Sunday, October 17, 2010

Laughter of the gods

I write like
Oscar Wilde
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!
If you want to insult someone, tell them they remind you of someone else.  Tell them they lack the originality of a spider.  Compare them and destroy their original fire.  Prick away their pride and make them but a mere mortal, a replicated gene series that anyone can mix up in a lab.  Take away their identity and turn them back into the lump of clay that they are.  Tell them that they can only repeat the ideas of others and have them hate their own creation.  Breed discontent and confusion and then, finally, you will have killed all hope of any elevation out of their primordial soup.  There are (long pause) no more words to be said.

And if you analyze any section of text, you will get a variety of responses.  I pasted several different entries trying to get an analysis, not accepting or rejecting anything rendered.  The above paragraph came back, stating I write like Dan Brown.  A couple of emails I analyzed had results that ranged from Stephen King, David Foster Wallace to Kurt Vonnegut.  Are we writing what we read at that moment, just repeating the styles and cherry-picking the moments that color our text?

Then again, the artists of this world study strokes of the masters, try to recreate them and spend hours upon hours trying to capture that magic that was once created to recreate it in this era....and then stop.  A sigh.  A palette, a medium, a knife, a chisel, a block of stone...and then....ah damn.  Someone has done it before and they put down the tools and want to scream at the gods that they want to challenge the masters of all time.

But, there is only the remains to compete against.  Look at the lives that created, that we admire and elevate and aspire to be like.  I hear the echoes of laughter because as many of my friends would say, you should never aspire to be them.  Of course not!  We elevated their pain and misery.  Scientists that were locked away or killed for sharing their truth.  Artists who were only allowed to create images that glorified the gods of their ages.  When it came down to artists, their lives of paint and disease...or writings deemed to be absolute insanity.  Art consumes and dines on the drama of mankind.  Does it have to be as such?

We scream to be individuals, or I should say some of us do.  Some of us would scream to be a copy (aren't all of the dead celebrities living in Las Vegas?).  Ah, but what is the real quest?  Is it to be loved, as Henry Miller confessed upon his deathbed, "I just wanted to be loved."  But by whom?  I wondered as I watched the video of his final days.  I thought of it as the oddest thing to say.  Did he want his work to be loved or himself, the man?  Even then, it seemed kind of the most selfish thing to say. 

Please, don't think this post is is a statement of simply saying the machines believe it all has been said and done before.  So many lives have been lived that there is no possibility for innovation.  I would say that yes, we have come a very long way, just think about how many times the wheel has been reinvented.  Clay will continue to be molded, paints mixed, and our mediums will evolve as we create images of all that we see and hear along the way.

The gods may laugh at the renderings of humanity, but it is of no consequence, for words always retain the power of its messenger, to create or to destroy.   There is no one to blame.  We have the technology to use in whatever way we see fit and we do have the power to take the human element out of the equation and that perhaps makes me rage at the machine.  We want to be human and not a preconceived notion where everything is a calculated movement.  That is what technology shows us.  That we are studied renditions that takes away the possibility that we can choose to be something other that some form of genetic predestination. 

Yes, we may be simple creatures that have similar experiences along the way, but they are unique as snowflakes.  Humanity wants that.  We wrestle with that.  The art of simply being and not designed. do have something you would like to add, even if it has been done before, so reinvent.  It may be far superior to the original.

It's just a rant...but I like being ever so 'human'.  


Anonymous said...

To be honest, I wonder how many people really do crave to be an individual. It seems most people are more like sheep, following along, desiring to be designed as everyone else. Maybe it's the artists and the writers and those who want to reinvent the wheel that keep humanity human.

YogaSavy said...

People do want to be different but do not have the conviction that they can change or follow their own path. We seem to be driven by what society wants and says!
No one wants to stand alone and sometimes being different is exactly that!

Marilyn said...

I was just thinking and second guessing myself on this perspective as I have been reading Dale Carnegie's works on positively influencing people...and I felt I may have come off a little harshly. Perhaps.
To Bernadette, I have to agree, many people are indeed afraid of standing apart from the herd. However, one thing I realized is that it is precisely because of rubber-stamping decisions along the way and NOT knowing how to communicate effectively when there really is something to take a stand for...well, it is how we entered this global recession. It is how we get into wars. It is not knowing how to be a voice of diplomacy in a world where computers seem to make and drive our decisions. I think this just sparked a 'rage against the machine' moment for me, when the intention of the program may have been just to have a little speculative fun about comparing writing styles to famous authors. I thought of the scene in "Good Will Hunting' where the entitled Harvard student spoke to Will about how he would be serving his family through a drive thru one day...and he replied, "That may be true, but at least I will have an original thought'.

@YS: Why would we allow ourselves to be driven by society? I think we need to ask that question. Aren't people suppose to drive society to change, to 'think different' as Steve Jobs probed us to do. Perhaps it isn't about standing alone. Perhaps that is just an illusion. Perhaps we are lead to believe we are alone, but no one in the room has the courage to raise their voice, because of the fear of losing.

When you have nothing to lose, perhaps you have everything to gain. It isn't about trying to have a bid for power or for personal gain when you love people along the way.

Ladies, thank you both for your thought provoking words and as always I love your posts along your journeys!

awitchtrying said...

I like this post a lot. It brought up so many things for me to ponder- my favorite thing- anything that makes me think! I heard someone talking at a poetry reading recently about how we all aspire to be like the greats- Hemingway, Whitman, Dickinson... I don't. I don't care who I write like or even if it "makes sense". I figure if people think I'm crazy because of my opinion or the way I see something, I must be on to something new. What greater thing than that? If I can reach just one person, if I can get them to think outside the box of what they've always known, then I will feel I've succeeded as a writer. I don't care about posterity. I want to be loved but for who I am, not for what I do. I don't care if people love what I write, some will and some won't. That's art. But if it touches someone, if it moves someone, if it pisses someone off, if it confuses someone, then I know I've written some truth.
I hope we're all screaming to be individuals because I don't want to know how well someone can copy the masters, I want to know who they are now, what they think, what they care about, what is different.

Marilyn said...

If you would really like to consider how unique and special you are...take a moment and realize that according to geneticists...YOU had only a ONE in 300,000 BILLION chance of being created. There are only 6.8 Billion people on earth. Don't blow the opportunity to just be yourself. There is only you. We have enough copies in the world.

Healing Morning said...

I've always been mystified by this concept of being flattered by being compared to someone else. Please know, I am never churlish in the face of a compliment. People are always sincere when they speak thusly. Inside, I just always wonder, "Why would you WANT to be compared to another? You are so uniquely beautiful that no one can match you or duplicate what you are capable of. Shine brightly on your own!"

Granted, it seems to be an accepted truth that nothing is new under the sun and all thoughts repeat and are reborn, reworked, reiterated. As writers, we like to think we put a unique slant on old, tired concepts. That is what I strive to do, at least! And I do feel strongly that even if my writing may be similar to someone else's style, no one can think the way that I do. Therefore, my writing is my unique signature. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! ;-)


Marilyn said...

Well said Dawn, and I am glad you said it. I think it is time we all respected each perspective and voice as their own. Each description will be layered from a perspective we all need to learn from for really no two views are alike, but all are needed to have a fuller picture. We are blind without each other.