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Who or what am I?

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Everyone likes to compartmentalize things.  I am having a difficult time defining myself using as few words as possible.  When I go to define myself it always turns into a multiple thousand word story and in doing so I always lose the point I am trying to make to my readers.


I will start at the beginning.


I grew up in a middle class home and did things the middle class way.  I had middle class parents and they drove middle class cars and held middle class jobs and we ate middle class food and went on middle class vacations and I attended middle class schools.


Naturally however, things were far from that simple.  The devil lies in the details.  My father got mentally tortured at his job and Mom and Dad always fought over things I never understood.  My Mother always seemed to be oblivious of the world around her and my Dad seemed to always be willing to lay down on his sword at the first sign of trouble.  I didn't come to these realizations until I got into my teens though, I was raised in a rather sheltered way, "protected" as my parents would describe it, I don't blame them now for it but as I got into my adult years, age 17-22 I held a great deal of resentment for them as they did not teach me the way of the world.  Maybe they didn't know the way of the world themselves?


Growing up I always wondered mostly to myself and sometimes out loud to my parents "Why do you just let everyone run you over like that?"  I do not recall getting any answers to this question.  It would more often then not result in a family argument at the dinner table which was the place for the families frustrations to air out.


Sometime around the age of 15 I started drinking alcohol, I became and alcoholic in the truest sense of the word.  I was able to maintain my schooling and my friends though, fortunately, maybe even luckily.  I graduated from high school somewhere about the middle of my class, nothing extraordinary, as with most things having to do with me at the time.  I got jobs while I was in school, McDonald's, KFC, worked at a video rental store(Hollywood Video).  I cannot tell if I got these jobs because I was expected to or because it paid for the alcohol or because I just needed them, but I worked and worked and worked.  I started climbing ladders, I got a job in a telecommunications office working for AVON taking AVON orders over the phone from sales reps who were running around with their little books selling things.  I was lamenting my birthday, I think I was turning 19 at the time and I was complaining how I had no friends and no way to celebrate my birthday and that I was probably just going to get drunk in my room and pass out and that it was going to be the lamest birthday ever.  I cannot remember if I was lamenting to myself out loud or if I was talking to anyone specifically, but the girl in the cubicle next to me said "You could come over to my place there is a party there everyday."  I had no idea what this meant at the time.


This meant that her place was the "party place", everyone there was getting drunk and high everyday all day.  I didn't know that when I agreed to go over there, it sure did sound like a good idea at the time though.  To me, due to my sheltered life, my idea of a party was a couple people wearing party hats and opening gifts.  I look back still today and wonder how I was so blithely ignorant.  Anyway, I went over there and mind you I had never seen marijuana in my entire life to this point, it was even taboo to talk about it at home.  I was a bit scared too after being there for like 5 minutes, I wanted to leave but at the same time everyone there was very friendly, there was approximately an ounce of weed laying on the table getting ready to be rolled up in to several blunts which would then be consumed en masse over the course of the next couple of hours.  To me at the time this pile of weed looked like a mountain, I was a bit scared and a bit worried that at any time the cops could bust in and arrest me just for being there.  There were a couple of very friendly people there, no different than you or I and a couple shady people that were quite unpredictable.  Blah blah blah, the blunt was being passed around and I watched it intently as it made it's way around the room and it eventually, inevitably came to me and I took it and hit it and got high, naturally as one does one one smokes weed.


This was the beginning of the end.  I made this life my life and didn't look back for many years(I will get to that).  These people were now my friends, they filled a void I had.  My parents always told me I needed friends but they sheltered me so much I really couldn't have any friends under their rules.  So the minute these people opened their arms to me I fell right in.  These people may have been the nicest people I had ever encountered in my life, people I could relate to.  They had jobs they hated, I had a job I hated, they had feelings, I had feelings.  They appeared to have life in general, they were vibrant and full of flavor and each one very individual and still as a group.


So now I have a job, I smoke weed and am an alcoholic and I still live with my parents, I am 19 years old and have no idea the mess I just got myself into and nobody will tell me for 4 years that what I am doing is wrong.  Over the course of the next 4 years I get a job working at a gas station, I buy and sell weed from this place, I steal things, I leave my parent's house, I am an utter wreck and don't even know it.  I get weed tickets no less than once a month and think it is a joke, I laugh it off like it is nothing.  I am drinking and driving, and getting into fights.  This goes on for 4 years straight.


