My contemptible mediocrity

Published Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:52 PM PDT

For most of my life I believed I was destined for some great purpose. This dream faded a bit when I entered my 30s, and I suppose reality is going to set in even further soon. I tended to believe that I was going to write something game-changing. I think the written word appealed to me mainly because it was the easiest form of art, and I'm a pretty lazy person. I'm good at software engineering, but technology always seemed like a practical matter to me. It doesn't reach me at a deeper level. I can be passionate about engineering decisions, but it's mainly because I get frustrated with how others think. I get just as passionate about management, or design, or anything else where I have to interact with other people. But it's not really what I care about. I would leave all that stuff behind if I could just write something useful.

The people I respect the most, the ones who've most informed my core thinking, were writers. Mainly, they were philosophers. Some had the gift of writing stories, which I clearly don't. All I'm capable of doing is writing down my thoughts in a relatively clear way. I suppose I have a natural honesty, which could be useful to humanity somehow. Maybe people will gain something from my thoughts. Maybe, at the least, they'll be amused for a little while. For this reason it's probably a good idea if I get back to writing more often.

I don't know who my audience could possibly be, and to some extent I disdain the idea of having an audience. I don't want to be beholden to the ideology of certain people. There's definitely money to be made in what I regard as "propaganda", which is just writing something designed to make people feel good about their current ideology (or, perhaps, feel righteous indignation about it). But I feel like if I'm making money with my writing, I'm probably writing garbage anyway. It seems much more pure to make no money, and to be read by nobody. Well, I'd like it if people picked up what I wrote a hundred years from now and said "he was right about everything" and founded our new civilization on it. I guess that's a silly dream I can at least die having. But first I need to write some stuff.

The vast majority of people have a life that is basically without what could be called a significant purpose, in the grand scheme of things. Maybe they add a small bit to the world, like someone voting in an election adds to a final tally. But it's infinitesimal. People who have children can at least hope that their children (or their children's children) will somehow change the course of human history for the better. They can then check out of the game and die peacefully knowing they've sired a future Augustus. But for a complete biological failure like myself, there's only this stupid realm of ideas, which are good at infecting people's brains and spreading around. But I like this idea, it appeals to me. I like the immateriality of it, it seems to exist in a higher realm, the Platonic realm. Just by putting pen to paper I can shift things. Realistically, this isn't likely to happen at all, but hey, it's worth a shot.

So maybe it is narcissistic... I'm not going to deny that. But I think a little bit of narcissism is healthy. I mean, sure, humility has its place as well. But shouldn't people believe in themselves to some extent? Why live a totally empty and pointless life. At least afford me the illusion of doing something useful.

The world is a really messed up place, I think we can all agree. Nobody agrees why, but at least that's something? Maybe something can happen there. Most of the written word we see today seems to be of the "propaganda" form I mentioned earlier, so maybe the world will benefit from a little bit of honest posting, I don't know.