What do you study or do for a living? How did you come to do that? What do you like or dislike about it?
I study classical language (that is, ancient Greek and Latin) and history. I felt that I should take advantage of my time and opportunities at university as much as possible, because I wanted to become educated and to generally understand the world. The more classes I took and the more I read (independently), I became increasingly convinced of the importance of history. It’s simply not taught well in public schools (in America, at least), and without understanding how and why
society is as it is, muddled ideas and thinking are inevitable. Not to mention that too often curricula are outright propaganda.
But as with most of my thoughts, I’m probably overly influenced by my own feelings. I very often feel disconnected from the world around me, and I don’t know at these times how to act or to feel — especially how to feel. It’s a difficult sense to describe. I don’t feel emotions when I don’t feel I ought
to, and when I don’t have a sense of “perspective”, I genuinely can’t feel anything, except a vague sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction; it’s difficult to think, or to react, or to make any sort of decision. History helps give me this “perspective” — really, I think, a sense of relation to my environment — and staves this state off.
As for classical language, I take it for a few reasons. The main reason is probably that it’s small, the classics department is struggling to not to be dissolved by the administration, and I like the professors. If I major in classics, I — hopefully — become another tally somewhere keeping the program afloat. But it interests me for its own sake: it’s challenging, in a good sense; it pushes me to study interesting texts I’d very likely otherwise not read, and, even if I were to study them outside university, access to professors makes studying the languages much easier in many respects (for instance, “dirty” words are particularly irritating. Greek-to-English dictionaries will generally give the definition of sexual words in Latin, so you go to your Latin dictionary and look up that word, only to find that the definition is given in Greek! So the only practical way of learning the meaning is to ask someone who’ll tell you).
Re. work, I work for almost minimum wage at my university, in a library. I like that it’s not as terrible as other jobs: it’s not difficult work, and I often have free time with which I can study, read, or whatever. I dislike everything in relation to its being a job.
Before that I worked at a gas station. Again, the only positive aspects were what it wasn’t, e.g. working in a sweatshop. But there’s really nothing positive to say about any minimum wage job.
What are your values, and why?
This is difficult to answer. I think most people have similar enough values: not stealing, murdering, and so on.
If I were to choose something specific, though, I become most angry when I feel others are treated unfairly.
What else do you do on a daily basis? What are your interests and hobbies? Why do you do them?
I read, occasionally program personal projects, go on walks, study, and sometimes play video games with my girlfriend.
I read when I’m interested in a subject. Programming is mostly out of interest or a desire to do a task quickly and/or repeatedly. Going on walks helps to clear my mind, and helps keep me involved in the “real world”. I don’t usually play video games very much on my own because I tend to feel bored or listless without a social aspect, but mercilessly crushing someone in a game -- especially a strategy game -- is engaging and fun.
Describe your relations with family and friends. What do you like and dislike about them?
My mother is an ESE (Everyone says that about their mother, but I swear she actually is one!). When I was a kid, until around 6-7, they were good — better, probably, than most parents and children get along. On my part, I understand that I was pretty much the best child ever: even as a baby, I never screamed or cried loudly unless I was taken someplace loud, and I was pretty good-natured as a young child; I didn’t ever throw a tantrum, and was pretty laid-back. My impression was that being around me made my mother genuinely happy, and less stressed. On my mother's, I guess I liked that she was a positive and stable presence -- besides, most kids like their mothers.
My father is SLE and was abusive both toward my mother (verbally) and to me (physically). I would defend my mother, but my mother rarely, if ever, defended me. I felt betrayed by her, and closed myself off toward her beginning around age 7. I was never close with my father, perhaps obviously.
My sister is either ESI or SEE, and two years younger than me. When I was a kid relations were terrible; she’d pick fights with me often. I was physically stronger than she was, but she was always the one to instigate them, and I couldn’t actually fight back. If I fought back “too hard”, i.e. did anything to her except try to get her off me, my sister would pretend to be hurt worse than she actually was, and I would be physically punished by my father. But my sister wasn’t treated the same way, and so I often had bite and scratch marks on my arms and neck until I was about 14 or 15 — I’m still slightly upset by that. シ
Relations are mostly fine between us now. We don’t talk too much, and don’t have very much in common, but we’ve not fought in several years!
We do have a few things in common, though. We’re both, I think, relatively fairly adventurous, and comfortable in new/different environments — moreso than most people, maybe. When we still lived together, I think we occasionally tried to ‘bond’ by trying to do new/fun stuff — like sneaking out at night (though we lived in a suburb, so there wasn’t anywhere much to go) or even basic stuff like spontaneously deciding to go down to the local halal grocery store and pick up kebabs. I’m unsure if this is type-related, but maybe it’s helpful.
