This is not an easy question to answer. It is not a short answer, either.

I think the best way to describe it is that I'm in the middle of an existential crisis. It happens to me periodically.... I think the first time I recall it happening was in 5th grade. I couldn't put a name to it then, but I can now recognize it for what it was. I know, I was an unusually thoughtful and introspective child, and read at the 12th grade level in 3rd grade, if that tells you anything (ha! that your average 12th grader is stupid!). It just about shattered me then, and I had to install some workarounds in my mind so that I wouldn't think about the issues it brought up. It messed with my ability to remember things quite so well, which was perhaps a good thing. Who wants to be Spaulding Grey, anyway? Poor miserable fuck.

This kind of crisis happens to me every few years; it throws my entire life into chaos, but then things settle back down and everything is okay. It hasn't happened for a while, but apparently my psyche has been saving it up, just waiting for the perfect (ie worst) occasion for a nice big explosion in change and growth. Ha ha, lucky me.

Like Kant, I feel like I've been awoken from a dogmatic slumber in how I view the world. I think this was one of the reasons that I've been putting off going to grad school for so long. I knew that this was going to happen, at some level. Oddly enough, I'm pretty sure it was my introduction to Kant over a year ago that has given rise to my current state of internal conflict. Thanks, Immanuel. You're a real pal. I've got some personal imperatives that are conflicting, and I'm not sure at this point which is going to win out. Is it my need to provide stability and happiness for my family or is it my need to address and advocate for views that will almost certainly alienate and bring them unhappiness, both directly and indirectly? The two inevitably conflict. If I supress my views, I am unhappy. If I express my views, my family is unhappy.

Fuck, of course it has to be philosophy at the root of my angst. I'm so strange. Even self-professed weird people think I'm odd. [ Except that Purple Oyster of Doom guy. He's pretty far out there, even from my point of view. ;) ]

I hope so desperately that I can resolve this. I hold out very little hope that that is the case.

I am so fucked. Whatever I decide, I'm fucked. Miserable and fucked. I can't really think of any alternatives that do not leave me ethically or philosophically compromised, and I don't know which is worse at this point.

Which would you choose? Your family or your philosophy? Why?

Is there some way to work a compromise to this?

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Comment by Clarence Dember on December 15, 2008 at 6:04pm
"When you've succeeded in voraciously chewing holes in the matrix others have excepted as existance, only some form of art (graphic, performance, song, prose, dance, etc) will do. :-D

Comment by Clarence Dember on December 15, 2008 at 12:59am
Here's an interesting compramise.

Who told you blood relatives had to be thought of as family?

The people whom you are closest to are your family. The others are associates. Stop trying to throw out your convictions about life- that would be betrayal.
Comment by Deborah Mitchell on November 30, 2008 at 6:17am
Very nice post. I would chose family. Why alienate them? They're your biggest fans. Besides, who knows when your last day or their last day will be.

Modern Americans have fallen into this mindset that we have to tell everyone "what we are about" to feel good. I don't think this is quite true. You wouldn't tell your folks about some odd sexual fantasy, and you don't HAVE to share every intimate detail about your world view. You know how irrational religion is--even if your family doesn't. You're not sacrificing yourself by sparing them conflict and humiliation (which they probably won't understand anyway). And I bet you can still find that happiness you seek....



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