Monday, April 5, 2010

Maybe Not a Leap Forward for Mankind, but At Least a Quantum Leap for Me

I don't know about you, but I don't find myself learning, as they say we should, one new thing everyday. I try to keep my mind open for learning at all times, but alas the actual act of learning seems to be more the providence of Fortune and the Gods than me—for as much as you may struggle to understand something, there's no guarantee that the concept will sink in, that it will penetrate the soft, fleshy cerebral membrane and become part of your bones (I have a deep conviction that all true knowledge resides in your bones; the rest is fluff to impress, or soups of facts that we regurgitate mindlessly).

That is to say, my knowledge doesn't seem to grow gradually and steadily, but rather in quantum leaps of tiny epiphanies. The thing—the problem, you could say—with epiphanies is that no matter how small they are, they bring such a burst of clarity that it's easy to forget how private and personal the whole experience is. You walk outside after an epiphany and the blue sky suddenly feels more blue and humanity seems somehow more enlightened and less hopeless. It's hard not to think of the experience as anything other than a leap forward for mankind.

Well, in true postmodern fashion, I think I've had an epiphany about epiphanies, and this one (unlike the others, which were more like lighting bolts of Zeus) can be pinpointed back to its source: writing this blog.

I'd always be on the lookout for topics for this blog (which, for some reason, always seemed to come to me in the shower), and the little epiphanies I had seemed like exciting and worthwhile stuff. But when it came to putting those thoughts to blog, I'd always have a problem of recreating that excitement and novelty of discovery. I'd work it around, try this or that, but it'd just end up sounding like common sense, nothing knew, stuff that everyone knew, constantly begging the question: what took you so long?

I don't think this necessarily reflects on my writing skills, but rather shows how the epiphanies that I thought were news for humanity were in reality just news for me (I hear a unison chant from the world of "what took you so long?"). But you know, that's fine. The thrill is still the same, and I still see the sky more blue.

P.S. The astute critic may have noted that this blog post itself seems to treat this epiphany about epiphanies as news to the world; which would make it seem as if I haven't learned my lesson after all. I assure this critic that my purpose is no longer didactic but confessional and self-disciplining, and if it benefits anyone else, all the better. (But to be truly honest, that didactic bug is hard to shake off.)

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