How sad I feel. Realizing that my philosophical musings are merely derivative, and befret of originality, I am again struck by the Great Barrier in coming up with anything fresh. This is especially disappointing because there is a true pleasure in philosophising.
As far as writing and thinking is concerned, I recognize in myself only one idea that is fresh: the idea of impossible to think logics, alternative cognitions that are literally not-thinkable, but just as ‘real’ and valid as anything we conceive of through the filter of our own existence. This small idea is my own, but surely echoed throughout history by many Thinkers more gifted than myself, as the first domino for this idea tripped when reading Stanislaw Lem’s book Fiasco in which humans try and make sense of incomprehensible aliens.
And I grant one more prose(aic) talent: the meander. I know myself to be quite good at starting with one set of ideas and meandering with them to a different place, although the ideas themselves are not too original, and usually my meander ends with the theme of impossible thought, as described above.
As far as poetry is concerned: pretty much every artist writes poetry at some time or another. I suspect that as no great reader of poetry, and therefore unexposed to the rigors of meter or metronomy, my work is just as trite as the next teenager who puts pen to page and writes angst. For Goddess’ sake, I can’t even count syllables!
In the dance studio I feel a talent. In both the extremely frustrating process of choreography and in the thrill of leading a workshop, a spark informs me of my worth. Choreography is the hardest thing I do, but honestly feel that the efforts are rewarded with a sort of original dance/movement work. (Hopefully this isn’t my Leo/Rooster self crying out for attention.) But far from being smug in the studio, I am always on the search for new approaches to teaching the body, and try and learn as much from other dancers as from masters whose work I (somehow) dislike. And I recognize that many choreographic seeds are born when I see dance by someone else – small movements or images that give me nutrition to grow my own garden.
At the same time, as a dancer, I lack. I might have certain muscles achieved with daily effort, and flexibility is on my side, but I definitely lack any concrete technique that would wow(!). Even my choreographies are rather simple in that there are relatively few movements in any span of time, since I lack the focus and training to keep up and remember complex movements for any duration. I am more of an artist, and dance is one method towards art…but as a dancer-artist I lack powers of concentration and memory.
As a workshop teacher, I apply everything I know and think to participants. In that role I focus sharply on each and every individual, even with twenty people in the room, yet at the same time ideas and techniques leap from my mind with such profusion that I need to consciously slow down and let the dancers explore. The reason for the overflow is a simple one: all the juvenile philosophizing, all the philosophical regurgitations that surface in my writing – I apply them to dance. Put unprettily, you could say I vomit philosophy onto dancers and pass it off as “original method”. Put prettily, you could say I connect philosophy with movement, and show how philosophy and being are intimately connected in the body, and how to adjust those connections for various purposes. In this way my workshops are rather rigorous yet free-wheeling. I’d like to think that my synthesis of different ideas becomes something rather my own, but I just don’t know about that. But I do think the body is a vital and so immediate locus to experience philosophy.
Since my talents lie more in the realm of applying what I know rather than creating the new, I’m good at café philosophy. This is just a parlor trick, really. Taking ideas from Sartre and using them to shoot the breeze with a friend is just applied engineering. If anything, the more philosophy I read, the more I realize just how many of my ideas have either been more fully explored by more powerful intellects than my own or just how much I regurgitate.