Miniature blog hiatus again. It’s been a stressful week, and I got sick. so just… yeah. Thanks. This is just an amalgamation of an essay(s) and recent thoughts. This introspection had no point so apologies if it left you more confused than when you started it.
|I’ve lost it all, I’m just a silhouette – a lifeless face that you’ll soon forget. – Youth
According to Newton’s First Law Of Motion, an object will remain in its state of motion or travelling with a constant velocity unless a resultant force acts on it, thus changing its path. But to apply that law to people is a completely different case, because although a human being can continue on their path until something changes it; humans are both blessed and cursed with a brain and a frontal lobe. You can change the course of a human being, but that doesn’t mean they forgot where they were going. That is what I feel can be my fatal flaw. The persistence of memory.
In the Snow Patrol song, The Lightning Strike, the first few lyrics always seem to have me encapsulated: “What if this storm ends and I don’t see you as you are now ever again?” Further expanding on my initial statement, I am one of those people who are ever so ‘blessed’ with a memory that retains, often, the silliest of details, such as concert set-lists, the song you were listening to on a plane to New York when you were ten years old, the date someone sent you a life altering message or your mom’s first ever cell phone number, yet can’t remember details like your cousin’s birthday, your mom’s current cell phone number or what day it is.
But now, thinking on those lyrics again… I can always see you as you were when we first met. That is the strangest thing about memory, isn’t it? It has the most inexorable way of retaining information and the emotions or sensory triggers attached with it. Memories are so persistent, yet equally inconsistent. Think about it: how easy is it to manipulate a memory? For such a clever computer, your brain tends to accept a lie as the truth if it’s presented with the unfaltering information enough times. Your brain isn’t stupid, though, no, no. I can’t convince myself that when I was 12, I went to Japan for a week. Yes, maybe on a virtual online game I might have, but my brain can discern the difference. But I can convince myself that on the 12th of May 2013 when I was waiting outside Soccer City to see Justin Bieber perform live and he drove past me in his Rolls Royce, he looked at me and possibly smiled. And why can I do that? Because my brain is so smart and stupid at the same time. If I have the authentic visuals, I can slip in a bit of false information and repeat it until my brain accepts this as the truth. Kind of like a watered down version of inception.
I sometimes still grapple with the thought that every moment that passes is just a memory. As I type, the ‘t’ I just put down is already in the past. Not so distant in the past, but the past nonetheless – as John Green wrote, ‘Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.‘ There is an infinite amount of microseconds in a second, but there is a larger infinite amount of microseconds in an hour, if you gist. But just like our brain perceives time (which is, after all, a man made invention susceptible to manipulation) differently, so it perceives emotions.
I have this theory that our minds have a way of amplifying the bad in order for our subconscious to feel like the emotional pain we feel is warranted. In truth, emotional pain only lasts for twelve minutes, thereafter, it is all self-inflicted, but we subconsciously choose to dwell on our short-comings and pity ourselves. We choose to replay the tormenting images of what was and what could have been. We choose to remind ourselves of our pain because we feel like we don’t deserve to be happy. But in order for us to do this for so long, we need to feel like our pain is bad enough. Like the burden is big enough. Like the struggle was painful enough. Because once we realise that we owe it to ourselves to move on with our lives, we feel guilty. As if we don’t deserve good things and happiness while someone else is suffering. Or even worse, once we’ve achieved emotional equilibrium and we see someone else enduring something emotionally scarring, we feel as though we need to rehash our past in order to identify with them.
Sometimes, empathy can be a bad thing. This sense of ‘survivors guilt’ is what I believe to be the one thing coming between us and happiness.
But more-so, the ‘survivors guilt’ isn’t the only thing that debilitates us. Tying in with the concept of The Lightning Strike (the overwhelming feeling of nostalgia and regret over memories that can’t be forgotten in fear of the present changing; the need for someone to be “the lightning in me that strikes relentless.”), regret is probably worse. Why do we regret? Because: 1) our actions allowed free choice without a second thought (YOLO). 2) the outcome didn’t meet expectations because we didn’t think it through. 3) we recall the experience by amplifying the bad and watering down the good. Our mind repeats it over and over again, and can even manifest this emotional duress physically while it distorts the original memory beyond the point of recollection. It distorts time, because “time doesn’t exist, clocks exist.” To even paraphrase Stephen Chbosky, “We accept the time we think we deserve.” So if time isn’t real, are our memories even real? Are they as large a part of our imagination as our dreams are? Are we dreaming now? Are we even real? Perception is reality, but are we all perceiving a different reality? Is this moment even real?
Am I having an existential crisis?