The Nature of the Aesthetic Experience (rough first ch/section of my sr. thesis)

We are dependent on our senses. It is impossible to escape this realm- that which we see, smell, hear, and feel, and the basic structures by which we judge aesthetic value trace to this amalgam. We define our world by physicality, we understand through the only ways we can, by amassing data about the world before consciously and subconsciously applying the relationships which are formed by this process. Everything is defined by our ability to comprehend it. Our tools are extensions of our body, improvements on the limitations of the limited nerve system which transmits information only so quickly, and to only so great of a degree. It is only after great length that we find aesthetics, and it is completely defined by the familiarity of the content, formally or conceptually. Thus, it is after all experience which defines aesthetic judgment, and it is in familiarizing ourselves with anything that we find we can appreciate it. What cannot be forgotten, however, is that often the result can be that aesthetics encompass more than we understand, that there is more than what exists that can be beautiful. It is important that our memory is quite less than static. The ability of our experiences to expand, and of the mind to perform recombination of these memories is what allows the creative and intellectual process to develop a complex aesthetic.
There are many formal basics which we stand on in our relationship to the world through our senses. Some are easily recognizable such as being too hot or too cold, being cut hurts, or the urge to sleep. Even these are complex understandings, built in time by your body's memory of the past. The body experiences discomfort as it realizes its faculties are diminished and thus reacts to temperatures in a relatively predictable way. Rapid transition from a cold climate to a warm one will create uneasiness due to the body's acclimation, its memory of the average conditions and sensations of the past. More complex is the body's imposition of pain. While pain is not helpful in any physical sense, and can often be a hindrance, the preventative urge which we heed prevents further harm. If it hurts to walk, the body is implying it would be a bad idea, and what little instincts we have left attempt to tell us to stop. Like the body's memory of temperature, it also remembers correct function and the lack of strain on its components. Our aesthetic appreciations are much like the subconscious memory of the body. When acclimated to a mode of representation, when said mode is associated with bodily comfort, when we understand something, on an instinctive level or on a complex intellectual level, it can often be traced to the ability to associate it with familiar experiences. These experiences are in turn associated with the memories we gather through our senses, and the underlying structure which is formed by these memories forms a bank of averages, a pattern of commonality which gives aesthetic value to that which most repeats itself. It is in this way that the very world which surrounds us forms the basis for our aesthetic judgments.
This does not exclude the possibility for "deviant" aesthetics in any way, for our experiences can contain negative understandings of certain information. It is possible, for example, to create a phobia in a small child by creating an environment of stress to the body by shocking its senses (with say a loud noise), and at the same time showing the child an otherwise innocuous object such as a stuffed toy. When later confronted with the toy the child will often re-experience the shock created by the stress. Not only has the child's sense of safety been affected, but as aesthetics is a judgment of beauty, and beauty is defined by our level of appreciation for a thing, it has also been given a formal aesthetic shift. The stuffed toy is now frightening and it seems that anything exposure to anything reminiscent of the toy would prove to be likewise. The formal imagery of the toy would become intensely unappealing (to say the least), and the child's ability to appreciate relationships of the forms inherent to the toy's appearance would be severely damaged. However, conflicting memories of the toy would also play into the reaction the child would have upon reencountering the toy. If there are enough good memories of said toy, they might outweigh the negative impact of the stress, especially as the immediacy of the memory fades. It is also possible that on the one hand the child would love the toy for their past memories, and yet fear it at the same time due to the sudden shift in its associated danger.
The relationship between the senses and aesthetics is inextricable, even in the realm of the mind. Our experiences inform us so that me might form concepts, and these concepts will develop in the mind based on the level which they can be applied to or informed by sensual interactions with the physical world. In this way experience allows for the development of complex thoughts, and the development of a conceptual aesthetic. As a particular concept becomes more useful it becomes more beautiful and personally correct to an individual. The result of this is not only preference and taste, but also a structure for interpreting all sensual information, whether familiar or not. When one tastes a new food, an expected response is to compare it to a familiar one, and likewise in regards to other sensual information. It is natural that we attempt to create relationships such that the range of our experience will maintain cohesiveness, and have a method for placing a new piece of information. In this way we receive evocation from imagery. Imagine a series of lines which intersect and occupy a common space. It is reasonable to assume, when one is examining the lines, that they will attempt to fit the pattern into some sort of previously established category. One person might imagine what the lines could be and establish a representational interpretation, while another might take the lines as a formal expression and establish an understanding based on the spacing and directions of the lines, drawing a conclusion as to what the lines are supposed to evoke. It is the same way when one encounters an unknown language. All there is to go on when attempting to decipher meaning from such a word is its similarity to words in a known language, or the slight understanding of the structure and sound of some variety of languages which one has been exposed to. It is possible that one might also respond to either the drawing or the word by ignoring it, but in this case the response is also informed by experience. The casting away of difficult or unfamiliar information must also develop in response to other attempts to decipher such information, and what the result of such an effort might have been.
Needless to say, the desired result of any work of art is to create a response in the viewer, whether compelling in its formal accomplishments, its representational stylings or its conceptual dialog, but the experience of the viewer must inform them that said work is worth their time, or they must routinely take all encounters on equal ground. The artist can attempt to compel in many ways, but an unwilling (or unshaken) audience will never comprehend, or attempt to comprehend the intent behind the work. Unfortunately, the ability of formal qualities to engage a viewer is not always sufficient. Beauty is informed by a variety of experiences within each viewer. While style is an unpredictable asset, it is often an important aspect of any artistic creation. Stylistic choices allow the artist to create a voice within a formal aesthetic decision making process. Often style can inform formal choices by creating an evocative quality more easily accessible to any viewer. By utilizing a knowledge of the basic experiences and understandings of an average person, style brings connotations of the familiar into a formal or conceptual framework. While the formal organization and aesthetic should in theory be a primary method by which the viewer can understand the work, it is necessary that stylistic choices call upon referential knowledge, or deny it. Roy Lichtenstein's imposition of print media stylistic signifiers upon brushstrokes, for example, is probably the best example to demonstrate how style affects the formal tendencies of an image. While Lichtenstein's stylizations accomplish a commentary on the loss of information in the use of stylistic choices, his work also demonstrates how the formal and conceptual qualities of an image are drastically altered in their content through the imposition of referential or evocative stylistic choices. Thus style, formal familiarity and aesthetic, and the evocation of tone are all built upon the language we define all understanding by—experience. It is experience itself which causes behavior and understanding to form, and it is experience which absolutely has the greatest impact on the nature of any person, to whatever extent that nature is developed rather than inherited.
So this is where we arrive: aesthetics are developed in an extensive process spanning not only the life of one individual but a whole society. As each successive generation finds itself further involved in a world of production, we also find ourselves further detached from the aesthetics which originally were formed by the nature of man and the earth and their relationship through sensation and necessity. As we move further from a source we become more independent, we forget that we are not purely masters of our own devising, and we at once turn to dependence of a different sort. This is a world of the self made. We read books, we watch films, we listen to the radio, and we forget that all is not our own. The inherited information we have made available to ourselves through planning and communication have created, without our notice, a society of those who learn by listening, watching, and reading. We have been given so much that we have forgotten to learn by experience, to pay attention to the things around us, and not to take for granted the knowledge we are given, but to question and learn with our own senses as well. For it is in solely inheriting our understandings where there is data loss, where there are ideas that do not quite keep their meanings and a distance from the self which creates distrust in the senses and intuitive judgment. It is in this sort of world that we find those who are so familiar with things they have no personal experience with that they have unwittingly shoved their own personal experience aside in favor of someone else's attempted communication of their own.

