on the necessity of fun in intellectual discourse

This topic just came up in conversation, and I’m going to write my thoughts here, instead of in a DM channel- because I suspect this might be something of relevance to a number of you from this corner of the internet.
Metavore and I would use the word ‘icky’ as a sort of safe word for when intellectual discussions had become draining, overwhelming – and not fun.
This whole fun thing of mine, it’s about efficiency.
It’s not a whim, it’s not a compulsion.
Is is quite intentional, and I’m going to try to explain why.
I believe that if thinking about stuff is getting draining, becoming icky- it is not thinking itself that it is the problem. It’s the content of the thoughts, and the timing with which we choose to address them.
It’s the same phenomenon, in my mind, as when I’m working on a project of any kind, and start to feel frustrated.
This happens when I have tried the same step a number of times, without results.
It’s that feeling of banging one’s head against a wall- I believe that happens with intellectual discourses as well. The kind we hold in our own heads, as well as the kinds we hold with others.
When I’m at that point with a project, it’s frequently my frustration itself standing in the way.
Mess up a step one time, and the second try, I’m more likely to try to speed up, out of impatience.
Drop things, or miss small steps- that I would not if I were being more patient.
When I take a break, come back refreshed- much fewer problems.
We can’t really take a break from thinking, though, I believe. We can reduce the frenetic nature of our internal dialogue, but I’m not sure I believe in the ‘no-thought’ thing.
Maybe, but…
When I’m centering myself, perhaps meditatively, I never try to ‘achieve meditation’.
I direct my brain to run along the notes of a song or the play of light on the trees around me in sort of the same way a tongue might explore the site of a recently missing tooth.
That is how I take breaks.
Or I spend time doing social activities, watching TV long-distance with friends, playing games.
If I’m feeling especially ick, particularly brain-foggy, I’ll do those things alone.
But I never stop thinking, not really.
Instead, I’ll think about the lessons that I might be able to derive from the TV shows. The deeper meaning behind patterns, even there.
When I return to thoughts that had threatened to become tiring, draining- it’s usually like the project thing.
I return refreshed, with clearer eyes for solutions I’d been overlooking purely due to my own impatience, or due to having gotten stuck running through the same tired thought progressions.

 

It’s the excitement that keeps me interested in discussing things, practically forever.
This server is only one of my outlets. I am constantly roping random people I meet, on and offline, into these sorts of discussions.
I very rarely get so exhausted I just need to zone out for a while, and it’s usually after a long day.
Even that kind of fatigue is less likely to happen when I am being fastidious about maintaining my health.
Now, when I say health– I mean a number of things.
I think of myself as a system.
Lots of component parts, all intermingling and influencing the other parts in sometimes obscure manners.
When I don’t keep things fun, exciting, I run out of energy to keep discussing things.
When I don’t stay hydrated, I run out of energy to keep things fun.
When I don’t eat well, and regularly, I run out of energy to keep things fun.
When I don’t sleep well, I forget to do things like the day to day stuff I have to do, in order to feel good about both having fun and taking care of myself.
When I don’t remember to mix things up when I’m losing energy, I’ll lose more and more energy/momentum, and sometimes it’ll be a while before I realize what’s happened, and can start figuring out how to get back on track again.

 

This kind of thing, it’s a balancing act.
One of such complexity that juggling all the pieces alone is enough to keep life exciting.
When I am there, when I am successfully keeping all these pieces in place and maintaining this kind of high energy, all day-
I feel powerful.
I feel like a conductor, of my own life.
Waving my baton, directing all the individual parts of my own self with precision.
It’s fucking exhilarating.
And when I do it well, when I am balancing on that high wire-
I dance.
I dance with words, I dance with actions
I dance with life.
And I do not stop, until I neglect some aspect of what I need to do to maintain it.
Then it becomes a process of identifying where I stumbled, finding my balance once again.
I do not believe there is such a thing as over-thinking.
Any more than I believe there is such a thing as ‘trying too hard.’
It’s not about effort.
It’s about how intelligently we’re allocating that effort, and how aware each of us is of the workings of our selves- as systems.

brooke

I spent three years living on the street in Los Angeles. I came out of that, changed. This is my story.

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