I am now at a point in my life where it is entirely possible for me to wake up, go to work, do work related things, come home, and then proceed to do nothing at all, only to repeat the process forever. When I get home from work I’m tired and if I’m not careful may find myself wasting time watching nonsense Youtube videos until I look at the clock and notice it’s time to go to sleep again. This cycle could be potentially repeated ad nauseam, creating a downward spiral of exhaustion towards settling.
When we attend school, starting at a young age, we are thrown into a world where we are forced to learn many different things spanning many different subjects. As we grow older much of the same occurs. If we attend college many programs will involve classes unrelated to your major that you must pass in order to graduate. We train our younger civilians in a way in which they can (hopefully) be fully functioning members of society.
Over time, eventually, we all begin to start succumbing to the specialization bug. Society’s division of labors has made it a necessity to specialize in one thing in order to be competitive in the market. If you are good at multiple things, you will eventually lose out to your competitors who are great at the one thing the customer wants accomplished.
This situation is damning to the soul, especially when you throw the efficiency of computers into the mix. You click, move mouse, click, in a repeated pattern over and over again, much like a machine. The tasks do not ask more of your ability to think, only your ability to keep on clicking. Many jobs of this nature are at the mercy of the possibility an actual machine will take over to do the task of the human more efficiently.
Sometimes the morality-thing can seem like a game, one where everyone just follows rules because those are the rules of the game and for no other reason than that. Sure, most of us believe murdering someone is wrong, but do we know why? What about the minor stuff, the everyday acts we take for granted? Is it really important we follow these rules? What is it that anchors down a moral code (if anything does)?
Ethics is the philosophical study of conduct, and conduct taken broadly can mean pretty much all of our actions in a given day! You’ve figured out that punching random strangers is a horrible thing to do, but you’ve likely never thought about whether or not the way you staple a stack of paper is ethical or morally right, but we perform our actions in a certain way for a reason, whether that reason is conscious to us or not.
Humans are notoriously bad at making decisions. We make mistakes all the time, even when we had deliberated on the issue for a very long time and believed we had a good handle on it. The truth, however, is that there is more going on behind the scenes than we would care to admit.
How are we effected by the extraneous and what does that mean for personal responsibility and authenticity?
During my time in college I had the great opportunity to tutor students in Logic, a class that I had previously taken and performed pretty well at. I enjoyed the study and enjoyed helping others to understand it and by doing so learned many lessons about not only logic but also the nature of learning itself.
One of the best lessons came to me not when I was in class and not when I was tutoring. Surprisingly, it came during my Discus practice.
Give yourself 5 days to learn how to play a song on a guitar. You are allowed to take the full amount of time off work so you have as much time as possible to prepare. At the end of the fifth day you have to play the song in front of a crowd.
A big crowd.
There will no doubt be a lot of pressure on you to not only succeed in playing the song, but actually play it well enough for people to be impressed. How would you start? How would you plan out those 5 days? Who would you contact to help coach you to short-term success? Do you think you could do it?
More importantly, would this experience help or hinder your further growth as a guitar player?