I talk to myself, but usually it isn’t me I want to be telling the words I say. I usually talk to myself when I remember something stupid that happened in the past. It begins with an unpleasant memory and usually ends with me talking out the issue in a nasty way with the air. I don’t know why I do this, but it strongly resembles the ‘phrase-making’ problems of the modernists. Some of these memories I’ve gone over dozens of times trying to change them in my head, trying to think of something more clever, something more powerful, some way of making the experience mean something other than irritation or pain.
Memory is a powerful tool, but any tool can be dangerous if one doesn’t know how to use it. And the most powerful tools can do some serious damage if misused. I think that’s what’s going on with my memory right now. I only get angrier when I think back to most of these memories I wish I could change. Any sort of reminder of my failures in the past is likely to spur this ahead. And that is inexcusable. Right now, I am not so miserable–At least not as miserable as someone who mainly knows me from reading this might think. It’s the problems in my thought processes and my negative habits that make me seem unhappy to myself and others.
I used to be much less ready to accept myself as wrong, a problem most people suffer from at some point in their lives. Once I was told by someone I was arguing with that he thought he was, and I paraphrase: the greatest being he could perceive (We were arguing, foolishly, about the existence of a god). This statement is impossibly foolish, for a teenager especially. Teenagers are, despite their best efforts and own opinions, children. They have so much to learn that most adults have qualities superior to them in self-knowledge as well as worldly facts. But I believed I was as accomplished as many adults when I was a teen. This fault led me to more arrogance and unhappiness than anything else I can remember. Being as self-assured as many people are throughout their entire lives is a dramatically painful experience if they ever look inward.
This leads to a point I make frequently to myself, and would like to tell more people: give up confidence in yourself most of the time. You are a fragile, finite being. I mean this not-so-much in the religious sense, as in the existential sense. You know very little, just as everyone else knows very little, and you cannot improve your knowledge fast enough to do away with the inevitable death that awaits us all. I do not mean to sound grim, though I’m sure that to some extent I do. What I mean by all this is that the human experience is fleeting, and no one knows the whole story. It is our myopia that tells each of us that we know things. It is our myopia that says: ‘I could fix it if I went back, I understand it better now’. This is nonsense, I think. Even with paradox-free time travel, the chances of actually altering events to be exactly the way one would like them better would be minuscule.
Nevertheless I continue trying to make my past suit me better by talking through encounters in my thoughts and in my words. I don’t like doing it, but some part of me must get its satisfaction from thinking I learned something important, something useful. In all this nonsense I fail to see the true point. One cannot change what is past, and thus one should linge4r only long enough to enable oneself to truly move forward. Don’t get me wrong, I think the past is important. But fighting battles already lost is a sure road to depression and powerless sensations.