I finally meet a good girl and I get into a very deep relationship with her and I begin to tone it all down.  I don't stop, but I cut back severely on all deviant activities, we started to have problems and I realized it was really my fault so I was trying to make good of it.  Then it happened, she went crazy, no literally, she went clinically insane, hospitalized and medications and the whole shooting match.  I had to end it, I was already messed up as things were and could not take care of her in the way she needed and it all fell apart.  I sank right back into my old ways after the breakup.  Back to the thug life for me!


Due to me cutting way back on my alcohol consumption my tolerance for it dropped and I am now a blackout drunk.  Every time I consume too much, I blackout and don't remember anything.  One day a friend calls me up and says "Hey want to go out to the bar tonight?"(I am over 21 now), I say sure.  so they show up late, as usual, and I am already more than half way through a twelve pack.  We all pile into my car and I drive us to this restaurant which is particularly dead and we knock back a few pitchers of beer between us and we decide mutually that the pace is dead and it was indeed dead, we were the only people there getting drunk, this place used to be a bar but had changed it's demographic and now has kids and families in the place for dinner, so we begin to make a plan for exit.  One person(there are three of us) says "Hey, let's go to Ramona's"(Ramona's is a bar), I veto that saying "There is no way I am going to drive all the way out to Ramona's to get blackout drunk and kill us all driving back."  The road to and from Ramona's is dark and it is windy, it has an especially dangerous turn where it is blind and actually goes up and down in the same curve, this kind of road is a disaster to drunk drivers, I shoot his idea down flat.  I suggest instead, knowing I am a blackout drunk, that we park my car back at my place, and we walk 4 blocks from my place down to a local bar.  Everyone agreed, nobody wants to die tonight.


So that was the plan and we all did exactly that... I wish.  I went blackout and the last thing I remember was one of them saying "Man that chick was diggin' you dog!" and the next thing I remember is me waking up in my car in front of my steering wheel with my car half way up on the sidewalk smoke everywhere and the passenger door broken and hanging wide open.  It was a nightmare but it was real, I knew it too, I was in deep $%&^! and I knew it.  I slid out of the car through the passenger side and I stumbled across a group of people standing over what appeared at first to be a dead body, he wasn't dead but we was definitely dying, there was blood EVERYWHERE, he had been ejected from my car, he sprang to life suddenly, I held him down on the ground and was crying, begging pleading for someone to call 911.  His arm had been ripped off and he had a huge hole in his head.  I cannot put into words what I was thinking, or even how feel about that still to this day.  


The ambulance shows up and they tend to my friend, the other person who was with us is safe and passed out at my house on the couch.  They eventually take me to the hospital too, I have several of my own wounds that I had no idea I had at the time, my left ear was nearly ripped off by my collision with the steering wheel, and other smaller wounds, insignificant non-life threatening wounds in comparison to my own friend's wounds.


Long story short, the miracle of medical science at it's best here, they were able to put humpty dumpty back together again.  I am very grateful for this.  I visit him in the hospital and at first he seems to be very forgiving.  He is doped up very heavily on morphine though.  I make the most solemn promise I have ever made to him to never allow such a thing to happen to me or anyone else under my care ever again, a promise I have yet to break still to this day, not sure if I was promising him or myself, either way it is still working more than a decade later.  


90 days later due to a secret indictment, a couple of investigators come to my job to arrest me and read me my rights and charge me with the crime "aggravated vehicular assault", my friend was pressing charges against me.  I was mad, at the same time I owned all responsibility for all that transpired that night, I still to this day claim all responsibility for it.  I bailed out of jail that night and attended all trial proceedings and consulted with my attorney and with the judge at one point in time.  I was thoroughly and honestly confused though at how I could get such a violent felony charge when it was my intention all night to not end up in that situation, I quite literally had no control over it, I couldn't have stopped it had I tried, I just didn't know anything.  There is one way to have stopped it from happening though and that is to not have drank at all.  The judge looked me dead in the eye and serious as a heart attack and said "Mr. Duncan, Ignorance is not innocence."


I was stunned by this very simple sentence.  Those four words changed everything forever.  "Ignorance is not innocence."  I will get to this later, I have to finish the story first though.


So I accept a plea deal that keeps me out of prison and in exchange I get 180 days in jail and 2 years of intensive supervised probation and 1 year of outpatient rehabilitation.


