In reading my values reflection, it is clear that I am someone who feels they have much to say, and who rarely has an audience willing to listen. My own father told me once, that people may not appreciate what I write until long after my death. In spite of this, I keep trying, because I know that much of my discontent is a result of skills I lack or have yet to practice enough. To become the person I want to be, will require a broad array of skills that are very diverse. Like the tennis player in the video on early and late-specializers, I feel it is clear I am the latter.
My self-portrait reveals that I am not ashamed of my way of life, or the experiences I’ve had. Quite the opposite, I consider the dynamic nature of my experiences and skills to reflect the wicked learning environment that I was born and raised in- the same war of all-versus-all that many are keen to deny exists in every inch of this universe. The portrait is also a reflection of my values, because it highlights the types of statements that are like ethical codes of conduct to live by. Some pictures also reflect my stance on what I consider higher truths. In fact, central to the picture is the notion that I value truth above justice, and justice above peace. To be clear, I do not value in this order, but I consider this to represent reality and the way life is. This is my way of being flexible in a world where new truths are constantly being revealed, like layers of an onion being removed.
The Odyssey Plan I worked on included immersing myself in the natural world alone. I made being alone a high priority, and was unsatisfied with the experience of seeming to not be able to ‘get far enough away’ from civilization. In the future I should try to look at the odd human or car around, the same way as I look at a bird flying overhead. It would be a mistake to have an expectation of a world that does not exist. Still, I do aspire to find a place that I can be alone, and I remember now that this has been a big part of my life. As a young boy I enjoyed climbing a large tree in the back corner of the yard. I thought myself clever when my grandmother would walk right underneath me without noticing my presence. I have felt my best when biking down a hill fast, by myself. I enjoy breaking away from the normal places I find myself, and when my mind wanders, I tend to find resolve in the calm thoughts I have as a result. Perhaps this is what I feel I need, but wise men say, ‘there are many ways to skin a cat’.
I am learning in Computer Science class about the handling of exceptions, and learning about the way computers do this has helped me understand certain issues plaguing humans. In Computer Science, the method that causes the exception to happen must either deal with it, or throw it back to the method that called it, and the one before that, and so on until the final main method must deal with it or the program will crash. Different methods have different ways of handling exceptions, and if one’s method doesn’t work another might succeed, but in the process a lot of data can get lost. I believe humans do this also, and focusing on forming proper methods for handling exceptions would help. Methods can also neglect to handle exceptions, which may result in errors but generally the program keeps running anyways. I know a person who I think tends to ignore exceptions that occur. This causes me to reflect on myself also, and the ways I handle exceptions. This is important, because in life as in Computer Science, all normal operation ceases until exceptions are handled. The way we handle exceptions determine our success as agents of change in the universe. The only way to truly have success is to properly handle all exceptions where they occur. Failing to do this will always result in some error or loss of data or functionality in a program, and I believe this happens in life as well.
While I’ve always been a person chasing the chance to take a moment to self-reflect, times in my life that were painful, were times that I did not have such a moment. There have even been many times, when my chasing of an escape, as a precondition to calm thought, was in neglect of something else I should have been thinking about. Again, the more I think the better my life is. The less I think, the more pain I have suffered, and caused to exist. At the beginning of this semester, I spent a lot of time distracting myself and procrastinating. I have also been overwhelmed by many tasks, but as I have knocked many tasks off my list and focused my life to a smaller set of activities, I have found that my desire to procrastinate has decreased. My desire to wait for the next grueling task, as if it were, has decreased, because I am doing more of the things I want to actually do. I tend to look forward to each day, with the knowledge that the work I am doing might have a positive effect on my world and the people in it. I refuse to quit on my goals of exploring and reporting on the truth, and through persistence I have found I’m more able to paint a larger and clearer picture than I have before. Through advancing my education I have found a greater ability to communicate, which has positively impacted my life in every way. I believe many of the issues people face socially, are caused by a lack of proper communication. Still, often it seems that even communication cannot motivate people to do things they were not prepared to do already. Regardless, what I can do about that is ensure I am not the one making such a mistake. Being flexible and adaptable to new experiences is one of my greatest strengths.
At the beginning of the semester I planned to work on my propensity to act with purpose, learn deeply, and to communicate empathetically. In many ways I failed, in rhetoric debates I avoided and in frustrated moments. Yet through those moments, in my persistence I found a way to finish strong with my rhetoric presentation (https://youtu.be/wL5PMRJ4wss), and to forgive frustrations as commonplace. I cannot claim to be perfect, but the practice of trying is always beneficial overall it seems. I believe I have learned quite deeply in many ways, this semester. I have even tackled several large writing assignments that were purely extra-curricular. Most of all, I have proven to myself just how much work I am capable of in a single day. I am really expanding my willpower to accept into my life the things I want that I may not have always felt entitled to or deserving of. So many people reach for the nearest good in life, but I want what is most good, which I have always known is the beauty of diversity in life.
A lot of wild environmental factors have presented themselves over the last semester, and these have taken much of my time away from focusing solely on my studies. In spite of this, I have cared for my sick girlfriend, coddled a drunk brother, been the officer of 2 clubs in school and 2 outside of school, tackled monumental extracurricular research and writing assignments, and still maintained an average of above 95% in all of my classes. I tend to perform best when I am under a lot of pressure, which perhaps is why I’m so comfortable with living the standard life of a writer. I both need deadlines, and always meet them, and am never prepared for them either. That is just what writers do. It is how our brains work, because we are taking the path that might look like backtracking or “meandering” as the video says. When we are finally done putting together the pieces of the puzzle, we create Great Works, and turn writing into art. I can only hope I do this more than a few times in my life, but if I never do, I will still be very proud of the few of my works which I hold in such high esteem. Amazingly, all of these works I regard so highly, were extracurricular works from the last semester or two. I am overall very satisfied with the progress of my education, and the way it has positively impacted my life in many ways.
Many years ago I wrote that conflict gets in the way of conversations, and that when conflict occurs everything must stop until conflict is resolved. As I progress in my education, and my social life, the one thing that can get in the way of my continued progress is the potential of global conflict so disastrous, that every human is forced to participate or to work tirelessly to avoid. The likelihood of such conflict seems to be always elevating and yet never occurring. I have moved many miles to find an environment where I could be free from conflict, but it has followed me here as well, like a destiny waiting to unfold that can only be put off but cannot be avoided. In order to foster the creation of an environment without such conflict, I have focused much of my energy on finding and reporting on the truth of reality. I believe that when people learn the truth, they will resolve the conflict that is driven by lies and confusion. In adhering oneself to the natural truth of reality, I might find my way to find personal and true happiness, which others may then reflect upon.