30 May 2011

outsmart yourself

How exactly can one outsmart oneself? Can it be done?
I pondered this during adult swim today at the pool. You see, I'm reading a book for AP lit summer reading - God forbid there's a summer without work - called The Road by Cormac McCarthy and I was worried it was going to be dreadful because the English department at our school is notoriously talented for choosing horrible books to read. Au contraire, mes amis, c'est vachement mieux que j'avais pensé. It's about the world after an apocalypse, and the only people left are this boy and his father who go unnamed. It's very dramatic and sad, so I can only read it during the day (it makes me sad at night). There was one line from it that I thought really stood out (maybe because my eyes are on ultra duty because we have to find 10 quotes and write them down, explain them, blah blah blah, then say how they relate to our lives [?] - why just read a book when you can annotate rhetoric and literary strategies and analyze quotes! Oh the joy literature brings! It's actually kind of fun. Especially when you have those little revelations and you sit there like "woah! I get it!" and everyone around you gives you dirty glares..
Anyway. The Road. When I first started I was like "oh no, a father-son book about a road. The road, in fact. Probably going to be lame." It's a good book though, even though I probably never would have picked it up in my life if I had not been forced to read it. But here is the quote from the book that I found interesting:
You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.A good chiasmus can send shivers down one's spine (and in the case of AP students, probably a spine ruined by scoliosis from hunching over a computer screen finishing work until the wee hours). It's ironic. We forget things we want to remember, like the sweet innocence of childhood and the memories of summer camps, vacations, and school. We have collective, miscellaneous remnants of memories, but no definitive "hey, remember that?" moments. My dad just said that he feels like the last ten years have blended together and they have gone by so fast.
Yet we remember things we often want to forget, like when we moved here. It was the most emotional and difficult day of my life when we left our house, our best friends, our home, and all of our family, to move to a place I had never been to in my life. While I would rather forget that horrible day, I can recall every detail of it, as if it had happened last week or yesterday. It's permanently etched into my brain.

But the mind can outsmart itself, if the user knows how to do it. Try to train your mind to remember the things you want to remember - make important things that much more memorable, and remember that everything is a once in a lifetime chance to do anything. And try to forget the bad things in the past, the present, and the impending future - if we learn to move on, we will know that we have become better people.

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