In the Pursuit of Knowledge and Virtue

This past New Year’s celebration, before reaching that level of intoxication where there is no return, I sat in a stool against the wall fighting off a virus sprayed onto me by the snot of an awkward middle aged man at work. I sat there, sick in body and brooding mentally. I began to feel old. I began to feel inadequate. I began to feel unfulfilled. Love has never been kind to me. I find no comfort in the embrace of lovers because they’ve always been temporary and mostly trivial. Part of it is my fault since I am too selfish to give up my time and pursue or care for someone else. But I am prone to constant silly crushes that make me act like a 17 year old. For most people, if they have nothing else they at least have a companion. The moment I think I may have a companion is the moment the universe spins the other way and scoffs at me “Did you really think it would be that easy?” I sat there wishing I could just turn off my brain, so I got drunk. I got drunk and made out with some guy that was in awe of my “nerdiness” and kept declaring he really liked me and I kept assuring him that he was really drunk. After the excitement of swapping spit wore off and telling everyone about it, I felt pathetic. I felt self conscious, maybe I had been a last resort? I haven’t made out with anyone, I’ll take that dumb drunk chubby girl there. That’s probably what he thought. And soon I started my first bout of private depression of the year. It’s fairly common for me to get depressed after things escalate from light flirtations to full make out sessions or drunken hook up sessions. Don’t get me wrong though, these aren’t things that happen every week. They happen very randomly, sparse and unexpected. One thing is for sure, I always get depressed. It’s hard to find people to make out with or sleep with who have any remote concept of the passions defined by Anais Nin. I daydream of that bohemian kind of love. That abstract passion that brings an undefined kind of longing found in modernist literature. Sure, misery is a by product as well but it’s the type of misery that yields itself to the beauty and power of ones unrestricted passions.

But this is 2013 not Post WWI Paris. Hemingway is dead so I get texts that read “why you gotta be like that yo” or get called a prude if I don’t want to shove my ass against a guy’s crotch in public. Whenever I seek advice about my post makeout or hook up blues, one of my best friends will often ask me, “Did you at least get anything out of it?” and I will respond, “I guess so? Maybe. I don’t know. No. Not really.”

Socratic ethics taught me that the good life lies in virtue. A virtuous person is a happy person. A virtuous person can transcend their passions. A virtuous person lies neither in extremes nor disparity. The good life is compromised of moral virtue and intellectual virtue. By nature, we yield to impulse because most of the times impulses feel good at their conception. The pleasure of impulse dies upon reflection. I don’t really tend to think about Plato, Aristotle or Socrates when I’m about to swap some serious spit. That’s just stupid. It’s upon reflection that I think, I must be the only fucking loser who would think about Socrates and sex. Socrates probably never hooked up with anyone. He died not for his passions but for his pursuit of the good life.

I went back to school today after a weekend of being depressed about the condition of my bruised ego and scarcity of love. Giving in to the passions of the moment brought on by pointless Dionysian like nights left me emotionally bankrupt. Sitting in class today, after a 2 year hiatus from real critical courses, I stepped back into my element. This was my first day of “real college.” I’ve been in community college for what seems like an eternity. I let my apathy and depression take over the first half of my 20’s and in turn hurt my goals and aspirations. I decided to stop that shit. I sat in my European History course and for the first time I was confident in my ability to recognize and dissect the material shown to me. I sat in my political science course and my mind flourished with ideas and concepts that I was once familiar with. I sat in my Museum Methods course and absorbed the zen of my hippie like left wing long haired professor. I sat in my Science and Technology course in a room stuffed with 150 students watching a documentary about technology trap. At the end of my day I was exhausted and overwhelmed with the amount of reading I have for this quarter. I got myself into this. I apologize if this sounds flashy or snobby but bear with me, I’m coming up to the point of it all.

I have nothing. I feel like I have nothing. Ok I have my family but besides that, I don’t have much. I wish I had a better job or at least a job that reflected my abilities. Don’t work at Barnes and Noble if you like books. Work there if you’re good at selling people stupid memberships and if you’re good at not taking no for an answer. I wish I was better looking. I wish I was thinner. I ate a cheeseburger yesterday so I’m not really helping myself there. I wish I had that thing that some girls just have. That thing that just makes guys want to get to know a girl. I was told I lacked mystery about me. I’m not really sure what that meant? Maybe this blog is to blame. I’ve been self conscious about my lack of mystery. I don’t even know exactly how I could be self conscious about something I don’t understand. Nevertheless, I have nothing and now I don’t even have mystery.

Nothing. I guess I should define Nothing in this context. Nothing as a first world problem. Nothing in western society. To have nothing means I don’t have what everybody else has. To desire what the many or privileged have. Money, beauty, status, basically to have things that are fleeting and have no spiritual nor ethical relevance. I’m conflicted. I’m a 26 year old brat, at least I’m aware of my faults? The first step is acceptance, totally. I have a week until my return of Saturn so after I turn 27 I won’t be so selfish and self diluted. Maybe.

The only thing I do have is my passion. Sometimes that passion is misdirected. Not being intellectually stimulated detours that passion because I have no other outlet but pointless shenanigans. Sitting in my classes today made me sentimental. This flood of Rousseau like sentimentality overcame me. That, oh my life is so pained but I must yield to and transcend to something bigger than me, because I was born this was way, sentimentality. I was born free but everywhere I am in chains, oh pitiful life. Ok, I’ll stop now. Anyway, it was that sentimentality and grandiose conjecture that I am destined for something bigger. At the end of the day, I was content. My classes brought a growing fulfillment that I haven’t felt in a very long time. I am probably being naive but who cares for now. I may not always show this commitment but I am married and tied down to the history of ideas. That’s the only thing I have. I have nothing else but my education and my passion for it. I’ll probably die alone in a dusty room filled with cherry wood furniture and spiderwebs hanging from the corners of the ceiling. I suppose people who lack mystery die alone, it would just make sense. I guess?

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3 thoughts on “In the Pursuit of Knowledge and Virtue

  1. You will be okay, Blanca. Also, you should read Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed if you haven’t already. She was an advice columnist for The Rumpus and wrote Wild. Her advice is beautiful and gutting. I think you’d like it.

  2. Fuck mystery. I get told the same thing. Maybe I don’t want to play games the way a mysterious person does. Maybe I just want to lay it all out on the table and see what happens.

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