When You Don’t Know Better You Do Better (Capacity Pt. 4)
When I was young I was alright. I was an okay kid. I did what you’re supposed to do and more. Why not? I was a kid and kids do stuff just because they can. It’s a kid thing, you wouldn’t understand.
But, let’s pretend that you can remember back to being a kid. Think about how different things were when you were younger. What was school like? Were you a good student? I was. I was really good. I excelled, if you will. I always did more than I needed to do. I was that kind of a kid. I just wanted not only to be the best but to be better than everybody else. I thought that kind of stuff really mattered. I thought that school in and out itself mattered but nothing matters. Ok, that’s not true something matters. I’m not a total nihilist. Maybe I’m just a halfhearted nihilist. I think a few things matter that’s why I keep talking to you. I suppose or maybe, one would suppose.
Anyway, when I was a kid, I loved to win. I won the spelling bee and got first place at the science fair. I was class president. The only thing I didn’t win were any kind of popularity contests – so to speak. For all the prizes I got, nobody really liked me and nobody really likes me now either. So, that’s sort of my thing now, I guess.
Nonetheless, let me tell you about that one time when I really excelled. I was always pretty good with math but I never cared too much about philosophy. Morals and ethics aren’t my thing. It’s all about numbers. Perhaps this makes me a utilitarian. I’m not a fan of Keynes or Adam Smith or really anybody except maybe Camus, I can get behind a fair amount of absurdity. Sisyphus makes sense to me considering the current climate of affairs. Anyway, one time back in high school, I started seriously crunching numbers as best an AP calculus kid could and I figured out what kind of potential each certain population had. That is to say, I looked at wages and production vs consumption and I really pondered where this particular town was headed with this type of leadership. I’m not one to call out the top dogs but let’s say I was pretty skeptical about their ideas. Well, the teachers liked my work well enough and my paper was widely circulated and I got some sort of plaque for math and some sort mention for my minor journalistic skills. Thing is though, I wasn’t happy about the accolades and the attention. What if I was wrong? What if I was right? What’s the next administration supposed to do? How do we fix our problems? I have no answers for that and because I don’t have any answers my victory is also a failure. I don’t like working with potential. I like working with real possibilities, probabilities. I want to see real change or let’s not talk about it.
Today, when I wake up, I know not much has changed. The town’s still the same and I’ve had the same job since college. I guess I could’ve gone on to grad school but why bother? What will I learn to help my town? All I know is, as long as I have somewhere to drink and reminisce with somebody like you, everything is alright. We can just talk about the good times. We can’t change the past. It was good or it wasn’t. And, back then when we did’t know better, we did better. We had potential. We wanted change. We liked ideas. It was great. We didn’t consider giving up. And, we didn’t really ever give up but we learned how to work within new parameters. We know how far we can shift a dialectic and not to go too far. You have to be careful about going too far. Look at what happened to Trotsky.