mindgrope thinks

What Now?, 2001/09/04:16:26

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Meaning of Life
Life is limited, which is frustrating but perhaps necessary. If it was not limited, urgency might dissipate and motivation might be thin on the ground. My problem seems to be that life is limited, fairly bursting with urgency, and motivation is, nonetheless, an endangered species, lurking among the shady burdocks of my subconscious, spotted only at odd intervals under exotic circumstances, such as an eclipse, the collapse of the Yen, or imminent emotional ruin.

I used to be motivated, a beaver on speed. I once painted entire theatrical sets then acted the lead; led the student government to a benevolent regime of "cool" dance themes and dolphin-safe tuna; made curious things with paints and scissors late into the crickety Iowa nights; sang with gusto for multiple choirs; wrote stories about retards and dashed hopes; rhymed 'love', 'dove', 'glove' and 'above' with alarming regularity; crawled stealthily from my bedroom window in order to capture on film the singular play of chemical streetlight filtering through the August corn behind the Burger King; and so on.

Mornings were an intimation of my mature lethargy. I'd awaken with a bludgeoned feeling, but this would quickly abate as I'd be overtaken by the exciting prospects of not listening in French class (despite being French Club co-President)while writing a manifesto for lovers of flannel, or ignoring Mr. Rozell, the algebra teacher, by composing in graphite a composite portrait of the four girls who most deserved my love.

These days, the bludgeoned feeling rarely lifts. Disappointment is part of it, and loss. One does get bludgeoned now and then. The real problem is, more than anything else, a kind of paralysis involving the adultish judgment that one ought to specialize and do some one thing well married to a stiff childish aversion to the reality of foregone alternatives.

If one is an old-fashioned bohemian, who esteems beauty, truth, freedom and love above all, one must despise choosing the pursuit of truth over beauty. Yet one equally loathes the pathetic ineffectuality of the dilletante. Do I choose to be a bad philosopher AND a bad painter, disgusted at all that badness? Or do I choose to be a good philosopher, and suffer from the incessant panging pressure of jammed creative hydraulics? There are surely transcendent options, but I'm unable.

The overall effect is a feeling that something must be done, and quickly, but that there is nothing in particular really worth doing. Well, at least I have my teeth.
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