I’d Rather Be Eccentric and Interesting than Acceptable and Boring

 

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Still getting out of my apartment a couple times a day and spending a few minutes socializing with my neighbors.  I still find normal conversation boring and mundane, but I tolerate it like getting stuck in traffic because I’m expected to.  Most people I have met can tell right away I’m not like most people.  I don’t enjoy talking only about the weather, sports, how much I hate my job, how idiotic my coworkers and neighbors are, politics, etc.  I’d much rather talk philosophy, poetry, history, tech advances, science, international news than talk about the weather or my work.  Half of the time when I’m listening to someone prattle on about the same things for the hundredth time, I have to remind myself to fake interest and act like this conversation is actually fascinating.  I hate to say it, but I find some people mundane and even boring.

Most people go through life without taking any real risks or standing out in any way.  Seems that many people when they were teenagers were content with their C’s and D’s on their report cards, going to ball games on Friday nights, and spending their weekends trying to get laid or getting drunk and stoned.  I never saw what was so great about being normal.  I was that smart guy on the football team that knew right away he needed to do his homework because there was no way he was going to get a scholarship.  I was the guy who considered it a personal failure every time he didn’t get an A on a test.  I was the guy who’s best friend was a girl.  She still is my best friend.  Even though I got good grades, I was still sometimes skeptical of what of my teachers taught me. I knew some really smart kids in high school and college who did poorly grade wise because they were skeptical of the teaching but didn’t play the game well enough to get the good grades.  I was rather skeptical of a lot of what I was taught, particularly in the non science and math fields.  But I gave the answers I figured the teachers were looking for while doing my own reading and research during the weekends and summers.  I still spent time with my friends, but my friends had the same nerdy likes and interests I did.

Developing a mental illness when I already had a reputation for being eccentric and odd didn’t help my social life any.  But considering how small my windows of opportunity for socializing with like minded people were in my youth (before the internet got really big), my social life was going to be lousy anyway.  My parents used to worry about how little I socialized and how little I enjoyed school and church activities.  It’s not that I am anti-social, I can be social for hours on end with like minded and interesting people.  I just can’t stand chit chat and normal conversation.  I find it too restricting and too predictable.  I found out pretty early on that most people were quite predictable if you spent enough time around them.  People in general don’t like change.  In fact, most people are scared senseless of changes.  I learned this when I was telling people about science and tech advances and what was actually going right in the world.  I got almost no positive responses out of anyone besides my mother, and I think she was doing that mainly to humor me.  Most people told me I was a liar or we would never live to see these advances.  Just in my lifetime, I’ve seen the rise of the internet, the rise of genetically modified crops, the decline of communism, the decline of network and cable television, the rise and fall of CDs, DVDs, movie rental places, and most brick and mortar companies in direct competition with internet companies like Amazon, Alibaba, Facebook, etc.  Even me, living on disability pension, can enjoy most of these advances that not even the richest man in the world could have enjoyed in 1985.  Do not tell me we aren’t living in cool times.

I know most people reminisce about past eras and would rather live then than in their current times.  I know people who would have loved to live in Medieval times.  I couldn’t do without toilet paper long enough to be burned at the stake as a heretic to live then.  Others pined for the Old West era.  Many places in the Old West had violent crime and homicide rates higher than even modern day Chicago.  I’d probably get shot for sneezing during a poker game.

I admit that I was always one of these people who wondered what life in the future would be like.  I guess if I am nostalgic, it’s for things that haven’t happened yet or might not happen at all.  I imagine a few hundred years in the future if our civilization has built colonies on other planets, solved poverty, ended war, ended pollution, have intelligent machines, etc., that there will be people who will be envious of us living in the early 21st century when many things started coming together and poverty, sickness, war, etc. became less and less.  And yet most people walking the streets today are oblivious to the wonders going on in the here and now.  It’s for reasons like that I am glad that I am not normal.  I don’t wish normal upon myself or any of my friends and family.  I love being eccentric and looking at life a different way.  I may not be highly accomplished or influential, but at least I don’t completely blend in to the background.

Donations to Expand ‘A Life Of Mental Illness’

I've decided to do an experiment to see if I can get a little money for doing this blog. I have sold hard copy books of poetry and mental illness essays that were the inspiration for this blog in the past. Being paid for this work would be a dream come true

$1.00

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Improvements

Been feeling better physically the last few days.  I’m getting out of the apartment several times a day, I spend a little time outside everyday, I’m walking more again, and I’m eating less junk food too.  As a result I’m feeling fewer aches and pains and sleeping better.  I still sleep in my recliner as my back still acts up if I sleep in a bed more than a few hours at a time.  I’ll probably spend the rest of the summer in my recliner and just let my back heal.

