Friday, 22 September, 2017 – 01:08
How rare it is that I find myself awake at this hour, and not working. My mind is a ticking time bomb, and it has been stuffed away in a pressure cooker for over a year. You see, I come awake at night, but not in the talkative, jolly, intoxicated and social way. No. I awaken within, I am intoxicated within, and thence drawn to heights and highs of thought and knowledge. For what intoxicant is greater than knowledge and its exercise (save, perhaps, love)? For the past year I worked most nights, and slept through the few that I had to myself. Now, I am freed of that work, and I find myself awake, at night, and alive with thoughts. I lay there in bed for hours, four hours, without sleep, before I realized, this is my time!
And where did my thoughts take me? I can’t quite recall where they began. Probably, I was thinking of a dear friend who is soon to leave on a great journey. At some point, however, I picked up a book, A Room of One’s Own, by Virginia Woolf, and then my mind wandered to other places: what environment does a creative mind need to flourish? how were women in history kept from that environment? why do we keep people from that environment? why is racism so pervasive in our time? why do people think culture belongs to a race, and how do they not realize that is itself racist? how can I light the flame of youth within me? how can I be a leader, and have wit, and care, and develop as a philosopher in my day-to-day life? how and why have a strayed from this path? is it all because I had not my evenings to myself? How thoughts love to wander.
I rose from my bed, and prepared some tea, an aged and heavily roasted oolong from Taiwan, the “Old Tea King.” This tea usually has two effects on me, besides being rich and delicious. They are, it deepens and steadies my thoughts, and it makes me sleep well. Unfortunately, I will not be able to cash in on the latter, because I do, in fact, have to go on duty in a few hours, and will not be sleeping at all tonight; but for now I shall cash in on the former effect, of deeper and steadier thoughts.
I intended to sit at my journal and write on the topic of creativity, and the environment needed to express it, but ended up here, writing for the world. Perhaps that environment is different for everyone. For my part, I can say that the evening hours are almost necessary, fasting for some time helps, and a slight stimulant, as in the tea I described above. Some excellent literature or conversation with a intellectually challenging individual proceeding my “creative expression” is also of some help. Perhaps the most important element is that drive that all creative people feel. That love of it. For it is that love that keeps us awake at night – as love has a way of doing.
And about this world I have awoken into… my God! (shall I define her for you?) What madness has possessed people? Since when did arrogance and indulgence become respectable human traits? I hear this talk of some people, let’s call the blue people, stealing the culture from some other people, we’ll call them the green people. The talk says that the blue people hate the green people because they are green, but think that the green people are ‘cool’ and want to be like them, want to adopt their culture. It goes further on to say that if you disagree with this theory, that you definitely hate green people, because they are green. Then, by application of logic we see that, because hating people because they are colored any particular color is ‘racist,’ and disagreeing with the theory means you hate people because of a color, then anyone who disagrees with the theory must be racist. Furthermore, racism is considered such a bad trait to have that racist people are ignored and even threatened with violence, so that anyone who disagrees with the theory must, because they are racist, keep their mouth shut or risk ostracization (to be ostracized) or even death. So, blue people are racist because they hate green people, and if you disagree with this you are racist, and in either case, you should keep your mouth shut or risk bodily harm.
Wait… let’s back up a moment. The theory says that blue people hate green people. Blue people hating green people would be racism on the part of the blue people, right? To hate another based on a physical characteristic (a racial feature) is racism, right? Now, if blue people are automatically put in the category of racist, that means they are already hated by all, because racism is detestable. But wait… I’m being completely serious here… Doesn’t this make the imposers of the theory themselves racist, for hating a group of people for being racist, because that group of people (in this case blue) are identified as being racist by their color (a racial feature)?
You see? This is why I feel sick whenever people talk of this. I grew up fairly ignorant of race and racism. Then, my cultural education taught me to recognize various traits, cultural and racial, in people. On the racial side we have physical characteristics – bone structure, hair type, eyelids, body size and stature, intolerants and allergies, and… oh yes, skin color. No single set of traits is universal in any group of people, and most traits are mixed throughout.
Then, I learned about racism. There are two people: Caucasian and black. Somehow these words are politically correct, yet completely absurd. A native (someone born in the place they reside, not a Native American) of North Africa or of, say, Thailand is probably more Caucasian than I am, with my light skin (which more accurately predicts my recent ancestors as being Northern-European rather than Middle-Eastern, i.e. Caucasian). And a person with dark brown or black skin may well have grown up in Indonesia. Racism isn’t a hatred or a prejudice. Racism is the filing of people into cultural categories based on one superficial trait, namely, skin color. We could call lighter skinned people and darker skinned people anything we want, blue and green perhaps, and the result would be no different. How many black people are black? How many Caucasians come from the Caucasus region? How many white people are white, or European? How many Asians have long black hair? What about Native Americans? What do Mexicans and Macanese have in common? How about Vietnamese and South African? What do Americans have in common?
This is what happens when I stay awake, or rather, awaken in the night. This is where my mind wanders to. The pressure cooker has been keeping these thoughts warm, and the pressure has been building. My arguments are no doubt unsound, and faulty. What they need is a questioner, and what I need is a people willing to be questioned? If I may say one more absurdity about the world I have awoken into. Since when did statements become more fashionable than questions? What if the chess player, in order to practice, said to himself all day long “I will win,” instead of studying, playing against himself, and against his peers? What if the cancer patient told the clouds her wish, instead of studying and seeking experts in the field of cancer treatment? What if the “leader of the free world” simply told people what to do, instead of seeking to know their wishes and advices?
And now I have finished my porridge, and my mind is growing dull and tired.