Special Treatment?

I don’t know if I want special treatment or not.

I’ve been thinking about the strange course my life has taken, the ways I’ve gone against the grain. A lot of my choices don’t make sense from the perspective of someone who is trying to follow established paths in order to get ahead. When I decided not to follow established paths, I guess I did it out of some feeling of moral obligation. What moral obligation would that be? Maybe the simplest way to put it is to notice the increasing (and terrifying) divide between the rich and poor in my country.

The wealthiest 20 percent of people in the USA have been getting wealthier for several decades, while the poorest 80 percent have been getter poorer. What is the moral obligation of someone who finds himself right on the divide, then? I say moral obligation because this is the line, as if there is exactly one ocean liner departing for heaven, where the person who makes it onto the boat is really indistinguishable from the person who gets turned away.

I don’t know if I was ever the type of person who was close enough to the top 20 percent to be able to guarantee himself a position on the boat, if he only tried hard enough. Or if some combination of my character and my circumstances would guarantee the opposite – that I’ve never been the type who would secure a spot in the material elite of the nation (or the world – this is really a world problem I’m talking about). It seems as if my choices – particularly the choice to study the world in isolation instead of believing in the type of authority granted by schools and other institutions – were the kind which, if I ever had a chance to be in the financial elite, would ensure that I would never get there without disrupting at least some of the social norms which created the elite in the first place.

What nags me is my awareness of the phenomenon of psychological projection, and the knowledge that I might be projecting onto the world unfulfillable expectations, and that even though I know about psychological projection, my inner need to continue the projection is so strong that it overrides my most sophisticated understanding of its existence. If this is the case, then a lot of the drama of the world I project onto the outside is actually just my own personal drama, from which I clearly need to awaken. If I am doing this, I haven’t been able to pinpoint precisely the origins of my error.

Knowing that I might have such a projection, I then wonder, how might I behave differently if my delusions were gone? Would I still resist so strongly using the academic system to get ahead in life? I think I avoid things like the academy because it seems like one can’t root out corruption from the inside, when one is already infected with the virus which one hunts. But I know that some day I might wake up and realize that I am simply shooting myself in the foot by waging a one-man war against the academy, that I’ve been hurting no one but myself, that rather than the academy turning out to be the real villain, it is only what I project onto it which is evil. And if I realize that, then it’s inevitable that the reason for my projection was some darkness in my own character, for which I merely found – unconsciously – a convenient scapegoat in the institutions I so love to hate from afar.

What would I do differently if I didn’t project my own hurts and pains onto the world around me? Would my spirit attain a heretofore unknown freedom, a unifying energy which would alleviate many doubts and allow a far more focused type of creativity than I currently know myself to be capable of?

Would such an energy involve the mutually beneficial interchange of resources between myself and whatever institutions I had seen anew because I was no longer seeing myself in them?

Beats me. After all, it’s also possible that I’m not¬†projecting onto them. That my view of institutions and the steep prices they demand are too high to pay in exchange for the rewards they offer. I may not even be projecting onto them, except in a harmless way, the same way the grass is greener on the inaccessible lawn.

I don’t know whether I am projecting or not. I don’t know whether I want special treatment or not. If my views of the external world are correct, then I am seeing reality at a deeper layer. If I am genuinely seeing reality at a deeper layer, then I arguably deserve some sort of special treatment or another. But I can’t ask for special treatment, because if I am projecting things onto the world, then my whole view is simply a defense mechanism for some weakness which is too hard for my ego to bear. I’ve often thought I have such weaknesses.

I do not, however, succumb outright to the weaknesses. I am strong, strong enough to know that I may be delusional, but that it’s worth risking it, just in case I’m not. That has been my life. I can be extremely confused about the slowness and uncertainty of any given moment. Some days I just want to know for sure what is what. I think that’s asking for too much though. After all, if I don’t know what’s going on, maybe no one does. And if no one does, then I’m no more confused, and therefore no more deserving of immediate clarity than anyone else.

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December News in Zach

I feel like I need to put another update on this blog, just to assure people that I haven’t gone anywhere.

So how do I assure people that I haven’t gone anywhere in an interesting way?

I’ve definitely been writing my book, almost every day. The basic essence of the book is to write a blog entry which represents four months of writing, and edit it into book form. The two core ideas about this process which differ from normal blog entries are 1) secrecy and 2) packaging. Secrecy means that you don’t get to see until the end what I’ve been working on. That enhances the feeling of mystery, initiation, and illumination surrounding the writing which would not be there in daily blog posts. Packaging means that the writing can be seen as one big thing, so it gives off the aura of something substantial, and as such can possibly be sold on the marketplace.

My actual approach to writing the book is hardly any different from writing my blog posts, with the exception that after the initial writing phase, I will spend a much greater portion of the time editing what I write than I would in a normal blog post. I will have to balance the perfectionist tendency to keep improving something with the pragmatic need to finish it. When I write a blog post, I don’t have high standards for what I publish and what I keep hidden. I often end up going back after a post is already published and edit spelling and phrasing, because I know I can. But with the book I will really spend serious time trying to figure out what I want to say and how to say it. I still don’t know what I want to say with the book, but the serious time investment involved will probably motivate me to make it the best book I can, and generally speaking, good books say something.

In terms of my public life, I’m active on a few fronts. I do improv comedy, currently as classes and workshops. If you live in the area and want to do shows on a comedy team with me, let me know. I’m also a little more active in the alternative mental health scene, connecting with various people and trying to form good groups there.

I have also used meetup.com to a great degree recently. It’s fun to meet so many people of different types there. The site is much better than it used to be, informing you of new meetup groups you might be interested in, and generally running a good show. So thanks to that website for the recent improvements. I’ve met a number of really good people there.

The two elements of my dream video game which are missing from the process of writing a book which I would like to do are writing music and computer programming. I haven’t found a way to fit them into my current project, and my efforts in those areas, music and programming, are largely on hold. Beyond that, I feel writing the book is a good creative substitute for what I once thought would be my video game.

Have a Happy Winter Everybody!