Conversations in Procrastination

Interlocuter1:Why don’t you act?
Interlocuter2:I am fearful. I am fearful of failure. I am fearful that when the time comes to perform, I will flounder and fail. That my faculties will not produce according to my intent. That my work will be a reflection of the inner man and that that inner man will reveal an inauthentic dilettante.

I1:So you postpone action?
I2: I postpone the inevitable. I know full and well that the work will get done, but I am reluctant to throw myself into a task until I know I am prepared and ready and present to meet the challenge.

I1:Does postponing action work?
I2:I find that the more I defer the inevitable, the less time I have. The longer I wait to execute, the greater the anxiety festers within me. Sometimes I wait for this anxiousness to bubble over and spurn a genius reaction within me, but I know all too well that when it’s all said and done the work I produce still falls short of my ideal, and even more so with the constraints of time.

I1:Do you enjoy the anxiety?
I2: On the contrary, I loath it. I loath it so I run from it. I run inward and outward, retreating, as it were, from the pressures that plague my attention, that grab hold of my freedom. I seek solace in the dreaded distraction. Even though my gut writhes in disgust. The deadlines approach like an impending doom. The clock ticks like a pick axe into my core. Every passive second that passes leaves me feeling mutilated and weak. However, when I do rise to the challenge, which I most always do to varying degrees of intensity and resolve, I am lifted on clouds of inspiration. Regrettably, these inspiring clouds quickly burn away as I travel upwards toward my illusory ideals, until my elation reaches a determined zenith and I sputter and fall through their cover into a maelstrom of doubt. I land with my face planted into the earth, my eyes cast downward, and I am pummeled by self loathing, the hellacious hail of petty dreams.

I1: How much longer will you persist like this?
I2: The question is entertained, as possibility often is, but I am left with the trammels of procrastination delaying even this decision. It is queer that death seems a suitable sacrifice for such a decision.

I1:Death over action?
I2: I am aware of the irrationality. Destruction poses at the feet of this deceit. It seems that death and chaos, in all its abandonment and denial, are preferable to embracing a self steeped in shame.

I1:What would it mean if you failed trying?
I2: My convictions are two fold: either I do, and reserve the hesitations of action for the timid and weak, and press my determination into the folds of time so there is no escape of triumph; or I try with a pathetic weariness, a gesture to save myself from the humiliation of self-criticism, an act that resents the gesture itself and propagates the very frailty that robs me of any hope securing victory.

I1: It seems the former is should win out; why not opt for winning?
I2: I will now do.

Virtue

What is virtue? Moral excellence. I’ve recently drifted from notions of virtue, relying instead on my philosophical knowhow and personal ratiocinations to guide appropriate and pragmatic behaviors.

Once upon a time I was obsessed with the notion of moral excellence. I strove daily to master the principles and virtues that upheld an outstanding character. I’d meditate daily on aphorisms and parables and definitions extolling the virtues of a moral character. I reasoned that, if I am in fact a product of my thoughts, I should take take strides to hone and refine those thoughts.

Thoughts become actions. Actions become habit. Habit becomes character. Character becomes destiny.

Ben Franklin committed himself to the upbuilding of a moral character. He created a plan to internalize and embody thirteen virtues. Each day he committed himself to fulfilling and practicing one. At the end of thirteen, he’d begin again. He kept this up for years and recorded his progress in a daily journal. The thirteen virtues he strove to emulate are listed as the following:

1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness and drink not to elevation.
2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation.
3. Order: Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time.
4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.
5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e. Waste nothing.
6. Industry: Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.
7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
8. Justice: Wrong none, by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
9. Moderation: Avoid extremes. Forebear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes or habitation.
11. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; Never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
12. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

I desire and strive to surround myself with people who typify these virtues. I’m going to make a habit of looking at these thirteen daily and be extra conscientious about whether they are being appropriately exemplified through my actions.

