An all too well-known doofus put it thus:
That evoked a derisive snort, but I didn’t stop to think why it seemed so preposterous, I just knew that it was. A blog post this morning enlightened me:
of suggesting that the state of the world is determined by our perception of it.
It’s no surprise, indeed it is fundamental, that we are I-centered, and that’s not good//bad so much as BASIC (unlike ants, or mycelia, or rocks, whose consciousness is collective…). We look out at the physical world through two eyes (and ears and nostrils…) and interpret what we sense in the context of a lifetime of seeing and processing and linguistic construction. Imagination, illusion, Maya—but our own, continuously updated and elaborated and refined. The complications of Id, Ego, and SuperEgo as components of the I are a whole other subject.
I woke up with the realization that sometimes a book or a piece of art or music, a movie or video series, or a photograph can shanghai your life, such that you live in and through it for a while. It becomes an obsession, a preferred reality, a personal refuge. I look back on a very long series of such engagements, each foundational in my evolving sense of what matters and how to interpret the world around me. Some seem trivial to others but loom large in personal retrospect, like the novels of RF Delderfield and Nevil Shute and Jan de Hartog, the fictional worlds of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, the Okefenokee Swamp of Walt Kelly, the travel writings of Patrick Leigh Fermor, the mystery stories of Manning Coles, Eric Ambler, Margery Allingham, Dorothy Sayers and Arthur Conan Doyle, the hobbitry of JRR Tolkien, the sci-fi of William Gibson and John Brunner, to name just a few things I’ve binged upon over the years (and happily return to, repeatedly). Their contribution to my Present burgeons as I consider further and dig down into Implications. The same journey could be undertaken in music, in imagery, in culinary experience.
And it’s clear that books (and other media) speak to each other in surprising ways, as I’ve been recognizing via an ongoing project of library reorganization: pretty much every book connects to (enlivens, illuminates) others, and all of that territory could be mapped, literally or figuratively. It’s informative, even heuristic, to consider the contingencies, the hops from one enthusiasm or infatuation to another, that consititute one’s history as a reader, viewer, listener, gastronome.
So the Question is, once again, an open-ended invitation to
one’s own history and trajectory
in the construction of Self
via encounters with significant influences of the Past.