Sunday, February 14, 2010

"A Good Enemy is Better Than a Good Friend"

I didn't believe my pal when he said that, but it turns out he's right in many ways. A rival is critical for giving the self some context. Rivalry disintegrates most personal delusions, because the rival doesn't give one the luxury of theoretical comparisons.

Battle strengthens us. Not only must organisms compete for resources, so too must memes; which compete for attention and medium in the name of replication. The artist is a meme factory. How well does an artist's production stand up in this ecosystem of ideas? Like most organisms, most every artist's memes have advantages and disadvantages.

We can either spend time with the ass-kissers of the world, who have their own selfish reasons for telling us we're good, when we're really not; or we can spend time with people who want our metaphorical blood. Ideally, one should find both sets of traits in the same person; but barring that, we should have one place for our allies and another for our enemies. Well, I'm not really interested in enmity per se; but I am interested in sparring and oneupsmanship. I am interested in a type of bragging party. I want you to prepare breaths, memorize them, and then sling them. I want you to want to ruthlessly kill your weak writing traits with the help of a fellow combatant.

You are here because you know academia breeds complacency--at least in the humanities. You either want to read live performance-combat, else you want to be one of the combatants. So you can be each others' enemies, but also be comrades. It makes the insurgency more effective (maximum mass-morale, etc). I think of this as a place to build mystique as well as brain-muscles.

So let's see it.

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