Friday, February 8, 2019

in the long run..

I seem to have forgotten that I write. I write. I didn't say it like it's a verb, not like something I do. I said it like it's a noun. Like it's a thing that exists and there's nothing I do about it. It's a characteristic now, not an activity. Actually that's not entirely true. Writing is an effort, a habit, a pleasure, a trip, a pain. But I guess I've come to a stage in this half-heartedly done, badly executed, numbly pleasurable, constantly perplexing thing I call my life where if I can take a few things for granted, one of them is that I write. And I'm really grateful for that.

I just read Neal Stephenson's distinction between Beowulf writers and Dante writers. I think he hits a nerve there, making a distinction along of lines of attitude- if you seek approval of a certain section, be it the Nobel committee or the "mainstream" public that decides the NYTimes bestseller list, you have to toe the line, be respectful, understand the tradition and take it forward. On the other hand, if you just go ahead and do your own thing, you're free to follow your interests but you are judged far more harshly than if you play to their expectations. And humans are hardwired to seek social progress. We crave approval from our immediate society and I find it surprising to think what we're willing to forsake just to not turn our friends and family antagonistic. By we, ofcourse, I mean myself.

I like working with people. Strike that. I don't like working. I like doing things with people. I like the camaraderie, the opportunity to learn new things fast, to share a laugh and feel less lonely. I don't like doing things alone. It's not just that I need an audience but that when alone my brain drifts away until it comes in contact with something, anything, onto which it can latch onto and start an imaginary conversation with. I think I've gotten so addicted to consuming that I can't survive without constantly shoving something into my head. Also, and I think this applies to all those I see daily in the train glued to their phones, I've lost the ability to glean (create?) narratives from disintermediated real life. I know at no point is complete disintermediation possible, considering the fact that language, society, relationships, culture, tradition etc., give us the maps without which we'd be completely marooned on the island of solitude (or will it enable us to find the other (inner?) path to, er, where exactly?), but now I think we, the English speaking- Internet native- Hollywoodized- City dwelling- Fast Food eating-Information Economy consumers, live like, as Flynn put it, We are all working from the same dog-eared script. I have a feeling though that this monochromatic-ness has always been true in human societies all the time. That's why we've always had vagabonds, drifters, hitchickers, Supertramps. Just that now moving away from the physical confines of your comfort zone is not enough because most of our lives are spent inside our minds.

It's incredible how language shapes our perceptions of truth and reality. A phrase like searching for answers implies that they are up there and you can pluck them if you really set your mind to it. It's an arbitrary lens, as far as my experiential reality is concerned, and yet I've believed it is true, spending all my adult life dissecting everything for an epiphany. Wow, scary af.

I took a walk today at lunchtime around Wynyard. It was bustling with people- hurriedly crossing roads, languidly walking for lunch, rolling in the park while giggling into the cell phone, napping below the trees. It was beautiful. I love the internet. I think it's the awesomest thing ever. All the information in the world at the tip of my fingertips. Lately, though, its turned into a burden because it imposes the need to know, the need to achieve, to impress, to be ambitious, driven, imaginative, funny. As an extension, I feel very guilty when I'm consciosuly not doing one of those things. All that brand talk is getting to me. You know, the mentality that asks me to play the lead role in the drama of my own life. So it felt good to, if only for a few minutes, be a background actor in a much more expansive act.

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