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Thursday, April 24, 2014

My debt to society

It's curious. I've noticed something particular within my personality when it comes to life goals. A tendency that's been there since I was a little kid, and something that's without a doubt defined the path I chose at many points in my life. The sensation, the feeling of debt has always been present for me. Not debt like... I'm stingy with money, or like, I feel everyone owes me something, but rather the opposite. I have always felt indebted to society, even when I was a little kid.

Just to say examples, when I was in primary school... around 3rd grade I think, I had always thought having all those books to read and learn things from them was so nice. I felt grateful, and wished to repay it in some way, so at one point I thought of a way of making a small contribution: that is, underlining every grammar mistake I found, and then communicating those in some way to the manufacturer so they could fix it. Of course, I was just a small kid, and even though I had lots of words underlined, that never really went anywhere.

Later on, when I found out about Lunar Magic and Super Mario World hacks, I was very impressed. I thought it was amazing, how easily you can modify the game using the tools provided. I tried to create several hacks... of course, you tell me if a kid in junior high will be able to design levels correctly. I had so much fun doing it, it kept me busy for way too many hours, I eventually developed the same sensation of debt towards the whole community; what I wanted to do then was not create hacks, but help other people. For a short time I started to post on forums and tried to really get in the community... but well, I didn't get far until my motivation wore out. I wanted to do so many things, I even tried to learn assembly, so I could develop patches for other people to use, but of course, not everyone can do that.

You see what I mean? This kind of thing just kept happening over and over, though each time it didn't get very far. Back when I had a Playstation and had to burn CDs, I downloaded all ISOs from SnesORama, and since all of them were user-contributed, I wanted to do my part and add mirrors. For some time I wanted to enter the GDAMania community and help people create DTX files. For some other time, I found out about TV show and anime sites where you can stream episodes for free, and I wanted to help by uploading extra mirrors where needed.

It then happened yet again with osu!. I started mapping because I loved all the Ouendan games, and I thought having the capability to do your favorite songs in osu! style was the most amazing thing ever. As I started to understand what ranking involved, I realized it wasn't easy; it involves a lot of checking, from many different modders, and many different BATs. In other words, a lot of people had to help me, and when I finally got my first map ranked and started mapping more things, I started to mod beatmaps by my own will. I wanted to do the same thing other people had done with me, I wanted to help and repay my debt. And this time I really did get far, so much I managed to reach BAT status. Unfortunately, as I couldn't keep up with the community (mainly due to time constraints and lack of motivation), I decided to graduate and become alumni.

You can see there is an obvious tendency going on here. As this is something that's been there since I was little, it's not something that I meditated on and chose to do as the wisest thing to do. It's just something I did without thinking, because I wanted to do. Not because I felt guilty or felt remorse; just because I wanted to. You can say, then, that the same feeling is still present in me today, but of course, the scope is not the same.

Now that I can think as an adult, I often think of the objectives in my life, and things like that; you know, deeper and more important things. Yet the purpose of life for me goes back to those instinctive feelings: helping the community and repaying back everything society's given to me. What I want to do in my life, is contribute to society something unique only I can create. Enjoying life is my goal, contribute to society is my purpose.

I think of what everything will be like in the future, and what I wish to do then. Since I've always enjoyed electronics, and find so impressive the way they work, one of my dreams is to create my very own invention, something that will give step to greater and better things in the future. I'm a student of engineering, so I'm giving my all to understand every little subject that can be of use to me for this.
That kind of dream has been in my mind since I was little, but it's still going strong. Perhaps, to not be so naïve, even if it's just the smallest contribution to some project in some team, I want to be part of the difference. I don't want to blow my whole life working in sales, forgetting about everything I learned about in college; I want to be something more.

In truth, I speak about electronics and inventions, but anything I enjoy and I can contribute to would be excellent, too. For example, I don't think working for education, whether that's in book manufacturing or teaching, is a bad idea, because I appreciate knowledge so much, and would like to help other people on their studies, too. I enjoy videogames; if one day I helped develop a new console, or even design a single game, I'd be happy, because I want other people to keep enjoying games.

Of course though... not absolutely everything I can work as I'd enjoy. I'm about to get a job as telemarketer, client service for AT&T, and since I barely use the phone for personal things, I don't feel like I'm paying my debt to anyone. But I need the money. Yet, I feel the lack of this feeling of debt is going to have great impact in my productivity.
For example, working as a bus driver wouldn't be enjoyable either, because the buses in this town are pretty ugly, and drivers often are jerks. Sure, I want as much as anyone for them to be pretty and work correctly, that's why I do my best to not throw garbage and keep things clean, but as the buses have sometimes left me unsatisfied, it's not something I feel like I need to repay.

Is it weird that I just spent that amount of time writing this? Well, what's done is done.