Friday, July 3, 2009

Trivial Pursuit

Reality consists of trivialities, things so transient and diminished that you wouldn't think to write them down and retain them, unless you were a writer or a poet and you made your living out of consciously observing such things and reconstructing them into significance. I'll admit that I don't take note of much in my daily life; it will take me months to notice a restaurant on a street that I've been walking down every day. As quickly as things come between my narrow blinders of vision, they slip from short-term memory. During my college years, so long ago, I made a conscious philosophical decision to not remember anything, because I had determined that history was of no importance, that the only thing important was the here and now—you know—like wannabe zen or beatnik stuff with an existential edge. So I would never remember peoples' names when they introduced themselves (nor the second, third, fourth time that I would see them), and I wouldn't remember the subsequent conversations that I had with them (even when they were deep and meaningful), and I sometimes wouldn't even remember meeting them. This obviously made it difficult to build friendships, because when I would see people, they would call me by my name, and I would say, “Hey dude!” or “Hey, how's it going?”

I later came to a realization (when I was less angry and bitter at the world for being what it is) that memory and history were important, and that the here and now can only most fully exist in its relation to the past and the future. And I try much harder to remember things, such as peoples' names, but I still have difficulty remembering some stuff. I sometimes wonder if not exercising and training that aspect of my mind had a longer term effect than I realized, or if my brain has just been riddled with toxicity, or if perhaps I've always been that way to some degree---someone who looks at generalities and remembers the big picture but could never tell you the specific details of anything. Which is why I blog, by the way. So that I can remember how I've arrived at my current way of thinking.

My lack of memory gets brought back to me everyday when I start telling my fiancee a realization that I've just had, and she'll cut me off, exasperated, and tell me that I've told her that 5 times already. I'm always amazed—and disappointed—because the insight seems completely fresh and brand new to me. I warned her when we started 'dating' that I had a bad memory, but she thought I was just exaggerating. Now she knows. I'm somewhat like the guy in 'Memento', except I do remember my name and my basic life history.

Why I am sharing this? I'm not really sure. I just like talking about myself, I guess. I think my point was to attempt to explore the idea of reality as a sequence of trivial events and details, but that we selectively edit a narrative out of what we consider important. What it is that we allow to become imprinted into our long-term vision, what we carry with us. I'd like to conclude all of this with some kind of satisfactory moral that makes it seem like I've written this with purpose, but unfortunately, it is only what seems: a sequence of trivialities.

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