Making a murderer | 804
On being fully human

Why do we need self-expression?

[ 2 min read ]

I guess we like to create objects, or write, because it gives us a chance to get that thing out of our heads and into the “real world” (‘physical world’ would be a better term for that).

When I take something out of my head it ceases to exist merely in my head. It becomes visible, turns into a part of the world. Has a chance to survive. To be forever. Captured.

People can see it. I can see it. It’s real. Or more real to me than it was before, in the confines of my skull. If it made it into the physical world how can we say it doesn’t exist? If it’s only in my head anybody can say it doesn’t exist.
That’s why getting things out is so important in therapies, I guess. Suddenly we have the permission to talk about those things and they become real. Nobody can deny their existence anymore. We feel that everything is fine with us. That we haven’t gone mad.

Why is it important for me to capture something? Because I felt that it mattered. And if it mattered it couldn’t not be real. So to prove that it was real I bring it to the realm of the physicality. It can also be ephemeral, lasting a short while (like a performance or art work that dies out quickly), but it will do the trick because it appeared in the physical world.

And it’s especially important when the feeling seems weird or unfitting or unacceptable. That’s when we need this validation the most. We don’t need this validation when our thoughts, mental constructs, beliefs and behaviors match the thoughts, mental constructs, beliefs and behaviors of the majority of people in our group. The world which is based on those most common thoughts, mental constructs, beliefs and behaviors is usually already real to us. We take it at face value. It’s usually when we hesitate or want to question some rule and shout it out to the world that we use artistic expression.

Could we live without it? Of course we can live without it. We could realize that it’s just a trick, and not very sophisticated one. We could bring anything into the physical realm in such a way. The mere act of transferring it to the physical realm is not a prerequisite. It is often needed so that other people can see something which they otherwise might never see, but their seeing it doesn’t make this thing real either. What makes it real is our conviction that it is real. Other people can think otherwise — that it’s not real. And if that’s the case whose opinion should prevail? If we can create this conviction in our heads, it will be real.

To place an object or writing that contains what is invisible because of legislation or social taboo into an environment outside myself makes me feel not so alone; it keeps me company by virtue of its existence.

David Wojnarowicz