Thursday, October 12, 2006

Volt, Exodus, Nocturnal Ramblings.

I have much on my mind and I’m not in the mindset to do a lot of editing right now, so I won’t be doing anything more then spell-check corrections wise. Consequentially you’ll have to pardon me if I wander with my focus.

It all starts with the job. I took this job knowing, but not fully realizing the consequences. I’ve worked only one day this week, which is better then I thought it would be on Tuesday, but worse then last week where I managed to get in three. I still haven’t made my way on to a long term project. The group is about as organized as you would expect a bunch of people who play video games for a living to be, and I’m getting shafted by their nonchalance.

Richard Cho, who I’m going to call my contact even though I don’t have a consistent contact because I don’t have consistency, said last week that he could get me back on the originally planned long term project. I’m not sure if he’s swamped with work of if he’s just playing WoW at work, but that didn’t happen. I got put on for the last two days of another project, and was told that I would be getting back onto whatever was in store for me starting this week. I was told that, and that he would get back to me, but Monday came and no word. I began sending e-mails because there’s no way for me to call him directly. The e-mails became more and more embittered until Wednesday’s which ended with whatever my business etiquette word filter made out of the thought “If you fuckers keep stringing me along I’m going to drop you and get another job.”

It’s probably a good thing I have that filter.

Whether it was the much more terminal message of Wednesday’s e-mail or just him finally getting around to my e-mails I don’t know, but he called and set up a one day stunt for me today, and promised another long term project starting Monday. He also said he’d get back to me tomorrow with details on that project. If I don’t have directions, time, etc. by Monday I’m finding a new job.

That’s the more immediate material news of it, but this is really just a stepping stone into a greater philosophical discussion, because hindsight won’t shut the hell up. It reminds me of the Quiznos job which would have paid more for better hours and consistent employment. It reminds me that I had a safe secure option that would’ve made Project Exodus much easier, but ease isn’t what this is about. Ease is the opposite of what I’m seeking; I’m seeking the pain and the strife that fan the fires of my soul, the turmoil that is my greatest muse. I seek to live once more at the height of my being, where my forebrain is linking together complex schemes and machinations, diverse webs of options and alternatives all leading to a single goal, and my midbrain is tossing about the philosophical implications and questions raised by the state I’ve found myself in, and the deep recesses of my mind are ablaze in a rainbow of esoteric emotion. Not the simple happy and worried and afraid that fill the mundane world, but the more exotic flavors of Miasmic Depression, of Peril, of Strife, and of Triumph.

Some may question my bizarre form of emotional masochism but they’re too busy drowning in their emotions to step back and see the beauty of the nuance of feeling that is afforded to them. A nuance that is almost never truly appreciated.

Act 2.

I’m beginning to learn how to play the game that is the playing games business. It is much the same as life was before. The change is that the fight is no longer one that you can fight with only half of your mind. This new challenge requires the whole of my focus because I was, until recently, up against an entire horde of enemies. My list of concerns back at Lander was essentially “When is class, what is my homework, what do I have to do for the Bistro.” It is a short one but one much more troublesome then it sounds. It was also one that left room for a much larger number of entertainment based concerns. Project Exodus has given me a much larger list of much more significant concerns. “Will I have a job tomorrow, is there any food left, If I do this will I have enough money left for rent, can I schedule Comcast to perform the installation at a time that one of us will be available, if this job fails where will I go as backup, if Chris is schedules next weekend how will I get food for next week.”

A dark inner part of me laughs thinking of this. You see when people have proposed to me their plans of going out on their own and doing whatever it is they sought to do I would fall into my role as Devil’s Advocate. It’s a good thing I did because they never almost never had a good plan, but one of the key was I pointed that out was asking them “How do you plan to get food.” It’s a question so essential to existence that is would shake people from their high flying dreams and bring them back, sometimes painfully, to earth. And this may be part of my next point.

Before I can fully explain this I have to outline my situation so I can show that I’m now speaking from a valid position instead of just idly thinking. I’ve held this theory for a while, but only now do I have any real proof of it. One of the key things that I’ve done by striking out in a city I don’t really know and attempting self sufficiency is lower my own class ranking. Given my current income I’m well below the poverty level, and even if I was working forty hours a week at volt I’d still be making less then 20k per year. In many ways I’m living a lower class life. This is only the beginnings of being true because I was born into lower middle class, grew up regular middle class, and watched the corrupting power of success as I became someone who has one foot (parent) in the upper middle class and the other foot (parent) in the lower middle class. In either case life was never economically harsh for me. It is now though, and it gives me a rare delicious insight into the problems involved in lower class existence. The lack of money means a lack of power, and if you don’t have money you’re going to have to spend more of the other three incantations of power: Freedom, time, and knowledge. Those of you who didn’t follow that sentence see my previous work on “The New Pentacle.” If you grew up middle class you probably don’t have much knowledge to spend. I’m lucky to be a child of privilege who grew up in an intellectual household at the dawn of the information age so knowledge flowed freely into me. Anyway the average lower class person is going to be forced (freedom) to give up time. It’s really all they’ve got to spend. The best example of this is the bus. If I had a car (money) I could drive to volt in half an hour. My total commute time a day would be an hour, tops. Actually, I would drive to work in twenty minutes, but the average safe driver would probably take thirty. I don’t so I have to take the bus. The bus costs a lot less, but now it’s about an hour each way to and from work. Off the bat I have an hour less each day then someone with money would. The problem doesn’t go away though. When I have errands or chores to run I don’t spontaneously get a car. As a general rule of thumb it will take you three times as long to get somewhere by bus as it would to get there by car. The 291 Dart runs up and down Willows hitting all the corporate complexes there, so it’s only a factor of two for my commute to volt, but for everything else it’s three.

