I really don't know where to start with this one. I have a lot I want to say, and have been wanting to get down for a long while, but didn't want to put it in my journal. So finally today the idea came to me of putting it here. Whee!
I guess I can start with an occurance today. My driving style is fairly irratic; some days I drive really fast, others really slow, some right on the speed limit... some days I stay in lanes, others I don't, others I switch back and forth about as quickly as I'm actually driving... some days I stop at lights the second they start turning yellow, others I drive right through if it'd been green at any point that I was able to see it as I approached. Just like sometimes I like my music earblasting and others barely detectable. Today wasn't even a particularly fast day, and in fact I was listening to a song where one of the lyrics is "naturally we'll have more natural disasters from the strain of a fast pace," and other stuff about needing to slow down, but this guy in a pickup motions at me wildly, and at the light when we stop he yells at me, "you need to slow down, man!" This only served to convince me that you will never satisfy other people, no matter what you do.
But then, reflecting on the fact that I knew this incident would go in some form of journaling of mine, and better yet, that he would never know about it, or anything about me, it just causes one of those '...in what multitude of ways have I affected people? how many people? I wonder what strange places my mark can be found...' which was actually, after a fashion, an away message of mine some time ago. "how many countless others have you left your mark upon? some of them your mark is heavier than others, but still, your mark is there. faces you would never recognize... still, many bear your mark. how many faces is your mark accompanied by a tear and how many by a smile?" Not even recorded, most of these marks -- after all, I keep a much more extensive journal than the majority of the population.
But one of the things I do when I'm trying to think about myself [haha, that sounds strange... but yannow, reflecting on who I am, who I've been, who I want to be, what I think, that kind of stuff] is go back through my journals, a help which has proved invaluable. And it's a place to come to terms with a lot of said 'stuff.' There's a quote along three of the senior squares at school, "Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back. Maybe we have to let go of who we were to become who we will be." I disagree, to an extent, like I seem to do with everything. But, at least this is true in my own case, you have to be able to come to terms with and accept your past to be able to come to terms with and accept yourself in the present, and to actually begin to shape a future. No matter how much you try to deny it, where you are right now depends on where you were yesterday. "What lies before us and what lies behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." Perhaps this should be taken as true when we find ourselves evaluating those around us, but...
Those around us. I have a lot I could say on this topic, but it mostly is summarizable to "Do unto others as they would have you do unto them."
The golden rule mostly works, I suppose, but it can get nasty in a few instances, hence my slight modification to it. In my case, it came up with "I'll pray for you." I mean, it's nice to hear because it's the person's attempt to show sympathy for you, but it rings a bit hollow when you know they say it because they have yet to register that you're not quite christian/don't believe in prayer, or if they don't care, or if they're stuck in that evangelist "look, I'll pray for you, and when it works [since obviously my praying is the only thing you have going for you] then you'll become a good christian and I'll add another person to my 'saved' list!" The only non-religion-relating, point-making example I could really come up with is that of masochists, but the other religion-related one... well, I guess it really could be for anything: "it's for your own good." When people convince themselves that you actually want whatever it is done to you, but you just aren't 'aware' of it yet, or some such nonsense. "You'll thank me someday" comes to mind. "Oh, you'll thank me for saving you someday" is the one that I'd originally heard.
And my final point that I think I'll be expounding on here probably runs head-on with religious thought, as well, even though it's intended to be philosophical first, the spiritual implications only arising accidentially. Virtue is held up in every philosophical or religious body as being the thing most striven for, disagreements over what virtue actually is aside. In some, or most even, it's defined somewhere, and most of the time, the unhappier you are, the more virtuous you're regarded as [I don't really feel like getting into an argument on this point; if you try to attack it, I'll just surrender it immediately; it's of little consequence to the rest of what I'm trying to say here, but in my experience, it's true]. Some of them will even promote this unhappiness further by saying that it will promise happiness later on, or, better yet - that those who are unhappy are actually happier, because they're free of the 'burden' of happiness or some such nonsense. Hem. Personally, I think the 'gift of life' would be a waste if spent wallowing in sorrow, regret, penance or - the best one - anger at your fellow man's 'sinfulness' [which personally just cracks me up... there are few more sinful than most, and even fewer less sinful than most]. I don't think life is a punishment, I don't think it's some kind of boot camp to prepare you for the main event - I think life is [I went into my beliefs on reincarnation earlier]. And I think it's being incredibly rude to whatever higher power you believe in, or just plain wasteful, if you spend your whole life in pursuit of being 'virtuous.' Now, I don't think there's nothing to be said of virtue ["my rights end where yours begin"]. I just think you should strive to balance happiness and virtue [after determining what you think virtue is, of course], or, better yet, figure out how to keep them from being at odds with each other, even working together amplified.
I think I'll leave it at that, for now.