Paradoxical Freedom

The odd thing about suddenly finding oneself a man of leisure is now that the exams are over is that it rather takes the fire out of things.

When you have a day-to-day purpose, it gives a underlying meaning to which you can anchor the structure and events of your life. Remove that purpose, that skeleton, or holding-pin, and everything else is suddenly adrift. It’s pretty unnerving, all in all. Another way of saying the same thing is that procrastination seems a lot more fun when you have something to be procrastinating from.

Sartre had a pretty good grasp of this phenomenon, all in all. His point was that life is always unanchored, but we like to pretend that it isn’t. He called that “mauvais foi”, or “bad faith”. Honestly, I haven’t read any Sartre for ages because my copy of Nausea is… elsewhere, and Being and Nothingness is trapped in book backlog hell. He’s probably still my favourite, though.

Anyways, exams are over, which means suddenly I have to figure out what to do with my time all by myself. So far, that’s mostly meant staying in bed stupidly late, which is frankly just crap.

I have though had plenty of good times with friends, including a barbeque, drinks in Kensington Gardens, a Champagne and Suit/Dress party, and a trip to the Tate Modern (see for pictures). With any luck there will be more such happy occasions soon.

Guess I don’t actually have a lot to say about stuff right now. This is one of the more fundamental issues with Twitter – it acts rather like a release valve, letting go some of the pressure that would otherwise build up into a blog post. Ah well.


  • Have more good times.
  • Play videogames.
  • Read books.
  • See bits of London I haven’t seen yet (like Marx’s grave)

6 thoughts on “Paradoxical Freedom

  1. In spite of the fact that I did a whole essay on Sartre's views on Freedom for my A-level Philosophy (and when I say essay, the bastard was 10,000 words long when I finished it and even that was 'a bit short') I do still very much agree with a lot of what Sartre said. It just took me a while to realise becuase working that hard on nothing but Sartre for that long (and you have to admit the man's a bitch to study) I did end up hating him for quite a while! There is no point in life, I guess, and the nearest we'll ever get to having a point is probably just to make the best of it and enjoy it and that's that. And to enjoy it we need to be aiming for things a lot of the time – degrees, promotion, married-with-children, whatever those goals may be. Drifting isn't as fun as it sounds.

  2. Oh, yes, and I couldn't seem to comment on your 'Me' section, so yes, I'm a Browncoat too and proud. And I am very glad I've discovered your blog. I like it muchly.

  3. Thanks very much!

    I've never actually studied Sartre, I actually only read Nausea because Joss Whedon recommended it on the commentary track to the Firefly episode “Objects in Space” so I'm rather glad my uneducated thoughts about the guy aren't bullshit :)

    The very best things in life are those you can still stand even after you've been forced to learn about them, I think. Especially those things that you can learn to appreciate even more when you know more about them.

  4. Definitely – the same goes for music – if I can still stand it after I've spent a week solid rehearsing it, it's a keeper, and probably actually in that week of intensive rehearsal will have grown on me. Some things go the otehr way – start off seeming lovely, and after a while they seem stale and unoriginal until I can hardly stand them. Or like revision. Currently I'm loving it because the more I study neuro or phys or whatever, the more there seems to be that I want to read. So, back to it, now…

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