Monday, April 7, 2014

"Talking Existence"

Portrait of Marco Polo.
Portrait of Marco Polo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We exist through the conversations we share. A man is a memory, existing in his sphere of influence. In this sense, being forgotten or ignored... equates to death. This is the essence of a philosophical concept bouncing about in my head. I call it "Talking Existence." The idea occurred to me recently, finding life much too intricate to be measured solely by means of a pulse. Talking Existence is not reverse-solipsism, nor is it a delusion of vanity. To best understand this, you must take into consideration that I see life as art-in-progress, defined by the relationship between the artist and those who visit his gallery. The only thing personal about a masterpiece is its creation. Unless it is regarded by a decent portion of society, a painting might as well never been painted at all. Of course this is a metaphor. (Nothing wrong with recreational painting.) Talking Existence is us sketching a portrait of ourselves each day with our words. Actions are but the manifestations of verbs, physical words. As such, what we do is also what we say. How we speak--both physically and verbally--unto others shapes our existence. That is "Talking Existence."

I can seem simple, deceptively. "Be good. Be proactive. Be remembered." Humanity often turns to established morality and terms for success to define its life. It's because, as concrete-minded humans, we assume length is the end all be all. I'd argue against that. Longevity is a cheap way to be remembered. It's not about quantity or quality-- it's about quandary. When we feel it seems as we are most alive, does it not? The more failure you face, the the more life you have. Only in the ashes of a blaze can we touch a fire. Loss is but a baby born to be a win. (Unless aborted by its parent.) By this, it would seem the content of our lives determines our existence, not our conversations as I proposed. Not so. This is a part of Talking Existence. What we feel and what we experience are merely ingredients to our existence. Our hardships and triumphs are reflected in our tone, humor and choices. Daily interactions are the basis for psychological understanding-- the blood of human interaction. You live by means of your tongue, but a tongue will only taste that which it finds sweet. Scars are inputted into the complex formulae through which we operate. Whether you wave meekly or embrace in a hug is determined by elements of our experience. This is why I say we exist through conversations. Man hasn't invented a time machine, and we all know how fuzzy memories can be, right? You can only follow a foot that leaves prints. If we leave no trail, we are lost.

Beyond being a measure of life, Talking Existence has a much deeper role in the whole of existentialism. It's interwoven into religion and relies heavily of the fallacy of "truth"-- the rusty hinge of morality. Lying is born of a desire to artificially enhance our existence. During my more cynical moments, I tend to regard truth as a great fallacy perpetuated by the naive. Thinking reality can ever be understood is arrogance/ignorance in its most sublime. Perception is 9/10ths of human understanding--a belief the very concept of Talking Existance is built upon. The remaining tenth is the established overlap of the collective beliefs of society and the closest we wee homo sapiens will ever come to an actual "truth." Liars play in this large pool of perception, persuading others to come swim in their version of the murky water. (Note: Read liars as everyone.) Opinions are glorified emotional guesses, but they're the only tools we have to grasp the world around us. Likewise, feelings are fleeting, abstract and non-existent-- excuses to act against logic. The relationship between opinions and feelings is our bias, the nature of our need for personal validation. It compels us to argue and teach, battling others for the right to shape existence. A lie, if not believed by its creator, is merely an acceptance of the ugliness of the so-called truth as we remember it, and an attempt to alter history to our whim. Through lies we are closest to "God," a figure whom I personally deem as the ultimate lie and manipulative tool. If a lie is believed, just like a person, it exists. We are taught about the exploits of Marco Polo as children, but it's questionable if the man ever set foot in China. Just as the ambiguous epic poet Homer is remembered, so too does God exist. In this way, God exists more than we do. True reality can't by perceived by our feeble minds, so what is a lie? It's the basis for perception, cloaked by our innate earnestness. What is remembered lives on.

Once our death is hence three generations removed, apart from being a chink in various strands of DNA, we die out of existence. Name one baker from 17th century Germany off the top of your head. These men are dead-- their ghosts haunting unread censuses and dust-covered family records. Our comparatively simple human experience is ultimately a blip in a doomed cycle of cosmic explosions that cannot ever exist to us as we will never obtain the means to grasp it. Grasping this, we must live within the criteria of a Talking Existence. By believing ourselves to be important and considering life a lasting concept, we die prematurely. The self is a pursuit of egotists and simpletons. Live vicariously through your words and ebb out a satisfying existence for your name.

This, however, only applies to those who deem society as a positive construct. This, quite possibly, is yet another human fallacy... but that discussion is best left for another time.

- B
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