Variations on a Theme
What exactly do you do, when you realize there’s nothing seems interesting? That you don’t want to meet anyone, because there’s a limit to the elements that influence the human condition, and people are nothing if not predictable, instinctually driven automatons ultimately devoid of novelty. We’re creatures of habit, of our environment, of parenting, of any multitude within a cavalcade of influences both imagined and concrete. Yet our psychology is exquisitely unencumbered with the confusion this might imply.
Shiny things. Punishment and reward cycles. Protectionism. Summary historical reaction mapping. Reproductive drive. Pack behavior. Memory impermanence as a protective mechanism from physical and mental missteps. Fight or flight, and any number of hormonally influenced reactive preservation elements. Every one of these and more, evolved during the haphazard survival of the human animal, all genuinely important, and unfortunately exceptionally limiting when we’re a slave to them.
I’m not entirely certain whether or not I’m unique in this regard, but I perceive the world and everything in it as a mesh of patterns. The more of them I encounter, the more everything falls into place. It’s not that magic is lost in this transaction, but that my interest suddenly wanes. I have a sad history of losing interest in almost anything where I attain any modicum of skill. It’s as if I’m purely driven by curiosity and once that’s sated in one area, I must move on. I’ve been, in no specific order, almost singularly driven by writing, drawing, video games, psychology, math, physics, computers, cooking, music, and so the list grows. I’m not a jack of all trades, because it’s not the skill I’m after, but the understanding behind the activity itself, how it works, and possibly why. I file it away somewhere, and wander off in search of other novel mental stimulation.
But I’ve long since reached a point of diminishing returns. The truth is that several seemingly unrelated disciplines are inexorably intertwined, so much so, that I’ve lost interest in practically everything. The worst of this is that I find people, other human beings, the last vestige of infinite variation, tiresome. They’re superstitious, ignorant, easily influenced, jealous, suspicious, overprotective, excitable, veritably overflowing with cognitive dissonance, all too willing to delude themselves to avoid facing a painful truth.
Need bifocals? No, I’m not old enough for that yet! Go to the dentist? My teeth are only bleeding… they’ll be fine!. Only get a 3% raise in the face of a down economy? I deserve better than that! Strike! Oh my God, did you see what she’s wearing? And, did you hear about Tiger Woods? It doesn’t matter what I do… I have tenure! Liberals! Conservatives! Socialists! Ooooga-boooga! It doesn’t matter that he’s wrong! You can’t risk offending him!
I know exactly why we do all these things, and sadly, that doesn’t make it any better. We’re idiots, and quite frankly, it sickens me that I’m part of such a delusional, self-important, gullible asshat of a species. Even when I’m not actively revolted by the staggeringly repugnant things we do to ourselves, I’m bored out of my skull when interacting with my fellow man. It’s not that they don’t have interesting things to say, but it always follows a theme. Just as a previously outlined, it’s always something at least in some way, influenced by instinctual behavior. It’ll be about a new acquisition, or perhaps a baby has been born, or a wedding, or a great new band, or maybe a new restaurant, or how about that new technological breakthrough, or maybe some obscure but ultimately tame philosophical insight, or how about that seasonably appropriate sports team? I know I’m supposed to identify with these things, and possibly offer my own flavor to the conversation, but why?
Why? There’s billions of us, and for all the billions that have come before, we’re following the same pattern as we have for millennia. I could interject no authentically insightful comment, offer no influential breakthrough a person would not discover on his own, or has not somehow been covered at least a hundred separate times by possibly a million other people throughout history. And even if I did, time would march on and render these things ultimately moot, and humanity would continue repeating its futile pattern, accomplishing little else but propagating itself while even the greatest philosophers fade into the annals of history as it marches toward the heat-death of the universe. I feel like a slightly more aware ant among a sea of other ants, and sense an oncoming foot.
I’ve long maintained Langston Hughes had it right, but the reality of what he meant becomes more horrible every day. Nobody loves a genius child, least of all himself.