I am hesitant with my wording this time as I begin with the theme of this chapter. Many people get thier idea of purpose from religion (I don't mean everyone, I mean many people. enough that I think it's a topic). There are no shortage of things to feel hopeless about and a purpose is dificult to hold on to. I am no strnager to such feelings, and I'm afraid I don't have much of an uplifitng message this time. Still, that which I am I am. LEt's begin with the history as I always have.
You know by now, if you've been reading the other chapters, that I began life as a Christian. The age of reason was late for me (mostly because I was made to seriously believe I was mentally handicapped throughout much of my life) so I spent 15 years as one. I don't know how to feel about this, but I actually think I was happy then. I was happy because I was ignorant and I have made the choice in my life that I will take the truth over hapiness. Some of you wouldn't make the same choice. Knowledge is the most cherished thing to me, no matter how it hurts me. It went more specificallly like this: I was ignorant and even fearful of death at an early age (if you can imagine how silly that was). I was forver gathering my idea of purpose from others, as I guess all children do, and putting stake in every frivelous thing imaginable. I came together as a sort of christian because that's what I was surrounded by. I don't know how any adult could think this was a good thing to make your child into, but it was probably a symptom of generation diference. I was very fearful and apologetic as a christian, thinking arrogantly that god took some special interest in every damn fool thing a child like me was doing. It hovered in the background a bit as I rounded ages 8-10 and I was actually able to make fun of the idea of it when I was 10.
From the time I was 9 or maybe sooner I knew there was something wrong with this culture. Of course I grew up with the idea that this culture is 'humanity' itself so I concldued that I don't want to be human. This was impossible but it didn't stop me from trying. I knew that non humans had such a stress free life I couldn't help but wish to discard my humanity. Of course the adults shook thier heads at my childish antics. They thought being human was wonderful. I didn't think for a moment they knew something I didn't. They must have not realized what I did. I wwas able to be happy for a time but the fact was that I hated what I was. I hated my very species. I felt trapped by my body. Worse then that was how I felt contained. I was tormented with the feeling that I had to be free all the time. It was like a mantra in my mind telling me to run.
The volume only increased and what I was owing to just having a bad day by the time I reached middle school was turning into a series of bad days. Then a bad existence. I got to the point where my only joy in life was going to bed and taking a shower. These were my two wombs to retreat into. The place I felt safe from containment and pressure. I'm not sure now what I was so pressured by. I didn't have a job or a child or anything obviously. I think it's a symptom of growing up that I no longer remember how awful it is to be a preteen. I didn't know how odd my feelings were. I didn't think it strange to admit I loved to sleep for over 16 hours at a time if I could. I strove for it. I was letting my grooming and clothing fall into neglect and you can imagine how other preteen reacted. I got the reputation that I must have been poor. I didn't care to correct this until the pity started. Some well meaning Christian student got her family to buy me nicer clothes. I felt so sickened and so violated by the presumption that I think this began the end of my faith. The abuse was more pleasant to bare then the pity. A close friend attempted sucide in middle school as well. Remarkably, or maybe not, I didn't even think to stop him. I couldn't blame him. Who wouldn't want to stop existing. It was his right. He failed though. He's still alive.
Inevitably I began to form a social life. I never wanted to but I had some shred of a personality. I was drowned in people wiser then me and my fiath was alien to people who otherwise thought like me. I have covered how it broke already and that is not my purpose here. I began to form a purpose in life again at this point, though just as misguided. I put myself under the notion that my so called friends were closer to me then they were. I sincerely believed I loved all of them. They were my first tribe and I didn't realize I wasn't that to them. They are still rather fond of me I'm sure but they don't consider us to be fmaily the way I did. and neither do I now. I was probably as personable as I ever was at this point. I was making my way thorugh highschool and my later acting puberty was begining. I began to become hyper sexual for a lack of a better word. Of course. I was a loser yet and it had no where to go except in stories. Fantasy universes had always been an escape for me along with knowledge. Alltogether I never left my room very mcuh from age 11-17 except for school. I wrote the most amazing erotic stories at such a young age and the women of my peer group loved them. This didn't translate into any fondness for me of course, excpept as a writer. They all knew that was my only capacity, but I still enjoyed a celebrity status among them. I had nothing much in the way of a dating life. It was more casual then anything. The fame was thrilling but it was short lived by my own choice. I knew it was shallow and it didn't fulfill me for long. I still feel fulfilled as a writer, but it's not as deeply satisfying as it was once. Just a part of a whole. Perhaps that is what it should be.
Taking my cue from those around me again I think, I became intensely patriotic near the end of highschool. This must seem terribly contradictory to my hatred of my own species and I must admit I don't know what I was thinking. It was just another lense I wore to deal with continuing on. I found purpose in defending the liberties I enjoyed and loved and the democratically elected republic that granted them. This was as naive a delusion as when I was a Christian, but I must say I'm not surprised. I wanted to cling to something. I still defend human liberties but I hardly identify with any particular country as part of my identity anymore. My politcal affilaition would best be called libertarian if I really thought it mattered. This is another piece that has come with me. How it dissolved again I don't know. I think further nowledge exposed the foolishness of it. Purposes were gettiing easier to discard.
Entering college I became more obsessed with knowledge then ever before. I learned at last that this culture was not humanity itself, and it was this culture I hated so much. I was okay with being human for the first time. I went through a long string of group affiliaitions I am not remarkably proud of. I was at some point a neo luddite, an anarcho primitivist, a neo tribalist. I wanted to belong to something that could lash out at the civlization I labled as my enemy.
Through enough time and defeatmy rightous anger subsided and I was left with only knowing this civilization is flawed and harmful, but it makes me more thoughtful or amused these days.
I came into an understanding, mostly through the early work of richard dawkins, that humans are bio machines. Our emotions and functions are not anything seperate or sacred, they are chemical reactions and nothing more. This washed away a lot of idealism I had but the stake I still place in emotion comes from my conclusion that if it is a part of my experience then it is as real as it feels to me. The input of my senses and output of my processes are literally all the world I can percieve. So I should make the best of it.
For all my searching for a purpose I must admit it seems to have eluded me. The best I can come up with after all this time is: fuck it. We're just here to amuse ourselves. Nothing actually matters in the least. Apathy has become my best weapon and I must say the msot effective and comforting one, though it may be dangerous.
There is more yet to come. Stay tuned for the next chapter. I feel I have shown a great deal of myself here today. It is too much to ask that you be gentle with me I imagine.