You know it's time
That we grow old and do some shit
--Broken Social Scene, Lover's Spit
But I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose--which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell. It doesn't frighten me.
Remember when you first discovered that hypocrisy existed?You wanted to take on the world, cure it of dishonesty single-handedly, by force. And then you got older, your interests shifted. You settled. That process seemed to have passed Columbus by. I kept meeting thirty-, forty-, fifty-year-old men who never outgrew the impractical, combative, unspecific yearning that accompanies one's first awareness that this world is not as it should be. It felt like I was having really important conversations, but maybe I was just soused.
Afterward, when most of the students had left, he was franker with the few who hung around to talk. “You’re still not really getting it,” he said gloomily. “You’re thinking in terms of ideas. I don’t care about ideas. Find a problem, not an idea. Then solve the problem. Somebody had an idea to help stores in India so the food touched by untouchables didn’t have to be thrown away. No—leapfrog that problem! Find the real problem! Forget about the thrown-away food—make it possible for the untouchables to be touchable! It’s all about empathy! Right now you’re attempting small things. I want something fantastic. Not something good, not even something great—something fantastic. Find a problem so outrageous in its scope that it’s probably impossible. Start on it right away—next class. You have only seven more weeks in the semester.”