Dear Son or Daughter,
I’m writing you this letter at age 22. I want to share my experience and the little perspective I’ve gained from my experience. Life is wonderful. If you’re doing it right, you’ll always be discovering more interesting and exciting things, not to mention all the possible things you can actually create. Take the long term view. Even if it’s hard to know at the time, most things, even the good ones, are temporary. My dad told me this as a reason to not get attached to things, but that’s the wrong view. Throw yourself into things. Most bad results will be temporary, you’ll move on. Don’t be afraid to love and be with other people. Be long term means to satisfy what you really want. If you’re life is built around satisfying others, you’ll only satisfy others. You have to live with yourself forever though.
My next point is related: learn to love yourself and find yourself interesting. If you rely on other people for your emotions, then you’ll depend on them to be yourself not to help you. You need a center that you cultivate, develop and grow. Something you take with you wherever you go. This can be principles, habits, or whatever, but you need to discover yourself and love yourself. Then you can create whatever you need. The stronger you are the more you can trust yourself. There will be many times that everyone you know will disagree with you and certain situations will feel incredibly wrong to you. I wish I had trusted my intuition more in these situations. I assumed I was wrong. The reality is most people are just different and need different things and in a few cases, people will actually be malicious. Don’t worry about why you feel resistant to certain things, just figure out what you stand for and then work on standing for it. Fitting in to things that are against you is a short term solution and will put you in places you don’t want to be in the long term.
Finally, there can never be too much love in the world. Just make sure you put yours in the right places and never turn down an offer.
Kakfa claims that, “original sin, the old injustice committed by man, consists in the complaint unceasingly made by man that he has been the victim of an injustice, the victim of original sin.”
Damn. Couldn’t find a better summary of how I feel about life at Stanford in the 21st century. This is not meant as an indictment of others because I don’t know about them. It’s an indictment about myself. I am my facticity and claiming to be responsible to that is the very problem of facticity. As mentioned in the words of Faust, I need old eyes. Not to delude myself to see what I want to see or need to see. Instead I need to see the world as it is and honestly work within it. The narrowness of particularity shrouds us, but is our only sense of freedom. A world without limits is one without motions.
Why does everyone in class always want to avoid things that their examiner’s know about? Do you people want the freedom to screw up? Why? Isn’t failure the most important thing to go through? I should stop asking questions. I fear failure too. Too much. I’m not used to it; it’s uncomfortable. Maybe saying failure is actually wrong because failure is staying down in the face of adversity. I will not stay down.
When I started writing this post, I was going to quote some obtuse philosophical bullshit, but that’s just what it is. That’s what most of the things I think about are, unless I do something. I think so large, but rarely do anything. This leaves me so angsty. I’m 22 and adrift, unable to confront a world where I exist. I want to experience things, but investment scares the shit out of me. When I say investment, I mean really risking being me and feeling someway about something.
It’s scary because it means I lose control over myself. Let’s breakdown why that’s bad. I fear humiliation, but what is that? It’s disappointment with myself. If all I have are dreams then reality can never come intruding onto them and tear them apart, but dreams are never something you can feel and hold onto. Even the fodder for those dreams came from once having taken a risk. Like the philosophical bullshit I was going to quote all of my notions are the result of my thinking about the world, not my being in the world. I need to put my money where my mouth is and act. Thinking is itself an action, which means it denies other actions. Acting may not assuage my anxiety, but it will do something. Anything worth doing should not be forgettable or forgivable. That means I need to forget my notions and instead make my notions.