An update (another rl thread)

An update (another rl thread)

Joined: August 29th, 2001, 4:26 am

May 25th, 2002, 1:11 pm #1

A short while ago, I made a post on this very forum asking people what they did for a living. Since then I have made a few realisations about (my) life.

I realise now that I had grown a contempt for life. I had seen what this place had to offer, and I scorned it. The world... dead to me. It could offer me nothing but futile power, wealth, sensuality or any other number of superficial things. Recently however, an event happened. An event that forced me through my own misconceptions and prejudices.

That event was the leaving of my youth pastor. He has finally left the leadership of our church. He was a great man, who, through God's help, had performed many miraculous things. The number of lives I saw changed through his life (and others around him) was staggering... to say the least. If it were not for his ministry, I would probably be in a far worse place than I am now.

Back when I joined the church I currently attend, I was in grade 12 (my final year at school). I had become addicted to computer games. Not like the "good" kind of addiction, but the addiction that placed them over every other thing in my life. I was ruled by them. I lived and breathed games (particularly, at that stage, Quake 3). I was getting to the point that I was losing sleep due to thinking about nothing else. Wanting my next fix. I was a junkie (so to speak) and everything else was secondary.


One night I made a realisation. I came to see my erroneous ways. I came to realise that I was destroying my life. That I was spiritually, relationally and mentally dead. So, I went cold turkey. Just like that. Boom. No more games for me. And I kept my promise to myself until I felt it unnecessary any more (and I still promise myself that I will never slip back into that way of life...no matter the avenue, beit drugs, alcohol, games or whatever).

It was this youth group that triggered this understanding in me. Not by any forceful means, but by way of example. I saw lives. Not people, but lives. Vibrant and full. It forced me to look at my own life. And when I did... they were there for me. I made friends with a girl (who's name will not be released!) who helped me to grow and understand my spirituality. Together we came to a greater faith in God. But it was through entirely different means. I did through my books, intellect and resources. And her through her art, poetry and music. But nevertheless, our friendship was based around spirituality. And I will always remember that time as one of growing. Something that helps define me as a human. Many miracles happened in that time.

Then, the friendship ended. Stopped. Completely dead. Neither of us knew why. But it did. The time for that friendship was up. It was time for me to define my own spiritual journey on my own. To push on in life. But instead I became depressed. I had read a lot of atheist literature in the previous months, and that had eaten away at me. Stripped my joy. I kept reading. Both sides of the story. Christian and Atheist. The struggle between the two tore me apart. I was solid in my faith, and convinced that atheism was not the True path - but the mere act of reading it had instilled in me a cynicism and scepticism that seeks to cloud over and strangle joy.

Meanwhile my end of year examinations were nearing. I did not care for these at all. I didn't study. I simply didn't care. I didn't care about school, friends, family or anything else. I did things to please others because it would make them happy in their (and I write this to convey my mind at the time) little ignorant worlds. I finished school and achieved the highest overall position that is attainable in our state (it means I was in the 98/99th percentile for my grade).

My best friend at this time became my boss. He was the only person who I held any interest in spending time with. But he was a bad influence. And I knew it. He was heavily involved in the porn industry and it became clear to me that our friendship was not built on solid foundations and couldn't last.

And it didn't. He went away and made his porn websites. I stayed behind in my current place of employment and brooded. I became a shell of myself. I was at university now. "Studying" for an IT career. Yet I didn't study at all. I managed to get 6's in half of my subjects (those I had a mild interest in) and 4's in the rest (those that I abhorred, and only bothered with the assignments for so that I didn't have to repeat the subject). And in a couple of those subjects I was one or two percent off getting a 7. (Scores go from a range of 1 to 7, with 1 the lowest and 7 the highest).

I made new friends. Friends that suited me. Friends that live half an hour drive away from myself. Ones that I didn't have to open up to. And it suited me fine. I cocooned myself in. Nobody knew the real me. Not even my family - those who lived with me. I grew increasingly discontent with life. Diablo was a game I liked, but mainly played to maintain a friendship (we needed something to do!). This was also the year of death in our family. My great grandmother died at the age of 98. My great uncle (who I liked a fair bit) died also. But they seemed distant. If asked how I felt about their deaths, I'd say that I felt nothing. Because I did not feel anything. It was just something that happened. They were people I didn't visit any more.

Towards the end of the year I was visibly stressed (again!). I was sick of university. I was sick of work. I hated it all. I left the leadership of the youth ministry in our church early on, as it wasn't for me, but I was distant even from the things in the church I shouldn't have been distant about. I found a homegroup that was easy. I was one of the smartest there. Everyone respected my opinion. But the homegroup was fluff. We never really dealt with any real issues. One by one, the people in the homegroup that I had a great deal of respect for started leaving. I did not follow until earlier this year.

Towards the end of the year one of my best friends broke up with his girlfriend. He took it badly. Worse than I've ever seen anybody take a breakup. I was there for him. I listened when he needed someone to listen to him, and I counselled when he needed counsel. This part of his life was shattering. His best friend found a girl and suddenly married and was off to somewhere an hours drive away. His sister, who he was really close to found a guy and had married him within six months. His other best friend betrayed him and made the situation worse. He had lost his girlfriend, two best friends and a sister. He also was at the stage where he had to make a decision as to what he was to do for the rest of his life. He was going through a very trying time. And my counsel...helped.