I’ve been feeling well mentally all summer.  That’s a welcome relief as summers have traditionally been a rough time of year for me.  My best times tend to be springs and winters.  I do feel better in autumn than summer usually but I have had problems in autumn in the past.  So far this summer has gone along rather uneventful.  It has been quite hot this month so I usually won’t go outside in the middle of the day.  I do my shopping usually in the evenings or early mornings.  I don’t go out in the overnight like I used to but I am still an incurable night person.

Haven’t had any problems with depression for weeks.  Haven’t had issues with anxiety or delusions either.  The only real hallucinations I have experienced this summer are occasionally hearing footsteps in the hallway when no one is there and I’ll still have unexplainable itching on my arms like ants walking but nothing is there.  Overall I’m doing alright.  I think I have even managed to lose a few pounds in the last couple weeks.

Don’t really have much to report.  Mentally I’ve been feeling stable.  Physically I’m feeling better with each passing day and getting more and more active all the time.  Sometimes no news is good news.

Socializing, the Internet, and Mental Illness

Got a few things done over the weekend.  I renewed my lease on my apartment.  I did this because my lease was going to expire in May and if I do move it won’t be until late summer at the earliest.  Also got new license plates for my car.  My state changes the designs every few years.  And for the first time in years Nebraska has plates that aren’t sensory overload 🙂  Simple is good sometimes.

I’m still feeling quite stable mentally.  I think I finally cured my problems of sleeping too much.  I usually sleep only six hours a night now and nap for an hour in the afternoons.  Haven’t felt any real depression or anxiety for a few weeks now.  I go sometimes get lonely as I don’t have much for intelligent conversation in my apartment complex.  Outside of my landlady, I don’t get much for interesting conversation.  Most people in my complex seem to be content to complain about how they don’t get enough in social security or about the antics of fellow tenants.  Well, it’s not my fault some of these people spend so much money on cigarettes and lottery tickets.  And it’s also not my fault that some people allow themselves to worry themselves sick over things that don’t matter.  It just gets old after awhile having the same conversations about the weather or who did what to whom.

I admit to isolating more than is healthy.  At least more than is healthy for most people.  But I never really have enjoyed socializing.  Let me take that back, I enjoy socializing with certain types of people.  I enjoy socializing with intellectuals, avid readers, and people with a wide range of interests.  I just don’t get that very often.  I have never gotten that very often, especially when growing up.  I did get to socialize a great deal with interesting, intelligent, and well read people when I was in college.  College was the happiest five years of my life.  Unfortunately it was also a temporary environment.  I have never met the range of people and intelligences I met in college since.  It’s not even close.

The older I get the less chances I have to socialize.  Many of my well read college friends now have careers and families, so I don’t get to see them very often.  Even my friends without children I don’t get to talk to as often as I would like.  Right now the big thing saving my sanity and keeping my social life alive is participating in group forums on Facebook.  Sure I’ll never get to meet those people as we are spread all over the world, but I still get to have some kind of socializing with people I can relate to.

I don’t enjoy going to bars on Saturday nights.  I don’t enjoy talking about sports or politics for hours on end.  I never cared for people who complained about their jobs or spouses.  I guess I am ultimately not someone you would want as a dinner guest.  I just have little use for small talk about mundane nonsense.  I imagine that makes me look like a show off to most normal people.  But I’m really not showing off that much of what I know and can remember.  I actually have to dumb down around most people.  And I can’t stand it.  That’s why I love the internet so much.  I can much, much easier meet with people with similar interests than I could ever have imagined twenty years ago.  The internet is a social God send for me.  I don’t think I’d be as stable without the interactions I get from others through it.

Rant about Politics, Education, Science, Technology (or PEST)

It’s been a few days since I last wrote.  That’s because I’m beginning to feel some of the anxiety and depression I felt back in late summer and fall again.  I am convinced this is because of most of my friends wanting to only talk about politics.  I am sick of hearing about politics.  Most politicians know less about science and technology advances that are and will impact our world than even I do.  A politician can’t build a power plant or bring back jobs once automation has made those jobs redundant and pointless.  Politicians, at least here in the USA, can’t even update critical infrastructure or balance their own budgets.  And it saddens me that my country is getting to where we don’t lead the world in many areas of science and technology.  Who would have thought twenty years ago that China would be offering to lead the world on developing clean and renewable energy or artificial intelligence or genetics?  I am embarrassed by politicians of both major parties.

