This is a note to go with the second version of the text “A pledge gone wrong”, which may never see publication. The first version, was inadvertently deleted before completion. I wrote it during a rush of inspiration, one of those awesome moments. I believed the text to be pretty good, unique, and with a nice flow to it, and I quite frankly wonder if I can recreate it now that my state of mind has somewhat toned down again. It might end up an empty husk, but that still would be worth the insight. One might also wonder if my positive judgment had more to do with the state I was in than with the actual quality of the story, but how will you convince me of that?
The whole situation left me with two threads worth exploring. Firstly, when I found out that my fledgling story, brimming with inspired ardor, fueling my pride and even my own curiosity, got irreversibly destroyed, I felt no anger, no revengeful feelings, no disappointment, nothing of these things. Just the very strong realization that it must be so that many beautiful, great things sprout, even blossom, but get obliterated before anyone is there to even notice. I’m not sure that I can come up with a word that does justice to the feeling this immeasurable wastefulness evoked for a short moment, but I think “sublime” might be it. Beautiful organisms, grand structures, genius thoughts, they perish without getting the admiration one might think they deserve. There is no concept of “fair” or “deserved” in sight. This type of thing must, I think, often lead to nihilistic thought, depression, or models like absurdism in people. What can one make of this, how can one accept or even embrace this?
Secondly, the weeks before I wrote the text I had been in several weird situations, a couple of which almost ended in physical altercations, others which were just plain strange, but all with a sense of (the necessity of) violence to them. It had been a while since I’d been in situations like that, and a couple of things I do “believe” on the intellectual level, got physical! Life in the Netherlands, and I guess in Europe and the West for the most part, has for quite some time been very much shielded from some of the harsh aspects of life. This kind of shield is a type of illusory veil, not a tool to guard oneself with. For a couple of days, I felt I had to be on guard and saw clearly how much of a sitting duck I was in any situation other than grazing. Men who are never learned, nor allowed, to initiate violence or use weapons, countries where one is even punished when he hurts someone who breaks into his home or shop with lethal intent! There is something unhealthy going on here.
Now, uncomfortable as all these situations might have been, these brushes with reality also seemed to come with a lot of inspiration, a deluge of thoughts, great and small, cowardly and brave, interconnected in all kinds of ways, probably a lot of craziness and chaff, but pleasingly intense, probably because they have the sense of necessity to them. The question is thus raised: if one wants to create, should one be in these states of mind more often? Always? As much as one’s physicality allows? Can the right kind of necessity be artificially created?
It might feel like a cliche, a banality, the “artiste”, “living on the edge”, “keeping it real”, or that one “life changing moment”, providing the deep insight that spurred an up to that point unassuming man to write a grand work, but the notion begs to be explored. Manipulating one’s life to move towards increasingly dangerous situations, almost like a madman, but with the diligence of a plain Dutchman, recording the effects in a little notebook or an Excel sheet? It might be the way to beautiful things.