I grew an increasing distain for life. I had seen this guy, who was once so strong, so full of life, collapse and nearly be destroyed. I had been able to give advice... but I could not help myself. I was irritable and edgy.

Work consumed me. It took me for six days a week - when I did not want to work. I wanted to be with the friends that were all on holidays now. I was unable to spend much time with the friend I had helped through the worst of times. I loathed work. I loathed life. I had my faith, barely. At this stage I had not had more than five days off in a row for well over a year and a half. I went from busy period at uni to busy period at work. Working with the public, putting on the mask of happiness and extraversion only made me grow more of a contempt for life. I was here to take these people's money, and they were here to try and get away with things as cheaply as possible. Yet I had to put on this absolute mask of fakeness in front of them (again, these comments are to try and show you my way of thought).

I took a week off work. And when I say I took, I mean I took. I begged, fought and stole to get myself off the roster for a whole week. For seven days. I was ready to quit for one day off. I grew that much of a contempt for work that I was prepared to give it up for merely a moment of free time.

But my job stayed (thanks ##### ). I then went back to uni (this year). And I passionately hated it. I still do. To me university was a place where people who could not get jobs in the real world went to get jobs teaching those who wanted jobs in the real world. They made me do work - which I despised. It was not intellectual work. It was work without reward. I would write an assignment, hand it in, and they would grade it, and hand it back to me. That was it. Hours and hours and hours of effort for nothing. Wasted. All for a number on a piece of paper (I was feeling like I was at the end of year 12).

Which brings us to recent events. We had a party for our youth pastor. He was going to finally leave. Mick had been there, encouraged me and supported me and countless others throughout his time there. At the end of the night, he made a speech. It was about dreams. Following your passions and making a difference. He had shown everybody in that room the difference that one person could make. Everybody in that room had in some way or another been positively influenced by him, his actions and the repercussions of his actions. He related a story of a painter who was scared of everybody, scared of public speaking (to the point of physical illness) who was called to work with youth. That painter was him.

And it was then that it struck me. My intelligence had set me apart thus far. It had made me unique and powerful (in my own way). It had allowed me things I had wanted. But here was a guy who had more power than I did, and who had come from a place far lower than where I'd come from. Here was a guy who had dreamed dreams, and followed them. Through thick and thin. Bad times and good.

It was then that I realised that it was not our intelligence, wisdom or power that sets us apart and brings us great joy, but our power to dream dreams and live them. It is the measure of a person. And there was two parts to this. The dreaming of dreams (theoretical) and the living of them (practical). I knew I could dream... I had done that my whole life. It was intellectual, simple to me. It was the living that I had missed out on.

Intelligence was my curse. I have never had to work for anything previously. Not continuously. I had never had to put in hours and hours of unrewarded work. I had always been able to do very well in exams and assignments by last minute rush jobs. I had never formed positive working patterns. Where I work had reinforced this (due to the fact that 90% of the time I do nothing - I sit down and talk to the person I work with).

I decided that night that I was going to do something about my contempt for life. My lack of passion. My complete inability to follow something through to it's conclusion if it lasted more than a few hours. It was time to get my priorities right. I wrote, that night, a prayer to God. I took this prayer and read it to the pastor of our church (in my regular weekly mentoring). It was very heartfelt and showed a side of me that I had not shown anybody. I had to break out of the cacoon that I had formed around myself. To emerge the butterfly. To not have read him this letter would have meant my own death. As a person, I would have failed myself spiritually and emotionally. So we talked through it. Now these situations are impossible for the people on the receiving end, because they are incapable of knowing what will help trigger passion again.

But through talking through it, and thinking about it in my own mind, I came to some conclusions about things that I should be doing. I am still going to take six months off uni. But now, I'm going to be able to make that six months worthwhile. I have been setting timetables to myself for things that need to be done, and disciplining myself to follow them. A lot of work still needs to be done for me to be able to achieve anywhere near my potential, but I'm getting there.

Half the battle is recognising the enemy. I recognised this enemy (my own lethargy and point of view). It is now up to me to fix it. And it is showing signs of working. I'm beginning to get some of the passion back. It's a slow process, but one that is necessary. I'm even beginning to appreciate uni more now.

And, since I made that commitment to myself, I have not had one moment of boredom. Time has flown by very quickly. I cannot believe it. "Life is what happens while you are making plans" (or something similar) was the QOTM recently. Life, for me, is flying by, but BECAUSE I'm making plans, not while I'm making plans.

I'd like to finish this post with a big thankyou to all who responded to the previous uberthread I started. And I'd also like to ask that those of you who are in any way religiously inclined, include me in your prayers.

Peace - Smegged

Edit: spelling
Last edited by smegged on May 25th, 2002, 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 4:29 pm

May 25th, 2002, 4:34 pm #2

First off, good work. You are starting down a tough but rewarding path. Keep it up... You can do it.

