I was born at the end of a decade, just before a man landed on the Moon (… or did he?). I was a bit too young to appreciate that event, or be interested in it or anything else that happened then (including my birth… it’s weird isn’t it how our own birth is kind of an afterthought of our life story, and even if it becomes a big feature in our history we rarely remember anything about it and piece it together using other people’s subjective versions of what happened)…
however being born at the tail end of a Monkey Year (if you use the Chinese calendar), I did, many years later, appreciate the speculation about whether the whole first man on the Moon thing was staged or real.
Being a Monkey… I like puzzles, especially of the human complication kind.
But… is that true (that I like puzzles, especially of the human complication kind) or have I just made it true because I grew up in the land of human complications and to survive that kind of environment I adjusted my personal reality, forced myself to like something that perhaps I would not have naturally liked, made it a fun thing which I thrived upon rather than a crushing thing which would kill me.
What is my real personal reality?
This (the concept of personal reality versus reality as it might actually be beyond the human concepts of it) is something which has been on my mind recently…
excerpt of the intro to – The Case Against Reality: A professor of cognitive science argues that the world is nothing like the one we experience through our senses – via The Atlantic
This is a fascinating interview, and treasure trove for those who like to explore alternate realities and scientific speculation.
… it is something that has always been on my mind one way or another, partly due to being born as the child of two people who consistently had different opinions on what reality was at any given moment… and my version of it in my first decade of life relied on theirs and theirs was never reliable. It kept changing, and could change during the course of one conversation – in one sentence the grass was greener on the other side of the fence and in the next sentence anything beyond the fence was desert. The only thing they seemed to agree upon was that the rest of the world, society, other people, had reality all wrong.
These days parents like mine are known as Narcissists. But back in the day…
To be fair to them, when they were children the world was at war. Life was riddled with death. When the world stopped warring it out, whatever had come before was in ruins and rubble, and it was up to them to ‘think positive’, find opportunity in dystopia, and build something new with limited resources.
Destruction can allow for growth of an unprecedented kind… and it did for the generations who came before me, who made me a possibility.
There are many things which we now classify as a negative which wasn’t always seen or experienced that way. Our classification systems are always evolving as we do (not all evolutions are ‘positive’). When reality as we know it gets wasted… the cures we apply to that kind of hangover may have unexpected consequences which we’re not thinking through because we’re caught up in solving the pain of the moment.
When my mother gave birth to me she was given a pamphlet by the hospital which was supposed to help new mothers deal with the stress of owning a baby – one of the pieces of advice it gave her was to ignore the baby’s cries. It sort of said – babies cry all the time, mostly because they want your attention, if you give your baby attention every time it cries it’ll never stop crying because it always wants your attention, so just ignore it and it’ll learn to shut up, and then the only time it will cry will be when it actually is in real distress and needs important attention.
There is a certain logic to that… and while nowadays we’ve come to view that kind of logic and parenting advice as possibly being abusive… we also hate the whole concept of the ‘nanny’ state and how much it has made us all into ‘pussies’ (the kind of pussies which Clint Eastwood finds annoying and Dirty Harry might like to shoot).
this is an intriguing article which explores the science of human interaction, and looks at issues such as narcissism through a biological perspective of sorts. It made me view my mothers approach to ignoring my cries when I was a baby from a positive angle… even though pop psychology would have me mither over the issue for the rest of my adult life.
But of course for every logical reason and explanation you find, every positive spin you can extract from something which has become a negative over time as society changes… and changes its mind, you can find a negative which may make just as much sense.
Like this perspective below which I came across while browsing an astrology article:
excerpt via Elsa Elsa: Boundaries and Neptune
This was an interesting read which made me go hmmm and reminded me of psychological stuff I’d explored decades ago about how your earliest experiences influence the rest of your life’s version of reality.
