An anxiety arising from constant uncertainty seems to be an intrinsic element in the emotional tide of people these days. Therefore, it seems to me, an artist might try to make an aesthetic of uncertainty as a way of inoculating one’s psyche against it, much like the way a vaccine works. If one can begin seeing the beauty and even humor in knowing you don’t actually know what’s going on, the anxiety slides away. If anything, that’s been a big part of my fiction: An attempt to play with the fire that seems both solid and vaporous.
If I must be Mr. Jones, I don’t want to lose my sense of humor about it.
One of the key elements, it seems to me, in dealing with this uncertainty-driven anxiety is to examine the errors we’re all constantly making. To begin this examination, I’ve come up with 10 levels of oops:
1. Premeditated with a good, yet surprising result.
2. Premeditated with a surprisingly bad result.
3. Intentional, but not premeditated with a good result.
4. Intentional, but not premeditated with a bad result.
5. Happily unintentional, resulting from a conscious reflex [one’s aware of it as it happens].
6. Sadly unintentional, resulting from a conscious reflex.
7. Happily unintentional, resulting from an unconscious reflex [one’s unconscious of it as it happens].
8. Sadly unintentional, resulting from an unconscious reflex, yet totally unaware that anything’s happened.
9. The oblivious, resulting from an unconscious reflex action to unconsciously perceived stimuli.
10. The nonplussed/uncertain, resulting from a chaotic mishmash of conscious and unconscious, premeditation and reflex.
It seems to me that the last is the most common, but that’s what I’m most aware of as a conscious human being. When you think about it, number nine greatly outnumbers number 10, perhaps by the same ratio as the numbers differentiating conscious from unconscious actions. It also seems to me one might try this as a loose framework for writing comedies of errors, something I’ve been experimenting with a little, but not too much…yet.
Please comment if you’re so inclined. None of this is set in stone and I just wrote it down longhand off the top of my head this morning while defragging.
Anyway…what do you think?