Thursday, December 09, 2004

Ambition and Delusion

I've become ambitious.
I'm climbing my Everest.
I just lack my Tenzing Norgay.

I went a little crazy last week. Be it the season of giving (to myself as it turns out in this particular instance), the dazzling brightness of a new relationship that blinds you to the things you think you know or the knowledge that I'm inadvertently going to have to take an unpaid vacation for a few days . . . I have decided to take on a task that I have not tackled since 9th grade.

I decided to re-read the classics.
I purchased the entire works of Shakespeare for the low, low price of $10. Leather bound, gold leafed edging, knowledge and culture on paper. Used bookstores are amazing, particularly when you have credit there.
I also re-purchased (for the 3rd time) the entire collected works of Ayn Rand - a gift for someone, but it prompted me to reintroduce myself to the works.
Oh, and some Ernest Hemingway, Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, you drop a literary name and I've got some paper with their ink stamped ideas.

So, the question . . . is this true ambition or delusion?
I bought these works out of the desire to just immerse myself in their worlds, at least, this is what I thought at the time. Now, I'm wondering if I was deluding myself into thinking I could regain the feeling of knowledge I had in college.

Somewhere in the middle of graduate school I realized that I was slowly dumbing myself down. Unless the questions asked of me by others regarded the world of Neurology, Speech Pathology or Otolaryngology, I couldn't be bothered to answer. Previous to graduate school, I felt well-rounded, eclectic and even knowledgeable. I read two papers a day, I read philosophy and classics and the occassional trashy romance just to keep it real. I listened to Clapton and Morrison (Van and Jim), XTC and The Shins, U2 (Joshua Tree U2, not this crappy K-mart, poppy bullshit Bono's trying to re-invent himself with), and lots of talk radio. Now, as I drive to work on my full hour commute back and forth to work, I find myself listening to the thoughts in my head, nothing else, and they're not even original. I'm starting to wonder if I'm becoming one of those people who has become content and fails to grow any longer.

I bought a paper this morning, read it completely, then attempted the crossword puzzle. I was very distraught to discover there were at least 13 clues I could not complete. And, to be terribly honest, I'm not that certain that the ones I did complete are correct. I feel as though I'm losing myself.

I used to write for hours on end and words seemed to flow from my fingers faster than my mind could contemplate the syntax that would organize the thoughts. Now, I find myself repeatedly pausing to write even this blog. I can't think of synonyms, antonyms, hell half the time I can't even think of a word to begin with. I think "you know, that word, the one that means . . . God, what does it mean, I know what I want to write. . but I can't think of the words."

Are college graduates more likely to dumb themselves down to fit in with the plethora of non-college graduates around them? Do we become more accepting and forgiving as we get older? Am I more tolerant? Is this a good thing?? Is graduation the death of eduction?

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