On One Hand

October 30, 2005

My Defiance

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 9:18 pm
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When my coworkers and I were getting notes from our boss about how bad we were doing at work, I didn’t care because I was doing well in school, and school was more important.

Then I started doing poorly in school after working 20 hours a week, but I knew I still had friends who could take care of me, and I was living for being creative and for the newspaper.

Then I started struggling with the newspaper. One week I worked every afternoon from the day an article was assigned to the day it was due, and my editor told me that I needed to “actually do some reporting.” My article was cut. So maybe journalism isn’t my thing, I thought, but I had friends still, and I was finally doing better at work.

When one friend dropped me from her life I knew I could spend the night with another for a long hug, and when he pissed me off I could go back to the first. I always had somewhere else to go. I had somebody else’s arms in which to sleep, and nobody was permanent. But when you live like this there is a point you come to, when you realize that everyone and everything is undependable and inconstant, and you start feeling cynical about life.

That’s why I try to be the best person I can. Not because I really care about people, and not because I think good would come to me. I try to be utterly honest and utterly loyal and utterly genuine because it is my fucking protest against everything I see. I need to prove that a human can be good. And I don’t know if that’s really a noble motive.

I’m always searching for that one person who won’t betray me, who I can trust to always forgive me, and who will always be loyal to my needs. I would do the same in return – that relationship would make everything meaningful. But I don’t think there is such a person in the world. So I got to wondering: in an inconstant universe, what’s dependable? Who’s actually worth being good for?

Some people would say that’s God. As much as I try to be rational and skeptical of intuitive thought, I know that part of me has always beleived in God or some sort of universal everything that is real and permanent and meaningful. It’s what makes me who I am: if I didn’t beleive in God, I would join the Business school because I know I’m smart enough to get rich that way, and there’d be no other purpose to life but to help myself to whatever I can get. I would shit on poor people and shit on the environment because there’s no reason to care about things outside myself. I wouldn’t be a Conservative because I’d still want to have sex, but I’d get rich easy while others spend their lives working hard around me yet I’d call them lazy because they’re poor. I’d read Ayn Rand and Capitalism magazine, and I’d support the war. I’d want to stop immigration and lower taxes. I’d mark myself up with plastic surgery to look absolutely perfect and worship myself, then I’d stop writing because it’s not going to make me rich. I would stop being creative. I would join a wealthy Evangelical church for the business connections.

That seems awful; I have no desire to do any of these things.

Or maybe I’d realize that happiness is all that matters, and in hopes of being happy I’d ditch everything and live in the woods for a sane and easy, healthy life. I’m not sure what I would do if I was certain God didn’t exist. I might just kill myself, figuring I might as well get it over sooner. I doubt I’d carry on the same way I do now.

But though I believe, I don’t beleive in God enough; I still think that my own merit matters because humans are unequal, though I know that if God is real, everyone is. I still get upset when my friends do things like talk shit or move on hoping to do better than me. Even the best people do that, myself included, and I think it’s horrible. But if God is real, I’d trust things to work out. I still get upset when people don’t understand how hard it is for me to focus and instead call me lazy, or when they don’t realize that I’m stretched very thin. If there is a God, at least someone sympathizes.

I’m not sure if there’s a God or not. All I know is that the world is clearly flawed. I don’t know if I’d call it “fallen,” and I certainly don’t believe God is so particular as to demand a sacrifice to redeem it rather than just redeeming it by will. The world might be flawed for a reason – maybe we’re supposed to reach out and find each other in spite of our selfishness, to find meaning. Or we’re supposed to realize that we’re not individuals, that all matter and laws are of the same substance, which the Buddhists and scientists are simultaneously, slowly uncovering. That’s what I see as true as of now.

What I know is that I’m willing to follow any clues, and in the meantime I’ll sit here trying to make sense of the ambiguity. And I’m still looking for good people, and trying to do my best.



  1. p.s. i try to pick up the campus press every week to see if youre in there.

    Comment by volatile_freq — October 31, 2005 @ 7:20 am | Reply

    • I was in it on October 11, and hopefully next Tuesday if they don’t cut that article – but don’t expect it to be any good. I’m currently working on a foolproof article (knock on wood) which would come out a week later.

      Comment by ononehand — October 31, 2005 @ 8:04 am | Reply

  2. Interesting . . . I had a long conversation with a friend last night along these very same lines. Not so much about the God bit, but how confusing it is to me that people feel so little regard for others, so little obligation to care and protect. To me, any connection with another person is a valuable thing, and so many people take it for granted . . . But then again, that’s just human nature. If people weren’t so inconsistent, it wouldn’t mean nearly as much when you meet the one right person who is.

    Comment by Anonymous — October 31, 2005 @ 4:06 pm | Reply

  3. There’s a lot for me to think about in there. I find it interesting that the first things you think you would do if you didn’t believe in God are the things that we typically associate with “Christians.”

    Comment by bradfordneal — November 2, 2005 @ 1:55 am | Reply

  4. Since I never comment, I want to say to you (cause it shouldn’t go left unsaid), that your entries are such a pleasure to read and often send me catapulting in to my own little thoughts and philosophical musings. I enjoyed this whole entry. I read it immediately after reading the poem “The Rhodora” by Emerson, and this one little line of yours “Or we’re supposed to realize that we’re not individuals, that all matter and laws are of the same substance”, coupled with that poem… made me think for about 45 minutes, and has inspired me to write my Midterm essay on it tomorrow evening lol… this was totally random to share with you, but… whatever… you rock *two thumbs up*

    Comment by apocalipsticks — November 2, 2005 @ 5:56 am | Reply

    • Aw, thank you! I appreciate that a lot, coming from you. You’re one of the people on my friends’ page I take more seriously.

      Comment by ononehand — November 2, 2005 @ 9:11 am | Reply

  5. Looking in….

    I didn’t really mean to be anonymous, but I didn’t have a URL to enter! I’m John Day from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and a little old for you!

    It probably doesn’t matter that you don’t love God perfectly. It matters more that He loves you perfectly! Just do your best.

    Comment by Anonymous — November 22, 2005 @ 3:07 am | Reply

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