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Michael considered fate at 13:50   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
Late last night - or, rather, early this morning around 3am - someone posted the lyrics of Rod Stewart's Mandolin Wind[1] on the previous post (just below this one). They did so anonymously, leaving me wanting for reasons and identities; I know the when, but who-what-why?

I'd be lying if I didn't admit to being interested in who reads this blog. I'd be lying if I thought there were many who bother, too, but those few who stop by on a daily or weekly basis intrigue me as much, if not more, than I apparently intrigue them. Somewhere in all of this is a sweet and indirect form of communication that was invented by cavemen and it has been going strong for thousands of years - aha, the blog as modern day cave art? Sure, we laugh because in our own time we're required to be funny and sarcastic, witty and light-footed, but its true. To imagine a caveman scraping out a buffalo on stone an eon ago and think of him as a true artist compared to a mere blogger of today (a self-centered, egotistical outlet if there ever was one?) is easy, but is it fair? All of it discounts the fact that there is individuality in everything we do - even the copycat diaries of a million unloved acne-faced teen girls hoping to one day be loved (themselves separately loved from afar by a million unloved acne-faced teen boys creating their own special kind of lonely art in lonely spaces surrounded by lonely things). Or not; maybe it is all the same. Perhaps there is no individuality, and that is in fact exactly why we revere Shakespeare, Kerouac, Springsteen, and B.B. King[2]: they describe the melancholy of the human condition in such a way that we can all feel and identify with it. We do not love them directly for their words, but for their ability to describe those feelings which we, too, have and are feeling. Kindred spirits on the stage acting out our own lives for us: something we can identify with. An anchor of hope, for among others we find similarities and can come together, bands of brothers, seeing that we share things, dreams and fantasies and nightmares too.

Today, it is almost as if we are no longer allowed to identify with anything because you're either a radical or you're making fun of everything around you, and only the radicals want to be radical and only then only some of the time. It is a tight rope we all walk and in order to stay atop it we steel our nerves and harden our emotions, and then snidely remark about the idiots around us (indeed ourselves, as well - self-deprecation being the ultimate form of art here in the 21st century, the human as a completely fallible creature, imperfect amid the shine and glare of plastic computerized robots). And what do we get but shells of people with complex validation routines[3] that define when they are allowed to show themselves and when, mostly, to show their cold hard exterior: plastic, shiny.. happy people.

Who knows the social climate of Dostoevsky's 19th century Russian world, but were he alive today and even able to produce Notes from the Underground, would anybody read it? I suspect not, people instead spending their days whittling away at the factories of Eggers, Coupland, and Robbins[5].. Consuming the vitriol of today's standard.

It is a shame, is all. I feel this way. My emotions tell me so. It seems like a horrible existence to judge everything around us as more chotchky and insincerity. It erodes my own sense of self worth to think of my peers as raving idiots worthy of nothing more than biting commentary and witty comebacks. Am I right or wrong or, with copious logical gymnastics could I convince myself to emote differently? Of course I could. Practice makes perfect after all. But maybe, from this vantage point, I just don't feel like being happy and shiny. Maybe I'm ok with not perfect. And maybe, just maybe, I'm more interested in seeing that in all of us: our beautiful and individual imperfections. That which is plastic comes from a mold and copies can always be made again.

[1] A song I don't recall hearing before but, given my current lack of a working laptop with which to listen to a majority of my music collection, I appreciated for what I was given: only its lyrics, slowing to ponder the words of each line much unlike what the me of a few months ago would have done: never have given such creedance to words alone, if only because there is no replacement for music when music is available.

[2] Granted not everybody enjoys B.B. King or Springsteen but there is enough of the population that reveres them to consider them "popular" and "appreciated" in a widely-arching theme.

[3] As a computer scientist one tends to talk in these technical and unemotional terms, gearing psychology up to be some sort of logic game, ignoring the sheer ambiguity that emotions create. We'd like to believe that decisions are choose-your-own-adventures where each step is simply picking what page to turn to, but it isn't that easy. There is no internal state represented within a choose-your-own-adventure, no sense of self or feelings or emotions. "You are in a small dark room," and you are not given the choice to feel happy or sad - much as you are not given this choice (in so many words[4]) in real life.. despite the very real-to-you existence of your mental world and the duality that it creates with the world around you, the two are only tenuously connected and the rules in each realm are completely different.

[4] Can anyone actually say they control their own moods and emotions - able to become sad when they are happy or happy when they are sad simply because they make a logical choice to do so and, if this person exists are they not, in some way, just a fleshy blood-filled robot?

[5] Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the contemporaries as much as I enjoy the classics. All I mean to say here is that Dostoevsky would not be as famous now, were he alive and productive, than he was then.

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