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Passion and Content

I used to have stuff here, but I took it down because I didn't see the point of it being online, which is odd considering the stuff I wrote before. So I guess I'm going to confront that contradiction.

I had a stupid thinkpiece where I wrote:

it sometimes happens that a person removes their project from the internet and i am left with their project on my drive. is holding onto their project a breach of trust or respect? am i disrespecting them by continuing to hold their work despite the outward appearance that they want to remove access to it? this is still a problem i grapple with and it doesn't seem to have a clear answer [it still doesn't]
in the sense of a project being taken away by its author, i wonder what i am left with. i am left with a sort of impression of the project that was given by the author that the author felt was not fit to exist. maybe they remove it to revise it. in some cases it is removed for no apparent reason
there is certainly the case when someone may remove their project because they no longer see that it is worth sharing or they've grown to hate the project. this is the case where it is difficult to feel like i'm respecting someone if i have something that they have removed, because i'm holding onto something they want gone
but clearly i see value in the work. i preserve it because it is worth preserving ... i wonder what would happen if the person who removed their project and retreated from their internet-existence knew that someone had what they hated and loved it
i wonder why one would remove something from the internet ... everything suggests that sustaining a presence online is the same as being online, at least to others

The original passage is edited for clarity. The context doesn't matter.

I used projects as an analogy for the self because on the internet, your online presence is your project, just like your real self is compelled to do what it does according to its values and passions. It was me trying on an existential conception of the self.

So who cares, so what. The above passage is more or less just me musing, but I held my self to the above passage because I wanted to have a presence. I wanted to feel like I existed by putting projects online. But writing didn't give me what I wanted, it didn't make me feel passionate, so I removed it.

"But how could that be? There being essays before is proof of your passion for writing essays, otherwise they wouldn't have gotten written! Their existence (remember: existentialism!) answers the question of whether you were passionate enough to produce them in the affirmative." Well then it only confirms the project analogy I was making earlier because I didn't like the passion that was driving their production and so I took them down. But by inference, since I didn't like my presence and my passion, I didn't like my self, because projects were analogized with the self. So I found out I didn't like my self and just stopped trying to have that passion.

I tried to probe into why I didn't like the passion producing my essays but came to vague and varied answers. One of the main reasons has something to do with a feeling that what I was writing wasn't worth writing and was being written for 'content', which to me just means stuff being written for stuff's sake. I was certainly writing out of some kind of passion, but the passion was out of a passion to produce for it's own sake. Content for the Content gods. I didn't like that, so I stopped and tried to interrogate that desire and write stuff for my self in private, all the while trying to combat the feeling that these private efforts were just the sketches of what would ultimately turn into 'polished' work that I could put out.

I really didn't want to feel like the worth of what I was doing in private was tied to anticipation of external validation and fantasies of public success, but my interrogations weren't going very well and I never shook the desire. I still haven't gotten to the bottom of why I want to produce and polish; it's probably just cultural osmosis from inhabiting social media.

I've gained a bit of an understanding of it reading John McDowell, because I think the impulse to produce essays that don't do anything is a similar or the same impulse to do what he calls 'substantive philosophy', which just means creating systematic, positive philosophical theories. The two products, pointless thinkpieces and substantive philosophies, feel like similar products and feel compelled by similar passions, so that's where I'm at so far. There's more to learn about this passion.

There's no real conclusion or lesson from this. It's more or less an update, because this site does still exist on the Districts catalogue. I feel like deleting this site, but I know that wouldn't throw away the key on the lock I've tried to put on writing useless stuff.

If you want philosophy, just go watch Sadler or something, or go actually take a philosophy class and see what you think of it. You don't need some random on the internet elaborating and opining and wasting your time (and mine).

There's stuff to showcase other than the navel lint I hoped to produce originally, like art. I had art up before, but frankly I was ashamed of it, so I took it down too. It was really pretentious and inaccessible, which made me think it was good because it wasn't just palatable 'content', but still. There's more to learn about this passion.

There might be things forthcoming, but I'd rather try to let go of that nagging itch that let's me use my nonexistent platform as an excuse to entertain projects when I have better things to do with my time, like focusing on school and friends.