Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Kinda Weekly Summary/ The Nature of My Project, Unabridged

So I promised that I would do an ice cream review this week, but I guess I'll be a promise breaker. Who cares? I got the freakin' Project done. I've been talking about it forever and ever, and now it's come to pass and I can move on with my life. Best of all for my blog, I can now speak openly on any and all matters. Strangely enough, I still feel the same way as a person, though without the stress my grandmother put on me before. It's like the problem never existed before, but I do admit I need to take some measures to alter my temperament, this time entirely unimpeded by any external problems.

This week has mainly been all about the Project, and I've been slothful these past few days because my muscles have been fatigued from carrying all those boxes and my catching a cold. I was incredibly anxious during my long travels to my new living location, so much so that I woke up much earlier than I wanted to and probably compromised my immune function. I've hardly had time to do any writing anyhow, as I've been traveling around and initially had trouble setting up my internet connection. Plus, my cold and lack of sleep made me sleep for nearly 12 hours straight.

Anyhow, since my week hasn't been filled to the brim with activity, I'm also going to include in this summary the full nature of my family problems. As mentioned before, the vague sentence I put in my one of my past weekly summaries, "Super Secret Thing," was supposed to serve as a flag term in order to grab attention when I posted a blog post with a similar title in the Objectivist Roundup. I got sick of being secretive, so I created a secret blog so I could speak openly. Since my Project is over with, I will now delete that blog. The following essay is lifted verbatim from that blog, and is unedited (so a little bit of it is dated). These problems ought to be behind me now, so I'm not going to expend the thought necessary on this subject to polish my writing.

* * * * *

If you're lucky enough to have found your way here, then congratulations. I cannot go much in the way of advertising this blog, so I can only hope that the right individuals come. The ones I don't want don't frequent the websites I do given our different characters, so I'm secure enough to advertise in the Objectivist Roundup.

Anyhow, why the secrecy? Well, I'm going to tell you the truth about the Project and Circumstance. It's been bothering me for months and months that I've wanted so greatly to write about it publicly, but couldn't because the people I don't want to be aware of it are aware of both of my public blogs and Facebook profile, so it's been a no-go all this time. Consequently, I've had to resort to using vague terms such as "Project" and "Circumstance" to keep things quiet even though I'd much rather do otherwise. After doing some thinking I've finally realized I can create a temporary blog and do my open writing here while being secure that it wouldn't be found. It may not be widely read due to lack of advertisement and visibility, but it'll do. At long last I can do the writing I've been wanting to do. For endless months I've been drafting in my head the articles I'd like to publish, but have been unable to take any steps in actually constructing them due to the necessary secrecy, instead having to seek partial satisfaction from private writings with a limited or absent audience.

What I'm about to say is deeply intimate, one I thought would only be need a couple or so paragraphs after I finish my Project, but after having spent so many months introspecting the Circumstance I've come to realize that my problem has philosophical causes and may be hurting or ruining the lives of countless others. My story is one that would usually be kept entirely secret, never spoken about publicly, or at least not published until after the author is deceased, such as a bad period noted in a biography. But I've realized that my fears are irrational. The problems I've come to endure are not my fault or the result of any immorality. Rather, I've been forced into a situation not of my choosing and had to suffer through it as a result of its default nature, only coming close to curing it entirely with the use of my Project. I speak out not to only vent myself or impose revenge on anyone, but rather to make a philosophical point of how harmful some ideas are by using my own life to show how these ideas manifest themselves concretely. To not know the nature of these ideas is to be entirely vulnerable to them; I was damaged by them for most my entire life, only able to employ the remedy once I became explicitly philosophical. It is a desire of mine to see these ideas repudiated so they can stop injecting their poison.

It may be most wise to write this post while I'm still being frustrated by the Circumstance anyhow. The only reason why I've dedicated so much thinking to the Circumstance is because I've been unable to deal with it except through the means of the Project. Whenever I engage myself in my Project I become optimistic for a better future and lose my awareness and sensitivity to the Circumstance, and if I become idle in it or otherwise stagnate I obsess over the Circumstance again. The Circumstance has imposed loose ends on my subconscious, and my philosophical premise that evasion is the greatest evil possible makes it so I won't allow myself to evade or will be extremely uncomfortable if I ever attempt to, so my subconscious simply won't let me "forget" my problems if I do nothing about them, and the Circumstance is a big problem. Do nothing and I'm constantly thinking about it. After the Project is finished I might lose all will and temptation to write such a post as this, as the problem will be gone and I'll be an incredibly more relaxed person. I wouldn't be surprised if I became forever disinterested in the Circumstance from then on -- never desiring to think, talk, or write about it -- so if I want to be my most competent in making my points then I ought to do it while the problems and frustration are still present.

Simply put, my major Project is that I'm trying to move into my own living quarters and become financially independent. The Circumstance is my grandmother and, more largely, my family, who have served to be an immensely irrational and deleterious influence in my childhood. My grandmother stands in the way of my value pursuits and is a constant source of frustration and unending, hopeless problems which I cannot solve with the exercise of reason-based dialogue, so I need the Project in order to get away from her by moving to an undisclosed location and cutting off communication with her and other irrational family members. The reason why I need to keep this Project a secret is because if my grandmother found out she'd be emotionally provoked and pester me non-stop about it because she feels so "bad" about it, which would amount to some serious agitation given my Project has been in process for nearly a year now. She has no courage or anger against me, so I'd still be living under her roof, having to constantly tolerate her emotionalistic appeals, appeals which are directed not at my mind, but at some sort of sense of causeless, spontaneous, mystical intuition. There'd be no way to reason things out with her, and her belief in emotional revelations would lead to her constantly trying to invoke one in me, trying to get me to "feel" why my chosen course is inherently wrong or bad. Other family members could possibly harass me too if they knew, treating me as if I were somehow imposing some harm on my grandmother rather than simply trying to live a value-oriented life. I have little family support in this venture, so I've had to be entirely vague about it, only speaking about it cryptically or not at all.

You must be disappointed at this point. Moving into an apartment? Family that sucks? How undramatic and typical! While my reasons for needing to keep silent may appear to be out of the norm, I judge that my hostility towards my family isn't equivalent to that of usual children, and that I am entirely justified in acting the way I am. I wasn't abused or physically neglected, but there were behaviors and ideas in my relationships that have done tremendous harm to myself and to the relationships in total, and to pursue my fullest happiness I need the fullest absence of these people. My particular concretes may be unique, but I think the ideas that have driven these people to act this way are much more common -- and doing great harm in the culture at large. It doesn't have to be this way since men have free will, and it is my hope that by speaking up I can kindle better choices, even if only in one or two lives of my limited audience here.

