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On having a messy mind.

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Jun. 28th, 2010 | 07:18 pm

So about that book I mentioned: not as useful as I thought it would be. Political thought that fails to get anywhere (like a lot of political thought. Its always, "Hey look at all these books I've read that actually had useful insights, but that I'm going to say very little of any real substance about! Look at all the theory I read! Look!"). No real conclusions, no really mind bending insights, or even mundane ones. Nothing you can use. Not like Emerson or Thoreau. All the interesting things that get said in the book are said by someone other than the author himself. The personal bits were interesting but ultimately not very useful. The argument wasn't clean. The structure wasn't organized. I could try mining it for something worth remembering, but I just don't have the drive.

Terms, concepts, stuffs to sort of keep in mind: pathos of disappearance, four facets of the lonely self (being, having, loving, grieving, and, additionally, writing), loneliness's relation to totalitarianism, the inevitability of the fragmentation of our relationships to one another, solitude vs. loneliness, death-boundedness, melancholy versus grief (according to Freud), we are undone by each other (butler), embracing nothingness, analysis of the west, thought as partial action, life as total action (emerson), possession of others, possessed by others, loneliness and longing... yeah. think that's enough.

Right now, my attention has shifted toward the idea of place and its role in the construction of ourselves. Mostly because of this quote, which I stumbled upon after googling "I hate cities" and reading some articles about suburban sprawl. It's sort of obvious but I think it's neat:

"What people make of their places is closely connected to what they make of themselves as members of society and inhabitants of the earth, and while the two activities may be separable in principle, they are deeply joined in practice. If place-making is a way of constructing the past, a venerable means of doing human history, it is also a way of constructing social traditions and, in the process, personal and social identities. We are, in a sense, the place-worlds we imagine."

I also just watched Junebug, which is hailed as a film that succeeds in portraying the notion of place and its relation to identity/character/etc. authentically and effectively (citizens of North Carolina are the focus in that film).

I've been thinking about Spring Valley. I've been thinking about Alabama. I have a strong attachment to both places, and yet part of me knows that I will never identify completely with that town or with that state, that there has always been something about me that fails to assimilate properly and fully with those settings. And this seems to happen everywhere, not just there - but with Chicago, I feel like more than anything I am counter-identifying, not identifying, not disidentifying - just flat out identifying against. /shrug

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