I don’t understand normal people.  I don’t understand how masses of people can look at facts and ignore them or even outright deny them because of the person stating said facts.  Facts don’t change because of beliefs.  You can ignore the reality all you want but eventually you won’t be able to ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.

I have been following politics since the late 1980s.  Since then I have heard the statistics that state that my country has one of the worst overall education systems in the developed world.  We have known this for over a generation.  Yet no major overhauls to the way children in the U.S. are educated has happened. We won’t even consider looking at what other countries do in their educational systems.  My country is going to have to radically overhaul education real soon because the information and automation revolutions will make many of the skills stressed in the current system useless.  We have seen these changes coming for years yet not even the current politicians in power seem too eager to update education for the realities of the 21st century. That’s why I, and many other people in my country, have resorted to self educating ourselves by the internet.  Learning is not boring.  It’s just presented that way in traditional education.

Too many people and politicians are ignorant when it comes to science and technology.  We have known for years about the risks of burning carbon based fuels in terms of climate change and unhealthy air to breathe.  Even if climate change isn’t happening, only a fool would deny that people are getting sick and dying from breathing the toxic fumes emitted by coal plants and gasoline powered automobiles.  That alone should have made people pour much more research money into developing alternatives.

I don’t understand some people’s love affair with oil.  Some people seem to think that we never will find anything better than oil and that we can keep using it for thousands of years.  Climate change or not, oil is a limited resource. And some people don’t acknowledge that science can and will find answers to replacing oil whether they like it or not.  I have to think had these people been born in the mid 1800s , they wouldn’t have wanted to give up their kerosene lamps for electric lights or their stagecoaches for railroads. Or if they were born during the Renaissance they wouldn’t have given up their swords for muskets or would have considered the printing press the work of the devil. But there are always going to be people who don’t want to change anything and some who are nostalgic about a past that wasn’t that great to begin with.  I guarantee that in the future there will be people who won’t want to colonize the moon or other planets just because they fear and hate technology.

I don’t understand normal people’s obsession with politics.  And I’m sure most people don’t understand my obsession with learning and science.  Science classes have always been my favorite classes.  I had to take a detour from my desired science career and studied business and economics while I was in college.  As it turned out this study of economics turned out to be a several year diversion from my true passions.  I don’t regret studying economics as it made me much better at budgeting limited money and resources.  But looking back on it I am glad I didn’t find a job in business or economics and especially banking.  I would have hated working in a cubicle and having to wear a suit every day to work.  As much as I enjoy what money can do, I also know that having a great deal of money wouldn’t mean much to me.  It wouldn’t make me feel successful or like more of a man.  Who defines what is a “real man” anyway?  Seems to  me that those goal posts are constantly shifting.  The only winning move seems to me is to not play at all.

If I suddenly had a couple million dollars, I’d probably move to Silicon Valley, rent a small apartment, try to get involved in some small start ups, hang out with really intelligent and science minded people, and essentially live off the interest of my low risk investments.  I wouldn’t buy a sports car, a large house, or even get married.  But I always thought Northern California would be a cool place to live.  Then again I don’t know.  It’s not like I fit in even with people I have lived with my entire life.

If there is a point to these rants I suppose it’s that I simply don’t understand normal people.  I don’t understand why normal fret and stress over things that are trivial but don’t care at all about potential serious problems or opportunities.  Straining at gnats but swallowing camels as far as I’m concerned.  But at this point in my life I am glad that I am not normal.  I don’t desire to be considered normal even if I am somehow cured of schizophrenia.  Normal doesn’t change the world for the better.  I want for my life anyway, for most people that encounter me and my works to be better off for it.  I don’t want to be some political hack or among unthinking crowds.

Beginning of 2017 and So Long to 2016

The holidays have come and gone.  I’m glad for it.  The too loud Christmas music and fireworks on New Year’s Eve were getting to cause me sensory overload.  I’m glad that things are going to start to return to normal.  I haven’t experienced any normal for a long time.  2016 was indeed an odd year.  Many of the heroes of my childhood, namely John Glenn, David Bowie, Muhammed Ali, etc. died that year.  I guess the older I get the more I’ll see the heroes of my childhood die off.  But as old heroes die off, new heroes will step up and take their place.

I spoke to my counselor right before New Year’s.  He and I agreed that I’m doing well enough that I only need to see him only once a month.  As tough as 2016 was for me I did escape the year without having to go to the mental hospital.  I’ve now avoided that place for three years.  I think the older I get the more I am able to deal with the ups and downs of my mental illness.  The last breakdown I had was before Halloween and the last one I had before that was back in July 2016.  And both of these breakdowns were less intense and less long lived than breakdowns in previous years.  Maybe I am getting on top of this mess.

