It’s no wonder to me why the non-indigenous and non-white bred half of my friends sought money and stability while we, the white bred native born Americans, or even some black Americans I’ve known, sought something more intangible, and though this was often undefined, the concentration was on identity and a secular spirituality.
These aspirations were glimpsed by the non-native and curiously enough, the more conservative friends as well, but not as of yet realized, and perhaps never will be.
It’s kinda like what my mom always said about the ‘nouveau riche’ vs. old money in how the former clings on to their new possessions for dear life while old money treats all the richest coats, cars, and what not, no different than any other common object.
I see a real regression from the spiritual side in fact, on the part of those I knew who chose the ‘safer’ path, and unemployment or wage work for those who didn’t, the later of which presently includes myself. The personal anger in me over this fact, so basic to our society in its philistine market culture, has deflated to some extent, though I face those more ‘successful’ friends with a sense of green envy in some ways, but also a very warm solid feeling of benign self-righteousness.
It is this feeling of superiority which has carried me through the most, especially and honestly enough, in the power of its spitefulness to vindicate my own values.
I was just now listening to the commentary of the show ‘Six Feet Under’ in a particular episode and it occurred to me that ‘my values’ which at times feel like wooden posts engulfed by tidal waves, are out there, to other people, other than my old core ‘group.’
This is a show with the values my parents I think taught me, had more in mind.
Here’s a list I came up with that I think synopsizes my outlook on life now, well. Keep in mind that though these principles may seem self-evident, or cliche, they are easier said than done apparently for most everyone I know aside from myself and maybe a few others.
-That knowledge and culture is more important than money and materials.
-That compassion and mutual understanding trumps competition between friends.
-That life is an identity quest, not an accruement contest.
-That work for work’s sake is asinine, and that we work to live, not vice versa.
-That a relationship is not a trophy.
-That the point of life is to seek spiritual and philosophic aims, not simply jobs or careers necessarily.
-That the truth is above appearances and aesthetics.
-That spiritual-intellectual pursuits are more important than physically based endeavors, and in fact, are the goal inherent in life’s enjoyment.
-That the experiential cannot afford the absence of the intellectual.
Whatever lip service is paid to the above on the part of my former friends who took the safer route, they do not practice the values that we all for so long regarded as the given.
The latter three are I think the most betrayed, and not coincidentally, the trickiest.
Conversely, I feel so on the verge of something big with myself, and I feel extra proud, even in the light of the spiritual erosion all around me, not to given into it, despite all I have paid for it and continue to pay for.
For me, this was never a temptation, and to certain others, it certainly isn’t either.
The ‘its time to grow up’ (and out of our ideals) is the embedded underlying message to such qoutes as I still keep hearing as “you need to make yourself marketable” or “concentrate more on your career.” What they really mean is “get in line with the rest of us.”
The alleged relativity in this is that everybody says they’re doing exactly what they want to be, and I believe them actually, I just don’t know if I believe anymore that they ever wanted anything else.