This is a copy paste of a writing assignment I had to do. It was free write so I chose the topic, length, etc. Slightly edited but the core remains the same. It's very rambly and stream-of-conscious, and I promise my other philosophy stuff here will be more organized. Enjoy.
Why do we write? To put our thoughts down? I lay in bed all night, thinking. I'm always afraid I won't remember it by morning, so I write it down. In fact, that's what I'm doing right now. I've written many things when I couldn't sleep. Film scripts, commentaries, philosophy, introspections.
I've thought a lot about myself recently. By that I mean before 2020, I didn't think about myself that much. I was very present, in the moment, and went with the flow. Now, I think about my past, my present, and my future. I experienced probably the widest range of emotions all my life in 2020. Sometimes it felt like I was the first man on Mars, and sometimes it felt like I just jumped down into an infinite black abyss.
Throughout this, I noticed an uptick in my writing. I had so many thoughts and emotions but they had no structure. Writing was the way for me to put it down in an organized way and take a good look at them. Sometimes when I read over something I had just written I would think, "Yes, I agree completely" like I was an outsider, reading something someone wrote ages ago. I think I needed that sort of affirmation. Someone telling me that I was right, and what I thought of was true, especially when last year was so full of lies, both personally and world-wide. Sometimes I instead rethink or reinterpret a set of events, and start to look at things a different way. These moments of reconstruction and reinterpretation usually came when I was thinking of abstract concepts, the type there really isn't a name for. You know what it is in your brain, but you can't quite express it. Trying to express these concepts and thoughts was fun, and you can usually have success with it. Really, that's one of the biggest reasons why humans write. We have an idea in our head, foggy and abstract, and we want to make it full. Organized. Something someone else can actually understand. That YOU can understand. And in the process of doing this, of transcribing the thought into language, you in turn reflect on it, build upon it, and write that down.
We also write to communicate and share information, obviously. It’s interesting that some people think that humans are inherently selfish, and that true altruism doesn’t exist. But I think writing proves that wrong. We (usually) write to share ideas. Moral ideas, instructions, explanations, historical data, etc. Any idea. These ideas can also take multiple forms, such as non-fiction, poems, or fiction. And, best of all, we share them just because we want to. We share them because we think it’s best for the world and someone needs to know this. I don’t think Aristotle wanted money, power, or fame when writing something like “Metaphysics”. No, he had ideas he just wanted to share with the world, and thought his ideas could further develop humanity as a whole.
I’ve thought a lot about the possibility that writing separates us from our prehistoric ancestors. Like, of course it separates us, but I mean separates us on a fundamental level. When the priestesses of Uruk wrote “The Epic of Gilgamesh” in ancient Sumeria, was that an evolutionary leap? We finally had something that could persist for generations, that wouldn’t be changed or confused, like when we orally pass things down. This, however, begs the question of what even is considered writing. The Aztecs didn’t have a formal script like we do, but instead conveyed information through a series of knots. Is that considered writing? I think so. I think writing is conveying information in any semi-permanent way, that isn’t orally. However, there are probably several counter-arguments to that.
I say all of this because I think that once you learn what writing is, you have an almost primal want to do it. Of course not everyone wants to write a full length novel or help compile a textbook, but we all write little things. Text messages to friends, grocery lists, computer programs, physics notes, anything. It is essential to everyday life, and I think every little thing we write is a piece of art on its own.