Friday 14 July 2017

Expounding unique views

I have always found that the more I thought-about and worked-on a theme, the more distinctive my views became - distinctive from those of other people. In the end, they were unique: nobody else shared them. Nobody at all.

And, of course, my assumption was that this was distinctiveness arose because other people had not thought as much, as accurately or as honestly as myself - while those others assume that whatever was distinctive about my views was in error.

Ultimately, this is a matter of self-trust and other trust: how much do I trust myself, how much do I trust others? Do I trust myself enough to stand against... everybody (one versus all); do I trust any other person or group enough to squash my own deepest and best and most intuitive thoughts?

As a matter almost of technique in writing - problems arise from distinctiveness. Either one simply states the conclusions without defence - to stand or fall in terms of their intuitive appeal or coherence; or else one references, evidences, buttresses each individual statement and ingredient of the distinctive idea, to emphasise that although the overall idea is unique, its components are agreed.

But then, will any casual reader take one person's view against a lot of others... on the whole, people want o 'back a winner' and will side with the majority, right or wrong. This is attractive because rewarded; and also attractive from fear of isolation.

Most people have never been isolated, except in nightmares; and not many people are able or willing to acknowledge when they are. After all, an unique person is 1. probably wrong, 2. weak, 3. maybe crazy, and 4. even if they are right, then since nobody believes it, then it doesn't make any difference.

What I find interesting is that a set of unique ideas is often very appealing in context of a biography - we want people we read about to be unique, and strange - or else why read about them? But in a non-fiction context, we seem to want consensus, solid 'facts' and standard interpretations - indeed, it is more important not to be wrong, than to be right!

(John Cowper Powys is among the strangest of people, and/ but wrote one of the best autobiographies.)

Those writers and thinkers who have strange and unique ideas are often - for such reasons - best known in a biographical than expository fashion... for example Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Charles Williams...

It seems that the human personality provides a more powerful and flexible integration than any overall conceptual framework.