Why are those with an acute inability to articulate themselves and feel compassion for others the ones who most want to relate something of themselves to us? As with most riddles, the question contains the answer.
I used to watch The Ricki Lake Show. Remember Ricki Lake? Watching that ghastly, vapid talk show was among my secret-shame TV habits. I’d watch and wonder how it was that the least thought-out among us are the ones speaking loudest, longest, and proudest. It did not compute with me that Ricki’s guest panelists didn’t know they were completely stupid or arrogant. I thought somehow stupids secretly knew they were stupid and this babbling at people and yelling over each other to make an obvious, often absurd, point was a defense mechanism. Maybe it was. Either way, I now know this much: the building up of the self must explode in expression. And these people were nothing if not explosive.
Left to its own devices, the self is a half-baked recipe of suffering, confusion, and struggle. This is why those who are the least well-thought-out people are also the loudest and fastest talkers. Those with the least to say speak it most because the accumulation of these difficult feelings must be expressed. If we repress ourselves, we explode in intervals and in unconscious ways. If we’re blatant, shameless people, all that is us vomits forth all the time. Stream of Consciousness is not called Stream of Forethought for a reason.
Art is one way to channel the explosion. Transferring it into fictional characters divorced from us as storytellers is another. Psychoanalysis is yet a third. And Yo Mamma joke battle rapping, a distant fourth. We cannot club each other to death on a whim, but we can hold our misunderstood selves at a distance. Though not what living is for, this is exactly how we live.
For how much longer? How much longer can we afford to repress until we explode? And will we mistake that explosion for transformation? Will we deem it a new phase of human growth? Will we look back at this as a period when we evolved as people until the next same explosion happens, reminding us that a reset button is not evolution, and we always hit the reset button?
Will we call that evolution, too?
Will it end with more diarrhea people?