August 31, 2011

It's An Interesting Feeling

In December of 2009 I had finished my final exam for my BSc. in Chemistry. Not wanting to yet enter the workforce and wanting to see something of the world, I had already decided to go to Korea. The waiting game was on.

Over the entire period of time I was to muse on what type of job I would want and where I would want to live. I spent some peaceful months avoiding real life; a respite from the harsh schedules of academia. I'll admit that I did not give my future much thought during that time. I was content to simply do nothing and enjoy what little nothing I could for so short a time. Then Korea came and I had finally discovered the answer to one half od my question. I knew where I wanted to live.

I had a fantastic time for the brief period of it I spent there and it taught me that I want to live in Eastern Canada. Doing what was the only other question I sought an answer to so I returned to pursue it.

In the time since I've been back I've applied for a boatload of Chemistry jobs but met with little success, not willing to move to Toronto or beyond. Eventually the funds remaining from my trip were running dry and I could afford to tarry no longer. Therefore, I took any job I could find and "any job" turned out to be a call center.

I'll own that the particular call center I worked at was one of the best ones around. Compared with others, the work and schedule were child's play. Still, I found that I did not like it and the stress it placed on me was considerable. So I left, though it may not have been the best call economically for me.

Around the same time I had a realization that, although I loved Chemistry and everything I learned in the degree, I didn't want to work in the field itself. I wanted something different. Something highly social that still made use of my scientific method and penchant for numbers. I decided that I wanted to take business.

There were two things barring my path: a prerequisite in some type of Economics class and the General Management Admission Test (GMAT). The Economics course is hardly worth mentioning for all the ease of it. The GMAT was way more of a bitch. But it was a bitch of my own creation.

Most people afford at least three months to study for the GMAT test, or at least that's what all the supportive literature says. I had given myself just over three weeks. Was I being crazy? Hell, no. Was I being cocky? Oh god, yes. And sure enough, with so little time to complete it, I achieved my goal of attaining the required score for my MBA program and beyond. I sure do like my ego boost.

So now we're here. It's upon us. Tomorrow I begin a two-year program that was almost two years in the making for myself. Will it be everything I want it to be for me? I sure hope so. I'm looking for a job I'll actually want to do when I come out of the program. This seems like my best bet. But, like anything, only time will tell. It's been a rather interesting road to this point, full of things I could never have predicted. I imagine that it'll be an even more interesting road as the stakes are raised again and I must rise to the occasion as I have so many times before. All in all: It's an interesting feeling.

August 25, 2011

My Dark/Light Sides

I've been thinking a lot on certain concepts related to the self. Perception and its derivatives have been on my mind as of late. Another concept I feel deserves merit that is at least related but may or may not fit into this category is the thought that everyone has their dark sides and their lighter sides. Otherwise put, we all fall into a certain shade of grey.

The way I like to think of it is that both the light and the dark make up the self and form some sort of grey area. No one is perfectly noble and none so evil. What I'm more concerned with is breaking down those components of light and dark. Realizing that I cannot do this for the typical person since it would require intricate knowledge of their inner thinkings that I'm simply not privy to, I figure I'll attempt to analyze my own light and dark sides in some sort of vain effort to provide a basis on which people may compare themselves.

As it may be more pleasant, let us begin by discussing the light. I'd like to point out that no matter who I'm dealing with or whatever the situation, I try to find some positive in that situation and also to love the moments it generates. This is obvious when good things are happening since it's quite easy to draw positive from preferable experiences. However, this aspiration of mine is tested when bad things happen.

Let's say someone says something that upsets me. I'm logical. I try to deal with it by assuming the person may have some good although possibly selfish reason to upset me. More appropriately put, I try to empathize with the person that is the source of my anger. I don't mean to make this sound easy. On the contrary, I find it insanely difficult. I've been slighted before by people I've been close to in a wide variety of situations and have been able to forgive those people in time. No doubt there will always be a part of me that remains bitter over the situation. In general, though, I don't see the need in perpetuating some type of conflict that holds no gain for me in the long run.

Now let's say something more serious happens. Like someone dying. That's basically the worst thing that can possibly happen. Naturally, if I was close to the person I would be quite upset. It may take a very long time but, over that time frame, I eventually do manage to look at the situation more objectively and find some good that came out of it, even if it seems like the bad far outweighs the good.

Maybe it's my vanity speaking but I would prefer to believe that I can maintain the capacity to love and to forgive in the direst of situations. God knows it's hard to do, though.

Now to delve into the dark. Like everyone, I'm sure, I have dark impulses and moments when my otherwise sunny disposition is rained on. I find that I can very quickly think of the most pragmatic end to a situation. Most often this would be the course of action that would hurt others and puts paramount importance on self-gain. I'm a very logical person which is my theory as to why I instantly arrive to this solution before I even think of the more noble solutions. I also find that sometimes my natural reaction to situations can be quite vengeful. Simply put: I am not to be crossed.

