Our new civic and scientific and professional life, though, is all about doubt. About questioning the status quo, questioning marketing or political claims, and most of all, questioning what’s next.
John Stuart Mill argued, “it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question.”
These two statements express the reason that I’m always at odds with someone, notably, my employer.
They are both taken from Seth Godin’s manifesto on the state of public education in America, really the whole of the western world. It’s powerful stuff.
My point here is that these thoughts really kind of sum up my entire journey through this life. I have always been considered a contrarian. I have always rowed upstream.
I wrote a lengthy essay about the lizard brain and the desire to escape its clutches. It is, unfortunately, the industrial education system that Godin talks about that have trained generations of people to embrace the fear, to keep doing it the way it’s always been done.
Herein lies my personal struggle. I always challenge the status quo. I don’t want to do it like it’s always been done. Please explain to me why always equals correct.
Thus, I have always lived life as a human dissatisfied. Stuck in my simple mid-management job. Doing things the way my bosses tell me to, sometimes.
Which is why I have struggled to stay out of trouble professionally. Never enough to be fired, just a level of disgruntled that generally keeps everyone unhappy, me looking for a new middle management job that ends up badly.
This line of thinking inevitably leads to one of two outcomes.
The first and most desirable is to find something that challenges and excites me. I won’t lie, the lizard holds me back. I’m afraid.
I know that I can get a teaching job, I’m a good teacher. Such as that is, given the state of my psyche and education.
What I don’t know, what I’m afraid of, is what else do I have to offer? I can’t write code. I don’t have an idea for a better mouse trap. That damn lizard.
The other outcome is status quo. Continuing on this path because I’ve always been on this path.
I don’t know which scares me more.
On the road to happiness, there are many bumps and turns. I will keep fighting the lizard and reaching outside of society’s box until I find my true self.