Saturday, June 20, 2015

You're fine, how am I?

As I've aged, I've started to function in an almost behavioristic fashion. I mean the behaviorism of the Ryle and Malcolm and (maybe, but probably not) Wittgenstein and not that of Skinner. Obviously, I don't quite take behaviorism to be wholly true; I think I have internal states and I am even sometimes directly aware of them. Often though, my primary access to those internal states isn't through introspection at all. In particular, I find myself knowing my mood not by peering inside, but by noticing what I happen to be doing.
Many is the day I find myself singing one of my stupid songs—about dogs or cheese and crackers or potatoes or someone in the gym or something off-color—or doing one of my signature and quite bad dance moves in the middle of the kitchen or the grocery store or hallway or public restroom, or I begin to skip or gallop down the hallway at the university and I realize that I must be in a good mood. Perhaps because my default mood is a certain funk that I call The Fog, I can be surprised to discover that I'm not in it but actually happy. 
Equally surprising is that I discover this mood the same way my husband does, through my actions and behaviors, and not through some privileged access I have. The internal reflection, often as not, comes from the recognition birthed by action.

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