Under the Thin Film

(It’s the morning after. I’m here to edit. I wrote this without thinking, just before passing out on the couch (sober). I’m not sure what to expect. I don’t remember what I wrote. —hey that was pretty good.)

I’ve been moody lately. That’s what I get for not taking my own advice. (Too much coffee, too much alcohol, not enough sleep, not enough time relaxing, too much time multitasking). But also, sometimes my emotional weather is just bad. My brain has a mind of its own.

In the material world, it was sunny but cold. This is one of many “fake spring” days to come. The weather is teasing that it is going to start getting warmer, but we know it isn’t. I rode to Greenlake. I had a mediocre americano by the lake. At the cafe there was a person whose face was perfectly lit by the harsh sun reflecting off the smooth concrete floor and onto their face. I don’t remember if it was a man or a woman or their age or anything. I just remember that they were the best lit person in the cafe out of two dozen others.

Outside there was one young woman who was painfully beautiful; she had the kind of beauty that gives me the same recurring feeling of burning jealousy. As a young man I would have merely experienced this ugly burning jealousy and then unfairly projected a negative trait onto her, telling myself she was shallow or stupid, so that I could protect myself from feeling hopelessly attracted and totally inadequate. I still feel the same attraction to her. And her type of beauty still elicits feelings of inadequacy, but it doesn’t have the same sting that it used to. The inadequacy is impersonal now. I guess beauty feels like a force in the world (like gravity); it’s not just about her and me; beauty, to me now, is a natural force. And that beauty isn’t really hers; her beauty is only a shadow of what beauty really is. I feel small in comparison to the beauty that she represents—in the way that standing on a beach with massive driftwood trees implies the existence of tremendous and terrible waves; it speaks of a force that has passed and left its mark.

I also edited pictures today. I built up a queue of pictures to post on Instagram. I’ve added a few followers; I am slowly making progress to getting 1000 (active) followers. We’re a long way away. I’m not sure I can do it without being more gratuitous (boobs and butts).

How does one build an audience? How does one play to an audience? Do I even want to make that compromise? Well, for the time being, I think I would benefit from growing an audience. I couldn’t sellout if I tried.

It is so strange how much there is going on in the mind, just outside of our awareness. It is possible to try to break that nearly-invisible surface-tension-like film. But when that thin layer is broken, the thing beneath the surface isn’t the same.  There are tricky and clever ways to see the machinations that are working down below. (This is self-knowledge and the study of psychology.) 

—there’s this motorcycle enduro rider, Graham Jarvis. He’s a poet and a dancer with his dirtbike. He’s one of those high-performing athletes that just blows my mind. When Jarvis—or any Motogp racer really—is working, they’re on another level, far above our pathetic, vulgar, Earthly lives. But then they come back.

After a race they’ll sit down with their coach and discuss what they were doing. And then, somehow, their discussion will just automagically sink in and have an effect on their future performance. —how that works is a mastery that blows my fucking mind.

Somewhere, somehow there is a back-and-forth transition—a transformation—of language (propositional knowledge) to tacit knowledge (being physically able to do the cool thing).That transformation is a mystery. I’m not sure if we mere-humans have the ability to to have a theoretical understanding of that process, but we can do it.

I think that the most productive thing that we can do is to separate these two modes. —Do the thing, or think about the thing; you can’t both both at the same time. When we’re nervous or overly self-aware (like in a job interview) is an example of when we’re crossing the streams. Keep the streams—the modes—separate. (If there is a way to combine them, I know nothing about it.)

I would I could tell my younger self: Quit thinking. Take notes if you have the time. Examine the outcome after it’s over. Reflect on it. Then, get back to doing it. Obviously, this isn’t about forethought and impulse. This is about performance. 

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