March 15, 2009

Freedom, control and voluntariness

Recently I received an email telling me that Yahoo Briefcase is closing, so I figured out how to open it and discovered some files I'd saved there in 2002. A flimsy CV, a cover letter I hope I never sent to any prospective employer, and a few essays from my final university semester.

I hoped to find my (self-confessed) masterpiece on why it was that Madame de Merteuil persisted in her incriminating correspondence with Vicomte de Valmonte in Choderlos de Laclos' Les Liaisons Dangereuses, penned for my horizon-blowing 400-level philosophy paper, the wonderfully titled Fragility of Goodness. But I didn't. It is gone.

I did find an essay I wrote in the same semester, for an Ethics paper I begrudgingly took to make up the final credits in my PPE degree. I'd already done the compulsory ethics paper for law, but I needed 300-level philosophy points, and this one fit my timetable. The essay looks at the concept of automony, and I recall that once I got into it, I found it fascinating. My tattoo-dreams of the time revolved around finding or creating a symbol representing autonomy, because it seemed to fit exactly what I was feeling. I'd not long returned to a static Dunedin from Copenhagen; I'd proven myself capable of surviving alone far from home. It was my final semester of university, and who knew what would be? Sometimes I want that again - not to be 22 and facing a smorgasbord of choice, but to be 28 and have the same outlook. It happens now and then in life, but I don't see it in my near future.

Several days later, and I've only now read past the rosy memories and the first paragraph. It's a little bit fascinating but having grasped notions of the "hierarchical view of self" and "second order volitions", I'm afraid I want to put it down and watch another episode of Mad Men.

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Blogger Paul Capewell said...

Heh yes, I didn't expect to find much in my Y! Briefcase either. On a similar note though, I wish I had some/any of my high school work still. I mean, it wasn't that long ago, and it was indeed all typed. Sadly I don't know what became of that computer.

I mean, the essays will be PATHETIC (I never was - nay, still am not - an academic), but it would still provide a chortle or two to see just what level of horror they reside upon.

10:41 PM  

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