Thursday Theory

After a lengthy conversation yesterday about the viability of independent publishing in today’s world, I was utterly spent. It’s not that there was some sort of invigorating back-and-forth, describing the precedent of possibilities out there for publishers and authors; instead it was a constant defense of idealism, one that so far in life refuses to leave.

Of course, that idealism comes at a cost. I had to unwind particularly long last night, as the swarming nanobots of self-doubt and second-guessing descended, refusing my requests for sleep.

So this morning, I felt like there was only one way to battle this feeling of worry and doubt: blog about it.

Seriously, though, I read this article about David Foster Wallace. Well, not about him per se, but a good reflection on reframing reality to better suit that which you feel should be reframed. There are lots of good things in the article that I could quote from, but honestly, it being a DFW article, any quote I picked would be six paragraphs long.

One of the more major ideas worth mentioning is the idea that freedom can only come after a choice has been made. This strikes me as something Matrix-esque in its philosophical simplicity, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t true. We all know what happened to the Pavlovian dogs. They weren’t free. Literally.

And yet, we forget that the contraption, the ability to make the dog isolate its awareness on the food and the bell probably heightened the response. Hyperreality, the kind that we currently flop around in like walking sacks of flesh and water, might make it easier for us to stay conditioned to certain responses (the contraption made by credit, post-industrial work, and the big-screen-television).

Look at deodorant commercials for post-pubescent teens… Do you think that it’s feeding on some sort of biological response? Do you think that it might, just maybe, influence the teen’s outward projection of identity, importance, or image?

I don’t want to get too far afield here, but conditioned responses are necessary for consumerism to truly flourish. They (and who are ‘they’?) don’t want me to think about why I want something; my need for it should be singular and guttural, reacting from a base instinct of biology. Mindful reactions, perhaps prefaced by a breath or two, can remediate some of those responses. Reflection, quiet time, and study are all tools to help break those chains as well.

When arguing about something, what is really being argued about? Is it something that you have chosen to believe in, or is it something that you blindly follow, failing to question, and frankly, leaving you at a severe disadvantage to critically defend your position? Understanding the reasons why your points are valid (the warrants, if you will) is key to real knowledge. The next time something gets you riled up, think about why it does. What are the underlying values that were violated? Are those values real? Or did you accidentally assume they were important?

Preconceived notions turn into beliefs; beliefs form reality; reality dictates everything.