At the start of the semester I told myself that I will no longer be preoccupied with parerga and meandering thoughts of no immediate consequence, but focus solely on what’s most important, namely school and career hunting. I’ve been diligent with this commitment and it’s left me feeling significantly less tormented by my thoughts. On the flip side, I feel fairly superficial and empty, like I’m gliding and skimming along only the surface of life. I understand that now isn’t the place to get deep about existential questions. I’m not a professional social critic. I’m not a paid philosopher. I’m a student looking for a job, and that should be my priority.
But, as a human, it sucks not thinking. Reflection makes life vastly more interesting and curious. As much as it’s tormenting to continually swat at every biting thought, it’s an activity that keeps your keenly aware and awake.
I haven’t been writing. Writing. Writing. Writing. What is it about writing? this act of making thoughts visible and known to yourself and the world? It’s fascinating.
I had a late night last night. After I was through studying at a local cafe, my room mate and I visited a close friend of ours to indulge in red wine and friendly discourse, my two favorite postprandial activities. Nothing is better than open discussion with fellow oenophiles whom you love and love you. There’s never animosity or resentment or pride or fear to keep you from opening up and sharing yourself; just a plenum of mirth saturated with mutually authentic appreciation for courageous and novel thought.
It is in these moments and minutes and hours where you can really get to know yourself, sometimes even more than you get to know about your interlocutors. These friendly games of discourse allow you to bask in the luminosity of unexplored streams of understanding, streams flowing with ideas long incubating, just waiting to hatch in the calescent glow of the right company. This is why a close coterie of friends is so vital, for they act as midwives who aid in the birth of fledgling ideas which we then pry and coax to fly with open discussion.
A good cadre provides an invitation for exploration, a warming refuge where the teguments of belief can be peeled back and catechized. Discussion properly exorcises the most nascent conceptions and undeveloped beliefs, pulling them to the surface as it were, so they are rendered bare and vulnerable for inspection. Anyway.
Wittgenstein said “A new word is like a fresh seed sown on the ground of the discussion.” How wonderfully pleasant is that? It invokes fresh imagery that flowers like spring. Introducing new words into a discussion that has tossed around the same for long enough livens the debate and renews the flame that lights understanding. New words are like new keys which open new rooms, or new seeds that add blooming colors to variegate the garden of discourse.