A Philosophical Timeline
The other day, I saw wholesomedick post about the ways he’s stagnated developmentally over the past few years and began thinking about my own philosophical development. I’m certain that I’ve changed in some ways and not in others, but I’ve had the same basic morality for a long time. Therefore, I’ve decided to put together a personal philosophical timeline tracking my development from birth to today and the various changes I’ve made in belief and action.
A Personal Philosophical Timeline
Please note dates and events
may be out of order
or placed at the wrong time
because I can’t remember correctly.
THE EARLY YEARS – Birth to Boston
- July 4, 1981 – I’m born in San Francisco, home of the 60s revolution, progressives, health food, and the homosexual revolution of the 80s.
- Spring 1983 – My first word is “golfcart” according to my parents. We’re in Hawaii at the time and passing a golf course.
- 1984 – I’m thrown out of two pre-schools for fighting and my parents take me to a psychological service to help with violence issues. I’m featured in a video for the organization, though my parents don’t show me until I’m in college.
- Summer 1984 – I’m grounded for making a kid cry at the park. Apparently, I went up to him in the sandbox and told him that Santa Claus wasn’t real. My grandmother has a good laugh at my expense.
- Winter, 1985 – I have my first crush on a girl in Kindergarten named Sarah. She was blonde, but I don’t remember anything else about her. I bought her flowers and brought them in to class. Most of the kids ridiculed me, but I got invited to her birthday party, the only boy there. A few weeks later, while playing Kissy Girls & Kissy Boys (a variation on tag) during recess, I accidentally cause Sarah to slip while climbing on the a play set and she stops talking to me for a while.
- Early Summer 1986 – My parents are called by the JCC summer camp because I’m rejecting religious principles out of lack of evidence. I’m sent to sit in the hall for saying there’s no proof God exists in front of the class.
- Late Summer 1986 – While on the camp overnight, I reveal to a friend that I have a crush on a girl named Robin. He proceeds to promise he won’t tell anyone and then runs through the camp telling people. I chase him down and beat the living shit out of him. Counselors pull me off and make me sit behind a tree away from everyone else. Robin comes by and gives me a kiss on the cheek while in Time Out.
- Fall 1987 – My Uncle Buddy dies of a heart attack. During my visits with him, he would give me small toy cars which I still keep as a memory. I cry and throw a fit when my parents tell me I can’t go to the funeral. Shortly thereafter, I start trying to save the mice my cats would catch and kill. None survive.
- Spring 1988 – I severely injure two kids while at school.
LATE CHILDHOOD – The Move to Boarding School
- David hits me in the head with a ball during dodgeball and my head slams into a cement wall. I black out. He apparently approaches me to see if I’m alright with his right hand extended and I bite it down to the bone. He has to get a cast and I end up suspended for the week. When I return, I give him a G.I. Joe to make up for it. A week later, he leaves it in the yard during lunch and I steal it to add to my collection.
- A boy pushes me while up on a structure. I turn and hit him and he falls off onto the cement ground, breaking several bones and getting a concussion in the process. He doesn’t remember what happened and everyone thinks it’s an accident. I feel guilty for years.
- August 1989 – I move to Boston. I feel incredibly out of place and odd in my new surroundings. I get picked on for introducing myself as being from San Francisco. I continue to do this until I switch schools in 7th grade. Boston just didn’t feel like home.
- Fall 1989 – I read The Whipping Boy and Johnny Tremain shortly thereafter, impressing my teacher, but bothering her that I was getting ahead of the class. I’m also chastised for already knowing script, but not knowing how to write in print.
- Winter 1991-1992 – I read Otto of the Silver Hand as part of the medieval segment of the course. It’s the first book to really make me think about morality and treatment. After a fight with a 7th grader, I decide I shouldn’t fight anymore. Memories of the boy I sent to the hospital with a single punch stop bothering me after this.
- Valentine’s Day 1992 – I use a crystal growing kit and a cheap toy ring to make a crystal ring for my crush Allison. I leave the ring in her doorway with a card early in the morning, signed by a secret admirer. She finds out it was me within three days. A few weeks later, she washes her hands with the ring on and the crystal dissolves.
- Spring 1992 – My best friend Adam Gelfand dies of a brain tumor. I spend his funeral playing with his little brother Ethan and trying to cheer him up. I vow to try and be more like Adam, who was incredibly smart, kind, and funny. I doubt I did a very good job outside of the first few weeks. Two weeks later, my friend Todd Saker dies when he hits a tree skiing at Attitash while on a New England Ski Club trip I decided not to go on at the last minute. I both feel guilty and oddly relieved I didn’t join him.
- Summer 1992 – I spend a month at a summer camp run by John’s Hopkins’ Gifted and Talented program. During this time, I’m first introduced to crappy Fantasy novels, role playing, and Nirvana. I also spend a large portion of my time watching the lightning in Maryland. My biggest memory is spending a day at the pool making fun of a fat kid. That evening, I feel sorry and go to apologize. He slugs me. I decide I deserve it.
