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What Are Writers For?
It’s the writer’s job to make the attempt to speak inconvenient truths.
Society needs a group consensus, a generally broad agreement to function. Without a group consensus, the social order would dissolve in to chaos.
And the group consensus needs correction mechanisms, because if a wide agreement is wrong about something important, that can lead to chaos too.
The writer’s job is to function much like the court jester in an ancient king’s court. While everyone else is telling the king what they think the king wants to hear, the court jester is supposed to give voice to the unsaid.
Writers are not supposed to be popular, validating everyone’s fantasies and patting them on the back. That’s not good writing, that’s good business. If a writer is popular, they’re doing it wrong.
A writer is supposed to travel the boundaries of the group consensus, poking and prodding, testing and challenging, kicking the tires, and searching for that which may be useful, but has been discarded because the group consensus doesn’t find it pleasing.
A writer should be a crackpot philosopher, which might be defined as follows…
If that which we want to hear could take us where we want to go….
We’d already be there.
Thus, the most promising areas for investigation by writers is that collection of ideas which the group consensus assumes to be wrong.
We don’t need writers to be normal. We have normal people for that. Millions and billions of them.
We need writers to be writers.