Monday, 11 July 2011

Alt-Ctrl-Del

Can a person be reimagined? Rebooted? I see it happen a lot with Hollywood movies; someone takes an existing concept, or a character, or a story, or all three, and changes it, reconfigures it, re-models, re-shapes and updates it in line with contemporary culture. Sometimes this is done well, although most times it is not.

A remake, if done with care and skill, doesn't need to try to eclipse or overshadow the original or erase it out of existence, although retroactive continuity is commonplace. A quality reimagining should respect the first version as the archetype while endeavouring to carve out its own niche and acceptance as an alternative version more suited to changing times. It should draw upon and harness the essence and spirit of the first incarnation whilst taking the narrative in new and previously unimagined directions. Ideally, it should spring from a far larger amalgam of knowledge, experience and skill than existed at its progenitor's creation.

Can a person do this to themselves? Should I try it? Am I already doing it now?

I'm not talking about forgetting, or pretending or role-playing. I don't want to drink from the river Lethe (the River of Forgetfulness, in Greek mythology). I don't wish to convince myself that the past was illusory or did not exist but I wonder if it would be easier if my present reality was a little less hardwired into the main branch line of my time-continuum, if I could look back at the past with greater detachment almost as if it happened to my twin.

If I were able to reset myself, to do a fresh reboot, I could view and feel the tangible and intangible losses sustained in my present reality through somewhat anaesthetised eyes and heart. I could interpret what I experience during my more contemplative periods is merely an empathy for an identity that, whilst inextricably and intimately related to my-self, nevertheless is ultimately a separate, although closely intertwined, person.

Usually, empathy for another is, although powerful, an emotion that is of less intensity than inward, personally focused, sorrow, regret, anger or grief. Those stronger emotions would thereby be wrapped up in that first incarnation and, like changing characters midway through a computer game or changing horses mid-race, ideally I could dismiss those thoughts and feelings as being the property – baggage – of another person, not the me existing now.

We all live our lives through, in and from the six or eight inches between our ears. It is the true home of each of us. I think I might renovate mine.

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