The Senseless Dance of the Sophisticated Barbarian (Ponderings)

I write a page every day – that is my little writing quota. Here is my pages for today. Enjoy!

I am a man whom lives and dances senselessly on a tiny, water-blue dust mode. If you are reading this, chances are you are too. If not, what planet do you hail from? Either way, the dance goes on. And on. And on.

***

An educated human being is little more than a sophisticated barbarian. In comparison to the sheer immensity of the unknown universe, it is all that we can aspire to be.

We wear top hats, construct rockets & drive cars.

Meanwhile we wait for the planet to swallow us up.

***

The chief enemy to a closed mind is skepticism;

A skepticism toward the claims which bind a mind shut.

The chief enemy to an open mind is cynicism;

A cynicism which has ready-made conclusions without hard evidence.

***

Specialization seems integral to academic careers and the overall organization of professions. For example, one initially studies the broad subject of physics in order to become more specifically trained as an astrophysicist or a quantum physicist. One studies biology in order to become trained as a medical doctor or an evolutionary biologist. One studies painting in order to become a painter herself, or an art historian.

Artists, however, seem to escape specialization quite often. A painter may direct a film and call it “a moving painting”. A poet may write a novel of fine prose. A sculptor may decide instead to draw politically motivated cartoons.

This is yet another reason I admire artists and aspire to remain one. They can bend the rules — even break them, sometimes. Not only can they bend and break rules, but they’re often encouraged to do so, as if it is the artist’s job to corrupt convention as much as it is to create beauty.

How is that for a job description? Imaging telling that to someone you just met at a party.

“What do you do for a living?” she asks.

“Well, I corrupt convention and create beauty,” you reply.

Artists whom are not specialized to one particular medium simply apply a label to their work.

That label is, “Mixed Media”.

6 thoughts on “The Senseless Dance of the Sophisticated Barbarian (Ponderings)

  1. “sophisticated barbarian”

    A few decades ago when I attended uni, the dominant theory about human nature in most of the soft sciences was that our species was near completely malleable. The was no core to human nature that could not be changed by learning. We could teach ourselves to be anything, Tyler.

    Basically, we apes were not doomed to be barbarians.

    Yeah, that one got blown away. The most recent fossils put us at 300,000 years old. Go back those years to our start, you find the same ape we are today — less sophisticated tools and clothing — but the same ape.

    “Sophisticated barbarians” seems pretty insightful to me.

    Like

    1. Hey there Paul!

      Good to hear from you. I appreciate you taking the time not only to read, but to share your insights with me. I think, certainly, the knowledge we have attained about the universe and our place of and within it, is nothing short of impressive. I’m not meaning to knock our discoveries and advancements, because they are pretty wonderful.

      On the other hand, I think “Sophisticated Barbarian” conjures both a humility toward the vast unknown, in conjunction with the acceptance of our natural ignorance, which goes of course for even the most intelligent/educated among us. Absurd images come to my mind, too, when I consider the phrase. You know how much I enjoy absurdities. I think of a band aid applied over the surface of a serious injury. Or a monkey in a top hat, smoking a Pall Mall, driving a car.

      How far we’ve come, but even moreso, I wonder how far we’ve yet to go?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “The chief enemy to an open mind is cynicism;
    A cynicism which has ready-made conclusions without hard evidence.”

    I would not argue with that. Someone once called cynicism “outraged innocence”. I wouldn’t argue with that either.

    An open mind has lots of other enemies in addition to cynicism. A closed mind doesn’t have as many. That’s how I see it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never heard of it being referred to as “outraged innocence” before, but it rings with some truth. I have also heard, “At the center of every cynic, burns the heart of a disappointed idealist.” And I think they may amount to the same idea. Cynicism is an outrage, isn’t it?

      “An open mind has lots of other enemies in addition to cynicism. A closed mind doesn’t have as many. That’s how I see it.”

      I think so too. A closed mind doesn’t have as many enemies simply because its closed its mind to them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Mixed media”. That observation charmed me.

    I agree about how specialized most everything is these days. I’m glad artists resist that tendency. Beyond that, I see the artists and scientists as sharing a common, or nearly common spirit. I guess the notion that they do goes against convention, but that’s how I see them.

    There’s a lot of artist in scientists, and a lot of scientist in the artists. Both are passionate map-makers. Both want to create “ideas” that reveal truths about reality just like maps reveal truths about their terrains. Sure, lots of differences, but similarities too.

    I see artists and scientists — and a few other intellectuals — as the map-makers of the world. The best of them make the more accurate maps. The worst of them cause or contribute to the world’s greatest evils.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a wonderful way to think about artists and scientists — as map-makers of reality. I’d also put some philosophers in there, too, as good map-makers.

      Liked by 1 person

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