If civilization for some reason came to a screeching halt and I could only preserve 10 books for the survivors, the human race would end up reading itself to death. I could care less about survival guides (I’m the stubborn camper who already thinks he knows everything).
No, I’d listen to my heart and grab the following philosophical and literary masterpieces instead. They are the works that shaped my worldview after all.
This essay is plagiarized. In fact, every essay is. Richard Dawkins coined the term, “meme,” not so long ago (I learned of it through Daniel Dennet). A meme is quite simply an infectious idea that spreads from person to person, often digitally. Millennials are especially susceptible to these since they are constantly connected, sucking in information nearly every waking second.
The social web, advances in physical technology, and the rule of the knowledge doubling curve, are all factors in making word of mouth the authority in communication once again. So much content (conversation, stories, essays, and research) is being produced on a daily basis that it is impossible to archive and standardize.
Oral tradition is once again the rule, albeit in a digital, textual, visual form (blogs, twitter, and tumblr). We’re back to cave paintings and engravings, but in a much more sophisticated way.
Imagine you’ve had an accident or have been diagnosed with an illness. Imagine you can no longer live your life the way you’ve been living and now you have to fight to get better. Or maybe you have to learn a new style of living.
When I started seriously writing back in my teens, I could’ve never imagined the road it would take me down. When I defined myself as a writer way back when, I imagined an easy life in a cozy chair with a pipe hanging from my mouth.
That’s right. I thought I’d end up as an academic. It was my impression that unless you made it big as a novelist that’s the only thing you could do with writing. And I thought it would be an easy road.
Writing black out poetry was probably the hardest creative act I’ve ever done. To look through a book and choose a page to tear out felt like sacrilege, defamation, a literary sin.
Yet it felt so freeing. Reading the words on the page, decomposing the message and manipulating the words to form something different, something new, was such a great release. Being able to free myself from thought and create passively when I always try to be in such control was amazing.
When you were a kid, were you creative? I don’t think I’ve ever met a kid who’d pass up an opportunity to draw on the wall or scribble on a piece of paper for hours. It’s human nature that gets sapped out of many of us somewhere down the line.