You know who he is. That dude, the one who thinks of nothing except the cute neighbor that might hook up with him if he gets her drunk enough or who’s going to buy him beer. The guy with nothing really interesting to say but blathers on about how hammered he was the night before. He is relatively tolerable in small doses, unless he writes in about how life has no more meaning than the ounces left in his forty. This is essentially the point of Brent Robinson’s article “Why Be Idealistic When You Can Be a Cynical Alcoholic?” (Daily Nexus, Oct. 3, 2005), if I understand it correctly.
Sorry Brent, I hate to stereotype, but you started by classifying hippies, activists and evangelical Christians in some tiny, close-minded box. In response I have one question: Are you really arguing apathy and ignorance? Do you really think the world would be a better place if we all just ignored everyone else and got fucked up? Maybe I missed your point, but I believe your article lacked sense. You made about 5 million different, but equally weak, arguments in your printed ramblings, but the point I caught was that there is no real meaning to life. While trying to argue why to care about anything is a daunting task, I will try to tackle it briefly.
First, society did not invent capitalism to create meaning and incite change, it just organizes the way money and goods are exchanged. If anything, democracy was created to incite order and meaning, and that is just to protect the right of citizens and those crazy ideals only us “idealists” seem to believe in. This says nothing of religion, culture, history or general and moral beliefs, but I digress.
Second, life without meaning is terribly boring. I hate to make an argument that sounds so silly, but your arguments in the first place were silly, so now we’re even. Contrary to what you might believe, there is more to life than getting wasted and stoned. Although these can be enjoyable, I would be shocked to hear you have never had a meaningful conversation while stoned out of your mind. Every stoner I know loves to discuss philosophy, religion, culture and life.
Third, meaning is depressing? Come on, you can’t be serious. Going through life thinking that it has no meaning and that your existence is pointless is depressing. Having solid beliefs in something gives many people hope, faith, drive and perseverance. Strangely enough, one can have ideals without being an idealist. Trippy, huh? These people you classify as “idealists” are those helping with Hurricane Katrina, feeding the homeless and providing for the poor. Admirable, no? I’m not saying one has to do these things, but meaning is the drive behind these acts.
Finally, grow up kid. About those “issues of death, personal identity and personal well-being” – yeah, welcome to college. Welcome to now. These issues are exactly what we all deal with. College is where many people find themselves, learn who they are and establish their place in adult society. Perhaps you haven’t figured that out quite yet, but as I said, that is what college is for. Eventually, you have to figure out what you believe and find meaning in something. You won’t be able to avoid it forever. Good luck trying to ignore a friend dying or trying to figure out what to do when you are truly living on your own and have no money. Oh, but I wouldn’t worry about that if I were you; I heard lots of the local engineering companies are dying to get their hands on alcoholic English majors with no real meaning in life.
Darian Ahler is a fourth year mechanical engineering major.