- July 4, 1992 – For my birthday, my parents give me a hardcover copy of Jean Paul Satre’s Being and Nothingness because I keep refusing to empty the dishwasher until they prove I and the dishwasher exist. I read through and don’t understand much, but begin to discuss existentialism with my Dad to try and understand. By the end of the summer, I have a basic understanding of existential theory and begin to embrace it.
- Fall 1992 – I voted for Perot in the 1992 mock election at my elementary school. When Clinton wins, I start arguing with my teacher about how Clinton wasn’t much better than Bush despite my parents voting for him and that Perot doesn’t allow morality and religion to affect his plans for the country. I also express my desire to see a third major party. He throws me out of class.*
- Winter 1992-1993 – As a practical joke during Hebrew School, I attempt to pull the old tack on the chair trick on Josh sitting next to me. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a tack and instead substituted a newly sharpened pencil. Josh goes to the emergency room and spends 3 hours in surgery having the graphite pulled from his ass. He never comes back to that Hebrew School.
- Summer 1993 – I’m caught multiple times doing illegal acts on AOL and am banned for life. The acts include software piracy, credit card fraud, account theft and various hacking violations. My family is told if I ever sign up for AOL again, it’s a $35,000 lawsuit.
- Winter 1993-1994 – I start gaining weight and internalize the label of “chubby.” I begin using it to my advantage by joking about it and attempting to appear clumsy when being picked for sports.
- End of School 1994 – Despite the fact that I was leading the math team and helping everyone else with their homework, I gets Ds nearly across the board. My parents decide I should go to private school where I can get more structure. Kindly, they give me the choice of school. I choose the one with the most beautiful campus, completely unaware that it’s all-boys and mostly stuck-up rich kids with too much time and money on their hands.
PUBERTY – Boarding School to Public School
- Summer 1994 – While at Newsport (a sports sleep-away camp) in Kent’s Hill Maine, I read The Celestine Prophecy. Despite knowing it’s not a great work of literature, a lot of the philosophy and precepts seem to ring true and strike home and any number of other cliche and trite sayings. I remember reading in my room on the evening of my Birthday while listening to the Batman Forever soundtrack. For some reason, though the book hasn’t stuck with me, I feel as though this is a definitive point in my philosophical growth.
- Winter 1994-1995 – While home over Christmas, my rabbi convinces me to have a Bar Mitzvah that summer. I had refused based on the fact I don’t believe in God and refuse to agree to a system which requires me to do so. After several meetings, he explains that he doesn’t believe in God either, but does believe in the precepts taught by Judaism and the community it builds. I agree.
- Spring 1995 – I first see evidence of my mother’s alcoholism. I knew she went to AA meetings, but I never put 2 and 2 together.
- Summer 1995 – I have my Bar Mitzvah. My speech is about how religion is about creating community and building up the connections between people, not about God. My Dad cries. I’m embarrassed.
- Winter 1995-1996 – While at boarding school, I learned how to lie, cheat, steal, and manipulate the system. I also drink heavily, try drugs (weed and acid) and get caught but am able to elude punishment. I also witness my first gay sexual act (walking in on two boys during a blow job), and though I’m slightly disgusted, I decide they don’t deserve any ridicule and don’t mention it.
- Spring 1996 – While home over break, my grandmother, who had been suffering from breast cancer, collapses outside our bathroom and dies. I come out when I hear the thump. My mom is wailing. I turn around, return to my computer and tell my friend Andy my grandmother just died and I have to sign off. I remember shedding one tear (yes, the trite single tear), not really seeing my Dad cry despite it being his mom, and being rushed back to school a day after the funeral cause break was over. Once again, I vowed to be a better student and try and emulate her best traits. I don’t think it lasted more than 6 months.
- Freshman Year of HS (1996-1997) – I attend Boston University Academy my Freshman year. My grandmother had really wanted me to go here, and because of that I wanted to live up to her memory. I’m asked to leave because of poor grades (less than a B- in multiple classes is unacceptable) and complicity in an instance of cheating on a 5 point quiz (I copped to it to cover for a friend. The friend sold me out. We stopped talking.). I spend most of the summer feeling helpless and pissed off that I let her down.
TEENHOOD – Boston to Boulder
- Sophomore Year (1997-1998) – I reenter public school now a year behind my elementary school grade. I’m too embarrassed to make myself well known, so I spend my lunch breaks in the library studying or in the gym playing basketball. I specifically avoid being outspoken, though by the end of the year, I’ve once again stepped forward as a class clown.
- Summer 1998 – I spend the summer traveling around Israel with a basketball team and playing local high school teams. We win one game. I also lose my virginity to one of the girls on the women’s basketball team touring with us. It was a very odd experience and, quite frankly, not a very good one. When I leave to come home, I believe I’m in love with her.
- Junior Year (1998-1999) – With my virginity lost along with a fair amount of weight, I feel confident in myself for the first time in years. Body image issues are finally gone (for now) and I’ve pushed myself to take up the bass and join a band. It was a good year overall. My mom relapses into her alcoholism, culminating in her passing out on the landing outside my room. I try hiding bottle from her and eventually confront her. She apologizes the next day and seeks help by starting with AA again. She’s drank since then, but she keeps coming back to AA. Currently (2005), she’s just over 3 years sober and I support her in every way, shape and form I can.