You have found what I have found a long time ago. The power of your own mind. At one time, I used to be as strong as a bull. Now, I can barely lift a jug of milk. I used to be handsome, rather dashing in my own way. Now, I have a face that could scare a spook silly. I used to be quick.... At one point in my life I could juggle. Now, I trip over my own shuffling feet.

And you know what? All thats fine with me. It means little. My mind is still my best weapon, always has been, always will be. So long as the mind stays sharp, everything else can go to hell. You have discovered a powerful asset and ally in your self. Hone it, shape it, mold it, make of it what you will. It is through the mind, through act of will, that one makes dreams a reality in this life. And from what you have said, the things you have already done, you hold this sort of power. Let it not go to waste.

Find your other assets as well that allow the mind to become a greater tool. For me, my own assets, are a little different than some, but, we each all have something to give us that edge. For me, it is how I look. How I am. I have a long slow Southern drawl. My bearded face and absent minded look, as well as the way I look, people always assume I am some dumb dirt farming hillbilly. This is fine. I foster this image now to encourage people to think this. It gives me the upper hand. Always has, always will. Once people discredit in their own mind the power of my mind, I instantly have the upper hand in any situation. For you, I don't know. You should know your self best. Find an advantage and then build on it.

Life comes to some people and hands them anything they want. Other folks, folks like me, got the short end of the stick. Is it fair? No. But put it to work for you, and you can take it for a ride. With your own two hands, you have the power to make your life anything you want it to be.

I encourage you to finish school. Maybe not right away, sounds like you might need a break, but, please, don't let your self go to waste. You strike me as being one of those sorts of people who can put the thumbscrews to life it self and come away with anything you want. School is almost always the best place to learn how to do this. Starting off on the small scale, learn how to manipulate everything, and, everybody around you. Not in the bad way mind you. Please, never use the power of the mind for evil purposes. When I say manipulate others, always make sure it is for their own interests as well. Find a way to twist them around so that they might be improved as well. Start a study group, and, use it to get everything you can out of it. Bleed every ounce of knowledge out of that you can. Make sure others get their share as well... That sort of thing.

Seems like you are already finding a motivator. Now, all that's left is finding a direction and going down that road as far as it will lead you.

I wish you the best of luck.

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Charis
Charis

May 26th, 2002, 6:19 am #3

A short while ago, I made a post on this very forum asking people what they did for a living. Since then I have made a few realisations about (my) life.

I realise now that I had grown a contempt for life. I had seen what this place had to offer, and I scorned it. The world... dead to me. It could offer me nothing but futile power, wealth, sensuality or any other number of superficial things. Recently however, an event happened. An event that forced me through my own misconceptions and prejudices.

That event was the leaving of my youth pastor. He has finally left the leadership of our church. He was a great man, who, through God's help, had performed many miraculous things. The number of lives I saw changed through his life (and others around him) was staggering... to say the least. If it were not for his ministry, I would probably be in a far worse place than I am now.

Back when I joined the church I currently attend, I was in grade 12 (my final year at school). I had become addicted to computer games. Not like the "good" kind of addiction, but the addiction that placed them over every other thing in my life. I was ruled by them. I lived and breathed games (particularly, at that stage, Quake 3). I was getting to the point that I was losing sleep due to thinking about nothing else. Wanting my next fix. I was a junkie (so to speak) and everything else was secondary.


One night I made a realisation. I came to see my erroneous ways. I came to realise that I was destroying my life. That I was spiritually, relationally and mentally dead. So, I went cold turkey. Just like that. Boom. No more games for me. And I kept my promise to myself until I felt it unnecessary any more (and I still promise myself that I will never slip back into that way of life...no matter the avenue, beit drugs, alcohol, games or whatever).

It was this youth group that triggered this understanding in me. Not by any forceful means, but by way of example. I saw lives. Not people, but lives. Vibrant and full. It forced me to look at my own life. And when I did... they were there for me. I made friends with a girl (who's name will not be released!) who helped me to grow and understand my spirituality. Together we came to a greater faith in God. But it was through entirely different means. I did through my books, intellect and resources. And her through her art, poetry and music. But nevertheless, our friendship was based around spirituality. And I will always remember that time as one of growing. Something that helps define me as a human. Many miracles happened in that time.

Then, the friendship ended. Stopped. Completely dead. Neither of us knew why. But it did. The time for that friendship was up. It was time for me to define my own spiritual journey on my own. To push on in life. But instead I became depressed. I had read a lot of atheist literature in the previous months, and that had eaten away at me. Stripped my joy. I kept reading. Both sides of the story. Christian and Atheist. The struggle between the two tore me apart. I was solid in my faith, and convinced that atheism was not the True path - but the mere act of reading it had instilled in me a cynicism and scepticism that seeks to cloud over and strangle joy.

Meanwhile my end of year examinations were nearing. I did not care for these at all. I didn't study. I simply didn't care. I didn't care about school, friends, family or anything else. I did things to please others because it would make them happy in their (and I write this to convey my mind at the time) little ignorant worlds. I finished school and achieved the highest overall position that is attainable in our state (it means I was in the 98/99th percentile for my grade).

My best friend at this time became my boss. He was the only person who I held any interest in spending time with. But he was a bad influence. And I knew it. He was heavily involved in the porn industry and it became clear to me that our friendship was not built on solid foundations and couldn't last.

And it didn't. He went away and made his porn websites. I stayed behind in my current place of employment and brooded. I became a shell of myself. I was at university now. "Studying" for an IT career. Yet I didn't study at all. I managed to get 6's in half of my subjects (those I had a mild interest in) and 4's in the rest (those that I abhorred, and only bothered with the assignments for so that I didn't have to repeat the subject). And in a couple of those subjects I was one or two percent off getting a 7. (Scores go from a range of 1 to 7, with 1 the lowest and 7 the highest).

I made new friends. Friends that suited me. Friends that live half an hour drive away from myself. Ones that I didn't have to open up to. And it suited me fine. I cocooned myself in. Nobody knew the real me. Not even my family - those who lived with me. I grew increasingly discontent with life. Diablo was a game I liked, but mainly played to maintain a friendship (we needed something to do!). This was also the year of death in our family. My great grandmother died at the age of 98. My great uncle (who I liked a fair bit) died also. But they seemed distant. If asked how I felt about their deaths, I'd say that I felt nothing. Because I did not feel anything. It was just something that happened. They were people I didn't visit any more.

Towards the end of the year I was visibly stressed (again!). I was sick of university. I was sick of work. I hated it all. I left the leadership of the youth ministry in our church early on, as it wasn't for me, but I was distant even from the things in the church I shouldn't have been distant about. I found a homegroup that was easy. I was one of the smartest there. Everyone respected my opinion. But the homegroup was fluff. We never really dealt with any real issues. One by one, the people in the homegroup that I had a great deal of respect for started leaving. I did not follow until earlier this year.

Towards the end of the year one of my best friends broke up with his girlfriend. He took it badly. Worse than I've ever seen anybody take a breakup. I was there for him. I listened when he needed someone to listen to him, and I counselled when he needed counsel. This part of his life was shattering. His best friend found a girl and suddenly married and was off to somewhere an hours drive away. His sister, who he was really close to found a guy and had married him within six months. His other best friend betrayed him and made the situation worse. He had lost his girlfriend, two best friends and a sister. He also was at the stage where he had to make a decision as to what he was to do for the rest of his life. He was going through a very trying time. And my counsel...helped.

I grew an increasing distain for life. I had seen this guy, who was once so strong, so full of life, collapse and nearly be destroyed. I had been able to give advice... but I could not help myself. I was irritable and edgy.

Work consumed me. It took me for six days a week - when I did not want to work. I wanted to be with the friends that were all on holidays now. I was unable to spend much time with the friend I had helped through the worst of times. I loathed work. I loathed life. I had my faith, barely. At this stage I had not had more than five days off in a row for well over a year and a half. I went from busy period at uni to busy period at work. Working with the public, putting on the mask of happiness and extraversion only made me grow more of a contempt for life. I was here to take these people's money, and they were here to try and get away with things as cheaply as possible. Yet I had to put on this absolute mask of fakeness in front of them (again, these comments are to try and show you my way of thought).

I took a week off work. And when I say I took, I mean I took. I begged, fought and stole to get myself off the roster for a whole week. For seven days. I was ready to quit for one day off. I grew that much of a contempt for work that I was prepared to give it up for merely a moment of free time.

But my job stayed (thanks ##### ). I then went back to uni (this year). And I passionately hated it. I still do. To me university was a place where people who could not get jobs in the real world went to get jobs teaching those who wanted jobs in the real world. They made me do work - which I despised. It was not intellectual work. It was work without reward. I would write an assignment, hand it in, and they would grade it, and hand it back to me. That was it. Hours and hours and hours of effort for nothing. Wasted. All for a number on a piece of paper (I was feeling like I was at the end of year 12).

Which brings us to recent events. We had a party for our youth pastor. He was going to finally leave. Mick had been there, encouraged me and supported me and countless others throughout his time there. At the end of the night, he made a speech. It was about dreams. Following your passions and making a difference. He had shown everybody in that room the difference that one person could make. Everybody in that room had in some way or another been positively influenced by him, his actions and the repercussions of his actions. He related a story of a painter who was scared of everybody, scared of public speaking (to the point of physical illness) who was called to work with youth. That painter was him.

And it was then that it struck me. My intelligence had set me apart thus far. It had made me unique and powerful (in my own way). It had allowed me things I had wanted. But here was a guy who had more power than I did, and who had come from a place far lower than where I'd come from. Here was a guy who had dreamed dreams, and followed them. Through thick and thin. Bad times and good.

It was then that I realised that it was not our intelligence, wisdom or power that sets us apart and brings us great joy, but our power to dream dreams and live them. It is the measure of a person. And there was two parts to this. The dreaming of dreams (theoretical) and the living of them (practical). I knew I could dream... I had done that my whole life. It was intellectual, simple to me. It was the living that I had missed out on.

