Usually, whenever I wake up and remember a dream, I would take a couple bullet points in my Notes app while I still remember the dream. But, yesterday, I had a bad dream. When I woke up from it, I didn’t take any notes. After a couple of hours, I forgot about the dream, and it was my conscious choice to do so.
I had the choice to remember it or not. I would write it down, and I would be able to construct something from it, but I am choosing not to do so.
So much of my ability to perceive the world is dependent on my memories. If my memories are a function of what I can perceive in the world, then I am able to perceive more happiness in the world through forcefully forgetting sad memories. Therefore, if I am exercising choice in order to negate memory, then it is an act of selectively changing my reality.
I have been doing that a lot recently — altering reality with my mind.
Because the phenomenological reality is a function of individual experience, changes within the internal world is able to change the phenomenological reality despite no changes in the external world. Yet, these realities are distinctively different. Happiness and sadness, whatever they mean, are a products of different phenomenological experiences to the same external reality. By changing the phenomenological system that governs the construction of the phenomenological reality, we are able to effectively change the world we inhibit.
Ayn Rand once wrote in “The Psycho-Epistemology of Art” that art is a function of selectively perceiving reality. But, in terms of the first-order function of what generates perception at all, it seems that memories allow us to notice things and not necessarily the art itself. After all, even if it is art that alters our reality, it is still our memories of art that serves as a guide for our own thoughts.
Yet, unlike our perception of art, we have a lot more say over our dreams. We can unsee something that we saw if we chose to do so. And, lately, that’s what I’ve been doing. I am using the dreamscape to unsee the parts of my life that I don’t want to see. I’m sure someone can invent some sort of therapy based on this idea. There are thoughts that I don’t want to have. There is the wave of consciousness that naturally washes these thoughts into oblivion. I am simply taking a passive role in letting my memories die with my dream.
If anything, this translates into an overarching attitude towards life. I am moving on from my past. There is the past that I find unpleasant, and then there is me effectively rendering my past as if it never happened.
So much of my life, I felt as if I should cling onto my past as if there is some sort of value to them. Since most of my past has been either uneventful or sad, I tend to cling onto a lot of negative memories because there was a part of me that believes they were somehow more “real”, whatever that means. I’m sure there is some sort of behavioral economics framework that I can use to describe this heuristic: the idea that experiences that belong to us seem more “real” than experiences that did not happen.
In reflection, all of that thinking just convinces me of the irrationality of my human mind. I was so attached to this idea that I should cling onto memories that are “real” because they belonged to me that I could spend hours in my own head.
There was always this mentality that, if I could sufficiently think through a part of my past, then I would be able to obtain some sort of resolution and move on. In my head, I thought that if I could reframe a part of my past in some sort of larger context of growth, then I would be able to escape the memory itself. The spill would be neatly cleaned, and then I would be able to move onto other issues in my life.
But this is faulty logic. It’s just a cyclical pattern of thought that leads you back to the beginning. There is no such thing as thinking through past events. All there is is just time spent in self-flagellation, using willful emotional pain as a means to reclaim and redeem experiences that you cannot change. Better to hurt yourself on your own terms than to let the world hurt you again.
But there is no redemption. There is no metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel that will resolve the past. There is only more pain.
I am forgetting about my past, slowly but surely. I used to wonder, what if things have been different? I used to think? why did things have to happen in the way that they did? There was so much I would reflect on, and these thoughts would consume my present experience as a projection of my past experiences. But I see it now: there is no point in thinking about it.
I think of it like my carpet right now. It smells, and I’ve been attempting to find the source of the smell, but I can’t. I have put so much time in attempting to resolve the smell. But, in this case, it’s probably better if I let it go. Sooner or later, I’ll get used to the smell. In a couple of days, the smell will most likely go away, or at least decrease significantly in magnitude. As long as I don’t devote my attention to it, it won’t affect my life. Most likely, it will go away. But, if it doesn’t, my life moves on.
So it goes.