Self-Consciousness vs. Acting Natural: A Post Postmodern Dillemma

 Then we started to drive up the 101. This was like Italy, and the high cliffs and deep blue ocean and the sun glittering off it and into her eyes made me understand that now after all those years of wanting love, I had it.

“This is incredible.” We both knew what I meant, how the scenery and being adults and alone in love with each other was it. She looked at me with modest eyes, as if warning me to say no more. But I went on.
    “I know it’s silly to talk about how happy you are while you’re happy. They say it lessens it, but what if it didn’t? Who says that self-consciousness undermines an action or state? Like, see those clouds? What if I could just think about how gorgeous they are and then think about thinking about how gorgeous they are, and how that meta-level adds to my happiness, as though I’m outside of myself looking down?”

“You can do whatever you want. But being natural is good too.”

“Yes, being natural…But what is natural? We’re humans, capable of thought, isn’t a certain level of self-awareness good and natural?”

“Yeah, but not when it takes you out of the original.”
“But what if it added to it?”
“Then I guess it’s okay.” And as I pondered this, whether it was sound, she looked straight ahead  and we twisted and turned north until she broke the silence.


By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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