Sunday, January 22, 2012

Winter's Despair

A wave of sorrow and procrastination has over taken me recently. I can do no more than click my laptop to play the next video that slowly cradles me toward the end. I have come across a fantastic site called topdocumentaryfilms.com. It contains over a thousand streamed documentaries on all different subjects, including my favorite topics of obsession: religion, philosophy, science, and history. I have been superglued to my computer due to this, and have as a result, been as lethargic as a sloth; barely able to expend enough energy to feed myself.

As much pleasure as there is in getting free, no commercially interrupted, full length and albeit, illegal documentaries steamed to my comfortable living room(take that SOPA!), I have also been gloating over the current situation in my professional life. I still do retain employment, so I cannot despair as deep as millions of my fellow countrymen do at the moment, but I am hopelessly out of place in the IT industry.

I originally came to this industry because of the multitudinous touting I heard while growing up. They all proclaimed an exponentially growing industry, that delivered large financial payloads. This has more or less held up in some regard, and I testify to this only as anecdotal evidence. But what I forgot to remember, is how much I, as someone who is somewhat antisocial, who doesn't make friends easily, who doesn't vibrate to the stereo-typical, socially popular, favorite pastimes of the "average" person, and who finds trouble befriending those who do, how important it is to be doing something that is dear to my heart.

I'm really a simple man, and I know what makes me happy. Happiness for me resides with in three basic conditions. I am happy when I am doing something I like, with people I like, in a place that I like. I've noticed that if these three conditions are met, I am almost always happy. I hate my job because I am doing something I don't like, with people I don't like, in a place that I don't like. At least with some jobs you may hate the work, but like your coworkers, or you may hate your coworkers, but like the easy commute, I don't have any such thing.

I should have known this when choosing my career all those years ago. I realize I am not locked into my job like a prison cell, I can leave at any time. It just isn't so easy to switch gears right as you're taking off. I should have known that I am just not the type of person who can sit for hours on end in a office filled with people who are not passionate about the same things that I am. It's funny how I actually feel most comfortable when engaging in the the very topics that most others shy away from out of fear.

This loathing in self pity naturally begs the question of what career choice would I have chosen, given the priceless gift of hindsight that I now have. I remember going over a list of possible career paths with my older sister years ago, and the list I can assemble now would really not be that much different from the original, which I have no idea where it is.

My passions in life, the areas that I can spend so many hours volunteering attention to, are in the primary fields of philosophy, history, architecture, film, writing, science, particularly astrophysics, geology, and biology, and perhaps lastly, but certainly not the least, is religion. In college I became master of the power-point. I had finally gotten over my fear of public speaking to a degree in which I felt actually comfortable speaking to the audience. I could show off my knowledge of all subjects, and subject my captive audience to my propaganda. I very much liked that idea. While the others beside me,(because I was usually not alone while presenting) were fearful and timid, I shined bright and delivered the subject at hand clearly and concisely, and even with a bit of entertainment. I realized that as long as I am passionate about what I am speaking about, I will conquer any fear of public speaking.

This brings me to religion, and to my now deceased hero Christopher Hitchens. I am not going to lie for a moment that I don't envy Hitchens' lifestyle as a witty writer and polemicist in the god debate. I would love to be up on stage debating theists, as well as my intellectual and political enemies. This is truly what I would want to do as my profession. I know there isn't a whole lot of money to be made just doing that, and that most organized atheist or secular organizations are non profit, and money loosing ventures. I am not into the fight against theistic tyranny for profit, but I would like to somehow make a living, even a humble one, doing what I love most.

I could be a talented writer, as Hitchens is and debate on the side, I could be a scientist like Richard Dawkins is and do the same as well. I would much like a job where I didn't have to interact with people much: A writer who is glued to his laptop, who periodically munches on bread and sips wine, with an ashtray nearby for the occasional cigarette, in the darkness of his tiny cramped apartment up all night; a scientist who spends time out in the field or in the laboratory, seldom having to interact with another; the philosophizing bookworm, who spends most of his time in the dimly light libraries of universities who writes out his papers, and lectures the latest ideas to a select audience. These kinds of lifestyles appeal to me. They all involve limited or controlled human interaction, which is what I have no control over. I'm not that antisocial in that I cannot bare human interaction, I don't mind other people, as long as we connect.

I was thinking lately that I can be a public speaker of sorts for the atheist movement. Besides atheism, I do have other political passions, namely the eroding of human rights by corporatism, the evolution-creation debate, the promotion of secular humanist values, and advocacy for overall scientific-literacy. I am now a man in need of an awakening, a metamorphosis, a life change, a new chapter. I am aching to break free of this prison-like cocoon, to spread my wings, and go and do where I want to be.

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