At this point in my life, I’m somewhat familiar with my thought patterns. Usually, my thought patterns aren’t that great. But, most of the time, I am able to distract myself enough so I don’t engage in these negative thought patterns. That’s what human nature is to me: a propensity towards negativity countered by the will for distraction.
Seeing as though I am confined to my apartment for most of these days, there is not that much that distracts me. As such, I delve back into the same negative thought patterns that have caused me so much pain over the years. The difference now is that I am aware of these patterns of thought, so I attempt to avoid them instead of indulging them.
But, sometimes, it is so easy to believe the things that my mind wants me to believe. It is the direction that my mind wants me to take, even if I don’t want my mind to go in that direction.
My ex once equated the feeling of boredom with the feeling of wanting to die. It was an interesting observation. At first, I thought that she was elaborating on Heidegger’s notion of existence as defined by an awareness of time. But, lately, I find that boredom stirs up something closer to human nature, which are cyclical thoughts of negativity. While what we considered colloquially to be “life” distracts us from these negative thoughts, the absence of “life” from boredom draws us back.
When we have a “life” we are able to escape ourselves and lose the ability to cultivate negativity. I tend to think of it as a glass of still water sitting out. If you are able to drink this glass on a regular basis, you needn’t worry about the build-up of pathogens and scum in the water. But, if you let it sit out, then the water cultivates bacteria or mosquitoes or whatever. It is not an evil force or anything like that. It is just the force of nature that discourages stillness.
I think a quarantine is an interesting concept precisely because it invites stillness. The quarantine is in place to freeze “life” as we know it in the pretext to protect public health. But, on a more individual note, quarantine is also an invitation towards stillness.
My last couple of weeks remind me of how I remember my winter and spring breaks: timeless. I wake up in the morning. I’m sure I’m somewhat productive one way or another. But, by the end of the day, I have little idea of what I accomplished. Without any sort of context like classes or plans, I have no idea what I have done in my day. Likewise, the ability to live without context is precisely what I consider to be a facet of boredom. Structure invites a sort of “life” that constitutes living in a contemporary capitalism-driven society, and the absence of structure composes an absence of “life”.
In most ways, I long for the structure that I never cherished when my life was driven by simple day-to-day goals. I could never understand artists and musicians who were able to live without this predictable structure. Without structure, I would have no reason to wake up. Without structure, the only way I could wake up is to force structure onto myself. When I wake up, I put on a pair of jeans and make my bed. I have no reason to put on clothes or make my bed because I am not leaving the house, but it is the structure that drives me through the day. Without this type of context, then my day falls into nothingness.
I return to the idea of human nature, at least, my nature, as a force of negativity restrained by social context. I refer to social in a societal context. Society — interaction with others — is the only force that is able to dispel the negativity afforded by individuality. Among others, it is a sort of ego death that liberates the death instinct. Otherwise, I am just at the mercy of nature.