Let's talk about emotions for a moment. My emotions. My doubts. Mostly, this is just an exercise in selfish self-expression, but I suppose I should also preface it with some sort of Point, just for all you readers.
Many religious people are rather quick to relate the fact that they've had "doubts" in the past. I believe there are basically two kinds of doubts which get seriously confused in the process. The first kind of doubt is simply the uncertainty in one's beliefs. The second kind of doubt is that emotional angst which seems to exist in all our lives. If religious people are using "doubt" to refer to the angst they've experienced, then I guess that's okay. But if religious people are using "doubt" to refer to their uncertainty in their beliefs, then there is something very wrong with their attitude towards doubt. They talk about doubt as if it were their shame, something which can only be considered good in the same sense that being "only human" is good. But what is so bad about uncertainty? Uncertainty drives free inquiry, which drives personal progress.
The thing is, I can sort of understand why these two types of doubt get so mixed up. Emotion leads to uncertainty. One kind of doubt leads to the other. However, it may be a useful exercise to separate out the two kinds of doubt. Perhaps we can pick out the good from the bad? We can improve ourselves through adversity? I don't know.
Anyways, onward with the selfish self-expression.
Sometimes, I just get that feeling of, "What am I doing in life?" Which is ridiculous, because I know exactly what I'm doing in life. I've gotten straight A's all through college, and I'll eventually go to grad school, perhaps become a professor. And I still have enough free time that I can maintain a blog. I guess I have it pretty good. So now I just feel bad about feeling bad.
I worry that one day someone will discover I'm a fraud. The Journal of Geophysical Research will discover that my research is all done wrong because it turns out I had no clue what I was doing. The band will discover that I'm actually the worst flautist in the group (and I believe that one too). Readers of my blog will discover that I'm actually just this college student who likes to write, and that my opinions are complete BS. Even when I write about physics, something I know, I worry that someone will discover that I was merely spreading misinformation.
I'm worried that people will find out that I'm a fraud as a humanitarian and an activist. I don't have the disposition for it. I cannot be "for" something without having serious doubts about it first. I won't commit. I have crippling buyer's regret. I will not spend my money on anything. Not for me, not for anyone else. And I won't donate blood either. I just--I just don't want to.
Sometimes, I feel like I just can't get enthusiastic about anything. This makes me feel like I'm letting people down. I can't root for the home team. I will never have any sort of school spirit. I will never feel proud as an American. I can't really get into the messages of "hope" and "change" in Obama's campaign, and not because I don't like him. I will never feel proud of my family heritage. Even when it comes to the subject matter of this blog, at some level, I don't think I will ever be excited about atheism, skepticism, or science. I could never inspire people about them, because I don't really feel inspired myself.
What's worse is I feel like I'm falling into some sort of stupid rationalist stereotype. Like we're all repressed emotionally, incapable of feeling. I hate that stereotype... but I fit it. And what am I supposed to do about that? Stop repressing my feelings? There are no feelings to be repressed--just the feeling that everyone else expects me to be excited when there is nothing worth being excited about. Every time I see a fictional story about how some character turns his life around by "opening up", I think I hate myself a little more for being who I am.
But I suppose I take comfort in the fact that none of the above paragraphs really make a whole lot of sense, that it's all just a bunch of rambling that I wrote in a cynical state of mind. I mean, what is this about feeling angst because I'm unable to feel? Ridiculous!