I have spent a lot of time thinking about meaning and motive, and I'll probably continue thinking about shit like that until I die. I don't consider myself a very intelligent person, but I do think of myself as very thoughtful, if it didn't sound like some shitty app startup, I'd call myself "ideaful." That's really all I've got going on, I put together a lot of ideas. I also have lived in such a way where I vocalize my ideas to bored people who are stoked to have something to do, and mostly for that reason, my ideas become realities. I'm not really sure how difficult that is to do, it's never been hard for me but I hear others struggle. I guess it depends on the mass appeal of the idea and the bonds you have with other people, but I don't really have any answers to why some shit works and some doesn't.
I'm a very curious individual, I like to see what happens when my ideas come to fruition. In essence, that's creativity; that's how art is made, jokes are written, sites like this are built up. As I get older I'm beginning to realize that curiosity is like an appetite, and it requires something to feed it; there are times when that can get dark, and violent.
Curiosity is a carnivore. The roots for the word "curiosity" in Latin stem from both "cautious" and "care", elements I'd argue real curiosity isn't concerned with. Curiosity is the path that destroys wonder; curiosity wants to learn, test, and create. Even so, curiosity is proactive wonder. In itself, that sentence sounds like the kind of shit middle school science teachers throw around before they tell you about space lightning and hand you a pamphlet for astronaut camp, and not a very terrible thing. Curiosity is just natural, it's human, it helps us achieve greatness.
All of that's true, curiosity is natural, but nature as a rule is indifferent, and indifference can lead to some very complicated, very evil things. This is why I'm troubled by the nihilists.
Speaking as a very curious person, I test things. "Same shit, different day," are the most terrifying arrangement of words in my vocabulary. I spend a lot of my time and squirrely resources trying to find ways to make that statement inherently false.
I will fuck up my life just to see how far people will let me go, and to learn what exactly it takes to get it back. I am an emotionally unrefined person, and it's been a carving process to shape my understanding of how I feel. I don't like to have any opinions that I don't understand. You're taught growing up that doing things are wrong, but until you do the wrong thing, do you really understand why? Maybe I'm just mistrustful, or maybe I just don't believe people know my best interests better than I do.
I'm so curious about what motivates people and what has meaning to them, and if I see someone value what is ostensibly meaningless, it's hard for me to resist the urge not to break it. In some fucked up way, I view people as toys. I like them a lot, and I play with them, but I don't really think twice about dropping them, or how they might feel about the situations I bring them into. My concept of emotion is too limited, and this limit is something that frequently motivates me to do emotionally detrimental things. I'm pushing myself because I'm curious, I don't understand, and I want to. I can't say I'm proud of myself for a lot of my shitty situations, but doing them made me understand myself better, and appreciate and understand why I did those things and maybe why I shouldn't do them again.
I'm often lumped in with the nihilists, the ones who believe that life is meaningless, and therefore you should just fuck everything and stop worrying. I should point out I'm referring to the nihilists in my life circle and not some better understanding of people who ascribe to that philosophy as a whole. I don't reject this belief as nonsense but I find it a little ... for lack of a less condescending word, unsophisticated.
Living like that suggests you live without context. I don't think life is meaningless, but I don't believe that anything inherently holds meaning either. We assign things meaning, and I also hold that belief about people. I think this is why I don't particularly like to be touched; it doesn't mean anything to me. If you believe that nothing is capable of having meaning, and you're running through the world, setting shit on fire to see the world burn, I can't imagine you're learning anything. I have to admit, I was this kind of person for a long time, and then I got kicked in the teeth and realized learned how little I enjoyed that feeling. Learning that was so valuable, I began to look for other things to learn about pain, and I guess that's the point I'm at in my life right now, or the one I'm just coming out of. It's honestly a bit hard to tell given how the context of time is so fluid.
Maybe nihilists don't want to learn anything. Maybe that's not as big a hobby to some people as it is to me, I don't know. I think I'm getting away from myself.
Here is what I learned about curiosity: just like everything else, it holds no inherent meaning. Curiosity is no more innately positive or negative than eating or shitting. It is one of the billions of processes our chemical mill of a brain undergoes. Curiosity does, however, extrapolate some sense of meaning through intent, or more specifically motivation. This is where we find our mad scientists, our mad artists, madness in general, I suppose.
