Funkin’ it up

I’m in a funk.

I’m not one to complain, but the last week or so have been  miserable for me.  The weather has been nice, work has been going well, I’ve been reading and writing and running often.  I have no real reason to feel as miserable as I do, and yet…I’m still in a funk.  This has caused me to think a whole lot about what I am trying to do with my life.  My career choice.  What I want in a family.  How I spend my free time.  And I’ll tell you what–the answers I have found have not been very reassuring.

Take my career choice, for example.  I want to be a philosophy professor.  I enjoy doing the work, I enjoy the research and from the little bit of teaching I have done, I will enjoy that too.  I have no doubt that I will get into grad school in the next few years and do very well there.  I have no doubt that I will love every minute of it.  And yet…it all seems very hollow.  Sometimes it feels as if all philosophy is doing is building a nice shiny outer wall of words to protect the inner void.  I’ve said this as long as I have been in philosophy: all I do is argue very well for shit that I just made up.  The best philosopher is the one who can convince everyone else that s/he is right.  And I don’t like that.

Now, this isn’t really the crux of the problem.  The problem is that I see any possible career choice as being just as pointless.  I’ve done the hypothetical “I could go back to school.  What would I go for” game and every answer turns out to be faced with the same amount of nihilistic pessimism.  Why should I do x for the rest of my life?  For the good of humanity?  For a paycheck?  To pass the time?  There’s a saying in political science circles: “if your young and republican, you’re heartless; if you old and liberal, you’re stupid.”  I think I am finally growing out of my young, idealistic self and into the self that begrudgingly accepts where I am.  I’m done trying to fool myself that I’m going to revolutionize academia.  I’m done pretending that I can change the world.  But this, in the face of a generation that was told we could do anything, change everything, save everyone?  A generation built on Space Needle sized dreams and high octane ambitions, what are we left with when it all comes crashing down?

Regardless of the fact that I will never change the world through writing about Heidegger, regardless of the fact that my thesis won’t help end child abuse, and regardless of the fact that philosophy is 60% speculation, 20% sophistry, 15% accurate and 5% bullshit, I still enjoy it.  And maybe that’s as close as any of us can get to satisfaction.  The error of our generation isn’t that we can’t save everyone and create world peace; the error is that we think we need to achieve these things to be happy.

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~ by sisypheanfeat on 20 April, 2009.

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