Intelligence was my curse. I have never had to work for anything previously. Not continuously. I had never had to put in hours and hours of unrewarded work. I had always been able to do very well in exams and assignments by last minute rush jobs. I had never formed positive working patterns. Where I work had reinforced this (due to the fact that 90% of the time I do nothing - I sit down and talk to the person I work with).

I decided that night that I was going to do something about my contempt for life. My lack of passion. My complete inability to follow something through to it's conclusion if it lasted more than a few hours. It was time to get my priorities right. I wrote, that night, a prayer to God. I took this prayer and read it to the pastor of our church (in my regular weekly mentoring). It was very heartfelt and showed a side of me that I had not shown anybody. I had to break out of the cacoon that I had formed around myself. To emerge the butterfly. To not have read him this letter would have meant my own death. As a person, I would have failed myself spiritually and emotionally. So we talked through it. Now these situations are impossible for the people on the receiving end, because they are incapable of knowing what will help trigger passion again.

But through talking through it, and thinking about it in my own mind, I came to some conclusions about things that I should be doing. I am still going to take six months off uni. But now, I'm going to be able to make that six months worthwhile. I have been setting timetables to myself for things that need to be done, and disciplining myself to follow them. A lot of work still needs to be done for me to be able to achieve anywhere near my potential, but I'm getting there.

Half the battle is recognising the enemy. I recognised this enemy (my own lethargy and point of view). It is now up to me to fix it. And it is showing signs of working. I'm beginning to get some of the passion back. It's a slow process, but one that is necessary. I'm even beginning to appreciate uni more now.

And, since I made that commitment to myself, I have not had one moment of boredom. Time has flown by very quickly. I cannot believe it. "Life is what happens while you are making plans" (or something similar) was the QOTM recently. Life, for me, is flying by, but BECAUSE I'm making plans, not while I'm making plans.

I'd like to finish this post with a big thankyou to all who responded to the previous uberthread I started. And I'd also like to ask that those of you who are in any way religiously inclined, include me in your prayers.

Peace - Smegged

Edit: spelling
To say you have (had?) a lack of motivation is quite an understatement :P You have a clear mind, but lack clarity of purpose. Lack not intelligence, but motivation. I'll mention something similar here as in my last 'vocation'-based reply. Find something you love. Find something where you would go even if they couldn't pay you that day; the talent does not seem to be lacking for this.

I don't quite have this background. I've been through a lot, but never a period of boredom, especiallly not with university. I LOVE learning. The fields are varied, but everything I really enjoy involves learning. I didn't get study to do well. I studied because I loved learning. With that, grades follow pretty readily.

There is someone, however, you remind me of. King Solomon :P Very bright, faith was important, had a vice that mastered him, and... had bouts of absolutely massive struggles with purpose, and the apparent meaningless of life, work, wealth, and everything. He had, or could have, it all, but these thoughts hounded him. He suffered greatly from 'lethargy', despite being considered the wisest man around. Eccliastes was his writing on the subject. He goes through many things that he thought would give him meaning or purpose. In the end though, I think it boiled down to this: love God, love people, and whatsoever you do, enjoy it. Especially your vocation.
(That has a dual meaning- find work you love, but even if not, find something in it you can love and focus on that)

You've taken some great steps. Congrats! Continue to talk to your pastor or some one else you trust for counsel. Continue to push yourself where you need pushing, but let yourself have some fun too :P This really isn't an issue of the mind at all, but of the heart. (Gad, if Mrs C or my co-workers heard such things from me I would lose my 100%-pure-engineer card)

One minor caution with Doc's response. For the most part it's making good sense. I he cautioned us about over-reading his remarks on manipulating others. But I have to think having as a goal the manipulation of others (to serve self) would only lead right back to a sense of lethargy and purposelessness. May I suggest instead looking at the good you've done others (as evidenced in your posts) and look not to manipulate, but to serve. May I also suggest looking more carefully at what God may have intended for you. He not only made you, but specifically made you the way you are for a reason, and would love to see you understand that reason and partner together to serve those around you.

As for the QOTM... the measure of life often comes from our response to when things don't go according to plan.

My prayers are with you. Thanks for sharing.
Charis
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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 4:29 pm

May 26th, 2002, 1:08 pm #4

I only used that word because I lacked a better description.

Damnit, I am a philosophy major, not some english major.

I did not mean for it to sound evil or selfish.

Er um...

Keep an eye on all people and events around you, much like Gandolf from LoTR. When you see others, or your self, or some event, becoming trouble, do your best to change the situation into something good for everybody.

Do everything you can to make the world a better place around you.

Crap I don't know how to put it. I have long meddled into the affairs and events around me, trying to make the world a little nicer and I have no idea how to describe what it is that I do. I suck.

Charis, a little help here maybe?

I know in my head what I am trying to say... I can't seem to get it out in type. Poop.
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Joined: August 29th, 2001, 4:26 am

May 26th, 2002, 1:32 pm #5

To say you have (had?) a lack of motivation is quite an understatement :P You have a clear mind, but lack clarity of purpose. Lack not intelligence, but motivation. I'll mention something similar here as in my last 'vocation'-based reply. Find something you love. Find something where you would go even if they couldn't pay you that day; the talent does not seem to be lacking for this.

