Monday, April 23, 2007

A Sunday Experiment, A Modal Rollercoaster

Well, I haven't written anything in a while. You know, busy-ness and all that jazz.

And I'm feeling in the mood to write something of some sort of philosophical value. Maybe. I don't really know yet. We'll have to see where this goes.

But first, let me talk briefly about a little experiment I did this weekend. Well, I didn't really plan out the experiment. It just kind of happened. I don't know if counts as an experiment then, but I'll just say that it does! Yeah, that's right, I'm a science major!

Anyway, to the experiment. I had a busy week last week. A lot of tests and such [which I'm glad to say ended up with me outrunning those that couldn't outrun the bear]. A lot of studying. More or less non-stop studying. I know, just imagine. Who does that at SCHOOL?!?!? But I went all Old School "only reading [my] AP textbook" on those tests.

When I got to Friday, I decided I wouldn't do ANYTHING productive that weekend. I mean NOTHING. No homework, no exercise, no writing, no thinking. A little reading, but that was mostly leisure stuff [you know, like the history of chemistry], not really counting towards progress.

Let me tell you, when I got to Sunday night, I felt like CRAP. With a capital K. Throughout the afternoon on Sunday, I went through mini-bouts of depression [by depression here, I mean I just felt like complete crap, didn't feel like doing anything, just wanted to sleep, didn't really see the point in anything, that sort of stuff]. Eventually, when I got to about 11 that night, I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I went out for a nice little run [oh yeah, I also forgot to mention that as part of this experiment, I didn't eat anything of any health-redeeming value other than two oranges]. I felt like crap during the run, with lots of little mini , um, burps? But I got through the run, and towards the end I felt great. If I can run with nothing in my stomach but simple sugars and chocolate, then damn can I run when I'm fueled by fruits and veggies!

By the time I got back to my dorm that night, I was back to my normal productive [productive in the sense of doing school work and reading for entertainment / infotainment]. The crappy mood lifted. I felt like a million bucks.

And here I am, Monday evening, wondering what that little experiment tells me? What have I really learned? What do the data points [the depression, the mood swings, the feeling of physical sickness, the headaches, the lethargy, etc.] say?

Well, first off, they tell me to have a new respect for people that choose to live that way. Whether or not they actually 'choice' to live that way being another question entirely. But I can't imagine waking up every single day and living a life like that. I suppose that the person eventually becomes numb to the emptiness since they don't realize that there's something "other" that they could be feeling. But I mean, God, that would be horrible.

I mean, I don't believe in some ultimate purpose to life. Something out there that determines what our lives should be like. But I do know that living a life like that, without any sort of meaning, is not the way to go. If we have to make our own meaning, I would highly advise NOT choosing the path of lazy nihilism. Not a fun choice.

And I guess ultimately it shows me that I still have this "doer" attitude. This belief that if I'm not doing something [useful], my life is being wasted. Okay, yeah, normal people call that sort of person anal retentive. Or OCD. Or a Type A personality. But it works for me.

And when you think about it, everyone is trying to do something all the time to fill the hole in their soul [ho, hum, he... what a great alliteration...]. To get somewhere. Even the ultimate non-doers, mystics, go out of their way to get to the point that they will actually and literally get out of their own way.

Most people just take the path towards optimal pleasure. I learned this Sunday that pleasure doesn't cut it.

Nothing really new here. But it never hurts to remind myself.

1 comment:

Brian said...

As one of those people (lethargy), I can say that it's really not a problem, especially after being used to it for so long. Then, I can't think of the last time I've been "depressed" so, whatever. But what works for you is good. Oh right, speaking of which...

A little reading, but that was mostly leisure stuff [you know, like the history of chemistry]