Welcome to the Thunderdome: This one’s for the kids


Look, none of us know a thing about anything.
Welcome back to my column, by the way, for those returning students who await my long-winded and dumb scream-words about nothing in particular every fortnight.
I’m glad to imagine you again — I would say see, but I don’t know anyone in real life that actually reads this column besides some members of my family (the reviews are almost universally negative) and the people that are nice enough to call themselves my friends (though not around other people; that’s too big of a chore).
And to the freshmen who are new to reading the school newspaper, I am truly sorry that you only get to experience a year of a man slowly (the speed is arguable) losing his mind in a public forum. My eons of publicly expressing my sad clownitude are coming to a close.
After the year, God willing, I’ll just be a sad clown that lacks an outlet to express himself, which produces even more sadness, which produces even more hilarity, but you won’t be able to read or see it, because there’s no outlet.
Logic, reasoning and explanation are some of the most important skills you’ll learn at Maryville College, and it will take you years before you can craft a sentence like that, by the way. It’s called being a liberal arts major. You won’t want to craft that sentence, but you’ll sure be able to.
Actually, I don’t really know that, which takes me back to the first sentence, the one about not knowing anything. I’m of the firm belief that nobody at this school, your old school, other schools, theoretical schools or any human ever to exist really knows anything. I think that’s among the most dangerous things to think about oneself, and it’s one of the most undesirable and useless traits that one can possess.
Instead, think of your four (or six, if you become a really sad clown) years here as an opportunity to question everything about yourself, right down to your poster of Audrey Hepburn, your insistence that Christopher Nolan makes good movies and your deep-seated desire to become what you think you want to become.
You don’t know anything, and I don’t either, and none of the people that you’ll ever meet (especially those trying to sell you something) will know anything, either.
It’s the act of questioning that counts. Your first question on every assignment should be, “Why are we doing this?” And then, maybe, “Are we doing this because this is what one ought to do with one’s life, or are we doing it because we’ve generally done it this way?” Don’t be afraid to say something sucks, but don’t be afraid to say something is great, either!
When you think about it, most of the respected canon of science, literature and the arts are really a bunch of consensus agreement among people that you’ve never met and never will.
We do so much science now because a bunch of mostly old white people from hundreds of years ago started a movement that’s lasted at least until now.
We do the same with canonical literature, but we also do the same with distinctly non-canonical literature, the stuff that people say we should be reading in school, but don’t, and that it’s really good. You just ought to look up this band or book, because it’s good, and maybe that one boy or girl from down the hall will have a coffee with you if you express an affinity for some response they have to something.
Who the heck knows, really? I don’t know how to judge something as good or bad, and I don’t trust anyone else who does, either. There are never going to be answer to the questions you’re going to have for the rest of your life. You’re going to think you’re on the spot where the “x” in the treasure map is only to start digging and just meet endless dirt. It’s the digging that’s important, though.
There’s no way to tell what is good or bad; there’s just how it makes you feel.
There is no telling who’s smart and who’s not; there are just learned skills that people find captivating and develop. There’s no way to know what one ought to do with one’s life; there’s only what attracts you to it.
Morally, you may try to live a good life, but no matter what you do, you’re going to end up hurting people, either implicitly or explicitly. Think about what that means to you.
Still, though. Helping others? It couldn’t hurt.

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