Thursday, November 05, 2015

philosophical states

It was about two weeks ago when we made a grand breakthrough in therapy. The day had already started weirdly, when an auto repair place offered to fix my car for free (why? Were they perhaps fans of my music? Doubtful, as I remember all 20 people who've bought my album). After describing the latest pseudo-tragedy in my life, I found myself saying, "I bet it would be much easier to cope with this kind of stuff if I believed in any sort of order or justice in the world. That would probably be nice."

My therapist, asking the natural question: "Don't you believe in anything?"

"Well, at one point in my life, I believed in my skills, and I believed they would be enough to pull me through...but getting rejected over 500 times on the job market kind of beat that out of me."

My therapist, after taking a breath: "Well, we're swaying into the realm of philosophy here. I'm completely happy to go there, by the way. This is very much existential angst...and many people have it."

"Maybe we could start a support group for them."

"Hi, come on in to the church basement. Grab a coffee and tell us why you're doomed."

"We could make them read Kafka before joining."

My therapist, after another breath: "I'm not sure that would help sell the endeavor."

After the session, I continued my day, which went about as expected; after grabbing a coffee and then leaving my Kindle in the coffee shop bathroom, I went to an appointment to get my face blasted with liquid nitrogen...but the idea of philosophy, I realized, had finally started to resonate with me. I'd tried to read the great philosophers while getting my Master's degree, but I never really got them. It took the advice of mental health professionals to make philosophy stick.

Later on that week, I had a psychiatrist appointment, and I told that doctor about the existential conversation. He immediately recommended I get and read a "philosophical textbook/novel" called Sophie's World. I've been plowing through it ever since it arrived, and while it hasn't actually helped my diseased mind just yet, I am learning a lot. There's one part where the protagonists are discussing Existentialism, and the philosopher says (paraphrasing), "Existential angst is always a starting point on which to build a new philosophy."

I'm not yet sure what new philosophy I'll build. I am, however, working towards finding one.

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