Reflexive revision

How we integrate our memories of our past – so surely retold in the present – into our overall sense, idea, notion, concept or whatever of who we are may suffer from modifications of perspective. In other words, thoughts and emotions that we believe we held in the past may be adulterated by their evaluation with contemporary thoughts and emotions. We dislike to admit who we were or how it was if who we were and how it was is not who we wish to have been or how we wish to be.

Such instances can be found in the many awkward, embarrassing or shameful moments of youth into adulthood. Semantic juggling and feats of perspective will be performed. For example, a young man in a foreign country – simply thrown into the world, resplendent in youth and without a care – is drawn into a perpetual nightlife of booze, parties and exotic women. He falls in love, irrationally and wildly, with a cherub-faced and killer-eyed Thai. Of course, it could have been less the perfume of her and more the ecstatic haze of cloudy drinks, smoky bars and dusty rooms – the real intoxication of something so completely new and strange. But, then, that is the present rebuking the past; because the present believes the past was a fool.

Because the present would like to rationalize the irrational. It would like to explain away the perceived foolishness of the past for present lives on in the eternal afterlife of the past. Oh! It was not really love; rather it was  lust. I confused what the body and impulse and emotion wanted for something deeper (but does love always need to be deep?). I only foolishly thought I was feeling this but really it was that

Yet, if I named it love while in the midst of the experience, which the memory serves, then how can I revise it as something different without abandoning its authenticity?

If I lived it as love at the time then I must remember it as such. Likewise, I must attach and accept any and all embarrassment or shame it deserves. I may not wish to apply the name of love, but I must in order to be honest to my past. So it is a love I must accept as mine, although it was not and is not the ideal.

Thus, I admit that it was love, as foolish as it seems now and as quickly as it came and went. One lusts for a body, or individual; but if that individual starts to embody or is conflated with an idea, then with that idea one may fall in love. And once that individual becomes an icon for a wider concept, then they are inextricably bound together. So that the love for the woman signifies the love of an idea.

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