Thursday, May 06, 2004

Moish Geller read my blog (see entry for 15 April). In retrospect, hardly surprising - a google search for his name brings up my page first! He wrote that "it's a rare treat to see how others see you when they think you're not looking" and he's right. That's one of the reasons I like blogging: I'm never fully aware of who's reading, so when I let my guard down or throw caution to the wind, readers see a side to me I might not usually show them. In some ways, it leads to more honesty.

But I realised yesterday, thinking about this whole process of interaction since Boombamela, there's lots more going on here. That honesty I just mentioned is severely limited.

I meet Moish by the festival entrance. I'm already projecting a certain image of myself by the way I'm dressed. It's maybe not quite 'me' but it fits better than other looks. In that first conversation there are assumptions made on both sides, evaluations of the way the other speaks as well as appears. Then we have a smoke together. Maybe I'm more open then, but I'm probably also more cerebral and confused. Moish leaves me and my friends and I sober up. I'm already evaluating the experience I just had. Even on the basic level of memory, my sober self is reconstructing the unfolding of events experienced in a different state of mind. I have my feelings about the conversation, but also about my reactions to the situation, both current and previous. Plus, while I talk the events over with my friends, my reconstruction is shaped by the image I inevitably want to them.

It might be worth saying here, I think of myself as quite an honest person. I don't set out to present a particular 'front' to different groups of people. But I think a lot of that goes on subconsciously and inevitably. Maybe not quite inevitably - one can more easily let go of the need to protect the 'self' by working at losing one's fear and going beyond the ego.

But all this self-projection is going on in this situation. And then we have the blog. I try to relate what I think happened - which, as we know, is already problematic. But now I'm aware of a wider readership. What I said earlier, about never knowing who's reading, cuts both ways. As much as I think I'm writing from the heart (and, come on, this is only a blog), I can't help but be influenced by a sense of how I want to appear. But there's also self-esteem: putting others aside, my writing impacts on how I see myself.

Moish reads my blog. He interprets what I've written about him and compares it to his memory of the events, most likely reconstructed as well. When he writes to me he's presenting both a version of those events and a persona through his very writing style and content. So how I see him and how he sees himself are probably factors for him too. (Moish, you've lived longer than me, and may well be very comfortable and secure in your identity. In which case there may be less to do with self-esteem in your case. I'm just trying to show all the potential 'slippages' in the train of communication.)

When I read his email I react, according to the core of self that feels threatened by his criticism. This process will continue as long as we send emails each others' way without ever really knowing each other. But the self-protecting strategies of the ego - these do become evident. We tend to be able to see them in the communications of others but not in ourselves.

Is there a way out? Yes. To recognise and make explicit that this process is going on is to not let it rule you. I think whenever we become aware of something inside ourselves, an emotion or thought or desire, we objectify it. We realise it's not essentially us, but that it's just passing through. Thus we're more able to let it go. It requires equanimity and fearlessness and honesty foremost with yourself.

I chatted with Hannah about this yesterday. It was too tempting a thought sequence to keep from my blog. But the obvious point is this: by sticking all this up here surely I'm projecting again, even while I'm acknowledging what's going on.

Which is why blogging is always wrapped up in ego.

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