Friday, May 18, 2012

A Hostile World

These past few days I've found myself rather upset at something that happened as I was walking to work. I usually take a shortcut through another hotel parking dock to get to the street I want, and this day there happened to be a bum sitting on a bench. There was a van in front of him loading up with chemicals, so I couldn't help but pass close to him. When I got near he uncrossed his legs and brought out his right one just a few inches shy of touching me. I think the bastard tried to kick me.

I just walked on. He said nothing, and no contact occurred, so it's too small an incident to act upon. But it bothers me in a symbolic way, so much that I've been replaying that attempted kick a few times in my head. It symbolizes to me how hostile our culture is right now, and what a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't world we live in.

The majority of the people I've had to deal with in my life have been overwhelmingly negative. My mother was a boiling pot of anger -- mixed with longer bouts of frozen depression -- who scared me with her outbursts, made me distrust her, and ultimately destroyed any love I could have for her. I was scared of my grandfather since I thought he was going to hit me one day (he held me up by the front of my collar once), and my grandmother earned by revulsion by being literally obsessed with what other people thought of her, to the point that's almost all she cares about. In school I was stressed out by relentless bullying and friendships that either fell apart or ended too quickly. Teachers by and large didn't care about me, as they either acted with indifference towards the way other kids treated me, or even sided with the bullies. At work I've been frequently overlooked for promotions despite being one of the best employees, and had to deal with coworkers who were often angry at me for one thing or another, most likely the fact that I was willing to work so much harder than they.

This trend has been going on my whole life, with very few good people to alleviate matters. At home: Bad parent and grandparents. At school: Indifferent or odd mean teachers, and tons of bullies. At work: Passive bosses and angry coworkers. There's just too often no relief from this. And what do I do to hurt them? What do I do that makes me deserve this as some kind of justice? What justification does that bum, whom I've never met nor seen before, have in trying to kick me? What rational sense does it make for my coworkers to upset just because I want to do an extra project or clean a little more thoroughly?

What upsets me the most is the damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you don't position: At one point in my life I was mostly undercut by my shortcomings, and now people are angry at my virtues.

When I was a child something or the other happened that damaged my hearing. Because of that I can't hear the full phonetic nature of each and every word, which gave me an "accent" since I learned how to pronounce words only through their partially muted structure in my hearing. (E.g. I would say bath as bass, or scissors as thcissors.) I was unaware of this until my late high school years, so combining this with the fact I always smelled like cigarette smoke kids used to call me "retard," and I think even the adults believed it to a degree because they put me in special ed and lied to me by saying I just needed more time due to my hearing-impairment. (I know it was unjust since I knew my hearing didn't slow the transmission of information to my brain.) This behavior at large continued until the mid- to late high school years.

My last year of high school, after discovering Objectivism, I started a rather hard-core self-improvement regiment. Aware of my own flaws, I sought out to correct them, in both my dealings with people and my personal habits. When I got to college I finally got some speech therapy, as I got motivated to seek it out after a few people actually inquired what country I'm from. Once I understood the problem, my pronunciation became much better. As the years went on in my self-improvement I became more intelligent, more ambitious, more well-spoken and written, and more. I overall improved as a human.

But now people are still angry with me. It has happened several times to me in Texas when someone will spontaneously become agitated just at the sound of my voice, even with my perfectly polite tone. Coworkers at my old pizzeria, most regularly, would become very hostile and agitated with me for wanting to go above and beyond, even though I'm not doing anything that affects them. Two guys even went on to bully me, always expressing their anger at me (and only me) whenever it struck. It's perfectly unjustifiable, as too often their hostility is divorced from our interactions, making it so one day we're friends and then the next (and beyond that) we never speak again.

And now this bum, just because the way I look offends him, goes out to try and kick me. First I invoke hostility because of my mother's random outbursts and other children's cruelty towards my "accent," and now in having vastly improved myself people are offended at my proper speaking, my manners, my ambition.

When flawed, the bullies seize upon me to make themselves feel better by cutting me down (and thus making themselves feel heightened). Now much more improved, they switch to attacking me for my virtues. The irrational culture of today is set on making every suffer isn't it? Attack the flawed and weak to make yourself feel higher, follow the crowd and suffer like lemmings hitting the rocks beneath a cliff, and if you choose to be independent then you'll still garner anger and malevolence.

There's really no safe route except independence, because in independence you'll have your own personal spiritual comfort that you've at least satisfied yourself. Wallowing in weakness and submission, obviously, is to allow the crowd to get at you. But if you follow the crowd you can still suffer, as our irrational society today is like a bunch of lemmings walking off a cliff, where everyone will suffer equally in the end. By being independent you can at least enjoy your own company, and gain some measure of contentedness.

This is why, by and large, I often prefer being alone. Even with the higher living costs it's why I've chosen to pay for an apartment all for my lonesome, even though it would be cheaper to have a roommate. Being alone is one of the rare times in which I can handle myself in perfect peace, free from the stress of others. On a few occasions I even went into mild euphoria when I was left alone in the house, as without realizing it I was under constant tension with other people around.

On a truly worthwhile, spiritual level there have been few to none really good people in my life. Overall, I think I've really only had one great friend, one truly worthwhile friend, in my life because we shared so many life views, but I ended up destroying that friendship due to the irrational behaviors I adopted from my mother. Beyond that, I've been alone. All the people I'd truly want to deal with are scattered all across the globe, and the ones before me usually don't generate the kind of conversation that satisfies me on a deep level, so I'm always bored. Plus, I'm always afraid my associates are going to become spontaneously hostile to me, because that seems to usually happen after someone has discovered my writings on the internet. (Though, I try to be the same person online and off, so that's weird.)

In thinking about this last night I wondered whether this world is still worth living in. The people surrounding you do have a strong impact on your emotional estimate of mankind, don't they? Oh, they won't determine your view, if you don't let them, but they certainly shift how you "feel" about mankind at present. I know mankind can be good, but emotionally I feel fear, dread, and resentment since the most regular players I've dealt with have been nasty. I left my previous pizzeria job because I simply couldn't stand working with people who resent my ambition anymore.

Oh, I just wish there was one truly great person I could deal with in-person. Someone I could talk to about deep philosophy and personal subjects, because otherwise I depend on this blog and Facebook for my psychological visibility. I think having one really good person in my life would boost my moral endurance of today's hostility enough to know that this world is still worth living in. But I don't know who that person would be right now.

For now, I shall settle for people like Scrooge McDuck and other fictional beings that live inside books. While not alive, they should at least serve to satisfy my loneliness to whatever small degree it can.

Hopefully I never see that bum again. I'd certainly like to kick him back if he touches me, for while it's not conclusive he tried to kick me, I take him as a disgusting metaphor of what kind of people are destroying this world: Those who destroy themselves, and then try to channel their anger onto everything else.    

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