Thursday, September 30, 2010

Durkheim, Complaining/Negativity, Feeling Old

Clearly, I have lots of things to say right now. I should go to bed relatively soon,
or even now, but I know I will not be able to. I need these things out of my head.

I need these things out of my head so badly that I almost couldn't bring myself to
finish my assigned reading for tomorrow morning. But I did it. And I love Durkheim.


Well, more accurately, I love Sociology; but I really love Durkheim. So many things
that he said resonate with all that I've been saying for at least a year.

My hands are cold.

The following quotes are from my Sociological Theory textbook, Sociological Theory
in the Classical Era: Text and Readings, by Laura Desfor Edles and Scott Appelrouth,
second edition.

"We are not, from birth predestined to some special position; but we do have tastes
and aptitudes which limit our choice. If no care is taken of them, if they are
ceaselessly disturbed by our daily occupations, we shall suffer and seek a way of
putting an end to our suffering." (p. 110)

Well, that sounds like something Johnny Bunko would say! The plan matters less than
personal satisfaction. This sounds like something I have said! Personal preferences
and core values must be recognized and acknowledged to attain such satisfaction!

"That we spend much time and energy searching for "identity" - 'I'm a punk!' 'I'm
Irish!' - reflects a lack of moral regulation." (p. 120)

When energy is not devoted to norms, some part of identity dies - the part that is
wrapped up in collective existence. Identity then begins to be searched for in other
venues... labeling one's self or in "novelties, unfamiliar pleasures, nameless
sensations" (p. 131).

"...One does not advance when one walks toward no goal, or - which is the same thing
- when his goal is infinity. Since the distance between us and it is always the
same, whatever road we take, we might as well have made the motions without progress
from the spot. Even our glances behind and our feeling of pride at the distance
covered can cause only deceptive satisfaction, since the remaining distance is not
proportionately reduced. To pursue a goal which is by definition unattainable is to
condemn oneself to a state of perpetual unhappiness. Of course, man may hope
contrary to all reasons, and hope has its pleasures even when unreasonable. It may
sustain him for a time; but it cannot survive the repeated disappointments of
experience indefinitely. What more can the future offer him than the past, since he
can never reach a tenable condition nor even approach the glimpsed ideal?" (pp. 126-127)

I really don't think I could've said it better, Mr. Durkheim. Progress may be made,
but it cannot be felt, without the presence of goals.

"He may seek to give beauty to his life; but his attempts in this direction may fail
without causing him to despair. For, loving what he has and not fixing his desire
solely on what he lacks, his wishes and hopes may fail of what he has happened to
aspire to, without his being wholly destitute. He has the essentials. The equilibrium
of his happiness is secure because it is defined, and a few mishaps cannot disconcert
him." (p. 128)

The equilibrium of his happiness is secure because it is defined...

"The less limited one feels, the more intolerable all limitation appears." (p. 130)

The more affluent one is, the greater the desire to be even more affluent. I want to
parallel this to my current annoyed state. I am annoyed with negativity and immaturity.
The less negative and immature one is, the more intolerable all negativity and
immaturity appears. The more intolerable all negativity and immaturity feels. Ugh.

"The wise man, knowing how to enjoy his achieved results without having to constantly
replace them with others, finds in them an attachment to life in the hour of difficulty.
But the man who has always pinned all his hopes on the future and lived with his eyes
fixed upon it, has nothing in the past as a comfort against the present's afflictions,
for the past nothing to him but a series of hastily experienced stages. What blinded
him to himself was his expectation always to find further on the happiness he had so
far missed. Now he is stopped in his tracks; from now on nothing remains behind or
ahead of him to fix his gaze upon. Weariness alone, moreover, is enough to bring
disillusionment, for he cannot in the end escape the futility of an endless pursuit."
(p. 131).

Durkheim recognized the importance of balance and moderation! While progress cannot
be felt in the absence of goals, an extreme focus upon goals causes a person to miss
that progress! By seeking happiness in the future, a person misses happiness in the
present. Ah, Durkheim!

