Shane Koyczan is a man of poetry and gentle madness. At some point, his poem TO THIS DAY and his TED-talk are reminiscent of a period in the life of painter Peter Howson. Howson talks about his ‘rage’ in an interview with The Sunday Times (July 27, 2008); here are some excerpts:
Because of my Asperger syndrome I could have ended up murdering someone. I’m capable of it, I know that. When I was drinking I went into very dark places. If you think life is meaningless you think, well, why not go down with a bang. […] I used to be very badly bullied at school and when I was a bouncer in a nightclub for quite a few years I changed in a false sense then, and became a bully myself.
CLICK TO WATCH the video TO THIS DAY (click here to read the lyrics in pdf):
Here are some quotes from Shane Koyczan’s TED-talk; they illustrate some key insights from René Girard and mimetic theory:
We were expected to define ourselves at such an early age, and if we didn’t do it, others did it for us. Geek. Fatty. Slut. Fag. And at the same time we were being told what we were, we were being asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I always thought that was an unfair question. It presupposes that we can’t be what we already are.
See, they asked me what I wanted to be, then told me what not to be. And I wasn’t the only one. We were being told that we somehow must become what we are not, sacrificing what we are to inherit the masquerade of what we will be. I was being told to accept the identity that others will give me.
One of the first lines of poetry I can remember writing was in response to a world that demanded I hate myself. From age 15 to 18, I hated myself for becoming the thing that I loathed: a bully. When I was 19, I wrote, “I will love myself despite the ease with which I lean toward the opposite.”
CLICK TO WATCH Shane’s TED-talk: