Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Tent night II.  §

It’s pretty hard to be philosophical about life right now. I don’t know that anyone has their emotional bearings. Trying to make sense of things—right, wrong, sensible, not sensible—is difficult.

I don’t think I got the right kind of training or socialization in life to be able to navigate waters like this with aplomb. I’m not detached enough. Not clinical enough. I experience everything emotionally, then have to run interference between my feelings and my mind.

— § —

They say that you need to “live in the present,” but there is a weird psychological phenomenon, at least for people like myself, by which the present comes to encompass both the past and the future in their entireties.

It is as though all of time is happening at once.

Sometimes when I speak with others from radically different backgrounds, it becomes so very clear to me that they don’t experience the world in this way at all, and that my description would make absolutely no sense to them.

— § —

“Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question ‘Whither?’

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?”

(Robert Frost)

— § —

There is so much pretense in the way that humans tend to exist with each other.

If I think about it enough, I start to imagine that this is the nature of dwelling in the world as Heidegger imagined it. To dwell is fundamentally to engage in a kind of pretense about the human experience.

I suppose, at the end of the day—and without wanting to descend into nihilism necessarily—that the arc of a human life is itself pretense, given its nature. One can’t reject pretense out of hand without rejecting life.

And yet, at the same time, it seems obvious to me that there is some threshold—and it is not a high one—beyond which pretense becomes the way that we all lose ourselves, each other, and everything we might value about being in this world.

— § —

But whatever. It’s nearly 11:00 pm on the night before the day and I am outside in a tent.

I don’t know anything about anything.