I have often found that in times of personal stress, when there is something very sad or emotionally difficult in my life, I throw myself into work, and in those times I achieve spurts of enormous productivity. But I generally can’t sustain the pace. The constant weight of what is happening outside the work continues to pull on me, and eventually the fun to be had from escaping into the work starts to diminish.
In contrast, there are times when I’m feeling ecstatic. A relationship might be working out, or I’ve heard good news about somebody I love. In these times I am filled with energy. Ironically, I often deal with this excess energy in the same way – creatively. I throw myself into my work, charging up whatever hill happens to be nearest. In this case, the energy can continue to flow through me and into the work for much longer periods of time.
I find it strange that I deal with Thanatos and Eros in such similar ways. They are quite opposite feelings, and yet my psychic struggle to seek higher ground operates in similar ways under both circumstances. Yet, I wonder, is there a fundamental difference between the fruits of these very different energies?
For example, only I know the chronological back story behind the many little Java applets on my NYU home page. I made some of them in times of great sadness, and others during the slightly manic good times. I am not entirely certain that even I would be able to tell which is which, although I could find out in a moment, just by checking the date when each was created.
I wonder whether a person who did not know me would be able to tell the difference.