but who is telling the story?

the self is telling the story to itself?

how can a story exist if the self exists within the story as it is being told?

how can consciousness (if it is not synonymous with the self) tell a story if it only exists in the present moment?

i'd argue that memory serves its purpose well enough that it can create the illusion of continuity.

whatever. just thoughts based on assumptions with no expectation of relevance to anyone but me.

excess runoff due to discussion overflow

in waiting for a reply as wheels continue to turn (churn, do gears do that?)
in losing the thread as often as it finds me, until it is lost without being found again
(or without it finding me again)

the self cannot die because the self never existed except in story
and stories can live forever, unless they die by being forgotten
in which case the self-character merely ceases to be ... not so much a death as a disappearance with none the wiser

characters who die in stories only die in the temporal sense local to the story
real enough to the character, but reversible and even changeable for the audience

so death appears to be real but only to the ones living the story, i.e. their own lives
afterlife implies a change in state with a recognizable continuity
consciousness, untethered from its physical form, continues.
if consciousness does not die, then death is merely for the body.
but if consciousness is more transient than life, then living death is a possibility.
death experienced by the dead - the ones irrevocably changed.
the only surviving relic is the body.

on the other hand, if consciousness is something that only exists in the present moment, stringing together its identity from memory and future projection, then death is irrelevant except to the idea of the self held by that consciousness.

that which only exists in the present can only have a past in the sense that it perpetually recreates that past through continuously reconstituted memories, and it can only imagine its future. if this is the self, the self has no longevity, and therefore death cannot exist except in that the self dies and is reborn with every instant. the final death is merely the last in a countless chain.

perhaps there is a window of time in which the self can experience some semblance of temporal persistence beyond the infinitesimal sliver of the present moment. but if so, i believe it is very small, on the order of minutes or less. perhaps smaller for some than others?

as always, i don't know what i am talking about. i type and words come out.
well, most of the time.

no apologies, just acknowledgment. i stand by the words because there is no one else who can.

David Logan: Tribal leadership

The five tribal levels:

1: Life (in general) sucks
-When you think life is irredeemably terrible, you do terrible things.

2: My life sucks
-Nothing kills imagination and motivation like pessimism.

3: I'm great, you're not!
-Competition can be a great motivator, but it's an insular way of thinking and ultimately an excuse for warfare.

4: I'm great, and so are you ... we're great!
-A tribe can come together and become more than the sum of its parts.

5: Life is great.
-True optimism means believing humankind can achieve greatness. A vision that inspires people to strive for greatness in themselves and their societies can change the world.

you think too much and you take yourself too seriously

exit head and extract from ass to harvest goat-cheese for the next meal
check it in reverse against the model for rigor's sake
for best results, dunk head in water. repeat.

it flows through me like a river
in one ear and out the other
not an orifice goes unutilized.

won’t shrink. won’t reduce.
the pit lodged in the putty
swallowed in the dead of night

you can step back all you like
it will remain visible
an unblinking, reflecting eye
until you digest the thing.

it was just something that happened to you
that’s how you escaped
you never let it turn symbol.

no obligation
no conversation
no strings attached
just a show for your pleasure

(you feed me with your eyes)

what can i do to turn you
what can i do to prove myself
grab you by the lapels and scream
“i want nothing”

“don’t apologize.
“you don’t have permission.”

the erosion of the holy

with armor made of eyes

peek my little head up

in awe, in worship
of the magnificent rant
an endless sampling of that terminal exhalation that awaits us

screaming trickery
in swindled security
of stolen love
of hollowed life

we puff ourselves up with steam to prevent the premature collapse
it ain't over 'til.

here i babble and hold your gaze until you back away
the prophecy must be fulfilled
every step of the ceremony
checked 'gainst the checklist
you'd be right to accuse
i'm not looking for connection
just chaos

your poise is unwelcome
your grace, a disgrace
shaking their heads under veils
respectfully, regretfully
we request
that you die
and leave us the ashes.

the next mile

i know you're tired
you wear the past just like a vise
and you've been waiting
to let it go and close your eyes

but in a few more miles i know the sun will rise
you can watch the sun rise

i can't promise much
but i swear to try
to make the next few miles
worth your while

you've been tired
i can see it in your eyes
but if you hold on for a little longer
i know the sun will rise

so stay with us awhile.

a hypothetical audience of one

i'm looking for a particular someone. i think it's likely that you exist, given the number of people on this planet.

would i know you if i met you? if i found your writing online?

would you recognize me from most of i've written here?

you'd want to tell me everything about yourself and to learn everything about me. every experience, every thought, every feeling. anything that can be expressed. there would be nothing better left unsaid, and because we'll never be able to express everything, we'll never run out of things to say to each other.

there would be no end to our appetites for this exchange. or at least, i have no idea where the end of my appetite is, i've never found it. superficial commonalities or differences would be irrelevant - all that's necessary is that unquenchable urge to truly and completely understand and be understood.

i'm afraid that i'll find out (as is so often the case) that my eyes are bigger than my stomach, and i'll wind up being the exhausted one for a change. but at least then i'll know.

i don't think i've ever met you. is it possible that i have and didn't know it, or that you didn't know me? maybe i haven't given the best first impressions. it takes me a while to open up, if i ever do. i don't know how to start.

maybe i assumed too quickly that you weren't interested, so i just shut up. and then you assumed i didn't want to reveal any more and didn't want to be nosy or pushy.

but i don't know how to go around asking everyone i meet if they want to know everything about me and to tell me everything about themselves. if they want to see the world through another pair of eyes. if the experience of being conscious is fascinating to them, but they've never found a way to express its subtleties, or anyone who would listen without losing interest.

i'm tired of the awkwardness, the disappointment, the disconnection. it's hard to face it over and over again. normal social expectations run so contrary to this that it seems like i'd have to make an endless disruption of myself, a constant nuisance, to have any chance of meeting you at all. it's so much easier not to rock the boat. maybe i've met you a dozen times already and didn't know it.

if only i could go to a crowded place and just recognize you by sight.