Saturday, August 17, 2013

Recording One's Life

We only exist in a moment.

Everything we experience, everything we perceive, it all takes place in a moment. There is no past for us to experience: memories exist in the present. There is no future for us to experience: speculation exists in the present. For your truest self, Perception, there is only a moment - the present.

But using reason to step outside of Self into Other, well, you can divide the world into Past and Present to help make sense of things. And of course we - in some sense - exist for a lifespan. And when we from our single moment try to grasp that lifespan everything gets fuzzy. Memories are hazy and prone to revision, speculation nearly always excludes far too many factors to be worth a damn for accuracy, and we tend to tune out most of our lives anyway.

I am especially guilty of this. I love the idea of journaling and recording life, but I never stick with it. I have an OhLife that I haven't touched in about a year, I think I have some blogs set to private taking up space on a server somewhere with just two or three entries, I don't know how many documents on my computer detailed the events of one or two days before getting stuffed in a "I'll go through all this later" document never to be seen again.

And really, that is sort of sad to me. Events and experiences that I have a privileged view of I have let tumble carelessly into the memory hole. I have made no attempt to preserve them in language or some kind of model or memorial. Sometimes I reflect on this and feel as though there is a certain failure in this, or, if not a failure, certainly a missed opportunity.

Upon reflection, I realize that what must be taken into account is that time spent recording is not time spent living. If you spend one hour a day recording your life, then you only have 23 hours left to go do things worth writing about. If you spend a half-hour, that is still a half-hour that breaks up your actual living. If pausing for a half-hour seems all too easy for you, are you sure that you are living richly enough to begin with? And of course life is mostly business-as-usual, that is, after all, the definition of 'business-as-usual.' What does one record when you sit down at the end of a day and try to pick out the stand out moments to record and then realize that your day is a haze of routine, habit, and the same old shit?

Occasionally I feel the need to be inventive. This is one of those times.

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