Friday, April 07, 2006

As a Plan C in case I am not able to go to any artist colonies this year, I’ve approached my parents about house sitting for them in the fall. My parents visit friends and relatives often or just travel to travel.


I’ve been thinking about what it is that keeps me writing and excited about poetry. My answer is that I feel myself growing as a poet the more I write. I understand aspects of craft better or notice a new aspect of craft. I also feel my poetic powers growing (i.e., I can tackle a greater variety subjects and have a greater range of poetic modes to select from), and I have more confidence and faith in what I am doing. I’ve learned from experience that when faced with a craft problem a solution will present itself; I just have to be patient and keep wrestling with it. Usually the solution is a creative solution and requires my subconscious to raise its hand.


Wisdom from song lyrics: “Tired of trying to be, what I’ll never be.”


Philosophical musing from a philosophy CD I’ve been listening to. Some people suffer from diseases such as paranoid schizophrenia and believe they are people like Jesus or Napoleon. If we are dreaming about flying in an airplane or being a solider in a war, during the dream we believe that we are indeed flying in an airplane or a solider in a war. Since these things happen it seems likely that some day scientists will be able to stimulate our brains in such a way that we can experience very vivid events (think of the movie Total Recall). What if these scientists could give you the life of your choosing versus your current life by hooking your brain up (“the brain in the vat” philosophers often call this scenario)? You can have any kind of life you choose. Say you want a life where you are an eminent poet who writes brilliant poems and has won a Pulitzer, a National Book Award, and a Nobel Prize. On what grounds would you accept or reject this offer from the scientists and why? You might say that you would only be interested in this experience as say a temporary one-week vacation experience. You might argue that you would reject this offer as a permanent thing because the experiences would not be real. The experiences would be from a manipulated, artificial reality, and you would not be responsible for writing the brilliant poems or earning the accolades. Hence, the experience would be empty. Taking it a step further, what if these scientists could also stimulate a part of your brain so that you forgot this was an artificial reality and could guarantee that you would think this was your real life and had always been your real life (think of the movie The Matrix). Would you be interested then or not? Would you take the blue pill or the red pill?

For me, I would not be interested. Sure, I might want to briefly experience the life of my choosing as a kind of vacation, but I would ultimately choose my life and reality—disappointing and frustrating as it sometimes is. I would not want to live permanently in a fantasyland. I have a strong allegiance to reality and want to earn on my own and be completely responsible for what I accomplish in life. This seems to be some sort of core value that I hold, a desire for a genuine reality or genuine life. I suspect most people would turn down the scientists for similar reasons.


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