Let's say someone I care about has a problem. Being somewhat of a strategist, I would instantly think of how I could turn the situation to my advantage even at the expense of the person I should be helping. Now, to be clear, the vast majority of the time I will set that thought aside, pleased that I was able to contrive it, and help the person in the way that benefits them. But we do have our dark sides and that's one of the instances where mine does surface briefly.

Now if the situation is more personal then we have a much more interesting concept to discuss. If someone were to act against me and hurt me in some way I would immediately think about revenge before I thought of anything else. I have morals, I would probably end up taking the high road. But the thought and the desire to act on the person who hurt me would be powerful. I suppose the worst part of it all is that I can actually sit back and think of effective ways or situations to just utterly ruin the person, each varying on how far I would be willing to take it. I do derive pleasure in thinking up the scenarios and I think it stems back to my love of finding the most logical solution to things. It is a side of me that exists in abundance. But having the information is not the same as using it. Just because I see the ways in which to shatter a person doesn't mean that I'll do it or will even want to as time passes.

I like to think of dark and light sides not as opposing forces or hindrances but as thought processes that ensure I make the most informed decisions in my life. I'm not going to sit back and say that I'm a wonderful person who only does good things and never screws up. Nor am I going to say that I am indefinitely more prone to taking the darker course of action. I admit, the dark actions have a certain innate appeal to me as they tend to correlate more with my way of thinking. Naturally, I will initially gravitate towards those courses of action. But I would like to believe that I am adept at seeing all sides of an issue. If I always did the dark action then I would have no one around to care about and it would ultimately be self-defeating anyway. I guess the best way of putting it is something like this: I can be a great person to those who a great to me and have at least the potential to go darkside on anyone who decides to be a bastard to me. No matter how righteous or dishonourable you may be, I doubt anyone could say any different on the whole.

August 19, 2011

Detriments and Saving Graces of Perception

Perception carries within it some very dangerous concepts when you extend it to our everyday lives.

Perception is something I characterize as being wholly unique to the individual. It helps that the prevailing explanation for perception is also based on the individual's frame of reference. I find it remarkable how our perception can change so much depending on a varying set of circumstances. Even something so minute as one new piece of information can have a profound impact on the way we perceive things.

For that reason, I don't know if I would want to know every single thing. Knowing things that are outside of my perception could have a profoundly negative impact on me. I always remember the saying, "Ignorance is bliss" and often ponder the wisdom of it when considering such things. It's true sometimes that there are things you would rather not know because knowing them would hurt you. It's pretty much also a fact that the vast majority of people talk about others and gossip about the people they know. Given that I am a person and I know people, I'm not sure I would want to know everything that's said about me.

Now I'm not stupid enough to think that it would all be negative or it would all be positive. I'd hope that it would be mostly positive. At the end of the day, however, I've got no real way of knowing what anyone thinks of me; I've no way of truly viewing things from another's perception. Obviously we've all got those little things that we don't like about other no matter how much we may love them. That, I suppose, is the harsh reality of the situation.

We always want to know the unknown. We may think that all knowledge is worth having no matter what and, though there may be a lot of wisdom in saying that, it's not necessarily a good thing in all cases. I've determined that I wouldn't want to know everything that's said about me because once you know something you can never unknow it (barring a freak case of soap opera-like amnesia). Some may say that my decision may have been derived based on fear or cowardice but I would argue otherwise. If by not knowing certain things I can either be happier or at least remain at my current level of happiness then I believe that the reward is worth the cost. It's not through some act of cowardice that I would prefer to not have all of the knowledge but through an act of strength and a healthy concern for my own well-being.

As an aside, I suppose that proves that I actually do care what others think about me, but I think that feeling is pretty universal on some level and is a little off topic for this blog post.

In a large sense, I am truly glad that human perception, and thus the knowledge we gain through it, is limited to the experiences of the individual. I believe both that the consequences of having additional knowledge beyond our ken or being forced to additional knowledge could prove very hazardous. Obviously I want to know all the good things people say about me and none of the bad things - Like any civilised person would.

August 14, 2011

A personal insight into myself

People all say they've got different things that motivate them in their life. In an effort to make my blog more personal I'll talk about a few of mine. Also, this post is like Seinfeld where I will get off topic and talk in detail about nothing. It might not be as funny as Seinfeld though...

All in all, I have to say that I live for the big moments of emotion. Those make or break you moments. There's something about the trill of being in a really important situation that I love. In fact, I find I love those types of moments so much that I tend to create them and gravitate towards them.

Now, I know what you're going to say. "Tyler, won't this cause unnecessary drama?" Yes, it most likely will. However, I consider the cost to be worth it when you consider the benefits. We've only got so much time and we need to be able to live life to the fullest. If that means fucking things up or making stupid mistakes because I want to ensure that all things I do have meaning then I say bring it on. I'm not going to sit by while things pass in their quiet manner. Rather, I will incite excitement in mundane things and try to give even the simplest of things that little spice of life that I've got zest for.

