Daily Archives: December 13, 2008

My Current State of Mind

I was always struck by the early modern philosophers’ confidence in the process of introspection. I feel an emotion, and I am often very puzzled as to what is causing me to have that emotion. Maybe my rational mind is just unnaturally severed from my emotions. I don’t think so. I don’t even know what introspection or memory really mean. Your past self is dead, and your present self is just imagining himself as a past self. If I remember correctly from Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness, then memory often involves imagination. Yet those memories are something right? They’re not pure confabulation because they’re based on something that you remember. Anyway, even in the present moment, I often feel like a stranger looking into my own mind. There is an emotional experiencer, and then there is a rational mind trying to figure out what is going on. It really is a puzzle why I feel the way I do. I am rather sympathetic to Ryle’s formulation of one not really knowing oneself in a way different than other people know that same person. I hang out with myself all the time, so I am better able to figure out why I feel certain ways. So after this crude representation of Gilbert’s, Ryle’s, and my own thoughts, I turn to something less abstract and just tell you how I’m feeling right now. The caveat, though, is that these are mere suppositions.

I am waiting for myself to write 2 essays. I am currently at the state of mind where I am thinking, “I am this close to just saying, ‘Fuck it, I quit. Who cares about college?'” When it comes to writing essays, that’s just a normal stage of thought I go through. Honestly, it’s like the 7 stages of grief or something. I go through a certain number of stages when I have to write an essay. One of those stages includes complaining on the internet about the work I have to do. If I took the time, I could probably produce a general timeline of what happens when I do an essay. Now, I was about to say that this would be an entirely useless activity, but I’m not sure that it would be entirely useless. This year, I’ve become increasingly self-aware about my essay-writing process. I’ve been trying to stifle the griping, since I think it’s generally useless. And now, here I am editing my thoughts again, where I think that griping might actually be an essential part of my essay writing rather than a superfluous one. Hm. Nonetheless, I am still at the stage where I think this is entirely useless and wonder what the point of it is.

I can’t call that feeling merely a byproduct of the essay-writing process. I think it is a feeling that I generally have about college that is activated when I write essays. In fact, after I’m done with college, I’m going to write an essay entitled, “Thanks for nothing, you greedy bastards.”