How do we, as a society, determine what is useful or productive? I have somehow cultivated in myself a different sense of usefulness, clearly, because I have written poetry all my life. But at the same time, I have been unable, especially recently, to completely escape the Borgian pull of mainstream mores. Does this make me an inferior artist? A poser? A dabbler? A banker (or drone) disguised as a poet? Or just someone who, due to an existential crisis of some kind, has begun to lose perspective? Or at least to feel estranged from her habitual perspective, as she drowns in what she perceives to be “the world’s perspective”?
Perhaps what this all comes down to, then, is merely perspective, in which case I will be unable to write my way to a solution. Except that I have drawn my own attention to the fact of perspective – that I have perspective, and “they” have perspective, and by adjusting my own perspective, I could quite possibly forget caring about all of this, and cease to be in the midst of an existential crisis.
Among the images of “useless,” there is one that seems incongruous at first: a photograph of the earth as seen from outer space. It threw me for a moment: how can the earth be useless? From certain perspectives, though, it’s possible. The earth could be useless, for instance, to an alien race that has no interest in us or the planet’s resources. It could also be useless to future generations who have fled from the planet we’re slowly destroying. Even the earth’s uselessness, then, is conceivable.