Wednesday, April 25, 2012

We Share Life

I don't cite a lot of things here. I don't mention many literary works or quote the great minds or authors. The vast majority of links are simply to other posts I've written.

Pretty much, Cheff Salad is The Kevin Bahler Show, starring Kevin Bahler. It's the place where Kevin talks about what Kevin likes and uses whatever examples he comes up with.

And you know what? I am totally ok with that. This is my blog. It's not my job. I have no standards to meet but my own. Why should I feel the need to talk like an academic or a scholar? I'm not assuming that my audience is nothing but academics and scholars. I'm assuming that my audience is comprised of people, so that is more or less how I talk.

I was pondering why it is that academics love talking about other people's work so much. I admit that I have always found it revolting. So much praise and glory goes to individuals for discussing an idea or making a claim, which countless others have thought or said before, but nobody had either the means or desire to get it published. Or maybe it was published but they didn't push it hard enough on other people. And yet, once the individual and the idea has been consecrated, you are a thief or an ignoramus to ever discuss the idea without mentioning the person.

But that is not the point of this post. The point was that there is some benefit to that style. Within the walls of academia, everyone is expected to learn the canon. Learning about the people is a mnemonic to remember and discuss ideas. I can go into any philosophy classroom, say, "John Locke", and everybody already knows what I mean. Academia gives everybody a middle ground to share.

In truth, I was a lousy academic and I'm only a scholar on useless things like internet memes. But I've paid a lot of attention to the world around me and I'm quite familiar with it as an individual. I believe that most people have. And that is our middle ground.

We share life. We have shared experiences, shared thoughts, shared emotions. Not that we have had them together or about the same exact thing, but we had the same feelings. I can mention the surreal compulsion to stick your finger in a candle flame when you stare at one, or the similar experience of wanting to walk on top of a train rail rather than simply walking alongside it. If you have been in such a situation, you just get it. And if you haven't been in that situation, you may have been in a similar one, or you can at least imagine what it would be like. The point is, I don't expect you to have read a book where somebody happens to mention such an experience; the experience itself and your own life is enough.

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