By now I hope you haven't rolled your eyes at the screen, thinking my matters to be so outrageously common. A secondary frustration in the Project is how mostly alone I've been in my intellectual position. I know immediately that the majority of my family wouldn't support me in this venture; instead, they would scold me for my "childishness" and tell me to get over my anger, as if my decisions were not thought about at all and are whim-driven. The few strangers I've told on the internet -- when I sought intellectual guidance before I concocted the Project -- did not have access to the full complexity of my problems and treated me as if I were either making an unjust decision or hastily burning a bridge, that I should give my family more chances. The few coworkers I've told, withholding even more of the complex concerns given the brevity of the conversation, may not even believe the validity of my position, thinking me to be the typical child making a hasty decision that will eventually "wise up" and resume relations. It's disappointing to me to be in such a predicament solely because of my young age (22), because I've spent countless hours thinking about my situation, what I should do, and why I'd be justified in doing it: hours thinking, hours writing hundreds of diary entries, and hours rethinking my position. The problems I'm responding to have been thoroughly consistent in their presence and years in the making, if not having been present from my birth. I've spent months trying to solve my problems with some family members and years with others, and it is only after spending yet more hours introspecting on this vast spectrum of behavior have I decided that any and all means except for disassociation are impotent, so I'm burning bridges now not with a trigger-happy hand on the matchbox, but with the calm deliberation of someone who has given these people way more chances than they deserve, and it is only after a long, long, long journey have I decided that I simply cannot deal with these people peacefully. Most common may be the site of teenagers who act hostile to their parents as a whim-ridden reflex before cutting them off temporarily, but my own plans have been meticulously thought out with the most sincere intention of making this excommunication permanent. They provide zero value in my life; therefore, I will spend zero time with them.

Given the various considerations, it is probably best for me to make my case through writing, so that I can give a much larger context than I would in conversation. Five minutes spent talking with a coworker is obviously not time at all to speak of the most important considerations, and by default of my age I look the typical child. If you have the patience to sit through all my writing, I'll explain my family problems, the ideas that drive them, and why my Project is the only sure-fire remedy. With the greatest of my benevolence, I hope you find something of value in this essay too, for I don't want a single person to have to deal with the garbage I had to. I'm not going to detail my entire childhood however, so I'm going to start at the point where the largest family problems began, transitioning from when I mistakenly thought only a single family member was the problem.

At root, it all began when my mother kicked me out of her house in February of 2008. At the time I was going to college while intellectually extremely opposed and uncertain of it, which resulted in a bout of intense depression. I had come home from having done laundry at my grandmother's, and given my emotional sensitivities I was irritated that I had to get out in the cold to back out my mother's car before pulling mine in. After having done the task, I knocked on my mother's bedroom door and asked her what time she would be home from work the next day, as I wanted to beat her home so I wouldn't have to do the procedure again just to pull mine in. Accidentally I knocked rather loudly on her door: Whenever I knock on doors in other buildings I had habituated using quite a bit of strength since all the doors were densely solid, thereby requiring a lot of force to make an audible noise to the person on the other side. When I brought this habit home and used it on our doors of little mass -- they might have even been hollow inside -- I knocked too loudly and frightened my mother awake. It was not my intention to be aggressive or to upset her: I just forgot that these doors are far less dense than the ones I'm largely accustomed too. My mother probably wasn't in too deep a sleep anyhow, as I noticed the blue of her television when I was pulling in the driveway, and I don't believe she used a sleep timer to make the television shut off automatically. She was probably under for but a few moments.

After she answered my question I took to start folding my laundry, and less than a moment later she stomped out of her bedroom and shouted, "That is IT!" She shouted that I was to no longer live in her home, that I was to live at my grandmother's and be out by next afternoon. I quickly transitioned from folding my laundry to packing my property. Only a small pinch of sadness was present within me; the indifference dominated. My grandmother was accepting of my impending arrival, and I was settled in the next day. It was strange to think I felt so little in the way of negative emotion towards my being kicked out by my mother. I wasn't going to live in that neighborhood anymore. I wasn't going to have my dog anymore. I was going to be back near where I grew up.

Most importantly, I realized my mother wasn't going to be a part of my life from then on. From then on I determined never to deal with my mother again, only having to deal with her those times I had to or else her presence was brought to me. Being kicked out of her house had absolutely no influence in the making of this decision.

Truthfully, I had made this plan, to deliberately disassociate with her forever, years ago, and I told no one of my plan. During those years beyond the day I made that plan I was biding my time, making for that day when I would somehow be given the means to cut her off period. Being kicked out was that means, the means to finally putting into play a plan I constructed and held onto years prior. I've detested my mother the majority, if not the entirety, of my life. Before the age of ten I judged my mother to be a model of bad living given her reprehensible habits, but somehow I divorced my evaluation from my emotional responses and still loved her. It was a contradiction: I judged her as a bad person based on her bad actions, but somehow still believed she was worthy of my love. When I entered my teenage years, however, my emotions started lining up with that past evaluation. Unlike other teens I didn't become rebellious. I was entirely obedient and good. Regardless, I started nurturing an intense dislike of her and indifference to her misfortunes and pain. As the years went on, my emotions got more and more intense. I didn't like deal with her at all, didn't care for her pain, lied about forgiving her whenever she apologized for her misdeeds, and didn't miss her when she was absent.

For many years it escaped my notice the fact I didn't value my mother and why I felt that way, but I became entirely aware of it when she moved to Florida to take a job while I stayed at the house in Michigan. When she left it was like a dark cloud had been lifted from my life. I felt better and more at peace, more benevolent, physically healthier, and was even incredibly more motivated to keep the house much more clean, vacuuming, washing dishes, washing, and scrubbing more often. I used my mother's room to store junk I couldn't throw away. I remained obedient to her and didn't have a single party -- I had a friend over once or twice -- but I felt immensely better. I rested better, ate better, maintained the chores better. . . I was better in spirit. I was only aware of it on an emotional level, but I recognize that my mother's absence gave me immense spiritual benefits. It became shockingly clear when my mother took a vacation and came home for a week, during which I holed up in my room and was completely hostile to doing any chores. When she left, the inner peace was restored. At some point after her vacation I promised myself that I was going to permanently cut her off whenever I moved away, whenever that was. The promise was made during my junior year in high school, approximately three years before being kicked out.

But of course I haven't made entirely clear why it is I detest my mother. Simply, she's literally the most evil person I've ever met. I have the privilege in saying this because she's the person I've spent the majority of my life dealing with, and I have access to not only her history, but a great array of concrete instances of her behavior. By keeping all these actions in mind, noting consistent trends, and adding them up to a sum that composes what she is in essence, I have determined that her behavior is consistently evil and anti-life, and given that a person is what he repeatedly does: My mother's repeated evil actions makes her an evil person.

As the result of an irrational and very probably abusive upbringing, my mother lived on the basis of her emotions, doing whatever it is they urged her to do. Intelligence didn't play a role in her life and she neglected whatever mental powers she had. Her life was one of indulgence in random whim after whim. In good and bad moods alike she spent frivolously into financial ruin, maintained nothing but short-lived romances and friendships she ended on whim, continued dealing with people she positively despised, lazed about in idleness on her days off from a job she cared nothing about and had no relationship to any of her passions, and more. In combination with evasion -- pretending she doesn't know things or that some things haven't happened, making her mind go blank when she needs to think, ignoring her past misdeeds, and so on -- repression, and traumas, the end result of all her decisions and habits is that she induced within herself bipolar disorder, anger problems, and severe depression, emotional conditions she did little in the way of resolving. Whenever she did try to fight them, with honest self-improvement and therapy alike, she always did so with the pretense of evasion, so her endeavors were always doomed to failure, ending up with her going right back to being Mr. Hyde. Her good moods were seldom, and when they came she acted like a person drunk on endorphins, and was, of course, soon crashing back into the slump she resided in the majority of the time.

