I think I am beginning to understand existentialism. I think I have always understood existentialism.
"To think is one thing, to exist is another," said Kirkegaard. I can think and say many things about myself—"I am a teacher, I am a man, I am an American, I am in love, I prefer chocolate to vanilla." Yet when I am done talking and thinking about myself, there is one thing remaining that cannot be thought—MY EXISTENCE, which is a "surd" (an irrational reside). I cannot think it, rather I must live it.—Donald Palmer, Looking at Philosophy
That said, what does an existentialist Internet quiz look like?
Since pocket notebooks are all too suceptible to washing machines (trust me), I'm recording a few observations here as well.
- I have this feeling like the past four years, since Dec. 2000 - Feb. 2001 til the present have been a waking dream. Last month's drive to Cornell was a fevered grasp at lucidity—for control. And I've just this past week been rubbing the sleep from my eyes. And now I've awakened, the dreamer.
- Learning to lucid dream is like learning to lucid wake. I can take the things I used to learn to lucid dream to learn to gain lucid control of my wake state. I can flip lightswitches, and I can leave myself little notes on reality (Post-It™ Hypnotic Suggestions). There is no need to be a cog in the machine. By following that same path, I can be a Knight of Faith; a man, as dictated by Kirkegaard, who believes the impossible and then attempts it. There is can be no impossible dream without the impossible dreamer, and nothing was ever proved possible by acceding to the preconceptions of possible. They were proved possible by a belief in the impossible.
- If I fail, and this is only a dream, then I have lost nothing. But if I succeed and this is not a dream, then I will have lived and not merely contemplated life.
- I hope this is not temporary. There is a tendency to embrace ideals for the moment and then discard them when they become inconvenient. If I reject fear and despair and boredom as manmade concepts manufactured to fence us off from life, expect them to stay discarded. Through the use of signifiers in the dream state, one can keep the mind from wandering. Similarly, by holding on to the present, the Holy Moment, and the underlying truth that nothing seperates us from the abyss, from oblivion, from infinity; I hope to retain my irrational faith.
- To keep the abyss close, I focus on the lifeless and empty clothes in my father's closet. I picked this up from the book I'm reading on diaries, in the discussion of records belonging to the dead. You may invest your existence in things, material goods, electronic data; but when that is lost, you'll find it is non-transferrable. I should choose instead to invest in myself so that I may at any time simply walk (or float) away and be no poorer. If I died tomorrow, would any of my stuff miss me? Why should the opposite be the case?
( Wake UpCollapse )