Talked to my landlord the other day.  She said I’ll be getting my new paint for my walls and new carpet by the end of January.  I have been anxiously waiting for new carpet and a new paint job for months.  I have lived in my current apartment for over ten years.  I haven’t have much done to the place since I moved in.  And the carpet and paint on the walls are probably over twenty years old.  They are due.  I haven’t complained about them in the past simply because I knew whatever complaints I made would be ignored and not taken seriously.  I have had legitimate complaints over the years not taken seriously by my bosses, coworkers, teachers, classmates, and even family members.  So I am now to where I don’t complain unless it’s a major crisis because, from past experience, I know I won’t be taken seriously.  I never understood way complaints of subordinates and renters were never taken seriously  by those in authority.  I may be in my mid thirties but I still don’t trust authority figures because for years my complaints were always ignored.  That could be one of the reasons I isolate and don’t socialize.  I just know from past experience that my opinions are just not valued.  They never have been.  I don’t expect them to ever be valued really.  I have just been burned too many times.

I am glad the madness of the holidays and the insanity of the election are over.  Both have made my life very difficult for many months.  I am tired of having to hold my tongue for fear of offending a friend who doesn’t think exactly as I do.  I am tired of always fighting crowds and traffic every time I want to leave my apartment. I am tired of always feeling like I have to hole up and hide out just to protect my sanity.  I am ready for some things to return to normal.  I won’t miss 2016.  I only hope 2017 is a better and more hopeful year.  I got tired of seeing angry and hopeless people every time I turned on the tv, logged on to Facebook, or left my apartment.

 

Rant About Working and Money

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I’ve been feeling quite calm and content since Thanksgiving.  I really haven’t left the complex that much but I do keep myself occupied.  I still watch a lot of educational videos on youtube and curiosity stream.  Most people will find me odd for saying this but I love learning new things.  Sure the things I learn may not help me make more money or land a dream job, but so what?  Why does everything I do have to have a dollar sign attached to it?  Why can’t I do something just to make myself smarter and more interesting?  I know plenty of well to do people who haven’t voluntarily read a book since high school.  But these people are one dimensional, boring, and really don’t know what’s going on in the world outside of their workplace.  You may make a lot of money but that doesn’t make up for the fact you may be boring, uninteresting, a bad parent, or your marriage is falling apart.  Most of my critics think I’m wasting my time and efforts learning extemporaneous things and not doing practical things like chasing women or complaining about my coworkers.  But I don’t care.  I’ve reached the age where I’m focused on what I need to do to advance my work and purpose and everything else is just background noise.

As it is I consider this blog and my own enlightenment my career now.  I don’t care that I don’t make much money from it.  Besides money isn’t backed up by anything tangible as most countries haven’t been on a gold or silver standard for generations.  Your money is fake.  Your money is less real than a porn star’s body parts.  And that is why I don’t care that I don’t get much money from this blog or my other outside projects.  My critics just love to brag about how much they work in one breath and then complain about how much they hate their jobs in the next.  Robots and automated programs will be taking many jobs within the next twenty years.  Someday that job you lord over others to brag about how much you are earning your keep will be taken over by machines.  Then what?  Then you will be in the same place with the “welfare bums” and “lazy idiots” you have damned for generations.

I really have no patience for people who brag about how much they supposedly work and about how irreplaceable they are.  Screw you, we are all replaceable.  There have been tens of billions of humans that have lived in the history of our species, individuals are not that special.  Many jobs will be replaced by machines within the next generation.  Many millions of people will be unemployed without their consent.  And here you are complaining about people that can’t find jobs to support themselves or resorting to welfare programs.  Well, screw you!  We will probably all be on some kind of tax payer sponsored support within the next thirty years, especially when automation takes off.

Many people think we’re going to bring back millions manufacturing jobs and it’ll be like the go go 1950s once again.  First of all, most manufacturing jobs are getting to the point that machines can do them better than any human can.  Even Chinese factories are putting in robotic manufacturing processes as we speak.  It’s not like an average person just out of high school is going to work the same factory job for forty five years and then get a pension anymore.  Those days are as dead as the horse and buggy.  And it’s stupid and pointless to try to bring those days back.  If we are to compete on a world stage, we’re going to have to update our entire education system and retrain millions of workers.  It angers me to think that I spent my educational career in a mediocre system that didn’t challenge me or even try to prepare me to compete on a global scale.  Heck I feel like I was cheated by my school systems.  There is more to life than whether you can throw the football a long way or become prom queen.

