All Tabs No Tabs
I have a ton of internet tabs open. The most tabs. It’s just the way I operate now.
On another older browser, I had hundreds of internet bookmarks, all sorted into folders. Sometimes I return to them. Some websites are missing now.
I’ve run out of bookshelf space. It’s gross. I’d like to burn the books.
A few months ago, at a coffee shop, I sat outside in the sun, surrounded by others drinking coffee. I overheard a conversation between an older businessman and a fresh intern, or new hire, or something. The older businessman began giving him advice, telling him how the industry ran and what to expect for his job. And the new hire took out a notebook and started writing it down.
“No!” the businessman said, “if you don’t get it here,” while patting his stomach, “then you don’t get it at all.”
I sympathize with the new hire. I also understand the businessman, and I want to understand the gap between them, reflecting from my own experience.
For the longest time, I would have been in the businessman’s shoes, trusting that knowledge will seep its way into some form of intuition. It is, I imagine, similar to experiencing a culture of oral transmission, where texts aren’t fixed into journals, but ephemerally imprinted into the memories of listeners. It opens the way for a hermeneutic of trust.
But, the position of the new hire is closer to my own experience now, placing a statement into a text. I can return to this text and question it, broadening its terms or striking it down. Maybe it’s a cynical approach, because I cannot trust the statements of the person across from me; but I also cannot trust my body to hold its knowledge so precisely.
It’s hard to learn to speak from the gut again. It requires that what I say is no longer scrutinized as true or untrue, that I give up the methodological rigor in something as mundane as a dinner table conversation, that I can trust the people around me to be forgiving if I mess up, and charitable if I say something that’s outside of their beliefs. And it requires the same for myself—that I can forgive myself if I am do not have complete knowledge of something, that I can believe from my gut that I might not be able to conceptualize, that I can relax and just be, knowing that, with the support of those around me, who I am is enough. It rebuilds the hermeneutic of trust. Or just trust.
So, even if that businessman’s statements deserve attention and scrutiny (for he really just regurgitated nonsense as if it were gospel), I close the tabs and close the books for now, knowing that his statements are as thin as fog anyways. And I know that a memory enacted through my body is my own, so that no tabs nor bookmarks nor books nor texts are required to contest something that never rang true in the first place.