Monday, January 07, 2008

Evangelical Pheonixes

The title really doesn't have much to do with anything except for what I've been reading lately. . .the Marvel Age of Apocalypse arc, which only just mentions a phoenix in a pretty cheesy allusion; and I've been reading about The Second Great Awakening and some of the moral parallels with the Transcendentalists, which has a lot to do with people being born again. So, yeah, the title just popped into my head.

Then again, I just experienced some inspiration that had been building up. Last week, I had to return Dr. Roy Baumeister's Meanings of Life to the library without having finished it. Not really a big issue, since I can just check it out again and resume reading it.

I've just been dealing with a backlog of frustration because I couldn't really write an outline for the last paper in my bachelors project, I've been dealing with a motivation (but not a writer's) block writing in the novel (whereas I could write four pages on a Sunday, now I'm only able to write two), annoyed with the emotional drain from work and the holidays and, frankly, fearing that I may have been falling into complacency. . .which felt extremely ironic, since I was reading a book called Meanings of Life. Sure, I can see some loss of, well. . .hope and sense of purpose. Reading about the truth of meaning in human experience essentially must lead someone who wants to know the truth to the conclusion that there's not necessarily any inherent meaning in life.

I consider myself smart, on some level, though, because I can trick myself into thinking that there's some meaning out there. Being human, though, with limited perception and knowledge, I just haven't the power to know what that meaning is. Thus, my meaning in life is gather information and knowledge and also to get people working together to develop all that information, knowledge and technology (to explore the outer and inner reaches of "space"). It just so happens, though, that I also have my immediate physical and emotional needs to distract me every once in awhile.

So while getting exhausted at work, frustrated with writing and researching, running myself thin traveling and being social and gnawing at the bit of existential angst and having had reached a useful conclusion (I even wrote it down one night with some further expansion as the beginnings of an outline) just before returning Meanings of Life and taking the final notes from a book about Brook Farm, I told myself at the end of last week that I would sit down and write an outline for the Brook Farm. I knew that I didn't have all the information I needed to make a good argument, but I had a enough to make a sketch.

I had originally intended to write that outline in a short time over the weekend, but I ended up reading the Age of Apocalypse saga and spending a whole day Saturday researching time travel and parallel universe logic, in general for literature and in the Marvel Multiverse. . .only to have to conclude, like from my research on these themes in Heroes, the story simply had some bad writing, lots of fridge logic and too much mythology to provide a good consistent logic for, after changing history, a whole bunch of characters disappear but one remains.

Or maybe I'm just not familiar enough with the Marvel Universe to make an educated opinion.

Either which way, after calming down my hyperfocusing on this tangential research and coming to a possibly false conclusion, I sat myself down to write my skeleton of an outline. I thought it would be something like 2 pages with hints of the facts I have and need (since I haven't fully integrated the information that well).

Instead, I get 4 pages of some great ideas. Most of those ideas come out in the conclusion and introduction, sure, but that's a good start, I think, especially after the uninspired dry spell that I've had for writing. Now I'm going to type up this outline, have a bit to eat, deal with some e-mails then pretty much head to bed. I've finished a good goal tonight. Sure, it's just a step and has taken awhile to reach, but I'm going to bask in my accomplishment.

Then, tomorrow, I get back to scratching away at the novel and doing research here and there for the paper. The outline doesn't have much about the how the Transcendentalists and the evangelists of The Second Great Awakening followed some of the same trends when it came to morals and the conception of man. Something tells me that bit will help to add some more color to the paper.

Wee!

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