The story of a man and his search to avoid joining the real world at all costs. Mostly tongue-in-cheek, I think.

4.26.2005

Where Does it All Get You?

I've been contemplative lately. My new job is boring so far, since they are still teaching me a lot of stuff, and I'm not comfortable openly surfing the web for long stretches, so I've had plenty of time to think. I've been thinking about my future, where it will take me, etc. And I wonder if it's all worth it.

Why, exactly, is ambition a natural instinct? What causes a person to naturally strive to succeed, whether it be in work, school, relationships, etc? For example, I will be enrolling in a very highly-regarded master's program in the fall. This will, ostensibly, enable me to get a good job that allows me to make a substantive impact on society, and possibly make some good coin along the way. But what's the point? It's not like I sat back and made a conscious decision to better my life. I just did it. I never really considered that there could be an alternative.

Why did I never consider that there's nothing wrong with getting any old job that pays the bills, living check-to-check, just enjoying my free time and not worrying about breaking the bank, gaining esteem, and striving to improve my life and the lives of others? Surely there's nothing wrong with that. I could still seek out knowledge through alternate means, couldn't I?

I think it's the old "nature vs. nurture" argument. I haven't always been the most ambitious person (as if being unemployed for the duration of the human gestation process wasn't evidence of that). But I always had some sort of ideals, and goals. Lately, I've sought to replace talk with action, with mixed results. But that ambition, at some level, has always been there. Where did it come from?

As for the "nature" argument, like I mentioned before, it's always seemed inherent. It seems just about everyone wants to improve their lives on one level or another. But then there are the folks who fall through the cracks, either due to bad luck, bad circumstances, and so on, and essentially have given up on life.

I think there's some validity to the "nurture" argument as well. I'm the son of parents who immigrated to the US about 35 years ago. They came over here in search of the old cliches: Opportunity, a better life for my brothers and I, you know, the whole American Dream. As a result, they instilled a sense of purpose in us. But then, other folks were in similar situations as mine, and may not have the same "instincts." So there are pros and cons to each argument.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't know why I do the things I do, such as why I'm trying to leave such a good impression on an employer I'll be leaving in a couple of months, or why we care about people we'll never meet in parts of the world we'll never visit. My gut tells me it's a sign of our humanity. But likewise, the fact that we don't know for sure is an even better sign of our humanity.

2 Comments:

Blogger thurston said...

Man, I'd be perfectly content to work some crap job as long as it paid the bills and didn't take up too much of my personal time.

Marry rich. That's my advice.

Though I know I probably won't.

I'm still planning on winning the lottery.

4/30/2005 12:55 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You's a bitch.

5/10/2005 11:22 PM

 

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