Thursday, December 08, 2005

Because Outside of School, it's too dark to read

didn't Groucho Marx say something like that? Anyway.

Since I haven't much time for writing outside of school right now, I thought I'd share with y'all a recent virtual Blue Book essay I wrote. Misspellings and lack of sense-making have been left intact.

Blue Book Exercise: Write for 40 minutes straight and answer the question: How does a linguistic representation (or reproduction) of “what you are” begin to unlock the repressive nature of analytic thought?

For some reason I'm finding the whole idea of personal identity tremendously troubling right now. Am I someone? Sure. Was Shakespere someone else? Indubitably. And then there's George Bush, and a man who knows what Colorado looks like from the ground, and a woman who lives in an apartment down the street who I wouldn't even recognize on sight, and Dominica and Jigmey and Jim and Cassandra. And we're all different, or at least individal. And that's due to som sort of individual 'me'-ness in each of us. So I suppose there must be something that is "what I am." But I am still finding the whole idea tremendously strange.

When I was sixteen or seventeen, I got a copy of an academic journal put out by one of the colleges I was thinking about attending. The whole thing was pretty much over my head, or at least the articles were bouncing off of the Wernike's or Broca's areas of my brain (wherever it is that words become ideas) as I halfheartedly flipped through. I don't remember anything about the journal, except that it had a blue cover and that one of the articles started out with a quotation from Pindar: "become who you are."

The quotation bothered me in a way that's nothing up to that point had ever bothered me. I was used to knowing answers to things, to my Latin teacher's weary "does anyone... except Nora.. have any ideas on this?" I was used to knowing, if not the answer to a question, at least the means to an answer. For Greek, try Liddel and Scott, for fashion, Sassy. But this? How does one go about becoming oneself? And how does one know one's true self, from the many false faces that might show up in its place?

So I guess what I'm saying is, I understand what you mean by "the repressive nature of analytic thought."

So. Unlocking that. With a 'linguistic representation or reproduction' of what I am. Could such a thing exist? Do I know Shakespeare as a represented or reproduced in his work? Do I know David Bowie? Does it matter if their work 'reproduces' them, or must it just "tease with the promise of a story the [reader] of it itches to be told?" Could representation be so subjective as the awakening of an itch?

I guess what’s tripping me up is the whole question of whether or not anyone can ever be understoon, even to themselves. Identity seems so amorphous -- it’s not like any one of us can at any time point to a solid or external thing and say “this is me.” Trying to poke out an identity is like trying to get out of an echoey mirrored room with all the lights turned out: frustrating and a little creepy. And sort of an odd way to pass the time.

Ok. But I'm getting turned in on myself here. Obviously, I don't write highly anylitical pieces for fun (at least not exculsively). And obviously, a lot of what I write is sollipsistic and navel gazey. So I suppose I should assume that I assign value to these activities. And the 'itch' to understand ourselves an each other is undeniable -- probably 90% of society came into being around that itch (the other ten percent is spilt evenly between sex, the domestication of dogs, and the cultivation of grains). Somehow, this sort of understanding comes about in odd phrasings and not-neccesarily analylitical musings. Emily Dickinson speaks more to the human condition than Euclid does (though a line of 'breadthless length' has the appealing truth of pure creation, it doesn't quite 'select its own Society - /Then [shut] the door).

Some psychiatrists treat patients suffeing post-traumatic stress disorder by having them perform a series of guided eye movements. These movements circumvent talk therpapy and analysis, retraining the neural pathways to be able to cope with trauma, rather than letting it endlessly replay. If there are, as Bearden says, "roads out of the secret place within us on which we must all move as we go to touch others,” perhaps they function as a similar sort of short cut. I could tell you my life story, list my secret worries and idle thoughts for hours without end. But if I could surprise you, surprise myself. If I could undercut, unlock. Then maybe there'd be a connection. We'd have an itch, a story.

42, minutes. I'm afraid I'm done. You want messy? You got it.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

False memory syndrome

(via Arwen/Elizabeth)

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, even if we don't speak often, please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL MEMORY OF YOU AND ME.

It can be anything you want--good or bad--BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE.

When you're finished, post this paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON'T ACTUALLY remember about you.