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An Eternal Sunshine (1 Viewer)

moonty

Senior Member
Thoughts, comments, suggestions, criticism, etc. all very highly appreciated. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Thanks once again, fine readers!

--

An Eternal Sunshine

"Sand is overrated -- it's just tiny little rocks."
Joel Barish,
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Sand, by definition, is "small loose grains of worn or disintegrated rock." When these grains are amalgamated into a whole, one grain is indistinguishable from another, effectively creating a whole. These grains form mounds, these mounds form hills, these hills form dunes, and an individual grain of sand is no longer visible, the whole is the only reality.

Our lives consist largely of disjointed memories -- photographs, if you will. Each photograph, depending on the vividness of the memory, is either easily recognizable or a mere haze. The more vivid the memory, the more our senses are involved in the recollection of such. Smells, sights, sounds, emotional responses -- they all mold together to form a collage that exists only in the mind. More than just magnitudes of positive and the negative, this collage is stored deep in the subconcious.

Memory is the single most controlling factor in the creation of a human being, from nightmares as a toddler, to teenage love, to the irrevocable effects of old age. Assuming that we live only one life, the collage of our memories is only complete at one point in our life: death. The ultimate irony is that once our painting of life is finally complete -- once we are a complete human being, we are no longer able to perceive any of its effects, be they positive or negative.

However, if we do live multiple lives, perhaps in the sense of reincarnation, are these collages simply erased, the slate of a mind that is our lives wiped clean? Or, perhaps, do our memories remain, deeply lodged within our subconcious, exponentially affecting again our lives? In some regards, the idea that, even if reincarnation is more than just a simple possibility, the subconcious holds our past lives may seem slightly preposterous.

There is obviously more than our concious at work in creating who we are. Our thoughts, our memories, our imperfections, our silly little quirks -- they all play a role in creating a human being. To deny our memories, to not accept them, to not learn from what they teach is to simply accept a reality in which we do nothing but live from day to day, a stagnating, rotting mind inside an imperfect body.

"How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd..."
Alexander Pope,
Eloisa to Abelard

Matthew Montgomery
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
it's an interesting piece, moonty... and quite well-written... but you haven't connected the opening premise [sand] to the body of the essay, imo... nor finished with any reference to why it's even there...

the result to the reader [this one, at any rate] is that the opening sand reference is left hanging and i'm left going, 'Huh?' at the end...

imo, it would be more satisfying and a true essay, if you connect your ideas about sand to the concept of memories in the mind... which may be what you had in mind at the outset, but just forgot to do?

also, this bothered me:

"To deny our memories, to not accept them, to not learn from what they teach is to simply accept a reality in which we do nothing but live from day to day, a stagnating, rotting mind inside an imperfect body."

the last part [after 'day to day'] doesn't agree in number with 'we'... and it's so harsh, compared to the tone of the rest of the piece, that it almost sounds like another writer took over at that point... i also can't see why just not referencing one's memories should be considered 'rotting and stagnating' if one is still going forward, 'day by day'...

i sense you have an important point to make, but i think the piece needs a bit of work, if we're to get it...

it's good writing, nonetheless... i'll look forward to seeing more from you...

love and hugs, maia
 

moonty

Senior Member
Maia,

The sand was intended to lead into how memories form the collage of life, but obviously I didn't do enough with that. Being the author, I can definitely see how it would be hard to see that connection -- after all, I already had it in my head when I started writing.

I've revised the ending slightly, and I think it is much less harsh than before. I think most of the harshness came from wanting to hammer in that we must learn from our memories, but I think you're right -- it doesn't really fit with the rest. Here's my first revision:

--

An Eternal Sunshine

"Sand is overrated -- it's just tiny little rocks."
Joel Barish,
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Sand, by definition, is "small loose grains of worn or disintegrated rock." When these grains are amalgamated into a whole, one grain is indistinguishable from another, effectively creating a whole. These grains form mounds, these mounds form hills, these hills form dunes, and an individual grain of sand is no longer visible, the whole is the only reality.

Our lives consist largely of disjointed memories -- photographs, if you will. Like specks of sand, each photograph, depending on the vividness of the memory, is either easily recognizable or a mere haze. The more vivid the memory, the more our senses are involved in the recollection of such. Smells, sights, sounds, emotional responses -- they all mold together to form a collage that exists only in the mind. More than just magnitudes of positive and the negative, this collage -- this dune of sand -- is stored deep in the subconcious.

When examining our life, we are often unable to distinguish a single life changing event. Like sand, the events of our lives flow together, creating our memory. These memories are the single most controlling factor in the creation of a human being, from nightmares as a toddler, to teenage love, to the irrevocable effects of old age. Assuming that we live only one life, the collage of our memories is only complete at one point in our life: death. The ultimate irony is that once our painting of life is finally complete -- once we are a complete human being, we are no longer able to perceive any of its effects, be they positive or negative.

It is akin to the predicament of artists: their work has been completed, their masterpieces created, but recognition and fame comes only years after death. Still, painters paint, sculpters sculpt, and very few of them achieve the widespread recognition they deserve. Perhaps, then, it is not merely the end result that is key, but the journey taken to arrive at such a point. French author Jacques Anatole François Thibault put it beautifully when he said, "If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads."

However, if we do live multiple lives, perhaps in the sense of reincarnation, are these collages simply erased, the slate of a mind that is our lives wiped clean? Or, perhaps, do our memories remain, deeply lodged within our subconcious, exponentially affecting again our lives? In some regards, the idea that, even if reincarnation is more than just a simple possibility, the subconcious holds our past lives may seem slightly preposterous.

There is obviously more than our concious at work in creating who we are. Our thoughts, our memories, our imperfections, our silly little quirks -- they all play a role in creating a human being. As Plato wrote, "The life which is unexamined is not worth living." To deny our memories, to not accept them, to not learn from what they teach is to simply accept a reality in which we do nothing but live from day to day, a stagnating mind inside an imperfect body, and we, like a sand dune in a wind storm, will simply allow our essence of being to float away, our humanity collapsing into nothingness.

"How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd..."
Alexander Pope,
Eloisa to Abelard

Matthew Montgomery
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
definitely better... just one niggling little point, if i may:

'...we, like a sand dune in a wind storm, will simply allow our essence of being to float away...'

sand doesn't 'float' away in a windstorm, it blows away... it could float away if the beach is flooded by storm tides, but i'm afraid your simile doesn't work as is... also, 'allow to' isn't quite right, 'cause what happens to stuff in a wind storm isn't exactly voluntary, is it?... sorry to be such a virgo, but i AM one! ;-)

hugs, maia
 
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