Michael Battalio

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Serious conversations (part 18):

        This series is a continuation of my conversations with an atheist friend of mine. We began with religion and have now moved onto many other things. These are my edited responses from that conversation. The eighteenth entry wonders what is a worthwhile pursuit:

        In trying to figure out what exactly I should be doing with my time, I’ve come to ask myself many questions, the foremost being, what is a worthwhile pursuit of my time?
        It seems to me worthwhile pursuits should fall into a couple of categories (outside of working to fulfill basic needs – food, shelter, etc.).  One, personal development, exploration, and awareness - as in learning about something new, contemplating one’s existence, meeting new people and learning about them and learning what they know.  Two, advancement of the human race - as in helping others, yourself, or your environment.  Three, understanding of the universe – as in discovering new truths about the universe or simply learning how it works (the sciences, and philosophy).  Four, recreation – as in the pleasures and pastimes that keep our spirits up and allow for a level of unrestricted joy. We need recreation and entertainment just for the sake of it to give our minds time to relax outside of sleep.  I think that trivial things are fine as long as that is not all someone does.  Also, I think enabling others to perform worthwhile pursuits is a worthwhile pursuit (e.g. parenting).
        The question is now why I think those are worthwhile? Perhaps a worthwhile pursuit is an action that helps fulfill our purpose in life.  I loosely define my purpose in life to be happy.  I am happy when I am doing something in one of those categories.  This makes sense to me even though that is circular reasoning.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Serious conversations (part 17):

        This series is a continuation of my conversations with an atheist friend of mine. We began with religion and have now moved onto many other things. These are my edited responses from that conversation. The seventeenth entry concerns friendship:

My friend began speaking about friendship from the point of mutual communication, wondering does a friendship exist with no communication, and how she believe she had set up a communication barrier of sorts by not participating in some forms of communication.
“The people I’ve maintained good contact with emphatically DOES NOT map directly onto those to whom I was the closest while we lived in the same place and interacted in person.  It instead maps simply to the people who are best at communicating by the same methods that I prefer to use to communicate.”

I responded:
        I can say almost uniformly that everyone has difficult developing friends and relationships when moving somewhere new.  Almost everyone I knew that moved on to grad this year has expressed difficulty in fitting in to the new place and finding new people.  It just takes time.
        People, as I'm sure you have noticed, like to talk.  The advantages you give e-mail are some of the same things others would call disadvantages. People have so little time to sit down and actually write well thought out e-mails. And granted, I like having a serious conversation written for the sake of having a record. (I've many times sat down and read the entire way though our serious conversation.)  But typing things out just takes so much longer to do.  However, casual communication - the how are you? or here's something interesting that's just happened in my life - are so much easier to have via phone for most people.   (Plus, despite becoming much better at it in the last few years, I have a hard time finding stopping points in conversations so instead of politely excusing myself from a conversation I end up leaving awkward silences, so I don't really talk on the phone all that much anyway.)
        I think that communication is a big part of relationships, and that without it relationships are very difficult.  I can however think of a few people I still have a friendship with that I don't really talk to anymore.  Some relationships can be picked up and continued despite a lack for communication for a very long time.  It depends on the relationships, but to give a general statement:  most relationships would fail without communication in my opinion.
        Getting back to making close friends, I read an article a while ago talking about friendships.  It said that on average 70% of a person's friends change every 7 years.  It went on to say that people find friends along similar avenues.  So if you found friends via theatre activities or band or via your profession, that is how you would continue making friends.
        The point is you can't live in a bubble and expect to make friends.  That was the problem I had my freshman year at state.  I didn't go do anything.  Once I did begin branching out, friendships just happened.  Once you begin your professional career, assuming you don't just work and go home everyday for your entire life, you will find people your age to interact with.
2003-2016 Michael Battalio (michael[at]battalio.com)