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On Reasons to Write

#writing #rene-girard #fyodor-dostevsky

What reason is there, really, to do all this writing you ask?

Is it perhaps because on the empty pages one can, as Robert Johnson puts, in the domain of the psychological unconscious,

“Clothe the invisible forces [unseen and] to make [them] visible.”

Inner Work p. 21

That is, one can make apparent the continuous inward monologue of the skull and enliven it to reality. But surely it is not only this. You see, in the white spaces of empty lines one can be the most truthful with oneself, and in this truth the self can really be seen. The individual, to some degree, prays earnestly that one day he or she will really seen and taken in full. But equally, within this there is a complete terror as to the vulnerable position it puts one in.

I once read on the topic of why read or write:

“I read so that I can convince myself of sanity in a world that convinces me otherwise;

I write so that I may pass the time in these empty hallways under the florescent lights of the mad house.”

Some, I fear, write in order to calm the inward heretic - but this is simply superficiality. For writing possesses also the consequence of revealing in a faithful representation the real inward chaos that is left unconscious in day-to-day living. A sort of inner Book of Disquiet, so to speak. It was in part Girard, who considered this point:

“[authors such as] Cervates, Flaubert, Stadhol, Proust and Dostoevsky arrived about their insights by going through personal conversations themselves. Only after seeing through their own romantic search for authenticity and autonomy were these authors able to perceive truth about human life”

Rene Girard’s Mimetic Theory, p.1

Although Girard puts forward the point on necessity of religious conversion, one may extrapolate (if attempting to speak principally about the matter) to the general pattern of subjectagating the ego and reason to a higher authority. Naturally, Girard would disagree, believing that Christianity, in essence, had “broken the chain” of mimetic desire present in all mythological works thus far. It is not my place to comment on the validity of this theory. But if our inward lonely experience yearns, in a sense, to be unified and seen, it is in part the primary objective of writing to work through these instincts and come about what it means to be fully human for oneself. What Palaver puts as the, “Romantic search for authenticity and autonomy in our lives”.

The primary challenge of structured writing - structure negates the necessary exploration and inquisitive nature of the action in and of itself.

That the nothingness of the blank page merely projects back to us the black fog present upon the map of the inward world which the writer must wade through to come about truth. As such, any disciplinary and structuring of the process in a sense negates the extraction of any sought after treasure. That is, writing is a non-linear activity and as such wholly frustrates the will, reason and “fashionable” organization. Good writing, like beauty, feigns capture by the intellect in any sort of formal teaching. One must try on the various masks and personas to decide how and why one does not fit.

“Am I but of the flavour of those dark Russian characters like the dead soul collector Chichikov? Or do I prefer the sweet melancholy of the Portuguese instead?”

Stylistically writing and literature can be analyzed and critiqued but really impressive writing fundamentally breaks rules. This “rule breaking” allows the inward authority to speak forcefully and willingly with the muse and together enjoin the forces to bush-whack through the unknown as one. It is writing, and therefore the reason to write, to some extent that is an act of playfulness: to see where the inward drama goes; real-time improvisation and rhetorical examination in the aim to uncover the spectrum of colours which paint the undercurrents of the individual’s internal world.