I dislike that she doesn't tend to think through things very much, and that she's much too people-pleasing. But she's a hard worker and generally "nice". She's also fairly independent -- in a way -- and can generally take care of herself.
What do you look for in friends? In romantic relationships?
With friends, I care that they’re interesting — and, I suppose, not bad people. Generally, I enjoy talking with people, so I don’t think I have particularly stringent requirements otherwise.
In romantic relationships, I’m not sure. I suppose I like people who are interesting, laid-back, and pleasant to be around, which I suppose isn't particularly original. I think on some level I’m hesitant about the idea of staying with someone forever — I’m afraid I’d feel trapped eventually.
What conflicts have you encountered recently with other people? Why did they happen? Which kinds seem to happen on a regular basis?
The only instance I can think of that happened recently is being upset with my roommate for repeatedly bringing in random men from Grindr and having loud sex with them. To be honest, I haven’t been as assertive as I ought to be.
Beyond that, I can’t think of any that repeatedly happen.
How would your friends describe you?
I’m not sure; I don’t have many. I asked my girlfriend to give her impression of me though, and wrote it here:
“You’re quiet, insular, thinky, very thinky, polite (when you talk), or try to be, at least. You do come off as a little awkward...you’re thinky, very thinky, you’re very inside your thought, you don’t really notice what’s going on around you, but not in a bad way; not in a douchey way...You come off as uh, as I’ve said, very thinky, and pretty insular, but not in a bad way, you know, you’re like Belle from Beauty and the Beast almost, and you get uh, you’re reading a great book and you show it to somebody and they’re like “how can you read this! There’s no pictures!” I feel like Gaston sometimes...The way you come off with other people is hard to describe, but when you’re with me you’re very laid-back; you’re very sweet -- when you want to be -- very jovial.”
Then she talked about my sense of humor, relating it to a character from an obscure franchise, and said she didn’t bounce off my sense of humor as well as she’d like. She’s probably an SEI, if that’s relevant.
What do people generally see as your strengths? What do you like about yourself?
I think people tend to assume I'm intelligent. I'm not sure why, since I'm not, as a rule, very talkative in group environments. It's probably because I wear glasses! Otherwise, I'm unsure.
As for what I like about myself, I learn quickly and I'm curious. And I like to think I have better taste than most people (but isn't that something everyone thinks of themselves?).
What are your weaknesses? What criticism do you often face from others? What do you dislike about yourself?
I am very socially awkward, and it's difficult often to seem 'natural', particularly in formal environments. I tend to feel that the more I try to come off well, the more I inadvertently step on others' toes or make embarassing faux pas.
I also have difficulty relating to people. It might be because I was fairly isolated when growing up, but it's difficult to establish a sense of relation with people, as a rule.
I'm harsh when irritated, and when I think someone acts stupidly, I have a tendency to insult or subtly make fun of them instead of trying to help.
I think I vary between being too 'open' and inadvertently saying too much, or at the wrong time, and seeming cold and closed to others. The former is immaturity and trying to seem socially competent, because often I really do wish to be social. The latter is not knowing how to respond to others.
I tend to feel that I'm not doing 'enough'. Sometimes I attribute this to a Protestant upbringing, but I tend to feel like more is expected of me in various parts of life, and that I'm not acting as I ought.
In what areas of life can you manage well on your own? In what areas of your life would you like help?
There are certain types of people who seem to need help in certain areas of life, and I suppose I'm lucky in that, by nature, I'm fairly independent and can generally handle myself without much help. The area I most need help in is emotional. I don't easily or quickly become stressed or depressed, but if I have reason to be, it becomes all-encompassing, and it becomes difficult to find the energy or willingness to do anything -- eat, bathe, work, sleep, handle necessities. I need a reason to live, and without it I can't do anything at all.
What things do you dislike doing? What things do you enjoy more than others?
I dislike making many personal statements. For some reason, I don't mind this questionnaire, but questions like "what's your favorite x?" are hard to answer. I'm not sure why. Once I was asked to describe how I "identify" in three words or fewer, and I completely froze up. I couldn't think of a single word to say, even to joke -- usually I'd brush off a question like that with one.
For the same reason, there's little I hate doing more than making or editing a resume. It feels disgusting.
What goals, aspirations, or plans do you have for the future? How did you come to have them?
My plans tend to be fairly definite, but mutable.
