by phil on Thursday Oct 9, 2003 2:43 AM
Blog-friend Strange Loops writes.. Simply put, looking back on my life and my behavior patterns, I find very little independent thought, indeed very little thought at all. More often I coast from one authority to the next (based on whatever I think makes a reliable authority - once it was teachers, later news, more recently the internet, and of course all along books), and my little ejaculations of thought (say in expressing an opinion or explicating an idea face-to-face or on a message board) were more often than not just regurgitation of ideas or opinions I had heard elsewhere, stated by better writers than myself.
perhaps we can gain a lot more wisdom and much fuller perspective on life by devoting our attention more carefully to fewer things than in trying to split our time and attention between an ever-growing, never-ending series of things. Perhaps the Zen monks had it right in seeking enlightenment not through study of all the myriad scriptures and dogmas and teachings of Buddhism, but in meditating on one simple thing until we become, like cats, beings that live in and experience the moment.
I really like the way Mr. Loops expresses his frustration... it captures an idea and desire that I think many philosophists have... to really get something, to produce some idea or thing that is significant, free from influence, a truly linearly independent vector in the space of human consciousness.
He's right, it's too easy to get caught up in all the complex feeds of data and just rehash and recombine. I too find myself, sometimes, just mirroring the opinons of slashdot or slate, when I think if I was to be truly objective, I'd find positive in things like Ann Coulter as well...
Ah, but how?! Here I am with this lofty goal of seeking quietude and hermitage to be with my thoughts when I live in a busy college dorm full of rambunctious students playing rap music as loud as their speakers will go throughout the day. How can I escape from the stress and pressure of the daily grind when I'm attending classes and ever focusing (out of the corner of my eye) on paper deadlines and "tests" of my "knowledge"?
It is a pickle, certainly. maybe off-campus housing? or rejecting school?
School does suck in many aspects. It's built on the idea that your prime motivation is to start with the possibility of failure or a poor grade with your existing interest and motivation, and then disciplining yourself away from a bad grade into a good grade.
School is also a business, college especially so, it's designed to perpetuate itself, so there is no way getting around the influence of the all mighty dollar.
School is also a tool, not a conspiracy tool, but it is a tool for society to aid in the division of labor and filling up the work-place with apt-workers. I believe in the Abolition of Work stuff tentatively and I'm a generalist, so school is counter-productive to my goals. Plus my passions are in my alternative ideas and philosophistry, not these books and academic bricks. Plus I think the instructional mechanisms are whack for me, given how much of an auto-didact I am....
(I'm finishing though, because I have a year left, and because I've situated myself in such a way where I've minimized the issues that bother me.)
Somebody's gotta leave and walk the independent path. Thoreau certainly did, and maybe so will you.
color is navajowhite for compassion and optimism.