pafib #5

18:43 Mon 16 Feb 2009
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possible attitudes found in books 1) I don't know what's happening to me 2) what does it mean? 3) seized with the deepest sadness, I know not why 4) I am lost, my head whirls, I know not where I am 5) I lose myself 6) I ask you, what have I come to? 7) I no longer know where I am, what is this country? 8) had I fallen from the skies, I could not be more giddy 9) a mixture of pleasure and confusion, that is my state 10) where am I, and when will this end? 11) what shall I do? I do not know where I am

—from 'Alice', in Sixty Stories, Donald Barthelme, Penguin, New York 1993

This is the fifth in a series of eleven.

I lose myself and it all goes away. All of the innumerable questions, all of the striving, all the wondering, the floundering, doubt. As I lose identity it takes those and other anchors with it. Spinning through experience, cut free, matter and concepts are indistinguishable and enveloping. They blend, cocoon-like, and soon the only distinction is between all and time.

All swirls and shifts as what had before been separate becomes one, and relinquishes shape, color and texture, draining off markers of distinction. Those markers fade, and all goes still. Remains still. Is still. Within this stillness, the absence of movement or action expands. Spreads past, outside, all, taking in the final piece. All, one, time, also, one. Only. All.

Nothing. A flicker. A flicker of awareness of difference, the possibility of difference, alien difference, difference implying, necessitating conceptually, a state that could encompass difference where before or after there had been no difference a state of either past or future and time broke back into itself can only pass with an observer and that meant required an aware I.

With I, all shattered into fragments, disconnected entities that make up the world. With each fragment, a name. With each name, a thought. With each thought, associations. Memories. Experiences. Personality. A whirling maze of infinite shifting connections, but a maze with a perceiving center in which I found myself. I was myself and in the world and surrounded by things.

I stagger. I look around and see them, these things, glaring in their concreteness. I cannot feel them, and then realize I can no longer feel the self that did feel them, or the self from before that, or the self at the start of this thought. I have myself, this disjointed mass of pathways, but I cannot feel it.

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