Archive for December 2008

December 11, 2008


‘Tis the season!

Finals

December 11, 2008


FINALS! I love this time of the semester. Seriously. My absolute favorite. It’s such a quickening experience to bust your ass and push yourself beyond your perceived capabilities — sink your teeth into the hours, bang your head against the table, and get ready for the long haul — what a truly wonderful feeling to be living up to, and actualizing you’re full potential. MMM. Stress. Tasty. More, please – madam (or shall I bend over?).

December 9, 2008

Freedom

December 9, 2008

Sometimes I wonder what this freedom business is all about. No, not the freedom that holds a charming echo in the lecture halls, like a priori self-determination, for example, whose practicality is much akin to the lumberjack who swings his mighty ax at the base of a blazing inferno hoping to sunder the great flame, but the real (or naive, if you prefer that language) pragmatic sort of freedom that we experience in the everyday motions of our waking lives.

It seems there are a couple of ways to think about this idea. On the one hand, we could mean the freedom over our body and thoughts (though I sometimes doubt the latter – but that’s a conversation for another blog post); for example, right now my fingers are obeying the instructions of my will without grumble or protest. However, on the other hand, can the same be said for our mood? That is, do we find that we have the same control over our moods that we do our fingers? At first blush we might think not – for some days (or even instances) we inconveniently slip into moments of extreme melancholy and dismal gloom, or even, to a lesser extreme, sometimes we find ourselves and our thoughts beneath a rain cloud of boredom. I wonder if we might be able to take hold of these feelings in certain indirect ways.

First, I tend to think that our body and our thoughts are tuned-in to a natural equilibrium, of sorts. What does that mean? Let’s see if I can illustrate this through an example. Imagine a young college student cramming for finals and consequently lacks time for social interaction with friends {:-)}. The longing that we feel to see and associate with our friends is representative of the equilibrium that I’m talking about. Thus, when we finally do see our friends again, we tend to place a higher value on the experience, then we would, say, if we had just spent an entire summer living with them. The same concept applies to other areas, like boredom, liveliness, fear, humor, high-spirited pep, etc. So, given this equilibrium, my though is that we can freely actualize the positive aspect, by taking hold of the negative aspect. Take two polar extremes: liveliness and exhaustion. While we may not be able to directly take control of our liveliness (the positive aspect of the equilibrium), I think we might be able to take indirect control of our potential-to-be lively by taking direct control of the negative aspect of the equilibrium – exhaustion. By pushing ourselves through the throes of running to the point of exhaustion, we, in effect, tip the scales in the negative direction, such that instances where one would normally be idle, now translate into spirited pizzazz in comparison to the previous feelings of exhaustion.

Food for Thought

December 6, 2008

What is this strange objective stance we often like to take as we let our intuition peel into the depths of our imagination? (I often wonder about the confused relationship between intuition and the imagination. Are they cordial siblings sharing common blood or divorced spouses wishing to draw each other’s blood? Both?). Anyway, I’m doing it right now, at this very moment, attempting to extract myself from the object of thought and examine it under the microscope of my nous. Why? Is it from convenience that we attempt to take this objective standpoint? After all, what better way to observe the masses than from the objective Ivory Tower of philosophy (because, of course, capital letters are the universal microphone that pledge the validity of the concept), or is it a subtle attempt to assert oneself? Could it be that this standpoint sets up a difference between the knower and the known, affirming this most trivial truth of (a therefore ¬a)? Or is it, as Kierkegaard suggests (I think in a postscript addressed to Lessing), the (Hegelian systematist’s) attempt to become purely objective him or herself, and hence an attempt to become the Absolute – the one without a second? The all encompassing scope – so encompassing, that there is no room for a finite self; only pure unbounded objectivity. I think the latter two interpretations are interesting, so far as they reveal egoism as self-hatred. What else could the motive to assert oneself be, if not an intense dissatisfaction with oneself (and if so, is that even a bad thing?)? I once heard the question of the relationship between philosophers and depression raised – depression or dissatisfaction, I might ask. Or are those two (like intuition and imagination) the warp and woof of one elemental essence? The real question (for me, at least) is: What would un-extracted thought be like? What would it be like to think in a way where the thinker and the thought (the knower and the known) are not in any way (conceptually or otherwise) distinct? Would it even be a thought, or would it be something experienced – something not understood, but lived?