Managed to negotiate the trail yesterday, with all the fallen trees and scattered branches in the half-dark, only to come home and slip in the living room. Limping a little still this morning, so no run. Last night’s big flakes are now big drops of rain, so there is a large part of me satisfied to get a bit more sleep this morning.
Still having fantasies about all that can go wrong. I’m replaying imaginary arguments with colleagues, students and parents that I really don’t need to have. It’s odd how such an unpleasant thing is the default comfort for my quiet mind. I keep wondering if it is a distraction that still makes room for the background emotions I’m trying to avoid: a more malleable scenario to try to reach some kind of catharsis for the the anger and hurt.
Hurt. I’m not even sure that counts as an emotion. Pain. I’ve read that emotional pain and physical pain light up the brain in nearly identical ways. Which would make it as much a sensation as an emotion. And that shouldn’t surprise us. As much as we deny the body, it doesn’t surprise me that we deny emotions equally then. Intellect is without sensation. It seems to me that we want our nurses to be warm, our neurosurgeons impressively cold. It follows – or presupposes actually – that the closer we are to the body, the lower our status. I think this is true of emotions as well.
Even the Romantic poets who – arguably – had a high-ish status, drew on emotions and controlled them objectively, like tinker toys. They sorted and displayed them like objects in a museum. No wonder the modernists went straight to the scatological: the twelfth night of Christmas, the boy bishop years before the wars.
The Boy Bishop Years would be a nice title for a messy poetry collection.
I wonder if it is possible to untangle anger and hurt from one another. I guess I have always thought, stubbing my toe that one leads nearly instantaneously to the other. The curse word flying reflexively. But what if they are the same.
I’m trying to remember if when the boys cried as infants I really could distinguish between a cry of pain and one of anger.
When something surprises E. it is like a blunt force to his nerves and his fist flies faster than he can reason from pain to anger. He used to clear mines in war zones. We talk about defense mechanisms. But isn’t that really a definition of perspective? I’m not convinced that context and interpretation create ontological differences – the in and of itself of our bodies’ responses.
I think it’s time for me to go back to reading philosophy. I “got it” once upon a time, and could rearrange the ideas like tinker toys. But now… well, maybe there is a way to let it under my skin.