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Thread: mattering?

  1. #21
    Ruler of the Stars Asterion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott N Denver View Post
    Another angle on this is "social clout" if you will, people reacting to your presence and/or what you do. I'll bet all the IN__'s feel like they have relatively little social clout/impact. Think about it, some hot ES__ women tells a story about a stapler not working and everyone finds it funny and interesting. An IN tells that same story and its total eye-rolling and the like. An IN friend told me about that situation happening to him actually. People talk about how "when she/he walks in the room its like the whole palce just lights up!" I'm pretty sure IN__ don't get told that very often, if ever.
    the ES tells stories more often and is naturally good at it, and people get used to hearing great stories from them, so when they see this ES start to tell a story, they get exited and prepare to laugh. When you tell a story, people are probably not going to get riled up for it. It's simple, tell more stories and make a few really good super funny moments and then you'll have your audience that cares about your stapler breaking
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  2. #22
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    Wow! I find this whole topic central to who I am; it is ingrained in every thought and action to a large extent. The process of dealing with one's insatiable idealism can be so exhausting and so rejuvenating, but in a cyclical way. I would agree that those moments where one discovers that their actions can have little impact, or worse, can corrupt or destroy, is incredibly humbling and a wave of "knowing" just rushes over me that I'm overwhelmed by the clarity.

    I was in the Peace Corps and lived in rural Paraguay for two years with no running water, no electricity but that wasn't the difficulty for me: I began to realize that my presence there altered what was good and strong about the community...I saw a beginning dependence on me which frightened me. I altered my actions to minimize it, but my mere presence, I believe had a negative impact. Yes I taught programs in early childhood education, trained medics, taught about malnutrition, identified volunteers to carry on programs but I still felt I was breaking a very delicate fiber of the community. I also believe that there was a subtle pressure to identify leaders within the community that put their lives in danger considering it was still a dictatorship under Stroessner (side note: there was a coup while I was there). Keep in mind, I also experienced moments of "enlightenment" (sounds cheesy, I know) but there is no other description for the feelings and emotions that would wash over me as I looked down the valley while on my horse.

    I gained more than I could ever "give" from the experience and am so enriched by what I experienced. I then also realized why go to another part of the world when our own society is in need? So teaching, and then advocacy were paths taken by me. However, I find myself constantly evaluating my impact on a person's life: I will never make decisions for a person (I work with people with mental illness, legal issues, etc.), I will respect their decisions because I am not them, I cannot possibly know everything they "feel." I know they are in pain, and I have to be careful not to soak up their pain and anxiety, but I will not profess to know what is best; I abhor that mentality.

    My most recent idealistic foray involved a group action of dissent, arrest, trial and jail time. I was incredibly optimistic because I thought this time is going to be different (stupid me) but I was of course crushed by the jury's verdict and how our peaceful action was characterized. I was exhausted by the process and had to take a step back, which I am doing now, but I know it will end, and I will become energized and begin the fight anew.

    So, dealing with my own insignificance in light of all that needs to be done is something I struggle with every day but I have to always look for balance. I know myself that by doing something, anything it somehow helps me deal with my own internal suffering when I see that the world is so broken and there is so much pain. If I did nothing, I think the pain would consume me. That, and I don't let myself read world news stories for hour after hour, I have to set limits.

    Thank you for bringing this topic up; so nice to know others struggle with this as well.
    Last edited by statuesquechica; 07-11-2009 at 01:26 PM. Reason: spelling errors

  3. #23
    Senior Member Scott N Denver's Avatar
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    statuesquechica, thank you for your very informative reply! That was one of the kinds of replies I was hoping this thread might elicit. To a large extent I feel like responses to this thread didn't deal with what I was trying to bring up. Maybe I just wasn't clear enough in my writing, maybe others just don't brainstorm in quite the way I do, etc. For me, it was never about thinking I could change "the whole world", but more about "what sort of expectations can I have for my very little part of the world", plus all the sidepoint tangent Ne brainstorming.

    Thanks again for your input!

  4. #24
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    Actually in the Peace Corps recruitment process they screen out prospective volunteers that believe they "can save the world" because it results in leaving before the two years are up, mental health issues and lost resources. I never believed I could save the world; I was never that idealistic. But my periods of disillusionment (and there have been many) have been moments of growing a clearer vision of who I am and what I need to live with myself.

    As the saying goes, "think globally, act locally" has helped me deal with my own thoughts of insignificance and futility.

  5. #25
    "Everything in its place" fill's Avatar
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    "Mattering" isn't a good word to put this into. What matters is what we make matter.

    I think what you're trying to ask is, "Do I contribute to the world in a significant way?" and the answer to this I don't know, but I can tell you that everyone is effected by even the smallest actions you make. If you want to matter, you have to make people know what you've done, and in wanting this the real intention of good deeds will not be for others, but yourself.

    There is a big difference between the man that gives for his personal gratification and the man that gives for the sake of giving.
    "Poor bastard. Wait 'till he sees the bats. "
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  6. #26
    Senior Member Scott N Denver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fill View Post
    "Mattering" isn't a good word to put this into. What matters is what we make matter.

    I think what you're trying to ask is, "Do I contribute to the world in a significant way?" and the answer to this I don't know, but I can tell you that everyone is effected by even the smallest actions you make. If you want to matter, you have to make people know what you've done, and in wanting this the real intention of good deeds will not be for others, but yourself.

    There is a big difference between the man that gives for his personal gratification and the man that gives for the sake of giving.
    Good post!

    "and in wanting this the real intention of good deeds will not be for others, but yourself.", you meant to switch the locations of the world "others" and "yourself" right?

  7. #27
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    Just another thought: I am sure you have those moments where you connect with someone in a conversation, whether a stranger or a close friend, shows their vulnerability or pain and you are there for them. That to me is truly significant.

  8. #28
    "Everything in its place" fill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott N Denver View Post
    Good post!

    "and in wanting this the real intention of good deeds will not be for others, but yourself.", you meant to switch the locations of the world "others" and "yourself" right?
    Actually, I meant it the way it is, but I missed a comma. "and in wanting this, the real intention of good deeds will not be for others, but for yourself." Let go of the desire to "matter," and stand satisfied with what you have done to help others. Whether you matter or not is only subjective. You can tell yourself you do or don't matter, and others can tell you the same, but who is anyone to define you?

    Quote Originally Posted by statuesquechica View Post
    Just another thought: I am sure you have those moments where you connect with someone in a conversation, whether a stranger or a close friend, shows their vulnerability or pain and you are there for them. That to me is truly significant.
    Exactly. I can relate to this very much.
    "Poor bastard. Wait 'till he sees the bats. "
    enneagram - 7/5/3

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