What is it about the desire to learn, to know, that keeps me so scatter-brained?
I’ve been asking myself this for awhile. It almost seems as if it’s very possible to be interested in too many things. Trying to cram reading, be it via the internet or traditional books, into our lives which tend to already be packed fat with responsibilities has the appearance of being accomplished with ease, yet we run out of time, and if we don’t, we rationalize ourselves into doing something that requires slightly less of our attention. Of course, I say “we” when I really mean “I.” Or is it “me?” Either way, I have no idea what your day is like.
Nobody can really say I don’t try to get my learn on as much as possible. I’m just complaining that it is more difficult than my idealist half thinks it should be. I suppose if someone were to make a webcam show out of my typical day, they would find me to be a terrible bore before the hours of 8pm or 9pm. I don’t talk much, even in the company of my grandma, unless, of course, she seems interested in a conversation. Typically she prefers to just drift in and out of a twilight sleep until it’s time to do something, like eat or exercise. Maybe about once a day, her brain is active enough to discuss something she saw on tv, or maybe a memory popped in to her head that she wants to tell me about. To be honest, I actually relish these times. I still believe that she does not have dementia, like my mother, aunt and doctors suspect. I spend four to five straight days a week with her, and I think she’s just really, really bored with everything because she’s too tired to keep up half the time. I suppose I would be at 91, too. We forget to adjust ourselves to the perspective of those we’re trying to truly assess.
Maybe I also try to tackle too much at once. In the past three days, I have taken on a book about Information Theory, another on the nitty gritty of GPS technology, and enrolled in a free video lecture class about Game Theory. I even stopped at the store on my way home from punishing my body (aka, exercising) to pick up a fresh notebook and pen to keep notes on all three things.
It dawned on me over my morning cigarette that perhaps I load myself up with too much at once. This whole quest to “improve” is so captivating and sexy to me that I want to gorge on it. As a result, I chose three rather heady subjects to swallow simultaneously, one of which is proving to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for me to wrap my head around (Information Theory). Out of the three, only Game Theory might hold some practical application in my life, and even that might be a stretch. One might argue that understanding GPS technology will help me use it better, but to be honest, I’m not doing anything technical with it. Nor do I plan to. It’s simply a curiosity and nothing more. When it comes to GPS technology, I do what everyone else does with it; find shit to do. Even my persistent and active interest in ham radio hasn’t really led me to what other hams are doing with GPS. My interest in it holds no quantifiable value that I can see. I just *am* interested in it, and I have no idea why. This happens a lot.
Anyway, I’m at least partially attributing this lust for learning to my strange, “Korsakoff’s Syndrome-like” brain. As prone as I am to self diagnosis, I don’t actually think I have Korsakoff’s, although, I spent many years of my life drinking heavily, so I suppose the chance exists. To be fair to myself, I should add that I drink significantly less than I used to these days. In one sitting I mights till put away half a bottle of whiskey, but those sittings are far less frequent than they used to be. Either way, the problem is my fault. Maybe it’s from drug abuse, and maybe it’s from trying to dive into the deep end of academia without a proper floatation device. Maybe it’s a combination of both. I can’t really be sure, now that I really think about it.
What I am sure of is that it’s particularly annoying. Mentally, I go off on tangents easily, I forget, or have trouble recalling with any real speed, or I jumble up various tidbits of knowledge and end up sounding like an idiot. The process I experience each time I have any sort of in-depth discussion with anyone on any subject is a kin to walking into the messiest home you can imagine and trying to find the torn corner of a piece of paper with a particular phone number scratched on it. Organizing that cacophony of information starts to look more and more like a multiple life prison sentence each day, yet I cannot stop myself from adding to the pile.
This is something to consider.