Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spiritual Mastery and Video Penance


I did a great yet horrible thing the other day, I bought an Elgato video capture device for my computer, and it works like a charm.

Video capture means I can now transfer old VHS tapes to digital, creating mp4's, Quicktime movies, and
DVD's if I wish, and then editing it all in iMovie to my hearts content… great idea, right?! 
No, not great, far from great, actually quite un-great… Why? Because now I have to painstakingly RE-WATCH all that crappy twenty year old video footage I've got lying around. 

At first look back, those old tapes can bring a smile to ones face, seeing past friends and acquaintances, outrageous fashions, rekindles memories of a more magical time in ones life…UNTIL, one watches, and listens to, the comedy cavalcade of soul diminishing ramblings coming in the various forms of acutely painful things blathered away juxtaposed against the multitude of other hair-brained misdeeds performed all those wasted years ago, and by none other than me, OUCH!

When I was really young, my Dad used to film my sisters and I on 8mm silent film. Since we were still very young, we were not yet terribly self-conscious, arrogant, or painfully irritating, and as a result, that footage has aged somewhat better than the dreaded video tape of the 1980's and 90's. Thinking back now, my self-opinion would have fared better had I taken up yodelling, learned to play the zither, while handcrafting my own line of alpine bavarian lederhosen.

An even greater sadness overcame me as I began to realize how, at the time, I was quite convinced how advanced a person I had become compared to any other previous point in my life;  I was probably right too, and that's an even scarier thought.  I believe myself to be a far greater person to the person I had been in those days, but 'greater' is a relative term. Is this not the same delusion I had believed about myself twenty years ago? It stands to reason that the 'future me', let's say the 'ME in twenty years from now', will look back regretfully at this woeful time in my life, enriched with all it's unique, awkward, and gut wrenching pangs of discomfort. 

Looking forward to being a more evolved version of myself means that I'm not all that I wish to be now, and if I'm lucky, the best I can hope for is to feel whole in and around the year 2084.

Maybe what I've done (buying this video editing device), in all my foolishness, is one of the most courageous things any person can ever do, which is to open oneself, and to look back soberly, under the harsh light of truth, at the profoundly anemic soul I once had been. Needing to be liked was so important, and to be ever 'funny', 'witty' and 'interesting'. Sadly though, I now realize what an unbelievably irritating person I had been in those days, and must still be! 

I'm not sure what was going throughout the minds of those who chose to associate with me, and tolerate my nonsense, all those years ago?  What does it say about their character, or lack of it, which reflects so poorly on them for having chosen to share my company? Their self-loathing and self-hate must have been an unspeakable pox.

It takes courage to look truthfully at oneself, but even those perceptions can be obfuscated by denial, time and other constructs of the mind… but videotape… my goodness, now that's the harsh light of truth!

I really had no idea how painful this life review would be… well,  I must have known, because I pretty much stopped videotaping others and myself many many moons ago… oh, and I've often wondered why nothing serious ever amounted between me and some of the women friends I shared company with in those days in question… well, now I know.

Yes, I will still sift through the wreckage of my former self, and attempt to salvage any minuscule video morsels of virtue I may manage to detect, but I know it won't be easy,  this VHS self-flagellation, this video penance.

Dirty CT   March 2012

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