Sunday, January 2, 2011
Can I tell you a secret? There are two things I could tell you about myself. The first is just a single fact, but it is unforgettable. When you hear it, an aspect of my life will instantly become clear to you; I will seem to jump into sharper focus. It is like the lightning flash that gives an incandescent glimpse, and whenever you recall it, I will stand before you vividly. The other secret is much more important but also more elusive. It is harder to explain and harder to understand. As you listen to it (it will take a while to tell), you will feel simultaneously that you are understanding more and becoming more confused, drawing closer to a central truth even as it slips away. Soon after you hear it, or as you are hearing it, you will begin to forget it. The experience of having been told will endure, while the substance of what was told will evaporate. It will be in every respect the opposite of the first secret: essential but unmemorable. Like fog, it surrounds, envelops, clings to, and leaves. Which secret do you want to hear?
Tell me both, or neither.