It has clearly been quite a while since my last post. France was wonderful, but it was also the sort of place that made me feel a bit guilty about writing blogs, if only because everyone else was doing it. It was largely what I expected, as an experience. I learned more of the language, had fun, and got to try out new things. What I did not do, of course, was make French friends, a feat that perhaps only two people in our entire program managed, and one could be called into question. I did make Canadian friends, for which I am grateful. New people, new friends, are important to me. I'm a very critical kind of person, and I need to move on frequently. Getting to know people enough to understand their flaws takes time, and if these flaws don't match my own, then I have difficulty remaining serious friends. I take the ones I can accept, and move on from the ones I can't. In the end, I have a selection of the best friends, and I'm constantly making more to make up for the fact that I'm not good at holding friends that I'm not that crazy about. France was stifling in this aspect; the majority of the people I met on the street could not be friended, simply because of the great gulf between my ability to speak the language and theirs.
Coming back to the US feels strange. Not in the sense that I hate it; I miss it dearly. I came to realize many of our shortcomings and weaknesses as a country, as a result of comparing it to others that I experienced in part while abroad, but that's not to say that I reject it. If I did, I just wouldn't have come back. But as always, my criticism of my country has only led me to realize how much I am dependent on it, and how much I need it. Being able to eat eggs and Slurpees again, I missed these sorts of things dearly. The American mindset, I have come to realize, is a very destructive and useless one; the US considers itself the 'best' country in the world because it's the current economic power. What happens when this changes, as it most certainly will in the future? What happens when we realize that money isn't everything? (We've been saying it for so very long, yet like hypocrites, we give no motion to believe it.)
I have come to realize as a result of my absence, that US culture is essentially based around the attitude of wastefulness and inefficiency. We see this as a good thing, so we overlook the majority of the ways in which we are wasteful, yet again, there will come a time in the future when we are no longer a world power, and we will have to deal with it. Britain did it. I only hope we can do it too. Maybe we might actually have to focus on human rights for once, because its something that we are hopelessly behind Europe on in most ways. I was originally quite angry and hostile in this analysis, and I thought of writing an angry blog about it. I decided that that probably isn't a good idea, considering my past history with angry blogs.
This post has been quite a long time coming. I thought of various ways to write it, but none of them proved satisfactory. Then, there's been the fact that I've been writing quite a lot in recent days. France was the sort of place where I felt a bit guilty writing in English, so I wrote conservatively. However, I still read quite a bit, and came to a few philosophical adjustments to my personal system. As such, I've got quite a bit to write, both to finish my novel and to record some ideas before they run away. All of these things mean that I've been putting this post off, and after a while, I began to wonder whether I should keep blogging at all. It's never given me too much positive feedback. At the same time, I feel like this life is something that should be documented. I want to be able to look back, and read these things. I want to know what I was thinking. I want to know how I will end up how I am. I want others to be able to as well, hopefully when my writing becomes accepted around the world. I can only hope.
A reading of both Nietzsche's The Will to Power, and Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Idea, has prompted me to make two realizations about philosophy. First, is that much of it is opinion. Logic is a device by which man follows chains of causality, yet it cannot create the first link, and cannot continue when the last link is met. It follows that we seek for these first chains, upon which to found pure logic, in our irrational, emotional, and opinionated sides. This explains the long held bias of philosophy for intelligence and art, and the reason why so many philosophers will argue passionately that their own artistic opinions are objective, and have definite meaning as some sort of key link in their philosophical system. Schopenhauer did it horribly, justifying art as the greatest action of mankind, while Nietzsche did it slightly better, but still classified certain arts and artists as weak and misguided, and others as indicative of great personal power. The inability for philosophers to metaphilosophize, to look at their system within the context of a series of systems (save to criticize and downplay) is shocking, and is something I find strangely absent in the moral philosophical field.
Secondly, I have finished a complete picture of the idea I had in mind at first, the moral system which I wish to lay out. It grew from my teenage years, and my obsession with power and the will to it, into something entirely different. To say that I support the will to live now, is an understatement, for it doesn't explicate the full philosophical meaning and implications of what I'm trying to do here. Reading Nietzsche, and seeing his flaws, helped me to see the flaws I once held in myself, and the errors that I made in my youth and impatience to make something of myself to the world. Seeing these errors, I have cemented my own position. I have come to a better understanding of it, refined and smoothed the edges. I would not say that it's finished. It's still a rather rough beast, and has quite a long way to go. But it's clearer in my mind, firmer. I can write a bit about it now, for an hour or two, before I run into a wall and must rethink. But it's better than before. It's better than nothing.
Not to say that I plan to finish it anytime soon. All the things I write in it now are just notes. Besides, my main project, my first novel, is nearly finished. Currently about 215 pages, it looks to be about 250 before I'm done, and now that I'm home for two months, I have quite a bit of time on my hands. I'm going back to work as well, but that still leaves me quite a bit of time every day, and while I need to catch up on my body work since I didn't lift a single weight in France, there's only so much of that that I can do. I have so much time, and I intend to finish this novel and be started on the next one before I go back to school. Now I only need to find a publisher really. Can't wait.