I don't quite have this background. I've been through a lot, but never a period of boredom, especiallly not with university. I LOVE learning. The fields are varied, but everything I really enjoy involves learning. I didn't get study to do well. I studied because I loved learning. With that, grades follow pretty readily.

There is someone, however, you remind me of. King Solomon :P Very bright, faith was important, had a vice that mastered him, and... had bouts of absolutely massive struggles with purpose, and the apparent meaningless of life, work, wealth, and everything. He had, or could have, it all, but these thoughts hounded him. He suffered greatly from 'lethargy', despite being considered the wisest man around. Eccliastes was his writing on the subject. He goes through many things that he thought would give him meaning or purpose. In the end though, I think it boiled down to this: love God, love people, and whatsoever you do, enjoy it. Especially your vocation.
(That has a dual meaning- find work you love, but even if not, find something in it you can love and focus on that)

You've taken some great steps. Congrats! Continue to talk to your pastor or some one else you trust for counsel. Continue to push yourself where you need pushing, but let yourself have some fun too :P This really isn't an issue of the mind at all, but of the heart. (Gad, if Mrs C or my co-workers heard such things from me I would lose my 100%-pure-engineer card)

One minor caution with Doc's response. For the most part it's making good sense. I he cautioned us about over-reading his remarks on manipulating others. But I have to think having as a goal the manipulation of others (to serve self) would only lead right back to a sense of lethargy and purposelessness. May I suggest instead looking at the good you've done others (as evidenced in your posts) and look not to manipulate, but to serve. May I also suggest looking more carefully at what God may have intended for you. He not only made you, but specifically made you the way you are for a reason, and would love to see you understand that reason and partner together to serve those around you.

As for the QOTM... the measure of life often comes from our response to when things don't go according to plan.

My prayers are with you. Thanks for sharing.
Charis
Thank you both for responding.

I have read Ecclesiastes many times, and it was the first book I read after I had awakenned to myself. And yes, I do feel like king Solomon. I don't exactly "have it all", coming from a lower-middle class family, but I understand exactly what he says in Ecclesiastes, and relate to that particular book very well. Before I read the book, I was harping on about what is said in Ecc 7:10. I grew a distain for those who were older than me who said that the past was so much better. Ironically, I've fallen into the same trap in certain areas (I'm a 70's nutter).

Like all people recovering from forms of illness (mental in my case), I have my good days and my bad. Today was one of the latter. I am improving though. I will certainly be glad to finish my remaining assignments. More than glad - extatic. To finally have some time to persue my other interests (writing, lego, and civ III), as well as look into things I have not looked into yet (webpage development, charity work etc...) . Can you tell I'm going to combine at least four of those interests (writing, lego, civ III and webpage development) .

On a more serious note, one of the things that happened to me during my depression really had an impact on me. It was new years eve 2001. I got onto the internet and started chatting to a friend of my sisters. No, that's not true, she started chatting to me. Looking for advice about her boyfriend. After that encounter I became disillusioned with the one thing that had helped pull me through. I began to realise that I was able to give advice, even about things I had never experienced (a serious relationship) that other people valued. I hated that. I could help others, but not help myself. It got me frustrated and sent me even deeper into the cycle of despair that I was in. I was there for others, but nobody was there for me. I reached the lowest of lows that night, and I stayed at home, alone to wallow in my misery on new years eve. I developped a contempt for myself. I hated how my life was. I still care deeply for the people I'd helped, but I wasn't prepared to put any more energy into helping anybody else. I even went to the extreme of distancing myself from people who wanted help of any form. I know this feeling must change, and I'm the only one who can change it. Yet, it feels helpless. Honestly, I think I'm going slightly crazy.

In another part of this very forum, I've been harping on about how great Babylon 5 was as a series. Well, I recently hired out a video, and Ivonova said a line, that basically sums up what has happened to me over the last one and a half years. "My heart and I don't speak any more." I guess it's time to make a phonecall to my heart, to hear it's opinion instead of my brains opinion.

Anyway, thank you again for your responses. They have been encouraging.
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Joined: August 29th, 2001, 4:26 am

May 26th, 2002, 1:33 pm #6

I only used that word because I lacked a better description.

Damnit, I am a philosophy major, not some english major.

I did not mean for it to sound evil or selfish.

Er um...

Keep an eye on all people and events around you, much like Gandolf from LoTR. When you see others, or your self, or some event, becoming trouble, do your best to change the situation into something good for everybody.

Do everything you can to make the world a better place around you.

Crap I don't know how to put it. I have long meddled into the affairs and events around me, trying to make the world a little nicer and I have no idea how to describe what it is that I do. I suck.

Charis, a little help here maybe?

I know in my head what I am trying to say... I can't seem to get it out in type. Poop.
Is influence. Actually, you are after two words "positive influence".
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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 4:29 pm

May 26th, 2002, 2:16 pm #7

That I think is the direction I am pointing.

Taking active envolvement into everything and everyone around me to shape events more to my liking, trying to get everything to come to a positive outcome. Rather than just letting stuff happen on it's own, I did everything in my power to make sure the right thing happened. I hope this makes more sense now.

