50 years; it’s something I keep saying.
Todays topic is once again, all about me, but through it you should be able to find out all about you. Think of it as the gateway to a world of self discovery and enlightenment.
A few days ago my wife and I were on a long car ride heading home from a weekend trip at my fathers. I made a point of picking up a mid-sized Starbucks® coffee just prior to the trip in the hopes that it would keep me fuelled for the drive. About thirty minutes in and 80% through my coffee (Bleached with rich cream and brown sugar) my eyes started to blink faster and and I began biting my bottom lip over and over again. It was a great contrast to the numbing haze my morning beta-blocker can cause on certain days.
My wife randomly dropped comments, thoughts, ideas and observations in the loud drone of the car, sleeping dog upon her lap. I don’t remember what triggered it but we began discussing the concept of identity and how one decides to define themselves. With an intent to be pretentious: do you know who you are? Do you know why you like the things you like and do the things you do? Do you know why you are interested in some things and completely bored by other things?
Most of us don’t really think about it, I would imagine – I know, I don’t.
To intentionally decide I like something?
To work at becoming interested in something with the intent of wanting to be associated with it or defined by it? To deter interest in other things to avoid being associated with whatever “that thing” may be attached to or associated with?
No, I don’t have a secret passion to weave dreamcatchers or to start glass-blowing bongs. I am not interested in getting elbow-deep into engine grease to repair or build machines. But I will read game rules and card traits and scour the internet for information on how to master strategies and play-techniques for Magic the Gathering. I will read endless reviews on camera gear, paint pictures, learn software, read books – all kinds of shit that others would never bother to waste their time doing. What makes us decide? Does it define who we are? Does it help us define ourselves?
Beyond this my wife and I jumped further into pandoras box and began to discuss the concept of self and how we ultimately decide our state of mind, state of being, and positioning within the world. Look at it from this point of view: If I decide to be angry at the world and believe I never get a a break – will I ever get a break?
If I decide to obsess over what others have and I have not, will I harbour resentment? If I fall ill and the doctor diagnoses me with something how do I discern what is the extent of actual ailment and what is psychosomatic? I struggle with this one daily – is it my heart or is it my brain? 80% of the time it’s my brain.(I know one day I will convince myself it is my brain and drop dead on the sidewalk.)
Getting back to the point – I confess we are all relatively random. We are all just big bags of meat drifting in and out of different stages of consciousness and fluxing levels of paranoia, distraction and confusion.
One day I wake up euphoric – the next I wake up feeling like there is a tin can over my head. Someone says something and it triggers something and then I feel something – all of a sudden my mood changes. It’s like inside my brain there are 1000 fuses ready to ignite and the external world is pushing 10,000 lit matches at me. I, we, never know which one is going to go off, what will ignite inside us, and after it does and begins to snake down a winding pathway within our unconscious and conscious self, what will it reveal?
So is it true? Is life one big self decision? Could I have become a movie star if I had just decided to? Could I have become a brain surgeon? Do I behave the way I behave because I decide to, or do I behave the way I behave because of my parents decisions and my decisions as to how I reacted to their decisions…? I know I am going in circles. Just because people think they are smart doesn’t make them smart. Just because someone thinks they are a good painter does not make them Picasso. (Was he good?)
So who am I? Who are you? Will we ever know?
I remember discussing how we each perceive to see others with a friend and circling around and around on the topic of how each of us see others through a distorted filter of our own perceptions – meaning that when I look at you and decide who you are it is a completely subjective view that others may not see.
I see my wife as someone no one else may see her as.
I see you as no one else may see you as.
I see myself as no one else may see me as.
So when you pick up the phone and someone on the other end asks who’s calling tell them you have no idea, they call me: (insert your name here). Even when we talk to someone on the phone we have never met we begin to define them. We see an image of them that is dependant on what is inside our head, and theirs at the time of the call.
So how do I conclude this?
I guess I should tell you who I am. I could do this but my descriptions will continuously change as I write them. Also, you most likely know who I am better than I do – or at least you have your own comfortable or uncomfortable “perception” of who I am.
I say hey, whatever works for you.