Now, one might think this is a light sentence, but I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt it would have been easier to just take 5 years in prison.  This whole program, once I was released from jail after serving the incarceration portion of my sentence, was the hardest thing I had ever done in my entire life.  Had I not been so bound and determined to make things right I would have failed, it was designed for people to fail it, no doubt in my mind about that.


Still, back to me being in jail for the 180 days sentence. I actually got a pretty good deal here too, I was actually eligible for a "2 for 1" which meant for everyday I spent working in the jail's kitchen at the justice center I received 2 days instead of 1 days credit for everyday I spent in jail.  Jail was pretty easy though.  The most important aspect of it was that I got clean and sober in that 90 days.  After abut 30 days I began to dream again, my head cleared and I started thinking for myself, there was much reflection that happened there.  I actually came to like the simple way of living there.  No T.V. no nothing really, not a single luxury in sight.  To be honest, it felt like a vacation.  The last 4 years were so chaotic and restless that jail was a vacation to me.  I went in as an alcoholic weed addict and came out an extremely fit human.  I was working out every minute of everyday I was in there except for sleep and working in the kitchen.


I had never felt so good in my entire life.


Then after that the program started.  This was so hard, I had to pee in a cup 2-3 times a week and sometimes more, I had to visit my probation officer twice a week and I had the outpatient rehab program I had to attend 3 times a week AND as per the conditions of my probation I had to maintain a full time job.  I did all this for 2 years straight and never faltered once.  It was hell.  I had my rehab lady telling me that I need to get 8 hours of sleep every night no more no less, yet I had all this going on and getting 8 hours was impossible, it was, it was literally impossible.  I could not really make any life changes though while doing all of this, so for two years everything was on hold.


Once I completed the program though, I went straight back to weed.  Still haven't messed around with the alcohol though and I won't either.  I lost a lot of people I thought were friends over me not going back to drinking.  They weren't really friends it turns out.


I sold everything I owned or threw it away if I could not sell it and started all over again, I even quit the job I had, it was a good job too, if you are one of those people who gauges their worth by what kind of a job you have, I was a very valuable human.  But the people there were having a hard time accepting the fact that I wasn't the person they knew before, the situation there came to a climax with me telling everyone there to screw off and I left.  I just didn't fit in there any more.  "What makes you so special." they would say to me.  I did my best to fit in while I was on probation but once that was over with I had no reason to keep hanging onto those people who obviously did not have my best interest at heart.


All the while I am learning things.  I learn that nobody really wants you to succeed, they actually want to see you fail, it makes them feel better about themselves.  I learn what true friends are.  I learn what the truly important things in life are and there are only so few of them.  I learn that "things" are not important, my experience in jail had taught me that I didn't need to fill that void in me like my parents had filled their void with things.  I learned after I had lost so many so-called friends that REAL friends will stay friends no matter what you do.  A friend will help you move, a REAL friend will help you move a body.  I also learn that Ignorance is not an excuse for anything.  Just because I don't know or refuse to see does not mean I am not guilty.


That is the most powerful thing I gained from all of this.  Everywhere I go now and everything I do I examine everything.  Where are my clothes made...they are made in country where they use child slavery and use violence and imprisonment on their workers, this makes me guilty of those same crimes, so I start buying American, then I look around and I notice that everything is broken or made cheaply and I start to shop around for high quality.  I am now opening my mind to everything all around me and am beginning to see farther than what is right in front of my face.


One day I am walking through a mall, and I come across one of those weird shops.  They are selling renaissance armor and weapons and all kinds of weird stuff.  Turns out this store is an off season location for a store that actually operates out of the local renaissance festival just outside of the city, it opens every September and October.  I had been replacing my belts all my life with cheap belts from Wal-Mart, five dollars about every 1-2 months for my entire life, this is actually what I was at the mall for in the first place, I was looking for a better more high quality belt.  I saw a full suit of leather armor hanging on the back wall, and it hit me.  I went inside and asked if they could make a belt for me.  he said yes and he asked me how thick I wanted it and I asked what is the maximum and he got some from the back and it was exactly what I had pictured in my mind of what the perfect belt would be, the one that would last the entire rest of my life.  I had them make the belt.  I have been wearing it for over a decade now, and it still to this day has yet to show a single sign of wear and tear.  This belt will outlive me.


Another revelation!  I need to have everything custom made.  Sure the belt cost me 20 dollars but look at what it has saved me.  In ten years I have not had to replace it with the 5 dollar belt, so over the course of 10 years I would have to buy no less than 60 belts all costing around 5 dollars or more a piece adding up to over 300 dollars.  Replaced by one purchase of 20 dollars for the finest quality one could ever ask for.  This is the new way I do things for the rest of my life now.


Everything is like this now, it must all be custom made for me or made by me, and at least involve me in the designing of it and it all must be permanent, no throw away garbage, everything must be either indestructible or repairable by me or by the person I bought it from.


The draw back?  I cannot own a lot of things.  


I own a computer.  I researched and methodically shopped for the hardware myself and assembled it myself years ago and it is not really the computer today it was back then as parts have failed and have been replaced.  Technically this computer is the only thing I won the breaks my rules, the parts are not manufactured here in the U.S.A..  My monitors sit on stolen milk crates I stole from a local gas station.


I own a cot.  Of the highest quality, it is made from steel and the material it was skinned with originally is long since gone, it wore out and shredded.  It was that cheap nylon plastic crap, it's weakest link was the seams where it began to split from, it was so cheap, the seams were in all the wrong places, it was designed to fail.  I replaced the fabric with a single sheet of REAL high density high gauge canvas, like the kind old civil war tents were made out of.  I actually tore it once but guess what, I was able to sew a patch on, something you can't do with that cheap plastic vinyl crap.  I have never gotten a good nights sleep like I get sleeping on this cot.  A bed just cannot compare.  I have never woken up with cramps, I cannot say that about the beds I have slept in in my life


I have a small wooden table, it is actually smaller than most end tables.  If is about a foot and half wide and about a foot deep and only about a foot and a half tall, it is flat, it is more like the table one throws their keys on after returning home, that tiny table that sits in the hallway.  I found it, neglected on the side of the road.  I picked it up, cut the legs off, sanded it down refinished it and it is now my desk/dinner table/mouse pad.


I have a small chair, I bought from target.  It is one of those gaming chairs.  The ones that look like an apostrophe, they sit on the floor and they rock back and forth.  The construction was solid but everything else was lacking badly.  The padding was the cheapest ever and the fabric was terrible.  I took it to an upholstery shop and had them redo it with high quality products and had them add a head rest to it as it was technically for kids and was not tall enough, sitting on this thing matches the table perfect for a mouse pad, very comfortable


I have a single LED desk lamp.  The sole light in my entire home.


I have a two step ladder, I use for many things, the least of which is reaching high places, usually for setting my fan or heater on to keep me cool or hot through the seasons I do not have air conditioning during the summer nor heat during the winter.  It is made of wood with stainless steel plating on the steps.  I designed it and had the people at the renaissance store make it.  Those people are awesome!


I have the best cooking ware money can buy.  It does not have any name stamps on it, but it is the best still.  It is all steel and no screws.  Stupid cheap screws!  I can even drop this stuff on the floor and dent it and just bang it back out again with a hammer.  The handles are welded on and If they ever break and i do not foresee them doing so, but IF they do I can just take it into a local welding shop and have them weld them back on.  This cookware set will outlive me even, if it is well taken care of, they may just excavate it one day after our civilization falls and is buried under thousands of years of dirt and dust.


I have a bicycle.  The single most important thing I own.  Without this bicycle none of my lifestyle would be possible.  though it is not custom made it is of the highest quality and it is handmade, it is not a production bicycle like you would find at Wal-Mart or any kind of store of that kind.  It is of the highest quality and due to the type of heavy use I give to my bike I had to have the most durable one I could find as well.  it has been hit by a car, so it has definitely been tested.  I took it into the bike shop and they trued it right up for me.  You can't do that with Wal-Mart bikes, they would just break.


I also took up hiking and camping, and have created a "go bag".  It holds many things in it, most of which were custom made for me also the most notable of which is my "machete" I put it in quotes because that is what you would understand.  It is hard to describe.  It is big enough and heavy enough to chop a tree down, I can use it as a grill, a hammer, a saw or a knife, well 'knife' is a rather large understatement, more like a sword really, yeah, think "buster sword" from Final Fantasy VII but mine is only like 3 feet long.  It is much heavier than a sword you can go to the store and buy though.  It is basically just a sheet of raw high carbon steel.  I 'sharpen' it with a normal file, it doesn't really need to be sharp like a knife or sword though because it is so heavy.