Summary of Ethics as First Philosophy by Levinas

Ethics as First Philosophy by Levinas

 "This is the question of the meaning of being: not the ontology of the understanding of that extraordinary verb, but the ethics of its justice. The question ‘par excellence’ or the question of philosophy. Not ‘Why being rather than nothing?’, but how being justifies itself." (86)

             This quote summarizes Levinas’ break from first philosophy as an ontological question of being to an ethical inquiry occupying justification of being. In ‘Ethics as first philosophy’, Emanuel Levinas establishes an entirely new framework, going beyond Heidegger’s notion of Being and borrowing from Sartre’s’ conception of Others. Levinas parts with the phenomenological legacy of Heidegger in Section I by ruling out intentionality as the requisite for knowledge and examining the non-intentionality that passively subsists beneath our cogito.

    

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Kant’s Deontological Ethics in Sum.

I. Kant begins The Grounding of the Metaphysics of Morals by reducing the self to reason in order to understand the foundations of right thought. He concludes that at the base of one’s thoughts, there is an intention or will that is at the core of self.

A good will is the only qualification for good action. Kant says: “A good will is good not because of what it effects or accomplishes, nor because of its fitness to attain some proposed end; it is good only though its willing, i.e., it is good in itself.” That is, a good will is good in itself, independent of any requirements that would make it good. Kant goes on to justify this by explaining that even if good will failed to achieve its end through action, it would still retain its value as good will because of its good intention.

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My Ethics.

 

Over the years I’ve developed a strong understanding and conviction of proper morals and ethics through a variety of my life experiences. For a long time the ethics and morals I held for myself were relative to the situational occurrences and were usually based on how my actions would leave me feeling at the time. This philosophy quickly eroded as it was tested and failed time and time again. I realized that my ethics are a direct reflection of my character and a strong character is something that not only I can rely on in times of doubt, but others can look to for valuable guidance. A strong character is consistent, noble, respected, and trustworthy. Being morally and ethically sound involves being full of integrity, doing what’s right no matter who’s looking, being straightforward and honest, and being selfless in the decisions you make to benefit others as well as yourself. I think a man’s character is the only thing he has when all is stripped away. It’s the reputation that precedes him as well legacy he leaves behind. I realize there were flaws in my personal philosophy and ethical standards that were detrimental to my success. Upon realizing this, I made a resolution to refine myself to exemplify excellence in every endeavor or thought I undertook. My thirst for success motivated me to turn my search for answers to those who were successful and exemplified a life of excellence and honor, so that I could assimilate the best of what they learned and lived into my own life. My pursuit led me to read books of awe inspiring truth and wisdom such as the Bible, to books by authors such as James Allen, Napoleon Hill, John Maxwell, W. Clement Stone, Claude Bristol, Dale Carnegie, and other honorable men. My father is also a source of inspiration in his unwavering conviction to pursue what’s right and flee from what is wrong no matter what the consequence. When interacting with others, I often revert to the golden rule in one form or another to judge my decisions by placing myself in the situation of whomever I’m interacting with.

            During my youth I was involved with many toxic activities which, in hindsight, caused many setbacks toward my long term aspirations. Due to moving over twelve times and attending twelve different schools throughout the first twenty years of my life, I developed a strong love and appreciation for people. This love often caused me to compromise my ethics and morals in order to satisfy or appease my friends and their expectations. Though I tried my best to exemplify my convictions, I often found myself compromising many of my ethical and moral standards when I was around my friends.

            Many of the situations and dilemmas that caused me to compromise my ethics tended to be more internal clashes as opposed to visible confrontations. I do my best to assume full responsibility for my actions in the midst of any adversity. I consider myself a terrible liar, and as much as I dislike the feeling of being dishonest towards other people who trust me, I most of all despise lying to myself. When I get caught for doing something wrong, I embrace the responsibility for my actions and accept the consequence of my shortsighted mistakes. I do my best to spot these incongruencies in order to eliminate any detrimental conflicts with my values. I find it important  to acknowledge the mistake without hesitation and take the appropriate measures to remediate.

            I have learned that problems never go away until they are fixed. If you put off fixing problems they will eventually build up to overwhelm or drown you. They never fix themselves. When I was a younger I had misconception of responsibility.  Taking the form of procrastination,  many problems would pile up and eventually lead to a downward spiral. The same analogy goes for flawed ethical decisions which, if not immediately and emphatically fixed, pile up, causing severe damage to you in the end.