The Good, The Bad, & This Kid: "Pine Away"
By Josh Stone
"If you look at the cycles of the moon, it starts as a thin crescent and then gradually waxes and becomes full; then it gradually wanes back into another crescent and then is gone. The moon reflects sunlight like humans reflect information. We wax and wane and when we become full moons, our ego's are full. We think we have this knowledge when in fact, the information we have is pure. And it reflects or shines off of us, is something we take credit for as though the moon could take credit for the light it reflects from the sun. We have to understand that we are ego-less just as the moon is without light. It and we, are simply reflectors. The ego is not responsible for the information."
-Maynard James Keenen
Throughout human evolution, the main factor that has separated us from every other animal on Earth, is our ego. Every living creature has an ego, the key function that allows the mind to separate itself from others; just other creatures know how to suppress it when need be. Man's tragic flaw is the fact that we find it far too difficult to set aside our ego in order to reach a higher state. When you look at creatures that are social by nature; birds, buffalo, horses, and monkeys they all share a common denominator, that the group is more important then the individual. I don't mean that in a neo-Communism sort, but the truth remains that these animals retain the basic sense of self, while still moving and existing as one. Humans, by nature, are social creatures as well. Once again we differ from the other animals, because we retain far too much self importance, we believe that our way is the only way, and are willing to prove it, no matter the cost. We stand on our soapbox (no comments) and preach about the aspect of only one true and defined way, the way of whatever clay relic we have chosen that moment. We believe that we know what no other could possibly dream of knowing, that we hold the keys to unlocking the depths of untapped possibilities, and damn anyone who doesn't share in this self-righteous mindset.
On the other hand, the ego is what separates us from the other species, if not for our enlarged sense of self, we'd still be crawling out of the primordial stew. The downside to this, is that we are all far too centered on thinking we are more important than we truly are. The fact is, we will all go the way of flesh one day or another, and to spend all of one's time absorbing the wonder that is yourself, is a waste. Too many people think that they are far superior to everyone around them, that what they know cannot be obtained by anyone else. That they have somehow learned all that can be learned and that's all there is to it, too bad for everyone else. The main example of this display of narcissism, are message boards. Go to any message board and you'll find a slew of self-important people spewing whatever knowledge they have in order to set themselves up on a pedestal of disillusionment. For the purpose of the audience that might be reading this, look at any comic related message board, and you'll find more self-righteous idiots then you'll know what to do with. Even our very own SBC message board has its regular panel of pompous asses, I won't name names because that is very childish and I'm trying to be as professional as possible. You've got everything from your shameless star-fucking name-dropper, to the guy who rants on and on about how such and such is obvious to any 6th grader. It sickens me, the amount of people who think that what they know defines who they are. It's really quite sad, when a human being has to sink to such a level in order to like the person they are. As stated in the opening quote by MJK, we are simply reflectors of the information around us. We (the ego) are not responsible for the information. So, essentially what I'm getting at, is that while a certain amount of self-awareness is necessary to live, it should be a self-actualized awareness. Also, at this point, before anymore rambling is done, I'd like to say that I'm aware that everything I've said and will say is way off of the actual meaning of Mr. Keenen's quote. It was just a stepping stone into this topic, he was referring to other, more important topics.
If you tear past the façade of knowledge most people hide behind, you find that we are all very much alike. We all strive for a sense of belonging, and a lot of people try to reach that sense by falsely setting themselves above others. That's another point I want to make, that by diminishing others and claiming ourselves solely responsible for everything we know and understand, we make ourselves less human. We dumb down our ability to analyze and interpret, allowing us to see only what we want, we go against all that makes us what we are. When you close yourself off to new possibilities and new ways of thinking, and accept only the knowledge you wish to reflect, you defeat the purpose of the mind. When we realize that we're just satellites following a path, and make the conscience choice to steer off the course, is when we truly become human, and aware that we don't hold the answers, but we merely bounce light between ourselves.
For the first time in "The Good's" history I will be talking about a non-comics related project. For the past several months I've been addicted to a television show on Comedy Central called Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn, it comes on right after The Daily Show, so it's a great hour of television. I'm sure many of you have watched it, but just in case it's a show where a panel of comedians are given current events and they state their opinions, which are usually funny, or why watch? I wasn't a big fan of Colin Quinn when he was on Saturday Night Live, but I didn't hate him the way most people seemed to. Also, SBC has started up our own version of Tough Crowd called, The Panel. Alan Donald has taken this segment from The Final Draft and transformed it into a very interesting column. I just read the first installment of The Panel and it was great, I hope the questions continue to be as good. So, I guess this was a two-part "The Good," what can you do? Either way, I highly suggest everyone check out both Tough Crowd and The Panel.
Before I go I'd just like to thank Mr. Bill Charbonneau of http://www.voicesinmyhand.com/ for not only promoting my column on his site, but for also promoting SBC in general. Both were very much appreciated. Well, 'til next time…
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