“Probably, indeed, the larger part of the labor of an author in composing his work is critical labor; the labor of sifting, combining, constructing, expunging, correcting, testing: this frightful toil is as much critical as creative. I maintain even that the criticism employed by a trained and skilled writer on his own work is the most vital, the highest kind of criticism; and. . .that some creative writers are superior to others solely because their critical faculty is superior.” T.S. Elliot
Almost 4 weeks that I am in San Diego now. I think that my friends think that I am on vacation. When I will return, people will ask me “What have you been doing in all this time?”. So, to decrease any potential jealousy: This is not vacation. I am preparing a Grad School application. I am using my non-money-making time right now to prepare another future. On a daily basis, I wake up at 6am and about 1.5h later, take the car to go up north to UCSD. There the daily quest for a parking spot comes to a new episode. Some can be short and I find myself at around 9am in a class or an office at Warren College. I chose to audit two classes. The profs are accommodating and encouraging. They do not expect people who audit to meet all class requirements. I will write about my class experiences in a different post.
At Warren college, I work on my statement of purpose or the GRE exam. This has taken most of my time up until this point. Given the fact that I would have had the exam already last Friday and that I rescheduled it to tomorrow, why am I sitting here, writing a blog post while I would actually have to continue preparing? The obvious answer is: procrastination. The other answer is: distance. I had a series of small breakdowns during the last days. The reasons are manifold. I will certainly write another blog post about that. One is very strong and that is, of course, the fear to fail. The fear to ruin my application by performing very badly. Fear is usually like this: you deal with a topic over and over. Then you become more aware of the topic. You deal with an exam. The more you deal with an exam, the more it makes you aware that you can totally nail it – or totally not. In short: I started to panic. And stopped focusing. Panic and focus only go well together for people like Jason Bourne. And since I do not have 5 different passports and at least as many identities, today I thought, start focusing again on the one I have. Focus and distance are close to each other.
This little brain, in this skull, neuroscientifically flexible to achieve all sorts of states, among them focus and non-focus, helas!, and everything in between. Where am I right now? I shrug. Again. Loosing the ability to judge myself, is that as sign of a non-focus state or a focus state or something in between? If I cared, I wouldn’t shrug my shoulders.
I’ve come along a way of meticulous decision making, reasoning, calculating the odds as a usual user of a bounded rationality would do – and end up with results that the same user will get. Something between experience, thus prediction, and the unforeseeable unlikely future. Yes, I know, computers can do better. Next time, I’ll ask one for support. What I missed to process though in my past in order to get good data for a prediction is just unfolding on this continuum between the focus and the non-focus. I predicted growth, materialistic growth, mental stability growth, self esteem growth, independency growth, literate growth, option control growth, letting go ability growth. Financial bubbles burst, so do buckets of unprocessed thoughts when all they mean to do is lead to growth. Splash.
So now what? Well someone has to clean up this mess. One thing I do not shrug my shoulders upon. Its the only, fucking only, truth that catches my attention (the German idiom captures that actually more tangible: it pierces my eye!). I didn’t come to see and to triumph, from this viewpoint, I came to see that time carries material, and also growth. I came to see that time carries decay, and also new space.
The valley has been dry, long and desperately silent. Going back and back and back eventually might sum up into what comes next. The pending state of being in a (US) state really has a huge impact on perceiving the steps between the one back and the other as a torture. No, I have not wasted my time but I am tired of sorting things out, hesitating, thinking. I know, I have always been and then I found something to step on, to start with, to step forward until the thoughts came back. I revised this pattern and instead of starting something new again, I decided this time to take up the old aims, ideas and projects and go a little further. Like when you almost ran a half marathon and stopped just before you were able to. Now you have to start pretty much from the beginning but the learning curve will be a lot denser and eventually lead to a level that can be tagged as intermediate. No absolute beginner, nevermore!
Reflections about being does not exclusively refer to my being (Je pense donc je suis, which is not logic but fine for the moment) nor to being a human being amongst others. Although it may be a part of what there is to mention and to reflect on, the most current thought and observation that is crying for attention seems to me the matter of context. I personally feel being drowned by the amount of information I can access every day and which I maybe should have skipped because there are so many others waiting in the pipeline. How can you still extablish connections between political deciscion and analyze art if you constantly need to follow the newest news while you are lacking substanial background information? Honestly, I do not know how to solve this, I know, tons of books and articles have been published on this topic (something like “smart information management”) and they all probably have better or worse suggestions. I decided not to read these because I anyways tend to possess a book for every problem and end up in another information stuck. Since the best way to learn is to do it yourself, the even better way probably is the way without manual. At least in this context.
I just walked to Martha & Bros. to grab a beverage which will guide me through the next hours of preparation. It is a three minutes walk from the place where I am staying and honestly, it is mostly the unplanned and short interruptions that make your mind erupting the best thoughts and pictures and even allegories. And while this might have been thought already a thousand of times and maybe written down 999 times and we all repeat each other – we don”t. The things you create may seem similar to what someone else already has been doing before (and you ask yourself: why the hell should I start doing something that others have done before, too? That is stupid copying and maybe even fraud). But: the things you create are also made by the audience you adress it to, by those, who wear, eat, read and talk about it. Give this fact a thought: it is not the thing itself but the character of its creator who shapes the value of the thing. Don’t expect to being succesful though but neither rule it out.