Famous Monsters Part 3: Invasion of the Soul Scientists

Buford Youthward

Modern life and leisure have been reduced to the action of flipping radio stations, channel surfing, filtering and managing information. An artist, a writer, a content provider must be more involved with decision making rather than creation. In fact some would argue these terms are synonyms. Society and culture have turned us all into editors.

We reach for originality, we look for the new in everything old. We mine hieroglyphics, catacombs, to seek to understand ourselves. We insist that we will find out who we are and who we will become by raking the residue of the past.

Scientists and artists are alike in the way they begin with existence and go on from there to imitations or reconstructions of it. Sometimes their brilliance blinds us to the fact that nothing has been brought into being. The scientist combines and recombines parts so that something entirely new may seem to result, but it is not entirely new, any more than creations of artists are new, made up out of things that had no previous existence.

I hear presumptuous kids today claiming, "I know what I like." That's cool. Old heads like me have no reason to inflict an agenda on the young. But when I hear the above comment, I must counter, "No, you like what you know."

Involuntary exposure to things can be an enriching experience. If we are to become editors of information then we must be always on the prowl for resources. We should be willing to absorb the ill and the healthy alike.

The best graffiti does this. It takes chances with itself as a medium, as a tool for identity manipulation. The best graffiti causes crisis. It questions reason, fools the stable into instability.

Some callings are higher than the regulations imposed on behavior. To edit is to live. It's a necessary mechanism in order to impose comprehension for self, to function with best intention. However, selective memory is not fail-safe nor unable to backfire. Comprehension is always a subjective matter.

For the most part people mean well, but sometimes they find it difficult to act well meaning. But who is qualified to judge? When do we call in the rapid response team of the will? What prompts us to assume the mask of the esoteric graffiti writer and become an anthropologist of emotion and scientist of the soul?

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