Motivation and intent are different creatures. Motivation is the drive that propels you, intent is the cause. You can have pure intent and bad motivation, I think that's one of the more common flaws of curious people. I find motivation is frequently an emotional buildup, but which ones vary on the day to day.
I've felt lonely most of my life, which is odd because as far as most things go, I have a pretty social existence, and I also really value being by myself. Loneliness also shares the ironic condition of being a near epidemic. We are all lonely. Loneliness is a pretty powerful motivator, and it can back some pretty good intentions.
Your motivation can be loneliness, and your intent can be to feel accepted, but because the underlying motivation isn't acceptance, whatever you're going to reach in the end is going to be a little bit sideways. I realized this when it came to seeking romantic partners; I do it when I feel lonely, which is a pretty logical reason to want a relationship but an awful footing to start out on.
That's why we spend so much time lying to each other, because we want our motivation and our intent to be the same thing, but sometimes they don't correlate. When they don't, we end up doing terrible things. I think the only reason you should seek out a relationship with another human being, romantic or otherwise, is because you like that person. That person won't necessarily make you feel less alone. Loneliness is part of your human package. What you'll develop though, if you base a relationship off of each other instead of a need to feel less alone, is a stronger bond that will palliate that sense of loneliness, if only for the times you're together.
This is especially true for physical intimacy. Being with someone sexually will make you feel less alone for the moments you're doing it, but you'll end up facing that same chasm shortly after, and it will only feel more exhausting, more abysmal. You've gotten literally as close to another person as you physically can, and you are still alone. That's such a terrible feeling we frequently inflict upon ourselves, and each other for the sake of not feeling lonely.
If you are looking for meaning in anything, if that is your intent, it's important to understand that your motivation for that search should not be the feeling of loneliness. Ideally, it's that sense of wonder that motivates you, and ironically, that sense of wonder will get eaten alive by your curiosity. Learning is a bit self destructive in how it decimates your sense of wonder. Often times we travel into these tunnels just to find what's shining at the end is the sunlight we had just left behind.
None of this makes learning or curiosity bad, by the way, like I said, it's natural, and therefore indifferent. What you gain from learning, that you lack with wonder is understanding. So far as I know life tends to be that cycle on repeat ad nauseum. The thing that makes it enjoyable or not, detrimental or not, is motivation. Figuring out why you do anything is greatly important in not becoming your own monster. To figure out why you do anything, you have to figure out what you are, and that's an undertaking not a lot of people have the time for.
Some people are simple, or they think all of my thoughts are unnecessary. They prefer to be conscious without being thoughtful, and I don't have any argument as to why you shouldn't be like that or why you should be like me. I am the way that I am, and I come up with ideas because that's apparently what I do. There's no way for me not to be this person that I am, not without an exhausting amount of effort towards making each day very similar. If you think about it, not being yourself is effectively a form of living suicide. You're killing yourself every time you try and pretend that's not who you are. No wonder people get so depressed in their shitty jobs they don't want to be doing.
I don't really know what motivates me aside from I want to understand what I feel. My feelings are partly mine and partly something else. I have a monster that lets me know which paths I shouldn't take. It's hard to necessarily know what motivates oneself, and I can't say I often know why I desire to do the things I do. I think as humans, we seek comfort, companionship, and a sense of divinity in one another. Our hope and our hell is other people. The only difference is that motive. Once you learn to recognize why you want to do something you can decide whether or not you should explore it. If your only reason is to break someone because you are hurt, or lonely, you shouldn't touch it. If you want to understand something, to join the aether as it were, only to become more of an individual on your way out, that's about as good a person as I know how to be, a carnivore with a conscience.
It's so easy to become jaded by intelligence. The older you get, the more you can find to take issue with. The world sucks. It's portals to snake pits and failure. Things go wrong, people are corrupt, and here we are, the elite in coffee shops, acting as though nothing is happening. Or worse, we acknowledge it and do nothing.
Having an extended childhood is a fortune permitted to the most industrialized nation. There's something almost biblical about how we worship innocence. The unquestioning, unknowing purity that comes with simply accepting something for what it is has a lot to do with how faith works, but that's not sustainable. Much as we laud innocence in ourselves, losing it is how we learn to survive. People who don't lose any of it become twisted somehow. If you remain innocent because you never question anything, you accept what you've been taught as dogma. If you remain innocent because you avoid everything, because you're afraid, you become clutched by self imposed rules, you lose the ability to integrate and adapt.
