Having Been Human
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Sun May 6 17:37:34 2012
Identity and Layers

Recently I've been thinking a lot about a dynamic that's long been at play in my life; when I'm lonely, I'm most productive at philosophy and thought and it feels like my head is the clearest. Having plenty of time and nobody else's spoken words or body language to think about leaves my head quite free to ponder the theoretical, and so I tend to be very mentally productive. Unfortunately, this also is living with the safety net off; emotionally these times are very rough for me. When I have friends and ideally am not single, I'm more easily distracted with the people around me. Maybe ideally I'd have some kind of cycle (weekly? monthly? I'm not sure how long it takes to transition between those mental places; always been too distracted with the circumstances of the shift both ways to pay attention) where I'd come up for air and then dive back into solitude? Or maybe I'll just hopefully deal with not having the ease of deep thoughts and actually live a healthy happy non-lonely life someday.

I've also been thinking about the layers of self that make human interaction, or even making reasonable life decisions, difficult. I was raised in a certain kind of upper-crust, wealth-and-status-are-important way, and that's still internalised in deep ways, while the comparitively recent (late college and the years since) shift towards an academic knowledge-and-expertise-are-important intuitions is more part of my mind than my soul (pardon the metaphor). The cosmopolitan, art-and-culture-and-humanity-loving part is also a later addition; the layers of me don't really agree that well. When I see the upper crust of society with privilege and nice clothes and power, parts of me go to war with each other; I still have a gut attraction to that, and an intellectual distrust; passing the elite eating spots in NYC is a weird experience. There are also conflicts in my socialism, even between that and my academic leanings. Partly resolved in that I hope to provide the cultural and economic opportunities and nudges to hopefully make everyone the "overeducated" academic sorts I love, but there are still twinges when I swat at the postmodernist flies who reject the privilege of the learned using the best tools we have available to study culture and rejecting self-narrative as authoritative (making it instead just "data"). Even the idea of moving from my (relatively poor, unintellectual, dull) current neighbourhood in Brooklyn to Williamsburgh or LIC or somewhere else where people are younger and seem moderately more intellectually alive is something I don't think I'l be able to do without some guilt; am I giving up on a neighbourhood? Shouldn't I try to engage with people locally to see if I can make the neighbourhood more intellectual rather than giving up on it?

But in the end, I am still exhausted with dragging myself all over the place and not finding company. I know I'm complicated and full of weird inner tensions because of the odd paths I keep taking through life; emotionally I'm spread too thin to do more than to try to find a place for myself rather than make one for myself. If I had emotional support of any significant amount, I would have more flexibility on this front.