letter to L

I liked the way that this one turned out. I’ve gone through this spiel about 7 different times now and I like this attempt about as much as any of them. I think that there is a sort of refining process going on with this thing. =)


From:	TTU::WJH3957      "W.J. Holcomb -- Mr. Happy =)" 31-JUL-1998
Subj:	re: x3 (nobility, brotherhood, and ... damn!) =)

My brief stint of e-mail chastity has put me a bit behind. So, I’ve got three different replies and I’m gonna try to work them into one because they kinda fit together. Well, maybe just two and I’ll put the other one separate because it doesn’t fit as well.

You wrote me a while back about a friend of yours who was working in India doing missionary work. You were comparing the life that you live to the one that she lives and you were saying that you felt that you were selfish compared to her.

This general idea is one that I have thought about (surprise, surprise) =) I want for my life to mean something, for it to matter, and when I was thinking I was trying to figure out how I could live my life so that it was important. One of the things that I decided was important to me was a sense of “nobility.” That doesn’t mean like snobbishness or being better than other people, but rather recognizing that there are things that are worth being uncomfortable for; things that are important enough for me that I will let my smaller desires suffer in order to forward these values.

When I got off of e-mail a couple of days ago that was about nobility. I recognized that my desire to be on the computer was conflicting with my job and I decided that my relationships with my co-workers and the quality of my job and my clarity of thinking were more important to me than writing on the computer. So, for a couple of days I went without the computer so as to gain a handle on my problem. I did not enjoy being off of the computer at all. The last message that I sent was the really weird one that you got where I asked if I was just to strange to put up with; I really really wanted to know how you responded to that. But I had made my resolve and I recognized that the only thing that was suffering by me not reading was my desire to know, and as I said, I had decided that particular desire was not going to dictate how I acted, so I waited.

There is a passage in the Bible where Jesus says that if your eyes lead you to sin then gouge them out and if your hands come between you and God’s will then cut them off. I like that passage. Its really rough, but I like the general idea of choosing something as being important and being willing to sacrifice the little things in order to stay true to what you have decided is important. That’s what I’m talking about when I say nobility.

I don’t know exactly why that is the word that I chose, I think that it has something to do with my idea of honor or something.

Anyhow, I see the possibility for nobility in what you said that Kristi is doing. But again, this is a case where it matters more to me why she is doing rather than what she is doing. I have met very ignoble people doing very altruistic work for very superficial reasons. I like the fact that they are helping others, but for their sake I think that it would be better that they were off working at McDonald’s in a noble manner than if they very feeding the hungry for selfish reasons.

This is what CJ and I argue about when we talk revolutions. He is interested in changing the things that people do. I think that he is wasting his time; I am interested in changing who people are. I don’t think that until people change that the world will change for the better.

And that sounds bad because it sounds like I’m being unaccepting, but really I don’t think that is right. I feel that being unselfish is a more satisfying way of living than being selfish, and I don’t think that is just true for me. I think that it is a universal truth and when I talk about changing who people are, all that I am talking about is showing them that simple fact.

Its like another section of the Bible where Paul is talking about love and he says that it doesn’t matter about the great things that you do, if you don’t have love in your heart then your actions have no meaning. And at the same time if you have love in your heart it doesn’t matter what you do, your actions will be great.

Anyhow, in regards to comparing your life and Kristi’s I think that you hold up pretty good, because it really doesn’t matter so much where you are as who you are. And you have been a good friend to me this summer and I’m sure that you have been a good friend to the people that you work with and that you have been a positive influence all over the place. I would be hesitant to put a measure on the good that you have done and say that it is less than or more than what other people have been doing. It is different, that I’ll agree with.

Of course there is a little catch-22 in all this. There are certain things that nobility prevents you from doing and certain things that it attracts you towards. You aren’t likely to find a noble person at the head of a KKK rally beating an innocent black man with a baseball bat. So whole I say that it doesn’t matter what you do as much as who you are; what you do happens because of who you are, so it’s really more of a interacting system than two distinct entities of who you are and what you do.

Am I making sense? I seem to be to me, but that doesn’t always mean much. =)

Well, I’m off work now. I’ll get into the other things later.

(()) -Will

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