Innocence is what makes one child hurt another, before seeing that pained expression that teaches them not to do it again. Nature is innocent by default, there is no self examination in most creatures to take that away. Innocence goes to waste if left to its own devices. Innocence is not sustainable, and it can't take care of itself.
There's a point in time where we lose innocence, either through learning about the world or having it robbed from us. It doesn't have to be dark, it's just a part of life; you will get older and more worldly. Innocence is the uncarved block, losing it sculpts you. It's hard not to feel an attachment to it, something we see in kids who are still learning about the world, but I think we confuse innocence with wonder, and wonder is something you can get back. There is magic in the ineffable and inexplicable, the things even the most robust sciences fail to answer.
I have, and continue to lose innocence. I make terrible decisions all the time, but I learn from them. I've started doing things that I think are bad ideas just to see what will happen. I wonder about the results and how they work, and that gives me the feeling of magic. Meaning is magic, and that's something we have can always have, innocent or not.
I believe that reality is objective, but I believe that perception is not. We're given an objective world like a reference point, we can all look at a cat and learn how to describe it to one another and reach some consensus for how to describe it again if need be. Beyond that though, we filter through so much stimuli at any given second that our methods for pruning and processing are bound to be different. Whatever value we assign to things, whatever resonates with us with meaning will always be personal.
I've been in Chicago for a few days. True to my methods, I didn't do a lot of planning. Every time you go to a new city, you have to start over, at least a little bit. If you do it enough times, that process gets easier. You learn what kinds of questions to ask, which facial expressions to make and the language of getting what you want or need. I've seen enough shit in my life that believing that everyone is kind is how I protect myself. I have to believe that terrible things are uncommon. I know it makes me naive and susceptible, but without that I will feel nothing, there will be no wonder.
We celebrate childlike innocence but very rarely stop to appreciate mature wonder. To me there's something fantastic about what you can accomplish when you don't know, or you endure something that changes you. If you try to hold on to who you were before, you feel damaged, of course you do.
It was only a month ago or so that I admitted to myself how broken I felt over Jay. I was so angry that it didn't work. I had tried so hard to make it work. There's something in me that still wants to. I felt nervous before this trip because I felt like I was yet again putting myself in a position where I wouldn't be able to mourn, and therefore I'd get stuck in this frustrating cycle of not dealing with this huge emotional shit storm that I had been avoiding and therefore elongating.
Turns out I just cried on trains a bunch. I still think about him a lot. At one point my lips felt like they were stinging and that superstitious part of my brain thought that he must be kissing someone else. I haven't talked to him in awhile. I wonder if he'll read this.
(If you do, hello, I hope you're well. I saw a raw honeycomb at a store and thought of you.)
Whether it's the actual distance or the implied distance of time, grieving has been more bearable than I thought. I do feel pretty broken, but I'm no longer trying to put the pieces back together. I'm rearranging them, figuring out what fits and how they feel. I wonder about things and what they mean to me, and that was the reason I left in the first place I guess. I had begun to feel numb.
Being in a relationship restricts you, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, and in some ways that can be very comforting. You are with each other so you never feel cold or alone. You're always understood and cared about by somebody. I had been with Jay for so long and from so young that I didn't know what feeling cold or lonely meant. I can't say that those are enjoyable experiences, but they give me a reference to look at my world, and they teach me how to connect and adapt.
In some ways I do feel like a child. I am learning how to hurt. I am learning how I hurt people, and more importantly, how to stop. I am learning what it means to be close to people, and to choose not to be. I'm getting nuance back.
Even as childlike as I feel in my emotion and social capability, I do feel a sense of maturity. There's a kind of wildness, something dark that is mine that guides me. I am older now, I have experience. I am very detached from the idea of being comfortable and even being safe, those things take time and maturity to come to terms with. I know what I can handle, and I'm not afraid, I have nothing to protect. That's a skill that age offers, and it's one we don't celebrate enough because of our desire to see things with novelty.
My favorite people have magic. They are adults, and I'm not talking about them being naive or innocent. They know what they want and they understand their values of the world. They can take care of themselves, and they can laugh themselves silly for the sake of it. Everything has a meaning, and the ones who have magic look for it in everything, find it when necessary and have the experience to know when to let it go if the meaning becomes detrimental to themselves or others in any way. That's what I want, that's what I'm figuring out. I'm shedding an evil innocence in favor of magic.