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from the perpetual nostalgic

February 18, 2006
Email of a Past Moment of a Moment Passed
I also thought of you recently because of a conversation I had with a friend. It was about being really happy in a relationship; giddily happy, happy without reservation. As far as I can remember, the only time I was happy like that was in 1991. I'm not sure if it's fair to me to say that right now, because I think it would be really really unusual if it was you and I who found that again. As far as I can tell, that's what New York was all about. Before you arrived, I wondered what it would be like the first instant I saw you. in the airport. And when that moment came, it was...something, but not That Thing I had hoped for. (I don't put a lot of stock in gut feelings, though, because my instincts are so often wrong. Still, oh, I dunno) Still, that Spring and Summer-- I was in love with you beyond rhyme and beyond reason. I try to figure out why haven't found that since; if something in me broke when you left, if that kind of happiness only comes when you're young and kind of innocent, if it's just one of those things and maybe I'll be in that kind of love since. Since then I've always been looking for someone else; for a long time I was looking for you, for a while it's been someone else. I understand your frustration in New York; it seemed the only thing missing from the equation was me. "Why won't you love me?" you asked; the question and my inability to to answer it cut me more than you know.
To V, 1997.
I've been looking backwards lately. I ran into "the kirk archive"...an attempt to index all the electronic and scanned in stuff I've saved, started all the way back in 1999. (I date when I add things to the index, no matter how old the content is, and that meta-information is kind of interesting to me.) It's kind of weird noting the similarities between what was written after college breakups and some more recent ones.

Fun Kirk Fact: As of this writing my August 1997 Palm Journal entry is the #1 hit for the phrase "perpetual nostalgic" and the #3 or so hit for the words separately.

Article of the Moment
"Thinking hard about a complex decision that rests on multiple factors appears to bamboozle the conscious mind so that people only consider a subset of information, which they weight inappropriately, resulting in an unsatisfactory choice. In contrast, the unconscious mind appears able to ponder over all the information and produce a decision that most people remain satisfied with."
Interesting that the email talks about how I don't trust "gut feelings", because yesterday Slashdot linked to a New Scientist study that indicates your subconscious mind is a better decision maker than you are, and that "sleeping on something" is one of the best way of making big life-impacting decisions.

I guess I consider that bad news. For one thing, the subconscious mind isn't very accountable. "Rational" logic, for all its limitations, generally has a series of steps that can be examined and shared, repeated or refuted.

The other thing is it seems this "thinking without thinking" would fall prey to all kind of instilled and instinctive prejudices. Take religion, for example... there's a huge batch of deeply-held but mutually-incompatible beliefs out there (Mutually incompatible in the sense of holding "the" ultimate literal truth) that often come from this kind of gut-feeling. Same thing for a bunch of racist leanings...when you grow up in a culture that has a big grudge against another culture, that's often how you're going to lean unless you logic your way out of the cycle.

Maybe that's what art is about. A lot of human communication is at the logic level, art tries to work at that lower level. But it seems like it's really difficult to be receptive to that level of message.

What do you think?

Related Quote of the Moment
"And isn't sanity really just a one trick pony anyway? I mean all you get is one trick, rational thinking, but when you're good and crazy, oooh oooh oooh, the sky is the limit!"
... grabbed that one in April of 1997. I'm such an information packrat.