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gulliver's Journal
gulliver's Journal
August 12, 2014

It's a tricky feeling.

I don't know if feelings of intense revulsion and mental frozenness qualify. I may or may not know what depression is like, but I have similar feelings frequently. Knowing them, I am not really sure how they could feel more terrible. But I explore them when I feel them, feeding them to curiosity. Then I study the feelings and realize I don't have to be only them. They can become just another deep and interesting place to be, not even a place necessarily to be avoided if it weren't for the boring stupor, the pain, and the anxious need to hide from other people.

The thing not to do with the feeling is to drive cognition with it, at least not without standing mentally outside the generated cognitions as an observer and student. There is a tendency to produce thought models, deductions, and narratives from nausea, mental pain, and stupor. I always take those cognitions as provisional and curious, regardless of how limitlessly horrible and conclusive they feel. They are like dreams. The stupor/ugh feeling is where it begins. The feeling hits and conjures up seemingly inescapable, nighmarish, irrefutable "reasoning" for self-hatred and despair. What is really just an awful feeling becomes elaborated in the language of all levels of the mind. But you have to recognize where the "reasoning" and spiritual level cognitions are coming from and that all such thinking is provisional, suspect, curious. It is ignorable, questionable and capable of being learned from. You don't have to interpret it as your "self," because it simply isn't that. That position helps reasoning and feeling both, imo.

I did just finish reading Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus and I tend to agree with Camus. Sisyphus doesn't have it so bad. He rolls his rock up the mountain and watches it roll back down, and the message of it can be one of intolerable, Hell-like futility or of joy-filled heroism and mindfulness. You can accept absurdity and darkness and derive great strength from them.

And no, I'm not telling people to dump their meds or that everyone should just try to face down their demons with mental tricks. I'm just sharing something that I think it is useful. I think our culture and art have given many people a kind of operatic feeling of what authenticity is all about, and it is, we think, about "being true to our feelings." But that's just a step or two away from being slaves to them. We share a whole bunch of feelings with all mammals, mammals that lack basic cognition. We aren't being inauthentic to be more than our feelings, we are being more authentic.

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