As you can imagine, living with her, me being her son, was thoroughly miserable. Since my family was never willing to morally condemn my mother for her choices they viewed her as entirely fit as a mother, thereby leaving me in her care the majority of the time, giving me the honor of witnessing all the colors of her self-imposed problems and failures. Her problems were not something that interjected themselves in our relationship occasionally or frequently, but consistently as a theme. I was never abused . . . but having to sit through and witness such horrid behavior so regularly really harmed me while growing up.

A large amount of her time was spent either idly watching television or napping. Oh, she was always napping -- trying to sleep off her depression, but never successfully doing so. Spiritually I was largely ignored, as we rarely ate together, instead opting to eat in our own areas, and we almost never had deep and personal talks. The very few times I tried to seek her guidance on my problems she had panic attacks, acted like she was disgusted with me, told me to stop feeling my negative emotions (repress) and start feeling positive ones (somehow), that her problems were more important than mine, and so on. Eventually I just learned to keep everything to myself and never (literally) talked to her about anything important, and given her evasive nature she never pressed me about my life, instead allowing herself to remain ignorant and pretend my problems didn't exist.

Her emotions were totally unpredictable to me, further encouraging me to keep to myself since I had no way of knowing how to respond to anything. Sometimes I told her something negative that was of great significance to me and she would take it calmly and without controversy, and then taking a nap on my aunt's couch provoked her anger and made her stew the rest of the afternoon. It was all random chaos, and I figured the only way to protect myself from it was to deal with it as little as possible; to hold back the chaos would mean avoiding it. Growing up I then took to staying in my room all the time, occupying myself entirely with television and video games to keep my mind off just how awful I thought everything was. That's was I was trying to prevent myself from doing: Thinking. If I thought, then I realized how much I hated life, and it made me not want to deal with things anymore.

Growing up with my mother not only meant being exposed to all her bad behaviors all the time, but adopting them too. Kids learn by watching. My character was dominated by a fear of people, depression, a seething temper, obsessive daydreaming to immerse myself in a fantasy world, mood swings, rare endorphin rushes that made me feel virtually drunk, and more. What kind of character my mother had taken over forty years to develop I was using as my starting point in life, taking off where she left. I had very few friends, treated the friendships I had as doomed to failure and didn't maintain them, and irrationally cut off on whim the rest. I never initiated a romance in my youth because my irrationality always led to non-existent or fatally flawed pursuits, leaving my loneliness to be a painful constant. I had no self-esteem and not only thought I was worthless, but that I was evil and in actuality deserving of destruction, and starting in sixth or seventh grade I started constantly contemplating suicide, even going so far as to plan the concrete details out. I almost carried the act out when I was in college, saved only by an abrupt mood swing that occurred on my way home from school.

The most despicable thing about all this is that my mother and grandmother knew about this the entire time. They knew how I holed myself up in my room and almost always refused friends. They knew I was severely depressed, as it could be plainly seen in my limited ability to smile, scowl molded on my face, constant staring down at the ground, being silent, and more. They knew how I consistently refused to go outside, instead soaking in endless video games and television. They knew the whole time. They were there the whole time. The facts were right there before them. But what did they do? Mostly nothing, else they tried irrational things such as trying to cure matters with frivolous material goods such as fast food or more video games, or they just dropped me randomly into therapy. On that latter, they didn't even bother to give thought as to who should treat me, instead sticking me in random doctors' offices, all three of whom either did absolutely nothing to ease my maladies or even went so far as to agitate them. When I was taken out of therapy, virtually nothing was done then to help me, except for the endless stream of superficial material goods. The one thing I wanted most, spiritual guidance, was the one thing always refused to me. Personal talks were always off-limits in my family relationships, always prone to emotional flare-ups whenever attempted. So I had to deal with my maladies all by my lonesome, me, just a child. I had no fault in bringing them upon myself, and yet I had to deal with it all.

I can remember the single two moments which essentially ruined my relationship with my mother and grandmother, the moments I knew I could never trust them again or forgive them for their characters. Both moments happened in a car in my driveway. Whatever subject we had come upon, it had led to a dispute. I was in particular anguish in that period of my life, maybe age 14-15, and I took advantage of the emotional heat to tell my mother and grandmother (at separate times; they're separate instances) that I was suicidal. I had already been thinking about suicide for years at that point, and passing time made me get only worse and worse emotionally. I desperately wanted help, for my elders to finally recognize what bad shape I was in and how I needed these problems to be attended to. I. Was. Ignored. My grandmother panicked and told me that I brought up too uncomfortable a subject for her to deal with, and the issue was ignored from then on; she didn't even contact other relatives or professionals to give me the assistance. It was simply dismissed and pretended it never happened. My mother perhaps responded even worse. Upon hearing my words, shouted at her in the anger of the moment, she fell silent, quietly walked in the house, and never acknowledge the issue thereafter. There, too, no help came. I just opened up to my elders with the most important issue in my life back then and was totally abandoned. Given how serious I was, they're lucky their evasions didn't end with my death, because the only thing that prevented me from attempting suicide that one time was a last-moment calming down, granted to me by an extensive drive home from school. For the rest of my growing up my emotions just got worse and worse, and suicide seldom ever left my mind.

Life is what makes everything possible. Without life, you cannot value or engage in anything. Life is fundamental. If you claim to love a person but won't do anything to protect his life, then you cannot claim that you care about his well-being because it's life that gives rise to the person in the first place. I realized that my mother and grandmother didn't feel authentic love towards me, or otherwise weren't willing to do what it takes to maintain it. My life was seriously in danger, and confronted with the choice whether to protect my life or run away from an emotion that's making them briefly uncomfortable, they chose to run away. Not feeling "bad" was more important to them than making sure I was safe. That I won't ever forget as long as I live. Those moments that lasted only a few seconds each drastically changed the nature of my relationship with these people, beginning the process in which I lost any conception of valuing them, stopped feeling love or positive emotions towards them, and started becoming indifferent and hostile. They forced a lot of psychological hang-ups on me while growing up and refused to take responsibility when I wanted their guidance -- and that's unforgivable. My life nearly ended due to their spiritual neglect.

That's how it came to be that I transitioned from loving my mother while judging her as a bad person to lining up my emotions with my estimate of her, becoming hostile and indifferent. I learned directly through her moving to Florida that it was in fact her presence that made me so distraught, given what endless pleasure I had in never seeing her and having the house all to myself, and experienced the full brunt of all I hated when she came back for a vacation. My problems weren't causeless and random as I thought they were; they had a cause, and it was right there before me. I quickly decided never to associate with my mother again whenever I should move out, and divorced her from my life emotionally from then on.

