Friday, November 19, 2010

Weekly Summary 11/12/10 - 11/18/10 and Some Bad News

This week started out in a buzz of productivity and then slowly shifted away from my studies for the sake of other pursuits. This week I completed a chapter of The Journals of Ayn Rand and The Logical Leap, completing nine conceptual exercises for the latter, and I neglected Good Calories, Bad Calories out of sheer laziness. The most insightful thing I've learned is that I should do TLL in installments, as the information dense reading taxes my attention span and can hold it for only so long, so I should strive to do only as much as I can at one time and to either switch to another activity or replenish myself. I am pleased by the content of my efforts, though certainly could do better to increase the quantity. In truth, I'm dissatisfied with my mode of studying, and I'll explain why a little later. First some bad news.

I thought this would be a generally fantastic week since I thought I would finally set in motion the gears that would eventually lead to my Project being completed -- but no. It turns out that despite my willingness to implement my Project and my acceptance of the risks entailed by getting it done early, it seems that my means might be entirely prohibited to me, so despite my desire to act I cannot. I did some discussing about and it turns out that my means probably won't be accepted and so I am stuck again. At first I faced this barrier with a sense of indifference, but I admit that when it finally sunk in it mildly depressed me. I wanted to act -- it may just not be possible. I thought I had more direct control, but apparently not.

To the greatest of misfortunes, this means that I once again cannot give an approximate end-date to this effort. It might even go beyond the one-year mark, which I have desperately been hoping it wouldn't. It's disgusting to think I've spent so many months on this piddly endeavor when I could have been doing other, more valuable things. In fact, I think I'd be doing exemplary if it weren't for the Circumstance's hinderment in the past. The worst part is that the Circumstance doesn't need to necessarily be a problem, but that it is is what has caused me to act to solve it. Such wasted time, in rare moments, makes me envious of other people who have no such Circumstance to deal with, and I feel guilty for feeling such emotions. I do wish I could tell you more in depth, but I cannot! The cumbersome secrets must continue.

There are measures being taken to remedy this, but the wisdom and degree of their effectiveness are questionable. More thinking is still needing to be done, but I think observing how the independent variables holding me up are acting is pretty much the best I can do. The last thing I want this to come to is mere idle waiting. As long as I can do something I'm fine, but having to wait for things to happen would be terrible. I've always been one to say that I'd prefer to make someone wait rather than be the one waiting.

What all this means is that things are pretty much going back to the way they were: My gung-ho is wasted. Aside from waiting, all I can really do is continue to self-improve, study, and implement some alternate means for my Project if my observations prove that my current independent variables are inadequate.

What I dislike most is the impact the Circumstance has had on my intellect, which leads me to my current dissatisfaction with my studies. Well over a year ago I had myself in what I considered a near-ideal mental state, where my concentration was strong, my mind incredibly active and engaged, and I had a positive emotional attachment to knowledge and studying. I remember the days in which I either recreated for too long or had otherwise been unwisely away from my studies, as my brain would feel hungry as if it were an animal that hadn't been fed. To borrow a metaphor from Sherlock Holmes, my mind was similar to that of an active motor without an automobile body to take it anywhere: Left alone, it racks itself to pieces in one place.

I also loved how I felt when I got proper stimulation. I remember watching an episodes of Mythbusters once where my brain throbbed with erotic anticipation of the content it was about to receive. My life back then was so emphasized on the mind that it had a deep impact on my physical sensations and emotions. I have still retained many of these attributes in their essentials, but nowhere near the degree I had achieved back then. The Circumstance was present throughout the entire time of that period, but back then I was still ignorant of the Circumstance's true impact and so maintained a weak awareness of it. As the Circumstance continued to assert itself, however, I became more and more aware of it, eventually to the point that I became obsessed with it and couldn't concentrate on my studies at all and soon shelved my study for a few months in trade for dedication to the Project. Even as I have resumed my studies I continue to be distracted by the Circumstance, even when it isn't actively distracting. In the periods in when it should happen to not be asserting itself I am loath to get too absorbed in my studies for fear of interruption or, at worst, because of a sense of hopelessness or disinterest in my efforts. I still haven't been able to reclaim the state I had achieved before, and now I frankly feel like my overall intelligence has actually weakened. Each day that passes with the Circumstance is another day in which the fullest dedication to my mind lacks its fullest potential.

I would love nothing more than to not only reattain this near ideal state, but to intensify and enhance it even further beyond that, pushing myself to my absolute limits. I would love to have days where the only thing that stops my mental activity is brain exhaustion, not a weak attention span, inward distraction, or environmental situation. I would love to heighten even more the pleasure I get from contemplation and to nurture an immense love for the learning process. Every day I would test my mental abilities to the max, and the only days off from intense thinking would only be when my brain is entirely fried and unable to summon more energy. That's the ideal for me! It'd take a lot of work to reach that, but how powerful an individual I would be! That is my most anticipated aspiration for when this Project is finished.

I'm dissatisfied with my studies now not only because I feel I can't reach my full potential in engagement (concentration and thinking) and learning, but also because I feel that my current mode of studying is either impotent or not enough attached to the material aspects of my life. Also due to the Circumstance, there's a significant hold as to when I can implement my learning, as my finances are current mostly restricted to combating the Circumstance. I can't, for example, run right out to buy ingredients to try a new cooking technique I've learned. I clearly need to rethink how I'm going about my study endeavors.

Though I may only be making excuses. The Circumstance hasn't been flaring up as much as it has in the past, and there's reasonable evidence that it may continue to weaken in the future. It won't entirely disappear, but maybe I should take advantage of its growing impotence by rethinking and restructuring my studies. While it may seem natural to add "reintensify" to that to-do list, I don't think that's fully possible since the Circumstance prevents certain methods of study I'd like to employ. I think I'll dedicate a separate blog post about my study conundrums and possible solutions. Perhaps part of the root of the problem is not that I'm making my studies largely irrelevant to the material portions of my life, but that my studies aren't connected to the total of my life. Maybe I need to go through an overall remodeling in which I develop myself more into a man of thought and action, so that I'm always implementing my thinking in the realm of action. A train of thought to write about next week.

My goals for this upcoming week are to complete one of each study subject and to entertain and try to solve the problems currently affecting my mode of study. I know these past weeks have been lame in regards to studying, but at least I can be glad to say that it's now due to lack of initiative -- something entirely in my control -- rather than an emotional conflict. In the background to these efforts I'll also be thinking about what can be done to solve the current problems with my Project and see how I can best influence the independent variables to my favor. The setbacks to my Project may have been enough to leave me mildly depressed for an hour or so, but my resolve hasn't been harmed in the slightest; just a temporary demotivation, that's all. The ideal is still in my mind and is eternally worthy of striving for.

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