I acquired, through being part of many discourses that, eventually, everything connects. I had always heard the same thing, “Graduate from a good college and find a cent living, and you’ll be happy and successful. ” Ha! What a capitalistic, factory- produced, fairy tale to tell impressionable children, I thought. Nope, I was smarter than that. I would be the one to take the road less traveled”to go against the grain and live my own life the way I wanted to. After barely graduating high school with a GEED (or a GEED equivalent actually… ), I took off to LA to become a music-producer.
I was going to be big. I learned the trade, worked inside multi- million dollar studios, and formed a band. I had It all figured out and I was going to how everybody that school was for fools. As with everything In life. This Intoxicating success did not last. I began to feel something was missing. Here I was, living the dream that I had imagined for myself, and yet, I didn’t feel much fulfillment. Bills were stacking, the girlfriend was becoming distant, and the excitement of living on my own slowly began to degrade with each passing day.
Soon, I could no longer make enough to afford living on my own. And so, I packed up and return home to the Bay Area. Life had defeated me, or so It felt, and I had to reevaluate what I wanted to do with mine. That’s when the unexpected happened: I started going back to school again. I began taking courses seriously and I learned that, not only was I pretty good at most of the stuff, I really liked it. I found that an obscure subject like calculus, could be applied to something even more obscure like computer programming. I learned lessons in swimming that helped me learn how to socialize.
Hell, if I took an extensive course on rock-paper-scissors, I could find a hidden lesson that could ring true In another study. I guess you could say I slowly realized how to learn, rather than what to learn. After all, James Paul Gee writes in his paper, В«owing” is a matter of “knowing how to proceed” (“go on”) in specific social interactions” (Discourse and Coloratura Studies in Reading, 196). Once I realized that I had a plethora of knowledge and life-experiences up my sleeve already, navigating through new areas in life began to be much more comfortable and rewarding.
An unexpected part of life had showed up In my life as well: religion. If you had the reasons wrong with the Bible and how there couldn’t possibly be a God. Openness eased my stubbornness. I wanted to “hear out” what all these people in Christianity had to say. As I attended sermons, I checked all Judgments at the door and listened. I remember the words of a wise teacher I had in high school. He told us to empty our cups”to be ready to fill it with more knowledge. I found that what they preached in church was certainly applicable to somebody not religious at all.
Instead of seeing the religion as a brain-washing cult, I began to understand it as a form of volunteer-work. These people were here for help, or to help. How could I speak negatively anymore about something that humans should be doing for each other? I kicked up a sense of humbleness from immersing myself in religious-discourse. It was not only Christianity that I researched. I started pouring my curiosities into Buddhism, Shamanism, and Islam. In all these religions, they teach a similar purpose: healing. Heal yourself, heal others, and heal the Universe.
Within you, without you. We are all one, yet amazingly unique. All these “Faceable”-queues pseudo babble started to make sense to me! Trying new ideas had given me a fulfillment that I Just could not describe. I felt like a scientist, and that my field of study had now been shifted to understanding life. The doors that academic and religious discourse opened for me was like staring into a hallway that had even more interesting and unique doors to be opened. That would never have been available to me had I not looked in their direction and remained open.
James Paul Gee puts it very elegantly, “Analogously, one can deepen the insight by taking successively deeper views of what interpretation means” (Literacy, Discourse, and Linguistics, 540). At times, I can still feel dejected, depressed, or Just plain lazy; after having been through these types of situations before, some many times worse, I learned that eventually, everything will urn out okay again”it has to. Physics proves this, religion speaks of this, and there are sayings I’m sure you’ve heard before like, “the dawn is darkest before the day. Recognizing this helps me deal with the inevitable problems that we all share, and how to stress out in a healthy way. A big part of life for me is music. I would not have traveled to LA with such reckless abandon, were it not for the passion and fuel that music provides me. I identified heavily with the punk-(counter)culture during my teenage years. I still do, but again, with a fresh perspective on the community. Punks look intimidating to a lot of people. They have messy hair, spikes in every direction on their clothing, and a penchant for destroying things.
The irony is, these very people are often the ones who are insecure, bold, and most understanding. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, and some punks are Just dicks, but being surrounded by a culture of misfits where the majority of members inside felt they were not right for the “mainstream discourse”, led me to take a look at the way things were established. I saw a lot of paranoia in the community, and I had to face my own. Let me explain. Paranoia, on one end of the spectrum, can lead people to believe things like, in 1969, America staged the whole moon landing.
Or that the Pope is really a lizard. But on the other end of the spectrum, complete naiveté© can lead people to believe that banks have your best interest in mind, or that marijuana causes death. Somewhere in between them is an inner-balance much like the yin and yang in Buddhism. I learned that I revealed when the people spreading an idea can learn to communicate well enough without offending another’s ideas. We must listen to others as well, and learn to be dead to change our own ideas. How can we do this? How can I be sure that the color red looks the same to me, as it does to you?
And more importantly, how can we find a .. That reading and writing cannot be separated from consensus? Gee argues, ” speaking, listening, and interacting” (Reading as Situated Language: A Cognitively Perspective, 714). He makes a rather elegant point here in that it is not a matter of “street smarts” vs… “Book smarts”, rather, it is a marriage of the two that is necessary for communication. “Eventually, everything connects” was said by Charles Names, a designer. An app on the phone called, “Dots, A Game About Connecting”, displays his quote prominently.
Each time I play this game, I think about the many ways to accomplish one simple goal: connect the dots. There are ups and downs, lefts and rights. But there are also boxes and zigzags. The more unique ways you find to connect the dots, the easier and more fun the game becomes. Learning many tools from hands-on life- experiences greatly increases the fulfillment I feel for them. They boost my confidence, encourage me to eat healthier, to do well in school, and to live happier with family. You can say Vie stopped rebelling like I used to, and to that, I would have to agree.
But I’m also rebelling against ignorance. I’m rebelling against preconceived molds society can place on us, and I’m rebelling against egoism. It’s a never-ending pursuit, but it’s much more preferable to never pursuing. James Paul Gee says, ” . .The master discourse is not Just the sum of its parts, it is something also over and above them” (Literacy, Discourse, and Linguistics, 537). Perhaps once we’ve connected all the dots, we are still not done. We may never be done, and to me, that is an exciting thought.