Memories of a marginal employee
I’m a representative of a dying species: people studying liberal arts from genuine curiosity instead of trying to make a living out of it. I’m not going to write about the reasons this species is dying: enough has been published on that, and we all know it.
I’m also not going to advertise anything, at least not without a warning.
My primary degree contained philosophy. I can remember clearly my first lesson: the teacher let us read two texts, one “proving” that the world doesn’t exist, the other showing the opposite. We left that lesson like he had given us LSD, no other school lesson had shaken us in our foundations like that before (and for many, probably no lesson after that as well).
I’d claim that teacher did a good job. He told us he had worked physically for some time before picking up his studies, and he said that had given him the necessary motivation to complete them. Obviously, he was trying to pass that motivation on to us, and I think that is indeed one of his central tasks in that job.
However, for me that didn’t work. I started reading philosophical texts without being told to or them being reviewed in class, not receiving any grades for that either. Most classmates perceiving that flipped me the bird at most.
Well, at some point in time I got interested in psychology as well. I borrowed a handful of books about it from the town’s library, but I considered the topic to be way too superficial and too quickly exhausted to pay more attention to it. For the students of social sciences I encountered in droves during my studies (the parties were great, to give credit where it is due) I had a secret despicable term: I called them raspberry guys.
At the beginning of my studies my intentions were everything but honorable, my thought was, roughly speaking, to bring them down even more than they were by themselves anyway. Well, that didn’t happen, because the class on subject didactics showed me that as a teacher I had to protocol every lesson pedantically, in order to protect myself against hordes of parents claiming the grades I had assigned their children were insufficient. I noticed very quickly that I consider my time too precious for that kind of activity. By chance, I decided to study Japanese at that point, having to put quite a bit more work into that, and I don’t regret any of that time, but then, below an age of 30, I was told already I was too old for that job.
While averse to sports as a child, I had to do physical labor during my studies to support myself, and after having been beaten up once again as an adult, I put four years into learning Tae Kwon Do. All of that movement, however, made me notice my mood was improving noticeably. For several reasons, I wasn’t interested in a stellar career anyway, so the idea of doing physical labor full-time didn’t seem wrong at all, while the office mob was flocking to the gym, my movement had already been done, at least that was the thought back then.
Well, not that exciting, to be honest. I preferred to sell my body instead of my head, I considered my thoughts too precious to be squished into a curriculum or business plan. So I didn’t let myself get distracted by the place where I live turning into a brothel, I found it fitting in a way, thinking “they just have a different way of selling their body than me”.
Why did I consider my thoughts too precious? Because the books I was binge-reading contained hazardous materials, that’s why they weren’t part of any curriculum. You need to be able to handle that kind of stuff. But I was well prepared. For example, as an 8year old, I went to a swamp with a few classmates, near by the village where I grew up. We didn’t tell anybody, there were no mobile phones back then, and we almost drowned in it, our parents probably wouldn’t have found us anymore. But that’s how childhood was back then, there was no guarantee to survive until the next day. And having grown up like that, destabilizing thoughts are easier to stomach. What should I say, I’m still feeding off of that.
But of course it’s no walk in the park. On your way, you encounter lots of abysses, and people trying to push you into one of them as well. You get some tools along the way, but hardly an explanation on how to handle them intelligently. But by figuring that out on your own, you become very self-reliable and have an easy time to figure out the deficiencies in the explanations other people get handed. And when you manage to keep your perspective in this multidimensional labyrinth of contradictory layers of explanations, it’s not that much of a challenge to become rich, for example, in case one is interested in that. However, I never was, and I still consider it a waste of time, because you can’t take anything into your grave anyway.
Of course, you can still give clues to people who are interested in that (and there are supposed to be quite a few of those, at least that’s what I heard), and that can pay off in hardly imaginable ways. But of course, you need to take incredible risks as well. No risk, no fun or something like that.
Why am I telling that story just now, you ask? Well, it took me decades to connect all the remote corners of my mind, but since I managed that I see the world and life in a completely new light. And I know for a fact this perspective is unique, impossible to copy even if I explained every little step along the way. And even if a big part of my life could be described with terms like “valley of tears”, now I have the distinct feeling it was worth all the trouble. So I want to encourage people who have to face difficult choices in their lives to decide for the lesser known path occasionally. Because there you find real treasures that would long have been plundered in better known areas. And nobody should think there won’t be unknown areas left soon, entropy in the universe is constantly expanding, and while some try to provide more safety and order by surveillance techniques, chaos and complexity are always a step ahead. And I consider that to be wonderful, because how boring would a world without secrets be?