François-René Rideau (fare) wrote,
François-René Rideau

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Declaration of War

Procrastination stops NOW! It doesn't stop tomorrow. It cannot stop tomorrow. It can stop but now. Oh, I will probably put up a good fight against it tomorrow too. But the time it stops is NOW! It will also be NOW! tomorrow, but this NOW! is not that NOW!, and it is always and will always be the (grantedly moving) current NOW! that ever matters.

So this is a declaration of war. Well, just like some people turn the black magic wishful thinking bloody irrational jihad into a white magic peaceful rational effort of self-help, I don't really mean war like black and grey magicians do, as when they declare war on drugs, on poverty, on heresy, on infidelity, or on anything they fancy could disappear by waving the magic wand of government or otherwise divine intervention. But I don't mean to abandon the word wholly to the enemy, either. Fighting black magic -- that is, striving to cure it -- beings with the words we are using NOW! We don't have to understand the word with the emotional network of black magic. Though it may help to understand how not to understand it, what is more important is that we positively understand the word with the proper rational network of white magic. The Evil isn't in the word; it is in the misunderstanding. Retreating on words in itself doesn't reduce misunderstanding; it might be necessary as a temporary strategy to prepare a stand on stronger defenses -- but it won't win the war (i.e. succeed in its goal) against misunderstanding (i.e. of achieving actual positive understanding, or at least avoiding pitfalls that lead to destructive behaviour). Actually, this retreat is a symptom that the war hasn't been won yet -- it is a healthy reaction, just like an inflammation: painful, temporary, healthy, symptomatic; both a sign that our unconscious natural defenses are actively working, and a sign that our conscious self should plan appropriate measures or otherwise take the disease into account during its planning.

So, what does it mean, that I am stopping procrastination NOW! (and that NOW! includes allthe NOWs at which I will be stopping procrastination, which is a lot of them -- as long as I live)? Does it mean that all my problems are solved? No. The wish that all problems be solved at once is, well, wishful thinking. It is part of the problem, really. No, stopping procrastination (which, as I told and will repeat again and again, is taking place NOW!) means that I am turning on (and maintaining on, at the price of a permanent effort) the switch of rational planning of my own life. I am the owner of my own life. It's a tautological joke really -- whatever I am owner of is my life, whatever I am not isn't; whatever is my life I own, and whatever I don't isn't. And no, this tautology is not meaningless either, because it draws a bridge between two categories, what I am and what I own, what I know and what I can choose, static knowledge and dynamic thought. It is the isomorphism that serves as the basis for Natural Law.

So, to come back to our sheep, uh, switch, rational planning of my own life is the essence of living rationally, or being a full human being as opposed to a mere animal. Of course, it means there is reason that we will cultivate and use with trust, not fear; reason means we will reject unfounded axioms and falsified conjectures, that we will properly deduce and induce, that we will continuously replace improper prejudice with proper postjudice in a dynamic process to grow and maintain a coherent model of the world, as simple as possible, but no simpler, within the constraints. Pphew. But that is not enough. Mastering reason as a tool is about being able to go from A to B while avoiding those stupid shortcuts directly to the abyss; now the best tool is only junk without a good purpose to serve. Rational life is not just reason applied to abstract theories or mathematical puzzles, it is reason as a means to life. It is rational management of actual resources. It is rational decisions affecting your life, including early commitment to rules for cases when you don't have resources to examine in detail everytime. Oh, and the ultimate resource you manage is -- your own time.

There is a use to abstract thinking: finding general rules that optimize life, and help systematically avoid lots of mistakes in a cheap way, while leading you to long term fulfillment; but these rules have to be applied to a real life; and this real life requires concrete decisions and short term management, too. Long-term vision is there to help and orient short-term management, not to substitute to it. OK, so easy to say, harder to apply. Who says problems have to be cognitive? Or rather, that they have to happen only at the most abstract level of cognition? Problems sometimes happen at the link between abstraction and concretion. And the solution is not in more abstract thinking, but in practical training of one's decision-making proficiencies.

Start simple, but start NOW! Before I began karate, in september, I could do seven or maybe eight push ups in a row before I would be exhausted; after a few months of only a moderate training, I can now do seventeen or eighteen, and that's just a beginning. Same goes for learning to apply your reason to actual decision-making: it does take time before the results get noticeable, and there's a long way to go before you become really good, but it does have results, if only you start NOW!

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one. -- Mark Twain

I could go on for days -- actually, I have, since I spent several days finishing this post between so many other activities (hence the disunity in tone), until I decided it was going nowhere, and I have to publish it as is, because I have other things to do NOW!

Tags: black magic, en, procrastination, psychology, self-help

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