Rob Abrazado (flatvurm) wrote,
Rob Abrazado

Out of control

Okay, so, like a million years ago I put up a post asking for ideas from you people about stuff to blog about. I got some responses, and then I never did anything about it. But, as I'm now sitting around these days slowly going totally fucking nuts, I figured maybe I'd take a crack at writing something. I mean, shit, I just spammed a mailing list trying to start a conversation about anal intrusion. This has got to be better than that, right? Right.


Someone asked: Do you think you're in control of your life? Do you think that most people are in control of their lives?

In order: yes and no, and yes and no.

I think these questions are basically related, and I think also that they're big, big questions. I think the answer lies mostly in what is meant by "control." I think people, myself included, have both more and less control than they think.

One way I think people feel needlessly out of control is when they regard consequences as prohibition. In a sense, then, we have total control of our lives. As creatures of will, we should basically be able to do anything of which we are physically capable. Of course, we don't, because most of those actions are pretty stupid. But there are times when people feel "trapped," like they have no control over the choices they have to make, because of lack of alternatives or means or whatever. I should know...I feel like that a lot. But the truth is that we have the freedom to exercise a lot of control over our lives. Where it falls apart is that we probably aren't going to be happy with the outcome.

Some people feel trapped in a life they don't want. A crappy job, maybe, or they don't like where they live, or they don't like their family. But they go through life anyway with things being as they are, and they don't do anything about it, because there's nothing else to be done. In fact, there are things to be done, but they all involve consequences, and that's why we don't do them.

We keep that crappy job, because we "need" the money. But it is within our power to control that aspect of our lives. We can quit. We can quit right now. We just need to accept the consequences of that action in order to do so...we will not have any more income, we may make it very difficult on ourselves to find another job (depending how we quit, etc.), we may lose friends, our homes, the ability to buy food, etc. But never let it be said that we didn't have that choice. ;) Likewise, we can move to a new town, we can leave our families...we can basically do whatever we want, if we had zero regard for ourselves or other people. But, generally, we have nonzero regard, and so we do what we do, because we do not want to bear the cost of doing otherwise.

So a lot of control that we think we don't have, we actually do. We just choose not to use it. And often, for good reason.

Now, even though we all have this vast decision-making ability available to us, we don't always have the opportunity to put it to good use. Any of a limitless number of futures could be available to me, if I only had the chance to see them or try them out. We are limited in what control we have over our lives often by what we know, and what we know (or what we experience, same thing) is often so dependent on "random" and "meaningless" events that we are really just subject to a zillion crazy coincidences every day, and in a sense, those dictate our lives to us, and not the other way around. I mean, you can examine any little aspect of your life and find that it has been dependent on a million other things happening just so. And not just "random" stuff, either, but the decisions that other people make also interfere with how our lives are lead. In a sense, their control mucks with our control.

Like...when I went to Rensselaer, I got to be pretty good friends with this guy who was really into pool, so he taught me a lot about pool and I used to hang out with him all the time in pool halls around Troy. At one, there was this one waittress who I liked, and so I spent time chatting with her and I'd usually give her extra tips and stuff. Ironically, she wasn't that into me, but she did like my friend, and they actually ended up together, and when I left school, they were going to move in together.

Except...that never happened. I didn't go to Rensselaer, I went to Carnegie Mellon. I was going to go to Rensselaer, but I didn't. As a result, that girl never hung around that guy, because he was a crappy tipper, and so was the guy he ended up hanging out with who wasn't me. That guy and that girl might have been happy together, but events conspired so that they'd never have the chance to find out. Regardless of the amount of control they exerted over their own lives, they just couldn't manufacture events on their own in such a way that they would spend time with each other. Funny ol' world.

In Between
So in the end, I say deal with what you got. :) You can control a lot about your life, maybe even more than you give yourself credit for, because we're not used to thinking about controlling certain aspects of our lives. In that same breath, though, we don't have nearly as much control as we think; there will always be things going on which directly affect us and over which we have no control of our own. So do we have control? Do we not? Maybe. I think what matters most is that we do the best we can, however we can.
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