- Spring 1999 – After having helped the DARE program and being a peer leader, Heidi, the counselor that runs our peer leadership program, nominates me for a good samaritan award. I win it, but feel extremely bad doing so. It makes me feel as if I were being payed off for doing good things. I refuse to acknowledge the award and try to send the $75 scholarship back. My parents convince me to keep it. I selfishly give $50 of it to charity to make myself feel better.*
- Senior Year (1999-2000) – Lots of stuff happened, some of which I’ve been asked not to talk about, so I can’t elaborate. I miss the first few weeks of school recovering from jaw surgery. My face, which has substantially changed, once again cause body image issues. I spend a semester in philosophy and form a Marxist utopian ideal. In a design your own utopia project, I convince the class to choose a modified social-capitalist state built upon Marxist precepts and modified capitalist economics. I still believe in this model today. I skip a lot of class in order to gain some much need worldly experience hanging out with friends. I end up only getting into one college because of my 2.13 GPA and promise myself I’ll work harder in college. I actually stick to it this time.
THE GOLDEN AGE – College Years
- Summer 2000 – I get a job at Kaleidoscope at the Jewish Community Center as a counselor. I realize there’s nothing I enjoy more than working with kids and trying to help others. I get in trouble several times for disobeying rules, but the director tells me that I was only trying to let the kids have fun.
- Fall 2000 – Freshman year begins. I work hard, do well, and am happy. My first roommate vows to get me drunk and doesn’t succeed. I spend my first party wandering around trying to keep track of a girl who came with me and whom I was afraid would be taken advantage of. Her friends appreciate it; she does not. I drink two beers there. Later that semester, I alienate a friend of mine by making the Jesus is gay argument/joke and throw myself head on into the radio station. I continue my anti-corporate tendencies.
- Election 2000 – I vote Nader because I realize my vote doean’t matter. In Colorado, we’re far enough republican that my vote won’t make a difference. In Massachusetts, we’re far enough democrat that my vote won’t make a difference. By voting Nader, I hope to have the Green Party get 15% and create a third party. Nader gets around 13%. At Thanksgiving, my mom’s side of the family spends the entire time making fun of democrats and spewing republican rhetoric (“LOCKBOX! HAHAHAHA!” Dicks). My grandmother blames the economy on the Mexicans. I leave the table immediately and refuse to return.*
- Spring 2001 – I spend a lot of my semester talking with Paul across the hall, who’s a die hard republican, but understands why he believes what he does. We have many a good discussion and generally agree to disagree. I realize I’m in love with my good friend Amy. At that point, I wasn’t physically attracted to her. During a long night of drinking, I tell this to her. She cries. I leave. She doesn’t remember the night, giving me a second chance. I decide I’d rather be up front and honest than take a second chance. Two months later, she dates a mutual friend and I come to the realization that by telling her rather than letting things take their course, I ruined what could’ve been a good thing.*
- Summer 2001 – While at Kaleidoscope, I was assigned a boy with serious Asberger’s disease. He was incredibly smart, but had bad social issues. One day, during a group meeting with one of the dance teachers, he started to freak out and yell. The teacher, rather than ignoring it, began yelling at him to stop, which in tunr only made him more aggravated. The correct way of dealing with it was to ignore it and let him clam down when he realizes he’s not the center of attention (which is why he freaks out). I proceed to argue with the teacher in front of the kids, about this and try and take the attention away from him, which in turn provkes the teacher. She pulls me aside and yells at me, and I later get chewed out by my boss. I refuse to apologize and further my belief that those in power are not always those who know best.*
- Fall 2001 – I move off-campus and decide to stick it out at CU, taking time off for in-state tuition. I get a job working night security and a large monetary gift from my grandparents to help pay for the semester. During my night security gig, I decide I don’t like the way the rules are enforced and begin to go lax when I can, letting people off left and right. I eventually quit due to issues enforcing poor policies. I waste a lot of money and realize I’m bad with it.
- Spring 2002 – I briefly attempt to deal weed, but realize I’m smoking the profits. After spending two weeks straight stoned, I decide it’s a bad thing, and curtail my use. I rarely smoke anymore, though I will on occasion.
- Fall 2003 – With gay marriage suddenly becoming a hot button issue, I begin to involve myself in politics. I start working with the radio station again, continuing my anti-corporate trends.
- Spring 2004 – I get involved with Music for America and slowly realize that most of my friends are grad students and extremely liberal. I become more politically charged and start Inquiring Minds (Motto: “It doesn’t matter where you stand as long as you understand.”), basically running it throughout the spring semester. I take over as News Director at Radio 1190, further involving myself in politics.
That’s just about every major occurrence in my growth morally, ethically and philosophically up to this point. I can’t say that everything here defines me, but it all goes to who I am and why. There area few things omitted, but I figured it was long enough as is.