[epistemic status: private research note, except on the internet. Not even wrong. Thought in progress.]
I need to distinguish between different kinds of mental energy in the same way that I distinguish between different kinds of “feeling out of it”.
Here’s a start:
- Global energy – How energized you are to act on the scale of days (and shorter timescales). Relates to whether key goals are handled, or unhandled in a way that is being ignored, or that you’ve given up on, or is intractable, or is otherwise “stuck” (alternatively, key goals can be unhandled in a way that induces action). Probably related to depression.
- Phenomenological mental energy – The feeling of running out of mental steam. This is probably analogous to boredom. The longer you engage in an activity (that you dislike, or that isn’t fun, or something), the more you feel averse to exerting yourself. This is distinct from…
- “Cognitive resources” – This is in quotes because it is probably fake in the way that phlogiston is fake: it is the absence of a thing (phlogiston is the absence of oxygen). This is whether ones performance on a task is actually declining.
This is informed by reading that I’ve been doing lately, and introspection that I’ve been doing, neither of which I will share in detail here.