I don't look like me in the mirror. I don't sound like me on tape. At least not the me I think I am. Maybe it's just that I don't spend a lot of time looking at mirrors, or listening to myself on tape. Which I suppose would be pretty good places to start with the admonishment of know thyself, because nobody else can see how you see yourself inside, they just see how you look and act. That was one of the points I took away from Batman Begins. Even here, when all you can see of me is the text I put up from my brain, I know I don't look the same as things are from this end, there's a whole network of associations and assumptions and knowledge in my head that none of the rest of you possess, which probably makes me come off as a pretentious git a good bit of the time.
So who do I look like, to me? Honestly? I'm not sure I know, weird as that sounds. It's one of the problems I have with writing, I'm really not very good at physical descriptions of people. Part of it may be the Internet's fault, where people aren't defined by their looks, but how they act, how they type, they're made up of words and behaviours and knowledge and interactions, not meat and goop. Who cares how somebody named XXAragornXX looks? Sometimes you have an icon to go by, but that's rarely a picture of them, it's a cartoon, or a quote, or a character they like, or whatever they've picked, it's not what they look like. So who cares?
See, from the inside, you don't have a face. Not like other people. It's not THERE. Not consciously, since you can never see it. It's one of the unspoken, unstudied assumptions of life. At least for some of us. Other people may spend hours in front of the mirror, tweaking their faces with makeup or practicing smiles and things, making it into a mask they understand, but I never have. Learning how it works and how to control their faces, rather than just flailing around, like other people. It occurs to me that the proceeding sentence may be complete bullshit, and probably is. Nevertheless.
The same with voice. Many people, especially singers, learn to study and control it. I never have, outside of the reflexive and instinctual ways that we've all evolved to. Talking's there to convey information. But it does that on many other levels than just the words that're spoken, so with speech, I'm far less literate than I am here, where all you see of me is the tapping of my fingers on plastic keys.
So what's my point? I'm not sure I have one. I know school's taught us all to format things like this, with one introductory paragraph, then three paragraphs of stuff, then a paragraph summing up, but I'm not sure I really have a point, or something I can point at here as something you're supposed to learn. Other than I'm a nerd, but you're all familiar with that anyway. I was just struck by the thought the other day, when walking past a mirror, that I didn't really look like me. Which was a really weird thought. I mean, I'm not even certain I'd recognize myself if I ran into myself somewhere. Well, I probably would, but it'd be one of those "Wait, I know them from somewhere..." things where it'd take several seconds for me to put my finger on it. I suspect there wouldn't be any "shock of recognition", much as books talk about it on people meeting their evil twins.
If there's anything to get from this, it's that "know thyself" means more than just sitting around on a pillow and thinking thoughts about the you you think you are. It means you have to get familiar with all parts of yourself, including the parts you normally can't see, or just ignore. Physical and mental. And I'm pretty sure, kung-fu movies aside, knowing yourself isn't something that can be accomplished very well in isolation on a mountain. Much of yourself is how you interact with other people, if you learn it in isolation, you miss big portions of what you are. Or even whole selves, there's people who act completely different depending on who they're around or what they're doing. Maybe there is no unified "self", just the total of all the different selves you act like, all tied together by successively sharing the same body. I don't know. I'm not sure there's any way to know something like that, and if trying to find out would be more than self-indulgent wankery.Technorati Tags: Mindscribbles, Me, Life, The Universe, and Everything, Journal