Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thinking and Not Thinking and "Everything" -

I have a tendency toward obsessiveness.  One way that it manifests itself is through sheer thought patterns that, while ceaseless, remain relatively incomplete, and yet, sort of compound away in my aching brain so that I'm on the borderline of  real and honest anxiety.  I don't know where the desires to think about things come from, or how they get into my brain, or what those things are.   Sort of like surfing the internet.  You don't know why you're reading out the new trendy raw chocolate pomegranate enemas the hipsters in williamsburg swear by, but you are--and you must.

Except that you don't.  I don't.  Part of getting sober has been the slow realization that even though I might "get" a lot of references at times, in certain company, I cannot, and will never be able to, know all references.  I cannot avoid saying "no, I never heard of that, what/who is it?"  Stunning, right?  Because at the same time, I feel a pang of shame creep up every time I have to ask it, like I should already know, especially if someone is already talking about it to me, as if we already shared some experience.-- When what's really going on is that a lot of people cherish a sort of cryptic talk that's highly specialized for certain things.  One of those things, of course, is group cohesion, and another, naturally, is to test someone's ability to decipher something and spit back the correct response.  In other words, it matters whether we can respond appropriately, and at the same time, if given enough exposure to enough people, and enough information, we won't be able to pin down all the language games that percolate up through the air and into our ears without systemitizing it somehow, in our own language, and with our own thoughts . . .

Thoughts and language that is, while self-reflexive, should also be objective enough to be responded to entertain conversation.  Which is just what other people are probably doing around me, when my previously slightly paranoid self would second guess meaning and fracture my own identity over the need to get something or not get something, whether intellectually, morally, or else wise.

Now, there's a tremendous tendency to shirk all convention, and to "stop" thinking.  To stop with all of the slipperiness of language, and just exist--to put one's hand up at the spigot and turn the damn thing off.  All that water.   All those thoughts.  All the stuff that is simultaneously going on and that I have to stay current on.... kind of frenetic and high paced when you get right down to it... and even while I was imbibing on alcohol I was filtering through those thoughts, I was also spewing them out.  Even when I was overwhelmed I naturally turned around and relished in the fact that I could open my own mouth and overwhelm other people.  Why?  Part of it at least has to be that we learn through experience, sure.  But the meat of the dish, I think, is that we need to put through what we feel like we're going through, to do a miniature recreation, and see how they respond, with what substance they conjure meaning, and that we do it in a less than conscious state.

To state this all in a different way: our first reaction to something new is to bring it back to those we have previous relationships with and show them, somehow, whether through a summary, or through an emotional interchange, and see how it is they deal with it--whether it is fair or not. 

There is a lot going on out there, anyway, and no matter how many distillers of information there are, we cannot digest it all, even if mostly edited out.  We like to have stories to hang our hats on, and we will invent them, backward in time, for comfort in the face of oncoming stimuli, and for the sake of staying sane.  That doesn't mean, I think, that the patterns we recognize are untrue, just that they are not more predominate than other multitudinous patterns that we de-emphasize when we notice the one; that's nothing to worry about, per se, because the idea is that we cannot see all of it at once.  We cannot simply put our mouth on the spigot and turn open a lake.  We need to swim about and be free and forget at times.  And other times we need to immerse ourselves in the gory details, especially when they are overwhelming.  I'm not sure which times are which.  Some people are really good at all the details all the time.  Others are good at all big picture stuff all the time too.

No comments: