I’m feeling especially misanthropic today, so I’m going to write about something that has been on my mind for a while but that I haven’t had the guts to talk about yet: there are basically only 3 types of people – leaders, followers and philosophers (plus a few hybrids); but that is pretty much it.
Coming up with classifications like this always reeks of elitism, or something worse (me being German, I want to be especially careful not to give off the wrong impression…). But just because there are some very problematic historical connotations, that doesn’t automatically prove the original idea wrong.
I recently finished “The Anxiety of Influence” by legendary literary critic Harold Bloom. Besides my ongoing Hegel studies, this might have been one of the toughest books I ever read: Bloom does nothing to invalidate the common stereotype about academics being too wordy, too cryptic and too cloistered. If anything, he takes it one further: He does not even try to make a rational argument you can follow – you either get his very subtle literary and cultural references or you don’t.
Have you come across situations when you are about to do something right and then someone interferes, and changes your mind? Maybe you are about to leave the house for the gym but then your roommate convinces you to play videogames with him. Maybe you are about to order the chicken salad at TGI Friday’s but your brother thinks you should treat yourself to a burger. Maybe you are planning to go to bed early for once but then the girlfriend calls and off you go barhopping.
From a personal development point of view, this is the kind of situation where the rubber hits the road. It’s one thing to read all these inspiring self-help books and come up with all these great resolutions for change. It’s a very different thing when everyone around you is doing shots at the bar and you are miserably holding on to your water.
This sounds rather bitter and like I constantly run into people that leave me behind angry and regretful. However, the absolute opposite is true: I almost exclusively spend my time with people that leave me happier than before. But this is only because I have gotten much better over the years at radically cutting out people who are just taking value away from me, without offering anything in return.
This still sounds rather bitter… How do I get this straight?
This is going to be a short one. I’m drunk and I just came back from a drag queen bar, which was much more of an interesting experience than I first thought. There’s nothing quite like a guy / future gal on hormone therapy flashing his boobs to you, while making some very straightforward sexual offers. Good times!
So, I take my current drunken state of mind as an excuse to do some navel-gazing – even more than usual I mean. It’s just that a thought hit me earlier: I’m most content or “happy” if I find myself in a situation where I can perform many different roles, in relation to others. I think you could call that social schizophrenia.
As a blogger, I read many blogs – big surprise, I know. And since blogging is such a personal endeavour, you can’t help but notice the very different thought processes, mindsets and quirks of the authors doing the writing. For some reason, this is something that has always fascinated me – to distil someone’s psychological core features from the seemingly objective ideas that they present to you. The thing is: As objective and well thought out as these ideas come across, if you look closer at the tone and mannerisms, the things said AND unsaid, the writer’s personality is always just lurking beneath the surface.
My friend J and I were talking about the causes of sleep deprivation today. One of the main things we came up with was the inability of most people to keep a regular sleeping schedule. Going to bed and waking up around the same time works fine during the week, but as soon as the weekend arrives, all resolutions go straight out the window: I mean, it’s the weekend after all! I get to do something fun, like hanging out with my friends and getting buzzed! Let’s do it!
I was talking with my best friend about a book today, “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World” by Harry Browne. It is an interesting take on one of my favorite topics. In general, it leans towards the American version of libertarianism, which I have some reservations about, but I do like his take on personal freedom. In essence, Browne observes that most of us are constantly placing expectations and demands on each other, and then are either heartbroken or angry when the other person does not play along. Browne goes on to argue that doing so is foolish. You can always ask for something, no problem – but you should never get emotional if you receive a refusal. The other person is simply not someone to be molded and controlled.