No Great Science

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Kenny Larkin “Integration”

There’s a lot to be said for self-belief. It tends to be a great deal easier telling ourselves that we cannot achieve something and highlighting the reasons why; than having the inner strength to push through unreasonable doubt and trusting our own capabilities to succeed. We all entertain voices in our head, some more fiendish of flourish than others, and they can be mighty persuasive should our state of mind be anything less than pristine. Before we know it, negativity lathers up its ill-disposed soapbox and we convince ourselves that we’re worthless. Surplus to requirements. Nothing whatsoever special. Or worse still, utterly deluded for so much as contemplating triumph in the first place. Indecision knows precisely how to creep beneath our belfries and bat its lashes; and only needs the most casual of invitations to crash the party. And things rapidly descend into Greek wedding territory as it dashes our very finest crockery; before sneaking out the rear exit and leaving us to clean up the kebab meat.

So where do these voices originate from, pray tell. Well, a hefty portion of the blame ordinarily pre-dates our adult existences, landing solely and sorely on the doorstep of childhood. There can be a number of factors that influence the wiring of our tiny minds, from questionable parenting to those pesky school yard bullies and the circles we elect to travel in whilst we cometh of age. It’s rare for a six-year-old to inform you that they cannot do something, unless that something entails homework assignments or brushing their teeth for a full two minutes, front and back. Wide eyes are commonplace as we soak up every last slab of intelligence life provides and ignore anything which places limitations on us.

We scale the tallest oak tree in the wood, with precious little consideration given to the potential for personal harm. We think nothing of scooping up decomposing rat carcasses and rushing them back to our unlicensed rodent hospitals for dissection, regardless of the multitude of plagues they carry. We find freshly laid piles of dog feces comparable to silly putty, suck on the toes of our own footwear, and the three-second rule for felled lollipops is a myth we blatantly disregard as a lollipop is a lollipop after all, whether or not it is riddled with typhoid. Then, five days a week, we are tossed callously into an oversized Petri dish with all the other runny-nosed germ herders, where we commence to play kiss chase and pass the bacteria around like the proverbial parcel. Why do we do all these things? Because we believe we bloody well can. Then life happens.

Over the course of our lifetimes, we happen across many people, each of whom likely have their own unresolved issues to contend with. Some lift us up where we belong, others knock us the fuck down and demand we slather the pavement slab and make that shit sexy. But there’s one thing pretty much guaranteeable – they’ll each have their own opinions long since set in place and there’s good reason why opinions bear canny resemblance to assholes. Eleanor Roosevelt once said “nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent” and she was bang on the green sheets with that polished little pearl of wisdom. That being said, it’s in our nature to play the part of apt pupil; and the more trusting souls amongst us are only too happy to offer out endorsements willy nilly. Then we have the damaged minds, those wide open to suggestion, particularly when it twists our arm behind our back and threatens to snap it like a twig pending non-compliance.

Should we be burdened by woe, then there will be the none too easy riding question of guilt and its exhaustive quest for answers to wrestle with. Not to mention the feeling of worthlessness that sticks to it like phlegm on sandpaper. With self-belief already teetering over all-time low and set to take the plunge, a solitary dash of heedless discouragement can result in catastrophic kickers. Suddenly we’re comparable only to pond scum; lowly algae and the laughing-stock of even minnows. When our fragile minds are dead ringers for carousels, it can be a villainously vexing affair attempting to dismount. Round and round we go and, where we end up, well unfortunately we’re not the last to know. You see, once that faith dries up, it’s slalom time. And slippery slopes aren’t easy to ascend when over-encumbered with culpability and other suchlike dead weights. Einstein’s relative thinking generalized the whole “what goes up must come down” theory over a century back now, while we have the Godfather of the Dead, George A. Romero, to thank for flipping this thesis to the anti. His way just seems way more fun and eliminates any danger of being maimed by falling perishables.

Should we have tiptoed through the tulips for long enough without losing a big toe then, chances are, we’ll happen across a crossroads of sorts. There are two clearly titled signposts – one signifying the long, lonely road to nowhere in particular, and the other, a path of tremendous enlightenment which stretches as far as the eye can see. A mere smidgen of belief can go a long way as we pick up pace according to the rate with which this spreads through our once dormant mettle detectors. Much of this comes from within, of course, but will ultimately prove inefficient should we fail to read the right signs. We creative types tend to gravitate towards those who prefer not to curb their enthusiasm; who have no inclination towards indifference or any accompanying “meh”. Given that our entire hearts and souls are invested in our art, we clamor for feedback like scag whores as each kindly donation represents a hit straight to the pre-tapped vein. However, that’s not to suggest we crave only for validation. Far from it, in fact.

We can believe in our super powers boundlessly and still need to feel like the precious things we know damn well we are. Given that so much of our time is spent in our antechambers while focusing all available energies into getting devilish over every last detail; it’s only natural that we’ll wish to head topside once in a while and grab ourselves some all-important oxygen. Reclusive by nature we may be, but we’re also rather adept when it comes to social interaction. And this proves a glorious refueling station, once the fog commences rolling in. The more we frequent these little pockets of belief, the more equipped we become to push farther than ever before for the purpose of hitting those high notes. Thus, we surround ourselves with those we form genuine two-way attachments to and suddenly there is spring back in those slouched strides. And there is more besides.

The potential is right there for 200% power and the firing of all cylinders. But only should you get the balance right. Failure to do so will invariably result in lopsidedness and that just doesn’t make keen sense. Lock it in however and you’re well and truly loading the cannons. There is no great science to it, although you wouldn’t believe that by the manner in which mankind habitually and categorically fires up the Bunsen burner in a gas chamber. Should great minds think alike for a sustained enough period, then there’s a bona fide chance to upgrade our kit to magnificent. Naturally, we would be advised against letting an iddy-biddy thing like hero-worship go to our heads, but there are far more than bitter truth lozenges on hand to ensure we remain grounded.

Love is a mass of hyper-critical proportions. Respect absolutely no less so and fully fundamental to the former. And as for good old-fashioned humility, well that shit should be our American Express, if we’ve learned anything whatsoever from Great Uncle Albert’s theory. Belief is ultimately relative. It’s relative to locating the stars which twinkle brightest in our night skies and meeting those suckers smack bang at the midpoint. It’s relative to the effective rewiring of all manner of bogus cable length, not to mention regular updates to the software. But most of all, it’s relative to holding onto the faith that has seen you this far, the blinder the bloody better. Believe in yourself and others also; and just you see where you end up. We’d tell you but you wouldn’t believe us. Or would you? You see, no great science.

Richard Charles Stevens

Keeper of The Crimson Quill

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