Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Been "Busy"

It's too bad I haven't been posting more. I've been too busy reading World Development Indicators (not really) and scouring scholarly journals for information on Venezuela's past economic history. (In reality I've been surfing the internet listlessly and getting high quite a bit.) As usual, when projects come due, I freak out and think a lot about them without accomplishing a ton. I did a presentation on Venezuela and the professor said I was "scattered." The fifteen minutes whipped by faster than I thought it would -- nevertheless, I feel that I did better than all but one of the others. Now I have to finish up the paper. I have a rough draft done, but I'm harried by a feeling that I don't truly understand all of these economic indicators and financial data. I don't understand how purchasing power parity, exchange rates, capital flows, interest rates, government accounts and all that other stuff really works. (This is mainly because I am too lazy to spend the mental energy to really figure it all out, but also because this class is the first time I've really been exposed to all this stuff.)

Since this last weekend I've been feeling sick to my stomach. I know (at least partly) why but I can't say. I feel like I've done the first thing that I truly regret. Before now I could never empathize with people who said they were "tortured" by past demons -- before I literally didn't have any, or if I did they disappeared after a night of sleep.

I like to pride myself on my amorality -- I feel that I could kill without regret if I felt like it, or it was necessary. (At the same time I am hit by guilt when I look at my garbage or drive -- but not when I eat meat.) I'm not so sure about killing now. At the same time I feel that my regret now is entirely selfish -- I feel regret because I took a serious risk to myself that I really shouldn't have.

Today I briefly looked over Development and Youth, published by the World Bank. It asked whether young people were rational and described three economic models. I can't remember exactly what the three models (traditional, developmental?, behavioral) said but I know that one (behavioral, I think) seemed the most realistic to me: young people heavily discount future benefits and emphasize present benefits more than adults. They also seem to assume that their preferences will stay the same. They are heavily influenced by the social norms. Damnit. I can't remember what all it said exactly. I'll have to look it up. Anyway -- that describes me to some extent.

My problems are exacerbated by caloric deficiency (dropped 10 pounds off my scrawny frame in the past couple months) and generalized anxiety disorder. I'm too cheap to buy more kava kava. I'm going to have to ask my dad for money again this month. I hate being in debt so much.

As I drove to school, I thought to myself: don't take life so seriously. Chin up. Why let people affect you. But then I thought again: is it really reasonable or possible to not take life seriously? Isn't life, suffering, and all that other jazz serious business? The problem with taking it all seriously is that it's depressing -- is that reason enough not to take it seriously? Then again, looking at life as a hilarious farce grants you freedom and lightness of being. Can you take life seriously and approach it as a big joke at the same time? I think so.

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