Friday, October 8, 2010


It's happening again: I'm getting so distracted with thoughts about the Circumstance that I've been unable to concentrate on little else. This week I've been largely unproductive due to such distractions and have been neglecting my to-do lists big time. It's like a replay of what paralyzed me originally and prevented me from moving any further in my studies, which inspired me to take up the Project to begin with. Why is this happening again? More importantly, why do I fluctuate in my ability to control my thought processes? One day I'm able to maintain focus on my goals perfectly fine, and then the next day I might be absolutely obsessed with what's bothering me about the Circumstance, thereby preventing me from having thoughts about little else.

A long time ago I've realized that this has to do with my repressing my emotions. This Circumstance cannot be dealt with successfully except through the Project I'm currently engaged in, and my Project is stuck in one position right now since I don't have sufficient monetary funds to get it through the final stage, so in the meanwhile I have to continue dealing with the Circumstance. I can't truly acknowledge the Circumstance since it might make it worse, and I'm sorry about being super vague about that but it's necessary since anything more specific might reveal the nature of my Project to the people I don't want knowing about it, so I'll have to ask for your faith just this once. Additionally, I've been dealing with this Circumstance all my life and am absolutely savage with anticipation to squashing it once and for all and finally being able to pursue my fullest happiness. Since I only have one fool-proof method for dealing with the Circumstance permanently, I don't know how to best cope with it in the meanwhile, so I end up repressing my emotions even though I know it's bad and that I shouldn't do it. It seems like it's almost unavoidable.

I think my premises as an Objectivist are coming to surface in this issue. I believe Ayn Rand has once stated that Objectivism is the most dangerous philosophy to follow. This is because of the impact on one's psychology Objectivism will have after having accepted it: Once you believe Objectivism is true, or at least portions of it, it will cause great psychological discomfort/pain to act within contradiction to those beliefs. To use a practically universal analogy, try and project how you'd feel if you were to commit a murder. If, like most people, you believe that murder is one of the greatest evils you can possibly commit, then you can understand how it would be psychologically catastrophic to commit such a horrible act while still holding onto that moral evaluation. Degrees and contexts of difference are important here, but the principle is that acting in contradiction to one's truly held beliefs -- to be distinguished from mere "professed" beliefs -- will cause psychological damage. In my case, I know that repression is a very unhealthy thing to do and thus should not be done, but given the situation I'm seemingly unable to avoid doing it, so I'm having this fight with my premises in which my beliefs encourage me to simply relieve the emotional pressure and the situation encourages me to contain it. A vicious circle.

I've been struggling with this for months and months and months. I just don't seem to be able to make any headway on completely curing my problem of dwelling on the Circumstance while it's still in my life. This is probably the only self-improvement venture I've so far been unable to succeed in despite consistent effort. This is the crux of my emotional discontent right now. I'm absolutely open to solutions in this regards, but I've tried what I could.

One thing that I haven't tried, however, is rubberducking in this regard. As you can recall, I've incorporated into my studies the practice of rubberducking, which is the practice of talking to an inanimate object in order to assist with the thinking process. I've undertaken to talking to my Bowser bobblehead statue, and it's been working wonders with my thought processes.

On a whim I tried telling it my problems with the Circumstance. On that particular day I had been thinking about the Circumstance for hours and hours and hours, seemingly unable to get rid of those particular thoughts. My studies slowed to a stop. Just fifteen or so minutes, however, of telling this statue of what ails me proceeded to clear my mind entirely and allow me to continue with my day. It made me feel entirely at peace. I don't know why it worked so well, but it did; perhaps the act of talking is sufficient for relieving the pressure of repressions? I hope so.

To see if rubberducking can truly be used to help in this fashion, I'll be making it a goal to do this type of talking regularly. I know I've already thrown a seemingly countless number of self-improvement goals out there, but mental health is primary. I can think of no better goal to pursue at this moment other than my Project; it entails the deepest depth of my well-being while I'm still impacted by the Circumstance. We'll see how it goes.

No matter what my troubles are or how set back I am, I'm determined to see things through.

1 comment:

  1. One of the reasons I've been watching your blog (besides that it's good :-) is that I've been hoping you would have some insight into this problem, because I've been struggling with it too. I have a sort of a circumstance too; and even without knowing the particulars of yours, I can be reasonably sure that mine is superficially different but fundamentally the same.

    I think some degree of obsession is to be expected. It's nature's way of motivating us to solve the contradiction, as you pointed out, but the subconscious can take it too far. I think fluctuation happens because, as you probably have seen in other areas, progress isn't linear--it surges ahead by three steps, then falls behind by one or two, and so on. I agree that it is a Catch-22 situation, at least in the beginning; but little gains add up, and in turn fuel subsequent gains.

    The most maddening thing for me is when my thinking is disrupted, not by competing thoughts, but by a foggy, panicked mental state that impedes all thought. It comes with psychosomatic symptoms (muscle tension, shortness of breath, teeth gnashing, sleep disruptions) that cause physical pain and perpetuate the cycle. Part of this is from my long illness (which is a big part of my analogous circumstance), and part of it is emotional. Relaxation exercises don't solve it, but they help.

    The other thing that I've been finding helpful recently is introspective journaling. It's similar to what you're doing, plus it allows me to go back over things later. I've also been devouring everything I can find and afford by Objectivist psychologists (Dr. Kenner, Dr. Hurd, and Dr. Locke) on the topic of introspection. I haven't progressed much so far beyond just learning how to do it, but I'm at least getting the framework in place.

    Thanks for the validation that this issue should take top priority. I've felt guilty about my other goals being put aside while I work on this, but if I don't the other stuff doesn't get done anyway.

    Good luck.


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