And I have fishing equipment, poles and such.


I have a toolbox with all the necessary tools I need to maintain everything I own from painting to sewing, from the computer to the bicycle, and everything in between.


As I look around, I think that is generally it.  There are other sundry items that tie it all together, most of it is handmade or custom made still and includes towels, my backpacks, clothes and other items that I do not think are worth mentioning as some are just here based on my lifestyle and the fact that I need them but aren't really worth mentioning.


I shop specifically and exclusively off of lists.  If an item is not on the list I simply do not buy it.  I do not stock up on groceries, I shop on a day by day, meal by meal basis.  There is no food in my cupboards and none in my refrigerator.  My refrigerator is currently unplugged.  If I have something I really must refrigerate, I usually just buy a bag of ice and fill up my stock pot with the ice and put what I need to keep chilled, in that.  I rarely have to do this though, it is just the nature of the way I shop, everything is fresh and I cook all my own food so I rarely ever need to refrigerate anything.


I do not own a cell phone, I don't even have a telephone per se, my computer is my telephone, it is also my T.V. and my news paper and my video games and movies.  The computer was the most logical conclusion when I was doing my shopping and downsizing my life.  "All in one"


I have a job, but it is the most low paying job I could find and I quit regularly and get new jobs as I need to or want to, usually fast food, retail and other restaurant.


I cut my own hair, which by itself is not all that strange but coupled with everything else, well, it is all part of the bigger picture or smaller picture depending on your point of view.


Even after I got away from the alcohol and ended successfully the program, I was still having cops pull me over to give me sobriety tests.  They would tell me, "You were swerving in and out of your lane."  I actually had one tell me I nearly hit a tree!  None of that happened, they were lying, no other way to put it, they were lying.  They would run my license plate and see my criminal record and they would pull me over just to harass me.  I eventually sold my car.  Funny, I am practically invisible to them now.  No license plate = cops don't see me.


To be honest, I feel like I live like a king now.  I may not have much, but what I do have is very precious and worth fighting and dying for or even killing for, it is of the utmost quality and in most cases a necessity, I truly NEED these things to live and survive.  My life is so simple yet very rewarding.  I am never truly comfortable and yet at the same time I am completely comfortable.  To me, I feel genuinely free.  I can go anywhere I please when I please and at a moments notice too.  I can throw all my stuff into a box or two and ship it wherever I want and pick it up wherever I have it delivered to.  I can go anywhere, everywhere or nowhere anytime I choose with not a care in the world.


My biggest enemy is ignorance.  it is a constant fight, a fight I cannot win, though when I conquer one ignorance I consider it a win only be overcome with a new one, a new battle, a new challenge.  I say "Everyone is ignorant at all times with no exceptions, nobody knows everything and thus, everyone is ignorant, it is what we do when we discover our ignorance that matters."  From where I stand I see a world that is content and complacent with ignorance, that makes me mad and resentful.  Weed helps with that actually, as when I am high I just let it go, but I try to not stay constantly and forever high, I do like reality as painful as it is, but only in small doses, and when I am not high and have not been high in a great long time the anger creeps back in



Well, back to the point I first made.  I just do not know where I fit in in general life.  I have never met anyone like me in all my travels.  I wouldn't say I am alone, I have friends, though just a few as I got rid of all the people who were fake friends, but even them, I have a hard time relating to sometimes.  And my family, well, I described them quite accurately, my father is a pushover who has no balls and my mother is oblivious to the world.


One cannot just pick my life up and run with it, it is something that was cultivated over the course of a decade.  I have come to this realization by watching the one person who tried it and failed.  This lifestyle crushed him.  He did not have the strength, mentally or physically, to make to make it work.


I have no envy or jealousy as nobody out there has anything I need or want and chances are even if they did have something I needed or wanted it would be made with cheap garbage and I would just be better off making one of my own anyway.


I have essentially created a life for myself that is so far away from civilization(I still live in the city but am removed from it nonetheless) I could quite literally just walk away from it all and not look back.


So I ask you this, have you ever met anyone like me, even remotely, and if so what do you call them, their lifestyle, how do you classify them as, in a word, two words, three?  This is not an existential question really.  I just want to know what to tell people in simple terms they will understand without telling the whole story every time to every person I meet.