Smegged, let me post my email sig again. I think you might understand it a bit more than most.

With wisdom comes great sadness, just ask King Solomon. I truly believe the wisest people on the planet are the least content; idealists find fulfillment in their passions but the wise have no such joy. Wisdom is a benefit to the people you advise, but it is no benefit to yourself. Unfortunately it is only possible to realize this when you already have a measure of wisdom, so it is a trap for the simple minded.

Hmm I believe I have found somebody in a boat very similar to my own.

I also suffer from a form of mental illness. PTSD. There is no shame in this. Many of the world's greatist people have suffered from mental illness. Winston Churchill was Bi Polar. Edgar Allen Poe is believed to suffer from Bi Polar. (He suffered bouts of mania and rampant depression. He lived in a time when the diagnoses for Bi Polar was unknown) Picasso, Van Gogh, Salvador Dali was mildly schizotype. Leonardo suffered from horrible bouts of deep depression.

Yet all of these men changed the world. Something in their illness inspired them, drove them to greatness.

I too, suffer from chronic depression. It is one of the tagalongs for PTSD. Also, intense crippling paranoia. (Are you really paranoid when everybody really is out to get you?) My illness is sorta funny. My life was not inspired by my illness, rather, my illness came about because of my life. Hmmm no matter what we do, if we do great things, we are destined for madness eh? Bah. Small price to pay.

If you have come this far, you have the inner strength it takes to go even farther. Never settle for second best. Always shoot for the moon and go out and get the rewards you so richly deserve. As for being middle class or what ever, so what. It is not what you start with, but, how you use it. You have everything you need at your disposal to make life what ever you wish for it to be. Never let anybody tell you different. (And don't convince your self otherwise either)
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Joined: August 29th, 2001, 4:26 am

May 26th, 2002, 3:16 pm #8

With wisdom comes great sadness, just ask King Solomon. I truly believe the wisest people on the planet are the least content; idealists find fulfillment in their passions but the wise have no such joy. Wisdom is a benefit to the people you advise, but it is no benefit to yourself. Unfortunately it is only possible to realize this when you already have a measure of wisdom, so it is a trap for the simple minded.

I had seen you post this before, and it struck a cord with me. My younger sister puts it more beautifully. "I don't want to know how a rainbow works, I just want to appreciate the magical beauty of the rainbow". Or something like that . I think she is wiser than I about such things. But it is too late for me. I have seen the true side to things. I know how things work. So now I have to forge ahead, creating joy for myself with the knowledge of how things work. How can a physicist enjoy music, even though (s)he knows how the waveforms create harmonies which causes the music? How can the movie star appreciate a movie? How can a writer appreciate a book? How can a musician appreciate music?

In all cases, they can appreciate due to their understanding of the creation of such artwork, but they can never experience the simple joy of being able to appreciate it without their deep understanding of it. Another example being when I was at school, we had to do movie and book analasis work. I hated it because I'd end up analyzing movies that I watched and books that I read. It is only time that has helped me forget this.

This is why a child is often so happy. They have a simplistic understanding of things, which lets them fully appreciate things. The more your mind expands, the harder it is to please. Intellect is as much a curse to our species as it is a blessing. Jesus himself recognised the joy in children, and the simplicity and beauty of the sparrow.

My mental illness is depression - an illness caused by excessive thought about things that should not be thought about. Not because they are inherently "evil", but because they lead to patterns of thought that lead down the path of depression. But our brain is not a computer. It does not have rigid, fixed processing units. It addapts to the person's way of thinking. It can be manipulated into changing. The brain is fluid, able to change and in doing so will release different chemicals into the body, which cause different emotions, which cause different ways of thinking..... And so the cycle continues. The trick is to get the brain manipulated to a state in which it produces the good emotions more often than the bad. A trick that most three year olds are better than me at performing.
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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 4:29 pm

May 26th, 2002, 4:14 pm #9

He who increases knowledge and wisdom also increases his sorrows. I believe there is a spot in the bible someplace that makes a remark to that effect. (My Bible is a 1611 King James. High Speech. No verse numbers or chapters of any form. I know my Bible quotes, but, I can't give them out chapter and verse.)

I think when people say if I knew what I know now when I was younger are smoking something. There is a certian carefree wonder in children.

Have I learned to much in life? I am older now, bitter, jaded, cynical, and apathetic at times. My existentialism has nihlism creeping into it. Am I lost cause? No. My wife sees something in me, something I am not sure if I can see just yet. There are some people here on this board that also think this as well. Once you gain a certian measure of understanding, that's it, there is no going back. Life has taken a new turn.

I am rather dumb about some things. I am no math freak, physics are fun to think about but I understand very little of the math part. I am not an engineer. My writing skills are rather poor. I constantly trip over words. I am not a public speaker. I stutter slightly when nervous and my speach is slow. There's lots of stuff I don't know. However, the one thing I know well is also my poison. I know the engineering of the human mind, culture, and thought. I am a Philosopher. While some folks build bridges, I understand the bridges of the human mind. I am the everyman. My grasp on certian things has driven me to near madness, but, has also enriched my life beyond measure. With learning, as with everything else, there is a price. Ignorance really is bliss... I see it in my wife every day. She goes about pestering the animals totally unconcerned about the world in general around her. I envy her to a point where it is painful. However, I would never want to forget what I have learned. It is a paradox of sorts. You only learn what you have lost once you have learned. But once you learn it, you never really want to let go of it.

