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The Human Drive, May 7th, 2000 :: Ben Turner's Soapbox

 

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archived soapbox: May 7th, 2000
"The Human Drive" [permalink]
    keywords: life, career, motivations, drive, ambition
    soapbox #: 240
    written: May 7th, 2000
    words: 1149

"The Human Drive", an Essay

One thing in particular that amazes me when I go about my daily business, which is done in a quiet, observational way, is the impulse of the human spirit to keep going.

You learn so much about people by just not talking. It's really quite insane. People are bubbly fonts of information just leaking out of their mouths. They cannot help it, and even the most reserved, guarded people can get started if you push the right buttons. And all you have to do is shut up. That's what most people just do not comprehend, particularly when they go off on how I should change the way I am.

Why would I trade who I am for something else? I know so much about people who don't even know my name. I know their innate tendencies, their quirks, the reasons their habits are the way they are. When you're not watching what you're doing, your patterns tend to fall along the simplest paths. They make the most sense to an observer.

So why am I talking about this? Simply because, as I began, one must be impressed by how resilient people are with their lives.

If you just stop to think about it, there are billions of people out there in the world, most of whom manage to get through whole days without absolutely wishing they were dead. Something inside of them keeps them going. They have some yearning, some need, some passion they want to fulfill. Perhaps life may not let them to indulge in that passion, or perhaps they discover little strange ways to act out those passions, such as with bizarre hobbies or quirky habits. Perhaps what they want is unattainable no matter how hard they try, yet they try anyway. Perhaps they think it IS attainable when it reality it never existed. Nonetheless, people keep trying, even in the most hellish conditions.

Is it just some fear of death, a game of survival, like it is for other animals? Is it merely a pre-programmed instinct to eat and to carry on that makes people continue instead of dropping to the ground? Are people just carrying out advanced interpretations of the most base instincts of a living being? Or do they want something more? Hope? Love? Happiness? Relaxation? Wealth? Sex? Fame?

Everyone has their own story that they keep within themselves. Only they know it, but it shows through clear as day on the outside. Each one has a personal reason for carrying on that negates the effects of a terrible job, horrible parents, an abusive spouse, whatever. Maybe this in itself is a survival mechanism, to protect us from realizing a truth that the world is in fact bleak, that it has no happy ending, that there is no such thing as a just end, that nothing we do has any importance except to carry on the race. One can extrapolate all sorts of theories from this.

The human mind is its greatest enemy. Turn a mind against itself and it will destroy not only itself, but the body that it inhabits. It is the most perfidious way to annihilate someone. It is the worst curse certain people can have, people who cannot escape the most cynical of conclusions and not dismiss any of it with faith or hope or optimism. It is man's greatest aid and his greatest danger as well.

Touched
You say that I am too
So much of what you say is true
I'll never find someone quite like you again
I'll never find someone quite like you, like you
The razors and the dying roses plead
I don't leave you alone
The demigods and hungry ghosts
Good god knows I'm not at home
I'll never find someone quite like you again
I'll never find someone quite like you again
I looked into your eyes and saw
A world that does not exist
I looked into your eyes and saw
A world I wish I was in
I'll never find someone quite as touched as you
I'll never love someone quite the way that I...loved you

"Touched", Vast

Soemtimes people have to re-evaluate their lives and figure out what they really think is important and whether they've been doing the right thing all along. Sometimes people were right, and external factors made it impossible. Sometimes people were wrong, in which case they'd have to re-prioritize. Sometimes they discover something completely new about themselves, whether good or bad.

I suppose it is when you are most vulnerable that you have the greatest potential to change. It's when you're caught up in a whirlwind of life that you only realize how far you've come, after you've landed.

Times like those are when people can change into the most generous people on Earth, or the meanest people in the business, or the most dedicated family person, or the laziest unemployed dropout, or the richest and most powerful person on Earth, and so on. This is when heroes are born, villains are made, traitors spring forth, poets drink from the spring. The chain reaction of events in the mind that must've happened to the most illustrious or notorious people in history would be fascinating to study. Such events are defining moments and they are not to be taken lightly.

So maybe this is a defining moment for me. Maybe I am changing without knowing it. Maybe it's not in a good way. Maybe I'm happy about the process, maybe I'm not. I just know that it's my time to decide.

What I do know is there is something I want very much, but it seems so far away and out of my control that there's nothing I can do about it. That seems like a strange admission coming from myself, since I normally have the utmost confidence in my own abilities to create something where there is nothing. But INTJ's have a weakness -- and in my case, the dearest weakness. Figuring out how to handle it is my greatest mental task right now.

We all have our life's motivations. Personally, I do not feel as though my motivations have changed any. I feel that I just understand better now why I'm driven by them. I feel that what I've been doing has been right and that those things I am unhappy with are still fixable. The things I'm happy with I will press harder on. Play larger lots when you're doing well. Scale back, but don't quit, when things are going your way. They'll turn. Just call me optimistic.


 
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