I am not looking for things like "criminal" "thug" "loser", most of these things I have been in life and are not any more or are just a part of the whole.

I am also not looking for things like "arrogant" or "$%&^!", again these may be true but are just a part of the whole.

I am looking for a description that more or less encompasses everything as a single unit.  And don't mind too much the story, that is really just background, that was just providing the context that caused me to go in the direction I went.  That story is not who I am today, it is who I was.  I am 34 years old and that was just like 5 years of my life, what I am now is pretty much the basis of my life going forward for the rest of my life.
If you were to go into a job interview as me, how would you describe yourself to the interviewer.  I just cannot think of anything to put in that empty space where the words should be.
Thanks guys.

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I am that I am.  That is, a senior who has been around, and not just around his mommy.  I've been wealthy, and I've been poor.  Right now, since I can usually get whatever I want, that probably classes me as wealthy, but I don't have much income nor money.  One learns to be satisfied with one's lot in life.

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Well, Sir, that was the most interesting thing I've had the pleasure of reading this week. My facebook feed consisted of yet another fabulously georgeous and predictably well done shot of Emma Watson that I 'liked', a picture of a can of Guinness or possibloy a bottle of London Pride which I 'liked', my friend realising the right guy will meet her one day, which I 'liked'… yawn. Here the Syrian conflict wore on, getting more witheringly uninteresting every second. This, however, is interesting and worth reading.


You ask us how we would go about defining you. Well Sir if I gave you my autobiography (yes I've an autobiography of sorts) I doubt you could describe me. Describe Miley Cyrus. Describe Hitler. Describe Sibelius. Describe anyone and you tend to look for stereotypical terms like 'clubber' 'nerd' 'positive person' etc. But people like you and me Sir fit into yet another category. I'll tell you what the name of said category is. Individual. Yes, Sir, that is the title of the category in which you fall.


To define a person is like defining a nation. Define America in two words. I wouldn't choose 'free' or 'brave' at any rate. The Rocky Mountains, the Appalachians, the Mojave Desert, the Everglades... New York's boroughs... There is no definition for America. Aside from purely geographical/political ones of course. Thus you, Sir, in three words are a human, a Simtropolitan and an Internet user. Or whatever other three words you’d like to employ.


A girl I used to know said she 'wasn't the same girl she used to be'. That, I think, sums up the debate on 'defining oneself'. What is oneself? Certainly whatever we are we can’t be categorised in some simple animal, vegetable or mineral manner with simple broad kingdoms of classification. Or we can, but there is no one set of kingdoms in which to place us.


But anyway you are you, I am me, and Vladimir Putin is President of Russia.


One thing I will say is that you are darned right about belt quality. My belt keeps requiring new holes to be made because it stretches... 


On weed I will say that I only tried it once and it did nowt for me, mostly because I am already ‘clear minded’ and need nowt but fresh air for fresh thinking, but also because my cousin was rather pressing me to use it. What I will say is that I didn’t require such aids myself to think very deeply on many matters. Over the years I have thought in ways which have gone to the level achieved by ‘high’ people, without being ‘high’.


Many know me as ‘old fashioned’ or ‘pigheaded’, but my apparent stubborn-ness arises from my having thought a lot more than them… and having arrived at conclusions… not from my being unwilling to think about things. On weed I came to the conclusion that it was not for me, an unnecessary expense and a slight risk, and that I really wouldn’t stand to gain by using it. Same logic with cigarettes. Why throw money down the gutter when you don’t need to.


I have always believed in rationality and ‘starting from absolute logic’. One can argue that absolute rationality, devoid of emotions, creates Hitler and the Daleks. Yes, it can. But it can also create the weather. The weather is absolutely impartial to those living below it. Rape or murder someone, and it might rain or it might shine where you reside. Become vegan and care for injured animals and it might rain or it might sine where you reside. The weather is the ultimate teacher in the art of rational indifference.


When people speak of freedom and of the truth and of these high concepts, I always think of the weather. Up above all this, utterly indifferent and complacent in its non-ignorant bliss of knowledge of self and other. The weather knows nothing, yet it acts as though it has read every single manuscript ever printed. It is unoffended by anything. It is unsurprised by anything. It is not amused, nor dismayed by anything. It just is. It has reached the state of absolute knowledge and as such has nothing to say. But we are humans and we have opinions and bias. Is this a bad thing? Is perfection all it’s cracked up to be? All I know is that rationality must always be employed if one is to form correct conclusions on any matter. If you tamper with the evidence with bias or hearsay, if you ignore some facts and cherry pick others… The verdict will inevitably suffer in truthfulness and precision.


