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Thursday, February 23, 2017


We might think of some texts as dull, or boring, but boredom is a capacity (or lack of capacity!) of the human mind, not an attribute of texts.  It is a judgment we make about a text, but it really is a rather artibrary statement about the self doing the judging, of our position vis-a-vis something else.  At best it is a statement of the relation, or lack of relation, between two things.

It would be a little like saying, as an attribute of a particular woman, that I am not in love with her.  If that is a characteristic of this woman, then so is the fact that many others are not in love with her either!  Innumerable people do not love her.  We can say two people are not in love, but that is a statement about a relationship, not about the characteristics of either person.

If you and I agree that something is dull or interesting, that still doesn't get us much further.  Our relation to text x is parallel, somehow; we have chosen to line up in a parallel position. That is as meaningful as saying we are both facing East right now.  

The meanings we assign to our relationships to people, things, and texts are just that: meanings we assign. We are free to assign other meanings to all of this, whenever we want to. It may seem as though those meanings were constrained, but they are not.  Not that it is easy to perceive this arbitrary quality, but once you do, it will change your life.

To perceive it, I recommend taking an issue that you don't care about, and thinking how ridiculous it is for others to care about it.  Say, the question of who will win a golf tournament. Now think that something you care about will be as silly from someone else's perspective.

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