The Particular Finest

Presented by aurynn shaw

That Tangled Sense of Loss

I’m still in the midst of my Change of Scenery. It’s improving well; DAVDroid offers a FLOSS 2-way sync client for Android. It’s been working great; contacts and calendar are syncing correctly, and it’s great.

Still missing is an client. I’ve been talking about needing that client a lot, but only recently started to figure out why.

That Aching Feeling

I like to draw; I’m not bad at it, and end up sketching in my notebook every now and then. It’s fun, and I’ve learned to enjoy the skills I have without the internal dissatisfaction of imperfection.

When I’m programming, I need to undo mistakes constantly. CMD-Z is easy to hit and offending text vanishes as quickly as it was created. When drawing, I’ll often use my Wacom tablet. Lines that offend me vanish to undo, without ugly eraser marks or half-removed smudges; only a pure, empty page.

I have to CMD+Z to undo” doesn’t even cross my mind; merely the desire to undo. The action itself is unconscious, flexing a mental muscle.

Pencil on paper has no such facility, but it doesn’t stop me from trying; the Wacom has trained me to expect the capability. My mental muscle flexes, and is followed by a deep sense of loss. Missing undo in the analog space is like missing a limb, missing being able to jump.

It aches.

The Social Connection and Twitter are similar; public channels into which we push small thoughts and share what we see, where a sliver of what we think can be quickly and seamlessly spread across the world.

It’s also the channel from which we consume those thoughts from others, see the things they see and consider the ideas they consider. I’m invited to join their passions and anger, feel their joy and mourn their sorrows. I see thoughts forming, discussions brewing between different aspects of my communal mind.

The Communal Mind

My mind is the only way I can describe these spaces. The feed I consume is carefully curated; only voices I wish to hear are present, and only ideas I wish to consider reach me.

More than just a list of other peoples’ ephemera, it’s an expression of how I see myself, the ideas and philosophies I hold dear. It’s voices that challenge me to grow more and ask better questions of myself, give nuance to my own intellect.

More than merely aurynn, I am a part of a contemplative body that I contribute to and contributes to me. It is always a part of me, for I carry it in my pocket, receiving notifications when the broader I is thinking.

I unlock my phone and an idea flows from me into my broader mind for analysis and consideration. The very act of introspection becomes an expression to a broader audience.

I don’t think about what I’m sharing, or that I’m sharing. It’s a mental muscle to employ my broader mind, asking questions of and experiencing a greater nuance of my own thought.

Loss and Abandonment

In my changed scenery, that metamind is no longer there. Similarly to trying to undo on paper, I ache deeply when I want my mind to see what I see, to introspect or grow alongside my thoughts.

I cannot stand in a checkout queue and listen to the quiet babble of consciousness; I am cut off and isolated. I cannot flare in my outrage if I am harassed on the street.

The person I am when I am connected is gone, and I cannot be her.

It feels small, constrained, and lonely.

Toxic Minds

Not all voices in the mind are equal. Some are senseless babble; a growing proportion tries to be spam and other broadcast-only information, worthless to the needs of everyone.

As my mind drifts further towards feminist thought, the amount of vitriol increases as well. People exist solely to be sources of hatred and anger; not challenging my ideas to make me think, but to make me angry, screaming their rage at feminist ideas without end.

Feminism itself shows me the darkness of our culture; my mind shows me things of concern1 and I test the idea by speaking it in my own words, contempt at my ideas flashing from my broader mind.


The closer I’ve gotten to understanding this interpretation of my own experience, the more repulsive social media and diabolical my ache has become. I love that I have this mind, love that I sense myself as part of a larger entity. I adore the sense of growth and challenge that fills me as I converse with these aspects, exploring the world around us.

But the mind is not friendly; in its best I can trust it implicitly. In its worst I must take weeks away to recover, my trust broken and my sense of self shaken by unfathomable hostility, a dissonance of mind rejecting mind.

My subjective self I can reason with, interpret, and reprogram. My mind offers no such control, as my mind is only other people, as resistant and accepting of logic and sense as any individual on the street.

The duality becomes toxic and hurtful; all I can do is pull away, caught in desire to participate and anguish at doing so.

You Can Never Go Back

Awareness has a way of changing everything. Awareness of feminism makes it extremely difficult to enjoy media culture. Awareness of colour profiling means I can never use two differently calibrated monitors without a world of frustration.

Awareness of my nascent group mind of social media means I no longer interact in the same way. Is it now my own echo chamber? Perhaps an endless font of challenge, frustration and dissoance?

Or merely a place and a time and a person I once was, that can never be again.

  1. how society portrays women, for instance