We aren’t going to bring back the “good ol’ days”, and they weren’t that good to begin with.  I have no patience with people who have an overabundance of nostalgia for the past and think that the old days were some magical time where people respected others and an honest day’s work meant an honest day’s pay.  In most cases, an honest day’s work meant you didn’t get whipped by your slave masters for most of history or beaten by your alcoholic husband.  I hate nostaliga and I am really sick and tired of people longing for a past that never existed in the real world.  Do your homework already!

I guess I shouldn’t rant that much about people who won’t do their homework.  But it does get old after awhile.  It does scare me that even though I’m a schizophrenic on disability pension I do more homework into the state of science, technology, and world affairs in a typical day than most people do in a month.  The internet is a great tool to learn cool and great things.  Use it for some constructive purpose already.  The internet was not designed just so you could troll people who don’t agree with you.  Dealing with stupid people who think they’re something special because they have the internet (which they had nothing to do with in making) gets tiring and discouraging from time to time.  I guess this  is one of those times I’m just discouraged with so many people in my life acting and thinking like a bunch of barbarian brutes.  I will feel better eventually but I just need to vent right now.  Even mentally ill people should be allowed to have moments of weakness.  Screw the stiff upper lip at all times!

 

I’ve Lost Interest In Politics but Gained Interest In Science

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I must be the only man in America who won’t be watching the Presidential Debates tonight.  I’ve had my fill of politics months ago.  I am so tired and frustrated how hateful and divided politics has become.  I can’t even talk about politics with close friends and family any more without feeling frustration.  But politics and sports are all many people I know want to talk about anymore.  There is a lot more going on in the real world than politics and sports.  But it’s the abnormal that gets the most attention.  Few people can throw a football 80 yards or charm thousands of people in a speech.

I readily admit I do not understand neurotypical thinking.  I have spent years trying to figure the average people out and have even point blank asked people why they think the way that they do.  Alas, I haven’t gotten any concrete answers or come to any real conclusions.  I definitely believe the Tommy Lee Jones line from ‘Men In Black’ when he said, “The individual is smart but people are dumb and panicky animals.”  I see this everyday.  I do much better dealing with only one or two people at a time rather than trying to deal with crowds.  I don’t understand why for the last year and a half about all I see on my newsfeed and friends’ Facebook comments have to do with politics.  Some pretty cool stuff has happened in other fields just in that time, namely in science and technology.  But no one likes to discuss any of that.  About the only people I can discuss science with are my parents who had extensive science backgrounds because of working in the medical fields.  Even then I am convinced they don’t like discussing science that much and do it just to humor me.

I have always been interested in science and technology.  I pursued a career in medical research until it became painfully obvious that my mental illness wouldn’t allow me to continue this path.  It helped that I had some good science teachers in school that were willing to put up with my endless questions.  But after spending over a dozen years in the adult world, I painfully realized that most people didn’t have that luxury.  Most people do not see the beauty and wonder of science and the natural world.  I think that if people like this were to take a few evenings to watch some presentations by the late Carl Sagan and Michio Kaku on youtube instead of whatever sports ball game or political news is trending this week, we’d have a much more informed and enthusiastic populace.  We’d also have more interesting people too.  And isn’t being interesting a worthy goal?

Since the fall of communism and the rise of information tech in the early 1990s, we have lived in some really interesting times.  It seems hardly a week goes by anymore that some breakthrough is happening.  Sadly, most people I associate with on a daily basis are blind to these wonders.  And it seems that the few that are paying attention are worried about some dystopian future.  Personally I am very angry with Hollywood and popular culture for selling people these horrible visions of the future.  Visions like that are intellectually lazy and probably dishonest. And it’s not like there isn’t a market for good science fiction that shows a possibly cool future.  Star Trek has been around for fifty years and is going as strong as ever.  People are worried about machines that have no empathy or compassion?  Please, most people I know lack empathy and compassion and our world still works.

I guess in my ranting frustration I have to take heart in the fact that the entire world doesn’t have to be inventors or scientists or artists or humanitarians.  The politicians, freaks, cranks, and creeps may get the lion’s share of the attention from the media.  But it’s the scientists, engineers, health care workers, artists, humanitarians, and incurable dreamers that make living better and more meaningful.  I end this article with a few thoughts from the late Buckminster Fuller about how it often doesn’t take a great multitude or following the crowd to make a positive difference. buckminster-fuller-earn-living-technological-breakthrough