Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sorry I'm Venting

During this year, I've been pushed to do way more research into minute things than ever before. This is because I've had to do a lot of writing, and I have to have good information to back-up everything I write down. More often than not, this is very hard, because I can't get to the right information.

I want to write this blog about a dilemma that I've found within myself: how internal thoughts not only translate to physical actions, but also the relationship or disconnect between how a person thinks others think of him and how people actually think of him, and how that uninformed internal voice blocks a person from opportunities. A good example is when I was a freshman and new to the school, I automatically told myself that everyone already had their friends, and that I wasn't who anyone would want as a friend. And now, as a junior, I can see that I was not only mistaken, but that I've been ridiculously rude to people around me because my internal mindset convinced me that I wasn't enough to be friends with them. With a little more courage or confindence, I could have had plenty of friends, but I didn't, and I don't.

My internal voice was subduing my external possibilities. So I tried to research this concept, and came up in a field of philosophy and psychology I couldn't hope to understand. There is one guy, Franz Brentano, who somewhat mapped this relationship between the internal and external forces in his concept of intentionality. He basically says, in much more eloquent words, that our thoughts have objects that they are directed toward. Our thoughts have content, as he said: "Every mental phenomenon includes something as object within itself, although they do not all do so in the same way. In presentation something is presented, in judgement something is affirmed or denied, in love loved, in hate hated, in desire desired and so on." My thoughts that I was sub-par to all the other 14 year olds around me led me to create content that influenced my external world poorly. This idea of intentionality connects to my mind-body problem, in that the content I create in my head is sometimes completely unfounded in the external world.

But I'm not trying to write a blog about how sad I am that I don't have thousands of friends, and I can't find much more scientific words to label this dilemma smartly. In Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami, Nakata and the truck driver are  searching for the "entrance stone" in Takamatsu, but they (like me) can't find the information they need. I'm only half-way through the book, so maybe they find in the coming chapters, but in chapter 26, the scene where Hoshino scours the library for information of the entrance stone, "But what he really wanted -- a decription of this entrance stone -- was nowhere to be found" (Murakami 259). I need to hone my researching skills, because I have so much to say and I can't find the smart labels to explain what I'm thinking. And that problem is exactly what creates pointlessly frazzled blogs like this one.

Perhaps I am in a good place though, because even if questions aren't answered, asking them is a better alternative than not seeing that there are questions to be asked.

1 comment:

  1. You are pointing in so many directions in this blog, and I love it. In your writing, I can hear this place that you are in, that I've been in before and that I'm in right now again: it's like I'm standing at the center of something big. I can see the pieces of it sort of floating around me everywhere I look. I read something, and I'm all like "yeah, that fits, too." And I go out on this quest for it, but since I don't know what it is, I just sort of flail around intellectually, looking everywhere at once.

    It can be frustrating, but it is also wonderful, because in my experience you probably really ARE on the brink of some extremely potent idea(s). The last time I was in an intellectual frenzy like the one I feel I'm entering, I was in grad school, and I came up with some tentative answers then, but the project I am in now is clearly STILL THAT PROJECT in a whole lot of ways.

    My problem now is: I don't write it all down. In grad school, I created structures for myself to keep track of all these ideas. And I was forced (in writing assignments) to do the hard work of SYNTHESIS. Of sifting through these ideas and putting them into a coherent order.

    A blog is a great place to begin working out these ideas, just as you have here! Feel free to use this space for yourself (not just for me), or create a separate space to begin the process. And I'll be happy to share with you what has worked for me vis a vis research processes. You might also need to acknowledge the possibility that you won't find what you're trying to say "out there somewhere" because you might be the first person really trying to say this particular thing. In that case, the project becomes a question of assemblage and synthesis.

    I can't promise that you'll end up with a lot of "answers" from Murakami. He's more interested in inspiring this sort of wonder than in resolving it.