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On emotion

This morning in Computer Science lecture, we used our cell phones to demonstrate the way web applications can be queried by SMS. And in the simplest yet most terrible of possible mistakes, I left my iPhone somewhere in lecture. Six hundred dollars, quite likely down the drain. Money that I spent months saving. A device that, even for the incomplete way in which I mated it to my daily life’s workflow, completely changed it.

There’s nothing to do but wait and see if my e-mail to the course staff will produce any fruit, if any of my 296 classmates deem it a worthwhile thing to do to return so expensive a device to its owner. I hesitate to deactivate it and report it stolen in the hope that someone will call one of my recent numbers and try to make contact. There’s absolutely no other way to palliate the situation, and yet I worry.

Anxiety is proof positive that the evolution of the human nervous system lags far behind the logical, rational veneer that education and modern societal norms impose on us. Ex ante, for sure, it can give us that extra edge we need to complete an important task looming on the horizon, or the necessary awareness of our own impotence and ignorance to interface with the unknown. But what can it do after the fact? What does it accomplish?

Well, it makes one miss one’s Dutch class, at least. Having checked the lecture hall not five minutes after I left it, a reasonably thorough search turned up nothing; I felt compelled to try again after Latin composition was over. And at 12:15, when one is already feeling unprepared for what is by all accounts a more challenging language class than anticipated, anxiety doesn’t offer a lot of incentive to going. It starts downward spirals.

Fundamentally, it helps to inhibit rational prioritization of problems — most of these “lizard brain”-type emotions do, really. And it’s on occasions like these that I wish I could patch the ol’ firmware to eradicate such contradictions in interest and feeling. It’s legitimate to claim that doing so would rob us of many of life’s irrational pleasures, like the joy felt in a cosmically insignificant job well done, or frozen yogurt at Berry Line when it is categorically not what one should be doing with homework looming, or the “honeymoon effect” in a new relationship.

But damn it if it doesn’t sometimes add that many more miles before I can sleep.

Published in: |on September 26th, 2007 |Comments Off on On emotion

We begin (again)

It’s been a long time since I’ve given a shot at writing anything regularly, truth be told, but I think it’s time for me to create a space for it once more, regardless of how much I use it.

For a bit over a year I maintained a LiveJournal, although I never really thought of it as a blog in a classical sense. A lot of good came out of that, even if the majority of the posts were about various personal trivialities. It was born out of a time when I thought such things were interesting to others, and worth preserving for myself. Somewhere along the line, though, it didn’t seem worthwhile anymore. As the world I became a part of got bigger, in the grand scheme of things, worries about grades, school, and the like just seemed… small.

I think now that such a conviction, even if cosmically accurate de jure, scales down poorly in the day-to-day. How are we to function, if we believe our actions are without heft or consequence even to the point that the mere effort of recording them exceeds their value? Non nobis solum nati sumus, no doubt, but to lay such a grandiose cast on each human life is problematic.

For one, you leave people behind. In the winter of my junior year, reaching out to people — strangers at the time — gave me strength and insights into myself and los demás I never knew I needed. One of them remains a lawyer in Halifax, and the other is now happily partnered and living in New Zealand. I’ve lost touch with them, and others, based on my reluctance to put myself out in virtual space. There’s no guarantee that this blog will help restore old ties, or even to make new ones, but the risk, such as there is one, is worth it.

If it cannot be a font of insight, let it be floccinaucinihilipilificatiolicious — that is to say, fluffy and perhaps a bit overwrought, but useful in itself, the results of woolgathering and a desire to cast in text the transient thought.


Published in: |on August 18th, 2007 |Comments Off on We begin (again)