I resign to this.

It's going up, and the only thing missing is some of the photo galleries, and I'm tired of putting this off just because of that.
...it's HERE.
My website is unfurled.

www.liscentric.com

Please, go there and be merry. And if you'd like, the news page is a livejournal, and you are welcome to use that knowledge however you may choose.

04.28.01--Beauty(and fungi make me a hippy, yes)

It is really fucking amazing and beautiful how we can all get along and communicate with each other with only the slightest sharing of information. It is Really important to keep this clear. As we move along and interact with each other, the slightest things can occur to change how we perceive our world, the slightest things can become the greatest. Functioning within this whole, while not consuming, must be seen as an amazing celebration of us.

Everything we do and say in our struggle to live every day is a celebration of the human race's ability to produce amazing things. The reason why we have all our rules and order is to satisfy our wish to be assured that we are great as not only a civilization but as individuals as well, and finding a striking difference between those two halves is what we call life.
  • Current Music
    "silence"

05.31.01--a Jackass by any other name(slim editing)

Ok, so this show has come up a few times recently...
Apparently, one of the guys who is a regular has the same name as me.
I have been talked to because someone thought I might be him.
It has been brought up simply because of a name.
It all seems silly.
[This started off as a post about how Renn Fayre apparently was on the show, but I think I'd rather talk about the concept of the name.]

