Friday, August 30, 2013

The Immortal Conversation, Part three of ∞ #hashtag

This is part three of an ongoing series. To see the beginning, you can visit Part One: Intro/God or Part Two: Love.


What is truth? I thought I might begin by talking a little bit about Stormtroopers. Now, some of the readers might think that, like Nodding herself, I have violated Godwin's Law. No, history fans, we are not talking about the SA. We are talking about Stormtroopers, the faceless, countless enemies from Star Wars. What do Star Wars characters have to do with the truth? In Adam Savage's WIRED article he writes about dressing up in costumes at Comic-Con. He writes, "One of my main jobs as a communicator is to be honest about who I am. I must wear the costume, because that enjoyment is a distinct part of me. Wearing that costume and jumping off a roof let me be the action-movie hero I always wanted to be - if only for an afternoon" (Footnote). I admit that writing about truth had stumped me, but Adam's article got me thinking about one aspect of truth. Who are we, really?

In "Brain Rules" John Medina writes, "The surface of your skin, for example - all 9 pounds of it - literally is deceased... It is accurate to say that nearly every inch of your outer physical presentation to the world is dead" (p. 52). So, our skin is gone. It just lingers. It is the same way about the past. Every action we have taken, every memory of us, is in the past. It is dead, but not gone, just like the flakes of skin that cover us. That brings us back to the costumes that Adam wrote about. Our past represents who we were. The costumes that we choose to wear tell us who we want to be. In that way, the costume is a better indicator of who we really are. The costume represents our aspirations and our goals and ignores the failures and weaknesses that mar our past.

So if you want to really know who someone is you have a couple options. Don't look her in the face, look her in eyes. The skin is dead; the eyes are one of the few parts that are still alive. The second is to ignore the past. Treat everyday like a new day. People have the opportunity to learn from past, so there is no need to freeze people into the past version of themselves. Finally, remember the costumes. We ought to remember who we want to be and help others lead the lives they want to live. Next week, I am going to dress-up like a teacher. When I put it on next week, it will just be a costume. However, I hope to turn it into a uniform.

(Footnote) The quotation is from Adam Savage's article "Clothes make the fan: costumes turn Comic-Con into a performance" in July's WIRED (21,7) pages 45-49. I have been unable to find a digital copy of the article, otherwise I would link it.

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