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Why Japanese Was, and Wasn’t, a Waste of Time.

So a couple of things before I start this post.

Thing #1:  This is a post where I take advantage of the fact that no one reads this.  If this post were to somehow, by some miracle, go viral, I will probably remove it.

Thing #2: This post is a statement on how things are, not how they should be.  The distinction is very important here, and I’d appreciate it if you, the reader, would keep it in mind.

I am a very intelligent person.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say I’m the most intelligent person I know, and possibly the most intelligent person you know (though this isn’t guaranteed).  While there’s always someone more of anything than you are, if I were not in the 99th percentile of intelligence in the world I’d be very, very surprised.  Those who are of less intelligence would probably argue this point.  I don’t pay that any mind, because they don’t understand.

This isn’t a brag, though.  The reason they don’t understand:  people as intelligent as I am know two things:  There is a certain level of intelligence which is far more of a curse than a blessing, and intelligence on its own means absolutely nothing.  If someone does not tell you these two things (if they think it’s something to brag about, in other words), they’re not intelligent enough to have an intelligent conversation on the topic.  Intelligence is very, very good at allowing you to understand the world around you, based upon scientific rules.

As you get more into the social aspects of life, these rules get muddy, contradictory, and eventually lose all meaning because people don’t operate on rules.  Never have, never will.  And because of that, the kind of intelligence I have is useless.

I am not good with people.

Even commenters on this particular blog have told me that it seems like I don’t want comments.  This isn’t, well, strictly true.  I actually do appreciate comments.  I don’t like overly argumentative, ill-informed, or stupid comments, but comments that actually make me think or tell me something I didn’t know, I actually love.  Ever since I moved this blog onto my own site, the comments have dried up (I suspect WordPress throttled down the views, and I guess that’s understandable), and I both miss that and don’t miss that.

But the point of that statement is that I don’t like to participate in community.  I don’t really mind so much running a community, and I’m pretty good at that.  But running a community allows me to stay somewhat aloof from the community itself.  I don’t have to engage as equals.  This is the same reason I can stand on a stage full of a hundred thousand people (and have, not at that scale though, a couple of thousand) and have no stage fright.  But if I am in that crowd, I’ll have an anxiety attack.

And, digging down into it, the reason I don’t like to participate in community is that I don’t like people.  It’s not any one person I don’t like (well, yeah, there are some I dislike more than others, but that’s true for anyone) but just people in general.  I really, really don’t like people.  I’ll never show it.  In fact, if I tell you and you know me in person, you’ll be surprised, because I’m really good at setting that aside when I need to.  But, at the end of the day, it’s true.  I’d just… rather not.

And it’s subconscious, too.  I don’t want up every morning and decide to just not like people.  I wake up in the morning, and I just… don’t like people.  It’s not a choice I make.  It’s just how it is.  It’s the same way people of, well, different orientations say they don’t get a choice either, and it might even be very similar to that.  But at the end of the day, it is what it is.  I don’t like people.

I have no desire to hurt people.  I have no desire to do anything stupid.  It’s not a malicious kind of dislike.  In fact, I’ll generally go out of my way to help people if I think they really need it.  In fact, I’ll give you an example.  At my old apartment complex, a guy had just got out of prison, and his truck wouldn’t start.  I took a couple of hours out of my day, and helped him get a new battery so he could drive off and restart his life.  At the end he wanted to be friends.  I told him that that probably wouldn’t work, because I make a terrible friend.  He said he’d give me his contact info anyway.

He never did.  I don’t really care.  I didn’t expect any different.  But I did help when he needed, and I would again.

And, well…  learning a language was a very, very stupid choice, given that fact.  Especially one as useless and difficult as Japanese.

Language is all about interpersonal interaction.  You learn a language to talk to and interact with people who speak that language.  That’s really a no-brainer.  But when I started learning Japanese, that’s not something that was really on my mind.  I wanted to understand what they were saying, or writing, or whatever.  At the end of the day, I guess I just didn’t really like feeling left out.  And, by that token, if I could learn every language in the world easily, I probably would.  It’d be interesting.  It’d lead to a great deal of understanding of different cultures and the way they see the world.  No literature or media would be off-limits to me.

And given my limited lifespan, it’s a colossal waste of time.

I guess this is something I’d known subconsciously from the very beginning, that I was wasting my time.  I could have spent that time learning a new programming language, writing an app or something, trying to learn how to do some technological thing that I really want to learn.  That would have been a far better use of my time.  I could have monetized it, and turned it into something cool.  That’s kind of what I did with the Lily project (which is nearing completion now and then I have to figure out what to do with it from there).  But there’s none of that potential with Japanese.  Now I can speak with a hundred fifty million people I couldn’t have before (at least a little), and they can speak to me too.

But neither of us really want to.

I’m not too interested in making Japanese friends, and they’re not too interested in making friends with me, as I’ve discovered over and over again.

So I’ve spent six years completely wasting my time on something I’m completely competent to do, but have no reason except for simple curiosity.

That… is the story of my life.  And it’s why I will probably go to my grave with many, many regrets.

Thanks for reading this far.  I’ll be surprised if anyone does.  If you do, maybe comment – why did you learn Japanese?  And maybe, if I’m lucky, my comment system even works.  I’ll… have to test it.

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