December 31, 2006
Piecing together who we are by what we write
It is interesting to think about things in this way. Recently I read a book about Leonardo Da Vinci. It was a well written book and the Author admitted several times where history was blank on certain topics concerning Leonardo's views or actions, forcing future historians to guess or fill in the gaps. Some were informed, educated guesses but some were the author's projections onto Leonardo. Leonardo did not write everything down, even though he had a very extensive journal library spanning many years. I am told that he hardly ever made mention of himself or his personal thoughts on topics. Most of his notes were observations, or clarifications on observations he had made on previous pages. Very little personal conjecture on his part except where based on some new experiment. And he was wrong many times in his guesses, but still he was not merely guessing or writing about his views on things. It was more scientific in nature.
This all led me to wonder how much a historian would piece together of who I was personally by what I have written, drawn, painted, etc. I know it doesn't matter, but the thought of some future historian looking back and getting it all wrong sounds like a waste of everyone's time and energy.
For me, a historian would have to piece a lot of information together. (And that historian could be nothing more than some future decendant of mine researching her geneology.) I keep three journals right now that would have to be correlated by date; A work log, with thoughts mixed in, a notebook I carry around, and this blog. And then there are various websites that I've created with various writings and artwork that have sat dormant for a while, but still exist out there on the world wide web. And then there is my artwork in various households throughout the country. Many people do not even know that I created some of this stuff. Especially my woodcarvings and other such artwork. The other journal is the mental one, with thoughts I've shared with no-one. This is the one that I carry in my head. There is a reason for that that Historians wish did not exist. It's because some things should be kept as private thoughts. Although the closer we can become to being transparent to other people, the truer we are in our lives. We are more authentic when we are honest and our actions and words and thoughts all line up. So it's to our benefit if we have no secrets that would torture us if revealed. Or torture our great grand children. But, still, I find it interesting how most human beings live in this dual state of private and public. Often the two are not the same. Sometimes it's obvious and sometimes it's not.
In history, It has been difficult to piece together Leonardo's life, because so little material about him survived and so few people that knew about him wrote about him. This is true for many people that lived in his age, that history has completely forgotton. But now in today's age, in our time, here, now, there is the internet. There is abundant paper and an electronic trail. For instance, all of my purchase are tracked when I use my credit card. It's still not a complete picture but it's a far cry from what historians had with Leonardo Da Vinci. Today for instance, I bought some soup and cold medicine. I noted in my personal journal how I felt like I was coming down with a cold. And now I'm mentioning it here. I feel a cold coming on. Maybe tomorrow I'll write about how I think the cold medicine doesn't really help the cold go away and how I feel dizzy, light-headed when I take it. Someone could correlate my different writings on the topic and have a pretty clear picture of what my day was like and what I did when. Not that I anticipate historians even caring one way or another about me. But now I can move on to the next thought...How even with all of this information someone in the future will totally miss the boat on something I was thinking, because I chose not to share it with anyone. It stayed in my head.
Example: I cut hair today again for someone else after I went in to work. I also had my hair cut by the same person. The conversation and friendship was a highlight of my day. It would have been a lost moment had I not shared it here and had the other person not shared it with anyone else.
Another example is that today I made potato chips out of lefsa, which tasted like pringles unsalted. That was fun. I really enjoyed it.
And finally, my thoughts on today's blogging: This blog entry is for curiosity sake, me exploring thoughts, and thinking about me thinking about thoughts. And it's about you thinking about me thinking about my thoughts. And it's about you thinking about me thinking about your thoughts thinking about me thinking about my thoughts. Regardless of whether it's interesting to anyone but me, I find human thought interesting. I find my thoughts interesting and strange some times. Now you know.