Non-angst

This is a seriously weird mental state for me.

I don't feel angsty. I don't feel depressed. I don't feel bleak. I don't even feel emotionally frozen, the way I have a few times after severe emotional shocks. I feel about as neutral as I ever do.

But I'm asking myself all the sorts of questions that usually preciptate me into angsty bleak feelings.

I realized, just recently—less than an hour ago as I type this, less than a day ago as I post this (or at least as I expect to post it)—that I'm not enjoying life. And when I ask myself what would need to change for me to enjoy it, there really isn't very much that could, short of utterly impractical things like three-quarters of the people making up the society around me changing, and the society changing to match, so I fit in better—and maybe not even that.

I'm an INTP. The drive to understand is perhaps my most fundamental motivator. And it's failing me. I feel burnt out on curiosity.

There is much I could tinker with. But none of it seems worth bothering with. In my big angsty post of 2011-11-13, I wrote of having much to offer that nobody wants, or at least feeling that way. The facts behind that feeling are part of this: out of all the tinkering and investigation and whatnot I've done out of curiosity (as opposed to, say, being paid to), I've done one thing that I can think of that I have reason to think anyone else has cared about[1].

Coding for the Dreamcast? Investigating the polynomial factoring theory behind Sicherman dice? Building big-number-arithmetic code for the public-key crypto used by moussh? Getting my condo in shape to sell? They are all as a fart in a windstorm, as far as the rest of the world is concerned. Even as far as I'm concerned, I see little point.

I used to say—quoting others—that the day I stop learning is the day I start dying. I think that might be approximately today. I seem to have lost interest in learning. I'm tired of striving, even the pure striving for understanding and knowledge that has motivated me so well for so long.

I'm very out of step with the society I find myself embedded in. Nor do I think I am likely to better fit any of today's other societies. My attitudes towards computers are a better fit to thirty or forty years ago. My attitudes towards most of society's other constructs do not fit any historical era, as far as I know; my own sympathies are a not entirely consistent cross of libertarian and anarchist (in the political theory sense, not the colloquial North American sense which equates anarchy with chaos) with Lawful Good alignment ideals—and a Lawful anarchist, or libertarian, seems to me like a contradiction in terms. It's small wonder I don't fit into society around me; I don't fit even with myself.

But I'm not depressed. I've been depressed, and this ain't it. I'm not sure whether I'd call myself suicidal. I'm certainly not suicidal in the usual sense. But I do find myself wondering much the same thing I wonder any other time I notice I'm doing something that seems to be bringing me low-to-negative benefit: "why continue?". Sometimes when I ask myself that I find an answer. Sometimes I stop doing the thing. Sometimes I have no answer except that I seem unable to stop. This time...I don't know.

 

[1] That being figuring out how to get custom resolutions out of a Sun cg14 framebuffer—see the thread beginning with this archived list message. The list archive has mangled it slightly, mistaking some text containing an @ sign for an email address, but that's not important to its relevance here.

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