The other day I was sat in a lecture about Virginia Woolf and 'different selfs', the many different versions of yourself that exist in your mind and therefore your everyday life.
This got me thinking about very true that is. There is the version of myself in lectures, with my friends, with my family and the version that I have to present when in a more professional setting. They all exist in one mind and were all formulated to deal with society in some way or another.
It also led me to thinking how everyone else was the same in that respect. They all have a version of themselves that they present at certain times. I started wondering how people interacted differently with me, and what it is about me that makes them act that way. All of this was running through my head, while also trying to take notes and remain somewhat engaged in the lecture I was sitting in.
Then the whole point of Modernist literature (the module I'm taking) made sense. Admittedly it probably should not have taken until week 5 to figure it all out, but still, better late than never right?
The whole point of the movement is to try and understand in some way how the human mind works in all its processes. It is part of the reason that the reading of text after text in this style just feels like you're reading a whole lot of nothing happening, because in a sense nothing is. Not a whole lot actually goes on when you think about it. Most of a normal person's life is taken up with doing nothing externally but thinking a whole lot of different thoughts simultaneously internally.
This kind of epiphany probably would have been quite useful a few weeks earlier when I was writing a practice essay about 'nothing happening' with Modernist literature, but in fairness it's hard to really have a grasp on the whole thing after only reading/struggling through two texts. (Or that's what I'm telling myself anyway!)
This whole thing does however make it easier to see why most of the characters in all the texts I'm reading are so unlikable. When you know how a person's inner mind works, contrasted directly with the way they are acting externally, it's hard to like a person. It's why at times I find easy to dislike myself, because I know what I'm thinking is horrible and yet it is that thought that I want to vocalise. I don't though because I also at the same time know it's wrong to be that opinionated. (this whole modernist concept does get confusing really fast, that much is certain)
I just find it interesting how we are all just conditioned to know that. You can think 'bitch' as long as you don't say it to their face, because that's not okay unless you want to start a fight of some sort or gain a 'reputation'. You can pout and whine and act like a five year old behind closed doors as long as you act professional where it matters.
I came to the conclusion as the lecture came to a close the if telepathy were real it would be a horrible skill to have, because no matter what version of yourself you're presenting externally, the numerous thoughts, positive or negative, you're having would give your facade away immediately.
So I finally understand modernist literature and why it feels like nothing happens. Because in comparison to other literature that proceeds and succeeds it, nothing really does. Woolf and other modernists were far more focused on the journey than the destination, and once you get pass that it is far easier to appreciate the work (although it doesn't necessarily make it any easier to get through sometimes). And to learn to take it in on one level, while simultaneously questioning why you are reading it, in a true modernist-esque fashion