Solipsistic Phil; Whadup Happiness?
by phil on Sunday Sep 21, 2003 6:05 PM
First. I am exceedingly complex.
Second. There is a general 'system' or mentality for living that's been floating in my mind since I was 14ish when I first came up with the mantra, "Observe, Analyze, Apply."
Third. My external life seems to turn out okay in the end, but my internal mind is like hell's playground for confusion
What do I think this is all about? Control. (Just like the Matrix). If my analysis is correct, I think I've been trying really hard since I was 14ish to control my destiny. This control meant the removal of faults, the elimination of mistakes, the maximization of positive feeling, the pursuit of success, the attainment of depth of experience.
This process began when I started reading biographies of successful people like Bill Gates and Michael Dell. Since it had been my dream to be like them, I wanted to figure out how to emulate them. What was their trick? What was their system?
This began a series of strategies and mental tricks in order to shape my life in a particular direction. What resulted was a framework or programming whose structure I'm only slowly becoming aware of.
I'd always come up with a system or way of thinking. Like some invocation, or a pseudo-religion, or a mantra, or whatever. Everytime I'd formulate it, I'd think, "this is it! this is finally the one system." It then lasts anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months.
Here are the basic mental programming models or systems I employ:
- Nihilism - Nothing matters. Fuck it. "Let the Chips fall where they may." I've kept this system up about two times. Once was senior year in high school when I had a good enough relationship, was making money, had already gotten accepted to college. I think I become nihilistic when things are satisfactory and I don't need to think.
- "Best systems are no systems" - Slightly different from nihilism, this is where I just eliminate thinking. I usually come to this conclusion when my current system boils over in complexity and then I "realize" that life is too complex in order to control exactly. I've had this system about three times, and I am kind of on it right now.
- Attack on the basics - This manifests in the form of a text document that lists certain key areas, like social, health, money. I then develop a plan to do well in all of those areas in order to achieve some sort of completeness of being. I've returned back to this about three or four times, and I'm on it right now. The first time I did this was when I first read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. This then evolved into a worksheet I kept for myself. Latley, this has evolved into a hard-core principle-centered life where I focus on three things, Independence, Pursuit of Passion, and Connecting with others. And the mentality is, "As long as I'm pumping on those cynlinders, life will be okay"
- Progressive, Creative - This is like a series or hierarchy of simple systems for achieving success or some goal. Examples include disciplined schedules, programs, thinking strategies, projects, objectives, mission statements. I've been hard-core on this about three or four times. In all cases, they were related to the achievement of some success in business or academic success. i.e. this is the system of expediency.
- Single system or solutions - By far the most common system, and probably the most detrimental. This is where I settle down on a single invocation or mantra that I think will solve my problems. Examples are like forcing myself to have a positive attitude, or making myself happy even when I'm not, or interfering with my general processes in order to evaluate whether what I'm saying or doing is truly the right thing. This really works for like a day in most cases. I had one system like this, "bear pain" that lasted for a couple of months. This involved taking any challenging situation, learning to accept the pain, and work my way with it. Problem with it was that it didn't give me any wisdom and just kind of made me a "gritty" person.
- Scrawl, Emotional Intelligence, Be Natural - I'm the most fond of this system, though it doesn't really accomplish what I need. This is like where I sort of spit out my emotions onto my face or in diaries, and try to interpret from there where I should go. It's a sort of running a pop-operation on your emotional stack, like oh, I need food, eat, I need work, get to it, I need energy, exercise. This kind of works, but I think my emotional intelligence is really low so it's useless.
- Mathematic, Analytical - I've only done this lately, but this is where I try to monitor my progress like a coach would. Like check out how many times did I have a panic, or how often did I get depressed, when, where, how... and then try to find patterns, analyze, and then find solutions. This works probably as well as scrawl for me. A negative effect is that I feel like a machine.
It's kind of funny, in a sort of sick way, that I bounce around from any of those systems often, just different versions. Like instead of mood swings that normal people have, I have systematic swings.
But dammit, I'm still trying to find the one system. The one way of thinking where I can go, okay, this is IT. This is finally what I can do and I don't have to keep on thinking so deeply on a meta level.
I asked myself a rhetorical question the other day, "When will my mindset STOP changing?!" and then the intuitive answer that came out was, "When you are happy"
See happiness rarely factors into it, or at least not consciously. I've come to the conclusion that pursuit of happiness, ultimately, is what's motivating all of this... however, I've never been able to factor that into my programs... I can't even admit that "yes, I want to be happy"... I don't know why! I tried to get myself to ramp up to a point where I could say, "Alright, let's be happy" but it was such a hack. I think maybe because my attitude is never to be content... but that's terrible! I mean, well, it even seems terrible to be content... hence that's where I'm stuck?!
So, I think it's some sort of voodoo thing where I'm not programmed to seek happiness and yet deep down that's what I really want. The chasm between the two is what's causing this? God, who knows.
Hell, it could just be the economy.