I have in my natal chart a T-Square (a hard aspect of tension and stress) between Neptune, the Moon and Venus – there are many ways to interpret this aspect, partly depending on what kind of astrology you’re using, how you use astrology, and how well you know yourself and your own story – perhaps this aspect explains certain hard aspects of my childhood and adult life. Or perhaps it shows something else – such as where you need to be extra careful about your perception of reality.
And yes, I know, astrology is a ‘pseudoscience’… frankly I don’t care because I’m an INTP.
It fascinates me to explore all the variables and alternate perspectives which can influence our belief in our version of reality as being the real reality… even if our version of reality goes against the reality of others, of our social group and circle, of our culture, country, and perhaps world.
For instance… yet again, while randomly browsing the strange territory of the internet
(where we often think it’s perfectly okay to insult someone and they shouldn’t take it personally because ‘it’s the internet’ and yet if we delivered that same insult in person we might find it hard not to empathise with someone getting upset… or we think it’s fine just to blurt something out to a stranger without introductory rituals, but if some stranger walked up to us in the street and said what we say to people we don’t know online… we’d probably punch them or freak out in some other way),
I came across an alternative view of issues like dyslexia, a view based on human evolution and the idea that many of the things which we now consider to be ‘disorders’ or ‘disabilities’ were necessities for human survival. As I searched for more of these alternative views…
which might be wrong, but maybe they’re right, does it matter since ‘right/wrong’ is a limiting parameter which is rather boring to pursue, far more interesting is the crack ideas like this create in the matrix of an accepted reality (which could be a relatively new accepted reality that we’re all clinging to as the only viable version of reality… just as our ancestors did before us to the realities we’ve since debunked and now enjoy scoffing at) wherein a different light is allowed to shine…
I came across this article:
excerpt from Scientific America: The Advantages of Dyslexia
Not that long ago I came across a site which claimed to help people ‘beat dyslexia’ like it is a disease rather than a differently wired brain, and on that site was a strong condemnation of the perspective that dyslexia could be a ‘gift’ – the person running that site seemed to think that once you tell people something is a ‘gift’ they lose all ability for logic and discernment (or maybe they were just against dyslexics seeing their brain as anything other than a problem). So reading an article like this is a pleasure because it offers options in the reality game.
If you consider your reality… do you know how it was created, what it is based upon, and why this version is reality for you?
How much of our version of reality relies on…
someone else’s version of reality which we’ve just accepted as our own? Just because a bunch of people believe that something is real… does it mean it’s real and we should believe it is real too?
memory? Have you ever investigated a memory of yours and tried to back it up with fact only to find that by doing so you completely change the memory until it is no longer what it was? Have you ever realised that memory is mutable, a changeable entity which only stays stable if we never mess with it… but messing with it can free us from a trap it has caused us to get stuck in.
Some of the defining moments of the decades of my life (did you think I’d forgotten what the title of my post promised that this post was about?) have been those where I realised something I believed was real wasn’t as real as I thought it was… and in those moments everything changed, reality was in flux and I had some say in it, in how the next chapter would unfold based on what I chose to believe as being real, as being reality.
I was reminded of this last night while wandering in the land of the INTP (my MBTI… which is surprisingly accurate considering how this system is just something which someone invented somehow, somewhere, and then made it a ‘real’ thing… or maybe we all made it a ‘real’ thing by participating in it, giving a skeleton a body, teaching it how to stand, then walk, then fly…):
excerpt from INTP Hates Everyone: Reblog with your type and story from your childhood
If you’re an INTP (or an INFJ – a type which features prominently in the ‘stories’ via posts on this tumblr blog) this blog is a goldmine of humor and moments of Hmmm (which are precious to INTP’s).
I’m still trying to figure out what the defining moments of my decades are… verifying my memories which have a tendency to suddenly vanish or shimmer like mirages in a desert the minute I focus on them.
And sometimes I’m just recalcitrant and reserved (I know it seems like I share so much… but do I? Do I really!?!) about sharing…
What about you?