Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On being a real person-ish?

Holy crap! I just read something that seemed extracted directly from my brain.

For several years, I had been bored. Not a whining, restless child's boredom (although I was not above that) but a dense, blanketing malaise. It seemed to me that there was nothing new to be discovered ever again. Our society was utterly, ruinously derivative (although the word derivative as a criticism is itself derivative). We were the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time. We stare at the wonders of the world, dull-eyed, underwhelmed. Mona Lisa, the Pyramids, the Empire State Building. Jungle animals on attack, ancient icebergs collapsing, volcanoes erupting. I can't recall a single amazing thing I have seen firsthand that I didn't immediately reference to a movie or TV show. A fucking commercial. You know the awful singsong of the blase: Seeeen it. I've literally seen it all, and the worst thing, the thing that makes me want to blow my brains out, is: The secondhand experience is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and the soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality can't anymore. I don't know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script.
It's a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters.

--from the novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


Whenever I experience the big things in life: falling in love, getting my heart broken, losing a loved one, you know, the real life changers, I always find how surprised I am by how it feels. I think I often speak that sentiment out loud "Oh, so THIS is how it feels." I think what is described in that excerpt is part of the reason why. I think I have this idea of how things are supposed to play out because that's how it always happens, right?

And I always kind of wonder if other people experience things that way, if they even notice and understand their reactions outside of the context of normalcy or what is considered to be a "normal" reaction. I do often question whether or not I'm acting a certain way out of genuine emotion/thought or whatever it is that makes me act a certain way or I am doing it out of habit, a habit I learned from these established parameters of being normal. Also, which is real? What does a real person do? We build ourselves almost entirely based on how other people react to us or how we want to be perceived but how much of that is REAL?

Most of the time, I feel in sync with what the character in that novel is saying. I feel that we are just repeating phrases, that we experience things before we actually DO experience them as some kind of product of our instant culture. But then again, sometimes I have thoughts and feelings that feel both very specific and very universal at the same time and I think "Ok, THAT'S real." It feels too genuine to be manufactured. So I haven't really been able to come to a consensus. With myself.

And now that I've descended fully into my navel I would like to do this to myself and I wouldn't blame any of you for feeling the same way.



3 comments:

  1. I love this post.

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  2. I'm really confused now....lol....or you've just made it clear that it's okay to be.....because we're all in it....FOR REAL....

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