There's something else that's kind of bothering me as well. Now, I consider myself to be pretty honest on the whole. Sure, I don't always tell the full truth about things but as in a previous post I've made, I don't consider that outright lying. And also, if I always told every person every single thing about myself then there would be no mystery and I love mystery so I'll not do that. I will say that the people who know me well can figure out what I'm thinking pretty easily and know how my brain works. In layman's terms, I like to make things really fucking complicated. But that's getting a little bit off topic. Someone said to me once, "Tyler, tell me something fucking real about yourself!" Not like where I'm from or what I've done or anything like that but rather how I feel about certain things. I'd like to think that I'm quite expressive but I don't want people to see me as being evasive when it comes to personal matters. I'll tell anyone anything if they ask but that's just the thing: oft time, no one asks. They want stuff volunteered. I've got ego but I kind of find it self-centered to just steer a conversation and make it all about you. I know there's more in the world than just me and I want to do right by myself and give that stuff its due too.

I've got certain ways that I go about things but I don't feel that question has to be asked to me really. Why not say something like, "Tell me about how you feel about love?" Or how I feel about abortion or death, or whatever. I would say what I think. What am I supposed to do? Am I just gonna be like, "Hey guys, sorry to interupt but I feel like abortion is wrong because you're robbing a potential person of any chance to impact the world" or "I believe things are too convenient in the world and because of the similarities of popular religions I prefer to believe in a more personal and spiritual type of faith." I think that stuff is like conversation bombs, really and is quite unreasonable. I think a lot of people share too much about themselves.

There is something that I can find some appeal in and, maybe it's because I like puzzles so much, but I like not knowing everything about a person originally and finding out all that shit by growing closer to people. That's because I like the journey, I like the process of uncovering information. In that respect, this may be self-evident, but I'll say about myself that I'm both far, far more complicated and far, far more simple than anyone would imagine.

I think that there's a time when you can be too honest with people. You don't want every single person to know every little detail about you. It's like marriage: that's the end of the road so why get married so early? There's nothing after that. I want to go through a process, long as it may be, and have some fun with this stuff. I want to make little things more exciting and add a spice of mystery to life that most people wouldn't care about.

I do realize that I have many opinions I don't voice but the partial reason for this post is to give voice to some of that stuff and let whoever wants to read this thing know that I feel strongly about so much stuff. Way more than anyone could imagine. If I hide any of that from people it's for a sense of style that I hope a few people get and realize and that even more might not understand. But if I say I'm an open book, I'm not lying, you just haven't opened the book yet.

August 7, 2011

Who we are, think, and/or desire to be

Thinking back on my post on identity I realized that there are certain facets of identity that deserve some additional thought. Therefore, I figured I would follow up on the post in a roundabout way by looking at the ways in which we perceive ourselves.

Who are we? Who do we think we are or want to be? Who do we desire to be? These questions are all at least vaguely related. All may have different or similar answers depending on who asks and who answers them. In truth, my own analysis of this subject will undoubtedly be biased to some degree. My intention in covering this topic is merely to illuminate the discussion somewhat and to inspire further thought along these lines.

Who are we? Most people can answer this question simply by reciting many simple truths committed to memory since early childhood. These are, for example, our names, where we are from, who our parents are, what gender we are, how intelligent we are, and any other myriad facts about ourselves. However, the true and deeper answer to this question is much more complicated than it appears at first glance. To really determine who one is, one must look at oneself from an almost outsider perspective. Removing ones own emotions and doubts from the equation makes it easier to make an honest assessment of ourselves. There are probably few people, if any, who can truly do this. Many can be fairly objective. Thus, the question of who one is entails some thought about how the person perveives themself and how others perceive the person in question. Somehow, this must be done objectively and fairly. (On a sidenote, for that reason it is often far easier to analyze others rather than yourself.)

The argument requires that the question of who we think we are is addressed. This deals explicitly with ones perception of oneself. Therefore, we must exclude the opinions of others in this facet of the argument. The concept is fairly straightforward: Each and every one of us has an innate self-perception concerning who we identify ourselves as. It goes without saying, but this is the automatic response when someone asks the question, "Who are you?"

Who we desire to be is a concept that should be approached with some caution. The very answer itself may change repeatedly as we are beings who are constantly changing and evolving in our own unique ways. Everyone knows that no one is perfect and, for that reason, no one is perfectly happy with themselves whether it stems from body image or broader self-image issues. There is always (or should always be in balanced people) a desire to improve and become better with each passing event. Getting into specifics here would be foolhardy as there are simply too many factors to consider, each governed by our own whims and desires.

Suffice to say, all of these concepts are far more complex than the initial questions concerning them appear to be. There are factors as complex as the human brain itself and to fully understand them would require an intrinsic knowledge of how the human brain works which is not yet possible. For this reason, I have sought to introduce the concepts and stir up thoughts about them and how they relate to us. Identity continues to be deeper than first imagined. The questions of who we are, who we think we are, and who we want to be can only be answered by the individual themself. It is a concept that many people take for granted and should not; identity is important and is not something that should be dismissed as a constant and a given. People need to be aware of their own fluidity and of the fluidity of many things taken for granted as constants.