If we allow ourselves to feel emotional response to anything we are allowing ourselves to weaken our position. Consider a criminal in court. If we feel no emotion he will be executed. If we feel strongly against him he will be tortured. If we feel for him he may be saved or treated with lenience. The rational way is always the best way. A weed is a weed. Hate it or sympathise with it. It is a weed. Just as rain is rain and clouds are clouds. Hate them or love them. To feel in one way or another towards a thing will not change it, only our attitudes and responses to its existence.


Then again I am not saying that we should act rationally. I am saying we should think so. There is the argument that emotions and personality etc are good things. I would say that from a rational perspective they can be good or bad. I would say however that they shouldn’t enter the world of science and argument.


Sorry if I appear to be rambling.


The concept of individuality… (The very fact you were forced to ask of yourself and ourselves what defines you, what you are, demonstrates that you are an individual, a protagonist in a world of background characters) is an interesting one in itself. Are any of us truly special? Were your so called friends true? Were the thugs and layabouts correct? Are you just another snowflake? Possibly. However just because one is another Ford doesn’t mean one has to drive on the same streets. Maybe those of us who ask these questions are not alone in thinking them. Maybe we are just attention seekers with big egos who wish to feel special.


Or maybe we really are special. Who knows. All I know is that most people don’t ask questions like this, not certainly in a serious manner. These thoughts and questions probably enter most people’s minds, however stupid they may be. Maybe they even dwell on them. The key is rational logic. Holmes can dwell on a subject for five minutes and can learn more from his thoughts than a fool will do after a year’s thinking. Streamlining thoughts is the key there. Now those of us who can think logically will naturally start forming conclusions and will naturally also form more questions which inevitably arise from such conclusions. It is thus my theory that a good deal of humanity is stupid to some extent. There is a man at work who spelled ‘next’ ‘nexed’. Someone recently thought Islam was a country apparently.


When one reads of those individuals who made history, whether for better or for worse consequence, one always reads of tortured minds and indecision and confusion about identity and what precisely one is and what precisely one should be doing or standing for or standing against or whether or not standing for things is justifiable or the right thing or worthwhile. However many are called and few are chosen. It is most probable that you or I will never do anything special. Nor maybe would we wish to, or we might disagree on what we’d like to achieve had we the possibility.


You speak of having attained freedom. Some equate this with power. Power over self, maybe. But to influence this world in which we live is another form of freedom. To free oneself from the world means giving up controls over it as well.


There is no Dark Side. There is only failure to oneself and to others and to the ideals we believe in. To fail ourselves, others, or these ideals, is failure pure and simple. It is not evil for Assad to employ chemical weapons. It is his failing, his weakness (if he did indeed do it). To turn to Palpatine is to admit weakness. All humans are weak to some extent. Jesus said as much. But to fight this weakness is a glorious thing, and to triumph over it is a glorious thing. Having said that… once again I don’t know whether perfection (perfect baby Jesus angels etc) is a good or a bad thing. What is good or bad is obviously relative. However weakness is universally acknowledged as a fault. To fail yourself, to be defeated in your mission… This doesn’t make us bad. But it demonstrates weakness. It isn’t our fault. Nobody chooses to exist or to be strong or weak or anything.


This is why I can’t believe in ‘good and evil’ and ‘sinning’ etc. There are certainly ‘bad’ things in this world and ‘good’ things, but the concept of a divine perfection battling against an equal and opposite malevolence seems perfectly silly.


I guess what I am saying is that if you uphold your convictions, and your convictions are founded logically in truth and earnest inquiry… Rational observation and consideration… You shall not fall to the Sith side. That if you love a person or an ideal or a town and you defend it honourably… That you shall not be ‘evil’. That evil is weakness. We do not choose to be strong or weak. We can but fight. Like you said with fighting ignorance. Ignorance is ‘evil’ in that it is weak,  and that isn’t to say it is anyone’s fault they are ignorant. Many people grow up in families who are ignorant and never know any better. But it certainly is a disease in society.