We are given our names from the beginning, as our culture deals with it. We are referred to by an identification which necessarily has nothing to do with us unless by some chance genetics get something right and our name is perfect for us. I on the other hand, am adopted. There is not a chance my name would have been perfect for me based on my personality alone, unless you believe in nurture more than nature. Personally I believe in nurture, but not enough...I don't think you can grow into your name, really, names mean so little now that they are really just a combination of sounds, which may or may not evoke feeling in their utterance. So what is a name? We know they are not individualistic, unless they become so recognizable that no one would dare use them again lest they defy the individuality of the person who had "claimed" the name, and the person whom they are naming. It places a personality upon someone, which never really has any hold. Parents name their children hoping to make them accepted, a name plays roles deeper than who we are while we are young, they make us who we are. But why does this utterance mean so much?

I may be Ryan Dunn. The person on television may be another Ryan Dunn. There are at least another hundred or maybe even a thousand Ryan Dunns throughout the country just at this time, maybe more including Europe and other English speaking countries, none of us having anything in common, besides a set of syllables, and parents with similar tastes, urges, predispositions or prejudices. I am Ryan Dunn because my father's father is Scottish, with whom I share no genes. I am not Scottish. I am not of anyone. I am me.

I think I feel more connection to the names, holyloki, or hypnopaedia than I do to Ryan Dunn necessarily. Sure I respond to Ryan, but that is because I have been trained to through understanding of the purpose of a name, to address a person. I would feel odd considering changing my name becaus it would mean I am in a way forsaking my attatchment to family. I don't particularly feel like I should have any attatchment to the name though. While my parents and sister are my family, only 1 of them has the name by genetic descendancy. And only one chose the name(in a sense).

As Evan spoke about creativity in a post just a short while ago, he talked about how the only thing he felt he had started to be creative about was his new desktop environment, which I am proud of him for undertaking. He claimed that for all he had done, most of the environment was created by pictures I had taken. In a sense, this feeling, (while not necessarily true in his case, because I believe setting up design and even choosing my pictures is a step towards creative thought and knowing your preference is half of creativity) is similar to the issue of names. I don't feel it has anything to do with me, regardless of what I have made the name into for my friends and those who know Ryan Dunn as a friend of theirs and not as a TV personality, as slenderly as that title may be conferred upon him. It seems that most of the work going toward that name is someone elses, and in a strange way, I want to strip myself of it. I feel a strange urge to lose this restriction, the idea that my id tag is not something which represents me makes me uneasy, and I want to let lose from it.
  • Current Music
    "silence"

also from 06/05/01

The key to true understanding is knowing that it cannot be communicated(in a pure unadulterated form). Answering the important questions relies on realizing that there are answers, you just have find them for yourself. This is where organized religion most often fails: when its progenitors forget the intent of the originators' first ideas, and make them laws.

Reposting here from June 5, 2001:What I've been thinking about for the past year yet hadn't realized what.

We are missing everything.
Liz quoted me on something, which in a way was my futher interpretation of something I had read about music being put out on the internet, "There's so much going on we cannot possibly see all of it."

We are missing everything, and yet...it doesn't matter. And that is what we are missing. Everything we communicate goes to naught, because we don't mean 99.9% of it. Almost everything we commit to its own survival will be destroyed, will never matter, will never be consumed by enough people to make a difference. enough things to make a difference. enough meaning to make any change whatsoever in meaning henceforth from its inception.

I lay outside my house on a wicker couch this morning, made by human animals, observing the structures built by people in order to survive our fragile existences, waiting. I wanted to see something, something I had been waiting for along time to see.

I have been searching for something for the past three years.

I believe I have realized the infinite. It seems if it were completely true I wouldn't be writing this to you all, but I have also realized the infinitely unimportant. Unfortunately infinite has come to mean vast, outstretching, incomprehensible size, but we forget it's inverse, incomprehensible multitude via depth.

I watched the leaves turn under the force of the wind, created by the heat currents of the air, everywhere at once, all being missed, unobserved, and yet the leaves turn, the rain falling under the same and more circumscription continues to fall, the leaves maintain their connection to that which they serve, the tree, etc, and you know where this heads and I refuse to bore you.

