Day 24: Online money making and existentialism

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After declaring for what is now 24 days, my apparent love for the written word, i finally explored the possibility of monetizing my blogs – not this one of course; no one will read this. I write to please myself.

Making money through writing blogs is no easy task – as I find out. It is more like agriculture, where you sow and then wait to reap, all the while tending to the crops. It seems that blogs are nearly the same thing – with much more work involved. The key might be in clubbing together my own interests and the pandering to the public.

Anyhow, let’s talk about something else.

I started with the mindfulness method today – did the body scan first, followed by breathing meditation. The first one was a total flop – i fell asleep and the second was only a moderate succe….oops! I violated a cardinal rule of mindfulness – no judgement here. You don’t classify a practice as either good or bad. They are all neutral.

I find myself drifting into random imaginary situations and then reacting to them as if they were real. I had this habit before – one of my root behavioral traits leading upto depression. I am not saying that this is sign that I am going into depression soon – but this is a unhealthy habit anyway, I should get rid of it anyhow.

Let me explain what is happening – I don’t think the graduate student council at my university is doing a good job now – perhaps one day I could be the president of the council and bring greater vision into the organization and be a system that provides valuable support to the graduate student community. But there is this other guy DS who is somewhat of a jerk and is very active the community. Now, I haven’t even joined the organization and don’t have any exposure there. This guy has been there for two years now. I project my own fears on to him and so assume that he is after the post as well. So a conflict is for sure- we won’t agree, we fight and fight and I get angry at him for no reason. While everything else is totally fictitious, my reaction to it is completely real – I feel genuine anger, my teeth clench, my muscles tighten and my blood pressure rises. What a revelation – my mind, the very same mind with which I grasp the complex concepts of general relativity and write prosaic literature, cannot distinguish between a real and imaginary event. How can I be mad at someone – whom I hardly know – for something – that hasn’t even happened – for something that they “apparently” did? Isn’t that just plain stupid – all those doctors were right. The mind is a sucker when it comes to this distinction.

No wonder i get into this mess all the time – if fictitious event -> real emotion AND also real event -> real emotion; then where is the line? I do this a lot, I imagine up situations that don’t exist, put real people into it and then either fume at it, or get low – either way, I put myself to several minutes (sometimes several hours) of discomfort, because of this habit.

There is also a positive side to this. The ability to project into the future – and to be able to predict how people would react is often necessary. We call that ability good judgement. If I suppress that entirely then wouldn’t I also be a bad judge of people? Can I stave off all the bad stuff while keeping the good part?

This is a more general problem – I have prided in my imagination. Surely, if my thoughts are strong enough to produce real emotional resistance, then that means that I am a good imagineer ( copyright: Disney), ie, my stories and my constructs are that much real. I can therefore infuse life into my creations. However, the catch here is that the same ability is also at the root of many of my issues – not being able to live in the present.

Consider the general idea of existentialism – Live in the Here and Now. But one of the greater abilities of humanity is to be able to visualize the future, predict it to a certain extent and prepare for it. If we did not have this ability then we would not be any different from the rest of the animals around us, who simply follow their internal RAM and do not try to project into the future (or do so restrictively: think ants saving for the winter). But as human beings, our very own survival can depend on this ability. Can we give that of to live in the ‘Here’ and ‘Now’? Many modern success philosophies talk of ‘living in the present’ but does this mean not thinking about the future?

I believe that the correct approach should be “Do not live in the future” – ie, you are free to think about and consider your thoughts and ideas about the future – but draw a clear distinction between what are purely ideas and what is real. Does that sound right? Perhaps not entirely – No, not entirely, but definitely an idea.

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