My healing came through discovering Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness. At that point in my life I had already started my philosophical thinking since I was an avid Anthony Burgess reader, and reading that anthology drastically altered my worldview. In fact, just after reading a couple or so essays I realized what horrendous ideas I had been holding and how much harm they were doing to me, and the realization invoked in me euphoria that lasted for hours. I knew from then on that my life was going to get better because I was going to stop making the errors that plagued me for so long. Depression was still there for some years afterward, but much reduced and nearing a cure. Video games and television played a lesser role in my life, exchanged for reading and engaging in intellectual forums on the internet. I no longer felt worthless and immoral; I started developing a sense of self-esteem and self-love after realizing my previous ethics of altruism were impossible and evil. More and more did I engage in thinking over daydreaming. I simply got better and better. As testament to that, Valentine's Day arrived just a few days after I discovered VOS and Objectivism, and it was probably the very first Valentine's Day I wasn't depressed. I learned that my desire for a significant other wasn't to add value to my life, but rather to employ a substitute for self-esteem, which is why I never successfully cultivated a romance and found loneliness more painful than it needed to be. Once I started building self-esteem, I realized that self-love was more important and primary in romantic matters, and on that Valentine's Day -- and every one since then -- I felt inner peace. Peace.

There was still a lot of work to be done -- and still a lot to be done, I'd say -- but whatever the hardships in front of me I had pulled myself out of the spiritual gutter, turned 180, and was finally rising upwards. It was then that I started engaging in self-improvement seriously and working to establish myself as someone who takes knowledge seriously and acts accordingly. In bare essence, I am still the same person I was when I first discovered Objectivism, only now I have a greater store of knowledge and mastery over my ideas and practices. It wasn't and will never be just a "phase." Unfortunately, my elders seemed to think it was.

Never once did my mother or grandmother question my new practices, thinking, and habits. They could plainly observe that I was changing into an incredibly different person than they were raising me to be and that I was reading more and more books. Never once did they bother to inquire what the content of those books were. Never once did they bother to ask where I was getting all these new ideas from. They treated me as if I were having emotional revelations, just going through some teenage phase, and were consequently indifferent to all the new things I was doing and ways I was changing. For instance, it took telling my mother about my atheism several times before she actually responded emotionally. Before then she was only dry and "interested." Other similar ideas were received with panic, and I'm not sure if even to this day they believe I actually believe in what I believe in.

The majority of my life ideas were just fed to me at random and quietly. My elders never seriously taught me anything, but instead relied on the culture, school institutions, "other people," and mystical intuitions. I don't think I was ever given the Birds and the Bees talk, instead being ignored and counted on doing my learning in sex ed. I adopted those implicit, mindlessly accepted ideas sure enough and was harmed by them, and quickly rejected them when I made explicit their nature and judged their validity in comparison to other alternatives. Life with my relatives was dominated by material focus. We ate separately or with a television nearby, didn't have personal conversations; engaged in activities that largely included ignoring each other, such as watching television "together" or going to the movies; and had emotional fits often. I practically raised myself, my elders being there to provide only shelter, food, and video games. It was thanks to them I adopted horrible ideas and struggled with a mangled self, and no thanks to them did I discover the better alternatives and healed myself. I'm not only a self-made man, but one who has had little to no help or guidance from others except for book authors.

That's why I chose to keep my mother out of my life forever when she kicked me out. She did worse than provide no spiritual value for my being: She injected poisonous anti-values. Living with her was miserable the entire time I had to endure it, and I was more than ready for it to stop when she blew up at my knocking too loudly. The reason why I was so ready to embrace my grandmother despite her immoral vices is because I thought I had an emotionally distorted estimate of her due to my having adopted in the past my mother's wild moods. I thought I had been entirely unjust to her, and was ready to wipe the slate clean and judge her properly, free of my mother's agitations and mood swings. With my mother out of the way I knew I would no longer be provoked to distort the evidence I was given when assessing my relatives, and I thought I'd find them to be much better people than I thought they were when growing up under my mother.

Most importantly, I thought they would be fully supportive of my decision to disassociate from my mother. Her frothing emotionalism didn't only affect me, it affected all the people in her life: Her family, friends, and partners. She was cold and indifferent to her father, verbally abusive to her mother, constantly malicious and hostile to her sisters, and so on. My mother has been this way the vast majority of her life, which means my family members have a way greater context to judge than I do. I got fed up after just tolerating over a decade of conscious awareness of her nature; they've been putting up with it for three to four decades. When I left my mother's house my mindset was akin to, "Alright! You can stop pretending now! I realized just how awful my mother is and am in on the secret, so now you don't have to be quiet about it anymore and we can resume a happy relationship." I thought they had kept silent about my mother since they didn't want to undermine her authority in my presence, and had to tolerate her irrational ways since she didn't do anything illegal which would make her be deemed an unfit mother. Within the law I was my mother's to raise, and I thought all the material abundance provided by my relatives was just their way of helping me bear it while I was forced to. I didn't think as to why they voluntarily associated with such a horrible person and didn't care to. The only thought in the front of my mind was getting out and moving on. I thought my relatives would be entirely supportive given the blatantly obvious evil nature of my mother.

To my surprise, things were otherwise. Much otherwise.

When I told my grandmother and aunts of my plans to never speak to her again they just sort of acquiesced to my words, believing that my temper was flaring up from having been freshly kicked out. They thought me and my mother were just having another routine spat and that needed a cooling down period to gather ourselves, so I was left alone about matters for a day or two. My mother inevitably had another mood swing that made her experience incredible guilt, and she broke down into hysterical crying and started vigorously apologizing to me via e-mail. When my relatives started encouraging me to makes amends with her I was surprised. Could they really not know why I didn't want to deal with her anymore? I assumed my family members were innocently ignorant and so explained my position: how bad my mother was, how miserable she made me, how I wasn't angry in the least over her kicking me out (if anything, I wanted her to do it), and how I just didn't want to deal with it anymore. My relatives, in person and over the phone, quietly "listened."

To my displeasure, I noticed they were acting very irrationally. In response to my arguments the only thing they would return to me were feel-good bromides and the phrase, "She's your mother." I acknowledged that she was my mother (no DNA test required), but also pointed out to them that what they had given was not an argument, but a simple statement. They responded by saying, "She's your mother." The repetition confused me, and no matter what I said this was always what was returned to me. Even stranger yet, not a single person actually addressed the substance of my arguments. . . Almost if they weren't listening. As time and the repetitions went on, I took it upon myself to think what exact meaning they were trying to convey through "She's your mother," and I eventually learned they were trying to convey that I somehow had a duty to my mother and that there were causeless emotions of affection inherent in our relationship, divorced from the content of our characters. I brought these identifications out in the open, repudiated them, and stayed firm in my ground. The "argument" they returned was, "She's your mother."

