28 August 2010

There's No Spark, No Light in the Dark

On Decisions Made During Seemingly Insignificant Moments

Life being a series of decisions, one can spend countless amounts of time and energy analyzing whether one's actions (or inactions) were played out intelligently. Wondering if one has made the right choice or performed at their possibly best, considering their circumstance(s). Your mind may flood with "should I have said no?" "Should I have spoken up?" "Should I have waited or hurried?" "Should I have anticipated and/or prepared this?" If you're conscious then most likely every significant action has a gravity that acts upon it through these after-thoughts. There is such a thing as a past but its full of spotlit moments for which these questions hang over like a banner. For every decision you make, a thousand doubts can manifest instantly--just standing at a street corner, awaiting a red signal can become a conference of mind, especially if the vehicles are far enough. "I should've crossed?" "Could I have crossed?" "I could've been across the street by now." "I should've been across the street--down the next block by now." "All this time thinking could've been me crossing and reaching the other side by now." "Why didn't I cross?"

Us humans possess a terrible ordeal called Intelligence, better yet, self-consciousness. "Thus conscience does make cowards" as Hamlet concludes in his famous soliloquy. "And the native hue of resolution is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, and enterprises of great pitch and moment with this regard their currents turn awry and lose the name of action." When I first read Hamlet, which was relatively recently after years of a general impression painted by pop culture, I realized that To Be or Not To Be, though mortally interpreted as To Live or Not To Live could also be translated as To Act or Not To Act. Especially with the final words in the quote, "turn awry and lose the name of action." Hamlet is almost realizing that over-analyzing and over-plotting may in fact dull the passion of the act itself--in the play, avenging of his father's murder. We can all identify with Hamlet in that we've all experienced at one time or another, a moment when conviction waned as a result of thinking too much. When logic stepped into the picture and rationalized brash impulse. Which can be quite helpful in certain circumstances like marrying a stranger but absolutely destroy much lighter moments, say like complimenting a stranger, who may become your significant other; whom in time perhaps you'll marry.

I am no enemy to self-consciousness, I feel if we are aware of other people then it is only natural that we be aware of ourselves. We live too close to one another to ignore the proximity--to pretend we don't observe our behaviors, to compare, contrast, judge, and imitate one another. In studying others, we look inward and study how we relate, we establish ideas of preference, and judge what comfort individually means for ourselves.

The problem with constantly looking inward and organizing information; filing away, neatly, all the data before arriving at an answer, besides the time wasted, the problem is the un-exercised muscles of instinct. Through experience, one's mind and body should become more and more unified. As an adult, one's coordination to perform the act of walking is so seamless and mathematically precise, that it feels as if one's mind isn't involved, in the slightest bit, with one's moving legs--as if the body were acting on its own, without thought. The older you get, the more confident you'll become if you practice acting on impulse. Even if the impulses result in mistakes, these are the mistakes you'll learn from, thus writing new involuntary codes into the physical language of your impulse. "Go with your heart," a cliche that only got to that memetic point through some degree of reinforcement by truth, will in fact work someday, as it learns from trial and error. But Self-Consciousness has a huge prejudice against Humility.

Need-less-to-say, especially since Thom Yorke has sung it for us, over-analysis, "gets you down...it gets you down. You traveled far. What have you found? That there's no time. There's no time. To analyze. To think things through. To make sense." As Hamlet stands alone contemplating action, measuring his conviction and patience, his constitution for morality and hypocrisy Yorke sings to him, "A self-fulfilling prophesy of endless possibility. You roll in reams across the street--In algebra, in algebra. The fences you cannot climb. The sentences that do not rhyme...it gets you down." Prophesy is a very crucial concept in over-analysis. Well, prophecy is too romantic a word, foresight and anticipation are more modestly accurate. Our ability to look ahead, and hope situations arrive in a pleasing manner --in a favorable pre-planned program that we can rehearse and thereby control.This need for control is usually constructed by past memories that have conformed individuals into requiring second chances in order to retry their actions with knowledge of how everything will turn out. Crossing a street during a green light is extremely important if its happened that the opportunity to perform this action was provided before in the past but not exercised.

I'm so blinded by the past I can't see where the future lies; that's right, the future lies, past tells the truth, the present is open and this empty box is the proof...

Cryptic One's lyrics very vividly describes the predicament of a choice, the inability to successfully determine, through analysis, spontaneous decisions--However, when faced with To Act or Not To Act, my advice is take a walk, and at some point look down at your legs. See as they move, as they coordinate step after step, notice how you don't have to think about every muscle, its without your personal command that this amazing synchronization is collecting into a movement, into an action. Act. Act now and sort everything out later. Its the only way to pass insignificant moments from present to future within a random universe.

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