There are two types of people in the world: those who turn personal tragedy into greatness and those who cannot. This is what makes the former type great and the latter mediocre. There is no greater tragedy than mediocrity.
The most devastating effect of mediocrity is impotence. Not impotence in the physiological sense, but in disposition and action. This is especially true in America today. The overall, foundational narrative that maintains American society is the American Dream, which is founded on nothing else than the idea that anyone, with enough hard work, can achieve Greatness. If the American Dream is the sustaining force of our lives, then the realization of one’s mediocrity is death.
This is what troubles me, because I’ve realized a long time ago that I cannot possibly join the rank of greatness. The fate that’s in store for me is a life of mediocrity. Does this mean that I’m giving up on life? I have always contended that the realization of mediocrity does not necessarily lead to impotence and resignation, but every once in a while I grow skeptical of my own claims.
After all, what justification did I have? Thus, the problem of justification is my obsession and compulsion. What justifies my belief that mediocrity can be overcome with personal and existential commitment? Perhaps it cannot be overcome at all. But then what? What does that mean? Does that mean that I should give up, go to law school, and file divorce claims for the rest of my life and live the middle-class life? Part of me fiercely resists this path, and I have always identified passion with authenticity. But perhaps, just perhaps, passion is no less inauthentic than cold calculations.
Epistemological confusion, that is my problem.