Today’s episode of Untethered originally aired on June 7, 2008
Memento, n.; A hint, suggestion, token, or memorial, to awaken memory; that which reminds or recalls to memory; a souvenir.
I thought to capture my history but was surprised to find it won’t stay put; I’m not sure I recognize it. Sometimes it’s a faint image, like a 3-D hologram, shimmying and wavering. I reach for it and it flickers out as my hand passes through. I don’t know if it isn’t just a composite of experience real and imagined, some mine, some stolen from others, some culled from the commons of humanity. There are those moments we all have, of sudden temporary displacement, wherein we do not recognize our surroundings, the life that sprung up around us, that is to say moments when we do not recognize ourselves. These leave behind the residue of doubt.
I’m having trouble neatly separating the experience from the flotsam trapped in the recesses and eddies of my mind, from the residue still building up about the edges of the endless stream of electronic illusion passing through even now. The sticky fragments of no particular relevance left behind in no sensible order. I can no longer clearly demarcate the boundary between the real and the representational. I see now I never really could. Did I live this life? Perhaps I saw it all on TV.
Nothing is stranger than to look in one’s past and ask: did this happen? Am I that child, connected to the present by a series of heart beats? How in the hell can this all be? How can this world be real? All this time spent no more than a blip; inconsequential, yet everything I know.
The truth is a tear of mercury that resists containment. It cannot be seen head-on or appreciated in full. It will not be drawn in from the periphery. We are all reduced to furtive voyeurs of our own lives in the end. Your history is that light smudge in the corner of your eye, that flits away when you look in its direction.
I haven’t done anything here, after all. Skirting the issue always; the story of my life, of all our lives, of humanity. All this supposed revelation just circling the periphery like a basketball “rimming out.” Nothing.
The real journey I will not make.
Or maybe not. Maybe we all make that journey within, the only real journey there is, eventually. Maybe that’s what death is. Going home. The incoherent babble of death’s delirium is the purging, surrendering energy back into the ether, in waves of language by way of dissipating will, a chemical reaction rendering our identities inert and final. Only after it can no longer be known, only after it is lost is it made whole; only then does it lose its contingent nature and become complete.
This, this is all just stalking, lurking about outside the fortress of reality in the forest of illusion.
No: illusion is the fortress, reality the forest. As it should be.