As I touched on, I feel on some level I have to live for others' sake. This may be a generic human impulse; maybe I'm just more aware of it. I'm not sure. I've considered becoming a secondary school teacher -- it's genuinely concerning to me how poor the educational system in the States is, and becoming involved with the system seems the best way to help mitigate its failings. I also like children for their own sake.
I've also considered making it a goal to eventually create an independent school in a disadvantaged area. This would require, obviously, more effort, time, money, and legal know-how than one person alone could provide, and I'm nowhere near a general idea of how to even begin such a project. But this has been sitting in my mind for a while.
Beyond that, I'd like to attend graduate school, both for my own sake and to increase the chances of getting hired, especially by a school if I decide to go that route. I suspect this will cost more money than I'm willing to go into debt for. I'll see what I can get though.
If you had enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life without working, what would you do with your time?
Mostly the same as I do now, except I wouldn't work. I honestly think I'd probably involve myself in volunteer work.
What traits do you find endearing that others might dislike? What traits are considered positive/neutral by others but tend to annoy you?
Hm, hard to say. A certain naivety and optimistic outlook, even if it's not warranted, is refreshing in people I like. I also don't mind people who are maybe slightly dumb, but genuinely want to learn more and pester people with questions about subjects they're interested in.
I'm annoyed usually when I feel pressured to give an "appropriate" reaction to something. For instance, my SEI girlfriend will often bake something and give me some, which I objectively recognize is nice and appreciate, but I feel she pressures me to show a reaction or feel "sufficiently" appreciative, which is stressful. I also tend to feel she thinks I can't take care of myself -- she's tried at times to dress me, or seems to act like I don't know how to cook or to do anything practical. I think most people (or perhaps just ILEs) would feel it's great to have a partner who tries to do so much for you, but it feels overbearing often.
What kinds of things do you do to manage and/or beautify your environment (your room, your house, etc.)? What do you think of daily chores?
Hm, I don't do too much -- mostly, I try not to be too cluttered, and let light in. Sometimes I put personal possessions somewhere I look often -- like a turtle shell, or rocks I collected when I was a kid; stuff like that. I don't have much aesthetic talent though.
Daily chores are annoying. Particularly, I don't cook as often as I should -- generally I'll just make a few PB&Js and be done with it. But, as I said, I can, especially when I get particularly hungry.
How do you behave around strangers?
Depends. I try to be polite, usually. I've been described as polite and formal fairly often. I've already touched on social problems I have though.
When I'm in a good mood I try to talk to them or get to know them. I enjoy talking to people, as a rule, at least in a low-stress/low-formality environment.
How do you react to conflict? What do you do if somebody insults or attacks you?
Depends. It's difficult for me to instigate, and I feel fairly unsure of my ability to come off confidently. But when someone else instigates it, I flare up and can hold my own.
In what situations or times in your life did you feel most fulfilled, and why?
In social, active environments with people I like. As for why, I'd think the answer is obvious.
Ever feel stuck in a rut? If yes, describe the causes and your reaction to it.
Sure. Generally when I don't know how to proceed in life. I feel like I've lacked in many respects a support structure, and I've had to make many important decisions without even advice. Often I feel like there's no point even in continuing to try for anything. Other times when I'm frightened of falling into wage slavery for the rest of my life. I've already described how I tend to react -- I tend to stop sleeping, eating, etc.
Would you ever be interested in starting a business? Why or why not? What role would you play in it? What kind of business would it be?
Doubtful. Money's always good, but I wouldn't be happy chasing money for its own sake, and more often than not requires acting unethically. Though sometimes I think of studying astrology and offering, say, birth chart readings -- it seems some people make a decent living that way, and I don't terribly mind taking gullible people's money if they're already looking to throw it away.
How do you dress or manage your appearance?
I'd say I tend to dress in neutral colors. Something's offputting about being a walking advertisement, so I don't like to wear logos, and I feel putting an image on one's clothing implies you're trying to convey something. Beyond that I don't care too much about it. Oh, and my hair has grown somewhat long since I've averse to getting haircuts. I've thought about getting it cut soon, but eh, it's $20.
What were you like as a child? How have you changed since then?
I've already described this somewhat. I was pretty happy often; when I was a baby, apparently I always sang from the time I woke up to the time my mother came to my crib. I think this attitude lasted for quite a bit, and I remember humming a lot when I was 2-6. I also got really excited over little things, which I think is pretty typical of most children -- it would make my day to eat a donut, or to have mashed potatoes for dinner, or to go to the library.
