Altering The Past

People say you can’t change the past, but that’s not really true. All that survives of it is our rememberance, and memory… is just as malleable and imaginary as foresight. In fact, we alter it all the time. Drug addicts in “recovery” re-cast their indulgences as a sickness, as something completely different than what it was when they were high. Their present attitude changes, and that carries over, trasnmuting their weaknessor recreation into something very different than it had always been before, when their attitude was more receptive to the idea of drug use.

Folks change what their childhood was like, all the time: the serial killer who believes, in retrospect, that mommy and daddy kicking the shit out of him was the root of his later habits; the successful corporate douche who rose out of “poverty”. None of these examples apply in a general sense, nor do they mean that there wasn’t a solid, objective reality of what has occured… but all we have is what’s with us of it, in the present moment. Memories that we almost invariably alter in one way or another, in relation to the present, and to the potentials of the future we see in those present moments.

What I’m talking about is reminiscent of a fictional force technique.

When you drop a pebble into a river, what happens? There’s a splash, and then the splash disappears. The splash is real, but the river doesn’t change. It continues on just the same.
~Darth Caedus

Above is a metaphor used to describe the nature of that technique, by one of the most notable characters to use it. He further explained it to his apprentice at one point… and told her that the change was real, but that there was no danger of altering the objective past. Desperate to believe the changes she had made were real, Tahiri pointed out that while the objective reality of the past was unaffected, that pebble is still there. His response was that yes, it was still there, but only in her mind. My point, in recounting all of this, is that you can change the present and future by altering (a persons perceptions of) the past.

He used the flow walking technique to manipulate a woman into learning from him, supporting his efforts and values, and working with him against people they had both considered family, friends, and allies for the better part of their short lives. Not unlike any real, non-fictional person that changes his perception of the past to motivate him or herself, or to gain a sense of empowerment… or even of accomplishment. The only part of the past that needs to change in order to influence the present, is the perception of it. When that is transmuted, the reality of history (personal or collective) is virtually irrelevant.

In effect, for all intents and purposes, it’s changed all the time.


A Memory

Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?
~Daily Prompt, Nov. 26th, 2012 (from The Daily Post)

I really hate prompts and questions like these. But that dislike of them, in and of itself, is something to talk about I suppose. I don’t like the ‘worst/best memory’ questions, or even the ones about my favorite food, song, color, sport, and so on. The answer I give when confronted with them is always bullshit in that there’s usually not any single experience or thing that’s my favorite, nor any single memory I would designate as my “strongest”.

I have a lot of strong memories, and a lot them them come bubbling to the surface when I’m hit with a query about which stands out the most. There’s so many to choose from that, in terms of writing, it doesn’t seem worth trying to respond to, the possble answers are to many, to overwhelming. And my answer might be totally different a day later, especially if I’m still mulling it over and revisiting memories in my head.

Having said that though… fuck it, I’ll just pick one of the ones that came to mind for today.

In my early teens, coming off of being knocked out for the first time a few months before this, I met this guy just outside the high school we were both going to. I was on my way back from my lunch/smoke break, and this guy was apparently looking for a fight. Not wanting a repeat of what happened last time someone took a swing at me, I was trying to get out of the situation without a concussion. As it turned out, there’s nothing like getting right back on the horse after a fall to get over ones newfound fear for riding it, but at the time I was nervous as hell, my kness felt like rubber, and I was already getting shakes from the adrenaline a few seconds into our not-so-friendly conversation. What caused the adrenaline? Probably fear. While I now look at it as “sometimes shit happens”, back then I’d felt emberassed about getting knocked out. It wasn’t something I wanted to repeat.

Justified…? Beats me. It’s what I felt, and in retrospect it served me pretty well. I guess at the time I didn’t feel like it was ‘okay’ to get so nervous, that I was being a bitch about it, but a) it was an effective, helpful aid and b) I was in a situation where being “gut-wrenchingly” nervous couldn’t hold me back whether I’d wanted to let it or not. I was going to get into a fight no matter how I played it. So who cares if it was justified. I came out of it alright, learned from it, and got a little confidence back, so it worked out fine.

(Written November 27th, 2012)