Everyone wants to be right and it’s the most important thing in the world. It feels exciting and invigorating. But this hardly resonates.
To be right, has a temporary glow… but also, to be right… sucks. It sucks the life out of everything. The way we are treating it now. It’s rigid and, the way we’re treating it now, unintelligent.
To be right has become the most banal aspect of contemporary existence.
Writing is more difficult than ever. And also easier. Because of the culture of RIGHT.
It’s enough to make you feel done with language, with writing. To give up everything. To just give up. Because to write, to use your words – this involves taking a position. Do I need to be right, to write? Because there is more to life than being the one who is right.
We’re dealing with an actual and deliberate detachment from reality. Because as much as we propose to speak truth, truth is not only what we are speaking at any given time. We’d like to believe that it is, but truth changes as quickly as we figure it out.
What is truth? You can’t only be right and also have the truth. It’s impossible. Truth is filtered through the material world, but it can not be caught by you. Truth is a phenomenon created by the sum total of an infinite multitude of ideas and perspectives. Truth is a multitude.
And this is why we need poetry.
Poetry calls us to remind ourselves how foolish we are in being so right. In pretending to have all the answers. In our righteousness against the assholes.
Because there is no right answer in poetry. There is no “figuring it out” once and for all. No one single truth or perspective. And there isn’t supposed to be. Because this would not be possible, and it would not even reflect all that art is capable of – nor all that we are capable of. Art can understand us even beyond ourselves, because art is perspicacious. Because art is a universe, within universes. Because art reflects reality as this complex multitude beyond one single ego — one single ego whose tragic flaws art is also sure to reveal, so that nobody can be a God (but perhaps, merely part of the god we envision).
The “one single ego” of the artist or the writer – that’s just a personality. The artist, or one who creates, serves as a medium for an aspect of truth. Like all beings — except that the artist occupies oneself with this phenomenon specifically. But this doesn’t mean that the artist is supposed to be right either. To be so right and so perfect, even so irrefutable — that would be the creation, ultimately, of something stagnant. And what would be the point of that? To end ourselves?
…What is the actual end game of RIGHT?
We don’t need to be right, much as we act as if. And artists don’t need to be right to create, nor writers – especially not to write poetry which neither needs nor strives to be right — it just needs to show. And this is why we won’t give up. Craft will continue to excel at creating more questions, than answers. There’s people out there who really wish we would, just give it up. We all know them. And we can’t help but disappoint them. Truly. And this is okay. In fact whatever we do, it will disappoint someone. And that’s marvelous.
This is the reason it is worth it to keep going. Not to make more points. Not to be more right than they are. But to imagine. All of what is possible. And in doing so, we will not please all. If we existed only to please, then nothing original would ever get made or done. Because so often, what is original begins by embodying what is not-right.
And as for the whole? Not just the artists. The “everyone”? There is the idea that if we compromised on everything so readily, then nothing would ever change. And we could not dare to hope for a better world.
But this does not mean we are the god of intelligence. Is our opinion seriously, honestly, the highest intelligence possible? Does our opinion represent the highest world order? Please.
We’ll do better, in today’s climate, to celebrate how wrong we can be.