Thursday, October 7, 2010

Your Relationship With Your Former Self

Fernando Pessoa considers this question in The Book Of Disquiet,
I often find texts of mine that I wrote when I was very young--when I was seventeen or twenty. And some have a power of expression that I do not remember having then. Certain sentences and passages I wrote when I had just taken a few steps away from adolescence seem produced by the self I am today, educated by years and things. I recognize I am the same as I was. And having felt that I am today making a great progress from what I was, I wonder where this progress is if I was then the same as I am today. 
Pessoa realized he was underestimating his former self after reading his old writing. This makes sense. It's harder to construct a personal narrative of growth when the sentences showing that you used to be just as sweet remain visible, instead of diffusing into infinity like spoken words, or being lost in the synaptic puncta of the cortex, like most thoughts. 

So with the masses leaving digital footprints in tweets and status updates, will we all soon find it more difficult to believe in our redemption stories? As the world freaks out about others peering into their privacy, perhaps the person we should be most concerned about finding our innermost thoughts is ourselves, in the future. Our syntax might seem a little too tight, our inner monologues a little too kindred.

This is one of the questions I ponder as I scroll through old posts on a rainy evening. And my other question is... was I more alive then, than I am now?