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.”

0 thoughts on “My Current State of Mind

  1. Lloyd

    …or, you can take all that hard-earned essay-writing skill and write MORE essays — like, a bunch of them; perhaps 12? 13? And each one becomes a chapter in *your* own version of “Dreams of My Father.”


    If Barack was able to parlay such a project into the presidency, you can too. ;-)

    (Oh, and of course you’d have to veg out in some decrepit walk-up apartment in some ghetto in an metropolis somewhere while writing said magnum opus; though I recommend you not take up smoking, like he did… you’d probably want to live longer and introspect way into an old age. heh)

  2. Matthew

    A strong inclination toward rational behavior suggests a strong set of emotions tied with behaving rationally. Any rational person who’s ever gotten upset with themselves for having done something irrational has probably done so in response to some feeling of regret.

    I don’t think the term “feeling” accurately describes what’s going on in your second paragraph. Frustration, discouragement, and disappointment are feelings that might be prompting that thought process, but the thought process you’re describing seems to be two steps ahead of simply identifying the feeling. It goes beyond recognizing what’s causing the feeling, straight to analyzing your approach to writing essays, which isn’t exactly something you “feel”.

    Okay, I’m making a number of assumptions here. First of all, “thinking” and “feeling” are different processes. Second, the two processes still affect each other, making it very easy to confuse one for the other. Third, you can’t feel a verb. Example: I feel hungry, I think I should go eat something. It’s tempting to say, “I feel like I should go eat something.” but, as with your paragraph, it fails some key “feeling” criteria.

    How then do you cover the gap of experiencing feelings and identifying what they’re about? You could try looking at incentives, as a sort of economist’s approach. You could figure out what needs you have that are or aren’t being met, as a more self-help approach. I’m not sure of the Agnoiologist approach, but it probably involves some more insightful posts on this weblog, which are always a good thing.

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