Featured Post

Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Self-Control

Self-control is an odd concept, because it seems to divide the self into two--one part doing the controlling and the other being controlled. Anyway, I don't like not having the feeling of absolute self-control. It's interesting how discourse surrounding addiction, for example, is predicated on the presence or absence of will.

I am seriously addicted to caffeine. It seems to be the fuel of scholarship. I would have no problems with continuing to drink coffee in copious amounts the rest of my life--except that I don't want to feel that I have to have it. I'd like it to feel like an absolutely voluntary choice. Now I'm down to one double-espresso a day, a double-espresso that still feels entirely mandatory.

Self-control also feels like a restriction, something mandatory. In this case the servitude is voluntary. If you were addicted to writing, say... What one wants, desires most of all is to enslaved by a larger purpose.

Another word for addiction is habit. Our habits tend to define us more than our single actions, as Aristotle observed. The choice is not between habits and no habits, but between ones that are situated differently in terms of the will.

No comments: