Sunday, January 25, 2009
A NEW LEARNING
When I was young I didn’t understand life so I had low tolerance for eccentric people, specially when they were members of my extended family. I thought everyone had to conform to societal expectations or mine. Eccentricity is not madness. It’s oddness. An eccentric’s behaviour deviates from societal norms but otherwise eccentrics function normally enough in society. It is unconventionality at its best and it should not be viewed apprehensively or amusingly. It should be respected. In its purest state eccentricity is a kind of innocence.
I am wiser now. I now love eccentric people. I want to be one. You might say “you either are one or you aren’t.” I am not convinced about that. Eccentricity is often associated with genius, giftedness and creativity. Well that’s me. An arrogant assertion I grant you. I have come to believe that I am a secret eccentric, or maybe more accurately a person who has suppressed his eccentricity. For too long my eccentric self has been inhibited by social boundaries and finally I must let it out of the closet.
But my self analysis doesn’t appear to correspond with what sociologists know. An eccentric’s habits stem from a mind so original that it cannot be conformed to societal norms. So can I be eccentric? I think so. Sometimes eccentricity is clearly intentional. Some artists, comedians, artists even athletes maintain funny and irregular behaviour to draw attention and to exploit the benefits of such abnormality. In some cases people have embraced a public eccentricity for religious reasons.
I will have you know that I intend to be eccentric at all costs. Even if I must pretend. Ohh, that doesn’t sound genuinely eccentric, at all. There are comparable terms for eccentric. ‘Avante-garde’ is too sophisticated for me. ‘Quirky’ may be close but suggests a neurosis. I like ‘original.’ I am an original. Yes, that’s it. My artist friend Barbara Boldt decries prints and sells only her originals. Once an original is painted and sold, it’s gone. No one else can have a copy. It is one of a kind. Okay perhaps I'm not eccentric. Original - That’s me. Pretty good breakthrough for one day don’t you think?
* Photo portrait depicts Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali, an exceptional eccentric by lifestyle, looks and artistry, his behaviour sometimes gaining more attention than his art.
* Top image is of Dali's 'Profile of Time.'
* Lower image is of Dali's most famous painting, 'the Persistance of Memory.'