Raw Thought

by Aaron Swartz

Starting Out in the Morning

“That’s how you discover a person’s true nature,” someone in Starting Out in the Evening thinks: “by the way she wakes up in the morning.”

For a long time, I have woken up in the morning with nothing. Recently, because I have been sick. Before that, because I was split up among many jobs. Before that, because I nominally had a real job. I miss the days when I woke up with purpose, when I lived to toil at some grand accomplishment. The feeling that all of life is in the service of some larger goal. It’s fantastic.

I have been finally getting over my too-long illness, nursing myself back to strength by reading. When I was a kid, I used to take Saturdays to read, really read, devouring five or six books in one sitting. I haven’t read like that in years, but now I’m doing it again — checking out stacks of books from the library and setting upon them one by one. It’s fantastic.

And I don’t just breeze thru the pages, I roll around in bed and pace the floor and sit in the bath fighting my brain around their words, knowing that there’s some way it all makes sense, some way it can fit together, if only I can summon the strength to grab it. I wake up with thoughts of books in my heads, questions, anecdotes, stories. It’s fantastic.

I feel like the books are bringing me back — back not only to health, but to the world of thought and action, the world of accomplishment, the world of doing something grand with oneself. It’s fantastic.

You should follow me on twitter here.

December 28, 2007


Okay, I’ll bite. What are you reading?

posted by mp on December 29, 2007 #

Good to hear that you are getting better. Five or six books in one sitting? How can you do that without “just breezing thru the pages”? Please share us with your secret some day…

posted by Isao on December 29, 2007 #

Real life doesn’t generally “fit together” … too bad about that … but in drama we expect it to. In real life it’s been way too long since i could read a chapter or two of Bubble City while i sip my green tea latte at Starbucks :(

posted by Seth Russell on December 29, 2007 #

Your enthusiasm is contagious. Thank you. :-)

posted by Chris on December 29, 2007 #

Man, this post made me want to drop the thing I’m writing and go back to reading history - history of literature, history of science, general history, I used to eat those books like candy. Good times.

posted by Curt Hoyt on December 30, 2007 #

Good to hear, Aaron. I hope you remain in good spirits.

posted by Matt Blodgett on December 31, 2007 #

In a perfect world everybody would wake up wanting to find a grander purpose in life. The only thing I can do is try and perfect my little world. Glad others are doing the same.

posted by Glenn on January 2, 2008 #

Wanting is one reason for subjunctive and delay.

In a “perfect” world, everybody HAS a grander purpose in his or her life, based on rights and responsibilitites. The world acts as one, composed of endless unique evolving and passing - to create the best future. Beyond incompatible religions and (ego-)complexes (injuries/unsatisfied needs) and injustice anybody can go for his or her personal talents - and does so, because this makes happy. How sad that anybody thinks a system that produces the need to fight against itself might be the right interpretation of an enlightened humans word. It’s like cancer, if you regard one for all. Dangerous but curable.

A perfect world? Replace perfect: evolving healthily. Happy caring creatives.

All the best for the future and healing for the past, by the way!

posted by Lilo on January 2, 2008 #

Aprospos “by the way”, Aaron: You can discover a persons ACTUAL nature by the way she wakes up in the morning. I had a big part of my childhood and sometimes have the same experience of reading - when I take the time to celebrate my addiction to reading :-) In combination with all the other great things to experience and do…. (Take care for the balance ;-)) Fantastic, yes!! But as the morning IS so important - what I expect of my morning is an “everyday is birthday feeling”. Like in childhood, do some of you remember? You wake up and have to kick your legs and arms and jump out of your bed to spread all the happiness and excitement throughout your body: A bright new day, I can do whatever I want - and I immediately have a plan what exactly to go for today….

posted by Julia on January 2, 2008 #

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