Monday, January 05, 2009

A Comment About "Going Dark".

One thing I have tried to avoid on Serendipity is self-referential navel-gazing. After all, that path leads to a morass of post-modern ennui and irony. Yet after a long absence that has been the longest in the entire history of this blog, I feel a bit of an obligation to comment on the break. For an extended time I have been jarred from my everyday routine. Please don't imagine that this was a result of some tragedy or anxious upheaval. Actually it's been a lot of fun. But about a week ago I decided that it was more important to limit my obligations and impositions, and simply concentrate on direct experience for a bit. It took a lot for me to break my everyday pattern of writing and posting.

I still believe in the "examined life". As each night and day passed, there were plenty of topics and subjects I could have written about. I felt like I was letting people down by not stopping to put my reflections into words, but the truth is that such a feeling would never have compelled me to break my silence. Ultimately I do all of this for myself. So I had to decide to make the conscious effort to let things go. I even stopped taking my daily walks Whenever I felt pulled by caprice to redirect my attentions, I did so. It was a bit surprising to discover how much I resisted doing it. My habits have become so interwoven into my life that I often had the sensation of becoming completely unmoored.

Somehow the structure of this project has been simultaneously empowering and constricting. On one hand, I believe the organization of my thoughts has made me much more effective in accomplishing my goals. Yet I know that I have chosen to limit my opportunities for "serendipity" by making myself sit in front of the computer and type these signifying symbols in a five-paragraph framework. When I'm scratching this shit out on my keyboard, I'm closing myself off to outside experience- however temporary my self-imposed removal from the present may be. There must be a limit to the benefits I get from the process. And unless I step away for a bit, I'll never see them clearly.

So in every way I can imagine, I was on vacation for awhile. I went more places and talked to more people than I would have thought possible had I made a point of adhering to my regular schedule. Meanwhile, I know for a fact that some regular readers of this blog wondered if I was alright. My answer is unequivocal- I was doing great. I grabbed at the chance to see my carefully constructed perspective unravel just a bit, and I'm happy with having made that decision. But at the same time I realized the great benefit of participating in this activity. No doubt there were worthwhile topics and questions I could have focused on that will be lost to the erosion of memory.

However, if I hadn't prioritized direct experience, I wouldn't have been exposed to a lot of these thoughts at all. The reality is that we spend a lot of time balancing our external lives with our internal perspectives. We often don't realize we're engaged in that eternal conundrum, so we do things that make no real sense at all... to anybody. I suppose that's the great meaning we can all find in the holidays. They break up our regular rhythms, and give us a different mirror to stare into. It's exceptionally easy to think that we are the sum of our parts, but I suspect that they don't really convey the totality of ourselves. I hope you had a similar chance to step outside yourself, and if you didn't... that you will soon.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, did miss reading your daily blog. More importantly, I'm glad you found the self-imposed absence empowering. And, I'm especially happy that you confirmed that you are, indeed, OK. Don't give up on the walking though, even if it takes you to different places. It is so good in so many ways.
jg

4:58 PM  
Blogger Zulick75 said...

Welcome Back.

12:50 AM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

jg-

I have no intentions of giving up my daily walks permanently. It was nice to get back to the streets yesterday.

Zu-

Thanks. I hope all is well on your end.

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try floating instead of treading. JM

9:49 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

JM,

I'd like to talk a bit more about that if I remember to bring it up the next time I see you.

10:24 PM  

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