March 29, 2008

Friday Diversion: Jonathan Coulton



Not his best song (that'd be The Future Soon or maybe Code Monkey) but reminds me of psychiatry. The other songs are so-- accurate. If you don't get them, then you weren't there.

The guy is a awesome. I am so learning the guitar.

For those who don't know, he's a former programmer (in VB, no less-- before .net) who had always had the lingering (nerd?) dream to become a musician. So he quit. Two extra points: he was already married with a baby, and as far as I know he didn't live on top of a uranium mine; it was recommended to him to try and write a song a week for a year-- and he did.

It's a stunning thought, to the point of vertigo, how much time and energy and sweat and blood we invest in a life we don't actually want. On your knees every night, praying to make it-- into college, into law school, into the sales job, into the management slot, into, into, into... only to be in the second week and think, wait a second, I think I've made a very serious mistake. I'm guessing anyone married before 2001 has had the same thought about their marriage.

The problem is the upbringing. Don't laugh. Parents like to think that there are multiple paths to success and happiness, but somehow they all involve good grades, college, a job, a tie. The saddest part is that the parents should know better: do you want your life for your kids? Do you look at your 2 year old daughter and think, I can't wait to break her spirit and her faith in humanity?

It is no surprise that the people we admire took alternate paths.

And no, it's no surprise psychiatry is a massively growing industry. I'll wager: never has there been a greater disconnect between id and ego in the near total absence of superego. That's right. Look it up.





Comments

That one really hit home.</... (Below threshold)

March 29, 2008 1:52 AM | Posted by Sara: | Reply

That one really hit home.

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A recent buzz in my Meme-St... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2008 11:13 AM | Posted by KWL: | Reply

A recent buzz in my Meme-Stream has been finding and keeping happiness. As best I could follow the thin treatment that is coming across is that happiness is found in accepting what is right there in front of you. Your job, your spouse, your place in life. "Ruminating" about lost opportunities, poor choices or about what will never be is the hallmark of misery and unhappiness.

Makes sense, and resonates with self-medication and professional medication practices too, no? Find happiness by eliminating all those pesky, worrisome dust-bunnies of life(or perhaps dustbins for many). However, for Jonathan Coulter, the drive to do something else, and for most of us actively working/driving to have multi-career lifetimes, is at least in part if not wholly in part due to the discomfort or outright abject misery of continuing in the current career.

So, this begs an obvious though still quite interesting question. What's the right choice? Medicate or manage distress and pain? I know the quick answer is both. Medicate for the immediate and manage for the long term outcome. "Manage" is, of course, allow the pain to direct/motivate a path and manage it to the best possible outcome. And right back to an old and in recent times quite ignored problem, are current practices over-medicating, over-managing to the point of damping down too much and not allowing pain to provide an eventual overall benefit. Are our prevalent practices "Warehousing" populations to the detriment of the individual?

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