Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Only Now

I wonder about amnesia.
Wake up one morning and nothing makes sense. How did I get here, who are these people?
Once over the shock, these people would start explaining my life. They would introduce me to the details. Trace my daily steps, hoping the familiar things would bring me back. This is your work. This is your family. These are your friends. These are your hobbies. Don't you remember?

Would I accept it? Would I say yes--this is the life I made?

I don't think I would. This is not the destination I chose. I would reject the current situation as the merest eventuality. A pale imitation of the hand Destiny was supposed to play.
Don't jump to unhappy. I just know my younger self would reject this. And if I know that younger self would reject it, how can it be OK to accept it? Why need the excuse of amnesia?

Maybe the younger self is not the best judge. There is some advantage in having lived to a certain point. Some kind of insight with the weight of these years.
Or am I the boiling frog who never jumped out of the pot because the cook increased the temperature with such malicious patience? Lulled by the balm of incrementalism--even as I was eaten by it? Or does wisdom descend as we brave the elements of experience?
Either way, blame the myth of Time. The past isn't the past--only a memory of the past, which is part of the present. And the Ghost of Christmas Future only shrieks and points her bony finger--no light, no speech, nothing to justify evaluation. Anybody suddenly waking up there would have to reject it out of hand. The future to the amnesiac version is the conscious present. My own choices brought me here. Accepting that squarely puts sweet flint in the blood. Proof that I can still catch fire, even if regret and secrets season the flames a little, I can, in this very present, stand with Browning and ask "What have I had to do with the mawkish, the unmanly?"

Still.

The Amnesiac Me would only have Now. And He would turn and run from my Now. I know it. And to the degree that he is me I should consider his inexperienced, unenlightened opinion.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kate said...

I doubt I would accept my life as is either. But you know this...

12:09 PM  
Blogger kirstie said...

Scott, the younger self is the true self. Go way, way back to the ten year old you . . . what did he want? How did he want you to live? That's who we really are. We were our most pure self at ten years old. I try to visit with her often. Sometimes what she wanted is very far off from where I am; but she can direct me now if I let her.

Have fun!

8:43 AM  

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