PRETEXT: There’s English HW and I decided it might be a good idea to post something after a ton of time of not posting. This is not the longpost, by the way. This is probably very cynical, sort of irrelevant to the prompt, perhaps grammatically incorrect, and I did no planning or editing (other than this PRETEXT) although I did backspace a few times to actually make sentences or catch spelling mistakes (which I habitually do, although this was discouraged in the context of the assignment). Hence, no closure. And stream of consciousness.
Are you prepared for the next step? (20 min)
In this essay-thingy, I will attempt to answer a question in 20 minutes. This is for English homework, by the way. The question is as stated, “Are you prepared for the next step?” No planning or editing whatsoever (although my pride sort of cheats this by backspacing quickly) But I digress. One minute in. The real world seems like a whole new world. There is no obvious shelter that is provided, and you need to provide it yourself with your own hands and labor. It is this that this is very different from the circumstances that I face today. Of course, there is college to bridge the gap.
Bridging the gap is a very overused expression. In 3rd grade, I’m pretty sure they said that 4th, 5th, and 6th would be used to bridge the gap to junior high, and in 6th grade they said that junior high was the bridge to high school. In a sense, yes. In a sense, no. I did not really feel the accomplishment of actually crossing the bridge – it was so streamlined. It feels rather as if instead of crossing a discrete gap, a river to cross, I was seamlessly moving from one to the next. I’m pretty sure the bridge is supposed to have this effect. But I never actually feel as if I actually crossed this bridge.
School has been much the same for all these years. While the addition of the period system introduced a variety of teachers that I hold a varied amount of respect to, it really wasn’t so different from before. After all, in elementary school we had to go to different “labs” every week or so for “specialized activities”, and inclass we definitely did a whole host of things each day. It’s basically a schedule. Scheduling appears to be a very integral part of college and beyond as well.
The commitments were basically the same as well. There are school assignments to do each day, and there are extracurriculars. However, testing largely phases out in college, with just a final (which of course has been introduced in junior high, since I don’t remember having to test for finals in elementary school). The claim is that grades now count for high school instead of junior high, which is in a sense true (after all it dictates which college you go to to some extent) but these grades are essentially thrown out in college, and life starts anew. Then college grades are thrown out after you get your second job. These grades are really quite transient, and nine minutes.
It feels as if the world doesn’t really need any given person. And in a sense, this is true as well. Your achievements are essentially for naught after a while, and as the ages pass, you die. Those lucky enough to be an impact to society pass on their legacy. But this is such a chancey thing. How will I know that my legacy will carry on hundreds of years from now? Science is probably the best way to get “immortalized”, and even we don’t know how immortal this is, as science (at least renaissance and beyond) is such a new concept, it’s only about 500 years old. But other things of relative time have mostly faded away. I wouldn’t be able to name most of the Renaissance leaders of the time, for instance. But in their time, I’m sure they felt a lot more important than the scientists did.
So there is the question of how to get a good legacy. Perhaps science will go out of vogue in another few centuries, but who am I to judge? I’m sure people will forget of basically everything in the event of a post-apocalyptic society. They will remember those who brought back any semblance of civilization, and clearly I should try to initiate an apocalypse and save a small collective of people (I’M JUST KIDDING). But really, does it matter what we do? Of course, our hivemind would completely collapse if everyone had this mindset.
If nobody thought they had any commitments, then modern society would probably collapse within a few weeks, if not days. It’s really quite scary how we, who aren’t hardwired to be excessively social (of course, more social than lone warriors like tigers, but I’m talking social at the level of ants or bees) manage to live in such a fragile weave of society. We do have primal, hardwired tendencies – greed, for instance, but society has managed to utilize these tendencies to incentivize stability to a sense. Money is definitely something to go after – the embodiment of wealth. But nothing in our minds has the inherent desire to become intellectual, and it appears as if this value is declining with the rise of the corporate world.
War – it comes up, and this is mainly due to our primal warlike tendencies. We were not meant to live harmoniously as a society of seven billion. But we somehow managed to do so, albeit quite shakily. And this is why war happens.
But back to the question, as I have like two minutes left. Am I prepared to enter this extremely unstable world? Yes and no. Of course, the phrasing “unstable world” should already sound warning bells, and of course I am probably not ready to handle such a thing. But in the end, does it even matter?
There are a few things that would indeed transform this mentality. Immortality would be something that changes the legacy problem on its head, and even the small changes that you make over time would add up to a large amount when you multiply this by an infinite value. But it might eradicate desire, as people lose motivation. But time is up.