Life as an Extreme Sport

the more things change…

There is the difference that in geometry everyone is of a mind that usually nothing is put down in writing without there being a sound demonstration for it; thus the inexperienced more frequently err on the side of assenting to what is false, wanting as they do to give the appearance of understanding it, than on the side of denying what is true. But it is the reverse in philosophy: since it is believed that there is no issue that cannot be defended from either side, few look for the truth, and many more prowl about for a reputation for profundity by arrogantly challenging whichever arguments are the best.
-Descartes, Letter of Dedication, Meditations on First Philosophy

…the more things stay the same.

Late, yet still funny

Death isn’t always sad:

I had an interesting conversation with That Guy the other day about Westboro Baptist; they came up for some reason, and I mentioned the rather excellent idea of full on drag queens, trannies, out and proud gay and lesbian couples, etc, protesting his funeral when Phelps dies. That Guy objected on the principle that it’s just distasteful to protest funerals, it’s not a moral or virtuous action, and playing dirty just because someone else does isn’t a good reason. He thought it would simply be better to throw a party on your own elsewhere- and I admit that he raises good points.

But there is something in intolerance and hatred spewed forth by people like Falwell, Robertson, Phelps, and etc, that makes it hard to be neutral and say a funeral is a funeral, and all should be given respect, all mourners the right to mourn in the way they want. Because sometimes, death isn’t a sad thing – not because it brings relief, but because it removes a really really bad person from society.

Would protesting at Phelps’s funeral make a point? Yes, I think so. Would it get through to his family? I would hope so – but am not optimistic that it would. Could it be done in a way that wasn’t spiteful, mean, and full of hate? Perhaps – but again I’m wary.

The satire Mahr provides is one way at poking the people who deserve to be poked for who they are, but if it would be wrong to protest at a funeral, shouldn’t it be equally wrong to speak ill of the dead? What about, as Mahr points out, when the dead made their living speaking ill of others?

I don’t know. On the one hand, I attempt to live a peaceful and moral/virtuous life. So That Guy raising the possibility of a protest stepping outside those self and religious imposed guidelines certainly brings me up short to think. On the other hand, it feels like a very human response to people who have caused so much pain and suffering. On the gripping hand, however, I wonder if the best thing is indeed to simply offer well-wishes and show how much better a person it’s possible to be.

Then again, it’s not like they raised the bar all that high…


Life is hard, and a lot of it is not about the mistakes you make, but the lessons you learn after – and how you react. Do you integrate and learn and modify, or do you stay in a rut? It’s tempting to stay in ruts – they’re worn out and comfortable and familiar. But you feel better if you learn and modify and grow. No one ever likes to be stagnant.

I’ve never been shy about what drives my pull, sometimes, to drop everything and turn course, to go into forensics, do something Extremely Stupid like join the FBI. It’s not really the work, it’s the depictions of camaraderie. It’s why the military always appealed, even though oh my god, can you imagine me in the military, or anyone trying to give me orders? Yeah – it just doesn’t end well in your mind, does it? But camaraderie. The group of people that gets together once a week around a table to have dinner. That calls each other up randomly to invite out, that talks late into the night about fears and dreams and hopes. Who shoulder the weight of each others burdens, because sharing makes the load lighter.

I have a habit of getting into load bearing situations, though, where I take and take, but rarely give. I loved so much of CHID because it was the first place I had found since probably my early (early) teens where everyone gave and took with equal free abandon, and I was so happy there. Paired with the few close friends I had made in the goth community, and I was just genuinely happy – I was beyond happy, really. I was eudaimonic, I was flourishing.

No one would accuse me of flourishing much these past two years. I might have started to, but then Mom got sick, and it slowly dawned on me that I was repeating my mistake/inclination to give without receipt in a situation I originally thought so vital to flourishing. I’ve really floundered about, and badly. (Where are the greek speaking geeks when I need them – what’s the opposite of eudaimonic?)

And now I’m in a situation where there’s a small group of active and social and happy people who seem to like me, and I so very much like them. We all seem to want the same thing – the people to hang out with casually, the closeness, that your family is who you make feeling of dinner and movies and casual familiarity; friendship and belonging. It’s been fun, it’s been exhilarating. And overwhelming and scary and hard to trust, hard to believe I might have found something that it always seems like other people but never me get to have. So I’m afraid I’m going to self destruct, shoot myself in the foot, test too had and continuously, push away.

I don’t know how to work through the caution without singularly giving in to abandon. Or, as a friend so eloquently stole from Nietzsche, I don’t know how to give a semblance of organization to the chaos of my passions – but I really ought to go about figuring it out. Before I self destruct. Again. And then have the added hell of knowing I was so close to reaching out and touching what I so very much want, but through my own actions was unable to receive.