Thursday, January 3, 2008

On Striving, Philosophy, and Myself

So last night I was witness to something amazing. I don't know exactly how one would describe it, maybe a … personal awakening? Regardless, it was completely empowering. It made me feel as if I wasn't completely insane. I felt justified. Even if I had nothing to do with it, really, I felt justified. I want to see more of those. I want to make them happen, like lighting off fireworks or folding paper cranes. Just create them by my existence. That would be very rewarding.

And then it was brought to my attention today that my personal philosophy is lacking. Lacking what? Mostly a name and structure and concrete themes. I have one, of course. And it's actually extremely sophisticated and well-developed. But it's all in my head, and it's an amorphous mass determined in no small part by the whims of the moment. I've allowed my emotions to override my better sense before, and that's from a lack of structure.

So I'm tempted to formalize my philosophy into something more concrete. It wouldn't be a book, per se, but a kind of treatise paper. I don't think I would ever publish it formally, either. Mostly because it will be a doctrine of insanity and paradox, fueled by a very interesting stance on the world. Also, I would NEVER presume that it would be a finalized doctrine. I am in a constant state of flux, and as my understanding grows I regularly change my mind on even very simple topics. So formalizing a published document would kind of back me into a corner in the eyes of most people who don't accept chaning your mind as a matter of enlightened living.

So I might hash something out, and I might even make it available to people who are curious. But I'm not going to expound upon it as the new philosophy for our generation. If it continued to hold true when I'm older, I'll unleash a refined version of it upon the world. Until then, it's not really something that I feel is suited to unleashing.

The main reason I do it is because of my writing. A good part of the reason I write is the ability to touch people. Fiction inherently gets under people's barries by presenting fictionalized situations and sympathetic characters and whatnot. Once it's there, under people's barriers, the theme becomes all important. You can write a book to entertain, and that's a noble enough pursuit, but books can also contain within them deepseated convictions and truths that you wish to impart to the reader. That is what I do. That is what I aspire to.

The problem is, without a structured philosophy, what I instill is largely devoid of conscious control. Which is why I've always struggled to know what I believe about almost anything. Even when it's wrong, I need to have an opinion. Without some viewpoint, something other than ambivalence, how can I effectively put forward any philosophy or viewpoint as inherently my own and worth knowing through my works. Knowing myself allows my themes to happen naturally as an extension of what I believe.

Let's just examine the main themes of my first three novels:
Margot: The death and corruption of heroic ideals in the face of 'rationality'
MS: The importance of asking 'why do I do what I do' and the power of creativity
WTC: The necessity to choose true life over the alternative options.

And both Margot and WTC contain within them the belief that reality is what we make of it, no more and no less.

These are all themes that are greatly personal, and very much in line with my philosophies. Without slowly gaining an understanding of my philosophies, I would not be able to develop these themes, I would not be able to properly instill them in my works. In the end, they would be hollow entertainment. And like I said, that's a noble enough pursuit, but I would never settle for it. I write to inspire and teach and provoke thought, entertainment is just the vehicle for those goals.

So maybe I will work on my philosophy. Its something to do. And putting my thoughts into words usually helps me with all that I do. In the end, it might be best for me to draft something up. So that when I need to, I can refer to it. So that I have a baseline on which to operate. So I have a structure with which all new things can assail and hope to topple.

Because the best part of creating a structured philosophy will be the pleasure I have in making it fall apart with some eventual revelation. Death to dogma. Death to stagnation. Death to death. Embracing the capacity to change is the true gift of humanity. Or at least, so I believe.

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