When I was in middle school, I discovered the concept of hell for the first time ever, and it pretty much traumatize me for a week. An eternity of torture under the brimming gaze of fire and brimstone. It’s pretty fucked up if you ask me. I think the scary part about hell for me, beyond the fire and brimstone part of it, is the fact that nothing changes in hell. When you enter hell, you are still the person a thousand years later when you’re still in hell. I guess you could say the same thing about heaven really. There’s this weird conception that when you die, you just retain the personality you had when you were alive.
Ever since then, I’ve always asked myself: How do I know I am not in hell already? One of my worst fears in life is to learn that I’m in hell and that this world I have created around me is just a projection to take my attention from whatever torture I am experiencing at the moment. It is the world created at my discretion to distract myself from another world that exists. That is, assuming that I am in hell.
For now, however, I’m going to assume that I am not in hell. I have done some shitty things in my life, but nothing I would say warrants an eternity of suffering. Maybe a year or two, but definitely not more than five. At the end of the day, I think the hell metaphor has a lot of weight. The reality we experience is not the reality that exists. It is the reality we create for ourselves to escape from the reality that is out there. If we were truly capable of confronting reality as it is, our physiology would allow us to do so. We would be able to perceive ourselves and the world around us as objectively as possible, and we would act accordingly. The mere fact that we cannot indicates the limitations of our psychological physiology.
The world out there is not a pleasant world. We create a world internally to escape the world out in the world that we do not wish to perceive. Having an objective view on the world is not the reality we wish to occupy. At the end of the way, we choose to live in the reality we create because it is more familiar than whatever strange phenomena resides in outer reality. In that sense, we relegate the reality we experience in a deeply personal sense. It is a possessive reality in which we choose to perceive senses and thoughts according to our discretion as opposed to perceiving the natural order of things. It is a reality in which we occupy control, regardless of whether we wish to have that control or not, according to mental discretion.
The world exists, but we do not want to live in the world that exists. We would much rather live isolated in our own world than to live in the world at large. Between knowing the pain we feel and prospecting the uncertainty we face, we much rather find comfort hurting ourselves than face uncertainty. We move from reality to reality depending on how secure we feel at a particular point in time. Security brings optimism while insecurity brings pessimism. The lens in which we view the world changes depending on factors relating to identity. Our identity precedes reality because the world exists around us. Identity is the source of being, and perception is an aspect of being. There cannot be perception without being. In a true calling to romantic subjectivism, the world exists around us as a reflection of us.
Then there’s this question: What factors determine how we see the world around us? Off the top of my head I’m thinking of our associative memory. Things happen to us in the past, so we are reminded of the past whenever we find something in the present that reminds us of the past. The fact that our memories exist at all is proof of our multidimensional existence. We can perceive the present while perceiving the past.
The creation of memory is a relegative experience, but the recalling of memory is a forwarding experience. I’ve heard the saying that each time you recall your memory you aren’t actually recall your memory but your memory of your memory, and each time you recall a memory your memory of the memory is encoded into another memory of the memory, and so on. I find that quite interesting because it basically says that we’re able to create memories of experiences that never existed if we are able to create memories from memories enough instances. While it may be impossible to replicate actual phenomena with memory, the altercation of the memory while recalling is phenomena itself.
If you see the world differently from someone else, why is that? Is it because you lived a different life from someone else, or is because you were just born to view the world in a different way? Why do we choose certain realities over others?
I think waking up in the morning is a super interesting sensation. You weren’t conscious at one point in time. Then you wake up, and you’re conscious at another point in time. Then comes the baggage associated with consciousness, including your identity, perceptions, and thoughts. Although it seems like it was just a span of ~7 hours since you were last conscious, you can’t be sure of that exactly. The reality in which you are presented is circumstantial at best. It’s just like teleporting from one moment of time to the next moment in time, and you just have to assume your current reality is the reality in which you occupy.
Something that always amazes me is that you can never be sure whether your past before you had gone to sleep is real at all. We assume it’s real because we have memories of a world before we slept. But there’s nothing necessarily tangible connect that world to the world we wake up in besides our memories.
I’m currently living in my childhood bedroom again. It is, allegedly, the same bedroom I lived in from elementary school to high school. There have been a few modifications here and there — the bed crawled over to the right side, the walls are lined with filled boxes of clothes, and there are a couple items here and there that weren’t there before like the couple hundred dollars I spent on assorted musical instruments and posters of Lana Del Rey and The 1975.
It’s been about a year since I returned to this bedroom. I think I graduated college last year, but it’s honestly a blur. To some extent, I’m not too convinced I went to college at all… or high school, middle school, and elementary school, for that matter. I scrolled through some of my old Instagram photos the other day, which is the closest thing to resemble empirical proof that I had a “college experience” (whatever that means) at all. But other than a couple of old Instagram photos, some aged parchment with some Latin printed on, and a couple essays I wrote about how sad I was all the time, there’s no way I could convince myself that college happened at all, less a supposedly a meaningful time in my life.
Since this is the only world in which we live, there’s not much we can do to create alternative worlds in which things might’ve worked out better, where we could accumulate the character traits we have now without the emotional baggage that goes along with it.