Saturday, December 8, 2007


this post is dedicated to keetins and to anyone else who knows that it is possible to love life so much that you wish you were dead.

Last night we went on an internet binge and read all about doppelgangers, our phantom selves that accompany us throughout life. As part of my new separation from mind and self, (or feelings from thoughts) I feel like I'm kind of prancing around, holding hands with mine and, like any relationship, sometimes hating her, sometimes winking at her slyly for being the only one in the secret, which makes me love her.

In the middle of my 8 days of intense concentration, however, my mind is not easily ignored, and my "feeling" doppelganger has now begun to put the "thinking" doppel on a pedestal and started to write odes to her. Usually, it's the other way around. By "usually," I mean that certain periods of intense exhilaration that I have come to suspiciously regard as mania, the "thinking" self becomes fully obscured by the seeking and sating of all of life's worldly pleasures. Let me illustrate. This is the normal pattern of thought that occurs when "feeling" and "thinking" co-exist and, in my case, "feeling" usually beats "thinking" into submission.

Feeling: I feel bad. I need something. Sex? Booze? What is it?
Thinking: Is that what you really need? Sex and booze can fulfill your short-lived desires, but your deeply rooted unhappiness will still remain.
Feeling: Shut up, you. Deeply rooted unhappiness cannot be corrected right now, can it genius?
Thinking: This is a self-destructive pattern. We've got to start somewhere.
Feeling: All right, genius. Start. Make us feel better.
Thinking: Uhh...I'm thankful for my friends. My family. My health.
Feeling: I'm not feeling better. Are you?
Thinking: No.
Feeling: Of course not, genius! You got nothing! Let's try this again. Sex or booze?
Thinking: Well, booze would make sex easier.
Feeling: Yes! I knew you were good for something. Great, that's a plan. We're in this together now.
Thinking: Okay, but I'll get you back tomorrow morning.
Feeling: Stop trying to play the "you" and "me" game, friend. You mean, you'll get us back in the morning. If we got to make the trip to Shame City, we're getting a double room.
Thinking: Yes, double rooms are a better value.
Feeling: See, you can't deny me. We're one and the same.
Thinking: You're right. I don't know what I was thinking.
Feeling: You're always thinking. I exist for a reason.
Thinking: Yes. Without you, we would never have any fun.
Feeling: Now quit your yapping and get us a drink.
Thinking: Yes, sir.

In times of mania, feeling and thinking kind of merge into this kind of thought stream:

Feeling: I feel bad. I need something. Sex? Booze? What is it?
Thinking: What is this, junior high? You forgot drugs, guns, and the reckless endangerment of everyone we care about!
Feeling: God, where would I be without you? Of course.
Thinking: Okay, let's call everyone we know and get this Tuesday started!
Feeling: Yeah! Let's do it! God, I love you.
Thinking: And I love you.

Synergy is indeed a beautiful thing. It eliminates so much conflict. Now, what happens when thinking wins over feeling?

Feeling: I feel bad. I need something. Sex? Booze? What is it?
Thinking: God, your material desires bore me. Have we learned nothing? We will always feel bad until we learn to think outside of ourselves. The only way to not feel better is to cure the world of its ills through the disciplined practice of Extreme Intellectualism.
Feeling: Are you serious? We've been through this before. And last time I checked, sex and booze got us lots of lovin'.
Thinking: I am ignoring you. I'm serious about this. Where can we start? The politics of the world stage? The labor market? Marxism? Capitalism?
Feeling: Okay, I can see you're feeling a little overexcited. You're delusional. You need to settle down there. Why don't we calm down, take a Xanax, and go to sleep. We'll talk about booze tomorrow.
Thinking: Sleep is for the weak. I am on the brink of something huge here. Oh my god, it's so obvious. Freud. How can we possibly think about society as a whole without first considering the most basic unit of society, the individual?
Feeling: I thought I knew you. I'm hurt. I have needs, too, my pompous friend.
Thinking: Well, you're going to have to go get tanked without me. I have bigger concerns now.
Feeling: I can't do this without you! We're a team, remember?
Thinking: I am ignoring you. Perhaps you haven't noticed.
Feeling: Nobody will like us anymore.
Thinking: Those people don't concern us anymore.
Feeling: Do you think you can do this without me?
Thinking: Oh yes. I am quite capable. You, my childish ghost of a soul, are what's been holding me back all these years.
Feeling: Right. Well, go then. See how far you make it on your own.
Thinking: I will. Once I achieve world peace, we can be friends again.
Feeling: Not unless you bring the bourbon.
Thinking: You'll see.
Feeling: So will you.

1 comment:

Luis Celestino said...

this is excellent dialog. susan sontag (damn fine artist and writer) had a lot to say about the (false) opposition of thinking and feeling; there's got to be a way of working together, people.
From an article by Steve Wasserman of the Times in memoriam after her death in Dec. 2004:,0,1124620.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork

Sontag devoted herself to demolishing “the distinction between thought and feeling, which is really the basis of all anti-intellectual views: the heart and the head, thinking and feeling, fantasy and judgment. Thinking is a form of feeling; feeling is a form of thinking.”