Why Am I Still Awake?

So, I just got home from an evening of bartending the McCarter after-hours party in honor of Stick Fly. It was fun times--great music, friendly people, incredible creme brulee. We kept quite busy all night, and made a pretty penny in tips. And I should probably be going to sleep now, but I wanted to throw up a quick blog post before I do (and everyone who knows me at all just smiled knowingly and rolled their eyes at my use of the word "quick." I saw that...) I'm kind of simultaneously completely braindead and unable to go to bed quite yet, both phenomena resulting from the fact that I have stayed up until 5:30 in the morning the past two nights in a row.

Why on earth have I done such a thing, you might wonder, especially when each time I had to be up by 9:00 the next morning to make it to work? Well, it's actually largely the fault of a chair, believe it or not. See, last weekend I got this new chair to put in the corner of my room by the window. It's this really cozy pod chair that allows you to curl up in all sorts of excellent ways and is just perfect for reading and journalling and such. Which is precisely the problem. Because I've got a bunch of stuff I'm working on processing at the moment, and there's this chair just begging for a nice solid journalling session. So I get settled in and start writing and I just DO. NOT. STOP. In the past two days combined I have written nearly 50 pages worth of thoughts/ reflections/ questions/ ideas/ constructions/ recountings. And I still have more to say. (So if you think this blog is subject to some abusive prolixity, just be glad I have a journal in which to screen through the fifty pages worth of stuff I have actually been thinking about since my last entry, you know?)

Anyway, it's all good stuff, so worry not (Dad). Just trying to do things like record recent experiences that I don't want to lose, and figure out my feelings and expectations about things, and assess what makes me happy and what I want out of life. Last night I went to this lecture on campus by Daniel Gilbert, who's a Harvard psych professor who wrote Stumbling On Happiness, which you should read because it's fascinating and mind-blowing and makes you rethink how you think about things. And it's all about how we try to predict what will make us happy in the future, but we employ all these fallacies in doing so, and actually end up being pretty inaccurate--that is, the things we think will make us happiest frequently don't, and the things we think will make us unhappy often aren't nearly so bad as we predict them to be. And Daniel Gilbert is a big proponent of rational self-examination and awareness of these fallacies in order to circumvent or override them.

It was an interesting lecture, and perhaps an even more interesting post-talk question and answer session. Turns out Gilbert is unconvinced by the claims of books like The Secret and Blink. He is also way more socially/globally concerned than you would expect of someone whose research is focused on how to make yourself personally as happy as possible. He basically ended his lecture by saying, "Our brains were adapted over tens if not hundreds of thousands of years to survive in the Pleistocene. But now circumstances have changed far more quickly than biological development/selection is able to keep pace with. As a result, if we follow the intuitive paths our brains urge on us, we will eventually destroy ourselves through things like hunger, homelessness, obesity, and war." Thinking more rationally about the future, he seems to believe, is the only way to avoid total calamity. Which is fascinating.

Okay, I no longer possess the presence of mind to figure out a way to tie all these random observations together into some sort of mildly cohesive blog post theme or through-line. So I'll leave that to you, and simply bid you goodnight. When I wake up tomorrow, it'll be time to delve into the exciting world of grad school research. Which actually I'm quite looking forward to. I should also probably open a bank account. And now this blog post is becoming a to-do list, which means it really is time for me to take temporary leave of consciousness. More later...


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