On Cultural and Intellectual Ossification
Posted by Alan Edwards
You can tell that I suck at making titles for things, because the title for this sounds like the worst kind of pointless mumbling and useless commentary about nothing anyone wants to know a goddamn thing about. Of course, I’m keeping it because pointless mumbling and useless commentary is pretty close to what this is about, with extra added drooling navel-gazing just for fun.
Actually, I’m not sure what this is. It’s the usual stream-of-consciousness thing I do, but not about some thing I hate, so it’s less fun.
I was thinking about something, you see. What it was doesn’t matter much (it was about GamerGate and misogyny in general), but I realized an issue as I was thinking about it, mulling over a possible post about it, doing that kinda thing. The issue was that my brain was struggling to think about it, form coherent points about it, generally go through the whole process of, ya know, THINKING about shit. And so I thought about that, and thought of other instances lately where I’m trying to use my brain for something besides a storehouse of Marvel comics trivia and Madonna lyrics, and came to a realization.
I’m really fucking stupid.
For most of you, that’s just an obvious point that you’re surprised and wondering why it took me so long to arrive at that conclusion, to which the answer is the previous statement. Fair enough. But it bothers me. So I thought about it some more and came up with some thoughts and decided I was going to write them down, to force the tired homogenized mush between my ears to do some fucking work for a change. I came to some conclusions, or some ideas, or whatever, Christ this is hard enough to do without figuring out the exact right thing to say or word to use so fuck it I’m moving on. Anyway, I came to a conclusion/thought/theory/whatthefuckever, and it was this.
My brain has ossified.
Last year, my life changed radically. Most of you know about this, and I’m not going into it for those who don’t know, but suffice it to say it changed. My routine became a pretty established norm with little in the way of deviation. I would get up every morning, go to work, go home, sit on the couch and watch TV, go to bed, and get up the next morning to do it all over again. Weekends brought some variation, but sometimes that meant I went from getting up to going to the couch to going to bed with no middleman. Oftentimes, the only real difference was if I got drunk on a given day or not. This lasted for a pretty long time. I stopped writing, hell, even stopped reading much for the first time in my life. I didn’t hang out with many people, especially during the week, and could go two weeks between having a non-work related conversation with a person. I watched a lot of movies and TV shows and played some video games, and that was about it.
Well, I think all that time doing jack shit with no intellectual curiosity caused me to lose the ability to think, to really think, to have an informed opinion about shit. I just stopped giving a fuck. But now my life is very different now, my routines are different, and I’m starting to do the things I used to do, like write, have conversations about important or serious things, engage with current culture and trends and life, and my fucking brain is struggling to keep up. Even the times when I’ve absolutely hated myself I never thought I was dumb – I could take pride in my intelligence and ability to think and reason and have things like a memory and coherent discourse and fucking intellectual ability above that of a tranquilized sloth and at least have something to point out to the self-loathing side that was a positive. Now, though, I’m not fucking smart. I’m not even potentially bright. My mind is a soupy morass of half-formed thoughts and trying to extrude anything useful from it is a fucking titanic struggle of herculean proportions. In short, it blows.
I’m getting better. I realize this. The more I do things like this, the more conversations I have, the more new music I hear, all of those things, the better my brain is getting. I’m finally smart enough to realize how fucking stupid I had become, which is a start. I have a ways to go, though, and I understand this. I can feel some long-stuck and dusty gears starting to shift inside my head, which is either a sign that my grey matter is flickering back into life or I was involved in a terrible industrial accident that I subsequently forgot all about and should probably check myself into a hospital. I’m hoping for the former.
Anyway. If you read this far, I’m sorry. This was as pointless a rambling thing to read as anything found in the editorial section of the Wall Street Journal. You toughed it out, and you deserve a reward. You aren’t getting one, but you deserve one, so there’s that.
But it wasn’t pointless for me to write.