Thursday, October 11, 2007

A matter of clouds

I, I the man of the Rand and the Rand of the man, persevere in spite of attempts by giant fish to stop me. But no giant fish will defeat me, for I am John!!!

But let that matter be discarded. I remember in about 4th or 5th grade I still liked school. Perhaps I didn't admit it because of peer pressure, but overall I enjoyed being at school. It was only with middle school school really started to bug me. Perhaps that was because with the dawning of my hormones my anxiety problems got kicked into to overdrive.

After that, minor social anxiety blossomed into full on social paranoia (I use paranoia here in a very loose, ultra-loose, barely hanging on to the threads of syntax loose sense (basically any rapid-fire depressing, self-hating, fearful thoughts)). Basically my mind exploded. And any sense of social satisfaction I got from school evaporated. And so I had school work. But investing myself in my school work put such intense performance stress on me that it almost killed the alien embryo that I'm raising in my stomach. Or maybe it just gave me anxiety attacks, either one.

So I had to choose whether or not I wanted to attach my worth to my grades. And all my upbringing, my experiences, my culture, etc. suggested to me in the end that while grades were good and an accomplishment, they were not a measure of worth. But let me caution, I presented here a relatively linear process of an intellectual trend, but the mind doesn't work that way, it don't, my friend, it simply don't. Another factor to my disconnecting my sense of worth from my school work was my disconnect from the idea of school being its own universe with teachers having a natural, if not always welcome spot at it head, to it simply being a tiny piece of the universe with teachers being just people without an inherent superiority to me. Suddenly doing well by their measures seemed submitting to an unnecessary (and by my then reasoning automatically unjust) authority. Teenage rebellion, et. al. I suppose. And then there was my religious journey which led me to conclude that earthly authorities must always be subject to heavenly authorities. Etc. So there were a lot of factors.

Then if school (and let me include college here (although college does differ from primary and secondary schooling in some theoretical points which I won't get into here)) wasn't a measure of worth, then what was it supposed to be. More or less a stepping stone, a tool. Intellectually that's how I view it. But emotionally, it's hard to see it as less than confinement. Perhaps that's just a manifestation of my wanderlust soul. Or in more charitable terms an imposition. It's hard to stand that, and perhaps that's a reason why I have such trouble sticking to my classes. But in the way I think about things I actually have less care for school than work. At least when I'm working I get a feeling that I'm building some organization or something, but with school it feels like all my effort is going to nothing except satisfying the expectations of others. Perhaps I can say that when I'm in lecture there's the satisfaction of learning but with tests, projects, and essays, etc. (although occasionally I do feel satisfaction from projects and essays since they involve some creativity, it usually is as much or more giving a feeling of burden). In the end, I just can't take a great deal of satisfaction from school, at least as long as I keep on looking on it as a burden.

Perhaps a better way of looking at matters would be to see school as a game. And the whole matter becomes a competition when it comes to grades. Now many people dislike that analogy because it puts too much stress on kids and undermines their feelings of friendship. But that's only if you look at it as an immensely important game. But let's take this as a pretty important game, not hugely important, you can rebound from bad grades, but it's still got some gravity to it. And there is some fun to it with the learning and all. And then there is some accomplishment to getting a good grade. But it isn't the accomplishment of say a medal of honor, or something that suggests quality in a person (even if a person's true quality is a matter hidden in the brain, personal, and in my mind moreover a matter of how they view the world instead of what they accomplish, etc., etc., etc., blah, blah, blah). Rather a good grade in school is like a victory in football, or soccer, or Magic: The Gathering.

And when it comes down to it, it isn't really a victory over your competitors, they rather are your fellow-travelers in the game, a victory in a game is a victory over its rules, its obstacles and your own limits. Perhaps, if I looked at school like that, it might become palatable again. Stranger things have happened.

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

No comments: