I recently had a conversation with a particularly well read individual on Facebook revolving around, well, literature obviously. We were discussing the intentions that writers have in their texts. In the true fashion of the over-informed, the whole conversation was long winded and drawn out as we argued in parallels. We used quotes by the greats and opined based on theories by the clinically insane (hereto, philosophers), such were weapons for our arsenal. On and on the assault went resulting in a massacre consisting of diatribes presented in the form of dissertations about nothing because we held the exact same opinion on the matter.
To simplify it, I will attempt sum it up (self-righteously) using a simple sentence; Writers write what they know. My exact words to him were; “the whole writing thing is actually a masturbatory exercise conducted by self-serving bastards who think that their opinions are sacrosanct because they can rattle off quotes by the likes of Nietzsche with varying degrees of ferocity. Depending on the extent of their social ineptitude, the depth of their knowledge on most subjects is directly quantified by the reclusiveness they own with pride because reading in and of itself supposedly mauled their self-loathing and loneliness for having been unpopular in their formative years. They then go on to become self-appointed social commentators because, on the whole they find it easier to analyse being human than they know how to actually live human lives. They do all this with an unparalleled amount of arrogance!”
I am doing what the statement above suggests, masturbating. I am self completing and intend to fully nut out all the garbage that swims in my mind unsolicited and attempt to simultaneously exorcise that demons that are the imaginary friends whose voices refuse to be silenced.
By the time you finish reading this, you should be able to stand on a podium zealously and rattle off useless details about just how deep my arrogance runs and how it is coupled with the very conscious decision to be selfish with my person. I implore you to stop reading now, because if you are smart enough, you should also know that no one minute in time is like any that has passed before it. Newton has written laws about such. Since the metaphysical is not a field I can opine expertly on, I will close off this long winded introduction by daring to call myself a writer. When you eventually click the top right ‘X’ to close this page, you will realise how little you know because my opinions and convictions would no doubt have changed by the time I click my finger on the final period.
Thato On Humanity;
You know, this God person or whoever it is created everything, and by everything I mean from the smallest atom that occupies any space-time continuum, big bang theory type of origins here. Whoever did it, that is, made us human beings is a jester with a sick sense of humour. I have mental images of this big booming voice sitting up there in front of some boob tube watching. Just watching and laughing at our stupidity, marveling at our arrogance and shaking his head at our refusal to evolve beyond what he gave us to work with. So, it’s all some sick game for him, and if he is unlike us, (well, he must be if he made us, right?) then I don’t suppose he has friends or a clique faffing about him and egging him on in a comrade in arms fashion just so he can laugh with SOMEONE, ANYONE. No, he gave that silly trait to us the mother fucker because along with the differentiating advantage he supposedly gave to humanity (which is actually imagined since there has been extensive evidence on invertebrates that live in societies far more advanced and sophisticated than any group we can put together of the world’s best minds, dead or alive, could ever hope to achieve. People’s exhibit A: Vincent Van Gogh severed his own ear. People’s exhibit B: The concept of Phrenology was used as the basis for Hitler’s The Final Solution and closer to home, the constructs of apartheid and so on and so forth) he supposedly gave man over everything else could be the ability to reason.
Reason is said to be the ability or the capacity for consciously making sense of things by way of applying logic in order to establish and verify facts, change or justify practices, institutions and/or beliefs based on new or existing information.
Take a moment to think around the bit about basing said reason on applied logic, logic being a completely subjective concept of course. So we apply logic that is subjective to our school of thought to establish facts, (remember, it isn’t a fact until it is verified, so revert to the start of the sentence and try again) and verify facts, (so, if facts are subject to constant verification because we are always learning new things, so facts aren’t really facts), to change (change is the only constant, so these ‘facts’ aren’t so because change is…well, constant) or justify (justification is, in my opinion a concept to serve oneself. Anything can and will be accepted so long as it is justified with facts, which we have learned aren’t actually facts because they need constant verification. Slippery slope much?) practices, institutions and/or beliefs based on new or existing information (I personally credit practices, institutions and beliefs for informing varying opinions that have birthed concepts purely aimed at maintaining a separatist society that, with facts, verified or otherwise, have been used to justify and even venerate the marginalisation of the other that is at any given period considered inferior or not human enough or whatever colourful language these sick bastards have used to achieve such ends.)
