As a child I only had interest in instinctive drives such as food and play. An animal intention without thinking of cause or reason. It was something I did and must be done. I am well aware that we are animals although we regard ourselves differently due to one evolutionary vice. Somewhere in our history, between being wild and creating space ships we somehow thought about why. Why don’t I use this club to hit something and it will be more effective than a fist; led to great advances on humanity to our current limit of devastation; nuclear power. In the moment of childhood when we realise ‘why’ might not be very obvious. Some say it’s when we look in the mirror and discover our self. Schooling is the institute or whys and what if’s. We are nurtured to think outside of our understanding in a proposed hope of bettering ourselves to become more useful or successful, more at peace with eradicating the anxiety of the unknown. ‘Why’ is irreparable, insatiable, leading to question ourselves of the reason are we doing this? Why does it happen? Why not? Philosophy is born from the condition of why. Forever attempting to orientate normalities of the way we live. This is our greatest ability yet also our greatest vice. We are forever desiring, imagining something else. Something more than what we have as we have been not only nurtured from growing up, yet will perpetually continue to and is irreversible. As a child it’s easy to think I was completely happy playing and eating until I wanted what the other kid had. This is an animalistic instinct such as being bigger or better. When the question of why can’t I have it, or why is it like this becomes apparent we become philosophers. One of my earliest memories was when I climbed a bookshelf inevitably destroying things. It would have to be the case that I climbed because it was instinctive, not contemplative. It couldn’t have been why would I climb this, it would be I’m climbing it. The moment we think about why is the moment we lose our loss of innocence. The transition from child to adult where we cannot be so naive. From this moment, we question every thing from nature to technology, from how can I get that to the very reason we exist at all. This is also the beginning of anxiety. If we don’t know something we have to! If there is a something better how do we get it! These haves have driven us to spectacular heights and will always do so yet the vice of questioning, the polar opposite is yearning, desire and dealing with not having. The American dream is the owner of can do, can be, and why not! Though a fundamental flaw is this very basis of anxiety; that if we all achieved our desires society and civilisation will be unable to operate. Once our basic freedoms and previsions are obtained, such as working for food and shelter and an acceptable level of choice and liberty is obtained; questioning and anxiety prevail. Those without basic liberties and amenities will always be bemused by someone’s subtle despair of thinking about the whys. Those born into comfort with know this but will not be able to escape it. We know that many suffer without food and water yet we gauge in it. This is not to say we are all unhappy and depressed, I’m suggesting that we are designed from an evolutionary and social basis to eternally question and desire without limits making us anxious, as we can never know everything, because we don’t have it. I am not only referring to consumerist society of tangibility, it was well understood in modern advertising that lifestyle desire represented in products is much more effective. We long to be something that we are not; we lust for experiencing things, which seem out of reach though possible. We lead busy lives of work to earn, to buy food, shelter and some entertainment, which will also never end. Of course there are distractions to our questioning. Having children defers all thoughts to the routine of looking after them. We have little time or energy to think about why. Some would say that breeding is our purpose, a biological preservation of race. When children leave home it could well be that our questioning anxiety returns though by that time familiarity and that lust for life is diminished. We wake up and work the best part of the day, get home tired to eat, watch TV then it’s time to rest to do it again. During this life long routine there are small moments of bliss. You could be busy and stressed without thinking of anything else when you hear a piece of music. Music that seems to dive deepest into your rhetorical self bringing a calm euphoric meditative moment of self-awareness. Art attempts to decipher our unanswerable questions. Pleasure such as bathing in the smothering warmth and shine of the sun on a hot day. Gorging into a fat greasy burger. Getting drunk. Getting high. Laughing with friends or finding peace and affection in the arms of a lover. These moments are distractions from our why questions or some would say are the answers to them. But all these things have a limited appeal. In the sun we get burnt. A burger, a joke, a lover has limited lifespan and appeal to us. We always want something else. Something more. We turn that club into a spaceship.
Written by Russell Whitehead..