Being and Writing
Being, for me is a very big deal – it is everything. Either I am, or I am not. And having my druthers, I would rather be than not be. I really get worked up about this.
It amazes me that most people feel differently. But even more amazingly, that they are unaware of this preference – which is not too surprising, since if you do not exist, you cannot be aware of much of anything.
But here a strange reversal takes place, which no one seems to have noticed – this state of being nothing feels like its opposite: being everything. Follow me? It’s the oldest and strangest fact in human psychology – for us, opposites are identical. And this gets us into all kinds of trouble.
People in this state, the vast majority of the population, cannot see why anyone would want to be – since to them, this is being nothing – and is subject to the strongest social disapproval.
The key phrase here is social disapproval – a skill contemporary society excels at. Growing up as a child in this society – although I sometimes wonder how much growing up I have done – has left me a badly damaged person. But – and this is very important – I do exist - dammit. I cannot brag about this, because it is a social handicap – but for some reason I have ended up this way – and I have to live with it.
McLuhan – another strange duck – has provided an important insight here. He pointed out that we have extended ourselves into our technologies – most importantly, Television. He did not live to experience the Computer – the double-whammy that finished us off.
It did not have to finish us off – if we had stayed in control of it. But alas, we did not. We quickly started serving it (and being it) with disastrous consequences. This is another one of our human abilities – to merge with our technologies – a huge advantage and (as it turned out) a huge disadvantage.
But I see I have neglected my subject – which is being and writing - and I must get down to work.
Being is mostly a matter of being in the body – not being in the mind. But writing is a mental activity and a emotional (bodily) activity. And here is where an immense confusion ensues. Somehow. words on paper (or a computer screen) have to connect people. But, beginning in the US with its Civil War – and soon beginning everywhere with WWI – the human race went completely crazy. And has never completely recovered.
I sometimes wonder at my obsession with writing (and reading). A very strange obsession that many have wondered at. I suspect it is genetic, something I inherited from my mother’s mother – not someone I would consciously emulate, since she was a driven person. But I was her favorite – something I relished very much (since my mother did not feel this way about me at all).
Now you know the secret of my life – I crave approval.