You can, at your own leisure deconstruct the above text and write your own dissertation regarding our excusing of reasoning capacity to be what sets us apart from dogs, for instance, thereby guaranteeing our superiority on the evolutionary scale as justified as imagined by Darwin and many of his theorists. So, we hail Napoleon whose own self esteem issues around his height had him commit unspeakable atrocities. Then there was Columbus, who might as well have unilaterally lead the genocide battalion that annihilated the Aztecs and Mayans, who by the way are still being studied by anthropologists and historians the world over for their sophisticated societies, incomparable evolution and so on and so forth that was never passed on, no thanks to the Spaniard Christopher, inadvertently leaving us to guessing games and puzzle piecing. Both these ‘great’ men are examples of how reason justified brutality. Don’t even get me on religion (Christians, Muslims and Jews alike) and their long list of offences. I won’t even touch on the colonisation of the savages of darkest Africa, one of which is writing this egged on by a superiority complex informed by reason.
I have deliberately, and will do so throughout the length of this text, endeavour to not quote any famed philosopher/historian/scholar because, this being primarily MY opinion on these concepts, cannot base my arguments on the authority of celebrated forward thinkers that inspired entire generations except for now this bit. If I am to do this in a way that is an unmistakable reflection of my struggle for individuality, then meditating on Friedrich Nietzsche’s words becomes necessary. He said;
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be left lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price us too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself"
You’ve gathered that I do not hail the capacity to reason to be the thing that sets us apart from the other inhabitants of this rock we call home, you ask then what is it? It is quite simply; art, of any form or medium.
Art is found in just about every age or period of existence among human beings dating all the way to what a sizeable majority considers to be the age of reason when societies started documenting their history. Some argue that the Greek or Romans were among the first to invent writing. Historians say that language existed way before writing did, opining that the transfer of complex information, ideas and concepts from one individual to another was the single most advantageous evolutionary adaptation for species preservation. It is said that about as long ago as 25,000-30,000 years BP humans were already painting pictures on cave walls. It is however, unknown whether these pictures were telling a “story” or if they represented a type of “spirit house” or ritual exercise.
To bring it home, the bottom line is that pictures served as the precursor to the idea of writing in lettering and words as we know it today. With this hanging over your head, it could be assumed that art in itself might have initially been a means of communicating rather than what it has become currently, for show, expression, enjoyment and so on and so forth. I put emphasis on ENJOYMENT for a reason. While there other animals (dolphins, certain species of ape etc) that, like human beings, engage in activities like sex for the sheer purpose of recreation and enjoyment. So no, recreation and enjoyment isn’t unique to human beings however the reception of photographs, dancing, writing, sculpting and such has since evolved from being a means of communication to one of personal expression whose output inadvertently becomes enjoyment and/or recreation on the part of the one receiving it.
Whether one chooses to admit it or not, there is something unique and transcendental about things such as having people from different walks of life, informed by different cultures and religions to possess an innate ability to appreciate what has been created as a universal language that cannot be taught because it communicates directly to the heart and soul of man. Think about listening to a song by a foreign artist whose language you haven’t heard and how you can, from the musicality and emotive vocal delivery alone manages to tug at your heartstrings so you understand precisely what the artist is lamenting/appreciating/exalting etc.
It is this untaught ability and it alone that I believe to be the differentiating variable between us and the other animals we share this rock with. Where reason is concerned they have none and because of this thrive into sophisticated communities that function like clockwork, each knowing their contribution to the larger picture without being taught, told, coerced, guilted, tricked, bullied, manipulated or most commonly reasoned with to the point where they play their part unaided because reason has fucked them to the point where they believe they have to. (People’s Exhibit C: Religion – Across various demographics has been used to explain away concepts that were otherwise a mystery and/or unknown by attributing them to a higher power. Imagined or otherwise. By extension, the creation and adoption of this higher power has gone on to dictate how people should live, what they should and shouldn’t eat, who had blue blood and who would be lower caste and inadvertently and quite stalwartly be pushed to the periphery of society. Because they these outcasts were born a certain way that wasn’t generally accepted and therefore couldn’t be explained if surely made sense that this obscure, all loving higher power would make their maltreating and abuse of these untouchables completely acceptable and, in fact, quite justified. People’s Exhibit D: Political rule- no, I won’t even go there, but systems created on the brilliance of reason found the French, British and Portuguese spread out a map of the world so they could, as if cutting a birthday cake, draw lines to share among themselves the lands of the red blooded savages of darkest Africa for themselves.)
So yes, I’m a firm believer that it is art and art alone that makes us unique and somewhat superior to everything else on this rock we are fucking indiscriminately because without it we’d otherwise be savages lacking of culture and an appreciation for beauty that cannot be taught or explained through fancy dissertations and philosophies.
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