It is a given fact that you guys like to disturb me. I don’t know why that is. I’d take it for granted that, in fact, life disturbs me enough. Take taxes, for instance — oh, wait. Los Federales already did. They have great need of money to eat it or something. Never mind.
Perhaps in an effort to distract me from running around the house repeating RAH’s dictum that you should be wary of strong drink: it might make you shoot at tax collectors and MISS, one of you told me about this dentist in … Alberta? Who bought one of John Lennon’s teeth (who even sells that?) and who plans to “clone John Lennon.”
Okay, as publicity it might be okay, though – I don’t know about you – I’d be hesitant to go to a dentist – any doctor really – who is into macabre souvenirs.
But the idea…
My answer to the reprobate who told me about it was to point out that we already have plenty of broken misfits around. I think he was a little taken aback, so I had to explain.
This is not the case with every one, of course, but speaking for me and a lot of other writers I know – and Lord help us, plastic artists are WORSE – art is what happens when you break somebody, then put them under unbearable pressure. Imagine if you will living, animated, sentient coal, and you’re trying to make diamonds. You apply enormous pressure…
And sometimes you’re going to get the diamond. The misfit will reorganize, re-integrate, find an outlet, and the result is something rarer and far better than mere human coal. But this being humans, most of the time you’re just going to get coal dust or perhaps diamond chips.
The resemblance between artists and madmen has been noted through history, but it’s slightly sideways from the truth. The truth is not that artists are mad, but rather like they achieved a state supra-madness where they function fine because they have that artistic outlet.
Now, I’m not quite that way, but then as you know I’m more craftswoman than artist.
Anyway, what shocked me about that story is that artist or not, Lennon’s success; his fame; his contribution to the world of music and the performing arts, is even more dependent on chance, on just how high that pressure was turned, when.
Regardless of what you think of his solo career it came after the Beatles, and might never have been what it was without the Beatles, and besides the Beatles is arguably his greatest contribution. What I mean is, absent the Beatles, he’d never have been the John Lennon he was, for good or ill. (This is something I tried to capture in Superlamb Banana. And yes, oh my, that does need another cover. Sigh.)
And that surely isn’t expressed in his genes. Unless you think of genes as sort of a magic destiny, the sort that the fairygodmothers used to give people over their cradle.
You might, of course. It’s a new and popular theory. Everything we are and everything we achieve is supposed to be there, in our genes, ready to happen. This Calvinistic (but not religious) view of humanity of course presupposes that the future is pre-written. We are, if you will, lines of code in a program we can’t help follow.
This is very similar to the Portuguese idea of fate which, Portugal being heavily influenced by Islam, is still central to the culture. You hear even educated people say things like “We all follow our fate.”
And it annoys me. It is, if you will, part of the Widgetization of humanity.
The left is going for this in a big way, without ever admitting it’s what their doing, just their their assumption of culture being genetic is never admitted to be full on racism. (It is. What else would it be? White people are endlessly protean, but if you are an interesting sub-race/culture, then you have to follow a script and know your place? Straight up racism!)
They’re going for this fate and pre-ordained thing in a big way because it’s a logical follow on their idea that nothing is your fault. If everything is scripted, its’ wrong to hold crimes against criminals. It also fits right in with the number of extreme left people who are radical losers. You might have an IQ of 180 and be living in a trashy apartment and raiding trash cans for garbage, but it was all planned, and it’s not your fault. Oh, yeah, and you can’t escape, so making the effort to actually integrate into society? Not possible. It will only fail.
Of course this destroys human freedom.
I’ve said of this before, that even if it were true (and if it were, we couldn’t prove it, barring proving the entire universe is a computer program) it would be evil to believe it. It would rob all existence of meaning and all humans of individuality. However, what we know seems to show it’s not true. I mean, maybe someone scripted me to have my particular life so far, in which case you have to wonder if they were sane (sorry) but I, like all of us, can see the errors, the failures, the slips – and what might have been. And it was not forbidden to me.
Of course, the jokers who believe this bilge then say that you don’t really think: you just follow a script, and then rationalize your actions.
While a lot of people do this, and a lot of us do it at times in minor stuff — like we forget we were going to make a cake and when we’re halfway through making a soufflé, we do the cat thing “I meant to do that” — I beg to differ. Major decisions are usually weighed by everyone but the very infantile, and the ones who believe that they can’t help themselves.
Again this is the widgetization of people. It’s making people things who would all act the same way given certain genes. Yeah, some twin studies purport to show that, to an extent, but I always wonder about the ones that don’t make cute lifeline stories. Oh, sure, the tendencies are in your genes. But what you make of them is your choice.
You’re not the sum of your ancestry. You’re not a widget. You’re not the slave to the culture you were born in. The future is yours to mold.
And as for John Lennon, poor man, who the heck needs another kid with funny glasses, a lot of uncontrolled aggression and some musical talent? He left children, in the normal way of mankind. Let that be enough for his contribution, and let him rest in peace.