I have about a day and a half in total to complete prep work on my Symbol project — but before I get to that, I kind of want to write about something else.
Namely, the entire career tangent. It would be good to do some reading in the career materials I’ve checked out, and also in the career books I’ve already got here but have not read or worked all the way through. Right now, I kind of feel like I’m floating. No destination or solid ground yet. Just, hovering.
I don’t feel like my undergraduate major is something that is really representative of me, at this point in my life. Granted that I write well and read well, now. But that’s not the sum total of my abilities. I still love writing, but Creative Writing is something that can both really excite me and really freak me out.
My Creative Process prof wants us to write a short story featuring our symbol of choice (mine is, as became obvious enough to me last night, water), so I suppose I’ll get to flex those skills soon enough. What I’ve learned is that it is a skill to draw upon the unconscious and build up something from partial information. Though, with fiction, it’s like an iceberg: part of it is visible, and the other 90%, I generally don’t know is there, until I start uncovering it. The thing with this is, though, that other 90% is there, even if it’s unconscious, and what one makes out of it doesn’t have to be verifiably and factually true.
When I was really into the writing, I also had trouble with creating narratives regarding the real world out of partial information of the world around me, which I can see now is a slightly different process. Where there were gaps in information, I would derive information from my mind, drawing from core beliefs; which often misled me. At the time I probably needed something like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy to get me to challenge my own beliefs, because a lot of them were false and damaging when put into action…but I didn’t know about CBT at the time.
The problem arises when one ceases to be able to tell fiction apart from reality (which is probably the biggest mental challenge I’m dealing with, at this point), and also when one starts to create stories which are more believable to one than reality. One of the biggest issues by far that I can see people on the whole afflicted with is preferring a narrative to evidence. It’s a really blinding trap to fall into, and if you don’t know you’re in a hole, it’s going to be hard to try and get out of it.
I haven’t yet learned how to balance belief with logic; intuition with rationality. I think there is a place for all of these. Certainly at some points the benefits of faith (and they can be very powerful) are inaccessible without silencing the inner Scientific Materialist.
And don’t get me wrong; when I talk about faith, I’m not wholly talking about religion. Religion plays a minor part in my reality, and my primary philosophies do not stem from the Middle East. I decide what it is that makes sense to me; or more often than not, what might be an explanation for reality that isn’t entirely dogma or propaganda.
Most of my inner life; what is driving me to stay alive and have a life purpose; what is giving me a reason to continue; what is driving my art at base; is based in things that cannot be proven to exist, let alone to be true. I know that there is no solid ground here. It would be easier if I thought less. If I were less intelligent than I am, I might not be questioning just where this will all fall apart and when I’ll see that I’ve wasted my only chance at life, chasing delusions.
However, the qualities of my mind that make me who I am and enable me to keep living, are things that have no logical basis. Without them, my creativity is basically cut off at the knees. Without my creativity, I don’t have a life purpose.
I feel that my spirits have saved my life and my mind several times; or rather, helped me to adapt in such a way that existence was tolerable. My belief in rebirth is the largest reason I’m still here. To me there is no oblivion — there are only cycles where one may or may not have the best time of things, and this is largely out of my hands. At least so, as a child: I don’t want to be reborn yet because I haven’t attained my purpose in this life, and being a child is a relatively powerless position. I am only now coming into power in this lifetime. It’s just that I’ve been in the role of youth for so long that I have to be taught how to be an adult; how to live when circumstances are not forcing my hand.
What do I want to do with my life? What kind of question is that?!
I don’t have a lot of experience with this.
I have a college degree, though I do not see how that makes me any more skilled or intelligent, or better than, anyone else. It might be because my family was working-class when I was a baby and eventually made it into upper-middle-class. My parents wanted to make sure that I would not be forced into a working-class life. But at this time, “class” is something that doesn’t entirely make sense to me. If I look back on it, I suppose it never did: when I went into Sociology at my first University, I recall not knowing what the term meant.
I have a bit more perspective now, but I still think the idea that one’s job, upbringing, and area of residence makes one somehow “better than” others is ridiculous. I mean, it’s entirely false. Right now I’m dealing with someone who seems to think they are better than I am because they have attained a level of education and “higher” status within the hierarchical system that is the library bureaucracy.
I work. The other person works. If either of us weren’t there, the rest of the staff would be screwed. But why am I valued less (in pay, in benefits, in power, and in status), even though I am doing an essential task? If “anybody” could do my job, then why are there so many mistakes, and why do some people in higher ranks refuse to even attempt it? Because they’ll mess it up? Because then they’ll have to appreciate the “lower ranking” staff more? Or because then they will see themselves as, “no better than me,” and they see me as inferior to them — therefore they will then take a self-demotion?
I’m told that to get out of this status, I need to attain the MLIS. I am told it is this way everywhere. But I don’t need a Master’s to work at the majority of those other places. I’m sure that people with MBAs probably get the top ranking jobs, but seriously, why would I want to supervise other people??? Why would I want to do that?
I am not sure that I want to go through with the MLIS. It will likely cost me somewhere on the scale of $17,000 (which a number of people have been shocked at; however, this is for three years — I incurred $13,000 in debt for 5 quarters at my first University). The upshot of it is being able to work within a system which is known for being more socialist than not, though I’d say it probably falls within Social Democracy territory. That doesn’t mean it works. It’s still flawed.
I’m thinking that having the capability to say things like this is going to be key to my being able to feel comfortable within the Library system. Kind of like having the ability to take or leave the MLIS has been key to considering going back for it.
The major problem I’m dealing with is trying to suss out what I would do if I did not go back for the MLIS. I’m suited for Information Science; I can see that pretty clearly. But then there is all this interpersonal and hierarchical madness to get through so that I can get to the place I want to be at. Something that would have me doing more than fixing electronics (though if you ask me, I do think that I would both enjoy and be good at, that — major problem is that mostly men do the job, so I’d have to deal with bros).
Stuff to think about.