Saturday, August 24, 2013

You're doing it wrong.

Someone asked Stephen Fry about the difference between Americans and the English, and he talked at length about the American bootstraps self-help can-do culture.  In thinking, I find the "Anyone can do anything!!" culture to be destructive, particularly in the way later generations have interpreted it.  Because it's not true.  You probably can't do anything you want to do, and you shouldn't want to kill yourself when you realize that.  And once you get over all that drama, you might realize that you can create new aspirations...ones that might even be relevant to the world instead of your plebian ideas of luxury and coolness.

Unrealistic, childish ambition is so characteristic of Americans.  Why does everyone have to be the brashest idiot in the room, with the most money and the stupidest car?  That shit will never make me happy.  It doesn't even make me happy in the short term, because I have analyzed my life and gained perspective on the things that I do enjoy.  I think much of this type of ultra-American teenagerish ambition is mindless and motivated by emotional issues or other disturbances.  That's why it makes me angry that this brainless, unplanned type of ambition (along with the psychopathic planned-out kind, for that matter) gets such wholesale respect in this culture, as though it is a positive trait to have.  The over-ambition I talk about is often ugly and degrading, with much fallout.  

Conversely, he described the British as having a far more "defeatist" (wrong word, too lazy) perspective, but in a way that I find to be kind of...healthy.  No matter what's going on, life is still kind of bullshit, right?  Don't assume that your good time somehow mitigates all of the pain and horror in the world.  This isn't negativity, it's realism, and if you think that recalling the struggles of others to mind is a buzzkill, it's because you're a privileged asshole who can't see past his own front lawn.  Even moving past human suffering, it's still all pretty much futile, right?  Don't forget that one.  My perspective on life is pretty unapologetically Allenist, and I'm ok with that, because there's no other way that I find to be at all legitimate.  That doesn't mean that it's wrong to be happy.  Just do so responsibly, ok?

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