Let’s start with some thing inspired by and all about frustration. Lyrically and production-wise, Crux of your Juggernaut is an angry, industrial mess. Aaaaaah.
Lately my struggle has been with the balancing of needs in terms of Maslow’s tiers in an extremely self-conscious manner. It is certainly possible to get attached to your higher needs and lose interest in your lower needs, even when you’re broke, starving, and alone (but not in that order of course [in case you are concerned, I am neither broke nor starving). There is such a thing as acquired needs, I guess, which totally throws a wrench in my teen-aged self’s primary philosophy. Unfulfilling work gets in the way of the making and spreading of art and philosophy. Reminder that unfulfilling job gives money which provides transport and food and shelter only works intellectually, but does no thing for my emotional demands. This stress can close off the self-actualization tier for me, but then that loss collapses my self-esteem tier and all of that pressure is put in to love and intimacy, and desperate attempts to create meaning from this level are haphazard, as the desire to better the lives of others is blinded by emotional demands for affection. This contradiction creates stress, so I may even shy away from comforting human interaction. Lately I have had to force my self to allow my self to just relax and enjoy a video game or a movie, for fear of losing too much time, even though I am clearly too stressed to understand or care about my craft.
Life was so much easier when I did not know what it was like to obsess over people. Life was so much easier when I only obsessed over ideas.
I feel that I am betraying my self when I lose contact with that passion for philosophy and art. I came across the idea that suffering is necessary for growth, and that all suffering can have meaning in this way. I stumbled across this idea when I realized that, in my study of ethics, suffering has seemingly always been seen as a thing to be avoided at all costs. It is certainly a word with negative meaning, not just connotations. This struck me as incomplete one day, as I wondered about suffering that is a consequence of achievement. Curious about this concept, of the benefits of suffering, of course I was led to Nietzsche. His elitist insights helped me fill in many of the blanks in my exploration of the ‘happy life versus meaningful life’ problem. This was a happy surprise. The concept of meaningful suffering was a relief for me, and served to feed my ideas on suffering for the betterment of others, but, sadly, this was not enough. I still feel lacking in motivation. I still am afraid that at any moment I will hyper-focus on a craving for affection, for absolute temporal freedom, and for peace of mind. This is absurd, because never did I choose the life of happiness. Always, even before I classified it, have I chosen the life of meaning, of pursuing excellence, even in my weakest moments. Some times easy joys make me feel guilty. There is no turning back for me. I feel like I do not have the tools to fully embrace my suffering, and I am too scared to just jump right in. I actually do not identify with that kind of strength, and, like so many difficult good habits to acquire, my subconscious mind, my emotional self, rejects it in full force.
There is the question of whether a person ‘destined’ for a goal of happiness can become one of the meaning camp. The terms ‘lower’ and ‘higher’ are ascribed to these different people, but not only do these kinds of labels breed resentment, they distract from the point. I do not believe that a person who does not crave excellence is beneath me. I wonder, though, if a person suited to pursue happiness can learn to crave excellence of the self without having the temperament to obtain it. Which comes first, the first spark of drive to excellence, or the first spark of excellence? Specifically, I am afraid that no matter how much I want it, that I am not capable of achieving the greatness that I desire due to parts of my personality that will never change.
My stance on psychology has always been that the mind is a mess of habits, and some of those habits temper and inhibit other habits, and that ultimately every personality can become completely different, given the right circumstances, if not merely the will. I fear that some habits may be so difficult to break, though, that some of mine are so difficult to break, that I simply will not live long enough to discover and implement the necessary changes to become who I want to be. They say that focusing on the future is bad for our mental health, but living entirely in the moment won’t help me become powerful enough to realize my dream, and that kind of suffering is just the stuff of tempering a dream-actualizer.
Compassion fatigue terrifies me, but compassion fatigue is a good measurement of how much betterment you have brought to the world. It feels like failure, but it is not. It is important to care, no matter how little improvement you have brought to those around you. Some say that changing just one life (for the better) makes the world a better place to be. Why not? As social animals, are we not expected to embrace these kinds of sentiments? Sure. I want to change many lives, and not just with compassion, but every step counts. My problem is not that of ‘which purpose’, but of simply balance. Balance, the hardest thing, but so much simpler than choosing a path. So much simpler. Choosing a goal is far scarier than choosing a method. I must remember that, on my road to achievement, I have already achieved much. I know that I want to spread helpful ideas through inspirational stories and songs, and I know what those ideas are, and I know what those stories and songs are and shall be like. I know what it is that I must do. I am just not entirely sure of how.
…Nor am I sure of how to suffer the least to sustain my self financially. Nor am I sure that I have much to gain from that kind of suffering. God damn it.
…Juuuust kidding. I’ll leave off on an empowering note, a quote from the above linked article:
‘I suffer, not as a punishment, but in order to become better and stronger; it is up to me to use my suffering.’