A total explanation of the relevance has not been constructed yet, but I feel it poignant to relate it: James said that the way he understood whatever we were talking about was that
“Time moves more slowly when you do things that you’ve done before, the same actions over and over again. Like, you said you thought that cig in the kitchen was the first of the day. I can tell you that you had one before you went to the bank this morning, You probably didn’t remember it because it was such a regular thing that it doesn’t really matter in your memory.”
Due to our habits, my response probably sounded as odd as the set-up did to anyone who isn’t familiar with the conversations in this house:
“Now that you say that, I do remember having one before I left this morning. So what we’re saying is, now that I have the memory of that in my head, I can wonder whether it was real or not – the memory at least. What I’m thinking of now is probably an amalgamation of basically the same memories over and over again, simply because it happens so often.”
“Yeah, something like that.”
“D’you think other people help out with this?”
“What d’you mean?”
“Think about how many people we know who smoke. It’s easily more than half. Maybe the fact that it seems to be such a fabric of every day and other shit means that we probably don’t even know we’re doing it any more.”
“Like, you mean, it’s different when it’s not a secret?”
“Yeah, like, so many people do it that it stops being something you identify people by.”
I kinda had to take a minute or two to try to wrap my head around things for a moment or two. Safe to say, it was quite difficult, both of considerably less able to hold this kind of conversation that we had been a few minutes beforehand.
I worry there may be a point to this.
As I’ve understood it, part of the point of the conversation was to say that no personal world of any individual is intrinsically tied to another. It made me think about the things Michael Stewart has told us on a few occasions: that a characters’ depth in fiction, drama, poetry, etc. have depth when they have secrets. From what I can see, perhaps real people are not that different. See, in order to communicate with one another, everyone must give a little piece of themselves away. Say, as soon as you have a name, your first secret has been revealed, there’s now a foundation for communication with one another. Though this isn’t always the case; there’s someone I was speaking to for a fair few months before I actually discovered their name (they may know who they are, but I don’t wish to offend them by identifying them). However, I did know things about them (it’s not nearly as sinister as it sounds), but that meant that communication had become possible. Now, my theory is that people are only interesting when you know nothing about them, and that people who are equally closed-off make connections, and that those who have a certain degree of ‘closed-off-ness’ and identify the degree to which they would wish to be themselves in somebody else, they are then drawn into communication with them.
This makes as little sense to me.
The main analogy I can think of is that it seems that those who have an interest in celebrity culture are people that either have minimal ‘closed-off-ness’ themselves, or identify themselves as wishing to become open enough to not necessarily emulate the degree to which their life would be public knowledge, but perhaps to create an equivalent representation of such as appropriate to their context – i.e. not necessarily wanting to be Lionel Messi, but wanting to be above others in the culture of those who follow football, in terms of how ‘well-know’ they are. This does however require people who will allow as much of one person’s world to ‘leak’ into their own, and how much they seek to discover about somebody’s world, and in turn transfer information of their own existence onto somebody else’s conscience. This perhaps goes some way to explaining why some many people are attracted to those that don’t seem to match their own characteristics. Quite simply, they don’t match, and their attempts at consolidation usually seem to reach an en passe.
I think it also appropriate to mention the opposite of this, those who do not allow much of their own world into other people’s knowledge, and indeed don’t want to know much about other people’s world. See, when placing an ‘open’ person alongside a ‘closed’ person, their attempt at interaction satisfies neither party: the ‘closed’ person is not open enough to accommodate the amount of the ‘open’ person’s world that is being projected upon them. Equally, the ‘open’ person cannot impart as much of their world as they would like. This is due to most of this event take place through verbal communication, and a lot of talking requires, well, a lot of listening. If one does not match the other, people transferring scraps of their world, or dissertations on it, can’t happen properly.
The first analogy I can think of for this is right in front of me: if I held four fingers up on the left hand, and tried to interlock one finger from the right hand amongst the four from the left, the four fingers wouldn’t have enough to match it, whereas there’d be too much for the single finger on the right hand to be able to match. However, if four fingers are held up on each hand, there’s enough for both for what it can both give and receive. Equally, if there is one finger from each hand linking, they can form a tight bond themselves.
To try to connect with reality again, this is why it seems inaccurate to accuse people who are very ‘social’ of having shallow friendships with one another simply because they know a lot of people – should only a little amount of interaction with other worlds be desired, and only a small amount wished to be imparted, then whatever degree of interaction that person wishes to engage with has been fulfilled. Again, this work in for the opposite i.e. only merging worlds with a few other people, but merging with them in extraordinary depth.
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying nobody is inherently shallow. Some people are shallow as fuck.
This does, however, fall apart a little when considering that some of these people do cross over. I’m thinking about those people who you barely know – you barely speak to, though you have no particularly wish for them to know a great deal about you, and you’ve no significant interest in their lives – and then those you know in incredible depth. I’m perhaps not qualified enough to try to explore this in depth – I’m a financially-irresponsible English student, not one of those social psychologists that look like they regularly drink themselves to sleep on a Tuesday night – but, regardless, you are capable of being both a person of depth, and being completely uninteresting simultaneously.
I seem to have switch to ‘essay mode’, and that isn’t the direction I wish this to have, hence I’ll finish here. Not sure why. Simply baffling, Pell.