I took the comments option off my last post because sometimes I feel like a blog trying to collect comments. That leads into thinking that the value of a post is based on the number of comments. I do enjoy learning from you folks though. So here are a couple questions for you. I've answered them in the comments and you should too! Pick one to answer or answer both.

1) If you stepped outside yourself for a moment, what advice would you give yourself? What observations would you have about your lifestyle? What things are you in denial about that you would set yourself straight on?

2) I heard of a class assignment where students were told to give an hour presentation as if it was the last hour of their life. Then I saw a clip of a professor with a chronic illness actually knowingly presenting for the last time. Put yourself in that situation. What topics would you cover in that hour? What knowledge would you pass on to the people around you? What would your legacy be?

On Reality

As I sat in the lunchroom, I cooled down my hot coffee as best I could. It had way too much Splenda in it and probably one too many creams but it smelt so damn good. You see I've been drinking about two diet cokes and a cup of coffee everyday. But we'll come back to that caffeine fix. No one else was in the lunchroom because it was late into the afternoon and I finally decided to reopen a collection of Ralph Waldo Emerson pieces and poems I have been meaning to read. Oh don't worry if you don't read Emerson or don't know who Emerson is, I barely ever read (in fact I've probably only fully read two books for fun in my entire life - I'm trying to change though!). Anyway, I remember reading some of the book years back and Emerson's view on life and spirituality really struck a cord with me. So I opened up a piece and within a few pages was really drawn in. In the piecet he writes about two types of people in the world. The "materialist" and the "idealist." The materialist being one who lives a very empirical life. This mind is based upon science and that which has been proven by society. Accepted notions are the best way to describe the workings of the world. The idealist being one who suspends disbelief and is not concerned with actual "objects but with our mode of knowing objects." This mind is concerned with its own understanding of the world.

I apologize if some of this is my interpretation of what I read but he went on to explain the way in which we explain the world. Our explanation of truth being like reflected light. Depending on where we're standing we may see something entirely different. That really gave me one of those Ah ha! moments. That's it. That's my beef with our generation. We think we're a generation of idealists but we're slowly (or quickly) becoming materialists (in the Emerson sense) We're moving towards viewing the world through societal norms.

Here's what I think:

In the 9 months or so since being here I have done all sorts of good and bad things. I've had my share of mornings waking up on my floor. I've lost weight and then gained weight (back trying to lose it!). I've tried to become more fashionable and settled into a shirt and jeans kinda guy with the occasional sports coat. I've realized that I have some really bad habits.

The point being that I had no idea how much I didn't actively THINK about the things I was doing. I mean really sit and ponder daily decisions. I think that's why I started doing weird one month challenges. I wanted to only do action that I truly wanted to take part in. I quickly realized that I was often going out for the wrong reasons and I realized that an ENTREE at a restaurant is actually two (or three!) meals. I realized that I really like walking long distances (I never knew this cause no one would walk with me!) and that I am not picky with food at all. For the first time when other people didn't want to go out, I would go out by myself because I really wanted to go out. I wasn't even close to touching on all aspects of life but then I moved into more scary topics.

I've been going on AIM and Facebook for years now. I've probably used up years of my life on both. When I first moved out here I tried hard not to go onto either. I knew I would use them as a crutch. There are only a few people I talk to on either but wasn't enjoying either very much. I came to the realization that I've been using AIM as a crutch this entire time. When I'm lonely or bored it let's me reach out. I've become dependent on it. So for about a month I didn't use Facebook, AIM and I didn't have a cell phone for about two weeks. The result? I would have a shitty day at work and crave AIM. I needed to talk to someone but I couldn't. So I sat, I ran, I cooked, I actually thought about what was bugging me. I didn't have anyone to vent too or pass my anger off to so I processed it. I knew I couldn't go online and put up an angry away message or vent over messenger. I basically had to tell myself to get over it. I had to tell myself to have perspective. I have never had to do that. It was lonely at times. But for the first time I was forced to focus my energy elsewhere. I went for long walks and started reading more. Now don't get me wrong. I do have great conversations on AIM with some people and some people use AIM for real conversation (I'm just not one of them). And of course serious problems demand advice and discussion among friends. I just saw myself venting and chatting about the littlest of things going on in my life. I became more aware of what I was doing online. It was just adding unwanted anxiety and imbalance to my life. Then I would call my friends and I didn't have to vent to them, I could actually take an active roll in what was going on in their lives. Maybe everyone has that "AIM" in their life that they use as a crutch when they could try to deal with things on their own.

So why did I call out our generation as moving away from Emerson's idealism? Because we either accept the group ideal about something or we are quick to form opinions. The argument I always hear is that we are a generation of opinionated people. With so much information on the internet, I do think the truth is out there. But I don't see us THINKING about the truth anymore than before. One quick glance at Wikipedia or any other Google matched website is the only "truth" we need now. So in a way we are still accepting what we are being told. My manager at work said today that he doesn't even trust BOOKS! Every little bit he reads, he goes onto the internet and checks multiple other sources. He then sits and comes to his own conclusions. That's extreme but more in the right direction that me for sure.

We're quick to form opinions too. I can write about someone in a coded way (even though everyone always knows who a blogger is talking about - haha and I'm not blowing up anyone's spot. I have not frequented blogs in some time now) or I can voice any opinion I want about politics or religion or anything! We have the power to publish in real time. It takes me a long time to write blog posts because I want what I write to be how I really feel. Orators of famous speeches and philosophers both shitty and famous have been held to their word. Today you can say one thing in the morning (and influence the people around you both emotionally and mentally) and then totally contradict that at night. There is no responsibility or consequence for either. We can change our minds on a whim because we don't marinate on things enough to actually decide how we feel about them.

WHHHHHHEW. I love when I write something passionately or emotion-filled because someone always thinks I am sad or angry. =) No worries my friends. I am fine. I just think real conversation and seeking your own truth and personal discovery and the evolution of the self are all falling by the wayside. Reality has become infused with denial and technological cloudiness. I was in denial about my eating habits and lifestyle and lots of things. I now have cut out lots of bad habits and accepted my coffee actively. The point is that I still don't understand everything about myself or the world around me but thinking about small things actually helped, even if only a little bit. It was scary at first but I think it could help you make decisions about the world around you. It all depends on how you decide to see the light.