Michael Battalio

Friday, April 21, 2006

For times gone by

I'm feeling really nostalgic this evening. Maybe it's because it's
another Friday night, and I'm in my room, alone, again. Maybe it's
because I only have three more weeks before this semester is all
over, and I really haven't enjoyed this semester at all. As a matter
of fact, I've hated this semester, even more so than the two
semesters of my freshman year here. The last four months, in my
eyes, have been a waste of my life. Sure, my grades will end up
where I want them to be; I somehow always manage it despite how far
behind I am in something. But college life should be about a whole
lot more than grades. Really, all of life should be about a whole
lot more than work. Unfortunately, I don't know what that whole lot
more should be. It seems that other people have figured it out, and
that's why they like being here (Here as in alive. Not that I don't
want to live; it's just that I'm not enjoying it.). I, however,
haven't the slightest idea as to what it is I want out of life. I've
been thinking about it the entire semester, and I'm nowhere closer to
an answer than I was before. I really want something amazing to
happen in my life, and it's getting to the point where I need
something, anything to happen.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

the Good life?

What is the good life?  That is something I've been asking myself lately, although, not directly.  I read a poem in English class earlier today.  (I must admit, if I weren't so terrified by the professor's tests, and if the class were only a fifty minute class instead of 75, I would seriously enjoy it and want to take a class by the same teacher again.)  The poem is by Ben Jonson and called "Inviting a Friend to Supper."  Read it if you get the chance or the desire.  Ignoring all the political stuff in the poem, it describes what the speaker thinks would be the good life:  food, friends, intellectual conversation and so forth.  This has led me to thinking since I got out of class this morning.  I know I'm not happy where I am (by am I don't mean just physical location of my body, but I include that in the word 'am' as well), and I suppose I have a bit of knowledge as to why, namely, I don't do anything worthwhile.  Which leads me to thinking, "What is worthwhile?"  And that leads back to "What is the good life?"  The good life is not a superficial, and usually hypocritical, belief in a deity.  The good life is not sex or drugs or drinking (even though that's what society tells us it is, and I will be the first to admit; it's hard to ignore society).  The good life is not wealth and figuring out how we can be lazy for the rest of the life (that is confusing the easy life with the good life).  The good life is advancing yourself and bringing others along with you as you go.  By advancing I mean not just intellectually, physically or spiritually, but they are terrifically important.  By advancing I mean living up to principles you set for yourself, not ones God or government sets up for you to believe.  I also certainly don't mean to set goals like write a to do list each day; then once you've done that for x number of years, you've led a good life and can die in peace.  I mean the good life is living to the set of values your find honorable and worthy of a sentient human being, i.e. yourself.  What those individual values are is a matter of the individual.  I know, however, that finding those values begins with questioning all the physical and spiritual and intellectual, questioning society, questioning the easy life.  We even need (especially so) to question ourselves, because being fallible predestines us to being wrong just as often as we are right, if not just as often then more so.  The good life is living up to lofty standards you place on yourself and being able, when it's all over, to step back and say, "Yeah, I got it right."  That, of course, is under the assumption that you will be wiser when you die than you are now so you can realize whether or not you got it right.   As for the now, it's worth our time to quit being lazy or getting drunk or high to figure out in what ways we can be more virtuous people.  

All of that is the best answer I have for anything at the moment.  Work with me here I'm struggling with it just as everyone else.
2003-2016 Michael Battalio (michael[at]battalio.com)