Monday, 25 May 2009

Practicality vs. Emotion

I'm not sure how much of this I've mentioned previously - though it probably doesn't matter, considering most likely you do not actually have all of this memorized - but for the past few years I have been living in a sort of state of enforced autism.

It started as an angry, confused reaction to the surrounding groups' behaviour scaring, hurting, and disappointing me, and continued for the same reasons, but under the guise of practicality. Where before I had sterilized my behaviour of emotion because it made me more vulnerable, an easier target, and people weren't worth it, I now stumbled through life like a soulless droid because I discovered that I could, it made everything much easier - at least in any immediate way - and seemed on the whole a more "practical" way of approaching things.

So yeah, I call bullshit. While being dead outside might make some specific things mildly easier, it doesn't justify itself in the long run, "practicality"-wise, simply for the fact that if it did, many, many more people would be doing it - and not just the neurologically inclined. No, the benefit of leading a diluted social existence is that it prevents you from having to actually deal with other human beings.

I am no longer stupid enough to think that personal vulnerability and people's foibles constitute a good enough reason to refrain from living life, but I'm still sufficiently emotionally stunted to feel they do most of the time. And I still use "practicality" as a rational pretext for this kind of diseased thinking. I mean, you can mathematize till the cows come home but who'd give a shit? Only the people who feel enough to care.

So that's what I'm trying to do lately. Let go a bit of the practical/rational/anal absolute fucking control over everything and have a little more faith in myself and what I'm doing and trust in people and my instincts.

The thing is, about this process, that it's very difficult to measure. Only today it occurred to me that this is in the very nature of what I'm trying to effect. It's not measured and calculated - it's done and you hope that it's done enough. Not every action has to be immediately hermetically sealed if you have faith in the general spirit of what you are trying to do.

What's occasioned this was an in retrospect rather amusing meeting with the psychologist where I tried to communicate my wish to move from a practically-minded approach to these meetings to a more emotionally-based one, all the while being frustrated by the fact that my emotionally-motivated blabbering (confusion, specifically) seemed to render the attempt impractical. It was he who suggested you can't take a practical approach to reducing practicalness. Good point. What I can practically do is instruct myself to just chill out a little. Have a little faith and don't feel that the onus is on you to complete everything you're immediately doing as flawlessly and completely as possible. You need to put your heart into it; not your sharpened critical faculties.

I'll be surprised if anybody understands the last bit of that last paragraph, but that's the third consecutive one I'm closing with gushings about faith. So, in the hope I get the message, I will conclude.

Have a vaguely related awesome song from an awesome movie:


  1. Saying that closing off the world is a matter of practicality isn't stupid, just a rationalization. Saying that "chilling out" is practical is also a rationalization- you "chill out" when you feel you don't have anything worthwhile to be doing, and you certainly don't achieve any practical goals by it. You want to chill out, chill out. You want to close off the world, close off the world. Just don't think you're being idealistic or clever or something like that for doing it.

    Now I'm really curious about what sort of social environment led you to push people away. Will there be a post about that?

  2. What stupidity and rationalization have in common is that they're wrong. Perhaps that would be a more objective word. I didn't mean to say that "chilling out" is practical - just that reminding myself to do it is something I can do in practice - though more than anything I was just playing with words there.
    The idea is to be far less compulsively practically oriented and to be a little more emotionally motivated. You can call this doing what you want, and you'd be right, but it's also a little bit more than that - it seems like it's a basic human need I've been trying for too long to ignore. Even if you wanted to close off the world, it would be the wrong move. I don't think it's humanly possible. Or tolerable, in any case.

    As for that social history - to be honest, I doubt it. I don't really know. It seems like it was a mix of too many things many of which I don't yet have any real understanding of. What I do remember doesn't seem enough. I don't think there was anything especially unusual about the environment itself.

  3. Nevertheless, I'm very interested to hear your account of it. You may surprise yourself with how much you have to say about it.

  4. I couldn't agree with you more. I bet that being a Vulcan appealed to many more people of our times than we suspect, and bottling them up only means they come out all unprepared and much more potent when we finally acknowledge and loose them.
    For you guys you call handling this whole surge 'chilling out'. Right here there's another phrase for it: 'Don't think so much'.
    You write really well, my friend. I look forward to more visits here. :)