My Ramblings

Nov 3, 2001
I'd almost forgotten this part of my web-page existed. These days I've been writing in my journal more often than anywhere else. But this part of my web page deserves updates too!
So anyway, this ramble is inspired by something similar to the last one. Again, I was reading a woman's profile online. When asked to list what annoys her, her pet peeves, she began as follows "I hate people digging up old graves....". Needless to say I thought that was an awesome thing to write in your profile. I was ready to assure her that I almost never exhumed corpses, and certainly not old ones. But she went on to somehow make a point that worrying about the past was foolish, and we should live in the present. Oh well. The search continues.

Dec 6, 1999
I was reading a woman's profile the other day and it caught my eye that she collected mathbooks. I was ecstatic and was prepared to offer her my heart when I looked again and saw that I had misread -- she collected matchbooks. It was time to move on.

Oct 25, 1999
I wrote the previous bit in a coffee shop on the night of the 24th. Now it is the following morning. I still agree with the general sentiment of what I have written, but now it sounds much too pretentious for my liking. It's true that I need to try to figure myself out, but I really didn't need to write so much indulgent prose about it. Who am I trying to impress? Perhaps I should blame the amount of coffee I had just consumed when I wrote it. No time to dwell on it now, as I have to go to work.

Oct 24, 1999
Is my life marked by suffering or non-suffering? I'm not equipped to answer this question, but I think it's terribly significant. If suffering, do I seek solace? If non-suffering, do I require suffering before I can be at ease? The point: I need to find out what has shaped me into my current form if I'm to have any hope of guiding my future development. Is it any wonder that I go between happiness and sadness with little control, when I am such a stranger to myself? Who am I, where have I been, and what do I want?
Until I can sort this nonsense out, or at least begin to do so, I have no business trying to take control of my life. Better to have no one at the helm than to have a fool. And I can be regarded as nothing more than that, given my situation. Which is okay -- this is not self-deprecation -- but it is not a state I should always be in.
So my goal, for now, is within myself. I've been seeking it in others, which is a mistake. Before others can be useful to me, I need to work on myself.
This is a very simple truth, I think. Which makes me both uneasy and satisfied. Truths should be simple, but oversimplification is no more desirable than overcomplication (although at least it's easier to live up to a simple tenet).
This little moment of clarity is ebbing. I'm glad I've recorded it to the best of my ability. For now, I should end this. I can reflect on it later and see what it means to me.

Mar 3, 1999
Tonight I'm wondering if it is ever possible to find someone else who is truly like yourself. I don't even know if this would be desirable, but regardless, would it even be possible? Does it depend on how "normal" you are? For example, is it easier for the so-called average man to find a person like himself than it is for, say, a freak like me? Or are the odds stacked against anyone trying to find a similar soul? I know some people who are like me in some ways, but not in others. I don't think I know anyone who comes close to being exactly like me. And I'm not talking about any superficial qualities, like taste in music, movies, food, etc. I am talking about personality and beliefs. Although I suppose the superficial characteristics also enter into it. It just seems like such a person, if nothing else, would understand very well where you are coming from. Would that make them more accepting of you? That I'm not sure of. I know many people for whom the most intolerable vices are those which they themselves possess, so perhaps meeting someone just like yourself would be a trying experience. Maybe you wouldn't get along at all. Still, I'd like to find such a person. It would be comforting to know that I am not alone, in that sense. Would it validate, in some way, how I feel and what I think? Perhaps not, but it might just be reassuring to know that someone out there feels the same way you do on all of the important issues. Oh yeah -- if you ran into such a person, would you even realize that they were your "twin"? How long would it take you to figure it out? Too many questions, too few answers. Time for sleep.

Mar 1, 1999
It has been a long time since I've last rambled here, I know. Lord knows I've had enough to ramble about, I just haven't taken the time. Woe. Anyharf, is there any value in possessing intellectual honesty? First, what do I mean by that term? Well, by being intellectually honest I suppose I mean not lying to yourself. Not allowing yourself to think or believe something unless you have logical reason to do so. I'm not sure that is completely what I mean. Let me give an example. I think I might be much happier if I thought my life had some purpose, or if I could find some religion in which to believe. However, I know that I am capable of doubting just about anything. I can play the Devil's advocate endlessly. As a result, it is virtually impossible for me to have faith in anything. When asked any question, I ultimately have to concede that I don't know the answer. I can speculate, or tell you the answer that most appeals to me, or tell you the answer that seems to make the most sense, but I can't ever give an answer that I know to be true, or "believe" to be true. Is there any value in holding myself to such a restrictive mentality? I'm not sure I could change it even if I thought it would be wise. But even if we aren't talking about such a complete level of doubt, the question can still be asked. For example, is it better to believe in God unquestioningly, or is it better to admit that God's existence cannot be proven? Of course, this is a loaded question to some extent, because some people do really feel that God exists -- to them, it doesn't require any self-deception to believe in God. But for me it definitely would. Yet, if doing so would make me happy, would it then be a wise thing to do? I guess that depends on whether happiness is the ultimate goal or not. But what if it would not only make me happier, but it would make me a "better person", whatever that means. Is there some benefit I could get from believing in God (and lying to myself to do it) that would make it worthwhile? As I said, I don't think I can change the way I am, regardless of how this question is answered. But there are times when my excessive doubt takes a toll on me, and it would be nice to just take some things for granted. To be fair, there are also times when I'm glad that I profess ignorance rather than pretend knowledge. Is faith an important thing? I don't know.

