Forgotten Dreams Lost Along the Way

When I enrolled in college as a double major, studying physics and chemistry, it was with grand, lofty dreams of working for JPL…after which I intended to travel to the UK and spend some time at Reading University, working in cybernetics. I wanted to transition from my dual majors to a Ph.D program in nanoscience & nanoengineering…education and expertise which I could utilize in efforts to develop artificial organs for transplant, better organs than those that we are born with, ones that could extend life indefinitely.
Instead I only made it three years into my undergraduate studies before real life got in the way…working full-time, raising children full-time, and attending college as well; it was simply too much to have on my plate, something had to give, and my higher education was being placed on the back burner far too often. My GPA was suffering, my ability to focus on necessary studies as well, and there was really no choice but to ultimately leave school…something that I really did not want to do, but schedules were too much in conflict.
Here I am, waiting to see the Mars landing, reminiscing about the dreams that I had for my future not altogether so long ago. My girlfriend received notice today that she was on the Dean’s List for her school where she is studying to be a medical assistant, and I was reminded of how I never had the requisite attention to put toward my education to do the same. I am reminded of how far short I have fallen from what I wanted for myself, what everyone seemed to believe I was capable of being.
Chandra wants me to cut down my hours to part-time and enroll in school again after she’s finished with her own school and gotten into a career where she is earning adequate income to compensate for the decrease on my end. I worry that I still won’t have what it takes…but I would do my best not to let her (or myself) down.
I wonder where my future will lead. I returned to my first love, writing…and I feel satisfied as hell doing so…if only I could really get back to it with as much focus and discipline as I need. I don’t know what to do, but I know that I need to do it.
That’s all…just some random thoughts for the night.
Land well on Mars, you beautiful piece of elegant machinery. Make us proud and increase our knowledge and understanding of the universe we’re such an insignificant part of. I am watching, and so are many others.


Asymptomatic Carrier

I had a friend ask me tonight what I think of nihilism as a philosophical movement and it got me to thinking that I probably do come across as being quite nihilistic a good deal of the time, between never taking much (including myself) too terribly seriously and my overall pessimistic outlook on life.

Regarding nihilism, I admit that I do have a bent toward that philosophy by default…having spent a bit of time studying physics and cosmology, I know how small and insignificant we are…in addition to that, I recognize how generations from now my own descendants won’t even know my name unless they happen to be researching genealogy or something of the sort.

The fault that I find with nihilism is the basic assumption that nothing matters because of those simple things being true.

Sure, unless the human race experiences diaspora on a massive scale, we have no more than two to four billion years (depending on our level of technology and capacity to adapt to an increasingly harsh environment) before we, and all that we have built (but for a couple of deep space probes), will cease to exist…but we should all be doing, within our lifetimes, whatever we can to leave our mark on the world to come…to be remembered…to live on after biology and science have failed to keep us going.

However, even if we spread ourselves out through the solar system or this particular quadrant of the galaxy…or even the galaxy as a whole…there will come a point, another 100 trillion or so years from now, when no new stars are being born, and the universe will begin to dim and all will be on the path to emptiness and void.

But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be striving to be present for as much of that as we can be…as a species, as individuals…in whatever capacity we possibly can manage.

I can laugh about how nothing matters…how everything, in the end, will have ceased to make any difference…and I mean it too…but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to sustain my own life as long as possible, to make some difference, to leave behind memories and monuments to my successes and even my failures in life…to resonate as far down the road as I can.

Knowing that something is futile doesn’t mean that the battle shouldn’t be fought. I always was a sucker for the tragic hero archetype…willfully sacrificing themselves instead of running away when there was a foregone conclusion to the struggle.

I believe in no afterlife…any mumbo-jumbo, hoodoo nonsense about how we live on in some personal, individual sense after the cessation of corporeal functionality is categorically ludicrous to me.

Even if I did, I would consider it to be of paramount importance to do what I could now, while drawing breath and capable of interacting with the world around us, rather than sit around waiting for some illusory post script to life.

It’s that very desire to make a difference, the self-important need to leave a mark on future history that causes me to do a lot of what I do with my time…the reason I write, the reason I once recorded music, the reason I do my best to have a pronounced influence on my children and how they see the world. These are my tethers into the world beyond my limited existence, my way of surviving beyond death. It may be selfish, I won’t even disagree…but it sure as shit isn’t nihilistic.