April 28

How many of us get stuck in something that is comfortable, and lose sight of what makes us really tick. When we no longer value what we say we love, and no longer respect it, but rather covet it because it makes us miserable, and we would rather keep hold of it to return that misery rather materialize a looming fear that a break would make that misery-inducer suddenly happy without us. Who is creating the misery? Who is the victim? Will we find when we lose that creator of our misery that we are really creating the misery ourselves?….

After my failed stint at the Mac Computer Store, and an array of slightly more successful positions in retail, I have seen the great divide between the white collar elite I graduated with in Jackson Hole (the wealthiest county in the country) and the “blue collars” who appear on the surface the same, but have some inherent self-reliance my classmates in high school would have scoffed at as a waste of time. Anyway, there is this divide, which conjures up ideas of specialness, that also fit in like a yummy sandwich with some ideas of technology on the one side (its convenience, identity validation, its immediacy, its alienation) and romance on the other side (another form of convenience, personality building, and alienation from others who are not your beloved). This is really broad brainstorming, but it is the very sparse beginning to ideas that are plaguing me, especially as I fumble between what feels intuitively to be my true self, and what transforming self I have had boxed and packaged and poked by friends, lovers, family and acquaintances over the years. I’m 27, and just starting to feel like this person that I have always known and seen is somehow unveiling itself, and still I’m scared and skittish, like a cat at a crosswalk.

I’ll explain more later, but down to my questions. If I can make this study less about me and more about everyone, the more informative and interesting it will be, because I can only represent my narrow world of perceptions, with my neuroticisms. Let’s put all our neuroticisms and perceptions and experiences together, and maybe something readable can come out of it.

On specialness: with modern establishments like the Hard Rock Academy and the Academy of Art University (100% acceptance rate for both, both guarantee to make you a star ), with Reality TV shows from here to Australia, (there is this new conformity that doesn’t just preach the 50’s conformity to an ideal of middle-class comfort, or the conformity of radical free love come togetherness, but now a new age free love, built on community that challenges you to be a star, an individual, in other words individuality as the new conformity, as Hal Niedzviecki states in his recent book “Hello I’m Special”. The question I have is what role does technology play in this new conformity as indivuality and super stardom. In a time when you can get a master’s degree in a year online guaranteeing you the credentials to be a full-fledged professor, or expert in a field of study, and in a time when you can become famous overnight for uploading a hilarious remake of a pop song with Obama romance lyrics, sung by you in a bikini and photo-shopped Obama faces. Does technology, internet dating, and text messages take the place for us of romance, love letters, and courtship? Is our modern muse the ipad?

Maybe you scoff and say of course not, but you probably have at least a cell phone, if not an iphone, and you may or may not have a tv, a laptop, and a daily addiction to either myspace, facebook, or some other online community that hosts your individual profile, your favorite things, your summarized personality, and maybe even descriptions from friends, about who you are as a person, from the inside-out.

I personally quit facebook for a few varying reasons, but decidedly for good after a boy I’d dated dropped me from his facebook list and I realized that this little online world had become so important to my life that the division between my actual, physical world and my online world had ceased to exist. It was like this recent episode of South Park where Kenny gets zapped up into the computer world and immersed in facebook, where his Profile self is owning and manipulating his real self. How is this happening in reality? I prefer hot yoga and long walks! I’m not going to say anymore Now, I just want to hear from you in your experiences regarding technology, but also just romance versus love, and other matters.

Is there a difference between love and romance? I had an argument with my ex that lasted years, and began the very first night we met at a party. I declared I believed in love at first sight. And he decided that very night he thought I was attractive and he’d like to take me back to his house if only he didn’t have a girlfriend at the time, and I wasn’t pining over another guy, (his coworker). He also decided that night and made a point of telling me, that no one could really feel love at first sight. It was almost a When Harry Met Sally kind of conversation, except alcohol-infused. He believed it was only lust at first sight that romantics mistaken for love, and over the years he continued his theory by saying pointing out what he felt was the differences between love and romance. I personally think romance is an important part of love, but that romance without love usually leads to suffering and misery. Both, in my opinion, validate a sense of self, if only by allowing us to find what we love and to make it a successful integration of our lives, making our lives fuller with what makes us happy. His primary problem was that he was happiest alone, wo even in a successful love, he was never as content as he was by himself. His greatest love was himself, and you could call that egotistical, but is it any worst than someone who finds a love, and declares, yes, this person is more valuable and in my opinion better all round than any of the rest of you out there. Of course, you can be self-aware and say that this is your individual opinion based on personal emotional bias, not fact, and so it can only be appreciated for the feeling of passion that it is.

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