Sep 11, 1998
Why doesn't everyone agree on matters like the existence of supreme beings? Do we all have the same data with which to work and we simply disagree on the interpretation of the data? Or does the very data differ? Some claim to know there is a God. They know it. Are they privy to some knowledge that I do not have, or do they simply look at the data in a different way? If it is simply a matter of different interpretations, then why do people disagree? I suppose because there is no absolute idea of what is sensible and what isn't. Some people find the concept of a universe without a supreme being to be nonsensical, I guess. It would be arrogant of me to say they are wrong simply because I can envision the universe without such a being. But isn't their position just as arrogant? There must be a god because they can't imagine it any other way, as though the universe cares what they are capable of imagining. Or maybe the universe does care. It certainly isn't beyond the realm of possibility. I guess humans are inherently arrogant at some level. What choice do we have?

Sep 10, 1998
Tonight it was brought to my attention that you can learn a lot about me just from visiting my web page. I freely provide all sorts of details about my life, my past, my beliefs, and many other things relating to the being known as Mitchell Perry Harding. It got me thinking (as so many things do). Specifically, it made me wonder just how much someone can know about me from perusing (which is a tricky word, I'll have you know) my web page. I guess I could generalize the question and ask just how much info about an individual a web page could present, but I'll be narcissistic and just wonder about my web page. I was kind of surprised that I had presented so much autobiographical information on my web page. This isn't to say that I had previously thought my web page to be devoid of personal information, but rather to say that I had never really considered how much a careful reader could determine. This topic brings to mind the philosophical question of how can you every truly KNOW someone, when all you are able to see is what they present to you (both consciously and unconsciously). Does my web page provide a window into my mind? Would you learn more from talking to me for an hour or from exploring my web page for an hour? After reading my web page, do you feel like you know me in some sense? I can only answer these questions by relating them to my experiences visiting the web pages of others. Some web sites that I have visited only reveal superficial information about their authors -- hobbies, favorite web sites, et cetera. Others somehow manage to present (or give the illusion of presenting) a somewhat complete portrait of the author. This makes me wonder which class my page falls into, or does it fall somewhere in between? Clearly I am not really qualified to answer such a question. My suspicion is that while you can get a good sense of my personality from my web page, you cannot really know me. But maybe I'm flattering myself. Maybe I can be encapsulated by a web page. All of this also calls to mind whether it is possible to know someone else when it is quite difficult to truly know yourself. I don't fully understand myself -- it doesn't seem likely that anyone fully understands themselves. But sometimes it is easier to analyze something from the outside, so perhaps it is likewise easier to understand another person than it is to understand yourself. I don't know and I've had way too much caffeine right now, so I'll stop this rambling.

Sep 10, 1998
When is it the right time to die? Is it when the world has changed beyond recognition? Is it when the world ceases to change and you become bored? Is there a right time to die? I read a story today (by Charles Bukowksi) about an old man. The man was sixty years old -- not really that old, all other things being equal, but he'd lived a life of labor, drinking and smoking, so I guess that adds some years. In any case, the man has an encounter with some teenagers who taunt and tease him. Later he finds himself drawn to darkness and the sound of the ocean... He seems to be withdrawing from the world. At the end of the story, he simply dies, listening to the faint sound of the sea. He doesn't kill himself, he just dies, as though the time had come, the conditions had been met, it was appropriate. It made me wonder just what that must be like, to cease to be a part of the world, to see everyone as a stranger. Is death the natural result of such a progression, and will old age always lead to alienation? Being only 21 years old, I probably can't truly consider this question...I feel like I understand the world. But what if one day I woke up and I wasn't part of the world anymore. Would I want to face the day? Would there be any rewards for living? I'm not sure. At what point would I simply die, without a struggle? Does a time come when the only way to fit in is to stop living? I really want the answer to be "not necessarily", but I'm afraid that the answer is "inevitably".

If you have a comment, question, response, etc, then please share it with me. I'd love to hear from you.

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