Swans Commentary, the online political and literary site, accepted my review of the movie “Slumdog Millionaire.” I’ve been reading and excited about Slavoj Zizek’s writings and I’ve been trying to add to my blog more. These events caused a regression to a problematic psychological approach to living which I became conscious of and tried to change.
I described the problematic psychological approach in a couple of posts in October of 2005. I was living along a spectrum whose two poles were “being an intellectual somebody” and “being an intellectual nobody.” The desired goal was to “be an intellectual somebody” and the feared failure was to “be an intellectual nobody.” The value of my life was determined along that spectrum.
This pathological spectrum is opposed by an alternative approach to life in which I try to “be myself” through following my desires. In the former approach, I imagine an external scale of recognition and rate myself according to it, in the latter approach, I follow my inner desires, interests, and what I “feel like doing.” Instead of being a split person who projects a self-judgment outside myself and then tries to live up to it, I look inward first to find the desires in the moment and then act motivated with their energy.
Recently I found myself at the computer on a day off trying to find something to do but not knowing what to do. I wanted to write or read something but didn’t know what. I’ve had enough experience with such states to know that, when they occur, I need to stop what I’m doing and just sit and do nothing. After sitting for a moment I saw that behind the pressured search for something to do was the repeated thought: “what should I do now, what should I do now…” I realized that with the recent excitements stated above, I was getting ahead myself. The desire to do things had turned into the belief that I “should” do things and so I needed to find things to do. Instead of recognizing and following desire, I was being directed by the pressure to “keep it up,” to “find something creative to do,” to find what I “should do now.” To manufacture the kind of life that I imagined I should be living. That “should” is maintained by a distance from myself. “Should” implies a model and rule to follow, some image to live up to; a molding of myself in its image. Opposed to this is the arising from within of desire: “feeling like” doing this or that and then pursing it; having an inclination to do this or that.
Realizing this seemed interesting so I felt motivated to write it down and it became what I did next, which is this piece.