We lose track of everything in our scattered scurrying to find survival. What matters in our day to day lives besides existing? Every movie we watch, song we listen to, conversation we have...so many miss the mark. We are "generally pleased"[to quote someone whom I'm sure most you recognize since you were as vainly trying to listen to everyone's every word] with everything. So much we create is less than perfect, so much as to be reprimandable. So many creators of art, writing, communication of any sort, lack the ability to truly communicate, and instead of reaching for that one step higher either give up or never had the capacity to understand how arrogant and uninsightful the work was in the first place. So much is lost in this world, and yet we still try vainly to hold onto everything. I'm not sure what we hold onto really is what we should be.

I have been observing recently, how the human animal acts in relation to its normal processes. Eating, defecating, its reproductive habits and rituals, travel, communication, everything. I observe non-human activities, and compare. We are so arrogant.

Because we have developed useless skills, we are self-proclaimed masters of information and thought. But does understanding really bring understanding?
Knowing how to make a fire does not make us any more masters of its destruction and production. Our greatest literature tells us of our faults, how we are unable to control the forces which guide our universe, and yet we are vainly trying at every moment in our lives to not die.

I want to cut time in half and watch you all scramble for the larger half.

I have come to live within the state of not attempting so vainly to retain everything which is not simply pertaining to myself and those I care about. Those I care about, though, does not merely include those I know personally. However, the personal part is what separates. I don't need to know that today, a man with a name bearing no signifigance to his thoughts or emotions, but rather a gutteral remnant of meaning we have lost, stepped in a puddle, or saw another group of humans act in a play depicting something none of them had any part in creating the meaning of, but all take pride in nonetheless. I can live without that play. I can live without a song. I can live without a book, a poem, a painting, a machine. It's deciding upon the values of these things in relation to everything else, including whatever you feel your personal goal is which make them valuable. Too many times we don't take these things seriously, and those other things we supposedly care about are diminished in their presence.

We settle for mediocrity because it is profitable.
Society cannot function without the acceptance of mediocrity .
We must agree for our populations to work, and our instincts make this work.
We are successful creatures because our overall instincts tell us to use each other.
We are programmed to think that the more we absorb, the more useful we are to ourselves, when in reality, we either become useful to no one in our madness or useful to everyone besides ourselves.

Patience within our situations resolves them.

We must accept our inability to bend reality.
Time is only one thing, and if you wait to find another, it will disappear. The set you wanted is already gone.

Live now. Love now. Think now. Sleep now. Drink now. Fuck now. Eat now. Talk to someone...now.
In a second is not good enough any more.
Whatever it is you need, do it. It doesn't need to be productive, helpful, useful, sustaining, anything. Do what you need to do to understand something of your own volition, and stop waiting for someone else to give you the answers.

Myself included.
  • Current Music
    "silence"

When the world caves in and all is left is the darkness of space,

sometimes it's best to reconstruct, but mostly to start anew.

For as much as I think I have valuable things to give to you all, I find it surprisingly hard to decide when is an appropriate time to do anything, and often am either wrong or only decide in a reactionary manner. This is neither reactionary or inspired.

I've been considering the separation from physicality I've been experimenting with lately, the views I have been toying with considering the lack of substance in what we are always interacting with, our bodies, what I am typing right now, the lightning outside, the trees in relation to human social practices. I think I am still baffled. On the one hand, we make no sense. People do not understand what it is that drives them, even when it is plainly obvious why they do certain things when certain things are done to them or that they experience.
Watching a softball game the other day, U14 girls, trees swaying in the background, I began to ponder more on the ways in which we differ from (and are the same as) not only other animals, but life in general. How we struggle in such complex patterns to accomplish what the trees do willingly and without conflict. Each tree sways in the wind, and grows year in and out, growing until it can spread its seed, propagating its species, being there while it is, and no more. While meanwhile we make ourselves feel needed, wanted, special, and important in our actions, knowledge, and beliefs. We play games, and take them seriously, because they signify to us things we cannot do without them. We build things we never needed beforehand, and then rely on them. Our race is playing an eternal game of catch-up.

Let me make a more clear example, and one which may bring out a more personal twist to this jumble.
LiveJournal.
I started using LiveJournal about a year and a third ago, and remember having seen it on Erik's website before anyone was using it, maybe up to a year beforehand, maybe a little less than this, but it is really of no importance. At that point, I thought it seemed silly, self-important, maybe a bit interesting, but for the most part a little bit of a waste of time. Obviously LiveJournal is something different today through much innovation, but it is that innovation which has made it now so unavoidable to those who are linked in. If I were to stop using LiveJournal, I would be out of a serious loop which my friends have built themselves into. I never needed to use this before, still don't really, but keeping up to date on reading what my friends have been up to, especially since I am not in their immediate vicinity any longer, has become almost crucial to maintaining my support for who they are. The LiveJournal game is an interesting one, because while some crave privacy at first, there are many who will give in to need the comments, the post-hunger weighing them down, and some will falter in their posting when they do not feel there is need for their journal. I myself get relatively few pertinent comments, but it is of no issue, because it is me. Others strive to make their journals interesting to the random user who might stumble upon them, believe they have a story to tell, where the central character is themselves, and the plot is what they do every day, and whether it is story worthy or not, everything is melodramatic. We now rely on this board, a place for us to voice opinions(or refrain from them) we probably would have voiced other places instead had we not had the outlet, and let others fall between the cracks, and let some of the garbage that repeats itself every day, in and out, go away. Now we have everything if we so choose. I can map my life for the past year and some because I have taken the time to write it down. I used to be able to map my life by the poems I was writing every day, but now I have begun to falter, and something is being lost to more direct communication, because no one ever seemed to want to delve into artistry which gave off more than what one might read at first. And yes, I am bitter and disappointed in people. We can now say direct, and that is probably one of the most direct sentences I've written on LiveJournal itself even. I had hoped for more from people, and if I am correct about some of your outlooks toward me and my writing, they stopped long ago when they saw I was writing a long post. Acceptable, but interesting. I think that since I am starting f for these sorts of posts, and will soon repost others like this there, maybe those who wish to read those can do so...but then, no one pays attention to my other parsed journals(w and u either...I may be wasting my time. My game is to see whether this world is worth it, whether I should be bothering to try to communicate intriguing beauty or whether there are really any humans out there who are willing to actually listen. Many are not, as I'm sure you know since most of you are above the marketed opinions, polled and sold, but they get what they want, ignorance.

We do in the end get what we want, and for the most part, the human race wants to fool itself so it can get back to what it is trying to do anyhow, survive. We know we have the capacity to outdo our programming, but ultimately we try to meld this and then forget this, and go on with reproduction and socially subsisting. Everything we didn't know yesterday, we thought we knew, because it is safe. Everything we knew yesterday, we ignored, because knowledge is about gaining and enterprise and impressing ourselves, not truth. Knowledge and truth differ in this crucial way: Knowledge is fact and ignorable, but useful, while truth requires a bit more effort to believe and incorporate, because it can be as easily ignored for life to go on the way it has been, for life to go on just being life, and just being, and no one needs it to continue, and especially not engineers, social or mechanical.

sum

It's easy to forget how easily most people escape the problem of contemplating the miraculous nature of their own existence.

I meant to write on this last night, but I was sidetracked, and distracted and sleeping.

On the ride back from Seattle, at the very beginning of our trip, my friend Ayva made a comment about the giant billboard with a picture of Uncle Sam on it in the southern part of Washington along I-5. She said that on one side, it made mention of thanking the environmentalists for higher oil prices, and on the other, thanking your mother for not having had an abortion. She thought this was bizarre.

Being an adoptee from birth, the child of a pair of college students, it has always been on the front lobe of my mind how startling the distinction is between existence and non-existence. Each part, to the smallest distinction, is miraculous in its very possession of the quality of being.

I am not sure if it is actually possible to communicate the extreme luck I feel I have been graced with just to be alive, to be a person any one of you can talk to. I think it governs at a base level my willingness to share of my existence and what I have to offer with everyone around me, whether I know them well or not, although on that note I do not wish to sound clingy or annoying, and do not mean that I go around offering my services to those who do not request them or present issues with which I could be of service.

Some may think my fervor when I discuss the topic of abortion to be fanatical, religious, or inconsiderate or uninformed. However, I think I have very much a right to show the fervor I do, and also an important set of reason, experience, and personal understanding of a situation which others seem to take for granted. That is, existence.

See, most people know they are either the children of their parents, or at least even the child of their parents, not wanted at precisely that moment. They do not have to face the thought that they were totally unwanted by the people whom they were begotten of. In a sense, I AM the aborted children none of you have to face the possibility of having been, because most of you came out alright without a decision of abandonment or relinquishment.

