I have made many choices in life that most respectable people would consider idiotic, irresponsible, or just plain silly. These choices have gotten me absolutely nowhere from a worldly point of view. But from a different point of view, one I could call my own, they have given me many incredible experiences, and a chance to encounter many interesting people, some of whom I call loved ones and friends till this day. It is also these experiences and these people that have given me the inspiration to become a writer, an aspiring one at least.
I was quite disillusioned as a teenager, which wasn’t a rare occurrence for millennials coming of age in the wake of 9/11. I remember thinking that almost everything anyone told me didn’t quite seem to make sense. Maybe it wasn’t what they were saying, but how they said it. They said it from a position of authority and this meant that they must be right. This seemed to work well enough for most people, but I was a little bastard.
When I was sixteen, I figured it was a good idea to go on a year long drug binge. It was a time of excitement, desperate misery, utter jubilation and, to borrow a phrase from one of my favorite writers, of “fear and loathing “. In my mind, I was trying to discover the limits of freedom, both personal and practical, in a society that claimed to be the freest on earth. Conventional wisdom would hold that if any person took as many illicit substances as my friends and I did, we would certainly die, but none of us did. So I learned that the man or woman speaking at the podium, the one who claimed to know everything, the one who demanded to be obeyed, was fallible.
By the time I was seventeen, going on eighteen, my disillusionment had reached a fevered pitch and I could no longer stand waking up each morning and going to school, so I dropped out. I cut out the drugs though. Very free people have the ability to continue with the hard stuff and not end up worthless junkies. The last thing I wanted was to be was a junky.
I wondered to myself, if all these people out here in the suburbs didn’t have the answers, well then who the hell did. I became obsessed with learning, wondering if there was an answer. I digested huge tomes about philosophy and religion, science, and the arts. If you would have came in my room when I was nineteen, you would have thought me a crazy person, with books and papers scattered across my floor, desk, bed, and nightstand. It was exhilarating, like a drug unto itself. I would become obsessed with a particular philosophy, then disregard it for another. In retrospect, I was a bit nuts.
For a few years, I became a Christian and decided to study religion and philosophy at a local private university, after receiving an associate degree in liberal arts at a community college. By the time I graduated in 2012, I had become completely disillusioned with Catholicism as with most philosophies. Put more simply, I just didn’t believe a single one of them to be completely, even mostly, true.
That may all sound pretty depressing considering my passion for philosophy. Believe me, at the time it was very depressing. But then I realized, and I’m certainly not the first one, that maybe it is a fallacy to think one system of thought is completely true. Maybe the human experience, and the possibility of something greater than ourselves, is far too vast, yet far too detailed, to every be explained in a series of propositions. Maybe the beginning of true thought is at the end of Ideology.