Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The noble art of being normal

  As humans, we dominate the life on earth. Not only do we dominate every other animal, but others of our species as well. As humans, we watch carefully what other humans do, analyzing every move, judging them in personality, speed, strength, morality, intellect. We try to do the same for other animals. Try to see into their mind. But what we as humans find is that often times, we can't analyze them. They are too different from ourselves, too strange. Humans however fit into basic categories, where too our mind, all are exactly the same. They're the athletic, the intelligent, the kindhearted, the humorous. Eventually, though, we come across someone we can't place, so we move them off to the side forever marking them as strange. Weird. Abnormal. "Act normal for once" we say, as that one, one of many, is pushed off to the side. We look back at our perfect rows of people, appraising them for a second time. At that point we realize that they aren't normal either. Finally it dawns on us, that we aren't even normal. So we ask the inevitable question, "What is normal?".
   Take a step back and look at the world. It is a giant ball of rock, floating in space, with the exact nutrients we humans need to survive. The proximity to the star it circles is perfect for life to be sustained. We look out into the solar system and surrounding galaxy, and find not a single other planet we know to have life. Yes, we humans are normal, when our planet is the only known of its kind. Taking a look at ourselves, we begin to see the more changes, we're tall and lanky for an animal. We stand on two legs and those legs are fleshy and relatively hairless. Our feet look like nothing similar we see on any animal, and our hands, only that of some primates. Furthermore our minds are ruled by greed, love, kindness, and other emotions more than any other animal. Yes, we humans are normal. We have levels of intelligence and ingenuity that no other animals have been observed to have.  No, the answer is no, we aren't normal at all. Nothing about our circumstances are normal. It is a noble art, seeing normality in everything. But as noble as it may be, sooner or later you'll find, its all a lie.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Classic doesn't mean good.

   It means old. Maybe those things considered classic were once good, enough to still be around, but nothing remains good forever.
   Classical music for example, sure its calming, yet some more modern music is calming too. It has no words, usually. Yes it can provide feeling, but not as much as more modern things with music with feeling and lyrics that speak too you. Its been outgrown, it once was good, but now has been replaced.
   Classic literature has long outgrown its relevance. We can learn just as much from modern literature. Sure,  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a good story (if you can understand what they're saying), but its no longer relevant to modern life. The themes are relevant, but not as they are presented. More importantly, we can get the same lesson from other books that don't have the "classic" label. Tolkien might have first outlined the more modern form of fantasy literature, but the world is beyond him now. Read Patrick Rothfuss instead.
   What we need to focus on is that the world is constantly changing. Those that have replaced the classics have learned what they can from them. All we must do is learn from modern works, and we'll learn more than classics could ever teach us. The idea that modern walks are flawed is wrong. We don't have to wait 50 + years for what is modern today to be considered classic so we can learn from it. By then, we'll have more modern things to focus on. Modern work learns from slightly less modern works, which learned from pre-modern works, which maybe learned from post-classic works. There is no reason to go all the way back. Learn from today's works, and you'll learn everything important from past works already edited and presented, ready to be smoothed down one more time from a new modern mind.