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Michael considered fate at 19:06   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment

I just stumbled across a reference to Maslow's "Grumble Theory" that states "the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence and dead on our side." Who needs to self-actualize when you can just grumble?! 
I escaped the corporate holiday that is valentine's day for the umpteenth year in a row and, while I am grateful in some ways, it also leaves a hollow emptiness which I attempt to fill with beer, anti-cupid themed parties, and introspection of the could be worse variety. Unfortunately beer is a painfully fleeting emotional currency and, just like that, it is Feb. 15th and the grey skies somehow feel greyer, the cold wind somehow feels colder, and the dampness of spring drills home the truth that we are of a social nature. If, somehow, we find happiness in our solitude and in ourselves we are only happier to share that with someone else.

The term self-esteem is far from intuitive because, ultimately, it has a lot to do with externals. It's all a based on where you see yourself in relation to others. It's got little to do with self measure, but everything to do with self-perspective. Are you taller or shorter than the next person, from your perspective? Are you smarter or dumber than the next person, from your perspective? You never know, you might be dancing in a house of mirrors.

All I want, really, is to someday make someone a little happier and, through that, maybe make myself a little happier. Frankly, I feel I'm about as happy as an individual, all by their lonesome, can be. Reading up on Maslow and his self-actualization (the top of the hierarchy, fullfilling one's instinctual need .. to make the most of their unique abilities) I feel like I'm pretty much there on all accounts.
On self-actualizing people:
  • They embrace the facts and realities of the world (including themselves) rather than denying or avoiding them.

  • They are spontaneous in their ideas and actions.

  • They are creative.

  • They are interested in solving problems; this often includes the problems of others. Solving these problems is often a key focus in their lives.

  • They feel a closeness to other people, and generally appreciate life.

  • They have a system of morality that is fully internalized and independent of external authority.

  • They judge others without prejudice, in a way that can be termed objective.
Though I should state I don't necessarily feel we, as individuals or as a species, have a specific role or purpose and that might not jive with my self-actualization. What's left? Hope? Spirituality? Fate? Destiny? No, you all know my stake in hope; as a concept, it's flawed, as a realization it's about as likely as Earth colliding with Mars. Spirituality is unembracable for me - it's too loaded with religious current-affairs, muddied in scandal, deceit, war, and other sundries. If I believe in the ultimate random nature of the universe I cannot believe in fate, at least not any prescribed version of it. Destiny? Fortune? Kismet? Karma? What are all these co-mingling concepts, this need to believe we are something more than we are? It's a self-esteem issue; an outwardly-directed question of hope; maybe there is something more?

I just don't have time for that other than sleepless nights tossing and turning rolling in my own torrid seas of thought. When I wake up in the morning and look out the window I see others; walking down the street, going about their day to day business, interacting. I step out of my room, greet my roommates. I walk to campus, discuss ideas of innovation with colleagues, and then go home to enjoy a beer and some emotional connections with the people I live.

If I made even one of them happy - out of all of those people - then I may not know it but in some abstract sense I've increased my own level of satisfaction. For now I live one more year without the ardent love which valentine's day prescribes. Perhaps somewhere in the future (that as-yet unpainted masterpiece) I will find myself on a new Feb. 14th with a wallet pleasantly-lighter for the love I will have given. Perhaps.

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Check out heroecs, the robotics team competition website of my old supervisor's daughter. Fun stuff!
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