Having had over 20 years now [well, considering from birth, not first cognition] to realize the amazing truth that I DO exist, and that there are many people whose lives would most likely be different had I not been kept alive by the beneficent woman who is my mother, it seems arrogant for anyone to say that they understand the fear that is not existing enough to say that their one well calculated decision which went to bad chance can be resolved as easily as revoking the possibility of life to someone they have no knowledge of, much less anyone. Anyone who believes that murder is wrong, must admit that no matter what you believe an inseminated egg to be before any time period to be, it can only become a human being, a life, what I was allowed to become.

Now most people would say this is a fruitless argument, because the concerns of the unborn child should not come before the concerns and welfare of the parents since the established life should not be compromised because of something which has not earned itself a place in society yet. However, this would be as fair as saying to me that I am worthless, simply because the 9 months of pregnancy I caused my mother to go through changed her life for a while. I'd say it was her fault, and she deserved it, and was enough of an honorable person not to compromise the value of my life because of the unplanned manner of its becoming. She most likely knew the risks, and she paid the consequences. She did the rational, responsible thing and knew that despite having made the mistake and needing to go through with having me despite her not necessarily wanting to, knowing the disturbance it would cause for her, that she was not ready to take care of me adequately, which brings in the option most people discard, as unthinkable. I think their willingness to kill before dealing with things as an honorable human being within the scope of their responsibility based on their actions, well thought out or not, is unthinkable.

I do, however, not believe in the suffering of those who have not made a rational decision to take the risk which sex before wanting children presents. This includes those who are raped. I'm sure there are other circumstances which cause people similar sorts of stress and disturbance which are not at this point worth extrapolating on. In short, I believe in situational abortion, for the sake of those who are not attempting to shirk the responsibility they are due to follow through on. I should clarify this however. While I do not think they should have to suffer through this sort of torture, nor keep the child, I do think that they would be performing an extremely noble deed to let the child live, no matter what its circumstances of becoming. While an abortion at this point would be blameless, it would nonetheless be performing the same deed of disallowing this person life. I do think certain measures would need to be taken to prevent the child from ever knowing of the manner of their conception in situations such as rape, however, since such knowledge would be psychologically damaging beyond anyone's capacity for dealing with torture.


Ultimately I believe in the honor of owning up to the consequences of your actions.

At some digression between my commencement of this classical style essay, and this point, I would like to comment on the nature of feeling behind knowing that I came extremely close to not having he ability to tell you of what it is to know you might never have existed. While we all have become by the slim chance of a certain sperm inseminating a certain egg, by two certain people, most do not have to consider the unlikelihood that after they had been conceived, their parents were completely unwilling to consider keeping them. In this age where most of the people in this society believe in the life of the living, at certain ethical caveats, "we" decide that the living are the sole inheritors of the decision to allow life. "We" believe in the Frankenstein's monster of every human being. I can only imagine what it would be to have never been, or to have only been for a short period of time. It is hard to make a distinction for those who do not believe in the immutability of the soul, that we are not just a collection of chemical reactions, and yet even I find myself worried that that could be true, and yet, I do not think it changes how I believe this issue affects my thoughts. While I accept my animal self, I also believe in the self which inhabits our bodies, or is created at the time of our bodily creation. It truly does not matter which is true. I, as I have mentioned before, am not sure whether it is possible to communicate the fear behind considering the possibility of one's never having existed. I think of the thought that I might never have told anyone any of this, and that it might have never otherwise been said. That is what frightens me.

Now imagine never having read this.

sum

It's easy to forget how easily most people escape the problem of contemplating the miraculous nature of their own existence.

I meant to write on this last night, but I was sidetracked, and distracted and sleeping.

On the ride back from Seattle, at the very beginning of our trip, my friend Ayva made a comment about the giant billboard with a picture of Uncle Sam on it in the southern part of Washington along I-5. She said that on one side, it made mention of thanking the environmentalists for higher oil prices, and on the other, thanking your mother for not having had an abortion. She thought this was bizarre.

Being an adoptee from birth, the child of a pair of college students, it has always been on the front lobe of my mind how startling the distinction is between existence and non-existence. Each part, to the smallest distinction, is miraculous in its very possession of the quality of being.

