Reading a book the other day -- it may have been Sexual/Textual Politics, or an introduction preceding one of Lacan's seminars in a literary criticism reader, that was speaking about Language and what it means to us. It was describing language as the processes of not describing what is, but on describing what is not.
You and I can speak of a polar bear on the moon drinking ice tea with the Princess of the Amazon, and we can piece together a picture. Pretty elemental stuff.
So I finished reading I Robot in one day, and paused to dwell it over in my 03:33 insomnia, and thought about the Machines. I don't know if I got it. Human beings are always sad and in crisis - we are hardly never content. What separates us from other mammals is our Language, which is essentially our imagination - our mental timeline.
Shit. I read an excellent abstract of an scientific paper a year+ ago, which was arguing that consciousness can be defined by human beings ability to mentally conjure the future and the past as well as the now. It's written down in a sketchbook from last year. I must investigate this further.
Back to our imagination -- our great gift, I suppose. We can create, make things, theorise and express abstract metaphysical ideas. We can imagine that utopia -- and in doing so, we are constantly striving -- but unlike ants or bees or other social insects, we do not have a chemically suggested mass goal. Where is our altruistic swarm theory mechanism? Instead we all constantly strive not as a mass human body, but as individuals working perhaps in tiny groups - clashing with others, causing conflicts of interests.
And our personal ideas of Utopia, our imagining how things could be improved, keeps us all sad. Often our lives do not live up to our imaginations, and the longing that helps us create and also stop us from improving at all. Sadness, depression and apathy all from imagination.
If I was a better person, I'd of read Proust by now -- but I haven't. All I have is snippets from Monty Python, Thomas and films. Did he really say that the years he spent suffering were the most important? I can't agree with that for face value, but I wonder about the cause of suffering (our imagination & future/past sight causing longing/anguish & creativity) as being what is most important to consider in being human.
I'm just not sure.