Monday, September 10, 2012

Some thoughts on what I owe my father part 1

I've had some time to think about the things I can trace back to my Dad as his illness has progressed.  Things about me, who I am, that I think are most clearly coming from him.  Those of you who know me well know a few things about me: I'm obsessed with philosophy, I have a sense of humor and a willingness to say things that step WAY over the line.  I also love Mozart -- love is probably too mild a word here. 

Philosophy
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This is going to sound trite and stupid, but my intellectual life has been absolutely dominated by a drive to know the truth.  It drove me to study philosophy, physics, mathematics, literature etc...
There is no doubt that this drive ultimately comes from my Dad.  While Dad and I have been different in how we express this, it comes from the same bent of mind.  I'll never know whether it's simply genetic, part of my brain fires the same way as his, or whether it was something I acquired from my time with him, but it is definitely there. 

Along with this devotion comes a tendency to push everything aside but the truth, including being popular, polite, agreeable, etc...  There is an existential tendency to say/do things to prove one has the intellectual freedom to do so.  This can lead to behavior others see as outrageous.  I understand this.

I'll give you an example...  I had this class with these stuck-up, silver spoon in their mouths types, types I figured, condescendingly, would wind up leading boring bourgeois shit lives.  The class was led by someone I saw as a pretentious blowhard.   One day I was sitting next to this prof around the seminar table.  He started gesticulating in the most affected manner.  From deep inside me came a sense of freedom, and rebellion frankly, and I actually began mocking him.  Recall: I WAS SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO HIM!  Obviously he caught me.  He looked at me and said 'I'm the one with t he PhD here.'  I just shrugged my shoulders.

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