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Monday, February 02, 2015

On moving beyond messes and swamps

I've often conceived of various topics that I pour huge energies into as 'messes'.  Perhaps a 'swamp' is another way of conceiving it.  It is slow moving, and one may sink and be lost if not careful.

I suppose everyone must have their messes and swamps in life.

If I have approached mine in a slightly more intelligent way than others might, perhaps it is in that I try to recognize what I am doing as early as possible.  When one knows that one is working on a mess, one doesn't have overly grand expectations to come out of the work with something clean and easilly presentable.

Lately I've felt a bit lost again, like I took on one too many messes and truly lost my way this time.

What are some of these messes?  Family history has been one for me, although I feel like this is less of a mess now than it used to be.

Non-linear dynamics in accelerator physics has been another one of these messes.  I also feel like this is less of a mess.

But in both the case of family history, and non-linear dynamics for accelerator physics, I feel a kind of disappointment.  I feel like now that I can see things a bit more clearly, what I see is not beautiful enough to have justified the amount of torment these topics caused me.

I suppose the issue is that in both cases there has been a kind of trauma hiding there that obscured the topic.  It made it look like the topic was about one thing, when that was really just a very small part of the topic.  In the case of non-linear dynamics, that topic was normal form theory.  In the case of my family history, it was the story of the Armenian genocicde.  Not that both these topics aren't important in their own right, but due to a story of trauma, they have magnified themselves out of proportion until they sat in conceptual and emotional territory that did not belong to them.

In some way, the life of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is still doing that for me.  He was someone who should not have been such a big man, but through self-aggrandizement, took up more space than he deserved.  Reading his writings and debating his legacy thus becomes a kind of mess that I continue to fall in.

It can be hard to give up on something when one realizes that it isn't as great as one initially thought.  One is left with a lot of disappointment and with the job of seeing that one has a lot less than one thought.