Careful What You Can’t Wish For?
Prepare yourselves for “Deep Thoughts” by
Jack Handey Raegen.
I’ve totally had a quote stuck in my head ever since I read it — this whole week thus far. Which means one of two things: 1) I’m not keeping myself busy enough, or 2) it’s actually got some merit. Here it is:
“Memory is a magnet. It will pull to it and hold only material nature has designed it to attract.” — Jessamyn West
It started out innocently enough — with a consideration of what the quote is actually talking about. Much of my creative writing deals with memory, so right off the bat, I could relate. In fact, I bet all writers are drawing from this wellspring every single time they write — even fiction writers. (Granted, some of us edit memory more heavily than others, but I’m suspect of those who try to tell me it plays no role.)
Plus, I love the metaphor… though honestly, I think you could compare anything to a magnet and get away with it. “But isn’t that what metaphor does?” you might ask. And I would get your point, but I’m just saying that “___ is a magnet” is an easier one to pull off than “___ is an Tesla coil.” But you can take the Pepsi challenge and submit a story or poem based off of the latter below, if you’re so inclined, to try to convince me otherwise.
A larger assumption posed by this quote is one about nature, and that’s also intriguing. The implication is that nature designs one’s memory, which is a harder sell for me, as I don’t think of Mother Nature that way. Perhaps West was speaking of physical nature, though — genes and chemicals and things biology teachers and doctors know about? That’s more convincing to me, I suppose, but I’m still not sure I wholly agree.
Nevertheless, it’s really the idea of only being able to pull and hold that which this mysterious “nature” character has designed a thing to attract that’s been plaguing me. And yes, I acknowledge that this was likely not at all what West originally meant by what she said. I don’t think it’s even remotely implied. Still, separating the second part of the quote from its opening half and considering the remainder from a more metaphysical perspective, I find myself wondering if this could be true for the future. This is just a typical happening in the mind of Raegen.
What if we can only attract or learn what it’s within our imaginative capabilities/consciousness/awareness to conceive?
If you’ve read my blog about attraction (and douchebags), you’ll already know my thoughts on the whole idea of “attracting” things into one’s life. But to sum up, I believe we are responsible for attracting into our lives the lessons we need to learn to set ourselves free from self-hate so our souls can express their higher purposes. We don’t necessarily attract people; we attract lessons.
Think of it this way: If you’re at a keynote, everyone in the audience is listening to the same person speaking. We didn’t all “attract” that person; we made a conscious decision of our own volition to be present at such-and-such event. Or even if you think we did attract that person (for argument’s sake, because I surround myself with argumentative types — you know who you are), everyone’s still going to get something different out of that person and speech — a full range of emotion spanning complete loathing of everything that person is and stands for to an absolute embracing of that person’s message… and perhaps even the person him/herself. Our individual lessons — what we garnered from the experience — that’s the thing that’s attracted.
But how can you attract what you can’t even imagine?
It’s wild to even think about, right? It’s like trying to imagine a color you’ve never seen before. (Someone asked me to do that in high school, and it messed with my mind for, like, a month straight.)
The main thing about Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure that would be different if it happened IRL and I was, say, Socrates (So-crates!) is that I would probably lose my friggin’ mind, having come from a place that didn’t even have electricity, let alone houses with it. TVs and plumbing would destroy me. What’s on and off? Where do the little people in the box go? Heck, where did my poopy go? Poopy heaven? Poopy hell? My whole perspective and understanding about the world would be so compromised, I don’t think I could possibly recover.
I have to chuckle when I think of the phrase “ahead of his/her time,” because in this context, there can be no such thing. We can have innovators, but even they are working within boundaries — whether they’d like to admit it or not. For example, going back to the Greeks (Am I craving a gyros or something?), they were capable of doing math. But do you think they could imagine how to get from there to a laptop computer? It would’ve been all Greek to them. (Yep, I went there.) I could be wrong, but I don’t think so.
Taking out that problematic “attraction” thing for a second (just to take out a cause for argument) and bringing this down to a more personal level, though — which is how I’ve been thinking about it most, actually — how can you possibly pursue the thing that might make you happiest in life if you’re not even aware of its existence (or the possibility of its existence) in the first place?
Yeah, think about that.
We know what we know, and we have the capacity to learn beyond that — to a degree. But how can we learn something that isn’t in the world in the first place — or at least on a wavelength we can comprehend?
Don’t get me wrong; believing that there were greater things out there in the world for me allowed me to find those greater things. (And yes, you can argue that the only thing that’s changed is my perception, but that’s not the point here, so stuff it.) But those greater things were still within the confines of what I could imagine as me, today, in 2012, with all the things that means and doesn’t mean. Take closed captioning, for example; it was mind-blowing to find out it was actually people that put those words on a TV screen. I thought it was all computerized, but I was able to adjust fairly quickly because I knew what words, TV, and computers were.
But what would happen if I wished to know or experience something beyond what I could imagine? Would I get it? And if I did, would I even know it? And would that be the worst mistake of my life? What if it turned out to be some sort of spiritual (and perhaps somewhat Faustian) imprisonment — like ceaseless reincarnation for all of infinity? How much would that suck? Or would it? How could I know?
Anyway, like I said at the beginning, I’m not sure if my pondering of this is because I’ve got too much time on my hands or the thought really has merit, but in my own defense — which I may have killed with that closed captioning disclosure — I have been pretty busy these past few months. I will admit that I’m not-so-secretly hoping the question will haunt your soul as deeply as it has mine, though.
Does it? Anyone? Anyone?