I am always tempted to say something blasé and middle class as you’d put it. ‘You’re just like everyone else, let’s watch a footy game and drink Bud and forget these communist thoughts of an individual nature’. It strongly appeals to me, the picket fenced normality that never was. The microwaves and dishwashers, the Walmarts you hate so much. The gas guzzling cars and the Coca Cola and the jetplanes… I don’t know if it ever appealed to you in some way. To me it does in a way. I see a false Valhalla and march towards it with vigour wasted, of course. But there is something… some quality in normality… which I think is good. There is a rationality in normality. No I am not speaking of ‘safety in numbers’ or Darwinian stuff like that. But to be grounded in reality… There is something wonderfully wholesome and healthy in normality but it isn’t emotional or ‘human’… It is why we played Simcity 4, I think. To create something better…


There is only one true Valhalla. That which we gain by honourable deeds and pure thoughts and actions. That gained truthfully, in reality, universally acknowledged as the true promised realm of eternal feast and battle. No mere diorama or simulation in our world can ever be the true Valhalla. Ignorance is bliss, but dangerous bliss. Ignorance is worse than the alcohol you fought. I’m was drinking a can of Guinness when I wrote much of this yesterday before Mother decided to cut the internet connection randomly as she often does... My grandfather still drinks wine and beer and he is 90. He worked till his eighties as a self employed gardener. He was a Christian and while he doesn’t go to Church any more he attends a lunch there sometimes and goes there for the annual strawberry tea. He was a good man. He smoked tobacco till my mother asked as a child if she could have one.


I think I am trying to say that normality shouldn’t be the ‘evil Empire’. Yes it has its faults, but going ‘underground’ and ‘dropping out’ needn’t be the only answer. The Empire is the ignorance of which you speak, and the weakness of which I do. Normality is the battlefield, not the opponent.


To acquire material possessions, trade on the stock market, get a career in banking and marry a conservative Christian in the South and live in a picket fenced house with two perfectly well rounded American children and a dog that can talk, is not to fail. That is, unless we do not stand for this. To ride a skateboard with swear words written on it, to wear a Mohawk and a leather jacket, to smoke weed and give the finger to authority. This is not to fail, if you believe in this. To fail is to do one if you believe in the other. To fail is to fail yourself. I think that was my point? I’m not really entirely certain.


What matters is rational enquiry. What matters is thinking, is keeping alive thought. Keep alive the electricity of thought, of innovation, of questioning the way things are. To kill that is to truly found a concrete Empire of the Sith. Of true darkness, and a dark age.


Anyway I was rambling. Back to what you were saying… You can’t be defined in a few words. What sort of person are you? What sort of person am I? I have been called ‘old fashioned’ a ‘pseudo intellectual with a PHD in pigheadedness’ and ‘one of the good ones’ by various people. I’ve been praised for my ‘philosophical views’ and hated for my ‘close mindedness’ by different people. I’m sure you know that every new person you meet will evaluate you differently. That, I think, was my point before I started rambling into those wild tracts.


If I were to define myself I would end up doing as you had ended up doing. Writing a summary of an autobiography. We are who we are.


So, being brutally honest, Sir, you are a Simtropolitan who believes in quality belts and bicycle frames. Slightly more than three words, but it was rather a challenge to compress that into a nutshell.

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Hm.  I suppose that "Metal Puritan" probably sums it well enough.  Were you the kind of person who moved around a lot, never stayed in one spot, had no roots or friends or whatever it would be very easy to label you as a drifter or an itinerant of some sort.  As it is?  After the journey you've made, that you're still on?  Why bother searching for a label?  Better yet, just make one yourself, most of your stuff is hand-made, why not this, too?  Anyways, I think that it doesn't really matter that there aren't many (any?) people out there like you.  Parts of your story will be relatable or accessible to some and not others, while other parts will resonate with yet different people.  What you are asking, "Who am I?" is a fascinating question to ask yourself, but I would not get too caught up in trying to search for or force an answer.  Shouldn't our lives be more than just trying to label ourselves? 

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Labels are for shelves and bottles.  I agree that nobody should find himself stuck in any pigeonhole.


"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death" - Patrick Dennis in Auntie Mame.

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You're definitely a (partly) resurrected yuffie :)

In german, I would call you (in one word) a "Lebenskünstler", somebody who lives his life as a form of art, without caring about what other people think. Sure, you made mistakes, but everybody does.

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