Okay, say bad things if you will. I have been derelict. Mea culpa. My bad.
Nonetheless I have been learning things, if not about philosophy and Greek and whatever, then about myself.
I am too easily distractible, particularly if I am less than passionate about what I’m doing. I can write a Grumpy Lion piece with the house falling down around me, asteroids smashing into the shopping plaza out back, parrots flying about my head (Norwegian Blues usually) , and women desperately seeking weird sexual favors (okay, that last bit was somebody with a wrong address, looking for the guy next door – he’s from Sweden apparently).
This past several days I have been distracted by my physical condition, which deteriorates my mental condition, which leaves me unable and/or unwilling to function intellectually. The mental degradation succeeds the physical, like a hangover.
But also I find it easy to let myself be distracted when I’m studying something difficult, that I just can’t seem to grasp, or that I can’t find a solution for, solution in the sense of finding a way to make the subject graspable. It’s like throwing a switch and having my brain shut down and sink into depression.
It’s also something more teleological. (Ma! Ma! He threw in a philosophy word! Ma! He’s showing off again!) But seriously… I have no exams to fret about. I have no teachers looking over my shoulder. I have no homework to do. I have no interview to worry about. I have no career to consider. My motivations, such as they are, are totally internal. It does not matter to the world that I don’t have a quick memory trick for some arcane Greek syntax, or that some bit of logic in philosophy keeps escaping the grasp of my brain. There is no greater purpose to what I do. There is no reason outside myself to do what I do. And I am very used to thinking, in some reptilian part of my brain, that the external motive is necessary.
Well, it’s not, dammit. I am not going to concede on that point. The problem is finding and holding onto the internal motives, the ones that get me going and keep me going and never mind what the world thinks, or anyone thinks. It’s just me and the problem in front of me. And I haven’t really got ahold of all that yet.
When I write Grumpy Lion, I have an audience and I write with them in mind. It’s a diverse audience, some fans, some not-so-fanny, some creeps. But there is a purpose. I write what I want, irrespective of whoever reads it, but I know the work will get a reading. The audience is tangible. I write to affect people’s minds and emotions. I write to kick synapses.
Not so what I do with Greek and philosophy and other stuff. No audience. Oh, there’s the indirect benefit, in that whatever I study/learn usually feeds into what I write, sooner or later, somehow or other. But there is no immediate audience, no immediate purpose. Just me, struggling with stuff. No immediate gratification, if you will. Mastering a Greek declension will not get me laid, will not make a dollar, will not get me a job or into a school. Nor am I seeking any of those things, except maybe the first one, but we’ll just keep that a secret, shall we? And anyway, the first declension in eta (η) isn’t going to get me there.
Another aspect is the biochemical one. I find that if I go without vitamins and without DHEA for any length of time, I am more prone to this sort of intellectual failure to act. And conversely or obversely or some-other-versely, if I get too much supplementation, I get similarly unable to act, but have the energy to do so. Balance. I can’t find the balance. And coffee is not the balance.
I do find that the new dieting (which I may name the Texas Yugo Girly Diet) I’ve undertaken has lifted considerable amounts of mental fog. Since the primary items cut from the diet are sugars, starches, and processed non-foods (Twinkies come to mind, given that the Twinkie industry is making a big deal this week celebrating the eightieth birthday of the premier non-food, aside from the dirt Haitians eat – which may be more nutritious than Twinkies). The simplest way to describe the diet is to say it comprises eating animals and plants, but no grains. Without grains and sugars clogging the synapses, the brain works a lot better.
So, I have blithered at length about my pitiful little problems which will someday get solved. However, there is today to deal with. Today’s attempts will include mindmapping what I’ve done so far in Hall’s philosophy book, and getting back to work on the Greek memory tricky stuff.
For those into moral questions, there’s a nice talk by Sam Harris, in video, on science and morality. His visual on the spectrum of the social treatment of women is a stunner in its own right. An interesting site, on the whole.