August 5th, 2003


Simplifying the argument

There are two messages we're consistently bombarded with by tv and film when we're growing up:

"Be true to yourself."
"Don't be an asshole."

I'd like to know - which one is it? Am I allowed to be an asshole if that's being true to myself? Or should I subsume my personality in order to fit in, if my personality isn't a nice one?

Long-term view

The answer, of course, is (and if you're reading down the page in reverse order I recommend skipping down one entry) that finding a happy medium is a bitch.

The simple solution is to take a long-term utilitarian view. Don't be reliable because you want to be nice, but because you want to be viewed as reliable. Keeping your word is a good thing because it means that you're trusted. If you want people to compromise with you, then you have to learn how to compromise.

Learning not to do the thing you want to do right now so that you can do the thing you want to do in the future is a vital part of growing up. Most people are terrible at it. I'm not great at it (I usualyl know what the right thing is, but think I can compromise myself more than I actually can).

And there are always situations where you cannot win - places where you can't do what you want to do and have people like you for it. In which case you have to make up your own mind, take responsibility and live with the shit that it stirs up. You have to decide whether the friends you lose are really the people you want around you, and whether the thing you want is really worth all the fuss.

It's bloody hard being an adult, making your own decisions, living with the results and not blaming other people for how your choices turn out.

I think it's worth it.

Blocked by pride

I find myself avoiding making journal updates when my head is fuzzy. I want to be liked and admired by the people on my friends list, and I'm well aware that I've been added by many of them because I write well enough to be interesting to them despite the fact that they don't really know me.

This leads to me avoiding making personal updates when my head feels fuzzy, and filling my journal with amusing links to elsewhere or with polls to inspire discussion. While I'm happy to have both of these in my journal, they seem to swell to fill any gaps left over when I stop posting my actual thoughts.

I think I need to force myself past this self-consciousness, to post even when I'm worried that I might be too fuzzy to make perfect sense. I'd like to get numerous aspects of my personality out on the internet not just the analytical side.

Strangely, just sitting here typing this has helped clear the fog somewhat. It's good mental exercise, picking the right words out of the air and pinning them to the screen. I sholdn't be ashamed when they aren't the perfect words. After all, who's going to remember this tomorrow?


Instructions: You fill this out in the comments, then post a blank one in your LJ. If you don't you're clearly a force of repression trying to stop humanity from being brought closer together. If you've already completed it on somebody else's journal, a link to the answers would be neat.

Reason for LJ username:
AIM/MSN/IRC/other chat screename:
Reason for AIM/MSN/IRC/ other chat screename:
Why do you enjoy reading my LJ:
Interesting fact about you:
Weird fact about you:
Name a website worth visiting:
Will you post this in your LJ:
If you see me out in the streets would you say hi:

My answers can be found here


Tried to chat to Sneaks, Anna and Nathan.

Sneaks and Anna are both unresponsive, I got one word out of Nathan followed by more silence.

Either everyone is leaving MSN logged in while they wander off, or I've upset half the planet...

I think I'll go to bed