Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Curse, Part 10: Theory "Always Thus"

Previous installment
First installment
All installments in reverse chronological order 

As I said last time, there's no one answer. So I think all my theories are at least somewhat true. Before diving in, you may want to re-read the earlier installments. If you're going to theorize along with me, it will help to have the facts in mind.

The most straight-ahead theory is also the most terrifying. It occurred to me very early, and it's such a horror that I hesitate to reveal it. But here goes.

It's always been this way, but it took me a long while to notice.

There's truth to this. The world has always seemed off, but in murky ways I couldn't quite put my finger on, and generally blamed myself for. There were long runs of bizarrely poor results which became harder and harder to explain via my own flaws and deficiencies.

I had a rare chance once to read some pages from Andy Kaufman's diary, not usually available to the public. Kaufman, who, like me, was an "extreme" meditator, noted that every few years everything would completely fall apart for him. He'd decided that it wasn't due to anything on his end (though he'd, naturally tended to blame the most frequently criticized aspects of himself - the "Zit On The Tip Of Your Nose" effect I've written about, e.g. here and here). He didn't write about this with exasperation or self-pity. It was stated as a simple fact, and he seemed more puzzled by the mystery of it than exasperated with the fallout. Meditation gives you a higher perspective.

So this strange movie might have been playing all along. But, if so, it leaves me precisely where I started: trying to understand. So I continued to come up with theories.

There's a related theory that I call "Sensitive Me": The world is not really all that warm and embracing for any of us (I've written about this before), and maybe I feel it more acutely. Remember how at the end of Part 2, I said:
There are lots of greyed-out, fuzzy-focused, seldom-noticed people out there who very studiously mind their own business. Not just introverts, but people who intentionally shrink down to nothing with an almost palpable degree of self-awareness. Not depressed, defeated, nor malevolent, yet deliberately evading attention. I can't help but wonder whether such a "curse" might be less unusual than we imagine.
Maybe some people are more attuned to the selfish peevishness and idle cruelty, and take it extra personally. It's true that I have gotten better at registering subconscious malevolence. I've always had unusually keen intuition and street smarts , so maybe this is what happens when you keep ratcheting up your sensitivity. Intuition is not necessarily a good thing.

The problem is that "Sensitive Me" only goes so far. Whenever I started suspecting that I was making mountains of molehills, there would appear a demonic fishermen or pigeons flying into my chest, or some other almost winking evidence that none of this is normal. And, once again, friends confirmed the Curse and its surreal severity.

So while oversensitivity certainly plays a part, it's not a full explanation. It does, however, fit neatly with "Always Thus". The world is what it is, and my perspective has zoomed in on the underbelly of it all. That's a pretty useful upshot, though incomplete. I'm always a fan of explanations that involve perceptual framing. Our point of perspective/focus plays a far greater role in our experience of the world than we ever imagine.

Continue to part 11

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