too long and would probably make you choke on massive quantities of text. Besides this is simply a session, not an essay, not a manifesto, not a book, and this being a session I am given the freedom to end it right about wherever I feel like it (although it's best if I hit the ending at the end of a completed thought), so I will about wrap it up now.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

No comments: