'I create, therefore I am' | Why some of us feel the need to create
Updated: Feb 25
This article or piece was originally intended to be produced as a video, the implications around which are mentioned in this piece. I feel it’s imperative to point to this movement that is happening across the mediums given the corresponding movement that would seem to be occurring within the self, which is one of the few principles undergirding my “goals”; the quotes to signify the admission of reductive summarisation.
So, my timelines are a bit vague on this, but I have been struggling for several months at this point, in trying to figure how to present the ideas that I have, through the videos that eventually make their way onto my channel. While the past several years of producing videos on YouTube have helped me understand what not to make, I’m still left to face this daunting feeling with the infinite possibilities that is, seemingly, at my disposal. I’m certain that I don’t want to make vlogs anymore, I don’t have the inclination or the personality for it. The videos that I, then, made as a response those that were of a more ‘solution variety’ are beyond the scope as well. It’s not about whether I have any solutions left to offer or whether I doubt their validity inasmuch as I’ve come to doubt the ontologies of what it means to offer a solution.
Whatever I do put forth, then, has to be honest, or what would be a truer sentence would be that I have no option but to be honest. That’s the highest qualification that I have, and that’s the highest qualification that I can strive towards given it's ceaseless nature. And, by no means, do I want to give you impression that what I speak is the truth of the world because as Anais Nin put it quite aptly, “We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are”, or as Nietzsche in a stroke of brilliance summarised, “It has gradually become clear to me what every great philosophy up till now has consisted of – namely, the confession of its originator, and a species of involuntary and unconscious autobiography; […]” It’s pertinent that I make it clear that my pursuit of articulating what I think is just an expression of how I feel. The logic relies on an emotional call-back, in being as expressive and as accurately of how one feels.
So, what’s this got to do with my struggle and the idea of ‘why some of us need to create?’
At the very surface of that answer, to why we create, is the probably the obvious one. It's that we can't help but do otherwise. I have been making videos on YouTube for more than three years at this point and you'd be surprised at the times I have looked back and wondered about what kept me going and how did I not stop, despite the fact that I found my videos cringey, insufficient, and tacky. And trust me, this might seem to be a harsh self-criticism but it’s not, for it was my understanding that this relative insufficiency, the tackiness of it, and the eventual cringe at its very core was a metric against which to measure who I was and where I was going. Because, it seems to me, that the true value of producing these videos is not about what comes out of it, but through the very process, what comes out of us.
And this process is what I keep coming back for, or, in many ways, this process calls me back every time. There seems to a certain sense of compulsion to it, madness even. But it calls the me that wants to experiment, the me that wants to test out its capacity to do, and in some sense, it’s capacity to be. In my context, it has, eventually and yet always-already although inconspicuously, been about the written word. I have made a video on this aspect as well. In the process of making videos on YouTube, I found solace in the written word. In being honest in my production, I was made to turn honest inward by measures unquantifiable. The inadequacy, incompetency, and the insufficiency of what I wrote, which meant of what I thought, had a difference so startling it plagued me with a blanket of uncertainty I have hitherto not known. Now that I think about it, it was in some sense, implicit, as it were, a self-punishment, which reminds me about a passage from ‘Giving an account of oneself’ -
In On the Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche offers a controversial account of how we become reflective at all about our actions and how we become positioned to give an account of what we have done. He remarks that we become conscious of ourselves only after certain injuries have been inflicted. Someone suffers as a consequence, and the suffering person or, rather, someone acting as his or her advocate in a system of justice seeks to find the cause of that suffering and asks us whether we might be that cause. It is in the interest of meting out a just punishment to the one responsible for an injurious action that the question is posed and that the subject in question comes to question him or herself. "Punishment," Nietzsche tells us, is "the making of a memory." The question posits the self as a causative force, and it also models a specific mode of responsibility. [...]
In this context, we find ourselves in the position of having to give an account of ourselves.
Look at it this way, the inadequacy, the incompetency, and the insufficiency that eventually revealed itself through the ideas and the creation of videos that were produced led to injuries, in the form of cringe. And, I suppose, in an effort to mete out a just punishment to the one causing that suffering, in this case, the more ignorant self, one becomes a bit more humble because this punishment does serve as a reminder every time we’re back again in the process of creation.
And, this process of creation, is cyclic to some extent. I highly doubt that most of us, create just once and that’s that. I’m certain that you’ve found yourself coming back to the process, a bit more careful, a bit more informed. One can construe it as being a repetitive process, and I suppose it is. But then, isn’t that the basic structure of practice?
When I was working on this video (now article), I called a friend of mine to ask what he thinks of what I’ve said so far because I felt I didn’t know how to end this. And he said, why don’t you also add something akin to ‘done is better than perfect’ and end it on that simplified note.
And my response to him became the solution for me: I could tell you that done is, indeed, better than perfect, just go out there and do what you want, but I can’t help but think that that would just be another truism, a platitude of the Instagram kind. It might make us feel momentarily better and pumped, but I don’t think I necessarily want that. I stated quite early on here that I’d want to be honest therefore the process of simplifying the language just in order to reach a wider audience seems akin to lying; those would not be my words, that would not be my truth.
What do I want, then? Well, what I want, with the ideas that I present through my videos, is not to dumb it down because, in some sense, I want you to think about what this means to you. I want you to make sense of it. Because, that’s what I think I’m doing. This video is not an answer to the question posed by the title as much as my attempt at making sense of it
And, I suppose, that’s why some of us feel the need to create. To make sense of it all. And, because, that requires experimentation, repetition and the willingness to be a fool, the willingness to be vulnerable. And that’s why some of us create.
What do you think?
 The irony of that being that I have done precisely that years earlier  I have nothing against simplification as a pursuit of clarity, but my primary bother is against resorting to simplification for the sake of ‘viewership’ which often comes at the cost of the idea, either by reducing the responsibility of the originator or by becoming overtly general, which I’d argue is the opposite of clarity in our context