Thursday, January 20, 2011

Expressing My Emotions, Exploring My Emotions, Structuring My Reading, Structuring My Learning

I'm still doing all kinds of work on this big essay tonight. I've actually made quite a lot of progress tonight. I've written about 10 pages since 7:30 or so.

Good stuff. Like to be making progress. I'll be posting the next section of the essay on here tonight. No doubt.

But I wanted to reflect.

For a while I was too wrapped up in the writing itself. I was concerned with summarizing the content and explaining why it is useful. All concerned and wrapped up with the abstractions themselves, with the structure of the abstractions themselves.

But that isn't the point. The point is two other things. First, the emotions that I'm feeling that led me to take on this writing project in the first place. And second, the process and the way the process structures my learning.

As for my emotions, they are generally about feelings of helplessness. I have told many people that I don't feel very free. I feel quite determined, quite trapped. And especially since I started working full time on September 7th 2010 I have noticed how free I am not. My time is occupied by work. I'm pulled towards feelings of monotony and repetition. I love my job and the people I work with. I have such a fun time at work. But at the same time I know that it is this routine that has the potential to pull me in, to rob me of my sense of nuance and novelty.

I try to live my life like a remix. Everyday I do many of the same things. I see the 'same' people, I make the 'same' drinks, I toast the 'same' bagels. But I have to wake up in the morning and feel like Ludacris and just go 'REEEEEEMIXXXXXX'. Cause sure, I'm doing the same thing, but it is different. So different.

I put the word 'same' in ironic quotation marks about because the truth is that they are not the same. They are different. Every day me and my co-workers are different people. Everyday I am making new drinks. Every day I am toasting new bagels. They are different.

But why think of them as the same? Because they are the same conceptually. Because I have labels for things and those labels rob them of their novelty, their originality. Concepts are to be overcome. They rob of us things. This is the violence of language that Zizek speaks of. It is the violence of labels.

So this project, despite its abstractness, is about me trying to maintain my sense of novelty and expressive while the world around me collapses into routine and perceived monotony. I won't have that. Not for a single fucking minute. It is always different. And that is all there is to it. This project is here to remind me of how everyday is different and how important it is for me to express myself everyday. I refuse to generalize about my life. I will particularize until I die. Unless generalization is useful, which of course it is. But whatever, I won't be pulled down by monotony.

And as for the second point, this project also structures my learning. It does this in two ways. First, it gives me a direction to take my reading in. Right now I am taking my reading in an explicitly political direction. I am doing this because I am preparing myself to write Part IV and Part V of this AZI essay. It makes me curious about books like Aesthetics And Politics which I am waiting for. It structures my reading and my thinking. Of course there is room for movement, but it gives me things to think about.

Second, it structures the questions I'm asking. It gives me questions to contemplate, gives me a direction for my thinking. In Part I I was asking questions like 'What is Collingwood's definition of art? What is the imagination? What is expression?' Part II, 'Why does this matter?' Part III 'How can I live an artistic life'? So on.

It gives me a structure for my questions. I am forcing myself to grapple with certain questions.

Who knows what it will amount to. The process is enough for now. And for a little bit I lost confidence in the value of the process.

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