You speak of soundwaves and such. Maybe you are looking at it wrong. Since you have a greater understanding of these things, maybe you need to see it through a different set of eyes. Can you see the wonder of how a simple shift in acustics can cause a wide spectrum of change? Echos and balance. How delicate and fragile sound is, how easily altered and shifted it can be. Do you see the power of sound? Sound can be a simi physical force, shattering glass, shattering steel, or shattering your heart in a single moment of a sad song. Or the effect of sound on people that can not be duplicated in a lab. A big fat huge resonating gurgling echoing burp... For one man, it is a barbaric disgusting sound. To another, it is an endless source of comedy. To yet another, it is a complement for a meal well served, spoken not in words, but, base human function. Yes, sound has waves, but, those mean very little to the receiver. It is what the sound does that matters. You think of the sound and what creates it, how it travels, but, did you think of what happens at the destination? That is where science ends and can not find answers. This is where people like me trample endlessly, cavorting where science has no govern.

I have learned one thing though. No matter what path you follow in life, or what you learn, it's all in how you look at it. While us big thinkers worry about stuff like global warming and terrorism, people like my wife worry about things like itty bitty pieces of bee poop being crapped out of bees in flight landing in her hair.

Life always has, and will always be, what you make of it.
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Sirian
Sirian

May 26th, 2002, 10:07 pm #10

Life always has, and will always be, what you make of it.

Like anything else you might say, Doc, this one is a belief. So is the idea that "wisdom comes at a price".

Both of these concepts hold truth (in my view) but they both also ultimately cease to serve, for they also hold falsehood. It all depends on the point from which you are viewing, and the backdrop against which the ideas are laid.


When you first went onto the subject of the price of wisdom, I agreed with you. Now it's time to disagree, as it seems to me you are stuck there, a bit more insistent on this idea than it merits. This leads me to conclude that you don't see the falsehoods in with the truths, that you are making these ideas more solid than they are, or using them perhaps as foundation when they are not strong enough on which to build.

Ignorance is not bliss, it is only unknowingness. You can't feel sorrow over something you aren't even aware of, much less understand. This is the self-pitying lament of those who are aware and do feel sorrow, that they were less sorrowful before they became aware. That is all well and true, but it's not an end, only a point along the journey, and to the degree that you fail to further mature your perspective, you may get stuck there. Or... you may even HOLD YOURSELF there needlessly out of attachment to the image and the beliefs formed while there.

Expanding awareness does away with delusions, as well as informs on a wider range. If you spend all your energy on "combatting evil" your attention is on evil and that's naturally the means through which your wisdom will be gathered. There is much sorrow in being a soldier of any kind.

However, there is much more to wisdom than this. Only if creation were nothing but sorrowful and piteous would wisdom kick your ass quite as much as you portray. There are points where sorrow overtakes any seeker, but there are many more points over which to celebrate, to be grateful and joyous, than there are over which to lament. So it has been my experience.

Ignorance can numb and arrogance can mask. You let down these "protections" and you become rather acutely aware of all the bleeding wounds you suffer mentally, emotionally and spiritually -- and for some, even physically. Wounds heal, Doc. The pain doesn't go on and on and on. It fades. Even some of the scars fade to a point where they show no more, existing only in a memory of a memory.

Understanding and conception open new doors. When you find the meaning and perceive beyond the realms of what you know to be possible, wisdom starts to bring peace, to clease the blood and scabs away, and there stops being a price. I know you aren't there yet, you who insist still that only suffering brings growth.

There is a point from which "Wisdom kicks your ass" and "comes with a price" represents a step up, a move toward truth, but there is another point at which these ideas represent the shackles that can hold you back from yet higher truths.


And life is not always what you make of it. Sometimes things do happen that lie outside your conscious control, and sometimes the options you have are not always known or knowable by you. There are, in fact, times when life can be MORE than you can make of it, and there can be more to be had from it through LETTING it be what it will be, than from making anything out of it. Learning which times to come at it dynamically, and which times to quiet yourself and receive what it is, passively, is a matter without rules of thumb. You can only flow between these poles on the currents of trust.

Life is sometimes what you make of it, and sometimes what you allow it to be. Often it's both, and on some occasions can even be neither.

Beliefs can free you, but they can also limit you. If you doubt that wisdom can come without a price, I understand. If you insist on that, even, that's OK. I know what I know, though. And I know there are places beyond the sorrow and the pain, where wisdom lights the way brightly and the costs we impose on ourselves can be let go. For there are no prices to wisdom other than the ones we set for ourselves.

This expression, this belief, I know it is also false, but it holds more truth than "Wisdom comes with a price." I look forward to a time when this, too, becomes a shackle I must discard, but for now it's serving me well.

Peace.


- Sirian
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