Beyond that -- I taught myself to read when I was about four, and I read a lot in my room. When extended family and such would ask what to get me for birthdays and Christmas, I'd ask for books. And I think I was pretty thoughtful. I remember when I was about five I was concerned with the effect of a teleportation machine; that is, if you were disassembled at one end, if the person who stepped out at the other end would be "you" or just a clone, and I was concerned because no one else seemed to have considered this problem, and didn't want such technology being developed until the question was settled. I thought quite a bit about religion too. It bothered me that after 2,000 years, there was still disagreement over religon; I figured that surely people would have been able to sort out what was true by now.
I closed myself off and became much more insular at 6-7 or so. For various reasons I felt that what my family did to me was not in my best interest, and became increasingly isolated in my room, generally coming out only when I had to. For reasons that I won't describe here in the interest of brevity, when my family moved for the final time, they decided to homeschool the two of us. That meant that we were enrolled in an online curriculum and generally managed our own schoolwork. This meant I virtually never had to leave the house -- or even my room. I think for a while my parents almost forgot I existed, which I appreciated.
Since I went to university, I became slightly more outgoing and "broadened my horizons", as they say
People are interesting, and for the problems I have with academia in general, I do fairly well in a university environment.
Do you like kids? Why or why not?
What kind of sociopath doesn't like kids? But yes, I like them; they're generally more curious and interesting than however they turn out later in life. And it's important to inculcate virtues and good qualities in the next generation.
I'm not doing a video interview -- I would, but my laptop's video camera is shit, and its microphone is worse -- so I'll continue:
How do you feel about attention? Do you seek it out?
I'm not sure. I've never gotten too much, to be honest. But I suspect I'd feel embarassed.
How do you approach responsibility? What do you tend to expect of others?
That's a broad question, and it depends on the circumstances of each case. Responsibility to others is necessary to carry out, but in other cases, manage it as you like.
If you were to raise a child, what would be your main concerns, what approach would you take, and why?
I'd be concerned about having the necessary resources, obviously -- money, shelter, food, diapers. Otherwise I'd want to make sure they become intelligent, critical, and generally decent people. I'd encourage them to read early in life, and perhaps discuss what they read. I tend to take a devil's-advocate approach in discussion, so I might argue with them -- I mean, obviously, I wouldn't try to crush a 6-year-old in debate, but depending on the child's personality, they might enjoy arguing and proving a thesis, especially in a lighthearted environment (I did), and it seems a good way to develop critical thinking. Not to mention it's a way of bonding with the child. But this approach would obviously have to vary; not every child would respond well to such treatment -- my sister definitely wouldn't have, for instance.
I think it would also be good to keep them away from screens. They shouldn't be watching TV or using a phone until they're, say, 10-12, at the very least. I know I keep repeating cliches, but TV really is mindless, and it's not a good way to teach children to spend their time. I also might homeschool them, because I somehow doubt public schools are going to become any better in the next two decades.
And I'd want to make sure they're well-adjusted. I'd want to encourage them to develop interests beyond video games or TV, to make friends, and to generally be independent.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I honestly can't think of anything.
What was (or is) your high school experience like?
Again, I've already described it, but it was generally self-paced. I liked not having to waste time doing pointless projects, and I liked not getting up early. As for the quality of the education, it was probably better than most public schools'.
What is something you regret?
In "high school" I developed a crush on someone and acted embarassingly. I'd rather not talk about it here.
Who do you admire, and why?
This'll sound lame, but some of my professors -- they're intelligent and generally decent people. To be honest my social group is pretty small, so nobody comes to mind immediately.
What's been on your mind? Has anything been worrying or concerning you? What problems have you encountered lately?
Money, the future, relating to people/talking to people.
What are your spiritual or religious beliefs and why do you hold them?
I'm an atheist. I thought, when I was a kid, that since most of the world was religious, adults had good reasons for believing in God. So I took religion fairly seriously, and tried to study it. I started reading the Bible and noted inconsistencies, differation with modern theology, and so on -- I won't talk much about the details; it's probably pointless, might cause offense, and is a fairly common story. I also looked into other religions, of course, particularly Judaism, for various reasons. But, basically, I determined that there's probably not rational reason to accept any religion.
What are your political beliefs, and why? To what extent do you care about politics?
I'm a communist. In essence, I read Marx, and it felt like the entire world 'clicked' increasingly the more I read.
That said, easily 99% of the college students or furries or whatever calling themselves "communists" are morons. I really dislike them as a rule, and I'll be damned if they ever voluntarily picked up a book in their lives.
I care fairly strongly about politics. To add to the cliches, most people don't realize that virtually everything in life is political. Politics is not just whether or not some random town in Montana gets a statue or something, but determines whether people live or die. Many people from privileged positions in wealthy countries forget this.