“I received 500,000 discrete bits of information today, of which maybe 25 are important. My job is to make some sense of it…[I want to write] stuff about what it feels like to live. Instead of being a relief from what it feels like to live.”
-David Foster Wallace-
That sense that the moon is obscure – cracked or marred in some indefinable way. That it might never rain. That parenting equals living with people you helplessly love.
Or marriage as painting, but you can’t control the medium, or even learn to think in it. You’ll never be wood, cloth, pigment or oils. I was never good at math, chemistry or geometry. For making a masterpiece, my chances are slim. Manic-depressive’s “in love” – like playing chess with marbles and confusing the rules of the games.
It seems possible that people who age wish they were young – tighter, unwrinkled, new-made. I don’t know – people don’t seem satisfied, somehow. You get the feeling, sometimes, I don’t know…I get the feeling sometimes that people wished they weren’t people. You know, that, like, they wished they were simple or something. Simple scientifically. Not complex, elaborate organisms, you know? But more like a single cell or an amoeba – something with apparent purpose or sort of unified mission. That they knew what to do. Or would – if they could just pull everything together, into line.
I think that’s what people mean by “making sense”? Something like that. Something like inventing God, some unified theory, some golden thread, some identity, some narrative. People are weird like that, but it makes for a fascinating species – the Storytelling Species – ingenious and fantastic, often unbelievable – the lengths to which these collectives will go to spin a yarn. Fit experience.
They’ll use numbers and actions and colors. Matter or energy and form. Inventing for anything a space and a duration. It looks like fighting with nature, but it’s kinda not – ‘cause it’s also how they perceive it. People.
With these enormously intricate mechanisms for constructing order, fabricating texture and variation and difference. To mash it all back together uniquely – imprinted, as it were – some new amalgam and full of traces – shadows and whispers of origins. Con-fused. Remade. Undone.
I used to think that was a purpose – to give meaning. Now I see it as a condition. A convention of rare and specific animals. At least we convene. We wouldn’t do well isolate – craving a single-cell or elemental type existence. We’re collectives – conventional conceptions. People! (said with a huff-sigh of air and exhausted incredulity).
You gotta love ‘em! ‘Cause if you’re reading this – “making sense” of these frenetic marks and spaces, light and shadow – then you’re one of them, and it does you no good to resist or despise yourself. Your own kind. Though people can, and many do.
Funny (peculiar) how you’ll find people that want to be much greater, grander than the mysterious incalculable beings they are, and then a bundle that wish they were less, tinier, singular things, and then the incredible bulk of people who somehow conflate the two: believing simplicity to be grandeur, the one – the all, everything/nothing, unity/diversity same difference and so on – go figure! (Really, try it).
Let’s choose a pinnacle example: say unpack “God” or the workings of atoms and molecules, hell, even protoplasm – seems we could learn an awe-full LOT from each of these straightforward messages we uncover: “I am that I am.”