I'm going through a 200-sheet (the word used on the cover -- what happened to "leaf"?) notebook I've had for three years and tearing out the five leaves that I've written on so that I can actually use the notebook. I meant it as a notebook for high-minded, "philosophical" jottings (opening page: "I only know one thing, my mystical soul is burning to give itself with enthusiasm, faith, and fervor." -Albert Camus, age 20). In the back I found this doozy of an essay from when I first decided to go to college:
The degeneration of man concerns me. As I dwell -- as perhaps one never should for sanity's sake -- on it, imbued with its opposites; that is what I desire more and more.
What the hell does that mean?
We are a society of small and little things. Through innovations of mind and technology, we are turning our rotting society into a world society of small and little things. What ill will we must hold for the rest of the world! Our thoughts are so small, our wills, so small. Greatness...it may be a thing of the past. What has happened to the philosophers? Have they truly returned into solitude, extinguishing the race one by one, leaving the masses to our bickering and worship of falsities?
Well now. Besides being gramatically unfortunate, it's quite bathetic, ain't it?
I believe I see the window closing. Whatever great leaps and thoughts were made by men in the past have disintegrated before the onslaught of popular culture. Oedipus who? Is that the new videogame? The Odyssey what? Is that the new boy band? How can you mention Homer, without mentioning Bart?
Ok, buddy. Lay off the Simpsons. And the cliches. Also, if you're going to use a list for emphasis, don't break up the list...
It is important here not to become confused. Greek tragedies do not concern me, but their being left behind is a sign of greater disease within us. It seems that except for a select few, we have abandoned the search for truth. We are so content piddling about our lives, reaching for stupidity, yearning for unimportance. We seek contentment in shallow masks with no depth. Let us fish for our prizes! We must learn to love knowledge for its emancipatory virtues, that is, emancipation from our man-made world.
Something "shallow" with "no depth"? You don't say!
I'm not advocating a "return to nature". We have a chance to eclipse nature's greatest creation: ourselves! Let's overcome id AND ego. Destroy both I say. Develop a new construct of mind, one which has never existed. Let's rip down the PC-laissez fairse institutions of life, and build new ones of truth!
What is the truth? No one knows. How can we build from it then? By building with it in mind. With enlightenment as our goal. Let's teach children to think for themselves, then they will yearn for truth. Let us truly embrace autonomy in action. We need great men to perpetuate these great ideas.
Where can we find them? In every one of us. Will we accept these ideas and the tasks they present? I don't know. That is what more than concerns me, it frightens as well.
Enough of the self-fisk. It was excess, attempted verbosity. (Attempted -- yikes!) But I do agree with some of it still, where I can think of specifics to fill the abstraction. The beginning is bosh at best. "Where have the philosophers gone"? What are they, some druid race? Silly, silly. The "so content piddling about our lives, reaching for stupidity" etc still strikes me as right, even if harsh. I still think that we need to teach children to think for themselves rather than to think they're always winners. I was trying so hard to be Thoreau, though I'm not sure I had read him at the time. What's sad is that I remember the passion that could drive this writing and I wonder where it went.
Now I remember what it was for. It was my first essay for applying to school, before I settled on community college. They were asking what about the world "concerned" me. Wow. I really was trying to incite something there. Now that I think even more about it, I remember my uncle responding to my call for criticism. He, who's always charitable about interpretations, said, "Do you really believe all that?"
I can only hope I think the same of this blog ten years from now. That was the passion.