I believed for a long time that the writing of books was a serious and severe sort of thing. It took me a long time to realise that publishing books was no different than publishing to the internet—we do our best, but in the end it is imperfect, and a mere step on the journey; a human manifestation of knowledge.
We do not live in an age where we can spend our lifetime on a piece of art, such as the Book of Kells, or even hand such precious works down to our children to complete. Books are a means of expressing knowledge, fun, or tales (or anything, really)—but publishing is only a medium with which it may be shared with others.
Thanks to school, and a wonderful analytical mind, I could see the perks of editing; of making a piece to this or that for marketability, for sales, or for making it easily understood by the majority. I understood that such works should be highly polished, to reflect on the skill (ego) of the author,
But art isn’t like that. Knowledge should not be held-back just because a new, polished niche has sprung up; indeed it is over specialisations and qualifications in common doctrine (I believe) which are contributing to the limit of common knowledge. Disconnected from ourselves, most are unaware how to think, feel, or believe unless someone or others expresses what is politically or socially correct to do so (even if we ourselves feel it is not, most alternative points of view, such as vegetarianism, veganism, socialism, etc… still hold their own sub-niche of political correctness and support, or “tribe”. Far weirder is it to stand alone in this world, and “each… bear his own cross”, as Jung observed1).
Books, web publishing, Youtube videos, news papers, etc.. are all means of getting a message, or knowledge, out there. It is not a matter of ‘class’; news papers once started as small local distributions, or underground movements during war-time. Books were rare and wonderful things before the printing press made them readily available (though oral history is another discussion entirely, and it can be debated that it is indeed more relevant and effective as the language does not become outdated). Big, highly funded movies can be wonderful things, however they are subjected to heavy editing and censorship before they are even displayed on modern television. Publishing to the web may seem average, as it is accessible to anyone, but that indeed is its strength.
I ask you to examine commonly held beliefs and values on a deeper level. It is easy to shut your eyes to a whole hoard of knowledge and opportunities for a commonly accepted delivery medium. And thus, taking the publishing of a book not as the ‘be-all and end-all’, but rather, one of these many mediums to take a work to those who wish to read it (albeit a by far more popular, and thus controlled medium) it can alleviate a lot of the pressure authors may feel, and thus perfectionism.
Of course, it seems to be a trend in any new medium (post Industrial Revolution) that after its initial outset certain rules and practices are established and ‘set in stone’, however usually just as this happens a new one will spring up and take its place; allowing for fresh development all over again, until it becomes common, and rules sink in, etc, etc…
🙂 I don’t know what else to write. Indeed, the purpose of this article was more to express that writers must hold that which they do in the greater context of the whole. There is a lot of pressure and dogma about anything and everything, and it stifles the advancement of art, knowledge, etc… Cannot we, as a whole, function as a greater society should each unique individual bring their own strengths and passions to the table? Is it not conceivable that we at least try?
Do not hold yourself back because things are commonly done. Do not restrict yourself to rules if your intuition, heart, or thought (whichever is preferred and trusted by you) guide you in another direction. Try to see clearly, beyond excuses or explanations into the heart of an issue, action, or rule. Words, propaganda, marketing and spin may say one thing—and this might speak incredibility well to logic, feeling, or create a sense of pressure. But, when seen in a machiavellian light, anyone who studies history well would know clearly how to manipulate the masses—by pushing something to the extreme and expecting an opposite reaction, for instance. And thus it is in knowledge, art, and literature (the rules serve purposes other than what they appear).
While some common practices are good, they more often than not serve for stifling or controlling the truth, or what is—often clearly by artists and their muse(s)—expressed. It is an effective and time-proven way to maintain stability and lack of change, good workers and stable citizens (not that I believe an enlightened society should lack work or a peaceful populace, bur rather, the work should come from within, from passion for following what the individuals themselves love, and peace by the human compassion that is inherent in all of us, barring the rare exceptions2), though they would have you believe that it is for monetary interest alone (private corporations, selfishness, etc…). But I cannot believe that something which hold a beautiful and exceptionally thought-out structure is the mere product of idiots, selfishness, and personal gain. No, such things, in the light of what I know of history, would be foolish indeed.
And thus, it is my conclusion that such rules, idiocy the commonly believed excuse, is simply self-deprecation as a means of ‘marketing’, ‘spin’, or ‘propaganda’; fallacy, in other words. And, I would say, that even those who do appear self driven would be merely a pawn (though a well off one), in a greater game—a game that needs to be seen to be believed.
And no, aside from patterns and hypothesis, I have not seen it. But I may catch glimpses here and there, and the longer I live, the more it makes sense to me; revealing a greater and greater whole.
So, in the light of society and its structures (for all must be seen in light of its greater whole; specialisation leads to blindness, unless it’s the minority, unlike the majority we have today) follow your heart, mind, and subconscious in writing any work that you might—and indeed, in crafting anything. Knowledge and technique can be good, especially in highly scientific work that requires accuracy and safety, but do not be afraid to rely on yourself, push the boundaries, and experiment (risk management of course taken into account 😉 ).
But certainly, when it comes to painting a picture, or telling a story which in a few hundred years may be long forgotten, certainly don’t hold back simply because someone told you to! From what I am reading of Carl Jung’s work, following the muse, the collective unconscious, or indeed the collective conscious, artists hold a great knowledge and power which, even if they don’t understand it, manifests and channels itself through them. It is a duty they owe to society to enact, create, and ensure that message, symbol, or ‘spirit’ (of an age) gets out unadulterated, for they play a vital part in society’s function and health.
Indeed, I am coming to believe that artists represent for society what dreams of the subconscious do for the health and development of the conscious psyche. It is interesting, is it not?
The Dreaming Sentinel
1“Is this perhaps the meaning of Christ’s teaching, that each must bear his own cross? For if you have to endure yourself, how will you be able to rend others also?” – C. G. Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis.
2“Swank and Marchand’s much-cited World War II study determined that after sixty days of continuous combat, 98 percent of all surviving soldiers will have become psychiatric casualties of one kind of another. Swank and Marchand also found a common trait among the 2 percent who are able to endure sustained combat: a predisposition toward “aggressive psychopathic personalities.”” Dave Grossman, On Killing, Pg. 44