2. I had a productive-ish day though. I worked on the never-ending 377A paper. Substantively re-wrote a couple of sections, and was just drained after that, so I left the library earlier than I'd wanted. But still, some progress was made, so yay.
3. My meeting with my supervisors was quite positive today. I still hate my doctrinal chapter but at least it's kind of shaping up now, and I could perhaps still show the problem without trying to tie it to a moral argument that I don't have the space or energy to make. I also should be on track to submit by March or April next year. I just need to write this final chapter first...I've been saying this for the past few months. It's frustrating.
4. Do I really have a knack to undersell myself, or do people oversell me? I keep thinking my CV is shit but my supervisors aren't as pessimistic as I am; or is it their job to look at the positives when their student is being negative? They said good things about the Yale conference, how it was positive that I got through the competitive process, and all I could think of was the fact that I met one of the convenors at the HKU workshop and he liked my work so I got lucky. I even said this to them, and Dr H said that's probably the case for some of the glittering lines on other people's CVs, so I shouldn't think that they are more impressive than me, or that the things on my CV aren't impressive because some were obtained through contacts.
5. I want a job, even if it is a means to an end right now.
6. What is the end? I want to write. But I don't write. Why do I not write? The fear of failure; but I think I've overcome that. So it's just sheer laziness then. If a supposed passion can be derailed by laziness, is it really a passion?
7. What is the use of this life, a life, that has been dictated by laziness?
8. What is the difference between having high standards and being utterly self-deluded?
9. I find it striking, the way I can get along with vastly different people. I can get along with someone who delights over freebies, and someone who says about academia, 'Their annual salary is the cost of one of my watches.' I find it striking because I cannot decide what is at work here: an openness to different types of people and different experiences, or a lack of a strong sense of self.
10. In the same vein, the above seems to be a function of my conflicting wants and desires. I want a meaningful life, I want a material life. Am I a product of Singapore's schizophrenia? Or, no, that's not quite the right word for Singapore. Singapore is not pulled in two opposite directions. It is materialistic, capitalistic, market-driven; it likes the good life, and by 'good life' it is referring to the material life. So the question is: what am I a product of? The material side of me is accounted for by the constitutive nature of my country; but what about the side that wants a meaningful life? Where did this come from?
11. How did I get here? How do we get anywhere anyway? One reason I cannot as yet bring myself to let go of the 'procreation is morally hazardous' argument in my 377A paper, and in all objectivity, it is a rather peripheral argument, is because it is personal; I am convinced of its truth even if I have some doubts as to whether the analytical argument truly works (this mostly relates to the idea of procreation unjustifiably inflicting harm on the person that is being brought into existence because, obviously, she couldn't have consented to the harm, consent being one of the justifications for harm to another. Something strikes me as a bit odd about the obvious inability of an unborn person to consent to harm doing a substantive chunk of the work here). I think it is true because there is great potential for suffering and harm in life: we have to make moral decisions, we have to make important choices, we have to try and be happy. What if we fail? The concept of life being valuable is a social construct, a necessary one to prevent us from sinking into existentialist despair. But if I grasp this, what does it then mean for all the things that I value? What do they all matter if the most fundamental premise of all of existence--that life is valuable--has no standalone truth, one that isn't parasitic on what we necessarily have to believe as true for us to survive?
12. The answer is that we can grant the constructed nature of our belief in the value of life, yet believe in morality--what is wrong and what is right--because we need to be anchored to something for us to conform to the basic term of the social contract (that life is valuable) that governs our relations with one another (so don't kill each other; so think of the value that you have to others), and so truncates the reasoning process before it reaches its logical conclusion. But how strong can it be if it is tethered to an illusory premise whose truth appears every now and then like a constant apparition, transparent and unwanted?
13. Ought I be with someone who gets it, or ought I be with someone who can counteract this bleakness? Am I right to want someone who knows me in this way, or should I want someone who doesn't, or can't? What does it mean to be known, to be understood, why is it important? What do I want him--whoever he may be--to know about me? What did I mean when I said that Never Again did not have the capacity to know me? What is so important about me that he, the generic he, needs to know, or needs to have the capacity to know?
14. I want to feel understood in the presence of another. What did I miss when I dated those inconsequential men? What did I mean when I said that I wanted to be known?
15. I mean this. A connection. An understanding of the way I think, the things that I think, and no judgement passed. Someone to whom I can reveal my darkest thoughts and not be frightened off. But does he need to be like me too? Is it a good thing if he is? Should I want to be engulfed by these thoughts with him under a midnight sky, or should I want someone who lifts me up and holds my hand under a clear blue sky? Could they not be the same person?
God, I am tired.