I spent part of this afternoon going through a stack of papers in my mother’s room. There were many newspaper clippings, turning yellow with age, and scattered among them were sheets or scraps of paper full of life’s scribbles: lists of things to do, directions to someone’s house, indecipherable names and phone numbers. Junk, mostly, to me. However, I found among these papers a letter I wrote to a friend in 2000, when I was a freshman in high school. What I wrote made me both happy and sad. Happy that I had been so thoughtful and intellectually curious and idealistic five years ago, and sad that even then I doubted myself, my ideas, and my ability to communicate.
“I think that almost every person’s life is a struggle to be both the same and different as the people around them. No one wants to be an outcast, completely different in appearance, thoughts, and abilities from everyone else. At the same time, no one wants to be too much the same as any other person…”

“There has been scientific exploration into the idea of thought. I don’t know much, but I do know that we can measure electrical activity in the brain and that there are substances which can alter and moods and not only how we think but what we think to a certain degree. Whenever I ask myself how and why we think, I always start with the belief that there must be some physical explanation, since we are already explaining human characteristics through our study of DNA. But thought is truly so complex and variable that humans know relatively little about it. There is yet no explanation, but I still wonder, so sometimes I turn from the physical to the abstract. Is there some incomprehensible force that decides what we think? And if there is, are there still physical aspects, and what determines those? Dis this almighty force determine the physical aspects? And if so or if not, why bother considering the possibilities when it surely must be possible to explain in physical terms how thought works and how it came to work the way it does?

I simply want to understand how and why anything and everything IS. But perhaps the idea is for humans to accept existence as it is. Is is possible that it would be better for us to come to terms with that which we cannot explain than to wear out our existence by trying to explain it? Would the knowledge, the reasons, the explanations we look for satisfy us? Make us happy? Help us live better lives? In short, is taking joy in existence more important than understanding of existence or its purpose?”

I must admit I don’t love my own writing style, but I hope I’ve improved since then :). I also can’t help but feel like this is a good sign for being a Symbolic Systems major. Apparently I’ve been interested in the brain/mind, thought, philosophy, cognitive science, etc. all along but I didn’t ever really think of studying it until I got to college. And I’m still asking some of the same questions that I was when I wrote this letter, though I can hardly claim to spend much time philosophizing these days.

On an unrelated note, I’m trying to figure out what to do about protected vs. public entries. I like friends without LJ accounts to be able to read this, but I don’t like putting personal thoughts and experiences where nearly anyone can access them. Hm. Might just move to the friends-only tactic that a lot of people use; however if you happen to read this and want to read this but don’t have an LJ account (or aren’t on my friends list) please let me know.

Comments 3

  1. 2_ragged_claws wrote:

    Hey, apparently we have more in common than I thought. Let’s talk about trying to find an explanation for everything (including human behavior) and seeking ultimate Truth some time. Yeah.

    Posted 12 Sep 2005 at 15:11
  2. thefire8472 wrote:

    I wish there were some good way for me to subscribe to my friends list via RSS so I could easily get the private entries too… that’s the biggest thing – I don’t check lj enough to notice many private entries… :/

    Ah well, I suppose I could do that more…

    Posted 12 Sep 2005 at 19:37
  3. anonymous wrote:

    I do read this, and don’t have a livejournal. But I don’t want to be the person who ruins your plan. I guess we could just talk more often and then I’d know what’s going on with you anyway? That unfortunately seems unlikely…

    Posted 15 Sep 2005 at 13:27

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