While we are the most rational of the creatures we know about, we are still mostly emotional. We act based on our prejudices, and weave the logic around them. If someone connects with our pain, or history, or promises us security in a shaky world, we could die for them.
I have been thinking about this in terms of my personal gifts and flaws, the state of the world especially the US, and civilization. I have been wondering why I write. Even this question may be based on a faulty premise, for why does one not feel a need to explain why they walk, cook, kiss, live in houses?
Why do I write, why do I sing? Why do I like to make things, and compete, and to make my dreams come true? Why do I do certain things? Why do I keep coming back to similar spaces? For many tasks we consider mundane it is enough to say that we do them because they need to be done. Or we do them because it is part of living. But other “high” arts tend to be deconstructed, or viewed as virtues, or with intrigue.
If writing is a high art, is not the art of making a meal, and even how that meal is eaten? Who made egusi soup and why do they not get credit or featured in magazines? Why was it okay for them to simply add to the moving train of humanity without a face to them? What makes one thing deeper and higher than the other?
We read articles extolling the virtue of entrepreneurs but the ones who truly love to create, do it for the love of it. Does Elon Musk aim to be a saviour or does he just seem driven in ways that showed up way too early for him to take credit for? Sure they may make sacrifices, but they also get intense fulfillment from pushing. And it’s a type of craziness too, considering that life is short – to choose a path of risk, sometimes at the cost to your health and relationships, when you can just live a tried path in peace.
My hypothesis is that these things are visceral. I really don’t know why I write. Maybe it is obvious to a detached onlooker but I really don’t know. I can tell you how I experience it though and where it takes me but I’ve never been able to get to the why in a way I can be completely sure of.
In a way, all the things I like to do are a benign obsession. I must write. I must sing. I must stay longer than the average person in a hot shower if I can get away with it. I must think. Of course I can get better and I can turn the knife into a tool and not a self destructive weapon. But how did I get that knife? In this sense we are all wielders of knives. Our personal development, the expectations of our culture will determine what gets refined out of all the gifts in our lives, and what is even considered a gift.
I guess I am curious about the DNA of our selves and how it haunts and gifts us in ways we do not completely understand. Not to then approach our genetics with fatalism or to discount hardwork or intention. The question I am more interested in is whether we really need to know why we do what we do. And to question that assumption that there is a why, and that logic is the way to find the why. And to question the virtue or highness of the art we make, which I also think takes away the burden from it and allows it be.
The dancer keeps dancing. The astronomer keeps gazing at the stars. The fighter keeps fighting. The visionary keeps dreaming. Little lives with very tiny imports. Over millennia these little efforts move us forward, backward, forward,forward, backward. After adding the progress and missteps and divergence we may have moved forward a bit. And we keep going.I wrote a journal to support you (and myself) in courageously sharing our gifts. Consider getting it by clicking here. I hope you will find it valuable.