About a month ago, I was amazingly sick for a long time, and I found myself in a strange situation where I understood that I was operating at some fraction of normal intelligence, sick, with people disagreeing with me. My hazy plan, despite repeatedly feeling light-headed, was to stumble back on a ferry, get to Seattle, reconsider a plan of action, most likely taking a bus to get home.
People around me, though, strenuously disagreed, and felt I should go to the hospital, and I had to make a really strange decision: am I thinking straight? Trying to make that decision, of course, meant a contradiction, namely:
– if yes, then my original plan’s entirely valid
– if no, then my original plan’s a bad idea, but then how can I be trusted to evaluate whether I’m thinking straight or not?
I decided to stop thinking about that and take advice, which meant I went to the hospital for a while, felt a lot better, and went home.
I had a similar experience deciding to go to Clarion West this June. I didn’t really expect to get in, and when they called, I had a whole set of problems:
– no money
– accepting meant I had ~two months and then would be gone for six weeks, so no one in their right mind would hire me
– standard problems being away for six weeks
I didn’t know what to do for a while, and I agonized over whether I should go or not, whether it would be awesome or not, if I could go in future years, if it would be worth the sacrifice of taking a promising job, and so on. I was looking, a little bit, for a set of justifications for not going.
In the end, what swayed me was other people: when I talked to my friends about it, they told me to go and volunteered to loan me the money. Once, I think I might have shrugged it off, but when a lot of the people who really knew me lined up for it had the same reaction, I had to step back and think “Am I really acting rationally, or am I so tied up in the situation that I’m unable to look at the whole?”
Once I made the decision, I feel great about it, even though it meant walking away from job possibilities I was really interested in. And I don’t think, if I hadn’t placed my trust in the judgment of a bunch of people I didn’t know when I was really sick, that I’d have so quickly said “as conflicted as I am, the universal view of others is to go, and to do what I have to do to go, so I’m going to take that course”. It’s been a strangely-won piece of wisdom.
Not that I’m going to let reddit users vote up or down on my meal choices.