Sunday, August 8, 2010

short essay "Two Needs"

This is the beginning of the second half of book 1 of the Idius, where I discuss the nature of needs. I’m touching it up now; in a few months I will send this one out more perfect, so feedback would be invaluable.



Van Gogh - Noon Rest from Work (after Millet).jpg


Two Needs

            Life holds two needs: the need for rhythm and the need for growth, which balance and complement each other. A child is soothed by rhythms—melodies, rocking, sucking. Whenever growth becomes aberratic, we resort to rhythms. See how the asylum is full of twitchers and pacers. The best way to stifle a terror is to breathe evenly, to repeat a phrase to one's self, to establish a simplistic rhythm. And yet an untroubled rhythm bores us.

            These two needs expand into every nuanced want. No utopia or heaven works because they are portraits and not symphonies. The final utopia would have to grow and collapse, would require a wide enough repeating rhythm so that boredom was impossible. However, being caught in such a loop would be the death of humanity, for it would no longer really be growth. War and peace, love and power, all these dualities are of course illusory if they are only seen as dualities. See two, but look again and see one. There is “good” and “evil, yet evil simply means “too good” as the word’s etymology shows, something higher than us, something we cannot yet comprehend.

            These two found the personality, which is like art. Art must be regular enough to reward our expectations, yet interesting enough to surprise them.

            The specific needs derived from these two can be fulfilled generally, exactly, or metaphorically. When electricity ascends two diodes, it begins undifferentiated, but as the electricity moves up the poles, the spark takes a wildly definite shape. To fulfill the need to begin with, as soon as the need presents, is to fulfill it generally. I need sex, I lay the nearest woman who will have me. But if I am intelligent and therefore patient, and let the need grow and define itself, I can slowly learn the most precise way to fulfill my need. What seemed at first simple was finally a highly nuanced and particular need. Only when a need is fully articulated does it because a full-fledged need.

            A metaphorically fulfilled need is given an analogous object, such as killing enemy soldiers rather than solving frustrations at home.

            Another manner to characterize the dualistic nature of need is through sex and hunger: to ingest what makes us stable, and to expel something better than ourselves: eating and reproduction.


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