Saturday, June 7, 2008

theory of action 1

When you are fit and confident and strong, you have available a theory of action. The theory is maybe just something like - that you are fit and confident and strong, loved and loving, intelligent and kind etc, and the theory is a theory of all the actions available to such a person - and the theory allows you to act and do and be, without faltering.

When as happens from time to time you are somewhat more dented and ding-ed and knocked about a bit - perhaps really quite completely crumpled by that general flux of minor or major or sometimes completely illusory rejections ,disappointments and complete failures (...that flux that appears to increase in intensity with age, though perhaps this is just a failure of recollection), you often find yourself struggling to act because you make the mistake of thinking you need that good old red-blooded theory of action before you can you stall and freeze, furiously trying to panel-beat your theory of yourself and of action back into shape so that you can set off once more.....or in other words , trying to lift yourself by your bootstraps....

But the thing to remember is that - while your theory of yourself and of action is so easily compressible down to nothing by the flux- it is made of very insubstantial stuff - your actions are substantive and incompressible. Sure - if you help an old lady across the street while you are all depressed and theoryless, it feels wrong - or at least , profoundly unfulfilling - as though there is a zombie in charge. You have no theory of your action so you can't even be sure of your motives.....but the action is real and out there in time and space, it is good and cannot be compressed away by the flux.

The thing then is to force yourself to act , even when theoryless, even if it feels profoundly unfulfilling , as though there is nobody at home, just a zombie walking.

This is probably natural to many people. But to others (well , at least one other) it is surprisingly difficult - forcing yourself to act and do and be without your theories of yourself and of action intact, can feel like walking down a path with your eyes shut, or maybe more like, landing too fast and out of control down the runway, with the machine far ahead of the pilot in command.

But this is a way of feeling that you need to get used to

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