The Fluidity of the Present
The third question (which I almost forgot to post because I’m that distracted — Look! Shiny thing! Where?), which loops back around to the first question and ties in the second question, is about shifting reality. We know that our memories change over time. We forget details or our brains change details, and the memories still feel correct even if we rationally know that we’ve embellished or tweaked our memories, most of the time without meaning to do so.
Though in some ways, it’s not just our memories that are slippery and shifting. Our present understanding of reality is just as fluid.
In I’ll Give You the Sun, the author writes on page 369 (and I tweaked this so it would be spoiler-free): “Who knows if destiny is just how you tell yourself the story of your life?” Maybe everything we do and how we process the world is entirely dependent upon our personalities. That we shape the story we want to see.
We make ourselves the victim or the victor; and we do so even while someone else in the exact same situation would cast themselves in the opposite role. Someone sentimental, who wants to find great meaning in a person’s final words, will carry them around forever in their heart even though another person would have forgotten them a few moments after they were spoken.
We tell half-truths, sometimes not admitting our real motivation for our actions, and in doing so, the people around us build their understanding inside that half-truth, growing it until it becomes more fake than real.
We make our own truth, we see what we want to see, we hear what we want to hear.
I guess in knowing this, in knowing how untruthful the truth can be, does the truth even matter? Because what is the truth? Is the story we tell ourselves more important than reality, and how do we even being to pick away at reality, at the hardcore facts of our life, when there is so much fluidity, so many tiny facets of our life ever-changing and flowing?
That was the final question the book left me with. What do you think?