November 5, 2012

Moving On

Is blogging holding me back? Is it a way in which I am still clinging to my old academic life? Is it a crutch I am depending on because I am afraid to be in the world on my own? If so, maybe it is time to let go of the crutch and to walk on my own two feet into the new world with philosophy in my heart, and not necessarily as a achievement which I can point to ("There! That blog is what I have achieved in my life!").
Why do I feel such a need to have the blog? At first I told myself it was a way to show that I was not afraid to speak out loud. Now I wonder if it is because I am afraid to be silent. Maybe I am afraid that all the philosophy ideas that I have will remain within me without expression, and will crumble and die away within me if I don't have a format in which I can make them public. But do I cling to the philosophy ideas as a way to escape from the world in front of me? Maybe because I lack the confidence to think that I can be in the world just by myself as I am? Possibly. Very likely.
I am tired of feeling as if my mind has this side project that I have to dedicate a lot of my energy to. And I am tired of wondering if having such a side project is keeping me from unifying my whole being into the present, just where I am. Perhaps this focus on blogging is keeping me from really thinking about and committing to a new career. And perhaps that is keeping me from moving on with my life and growing in new ways such that later philosophy might reenter my life in a fresh and unexpected way.
This much I know: I don't want the rest of my life to be defined by my writing random philosophy posts on a blog, and me telling myself that this is me doing a grand project. I want to grow. I want to experiment. I want to learn new things. I want a good, meaningful job. I want to be grateful for the academic philosophy I learnt and which I have internalized. And I want to be open to new ways in which that internalized knowledge might express itself in my life, without me constantly clinging to that knowledge as if it was a treasure I cannot let go.
Do I have ideas about mind, action, consciousness, philosophy, Wittgenstein, education, multi-culturalism, etc. which are interesting and possibly novel, and which could be appreciated in an academic context? I think so. But even if that is true, does that mean that is the path my life has to take, so that I have to cultivate those ideas and dedicate my life to them? I don't think so. I want more out of my life. Or at least something different. I want not just to understand the mind, but to experience new modes of consciousness. I want not just to have a theory of action, but to act in a way which reflects freedom and confidence. I want the knowledge of mind, action and philosophy to be reflected in my life, in my consciousness, in my very being. I want to see if such a life and such a mode of being produces new knowledge and new forms of awareness which I am not able to even imagine right now. My guess is "yes". That is an experiment, the experiment of my life.

And some of the experiment might have to go uncatalogued and undocumented. Where I let go of what I think I know of the world, and what I can capture in thought and go through the brute processes of change. To be open to the silence and to not writing. To be open to the possibility that if I am meant to write it will happen in my life, and that there is no point in me trying to hold on to writing so much that it threatens to suffocate my very inspiration. And if I don't write in my life, perhaps it is not meant to be. But that does not mean that philosophy has not been a part of my life.
'Philosophy' means many things. Some ways of doing philosophy, such as philosophy of physics or biology or parts of philosophy of mind, most people can't do, since that requires specific scientific knowledge. Some ways of doing philosophy, such as philosophy of literature or art, require a different kind of specific expertise. History of philosophy as well required special knowledge of language or historical expertise. So it is not true that all aspects of philosophy must be available to every person just in virtue of being a person.
But I do think there is one sense of philosophy that can be understood that way. Perhaps this sense of philosophy is not in vogue right now. Or maybe it goes by different names in different communities. But in any case, it is the philosophy I find most interesting. I want the kind of philosophical knowledge that any one can have just in virtue of being a person, and independent of how much they know about academic philosophy or the history of the subject.
Philosophy understood in this way is a practical endeavor of realizing complete peace within oneself. I believe peace is possible in the world only when this kind of practical, everyday philosophy becomes second nature to people, and each person becomes a beacon of peace. The fact that philosophy means different things implies that just being a professional philosopher does not show that a person is living a life of inner peace. One can be a philosopher of physics or metaphysics or law or bioethics, etc., and in one's own life be as unpeaceful as any other person. Professional expertise in philosophy guarantees that there is something one knows, but it doesn't guarantee that one is living a peaceful life of inner fortitude. Well, that is what I am interested in. A life of inner fortitude. Where I can face anything life brings my way, and accept it as the offerings of nature. I want to not just understand human nature. I want to change my human nature into a new, further dimension.
Could it be that a prerequisite for such change is letting go of one's past, and letting go of what one thinks one knows? Possibly. Very likely. To let go even of all of one's favorite ideas which one longed to express in writing and which one wanted to see how they would take shape as they were given a written form? Yes. In fact, to let go precisely of such ideas. The ones which make one think that one already understands the world, and the only work left to do is to transcribe those ideas and to make them public. As if the hard work is already done. No, the hard work is always ahead, and that is the way that growth is ahead.
Blog, you have been a good friend to me these past months. And perhaps I will come back to you sometime later. Maybe in a few days, or maybe in a few years. I don't know. But for now, goodbye. I want to grow in myself, through myself, without putting pressure on myself to express that growth constantly in a public, conceptual form. For I cannot tell if in depending on the publicity of the blog I am depending on the look of the other, as if I cannot grow without such a look. I cannot tell if I am depending on the blog as a way to cling to the past, when in fact to grow I have to let go of the past and move further into a new future. That is what I want to explore.

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