a guest Dec 7th, 2019 106 Never
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- A friend asked me lately what my biggest fear was.I told her it was being comfortable.
- When I was younger I had this recurring thought. It was to see the school playground from high above like a bird. From that viewpoint I'd be able to see everywhere I'd ever walked traced with green footprints. A meandering network of all the movements I'd made. A maze of the life and experiences I'd had up until that moment. The idea was if any path had been walked a few times, the colour of the paths would become a brighter and brighter green. On the school playground I wondered what the pattern would look like. If in those years of playing, I'd coloured in the entire tarmac canvas or if there were any areas left untouched. Or if perhaps I'd unknowingly drawn something beautiful with my feet.
- What began as a simple idea transformed itself into a symbol. I see life just like that playground. Truly in terms of anything: experience, people, places, relationships, learning. The concrete surface of the playground became the surface of our minds. The nature of who "I" am is a culmination of all my footprints on the playground, just as who "you" are is culmination of yours. The nature of our relationship is the un-knowable weaving in and out of footprints. Similarities and differences. Entanglements and unwalked paths. Part of the interest of knowing the pathways I'd made was simply so that I could walk the unknown. The brighter the pathways were, the more reluctant I'd be to walk them. Depth of colour was experience already gained, novelty and change was in the un-walked.
- But life itself isn't as clear as the idea of a playground. Our interaction with the world is incredibly complicated. It can't be drawn on a piece of paper. We often don't know where we haven't walked, or if the pathway we are walking is on has been traveled before. With no better instrument than feeling, comfort has always been my signpost for the coloured paths already walked. Discomfort is a signpost for the unshaded areas.
- I read somewhere that the first 20 years of life goes by at the same rate as the last 60 in the rate at which we perceive it. I think this is true and that the answer lies in analogy. When we're young we're in a perpetual state of novelty. The cement of our minds has just been poured, it's loose and slurry-like. Infants will give unknown shapes more attention than ones they already know. Parts of the playground are walked for the first time, and gradually an analogical network of grooves starts to emerge. As it develops, the more colourful the pathways are, the more cognitive magnetism they yield as we defer to their certainty and the less we are aware of the un-walked areas . The brighter pathways pulls you toward them because they signify comfort and safety. The effect of the action is known and the risks of another action are unknown. As aging takes place we see this cement quickly set
- I think the rate of time speeds up for this simple reason. When we are young, it is useful to us to shade in those unexplored areas. As we age, the need for additions to our analogical map decreases. If for instance I can comfortably sustain myself in a job I've worked for a while, where is the motivation to be uncomfortable and paint a new network? Wasn't this the objective of all those pathways anyway? But if you go through the motions of something you have done an uncountable number of times, thought is no longer required. It seems to me as though we may as well not be there at all. In a lot of ways we're not. Previously conscious action becomes unconscious, automaton and machine-like. Retrospective time rate perception increases. There's the concept of commuters amnesia, that if the same journey is made every day we will enter a trance like state and tend to forget large chunks of it. Phenomena like these are easy to study, but I think the same applies to our perception of our entire lives. The brightness of the pathway dulls our sense of aliveness. The mind is only there when it needs to be.
- The colouring of paths and concreting of the mind is the movement from consciousness to unconsciousness. Discomfort is an ever-moving beacon post. It's like a lighthouse showing you where aliveness is. It's also like a rainbow it can always be seen, but to touch it would be impossible, because the experiences that are novel will have changed once again. When I feel comfortable, I feel as though I'm not really alive. I'm not entirely here because I don't need to be. The only habit I'm truly attracted to that of keeping no habits. I feel if someone does this, they may not live very long, but equally may have the longest life of anyone.
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