I am not sure if it is actually possible to communicate the extreme luck I feel I have been graced with just to be alive, to be a person any one of you can talk to. I think it governs at a base level my willingness to share of my existence and what I have to offer with everyone around me, whether I know them well or not, although on that note I do not wish to sound clingy or annoying, and do not mean that I go around offering my services to those who do not request them or present issues with which I could be of service.

Some may think my fervor when I discuss the topic of abortion to be fanatical, religious, or inconsiderate or uninformed. However, I think I have very much a right to show the fervor I do, and also an important set of reason, experience, and personal understanding of a situation which others seem to take for granted. That is, existence.

See, most people know they are either the children of their parents, or at least even the child of their parents, not wanted at precisely that moment. They do not have to face the thought that they were totally unwanted by the people whom they were begotten of. In a sense, I AM the aborted children none of you have to face the possibility of having been, because most of you came out alright without a decision of abandonment or relinquishment.

Having had over 20 years now [well, considering from birth, not first cognition] to realize the amazing truth that I DO exist, and that there are many people whose lives would most likely be different had I not been kept alive by the beneficent woman who is my mother, it seems arrogant for anyone to say that they understand the fear that is not existing enough to say that their one well calculated decision which went to bad chance can be resolved as easily as revoking the possibility of life to someone they have no knowledge of, much less anyone. Anyone who believes that murder is wrong, must admit that no matter what you believe an inseminated egg to be before any time period to be, it can only become a human being, a life, what I was allowed to become.

Now most people would say this is a fruitless argument, because the concerns of the unborn child should not come before the concerns and welfare of the parents since the established life should not be compromised because of something which has not earned itself a place in society yet. However, this would be as fair as saying to me that I am worthless, simply because the 9 months of pregnancy I caused my mother to go through changed her life for a while. I'd say it was her fault, and she deserved it, and was enough of an honorable person not to compromise the value of my life because of the unplanned manner of its becoming. She most likely knew the risks, and she paid the consequences. She did the rational, responsible thing and knew that despite having made the mistake and needing to go through with having me despite her not necessarily wanting to, knowing the disturbance it would cause for her, that she was not ready to take care of me adequately, which brings in the option most people discard, as unthinkable. I think their willingness to kill before dealing with things as an honorable human being within the scope of their responsibility based on their actions, well thought out or not, is unthinkable.

I do, however, not believe in the suffering of those who have not made a rational decision to take the risk which sex before wanting children presents. This includes those who are raped. I'm sure there are other circumstances which cause people similar sorts of stress and disturbance which are not at this point worth extrapolating on. In short, I believe in situational abortion, for the sake of those who are not attempting to shirk the responsibility they are due to follow through on. I should clarify this however. While I do not think they should have to suffer through this sort of torture, nor keep the child, I do think that they would be performing an extremely noble deed to let the child live, no matter what its circumstances of becoming. While an abortion at this point would be blameless, it would nonetheless be performing the same deed of disallowing this person life. I do think certain measures would need to be taken to prevent the child from ever knowing of the manner of their conception in situations such as rape, however, since such knowledge would be psychologically damaging beyond anyone's capacity for dealing with torture.


Ultimately I believe in the honor of owning up to the consequences of your actions.

At some digression between my commencement of this classical style essay, and this point, I would like to comment on the nature of feeling behind knowing that I came extremely close to not having he ability to tell you of what it is to know you might never have existed. While we all have become by the slim chance of a certain sperm inseminating a certain egg, by two certain people, most do not have to consider the unlikelihood that after they had been conceived, their parents were completely unwilling to consider keeping them. In this age where most of the people in this society believe in the life of the living, at certain ethical caveats, "we" decide that the living are the sole inheritors of the decision to allow life. "We" believe in the Frankenstein's monster of every human being. I can only imagine what it would be to have never been, or to have only been for a short period of time. It is hard to make a distinction for those who do not believe in the immutability of the soul, that we are not just a collection of chemical reactions, and yet even I find myself worried that that could be true, and yet, I do not think it changes how I believe this issue affects my thoughts. While I accept my animal self, I also believe in the self which inhabits our bodies, or is created at the time of our bodily creation. It truly does not matter which is true. I, as I have mentioned before, am not sure whether it is possible to communicate the fear behind considering the possibility of one's never having existed. I think of the thought that I might never have told anyone any of this, and that it might have never otherwise been said. That is what frightens me.

Now imagine never having read this.