freewriting.

what is the audience? does there have to be an audience? why do we have an audience?

what i mean by audience is an observer. i have yet to find a space in mind where an audience does not exist. there is always the question of how the observer will observe me. i have come to believe that this question is inextricably tied to consciousness, since the self is always observing itself.

but what about the audience who is a separate observer from the self? why is there always an audience? there are times when there isn't of course, an audience, such as when i meditate, or am engrossed in an enjoyable activity. but the audience tends to be present when things slow down, and my mind enters the realm of reflection.

why am i doing this? david goggins, in his autobiography, said that this thought always came up when he was doing something that caused him immense pain (running on broken legs, losing 100+ lbs in 3 months, and so on). there is an experience of watching self being observed. that's probably closer to what i mean by "audience": an awareness of self-awareness. that awareness has a voice, or at least, a judgment. suppose i make choice to read a book. eventually i reach a point where i'm not enjoying the book or am in a bad mood unrelated to the book. why am i reading this book? two contradictory things come into play: should i continue to read this book because i trust myself for picking the right book for me to read or do i stop reading this book because i trust myself that my time is better spent? either option is fine, but i have to be consistent in order to develop trust. if i alternate between these two, my mind recognizes this and a judgment on it is developed. the next time i am conflicted, this judgment comes into play, for no other use than to judge. it doesn't help make a decision, it judges the decision-making. the audience is a judge, who will never change their judgment.

what are the implications of the audience? first, entering a state of meta-awareness is usually a sign that i am not present in the moment. there's something in my past, or in my future-past (the present moment as an imagined memory of my future self), or even my past-future (the present moment as an imagined imagination of my past self, a sort of meta-imagination--this moment is something i envisioned in such and such way when i was a kid) that is consuming my attention. sometimes this is an intentional, expected and useful state of mind, like when i am working through some trauma intellectually (which, for me, is not terrible as a part of a therapy system, but is exhausting when it's the sole form of therapy). other times, it's not, like when i'm pouring myself a glass of water in between phone calls at work, get distracted down a thought chain and experience fight, flight or freeze due to some emotional memory activation. an avoidance of this meta-awareness leads to a hypernormalization of the present moment in order to keep my mind focused on the moment. it's my mind's way of sort of increasing the contrast on its focus so that the background noise is less stimulating or distracting. the background noise is still going to be unresolved and saved for later, but that's what is practical, since i can't always think about it. personally, each level of separation from self can cause me stress, but observing that separation causes ease.

there are also behavioral implications of the audience. i adjust my appearance, cadence, flow, movements and other physical characteristics based on the judgement from the audience. i may try too hard to appease the unappeasable judge. i may try less. purely intellectually driven behavior does not feel good or natural. i am ignoring the body and environment when i rely on the audience, because the audience does not exist in the present. it's not capable of analyzing my body's present emotions and the present environment because it is tracking how i feel or felt those emotions in my future or past.