Our subject now has much less free time then the average middle classer, and despite this sacrifice they still have less money. This means they almost certainly don’t have enough money to go to college or some other form of higher learning center and gain Knowledge. The lack of initial power combined with the constant demands of life will prevent them from ever gaining enough power to trade some for freedom. This brings me to my first point, which is really a sub point.

The current capitalist structure prevents the lower class from rising and prevents the upper class from falling. It reinforces the present class lines, making success not a matter of personal achievement but an inherited gift. Only cataclysmic failure or epic success on the part of an individual can cause them to overcome, or fall from, their class placement.

That probably sounds like something a communist would say. I don’t reject capitalism; it seems to be the best thing we have thus far. I certainly think it could be done better, but as long as you wish to maintain a government that isn’t tyrannical I certainly can’t think of a better system of governance.

Some day I need to post the full description of Maxonian semi-enlightened communist dictatorship. That day will be the day after I finally get around to writing it out.

And wasn’t Project Exodus supposed to be a time for me to write all these things out? I really need to get done with all of these important immediate concerns so I can get around to addressing all of the pointless ethereal concerns this project was meant to address.

I’m getting off topic.

Starting back from my rant on class oppression I have another theory, this one not so well tested and certainly not as easily proven, but I think I’m right (which is about as far as I usually get) and if I am then one of the greatest quandaries I have will finally be answered.

I’ve talked about the divide between what I call normals and deviants before. The general rule is that normals have given up on the bizarre extreme goals and have instead sunk into mundane life. They tend to be much more economically successful, and the mass media and pop culture are built around satisfying them and essentially farming them for money. It’s hard for things that appeal to deviants to stay in business because we tend to have very little money, either because we’ve spent it on our goal/dream/obsession or because we’re too fixated on our goal/dream/obsession to get a good paying job. As someone who will almost certainly be consumed by his obsessions one day I’ve always wondered why people become normals. I’ve made little secret of my disdain for normals, and I’ve done absolutely nothing to hide my disdain for their culture. In fact I’ve probably gone out of my way to bash normal culture. The phrase “Drow in sunlight” best conveys how I feel when immersed in it. For those of you who don’t know what a drow is the feeling is being vaguely offended, equally disgusted, and very out of place. I tend to actively recoil when walking through downtown’s “Westlake Center” but if you know where another movie theatre is downtown you tell me.

Despite all this I’m still fascinated by the study of normals. It’s what a regular person would call “people watching” but a regular person probably wouldn’t have the same “Here I am exploring the thick of their jungle habitat” mindset that I do. The one thing that has always puzzled me is how, when, and why people become normals. I could see that most people were destined to subside to it in college. A lot were already there, and, but by and large people were on the precipice. They could go either way and I knew that nine out of ten of them would go normal. It’s clear to me that it’s not a conscious choice. People rarely take time to reflect on their lives in a meaningful meditative way, so I doubt any of them were conscious enough of the shift to have a moment where they decided to give up whatever their idyllic dream was. It just gets pushed to the side temporarily, but that act of putting it off becomes habit, and eventually you don’t even remember that it was there. So Why? I know now, and it’s connected to my earlier theory about class rigidity.

People succumb to mundanity because the difficulty involved in existence is so great that no other pursuit can be afforded.

That’s all well and good, but the key flaw in that one, especially when you link it to my earlier theory, is that everyone succumbs to mundanity. Not just people who have to invest all their time and freedom into subsistence. What I’m about to say may be the darkest, harshest, single most bitter theory I’ve ever put forward.

People succumb to mundanity because the difficulty involved in existence is so great that no other pursuit can be afforded. This is true irrelevant of the difficulty of an individual’s existence, and made true by humanities tendency to adapt to their present situation.

Why do people become normals? Because it’s easier. God knows it’s tempted me more then once. Good at math, good at science, BAM I’m an engineer and the whole “Faith” thing I was doing becomes something I’ll later talk about as having been a phase. I could write it off as a childish pursuit and make bank wiring up the next ipod knock off or doing whatever is Halliburton keeps recruiting chemical engineers to do. Hell, I could go all the way get my CS BS and sell out to M$. The sky’s the limit.

But speaking as someone who will never let go of his inner fire, Fuck the Sky. I don’t intend to have any limits.

Act 3

Which is really a shame because I love that last line. I kind of which that I could get my point across without resorting to profanity, but the severity, and harshness of the word is really what I’m going for. If I do slip into mundanity I’m going to fight every step of the way.

By now of course you know that all of the outlines of my “current situation” are irrelevant. My actually current situation is summed up in the “Job Stuff” entry below. Now that I have some measure of stability, and some form of a system in place I can finally step back and reflect.


Post a Comment

<< Home