So I was thinking about how the desire to create is sort of a pathology and wondering how to express the idea and then I saw this today on The Dish and discovered the idea's already been perfectly articulated...
“There is no need to traverse earth and sky to find a wondrous object full of contrasts of infinite greatness and littleness, of deep gloom and amazing brightness, capable at the same time of arousing piety, wonder, scorn, and terror. I have only to contemplate myself; man comes fromnothing, passes through time, and disappears forever in the bosom of God. He is seen but for a moment wandering on the verge of two abysses, and then is lost.
If man were wholly ignorant of himself he would have no poetry in him, for one cannot describe what one does not conceive. If he saw himself clearly, his imagination would remain idle and would have nothing to add to the picture. But the nature of man is sufficiently revealed for him to know something of himself and sufficiently veiled to leave much in impenetrable darkness, a darkness in which he ever gropes, forever in vain, trying to understand himself,” – Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America. http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/12/15/quote-for-the-day-2-39/
Stupid 19th-century French jerk smarty-pants. This is like the third time he's turned out to have already said something I thought I'd come up with. Anyway, aside how perfectly all that is said and how true the idea is, this is an excellent example of why I'm a Plagiarist. If we were able to perfectly access the totality of past expression, there is little doubt we would find that whatever little nuggets we've been nursing have already been articulated by others, many times better than we could have hoped to do ourselves. (This is also why I'm a believer in cryptomnesia.) So, if true originality of ideas is impossible, we must instead have confidence in our particular voice, in our particular discipline, in our particular context & audience, in how we juxtapose, incorporate, and interrogate these ideas. And of course, that idea's not original to me either. http://harpers.org/archive/2007/02/the-ecstasy-of-influence/
Everyone should be required to read Democracy in America in high school anyway, though. It's super-smart.