Even if the masses miss it, those of us who know *know*”
In my essay Dysfunctional Weirdos Vs Functional Weirdos I came to the conclusion that I write for the functional weirdos. Relax it’s not an attack on anyone – I’m one too, and probably less functional than you.
Writer Thomas J Bevan made a comment which has been on my mind for days:
“Always a liberation to raise the flag and state explicitly (if only to yourself) here’s where I stand, here’s who I write for, here’s what I’m about. Excited for this run of yours you are embarking on. Even if the masses miss it, those of us who know *know*”
My reply to him:
I’ve given up on the whole “reach the masses change the world” thing. Now I’m a reluctant elitist.
By “reluctant elitism” I want to contrast it with the more common “wannabe elitism” – that strong desire and need many people have to be elite, or seen as elite, and prove to themselves that despite all appearances they are indeed one of the special ones.
To borrow again from Nietzsche, talking about noble-ness but also about elite-ness:
"those who betray by their works that a profound longing for nobleness impels them; but this very NEED of nobleness is radically different from the needs of the noble soul itself, and is in fact the eloquent and dangerous sign of the lack thereof."
By elitism I mean my work and writing is for the few, not the masses. But not out of sour grapes as another self-delusion and consolation, but because an honest appraisal of the situation shows: it’s just the way it is.
I’m interested in ideas and practices that don’t have mass appeal – and will never have mass appeal – it’s just the way it is. Full acceptance of this instead of struggling and fantasising about how to become more mainstream, how to get rich, how to be successful in the ordinary sense, has indeed been a liberation.
All the energy which was bound up into wishing, imagining – sometime even resenting (don’t tell Nietzsche) –has now been freed up for creative work. Getting closer to the truth seems to give you more energy.
The best thing is I now no longer even wish my work had mass appeal – although I did wish it for years, and fantasised about changing the world and being the “special one” who will be remembered in a thousand years, like the ancient hero but without all that pesky physical danger!
I don’t judge those who choose the mainstream route - it’s probably more intelligent and practical than what I’m doing right now (this is not financial advice by the way!)
And don’t get me wrong, I would accept the financial benefits of mass appeal if it was offered to me – I’m not an idiot or liar – but that’s not what’s on offer. What’s on offer is to compromise and dumb it down and appeal to more people in order to feel more successful.
Which way, elitist man?