Monday, November 02, 2015

Halloween Conclusion

Actually, the story of the Halloween Disaster of 1964 is not about me and it's not about my mother, either.  It's not even about the dog.  Or Halloween.  It's not even a story, really.

The Halloween Disaster of 1964 is a "story" only because I chose to make it one.  My mind selected a beginning, a middle, and an ending to the events, when in reality it was a random part of a larger continuum of my whole life and the lives of others (including the dog), and now it's a memory, a mythology of my own making, part of the mental map I use to navigate through the world.  This is how we develop our own personal schema, this is how samskara is formed.

"Watch where you step," I learned, "It could be embarrassing."  Also, "Hide your misfortunes from others, because they might laugh at you," and "Even a half-century later, Mom would still clean my sneaker."

I'm reminded of the words of Simone Weil: "Imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of our real life."  I'm not saying the story isn't true - I remember it as true - but of the infinite number of events happening in the space and time around me, to my friends, and to the whole boundless universe, my mind selected a few random tidbits, strung them together into a narrative (naturally centered around myself, of course) and then decided, "That's the story of what happened." But there's a million different ways of remembering it from myriad different points of view, all leading to different conclusions and lessons.  And that's how other personal schemas and samskara are formed.

I'm reminded of John Barth, "Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story," and "The story of your life is not your life. It is your story."

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