It is not easy to let yourself off the leash. Trolls abound, it seems the safer bet to mince your words beyond recognition. But it does not do justice to your sentiment if you are so refined. The process of hashing and rehashing takes something out of your expression which you don’t really know was there, once it is gone. This is the rhythm of life – it shines through in words without conditions and is lost in words finely tuned.
That said, words finely tuned can be pithy and more beautiful than their unrefined counterparts, but something may still be lost in beauty. It is this organic and genuine expression which is often missing in my own words, far too often, and I cannot blame it on anything but fear.
I do not say to you: “let yourself go”. The task of being a writer is as much knowing what not to say as it is knowing what to say. But it is fair that in our fear of saying too much, we either occlude the truth beyond recognition or say nothing at all, and that, for a writer, is a shame far beyond not expressing things beautifully.
To those who struggle with discipline in an artistic field, there is an issue of hearing what you want to hear. When you hear that your work is good, that you should keep it up, that you should concentrate and develop it… There is for you a temptation to throw caution to the wind and leave the rest behind and be that artist you can be, and that alone.
Of course, those who have talent must occasionally get confirmation and often deserve it, but it can also run amok. I don’t speak of the pitfalls of the inflated ego, where one’s hubris outstrips their talents and they believe everything they touch is gold. Rather, I speak of the simple capacity for attending to that which may allow a person to succeed in continuing to produce. The capacity for the discipline to deliberately make commitments and deliberately stick to them – despite the muse.
After writing the posts I have this month, I have realized a great deal of the difficulties I have always faced, but this recognition has yet to change anything for me. I have not made commitments deliberately. I have not deliberately made good on commitments. The indication from others that I must keep writing has only made me succumb to what is easiest and most fulfilling: writing. Under the presumption that someday I shall be “saved” and I will be happy I continued to write.
How can it feel simultaneously that this is a deal with the devil and a matter of following my higher calling?
Truth is, I can’t ignore the muse. I must commit time to both writing and what is practical. It is finding a structure in which both work together that is the most difficult, because the muse refuses to abide by my schedule.
In the basic toolbox of any philosopher is the capacity to check the reasoning in an argument (validate a proof); the capacity to find counterexamples; and a third part which too many ‘thinkers’ lack. I call it “The Philosopher’s Eye” because it is more akin to the artist’s eye than it is to any deliberate peculiarity.
What they see could be seen by others, but it is not seen by others, because others have not fully practiced inference. In this, it is not unlike the person who first learns to draw faces. If you begin to draw faces (in an experiment which will not take more than a week to conduct) you will see faces different. You will note that perhaps you could have seen them that way all along, but that you now see them quite different. The bridge of the nose, the shape of the chin, the angle of the eyes… And if you are old enough, you will notice that what you had seen when you were drawing faces is something you may lose if you stop.
The Philosopher’s Eye could be understood like the scientists, who while studying or looking for a peculiarity, or testing a hypothesis, may literally see things others do not. But while the scientist may see things within their domain, the philosopher has no domain per se, and practiced in inference, applies that inference like the artist, everywhere.
The Philosopher’s Eye is not to be confused with the indoctrinated who cannot see things any differently than what a ‘theory’ or ‘philosophy’ tell them. Like the scientist’s eye, they are informed and on solid ground. But their foundation is on only the most general principles of logic, inference, and psychology – a solid foundation for an open mind. They can see, and quickly, to the deepest conclusions available from the surface by these basic principles. And are thereby able to quickly identify counter-examples and peculiarities which form the start of interesting theories.
Admittedly, all great thinkers do not and cannot live at all times with this Eye, less they go mad trying to reconcile all the peculiarities they have seen.