Narrating the self

“I thought to myself…” —-

What a weird phrase. How can you think something to you? It doesn’t make much sense on a logical level. You are just you and so there is no way to step outside of that. And yet the concept is common for indeed there seems to be a fancy gimmick of levers and pulleys, a sort of Rube Goldberg, that swoops back and forth between one’s consciousness/brain/initial instigator of thought and, well, another consciousness, so that you really are thinking something to yourself.

Whenever I read a text with just a really great narrative voice, be it first or third person, the voice tends to leak into my head and I notice that I began to narrate myself in a similar manner. It’s an odd habit and I have often wondered if it was at all common; after all, who the hell am I communicating with? I know what I am doing, I know why I am doing it, and yet—-

We all talk to ourselves at one point or another…a kind of companionship with that funky back’n’forth mechanism.

So when I read about Saturn hovering over El Monte, I began to wonder why the town’s citizens even noticed such a small spot in the sky to begin with.

But that self-narration, the talking to oneself, is just so reassuring, a sort of justification for one’s actions and motivations and an echo to reason by that captures a pain in our existence for understanding by the outside. I’m not quite sure what to make of this novel, but I was certainly moved by it. And I don’t know if, at least in one way or another, Saturn has anything to do with the self, but I find Frederico de la Fe’s battle against Saturn odd in its resentment.

It is my personal instinct to feel inclined to justify my actions, so that others know my intentions, know my goodwill (or in certain cases malcontent)—correct me if I’m wrong that this is not a human instinct. But I think this pushes beyond that to the legacy, the footprint along the sands of time, that we leave behind.

Paper, mud and meat. Each disintegrates differently. And when we, too, leave, where will our thoughts go? Alas we have recently in human history had the ability to record them, mull over them, correct them, capture them and share them.

Never has it been more common than today with the WWW and much of the activity of social networking, et al, is derived from this urge to be seen and heard. And so we make ourselves known on the internet so that we are no longer simply justifying our actions, but proving our own existence.

And as I instigated in class: how real is the internet and is it any different than our existence being made of paper or mud? Except now, instead of rain or wind or fire—and time! time! time! wiping away our memories soon after—it is a BOOM!BANG!CRASH! (I suppose there is room for debate on this Ye Prof), or maybe even a forgotten link, an unsaved document, or as I learned a crashed hard drive upon which I lost all the writing I had done and not backed up over the past three years. (Okay so I should have backed it up but nonetheless the point is that it is not touchable, not physical not real in the same sense of me and my body and you and your body and so like everything else is it not there and gone in the same way——–and so where has the justification of your thought and existence gone and so Saturn may very well be there one day and be gone tomorrow so I will continue to convince myself that I am real or so I just thought to myself as I wrote that.)

-Steve W.


~ by PDG on April 4, 2010.

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