Would I recommend the sort of life I have had to today's Yale students?
There are so many reasons not to. I am poor. I am mentally ill. New Haven's last official words to me were stay away. My blog is unpopular. Most of my family has disowned me. This is a deep and dark cavern to explore in looking for signs of do not enter.
There is no "BUT". I may have a life of substance in terms of accomplishments (now the but) but they are all resting on the slimmest footing and the most vulnerable chemistry, that of DNA, with respect to permanence. I will not succumb to a tendency to poetry in the interest of selling what I have not enjoyed. My life is not one to inspire imitation or succession. It has been a tedious existence. Little romance. Day after day of hunger and cold. Refuge in the unappealing arms of Social Security Disability. By any measure it is a tragedy.
Life itself has been an irritant.
There is a possibility the reason is that as a freshman at Yale I mused about my choice of a direction in life among all those I had seen and heard about, the lives of Yale alumni, and I came to a general but murky conclusion that the best way I could use my Yale education, were I to complete it, was to seek no reward but yet work, and do this in the company of the poor of America. I had no skills for it. I had no ideas to make it concrete and actionable. I only had a desire to admit myself into company which at the time I would have blushed to think of as fellows of the same kind. And for this choice there remains no reward. That keeps me in the company. It doesn't make me happy. I have never disowned my appetite for pleasure. I have learned to live with various levels of poverty, both in terms of money and in terms of logistics. I have no ashram to offer those interested in me, whether as a place to live or as a house to provide brief respite. I have not extended anyone's spiritual empire. I have not written anything pointing the way. These disqualify me for that one office which I can otherwise claim with reason, that of successor to Moses. So perhaps I shall ultimately disengage myself from that claim, and go entirely sui generis. Great. Another vanity.
Such as it is, it is a warning to all but those who disregard them, not to follow me.