The Big Idea woke me up after less than six hours’ sleep. Hey, what’s the big idea? I asked. You’re about to find out, it said. Put down your sleep and follow me.
Me: Go away and leave me alone. I need a new project like I need a hole in the head.
B.I.: There’s a hole in everything. That’s how the mutagens get in.
Me: Spare me the bad Leonard Cohen paraphrases. Hell no, I won’t glow!
B.I: Thirty-year-old bumper sticker slogans won’t save the earth, either. But I just might.
Me: Hey, whoa! The track record for ideas saving the earth is really, really poor. Just about every time people have tried that, they’ve ended up providing cover for new systems of oppression instead. Look at Marxism, Fascism, Christianity. We don’t need any more of those kinds of big ideas. Go away.
B.I.: I am not that big! Besides, I am much too whimsical to inspire sociopaths like Stalin or Constantine, and you know it. I would be at best a part — a small part — of any solution. Just one of many things that could help bring about a subtle but significant shift in the global consciousness…
Me: “A shift in the global consciousness”?! Jesus fucking christ. Take your goddamn simplistic New Age babble and get the hell out of my head!
B.I.: So you’re content to go on drifting through life as a tinkerer, a putterer, an intellectual dilettante? You don’t want to contribute to something larger than yourself?
Me: I contribute every time I capture an insight on paper — or in pixels, as the case may be. And it’s not like I’m completely self-centered, either. Well over half my energies these days are already directed toward promoting other people’s work. If I decide to put you into practice yet, that will not only eat into these other commitments, but leave me with hardly any time for my own creative work. Not to mention rob me of sleep on a regular basis, give me ulcers, and lead in all probability to an early grave.
B.I.: But I could make you famous! Then your own words would have an astronomically larger audience. And eventually, once I’m well established, you could pass the baton to someone else and go back to what you’re doing now.
Me: Get thee behind me, Satan.
B.I.: Well, who’s got the messianic complex now? You see — you do want to save the earth.
Me: The very idea that we should aspire to “save the earth” — that any one of us, or even any group of us, could possibly begin to comprehend what the earth needs — it’s total hubris. It’s nothing but the old colonialist, white-man’s-burden bullshit times ten. The earth doesn’t need to be saved, it needs to be left the fuck alone.
B.I.: That’s a very convenient belief for someone who happens to own thousands of dollars worth of stock in evil transnational corporations. Come on. Give up everything you have and follow me.
Me: Don’t try to sweeten the deal. You know what a masochist I am. Look, the fact is I am not the right person — not your Saul, if we want to keep playing with this ridiculous New Testicle analogy. Even the best idea, if brought into the world by the wrong person, will either be still-born or die slowly and painfully after a few, heart-wrenching years of life.
B.I.: But nobody else would love me as well as you do! And you do, admit it. Why else does anyone wake in the middle of the night? What you lack in connections and technical expertise you could more than make up for in passionate commitment.
Me: Tired. I’m so tired.
B.I.: People would literally come out of the woodwork to help. O.K., figuratively. But build it — build me — and they will come.
Me: O.K., that’s it. When an idea depends on clichés from sentimental baseball movies to communicate its importance, it is officially NO LONGER WELCOME IN MY HEAD. Get out! Get out!
To be continued. Or — in all likelihood — not.
Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).