So Let it be Written, So Let it be Done!

June 5, 2009

The Armchair Genius

Filed under: drama,politics,rant — kamakula @ 8:59 am

That’s right people. I am an armchair genius. I sit in front of my tablet, read the news or watch it, read blogs or online magazines, and think about how much smarter, how much more self control, how much more morally consistent I am than everyone else. It is not hard to believe, after all, the world revolves around me. And as such, I’m glad you’ve humbled yourself today to catch even a small nugget of my intellect.

Yesterday I read about the Stanford Prison study. There have been other psychological experiments which yielded similar results but the conclusions drawn here were applied to an article discussing torture and Abu Grahib and the kind of situation that can make otherwise “good” people go “bad”. I will state now that in my infinite wisdom, I have already determined that “good” and “bad” are very subjective. That good and bad are not fundamental qualities of a person, but just a general consensus of how we (and they) view the results of their actions and motivations.

For example, the issue of torture. I’m sure there are many who believe what they were doing is right. That their methods were justified by their results, whatever that may actually have been. That by “keeping us safe”, they should have a get out of jail free card. But on my end, I just see torture. And as with anything that does not directly affect me, I feel that our laws should be immediately and impartially applied to them.

However, there are those that passionately feel the opposite. It is tempting to think they are idiots, immoral, unethical, lacking of humanity. But mayhaps they are not. I used to believe that ignorance played a major role in such things. It certainly can neatly explain why racism still exists and how many conservatives act like it doesnt. It neatly explains how they can earnestly decry any responsibility for what minorities have gone through and continue to experience in this country. It is how they can make statements like “What other country do you people have this level of rights and standard of living” without seeming to realize that until things are equal, truely equal, I would rather work to make America the place where minorities are treated and regarded as equals and not a place where it’s the best we can expect to have in the world. The best shithole amongst shitholes is still a shithole. Seems simple enough to me.

So, in my infinite wisdom, I thought, given that I have wisdom and knowledge and understand these things and they don’t, it is clearly an issue of ignorance. They just don’t know what I know. But perhaps I’m wrong. Maybe they do know what I know. Yet their life story has crafted such a widely divergent viewpoint, their current situation presents such a different outlook, I fear that no amount of knowledge can bridge the gap.

My thoughts turned to relationships. I was in a long term (3+ years) relationship a few years ago. One that my parents very much objected to when they found out about it. At the time, I wondered why they didn’t understand, why they didn’t support me, but now that it is over and time has passed, I’ve come to see some (but definitely not all) of their rationale (one does not become an armchair genius overnight you know). My being involved, no matter how pragmatic and impartial I think I can make my self, irrevocably changes they way I view things.

One conclusion of the study is that in situations like the prison experiment, our mind attempts to deal with two conflicting ideas and what wins out is that of conformity, the decision that is in line with those around us, those with whom we have a very close relationship, those with whom are in authority over us. I’m not saying that other people on the outside are always right, but providing a framework for this logical leap – which is that relationships can be the same way. We can at times deal with conflicting emotions, desires, and thoughts. But we stay because of inertia. Things have been moving in a certain direction, other people expect things of us, we have obligations, we want to do what seems “right”, so we suppress those contrary feelings and move on.

It can be easy for me to then say, the things that I allow myself to do should be those, for better or worse, that don’t generate internal conflict. My current academic/career choice and direction has been largely internal conflict free. My relationships, not so much. Buying my car, conflict free. Buying a ring, not so much. The problem is, I recognize that certain things in life, by their very nature, cannot be completely removed from conflict. Or perhaps, the reason is by my very nature, I cannot experience them without internal conflict.

My personal views about long term relationships have undergone a drastic shift in the past couple years. In 2007/2008, while I was single, all I wanted was an end to that status. To have a relationship with someone that I care about, respect, enjoy spending time with, and wanted to grow with and allow them to help me grow. In many ways, I’m a very private person. I dislike sharing information about myself and tend not to make what I feel are unneccesary conversations. So, when I am with someone who I can open up to, it means I’m in a very vulnerable state, and as such, that person must be special.

Now that I’m with such a person, my mind wanders at time. Damn the greener grass syndrome. I wonder if I just need time to get it out of my system. A friend of mine had his girlfriend recently leave him because she wanted to be single to discover who she really was. She’s been in one relationship after another almost continuously for the past 6+ years. Is this possible? Can one ever truely satisfy that kind of thirst? I don’t know. I’ve always said that commitment isn’t a feeling as much as it is a decision.

I hate second guessing my decisions. I fear that I can make wrong ones.

By the way, I actually am a good writer. However, my thoughts themselves (at least when not concerned with robotics) tend not to be organized. What allows me to pass english classes is an ability to turn jumbled messes into works of art. Unfortunately for those who came to see art, I feel no such compuction with this blog to clean it up beyond what flows from my mind (and any sanitization to protect my vanity).

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