In 2015 and 2016 there was a stretch of time during which I read nearly a book a day. Dozens and dozens of books. I took copious notes. I consumed and consumed information. I won’t say that it was nice because that entire period wasn’t nice, but it was edifying.
Tonight I am realizing that at the moment it’s been months since I last read anything other than a childrens’ book. Months. This is not good; this is not right. I often recently feel as though my mind is slipping away, and this is one reason why.
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On the other hand, my mind slipping away might not necessarily be a bad thing.
My entire life I’ve traded on having a “good mind.” I was advanced in school, attended special programs, went to college at 15, went to grad school at Chicago, got a Ph.D.
Well, what was it good for?
The significant downsides include a healthy dose of misanthropy and social disconnectedness. It’s hard to get along with people when non seqiturs and obvious logical lead bombs fall out of their mouths more or less continuously, and when your best ideas don’t make any sense to them without you spending hours to communicate them just so. You can see how 1 links to 9 implicitly, but they need it spelled out—2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8—and it bores and infuriates everyone.
Combine that with the fact that people tend to develop a savior complex when they think you’re really smart (“You’re so smart! Why aren’t you giving some money and power to me? I tell you what, I’ve got a bunch of problems, can you help me solve them?”) and they tend to hate you whenever you disagree with them because (1) you can generally debate them under the table and (2) it brings up every insecurity they’ve ever had.
But then… so much has been invested in my mind over the years that the breakeven point is still years away from Ph.D. and so on. It is essentially too late to turn the ship around and decide to be a welder, though I confess that these days I often wish it wasn’t.
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I am having a tough month. Too many things are going wrong; the hand of fate weighs far too heavily for my comfort. I keep hearing Layne Staley in my head:
“Something’s gotta turn out right…