Today I had to take the day off work… my first sick day since I started the PhD twenty-seven months ago. So much for the Guinness record.
It was a strange day, mostly because I simply stayed out of the lab, and my fever/headache/affliction kept me from studying anything or doing any computer work. And such a sudden break in momentum really made me feel zonked out. I wonder…
…DOES THIS MEAN I AM BECOMING A WORKAHOLIC?
So I like to be active. Sue me. I just can’t imagine a life without intellectual stimulation or activity, while in the same time I relish time taken out to think and muse and ponder and meditate and wait for the apple to fall on my head.
Which explains why I don’t have a TV. That, and the exorbitant pay-us-to-dumb-you tax the UK charges for it.
I guess a true workoholic is someone who lives for his/her work, no matter what the motivation behind them. But I don’t; I like to spend my active (= working) time in something that I see as productive and useful, not because I’m driven by a some innate and inane need to achieve, but simply because I believe that life becomes more beautiful and meaningful with every new thing accomplished and every new experience gained. I guess that if there’s one thing that terrifies me, it’s stagnant inactivity and the lingering feeling of uselesness that comes with it.
Like Da Vinci said, “Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigour of the mind.”
We live in the Dumb Era, friends. We’re scared to think, and we are content with apathy and numbness. We are concerned with pointless things and avoid anything that seems even remotely outside our little private – and often virtual – worlds.
Problem is, we leave thinking to others who are often far from up to the task. And you know what? This isn’t the price we pay for our technological achievements and our comfortable lives. It’s not the culmination of a historical phase, nor is it the next step in our evolution. Nope – it’s a choice. Whether we like it or not, our lives are built on choices, big ones, small ones, conscious and unconscious, easy and hard ones. Even when it seems that we have none (I know something about that personally), there are always options.
Becasue it’s the consequences we’re worried about.
Consequences? There’s our Dumb Era. There’s the group of people who spend nine-tenths of their socialising discussing TV shows. There’s the teenager that wears a mobile like an earing and knows more about celebrities and videogames than the history of his own country. There’s the couch-potato, the traditional weekend hangover, the airhead with pop music pouring from an iPod, the fad-flock, the no-voter, the braindead generation poised to take over a world that gets ping-ponged from war to war and bad to worse.
I can’t help but wonder if we spend our lives scurrying like mice to find our own little niche, our hole to hide in and dig deep inside.
And you know what? We’re proud of it. The pinnacle of our stupidity is that we savour it. And you can quote me on that.
Maybe it’s just the fever talking.
It’s fever alright.
In Your eyes I have become a problem to myself, and this is my infirmity – Augustine, “Confessions” 10:33
The human mind can understand truth only by thinking – Thomas Aquinas
“Reason and knowledge, the highest powers of humankind,
You have rejected, to oblivion consigned.
Now let the Prince of Lies confuse you,
With magic spells and fantasies delude you…” – Goethe, “Faust”, vv. 1851-1854