Monday, June 15, 2009

Gathering together my scattered brain

Scattered is my go-to euphemism when it comes to over anxious hyper-reflexivity, to be even more euphemistic about the whole thing. I have the tendency to get excited and then start going eight thousand miles per second, and eventually, after four or five months of the everything all at the same time style of life, I crash and burn for a few months of blahh and nothing and try and recharge. Unfortunately, this style of living does not match well with the whole process of aging. As I'm learning.

So, the trick is to catch yrself at the early stages of the cycle and mediate the afterburn. Try and take it slow without sacrificing the creative and/or scholastic energy. For me, this is difficult. It is not easy. I like to sprint. I don't like to jog.

The point of this is that the thing that sets me off is knowledge and ideas. Once I get on the scent of a good story or a good philosophic integrative conduit, I'm off like a bloodhound. And it's a damn the consequences I'm on the hunt kind of a thing, which is in some ways a good response. It's just that all the basics of living tend to get lost in that great cosmic hunt for understanding, at least for me.

So, I guess, what I'm saying is that sometimes it's good to jog. You can't sprint a marathon and all that. And life is a marathon. It's not 200 meters. At least, we hope it's not.

A little bit lately, I'm just running down the rabbit hole. It's a habit of mine when I'm falling into the blah mode to try to keep from going stone cold numb. I'd say it's a bad one, but truthfully I do think it's important that you go down and through and out the other side at least once in our lives. It's important to see what's under the surface. Find out what's down there and what you, yrself, are made of. That doesn't mean we should do it as a defense against apathy. There are surely other, more healthy alternatives in the struggle to remain present and not slip into the back seat of life.

And all that. So, I was informed the other day (not to harp on the Star Trek thing) that it was a black hole and not a wormhole, which is actually worse. I was giving Abrams credit. A black hole is, to my mind, substantially less interesting than a wormhole. Plus, if you went into a black hole, you would be frozen in time, sort of, and would experience that last millisecond of yr life infinitely. So time is a factor but no backwards time travel. Sorry.

Anyway, I've put aside economics for the summer and picked up William James' The Varieties of Religous Experience and Joseph Campbell's Creative Mythology. Both are heavy and serious. James is more of a philosophic exercise in the logics of spirituality while Campbell musters the evidence from all corners of the social sciences and brings them together in a kind of mystical way. They fit well together.

Also, of course, Infinite Jest. Of which, I am taking my time and moving slowly and trying not to get too far ahead (Infinite Summer). Tomorrow I'll go to the library and hopefully, fingers crossed, get my hands on three or four of Saul Bellow's novels. I really hope they have Humboldt's Gift. I am optimistic. Also that my fines are not too high.

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