28 October 2009

Overwhelmed and Omphaloskeptic

There are too many things going on! I'm not sure that's really a complaint, as I quite like most of the things. However, they are myriad.

On the things I quite like side are parties; Monday night philosophy drinking; my new armchair that I lugged home in the box from Ikea over one bus route, the Overground and the Underground*, which was a rather painful thing to do but more than compensated for by having someplace to sit that isn't the floor or my bed; a new addition to my collection of favorite philosophy quips**; reading Tristram Shandy and its heroic 18th century punctuation - can't think why I haven't read it before nor why we no longer punctuate like that; all the arguments I've been able to make about infinite regress and infinites by addition; being back in London; the shocking - to me - way I've made friends so quickly and effortlessly; the general thrill of studying interesting things; seeing old friends that I haven't seen for years; reading the Guardian; my new shoes; having a clothes rail and hangers and my newsagent.

On the things that are not things that I like side very much are plumbing faults; owing medium to large amounts of money to various institutions; not having very much money to pay said institutions with and also buy food; that it takes four to six weeks for overseas cheques to clear and mine has been sitting in the bank for four weeks and still hasn't cleared; the reaction of various Anglicans to the Pope's recent announcement; the fact that somehow Rousseau's concept of the general will has gotten stuck in my head in the manner of an annoying song***; the fact that there is so much going on that I seem to miss at least half of it; that my feet hurt so much and so often and with such minimal provocation; the way this overwhelmed-ness makes my head too swimmy to concentrate and think properly; Boris Johnson; the way my hair hasn't gotten used to the hard water yet and sticks up in strange and disturbing ways in the morning; being tired all the time still and a very annoying virus/cold/cough thing that has been plaguing me for a week without actually making me properly ill or allowing me to be properly well****.

Things that I may or may not like (just not sure yet) side are the post-lecture drinking with the professors on Wednesdays because it makes me very nervous but the conversation is good; my inability to feel any emotion, positive or negative, about the ex-girlfriend which is a relief but does not bode well; the amount of Hackney Marshes closed off for development for the Olympics, which development may or may not be a good thing in the end*****; a weird crush I've developed on a new-friend girl at university that is not really a crush but something in between (and therefore not holy, see fourth footnote) that makes me uneasy and implies subtle and delicately strange things about myself and my ethical convictions; the unpredictable bursts of high-burning glittering bliss that might be the early warnings of hypomania - enjoyable when they occur but worrying afterwords and the way this post has footnotes with footnotes.

The world is all the things that are the case, and so it follows that this is the world I'm in for now******.

*I feel very boring though to be buying furniture from the Ikea. Why did I lug it home? Please see paragraph three, thing I don't like number four.
** "That's not a counter-example, it's a monster." Imre Lakatos
***I wouldn't have thought that philosophical concepts were capable of this but it seems to have happened anyway.
****This virus is a thing partway between being and not being and is therefore not holy (Please see De divina omnipotentia++, a letter written by St. Peter Damian to Pope Gregory. Peter Damian was also in charge of reforming cannon law and is responsible for the formalisation of the law concerning priestly celibacy {somehow, the Catholic Church made it through 1,000 years without actually requiring it} and the regularisation of cannon law concerning homosexual behavior {I know we think of it as identity and not act now generally but it would be inaccurate to say that Damian condemned homosexuality itself rather than homosexual acts} that has led to the modern Catholic condemnation of homosexuality via Aquinas' natural law theory and thus forward to the present day to one of the things I dislike in paragraph three. These later accomplishments and the reasons behind them are discussed in Damian's Liber Gomorrhianus, which is a very interesting read. Impressing pagans is part of the reasoning behind the celibacy dogma and the restriction of the priesthood to men and priestly duties with regard to hearing confession are behind the condemnation of homosexual acts.
*****It was a great thing for my childhood stomping ground, Atlanta, but then look at Calgary - hard to predict.
******Blatantly stolen from the beginning of Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

++ De divina is found in vol. 6 of Damian's Opera Omnia, if memory serves. It's definitely in the Opera Omnia but it might not be vol. 6.


  1. I enjoyed this :]

  2. I could comment overmuchly on many of the myriad observations and insights in this post but alas, I am hugely intellectually under-equipped.
    However, I did read Tristram Shandy when i was 19 and it has remained by my bed-side ever since. It's a curious choice to have as one's all-time-favourite but if it was good enough for Samuel Beckett's then it's good enough for mine. Infact, it took me 15 years and a later absorbption in contemporary American fiction to de-Sterne my vocabulary and curb the Arch punctuation. I still struggle to limit my use of semi-colons and extensive-intinerising.
    I think this time of year, like every other seasonal-hinge provokes hypomania. All my thoughts and conversations at present would appear to have footnotes upon footnotes and I'm finding it intolerably difficult to atually write any of them down.
    I very much enjoyed the image of the philospopher wrestling her armchair home via every variant of public transport.
    Take care m'dear.

  3. It is hard to do philosophy without an armchair...

    I can't imagine you be intellectually inadequate for anything. I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one who enjoys heroic punctuation, and I think Tristram is an excellent favourite to have. Not so conventional but then if we were all to be entirely conventional, none of us would ever use a semi-colon under any circumstances.