Discover more from My Daily Dose of WTF
While Waiting to Be Dead (Again)
The Clock Is Ticking
*Changing the name of my Substack newsletter once again is tempting, but it could get confusing to my 7 readers, and I don’t want that. However, While Waiting to Be Dead would be such an awesome name for it!
As it has been said many times in the past months, I am 40 and bored. This 40 will be moving up one digit in a month and a half and boredom still exists, but a very anxiogenic time factor just seemed to add to it.
Politics, or Political Science, I still don’t seem to grasp the subtlety of the difference, has been my recent obsession, and I feel some sort of shame for not having taken interest in the field earlier. Political science, especially comparative politics, is fascinating. It’s so vast that here comes panic. “I am too late! There is too much to learn and too little time to do it!”
The truth behind all this is I couldn’t have started earlier, because I had no “time”, no desire, no openness. Maybe I wasn’t mature enough either, intellectually. For so long, I have been a wannabe people pleaser. Unable to do so, but unable to be real either, wandering between to states of lies, one of an ideal I didn’t believe in, and one of a reality that wasn’t mine. Pleasing people requires doing things that sound interesting and important to them, even if it’s contrary to oneself, and I did just that for a long time.
Today, the question I ask myself often is whether I really have an interest in politics, or if any subject would do it, because my brain just wants to ingest as much knowledge as it can. Like someone who would be so hungry that the most unappealing unseasoned chickpea salad would suffice (I hate chickpeas).
Before politics, I had convictions and false beliefs. Convictions that were flexible, elastic even. Beliefs that had me convinced that our Canadian democracy was solid, so much as the United States’. Today, while reading “Liberalism” by Alan Ryan for the second time, I realize reading only one time wasn’t enough, and that I should have read it at least three or four times to really understand it. But how can someone read the same things many times with so little time?
When I studied engineering in 2000, my grades were bad, but I never failed. When I got my engineering license in 2008, after working for almost three years, my bad grades didn’t matter anymore, because I had learned by experience, and I was good enough. Engineering was hard, very hard, but it was either right or wrong. If my welding strength calculation was wrong, it would fail. If my flexion analysis was too close to the limit, it would bend – and it did. Applied sciences are fact based, like biology should be, but let’s not slip into the sex-as-a-social-construct allegory just yet.
Social sciences, politics here, are not fact based. Philosophers have written ideas, people have read them, commented them, analyzed them with their own understandings and beliefs, and they have written their own iteration of these ideas, and so on and so forth. Definitions, which are often expressed with equations and formulas in applied sciences, are just a blurry zone between someone’s view of a concept and someone else’s, tinted with their own biases and experiences in social sciences. Do you see any parallel with a popular hot topic of the moment?
Does this vagueness and absence of solid facts devaluate politics? Probably not, but it certainly explains the hard non-democratic turn that our western societies are taking now. When one does not understand, or doesn’t agree with a contested definition, let’s say of liberalism, how can one respect it? When it’s allowed to reframe and redefine, we’d be a fool not to do it, for the sake of winning, of being better than the other side.
The aim of this diarrhea of words today wasn’t to dig into politics, but mostly to emphasize that there is not enough time to learn what I want to learn about it. Because Liberalism is the core of liberal democracy, what differentiates it from illiberal democracies and many hybrid regimes, it seems that reading in depths about it in all its form is necessary. On the other hand, with over 8 hours of mandatory readings per week, per class, how can I achieve it, on the top of shared custody and half a business to run?
Never in my life until now have I felt so much that every new concept I learn highlights how little I know about everything else around it. Is it some sort of joke? Is my brain depleting or is my consciousness expanding? The latter seems preferable but how could I know for sure?
Another issue with the time-window gradually downsizing is me writing instead of reading. How can it be that the most interesting concept to read makes me want to write about it instead of actually studying for this exam that is coming next Saturday?
My writing saddens me because it’s so chaotic, but it also brings me joy and comfort because it’s very coherent with what I am.