Sunday, May 24, 2020

Random incidents

Life can be perceived as a string of random incidents which collide at you.   So in the end the narrative of the self i.e. the way we define 'I' is simply the drawing of lines connecting these random dots.  The clearer the line, the clearer we can recognize ourselves in this pattern.  In a way we are turning meaningless random incident which just happen in to meaningful and sometimes defining moments leading to other significant moments.  But the way we draw our lines is not disconnected from the society in which we live.  For the words we use to make sense of these patterns are also socially determined.  In  many ways our understanding of our own selves is conditioned by our relationship to power.  For ideology is something which speaks through us.  We also build our idea of ourselves by attributing meaning to some of the random things which strike us while ignoring others which do not.  Therefore although there is an element of autonomy and choice, this is conditioned by the limits of our language.  Yet what we consider  meaningful and  what we ignore also has to do with beliefs and social expectations. In this way we lose a lot from what comes in our way. For when we draw a line between the dots we tend to skip a number of things which we deem irrelevant or which we more often than not fail to comprehend.
In many ways constructing a narrative of the 'self' is very much akin to decorating a house in in a random manner which accumulates over time in to something we can recognise as our own. You may be stuffing it with stuff from artisan markets from all around the world.  Most of these things you buy were clearly not meant to be in the same room as the others.  Yet you make them come together for the sheer purpose of making your place an extension of you.  That is our way of feeling rooted in a place by making it look more like ourselves.  Some people may even be lucky enough to share the same experience with others who share the same sensibilities.  In this way they can even establish a home together and give it a plural imprint rather than a singular one.  In the same way our own narrative of life can intersect with other narratives of others, and sometimes these intersections result in footnotes,  sentences, paragraphs, chapters and rarely whole books.  We may also find ourselves in footnotes, sentences, paragraphs, chapters and rarely whole books of other people.

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