Maybe I Shouldn’t (Wheaton Words 2017)

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Maybe, I shouldn’t have become a philosophy major. Not because I’ll never be employed or because I’ll always be the punchline when I go visit my family on Thanksgiving. I’ve made peace with that years ago.

For the past three years, I’ve been studying exactly how little my decisions matter; I am an expert in finding my own mistakes and labeling the fallacies I’ve committed. I know exactly where the flaws are in every argument, in every proposition, in every term, but there’s nothing I can do about it besides point out its invalidity. I know it’s wrong. I don’t know how to fix it.

When I’m by myself, I tend to retreat into a Cartesian state of solipsism. I get too… introspective. “Introspective” is a technical term for “self-absorbed, but in a pretentious way.” I love to be alone, but I can’t stand being lonely. When no one’s looking, I engage in the Socratic method, asking myself questions with no answers. Am I nothing more than the sum of my actions? Maybe. Is humor a defense mechanism I employ so I don’t have to deal with confronting actual problems? Perhaps. Do people hate me because when they say, “have a good day,” I say “moral judgments such as ‘good’ are intrinsically relative and therefore irrelevant”? Probably. Well, definitely. This is a circular argument. It doesn’t go anywhere.

I wish I had more to offer than my words. These arbitrary combinations of symbols we call “letters” and “sentences,” they have no value unless the listener gives it to them. I had someone once who loved me for my words. But I thought, I’m more than what I say, or what I write. Aren’t I? I cancelled all the plans he tried to make. I kept my arms crossed so he wouldn’t grab my hand. It’s not that he didn’t deserve me. No one deserves me. Me, the Übermensch, who accepts that society’s values are meaningless and creates a future of her own! But she has no idea what to do with it.

I always say I don’t believe in anything. Empirical evidence is an illusion, and intrinsic knowledge is subjective. Math is giving names to patterns that don’t exist. Molecules hold themselves together just barely long enough to become self-aware, and then entropy rips them apart again to be recombined into something else. By convention, funny; by convention, absurd; by convention, obnoxious; by convention, sad; in reality: atoms and void.

But, to see my friends smile back at me when I smile at them, complete my ideas and complement my personality, I’m so proud of the people I surround myself with, I’m so genuinely in love with them that I have no time to analyze the implications, then I think, what brought us together is nothing short of a miracle.

This seemingly irreconcilable dichotomy between the empirical and the emotional leads me to speculate upon an unavoidable question that has plagued all philosophers since the dawn of time: Should I apply for grad school?

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One thought on “Maybe I Shouldn’t (Wheaton Words 2017)

  1. This post brought up a collateral question for me:
    Forget productivity/desirability–is it possible to achieve pure ignorance, or at least attain an ignorance pure enough that one does not have to somehow/at some point confront these questions?
    -The same question applies to the opposite of ignorance, I suppose.

    Like

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