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Selfishness and Poetry

(For more on the subject please read this)

Not to generalize, but as I get to read and hear more and more poetry from various poets (including a close relative of mine), I find something very common among them: they and their work are usually egocentric by nature. There is little to no attempt for the poet to see beyond their own craft—to their readers and to their reception; there is no attempt to teach others or to contribute to the general public; there is only their personal narrative, and that narrative's recording in the form of the poem.

This is why, even though I myself write poems from time to time, I find it very difficult to see myself as a poet, in the form of an occupation or a title. The post-modern poet is no longer a commentator, but simply a self-reporter who records their personal experiences, without trying to connect them to the public that provides their material. Indeed, they are pretty much "autistic" in a sense that they lack the awareness of the potential of their words—the potential of influencing the world.

I no longer see myself as egocentric, because egotism is a waste of potential, especially when you do something that is meant for others. I use many personal experiences in my articles simply to serve as examples, and almost nothing more. They are examples of something that happens and can happen in the real world, and if they were non-existent or not functional in any way, I wouldn't see the reason of using them in my content.

The poet, on the other hand, writes from their heart, obviously, but the problem with the "heart" is the fact that it sees the momentary, and not the long term. It feels and it experiences, but it doesn't necessarily think of how said experience can be used for the greater good. Thus, the zealot of the heart works in an "autistic" fashion, with little regard to how it can be used for other purposes as well; for how it can satisfy not only oneself but also answer some void in others as well, hopefully.

Like philosophy, I no longer see poetry as something "exalted" or "divine"; anyone with the capacity of fluent communication can theoretically write poetry as they can philosophize, or do anything that requires speech or writing. Rappers are theoretically poets due to their skill to express themselves through rhyming, and being a philosopher doesn't require a degree or even formal education in that field—it is all but a way to express oneself and what one sees as the "truth", in hope that it is indeed, the truth.

There is nothing special anymore about being a poet or a philosopher, as there are countless of those worldwide; you just have to search long enough online or in real life. In this day and age where anyone can become anything that doesn't necessarily require education, all you need is some exposure, and you only get "bigger" than others with enough exposure gained from your content. Neither you nor I are special in that regard, and to be sincere, I spent a lot of money just to get exposed to the world. When you have something to say—the grand competition begins; the competition for being known, for being appreciated, if not for being loved. That competition, unless you're extremely lucky, is very harsh and complex, even if your target audience are non-English speakers.

According to that logic, there were, are and will be many poets and philosophers who are technically extremely underrated, if not hidden from history, simply because of the competition for content. Who knows how our world would've become, if these people were more exposed like their more "privileged" counterparts? All the "great" creators are only great in comparison to those who failed to make it to the spotlight. This creates the delusion that they are unique, if not greatly genius. That is at least my "spin" on this occurrence.

In short, with no offense to anyone in mind, there is something a bit pretentious about the self-reporting poet. They use and record their experience with great dedication and emotionality, while in fact their own stories are not that special from those who have lived, are living and will live similar lives to them. If they will not find a way to connect their experience in a way that shall benefit others, if not the world, what value is there to their content, beyond that which exists within their own minds? Other people may be impressed with their stuff, but as long as it won't connect to them and contribute to them (as the audience themselves are, in theory, egoistic too to an extant), why should they spend time reading your stuff?

If you wish to become a better writer, you must offer a value to your readers; a value that extends your own self-image and identity. Writing might be something that is usually done in solitude, but in the end it is a product you make for others as well, and unless said others will have little regard for you, their own "selfish" inquiry about your writings, will disappear as well.

This theoretical selfishness might also exist in other forms of art as well. When I go to an art museum and see an erotic picture, what am I supposed to feel? I know how these organs look like, and if someone wishes to.. enjoy themselves from this craft they will be in their own home, not in a public space. Where is therefore the value in such display when it gives me nothing at all, but a reminder of something I already know? That is also the same on social media. When I see pictures of the same person, repeatedly, on my feed, where is the contribution exactly? They would become eventually just pieces of computer bytes, smashed by countless other bytes of "content".

This is the "sad" reality of content, regardless of what occupation you are as a content creator -- you are not the centre of attention, but what you have to provide to the world. The creators who will not create a "click" with their respective audiences, are prone to sink into obscurity, like many other artists, poets, philosophers and so on. If you wish to be cared by the world, give the world a reason to see yourself as someone distinctive, someone that they will be able to remember. That is done by devoting oneself to the ego of others.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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