Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Boundary life  §

Maybe I’m more comfortable than I claim to be with living at intersections, interacting on the boundaries between worlds. It is, in a way, all I’ve ever known, a kind of birthright. Sometimes I could swear I’m uncomfortable with it, but is this just an internal acknowledgment of the discomfort that external forces feel at seeing me there—do boundaries make me uncomfortable merely because seeing me on them makes everyone around me uncomfortable?

Does this question even mean anything at all?

Everyone lives their life in cycles by the time they pass 25 or so. Everything you do becomes familiar because (you realize with each new thing) this thing that you are doing is one of those things you do. You begin to know how the stories end and can appreciate the nuance and timbre of each thread of experience as it weaves its way through your life.

But why? How does this work? The present always begins as a kind of rupture. We are always in the process of rejecting our past, rearranging our identity, or so we believe—until we realize a little farther on that what we have done is merely progress through new iterations of the same old self.

Happiness is obviously the ability to embrace your own life history and to iterate it consciously, to seize upon your own particular habits and tendencies and enjoy them. But that’s a tougher project than it can at first seem to be. In particular, it’s tough to let go of the naive optimism that change is possible or even just around the corner.

Love. I feel as though I want to say something about love here, but really I’d better not. As usual. As always. The one thing I really wish I could blog about forever is my love life, but of course that is the one thing you can never be open about with anyone, least of all the people that actually compose it over the course of your life.

Some people manage to accomplish this, I’ve heard, but these people are clearly not me.

Looking into someone else’s eyes is a way of testing them to see if they will admit to being as human as you are. If they look away, they’re too ashamed to make the stipulation.

Okay, you’re right, this is entirely culturally determined. But damn it, what isn’t?

Anyway, I’ll readily admit that it often makes me tremendously nervous to look into someone else’s eyes. Of course, the other half of the time it makes me want to love them. I suppose it’s a dangerous practice, the meeting of eyes; it’s a kind of metaphysical ungrounding, a transcendentalism that cannot be understood, overcome, or contextualized.

In the gaze, all disparate things are unified through acknowledgment and mutual consciousness. They say that when you look into someone’s eyes, you see their soul, but I don’t know if that’s exactly right. It sometimes seems to me that when you look into someone’s eyes, you see something more essential than mere soul. You see—you see their humanity, their basic, innocent need as a sentient being to be acknowledged, in order for their subjectivity to be called (or recalled, as must continuously happen) into existence.

It is as though by looking into someone else’s eyes you can help them to exist, and they in turn can help you to do the same. In the exchange of glances we grant each other life itself.

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