Hypocritical Bastards (or, What is Written ~ 2011)
It must seem pretty narcissistic reposting stuff you already posted but I just started reading this then realised I was somewhat doing what I had previously written about. I liked reading this piece again. It actually made some sense. So if you’re actually keen to troll through 1000-odd words then happy days to all.
It’s actually not too bad. Although I do say so myself
“It’s not too bad” ~ Me.
It can be fun reading stuff that you’ve written. I guess in the same way that it can be fun to look at a good piece of welding, a chamber orchestra classical piece you composed on the weekend or old drawings and paintings you drew/painted when you were a wee tiddler. It’s not really meant to be some (conscious) narcissistic fetish in your own work as much as pride in its visual presence; the existence of this child.
Yet despite how much of that ever-valued ‘self’ I feel the nursed prose embodies (to exercise a romantic standpoint) or even how it most literally exists as an excretion of individual thought from mind to physical form, form to function (to exercise a very logical standpoint), it ultimately becomes an ‘other’ and feels as such. An estranged objected, a wild thing, a bastard child.
However what is maintained, surely, is the story of an individual’s private struggle to express an existence. Whatever meanings the words or expressive form procure, whatever the ‘literary quality’ of these scribbles, it will always carry self-value; it is valuable. It is an epitaph, a posthumous scripture. It is all that is left of a self, and thus being, which can only ever exist temporally. We are constantly dying, being reborn, reliving memories through an endless reincarnation as we grasp wildly for the next signifier to sustain our momentary existence; a never-ending chain of signification. Our every expression is therefore another story of our struggles, and they can only ever be stories; fictions.
All that is maintained is the basic instinct that these negotiations are necessary for survival and need to be made, even if this ultimately means we achieve the most basic of sanities necessary for individual social prevalence.
It follows then that our every social expression and animation, the Avatars we construct and maintain on a daily basis are products of the ‘I’ as we understand ourselves to be, as much as ‘I’ is the chosen actions, morals, staunch viewpoints, the friends I keep, the clothes I wear; our social negotiations.
But let us consider which is ‘I’ and which is ‘It’?
Where do we end as an existential Being and where do these expressions whose function, one would assume, is to validate our Being on the social playground, begin?
To agree with this conceptualisation of the producer and the produced is to believe that there exists a subject/object dichotomy – a struggle to express our ‘Truth’ of being in a world which exists only in language. But we should also be prepared to consider the consequences should we agree that this dichotomy does not exist at all: that we can never ‘know ourselves’ other than a social bricolage – a purely intertextual being; there is no subject, nor object. Or, rather, they are one and the same; one is brought into existence by the other, and, as such, they express a mutual reliance. There can be no spoon only if there is no mind, and both bend in tandem.
So to return to more deliberate modes of individual expression –from written form to sculpture, conversation to emotion, fashion to body modification – we can reconsider the relationship between ourselves as Authors of a socially meaningful self via both the objects we create and our individual navigations of social spaces – the proficiency of our survival mechanisms. Detach yourself from naturalised, logocentric thought patterns, the myths which follow ‘logically’ that our artistic expressions reflect our True Selves as existential beings; that they are extensions of that being presented for the social sphere: ego to superego.
Here the “artistic” becomes any action or form whose meaning (or desire) is to validate not just a spatial but social occupation in a world realised only through language forms.
Consider that there is no Author; no locus.
There is no definitive Self, Me, I – no concrete or fixed Being.
For the entire conceptualisation of Being (both as a corporeal being as well as a social being) by the most basic rationale exists only in the mind. “Existence” and thus our entire homo-sapien ontology exists only as a mutually agreed metanarrative. And what is the mind but a matrix of narratives and metanarratives, a coagulation of fictions which establish a Reality? Reductive, yet, nevertheless, to the point. But do not confuse this proposition with nihilism – there is always meaning, and meaning is always meaningful.Indeed the goal of these musings is not to negate the existence of self or being, but to evoke consideration towards how we can define and locate this thing upon which our entire lived experience depends.
Our every action and reaction is meaning itself. Everything we bring to this world as a species, as races, cultures, communities, families, individuals; they are all meanings. And ironically they are the very meanings we seek as desiring beings as we continue to seek what was lost as animals which entered into language.
Why are we here?
We are here because we ask the question.
We have created for ourselves something infinitely inspiring. We have created existence, a most indescribable and ambitious thing: indescribable, as language dissipates into a weightless void losing all its gravity as words beget only more words (the ultimate paradox, and indeed irony); ambitious because we do and will continually endeavour.
Language and meaning are infinite in their possibility yet, as creatures which rely entirely upon systems of meaning which function as the artists brush but also the limits of the canvas, we are often reluctant to accept the unknown. Socrates gave himself to this void as he boasted that the one thing he knew for certain was that he knew nothing. If it is our wish to follow such a path – our desire to pursue any form of enlightenment or philosophical wisdom – we too must fall without net or rope, without simulation or avatar. To seek rather than stagnate we need to consciously construct and assume a conceptual transcendental standpoint, one which itself only exists in language – indulge in this paradox.
Continually press the extents and limits of your conceptualisations and you will find yourself more and more having to pay lip-service to our Realities as we know them, your social and self-awareness trained to realise the effects of their fictions.
And the good thing about being self-reflexive is that it becomes an exercise in prevention from becoming (however ultimately unavoidable) a down-right hypocritical bastard.