Worse yet, as things progressed my family members started getting more and more emotionalistic. They moved from being patient and affectionate to hostile. My grandmother raised her voice, my aunt distorted my arguments, and my other aunt resorted to name-calling, speaking to me in a snotty manner, and even attacking my virtues in an e-mail. Not a single person provided a speck of evidence that they had understood my arguments or even listened to them, and instead kept giving their own arbitrary statements in a vacuum, always refusing to support them with logic or evidence. My grandmother has probably heard my argument the most out of all of my relatives, and when I asked her years later what she believed my position to be, after she tried reigniting the discussion again, she said I was angry over being kicked out. When I told her that was the wrong answer -- I explicitly said before that that was not anything that made me angry -- she gave me a vague answer about me being upset about my childhood, evading going into any more detail. Has she only been feigning to listen before? While my words may have physically been heard, did she mentally stick her fingers in her ears and hum? Did all my involved relatives do this? It's absolutely the only conclusion I can draw given the evidence.

It was hurtful to be ignored like this since getting my mother out of my life is what fundamentally gave rise to my new found well-being, and encouraging me to associate with her, even if I only talked to her on the phone, is equivalent to undercutting the root of my healing. Everything I had achieved was so great that I wasn't going to give it up easily, for there was simply way too much at stake in the spirit. I kept asking and asking for evidence, logic, reason. I never received evidence, logic, reason -- just sayings, hostile tones and dirty looks, arbitrary conclusions, and intimidation. I was disappointed that not only was my family ignoring my position, but also that they were acting like a bunch of irrational animals in trying to persuade me as well. What I thought was so universally recognized was really the elephant in the room being ignored. I soon understood that I wouldn't be supported in this venture, that I was entirely mistaken. Regardless, I still embraced them and felt benevolence since I thought we could act like adults, who in recognizing unworkable disagreements push the matter aside and agree to respect each other's position and leave it alone. But no, even as I dropped the issue they persisted, especially my grandmother. It was always the same sayings over and over again, always refusing to hear me out in return.

Since I was taking to judging these people honestly after having thrown out my previous estimate of them, the first evidence of their character they were presenting to me were not good ones. I quickly lost my enthusiasm in wanting to pursue a relationship with them. When they continued to drag the issue on a lot longer than was appropriate, I soon lost respect for them and realized that my past estimates in fact were not irrational or distorted, but rather that I was right the first time. I no longer desired maintaining a relationship with these people since their evasions were a betrayal to me. They didn't really care about my well-being. If they did, then they wouldn't encourage me to associate with my mother. All they cared about was avoiding "bad" feelings and not being embarrassed in front of "other people." In some forms, they're just as bad as my mother.

From there I realized that I really couldn't have the deep family relationships I wanted, so I decided to just focus on my own endeavors. I was still in college at the time, but paralyzed by depression since I had been convinced in my research that college was a mismatch for my aims, or that I was at least doing a lot of harm to myself by going purposelessly. My mind was so opposed to my endeavors that it refused to let me concentrate: Even spending entire nights doing homework wouldn't entail any progress, even though the assignments would have taken just an hour or so under ideal circumstances. You think it's awfully common for people to have a bad semester? Mine was so bad I almost got expelled. I couldn't concentrate, think, study -- anything. My depression was at its worst, moving me towards that near-suicide attempt I mentioned above, and I dropped out after realizing I'm just going to get myself further and further into debt until I resolve these issues. I started an introspection journal, cured my depression totally within two weeks, and established a system of private study to help me gain the knowledge in subjects I believe schools failed me in. My life got even better in addition to having expelled my mother.

My grandmother's irrationality, however, was not limited just to the debate about my mother. As a result of the debate much of my family and I stopped talking. Most even stopped visiting my grandmother's house, which pretty much left me to deal with my grandmother as my sole family member. Through my constant contact with her I learned that she's second-handed, literally the worst I've ever seen, possibly even rivaling that of Peter Keating from Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. Almost all her actions, thinking, and beliefs revolves around popularity and "other people," and epistemologically she is an absolutely consistent emotionalist, which means that anything that makes her experience negative emotions will make her judge the stimulus as bad, immoral, or false, and anything that makes her experience positive emotions will make her judge the stimulus as good, moral, or true. She isn't consciously committed to catering to Other People or using her emotions as a means to knowledge; rather, through her lack of intellectual effort she just fell into these habits unthinkingly, make them become her natural deposition, and cannot acknowledge them explicitly.

As you might be able to tell, this has led to a lot of strife between us. Whenever I did anything she knew was unpopular or made her feel bad she would encourage me not to do it, and I couldn't convince her intellectually that her position was wrong because she would always go with her emotions in the end. She interrupted my studies frequently and spoke condescendingly of them, panicked about my paleo diet since she knew it goes against popular views, begged me to do things just to make her feel better, treated me as if I were lying or mouthing words if anything I said made her experience negative emotions, and so on. In polite arguments she was even worse, as she would employ absurd evasive techniques to ignore anything I said that made her uncomfortable, including looking out the window and refusing to give me eye contact, interrupting my speech frequently, trying to change the subject, flaring her temper and snapping at me, refusing to stop talking so she can fill her ears with her own voice, turning on the answering machine to drown me out, walking away and abruptly ending the discussion, pretending not to know or remember things she actually does, and throwing tantrums. The essence of these techniques were not something that entered our lives only occasionally, but frequently and regularly. My grandmother is literally impossible to reason with. She's thoroughly soaked in her emotionalism, and cannot see past that worldview. She was often very dishonest and only pretended to believe what I said, as what I said would provoke negative or indifferent emotions, causing her to believe I was lying or mouthing words, and shortly after the conversation she would readjust her behavior back into her old ways even as she promised to alter them. The only reason she altered her behavior to begin with is because she only wanted to pacify what she viewed to be a mood swing, not a thought out and justified position. Otherwise, she only adjusted herself because she felt like it and then dropped the practices because she felt like it

This irrationality affected all areas of our lives, and I started to grow more contemptuous of my grandmother as I learned and identified more disturbing things about her, like how she didn't legally prosecute someone she knew to be a child molester and probably stood on the sidelines while her dipsomaniac husband beat her children. With these identifications and more, I continually lowered and lowered my moral estimate of her, down to the point I concluded that she's absolutely immoral and not worth associating with. It's impossible to make any headway on any positive changes in our relationship due to her emotionalism and constant belief that I'm lying or being insincere, and tolerating her behavior any longer interferes greatly with my pursuits. Her 78 years of age means she's been practicing her irrational ways for a LONG time now, which means her habits must be virtually set in stone, especially because her faith-based epistemology prevents her from learning.

Regardless of how hopeless I judged my relations to be with my grandmother, I tried going about my pursuits anyways. I continued studying, introspecting, and so on in an effort to just get on with my life, already too long delayed by my mother. But here my philosophical premises ate at me. I know that evasion is the most evil practice one can engage in, so my mind, as per its nature, wouldn't allow me to ignore my troubles with my grandmother. All of our disputes are unresolved because I can't reason with her: I would try to argue with reason, she would appeal to emotions and revelations, and we can't reconcile the difference and so had to walk away with matters hanging in the air. Additionally, she's unable to get unstuck from her emotionalism, so she's sealed in all of her positions by default. All of this constitute loose ends in my subconscious, problems hanging in the air, and I couldn't stop thinking about them until they were solved.

I just couldn't stop thinking about them.

I was literally obsessed with all these problems, and it seemed like I had no control over my mind in this regard. I recognized how significant a problem my grandmother was. She not only played a harmful role in my childhood with her obsession with appearances over substance, but also kept making me unhappy with her willful irrationality and distractions. It got to the point that even just the mere sight of my grandmother made me uneasy and angry, and I had to quit my studies since I came back to the same paralysis I had in college, where I couldn't concentrate at all on my assignments no matter how many hours I dedicated. All I would do is just pace and pace around the basement, spending hours and hours thinking about how to solve my problems with my grandmother, but always come back to the same dead end over and over again since I know they couldn't be solved by means of reasoning with her. I was trying to satisfy myself by visualizing some sort of solution, but it was impossible to even fantasize about it, because I couldn't evade my grandmother's nature and was therefore unable to convince myself of any dreamed scenario where she finally listened to me and understood my position. I ran around in circles mentally, perpetually running over the same points and identifications over and over and over and over again, nonstop. I thought about it for hours during walks. During television. During internet surfing. During writing. -- During everything. It took over my mental life for several months.

Now having escaped my mother I had gotten myself into a new predicament, though at least it was more like jumping out of the fire and into the frying pan. I took to the internet, philosophical forums and the like, and asked a rather strange question: How do you deal with irrational people you can't deal with, but must? Ayn Rand once noted that if you run into a person who is hopelessly irrational you should just leave them alone, because those who deny reason cannot be ruled by it. However, she said nothing about a situation in which one HAS to deal with an irrational person. I had no choice in being born; I entered into my family by default. I can't rationally choose to go live with other family because they're either hostile to me and probably wouldn't be able to support my presence. The hostile members would probably try to get into yelling or shouting matches with me, making my grandmother the least of all evils. Given my irrational past I cut off all my school friends and made myself friendless, so I'm not on terms with anyone so as to be able to move in with a unrelated person. I also have valuable property I wouldn't want to abandon, such as my book collection or computer, by moving into a homeless shelter. For the time being, I'm stuck with my grandmother. Stuck.   

Nobody was able to answer my question either. Given that the only true proper course for dealing with someone hopelessly irrational is to not deal with them, it's quite a predicament when that option isn't open. The only thing I could be suggested to do in the meanwhile was avoid her as much as possible, which is what I'm doing now. Until I formulated some kind of means for getting out of her house, I just had to cope with her -- but my mind wouldn't leave me alone about all the unresolved problems.

And so there was born the Project. Grandma, then, became the Circumstance.

It was unconscious at first. After realizing how hopeless my situation is, I just "knew" for some reason that I need to up my efforts in pursuing a job. I started applying to place after place, only after a month or so in realizing that I was trying to establish income so I could move into my own apartment. Yes, my own apartment. I plan on cutting off my family not only because it brings me unhappiness to deal with them, but also because their irrational behaviors wouldn't stop unless I disassociated from them entirely and left them no means for communication, which means keeping my address and phone number hidden. Because my grandmother is always under the impression I'm insincere about the things I say, she'd take the Project as something whim driven, and so would continue to pester me on the phone or at my apartment itself. I know this for a fact because she did it to my mother when she briefly tried to cut my grandmother off by moving into her own apartment. For several years my grandmother just kept giving and giving money to my mother while never recognizing her persistent silence was indication of permanent hostility. My grandmother's irrationality is not going to go away unless I move out AND keep her in the dark about my new living situation. That means keeping most of my family in the dark as well. I probably won't even remain on "Christmas cards" terms with them, because they just don't provide an iota of value in my life. Zero value means I will spend zero of my time with them. It's that simple.

While looking for a job the Project was sloppily constructed in my mind, but I was optimistic it would go quick. I thought I could get it done within three months and that a world of value was just on the other side. Things did not turn out that way, unfortunately. I ran into obstacle after obstacle, and I'm still stagnating even now as I approach the one-year mark of my Project.

It took about 2-3 months alone to get a job. When I did cinch it -- dish washer at a restaurant, given my developing culinary passion -- my employers turned out not to need me all that much at the time, so at start I was only employed two days a week for 5 and a half hour shifts, leading to only about forty hours a month. There was no way I could support myself on this income. My place of hire requires me to work on holidays, so I don't think it's possible to get a second job since other restaurants required holiday working too, which would lead to irresolvable conflicts. I thought I only needed to improve myself to make myself more worthy of more hours, so I worked on improving myself and waited it out.

Idling on my Project did not sit well with me. The Project only gives me inner peace if I'm actively working on it, because then my subconscious knows I'm in the process of tying up loose ends that have been sitting around, so ceasing the work made it so my subconscious urged me to think about those loose ends again. My first few weeks at my workplace were excellent, but soon my thinking about the Circumstance quickly bit into my effectiveness and disturbed my work ethic. I wasn't demotivated or anything, but I was distracted an awful lot. This, of course, made for a huge, huge, huge barrier in proving I was really as competent as I am, since my competence was impeded by my fundamental dissatisfaction, constant pining for the completion of the Project, and distractions in the meanwhile. Even as I got closer to getting the hours I wanted I realized I forgot to take taxes into account, so the end of my Project was a lot further away than I thought.

After several months of getting continually more frustrated, especially as I became more and more hostile to my grandmother, I decided to try and invoke the Project early and get an apartment even though I knew I couldn't really afford it. I hypothesized that getting my grandmother out of my life would make me so fundamentally satisfied that it would clear my mind to the point that my full powers could be let loose, unhampered by any preoccupations, and I would quickly be able to demonstrate my worth as a worker. The financial risk, I thought, would be worth taking on since clearing my mind would render me so much more capable in dealing with it. I'd be happier and more resilient too. But the various apartments I contacted wouldn't accept me because my income was so low. Apparently to be qualified your income has to the point that rent would take up much less than 10% of it, so I couldn't pull it off and was stuck again.

Then I thought about compromising. Renting a room was always an option, but I was repulsed by it since I didn't want to take the slightest risk in moving in with anyone obscenely irrational. My essential problem in life was not just that I've had to deal with my mother and grandmother, but that I've always been forced to deal with irrational people. Bad family at home, horrible classmates and teachers in school. I just wanted my own little piece of the universe I could isolate myself in without having to fear being forced to deal with such terrible people. So having been pushed to my limits, I was ready to compromise and go ahead and risk renting a room. But that, too, ran into some barriers since there was no available housing close to where I currently lived or worked, and the ones available were in areas I judged to be both possibly dangerous and too expensive for my vehicle. I was stuck again.

And I'm still stuck. The frustrations with the Circumstance still continue to this day, only now my grandmother and I hardly speak. The loose ends never stopped bothering me, either.

I'm still much engaged in my Project, and still unhappy about it's suspended status. I'm pretty much putting my life on hold for it. I'm not engaging in romance, friendships, intellectual clubs, or serious culinary practice, all because I'm gathering my resources for this one lone endeavor. I've noted before on my other blog Musing Aloud that I've experienced envy towards other people doing what I'm doing. It being so simple as moving into your own apartment, people my age are doing it all the time, and they're only doing it as an extension of an already value-oriented life. I'm doing it so I can at long last gain everlasting inner peace, a necessity for mental health. Even more frustrating to me is when I observe my peers looking for, finding, and moving into an apartment all within a range of a few weeks. I've been at my own endeavor for nearly a year now, and I still don't know when it can get done. It makes me envious that such a routine thing is way harder than it needs to be and is taking way longer than ordinary all because I'm in a special situation I had no role in bringing upon myself. Forgive this one sentence of childish pouting, but it's not fair. And I don't like that the Circumstance makes me so frustrated as to make me experience envy like this, further making clear just why I need to get away from it: It's affecting my entire being. I have a hard time maintaining the friendships I have since I'm sometimes so distracted with other matters. I can hardly concentrate on my studies and cooking. I just flat-out enjoy life less.

Now you know everything. After having to bear an irrational upbringing by my mother, I got kicked out of her house and then moved in with my grandmother, then being able to act on my plan to never associate with her again. My family took to trying to encourage me to "make amends" with my mother, and they ignored all my arguments as if they never heard them, instead resorting to sayings, arbitrary conclusions, revelations of things they "just know," name calling, insults, and shunning. My grandmother beyond this realm is upset by anything I do that makes her feel "bad" or knows goes against popular convention, and she is unaffected by any method of rational persuasion and will drag on the issue endlessly. As the direct result of these ongoing problems which never have gotten resolved, I became obsessed and couldn't keep my mind on my productive efforts, which made me idle and unhappy. After infinite thinking I finally came up with the Project, and while I've made noteworthy progress I still have no idea as to when it'll be completed, leaving me again stagnant, frustrated, and unhappy. I have to keep quiet about it because if my family found out they'd probably treat me as if I were harming Grandma somehow, and if my Grandma found out it'd make her feel "bad" and aggravate me about it until I finally got it finished. She has no courage or moral certainty to kick me out or anything, and I'd still be stuck with her, so the situation would be that I'd have to tolerate it as an additional frustration atop all frustrations. My family knows about my blog Musing Aloud and of my Facebook profile, so being open just hasn't been an option. Therefore, I've had to write about matters discretely with the use of such terms as "Project" and "Circumstance" to keep people from knowing exactly what I was talking about. A lot of my posts on the nature of evil, in fact, are inspired by family members. The person Man X that I once wrote about, for example, is really my mother. Being stuck with my grandmother meant witnessing a lot of her behavior, and given that's she's consistently irrational I've been consistently introspecting on the nature of such stupidity and why it's evil.

I've wanted to for so long write about this out in the open. I drafted it over and over in my head, and waited excitedly for the day to come that my Project would be over and I'd finally be able to write about it. But so many months passed and it ended up that I was just constantly writing the article over and over in my head. Finally I decided I just didn't want to wait anymore, so I created this blog, deleted it from my Blogger profile, and plan on using it so I can openly talk about my Project while I still must be private about it everywhere else. When I do get the Project finished I'll probably delete this blog and its entire archives: I just need it now to satisfy my needs to vent myself and introspect. That's about all I can do right now. There will definitely be more posts about my family in the meanwhile, concentrating on the nature of their actions and what to do about it if you get caught in the same situation. It sucks when you get caught, but there are means to getting out.

The most important point in this entire essay is that there is no such thing as you owing a duty to your family. You have no choice in being born and have to deal with these people by default. There's little in the way of a need to argue against this particular notion because it's so empty. My family simply "feels" that such a duty is right, so since they have provided no argument for their belief there is literally nothing to argue against. In truth, your family owes you. Since you do not have the means to sustain yourself for several years, for both material and intellectual reasons, you are helpless, and being forced into existence means your parents are morally obligated to provide you with food, shelter, medical care, and guidance. They chose to bring you into existence and should accept the responsibility it entails.

Secondly, and more importantly, just because you share genetic material with someone does not mean that you should judge them differently from anyone else unrelated to you. Ethics apply to everyone regardless of their status. Again, you have no choice in being born, and sharing genetic material with someone does not bear special moral significance, it's just a fact of nature. My family "feels" that there's some kind of special significance in my being related to my mother, and they've provided no argument. Evil is evil, and that's that. I judged my mother, and my judgment made me detest her and disassociate from her, something that has benefited me immeasurably in terms of mental health, even physical health.  

What I learned the most in dealing with these problems is not only how to judge people, but how to act accordingly too. As I stated above, my decisions were not hasty or whim-driven, as they might be for other young adults. It took well into my high school years for me to realize how I didn't love my mother, and it was late into my junior year that I promised myself not to deal with her anymore whenever I got the chance. At that point I had been dealing with her for almost twenty years, and in my memory I had an incredible store of knowledge regarding her behaviors. By connecting instances, recognizing trends, and keeping an eye on her further actions, I added everything together into a sum which constitutes who she is in essence. Her actions were consistently evil, therefore she's an evil person. It took me years, not minutes, to reach this conclusion. The same goes for my grandmother. Furthermore, after recognizing who they are in essence I also recognized that there's no way to alter our relationships so they could be made valuable, and that continuing to deal with these people means bringing perpetual unhappiness into my life. My mother's extreme emotionalism means she would cave into any intense emotion the moment she felt it, so any progress made in dialogue would go right out the window the second that happened. My grandmother's different flavor of emotionalism means she'd panic in that type of personal conversation and would try to evade acknowledging me at all cost, or would otherwise engage in lip-service, pretending to understand and agree with me, and would alter her behavior only until she thought my "mood swing" was over with, by which then she'd go right back to her old ways again. My grandmother is of especial difficulty since her incredibly irrational epistemology has ruined her mind and rendered her unable to learn, leaving her only able to adopt as knowledge only that which makes her feel good or is accepted by a lot of Other People. Since it's so hopeless to even try to work things out with them -- and I have tried and experienced the frustrations I just detailed -- the only thing I can do is not deal with them anymore. There's only so many chances a person deserves, by which then you just have to call it quits and leave them alone. There's nothing else that can be done, and I'm not going to waste my only life dealing with them when it can otherwise be spent pursuing my happiness. To any other observer, however, it's almost certainly going to appear as if I've made this decision on the basis of whim and am throwing a childish fit. It takes all these words -- and I could have put in words more -- to fully lay out my case, something not possible in a two-minute conversation. If things could have been worked out then I would have pursued such a course, but that's not the case.

Okay then, now that I've said all this, what about you? Do you have family problems? Do any of the behaviors described above resonate with something you may be dealing with?

If you're already not living with these people and can freely control your relations with them, then you should limit your contact and communications with them, be explicit that some of their behaviors are unacceptable, and act consistently in that regard. If a relative calls too much then set limits and employ them consistently, blocking their number if you need to. If they visit too often, then tell them about your desires and don't worry if they get offended: It's your living space, and it's not irrational to want to be alone sometimes. If they get upset then the irrationality is theirs solely, not yours. If they pester you on the internet too much, then set limits there as well. If that means blocking Mom on Facebook then that means blocking Mom on Facebook. Life is too short to be spending any minute of it in unhappiness, so do not tolerate these people's irrationality in any degree.

If, however, you're still living with them, then come up with your very own Project. As I mentioned a multitude of times elsewhere, it has been immensely soothing to me to work on my Project even as it remains unfinished. Action on it lets me know deep down that the problems in my life are in the active process of being solved, and that's an incredible comfort. I felt better even after doing something as insignificant as brainstorming my plans on pieces of paper. It doesn't take much, you just need to start working on your problems in some way. If you don't, that's when it sits and festers. So if you can't move out immediately, then get to work on constructing those plans. Write out your expenses, possible places to live, how you would celebrate, how you're going to decorate, and so on. If moving out is the only way you can solve your problems, then thinking about the solution will be satisfying since it is the solution. Go on, get some paper out now if you need it.

Do not discount homeless shelters either. If your problems are that bad, then having inner peace in a homeless shelter is infinitely more valuable than all the material goods you'd be giving up. A clear mind and a cleansed spirit will make you a drastically different person. The only reason why you may be so attached to your material goods is because your life is so stressful that these goods are the only things making you cope with it, so if you take the source of stress away then you won't be so afraid of losing these goods. Inner peace will allow you to be content with a lot less. Besides, with a mind at peace you should be much more fit to be able to go about your productivity anyhow, which makes you more valuable as a worker and would enable you to better pursue the income that would allow you to enjoy all these goods again. You'd just have to make without them temporarily. The alternative is that you could keep the stress in your life and extend your misery and make yourself less able to achieve your goals.

I don't know how common family problems are like mine, but I suspect that they are. Without my intending to make such associates, my closest friends in high school all had significant family problems: psychological abuse, neglect, alcoholism. It all showed in their characters too, how fundamentally unhappy, stressed, and angered they were. Their families too, I suspect, might be ones to believe in family duties and that familial relations entail the suspension of ethical judgment, and be impervious to reason in the discussion of such issues. There too it would be best to just not deal with those people. These philosophical ideas are not special to just this individuals, but have been absorbed by the culture at wide, affecting all cultures in all nations. As unhappy as they've made me, I don't wish the fate on anyone. Don't waste your life: Get out.

I hope for all the months I've made you wait for this essay that it has satisfied you, but while my Project is still in effect I'm still open to discussion on this issue, particularly if it's to help with your own. On this blog I will post further updates on my Project's going-ons and family situation, but I will blog only as I feel I need to satisfy my psychological needs.

To keep up to date, I've made the determination a few months ago to move out of state rather than around Michigan. I've long been frustrated with Michigan and have intended to move out of it anyhow, so to do it as part of my Project would only increase its value. There's hardly any good restaurants around where I live anyhow, so it would be beneficial to my career as well. This means is fool-proof since moving out is inherent in it, so once I find a job out of state that means everything is virtually cinched. Presently I've been entertaining a prospect in Texas, and it's possible that I may soon fly out there to perform a stage, which is when you work at a restaurant for a night or two to show your abilities. If that fails, then I'll stick to Texas and look at other fine restaurants with the help of the Zagat Survey. After being held up by this Project for so long I'm just ready to get it finished, so I'd be submitting applications and cover letters like mad just to get one step further to moving out. I'll worry about ideal living conditions, such as climate and state, when I am in a much better position spiritually and can afford to think about those matters. Right now I lack something essential in spirit, so material concerns really are secondary. I'll keep you posted.

Thank you so much for reading all of this, if you have. I've not only wanted to write this for so long, but to be acknowledged that I was in the right. What sucks about being my age is that most people will be against me because of it. My family certainly won't support here, and the people I briefly tell about this will automatically assume I'm just like other kids who hate their "square" parents. Even fellow Objectivists I've told online, though no where near the depth I have here, have treated me in such a fashion. I know I am entirely justified in doing in what I doing -- but very few people are going to agree with that, leaving me largely alone in this position. It's lonely and disappointing. What little support I've received has meant a lot to me. It's so heartening to observe people assess my situation and see the same evil that I do, letting me know I'm not the only one with eyes.

Because fundamental inner peace is at stake, I will persevere and never give up on this Project. There's simply too much to gain.

* * * * *

I wanted to have a relationship with my family, but their evasion of all the harm my mother has done is an unforgivable betrayal, and the problems just kept accumulating in my relationship with my grandmother despite my numerous attempts to resolve matters. The moving out is my absolute last resort. It's unfortunate it had to come to this, but it has.

From now on I want to resolve to minimize any mention of the Project or my family troubles from here on out, if not eliminate it from discussion outright. Unless someone needs intellectual guidance on their own family problems, I just want to move on as soon as possible: the quicker I get my mind over these matters the better. I was obsessed with my problems for well over a year since my hands were tied, leaving me unable to solve them. I solved them, so they should no longer be a subject worthy of thinking.

Now then: What am I going to do now that my most important endeavor is now past? Surely I could use another (lowercase) project to dedicate myself to. I don't have any specific strivings in mind, but I think I'm in a transitional phase in my life where my education is of utmost important. I've thought so much about my future that I seem naturally drawn to corollary actions and goals that will advance me towards my deepest desires, so I'm not too worried about drawing out a map right now. I have yet to figure out where it is I truly want to go in the culinary world, so I have lots of cooking, tasting, and eating to do before I decide upon that. For now: Study, taste, and cook as much as I can.

But what of the short-term, then? Well, obviously I need to find another job. I moved so far away that I had to leave my previous job (with my employer's blessing; they even said I could have my old job back if things didn't turn out well). As soon as possible I've got to start pounding the pavement and performing stages; my savings will only last so long.

In more concrete concerns, I still need to do some things to settle myself fully into my state, as well as work on my temperament. I still feel as emotionally dull as I did when I lived in Michigan, so I want to take to practicing meditation a half-hour before bedtime for the week to see if I can make myself more relaxed. A family member called me while I was grocery shopping, and I nearly instantaneously got angry and hung up on him, so I'm certainly not over these matters. Secondly, I'd like to work more on getting myself fully settled in, such as by getting a new library card, visiting a new gym, and so on. I don't think I'll be able to become a resident of my state this week, as I need to get a hold of my birth certificate somehow before I get a new vehicle registration. I think that document was lost by my mother before I ever needed it.

I don't know what I'll be able to do in regards to job hunting. The sous chef I performed a stage for is going to assist me on my job hunt, and I have yet to receive his list of contacts. When I do, I want to check out as many of them as possible, if not all. I really liked what I saw at his white tablecloth establishment, and at this phase in my life it's where I'd like to work. So vigorous and mentally challenging! It makes me love food even more.

Life is making progress. I hope it is for you too.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats, Ben!! Man it must feel good.

    Everything in that essay was totally familiar and dead on. Everything. Of course the particulars of my situation were somewhat different, but in the abstract it was the same, as it always seems to be.

    Good luck in your new life--although I realize that with your clarity, skill and strength of will, you won't need it. :)


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