22 August 2008


This once-a-month posting thing has got to go. I've been trying to hard at other things to even remember that I need to write from time to time to anchor myself to sanity; coping mechanisms have been one of the things I've spent a lot of time thinking about lately, and frankly, there's a lot to be said for having those things to which one turns when the weight of the world itself seems too much. With so many terrible things being splayed out across the globe and transmitted to us direct by satellite in High-Definition, it's easy to be overwhelmed, to find oneself lacking in means of dealing with the harshness of reality.

And so we cope. We drink, we gossip, we catch up on celebrity dirt. We write, we read, we go for long walks on the beach. We listen to music too loud, play sports with our friends, slice our flesh with razors; we cry, we laugh, we crack jokes that we secretly revile for their content. All told, everyone comes out equal in the end, and we're all just trying to make it through the day; the most confident man is still inspired only by his drive to succeed, and the loneliest still held together by the hobbies that fill his time to keep his brain from realising that it isn't pleased to be where it is.

What's curious to me is the variety of ways that people describe their coping mechanisms. Some people say that they just do what comes naturally; others fret over whether what they're doing is avoidance of issues. Some pursue their interests out of a stated goal to be healthy, or wealthy, or happy, while some prefer to maintain that they're only interested in making it through another day by whatever means necessary. We rationalize and analyze and break everything into neat little segments to make them easier to mentally digest; we all offer our own take on the things that we do, and we all have our own way of brushing off the descriptions that others use ("He says he just does that for fun, but it's obvious he's just trying to keep his mind off of what happened...") -- we invent labels for the actions and intentions of ourselves and others, because they're more easily tied down than the people themselves.

Actions can't lie; they can't be made to be false, even when the motives behind them are false or they are being done for reasons explained only in untruths, even when one is doing things that they would rather not be doing for whatever reason -- such as fitting in, or seeming calm, or just keeping up appearances -- the action itself is a pure thing, a thing which cannot by its own nature decieve. Whatever the reasons, whatever the justification, whatever the consequence, the action simply is. It displays itself without remorse and breaks the mold of simplicity in so doing; whenever one does something, that something becomes an expression of the self, which reveals some part of oneself. That facet may be conceived through falsity, but the action remains the same, and continues to remain the same, to carry the same result within its own confines; the difference is in how the world reacts to the actor.

So it is with coping with reality, for, like action, reality itself is intrinsically unable to lie. While I know from experience that my brain can lie to me about what is real (dreams, imagined sights in the corner of one's eye), reality itself is not the one at fault. What exists is what exists, depsite our best efforts to cloud our perception thereof, to make of any situation what we wish, to see only what we want to see and damn the rest. We lie to ourselves about reality and actions both, as a coping mechanism I think, because we need to be able to bring the whole affair that is what we experience into a cohesive focus, into a picture that is painted by our minds for our own eyes. To see the world as another sees it for even an instant could break even the most steeled mind.

How many times do we rewrite the past to arrive at a present that we can accept?