Ander Monson Will Hack You
I re-read Ander Monson’s brilliant “Essay as Hack” today and thought I might share a section for anyone out there who is writing memory-based stories or personal essays.
The brain reconfigures memory, reorders events, resets them among other events to form narrative, causality: it creates sense. The mind tells itself stories about what happens to it. So me saying that I did X because of Y rests on thousands of assumptions about who or what I think I am, how I thought of myself then—transmuted into how I think about myself now.
…Any sort of attempt to sort meaning from the past is fraught in thousands on thousands of ways, exponentially splintering. The more you think about it the more it asymptotically approaches impossibility.
This is not to suggest we shouldn’t attempt it. The attempt is glorious, and attempting rewires the brain. It moves the circuitry around, attaching a new conclusion to an action, reconstructing self. In a way, thinking about the self hacks it.
Tags: ander monson