"It is everlastingly repeated that it is man's nature to be eternally dissatisfied,
constantly in advance, without relief or rest, toward and indefinite goal." (p. 131)

Man is a fool is a rule? Always wanting what is not? ... The importance of having
DEFINED goals! Ah, Durkheim!

"Those who have only empty space above them are almost inevitably lost in it, if no
force restrains them." (p. 132)

The unhappiness of the affluent, with no place to go - no progress to feel. It all
rests in your own personal emphasis.

So, friends, what is YOUR emphasis? Affluence? Perhaps you should reconsider.

Core values, core values, core values.

I love Sociology. I love Durkheim. And, yes, I am aware that I am a nerd. What else
is there for me to be? I internalize this label.


Okay, so all that Durkheim quoting took a lot of energy, but I shall try to press on!

I am not sure whether this is due to there being more complaining and negativity or
my being more aware of it (for whatever reason), but either way, I am coming in contact
with more complaining and negativity than before. Maybe it's in my perception, my
perspective, but it feels like significantly more. It feels like a significant increase.

Regardless of whether there literally is more or not is unimportant. What we believe
to be real is real in its consequences.
Thomas Theorem. In that case, it is real.

Note: I really like this new Durkheim-inspired theory that I grow more sensitive to
complaining and negativity as I eradicate those traits from myself more and more
each day. As arrogant as that may sound, I like it.

Regardless of any cause, whether real or perceptual, I feel like a complete hypocrite.
The people around me are overly negative and complain too much about largely
insignificant things that they should be capable of rectifying. This negativity
is infectious and makes me want to complain. I feel like a complete hypocrite.

It is so completely non-sensical to complain about complaining. Complaining about
complaining will not help anything. So what, then? Call them out? Eh...

So what, then? Combat the negativity? Block our the complaining? Focus on the
positive? So what, then? How to focus on the positive when the negative is such a
dark and dismal cloud? There are a few positive people that are bright pockets in
this cloud of negativity. What's really interesting to not is that these emotionally
bright people have their own moments of negativity. So why, in my opinion, do they
continue to qualify as mostly positive people?

I fear this will not be concluded for sometime. I know I have more to say on this
topic, but no longer feel it.

Feeling Old.

In all honesty, I forget what this was all about. Oh dear, I must be feeling old.
Memory, come back! Thought, return!

I really enjoy being repetitive. I enjoy writing redundantly in an artistic fashion.

I made a note to write about feeling old next to the note to write about complaining
and negativity, so I think I meant to say that I feel old because I feel so bothered
by complaining and negativity.

Those young'ns always complaining about something! They're so negative! Don't they
see they have the whole world in front of them? They have the world in their hands!

Something like that.

Back to Durkheim... the quote that talks about how people miss present happiness by
focusing too much on happiness they expect to come in the future solidifies a recent
fear that I had not yet put into words. In my recent and current search among schools
to attend for my Master's, I have inadvertently placed more emphasis upon achieving
my Master's and have been placing more emphasis upon my eventual career goal. I've
been fearing that maybe, on some level, I've been missing out on some part of college
lately. Maybe I've been focusing too much on my studies because of the end goal and
have been missing the current achievements of present and tangible learning.

I mostly feel like this is a primarily unfounded fear.

I also fear that there may be a sliver of truth within it.

Don't believe that there's truth within it?

Well, I have twice as many more (haha) things to say, but I'm going to accept the
fact that I should currently be sleeping. I knew that I would not be able to sleep
sufficiently without writing at least the most important of these topics.

The topics that remain for another day are as follows:


Well, I can talk about Vitas. I really, really like Vitas. I had forgotten how much
I like Vitas. He's really quite incredible.

Wellness (chicken-egg)

That is all.


1 comment:

Daniel R said...

I don't mean to reign on your Durkheim love fest. Although I will give the man severe credit for a mustache that deserves much admiration. He lived from April 15, 1858 – November 15, 1917. All the ideas that you seem to love about him. Balance, present mindedness, ect. Were covered a little before his time. Lao Tzu (A Man with significant mustache and beard)live around the 6th century BC. Ditch the sociology, what you need is some solid Taoism.