It’s a difficult world we live in.
There are new problems around every corner: recessions, global warming, public transport, council tax. And yet… when the world is burning beneath our feet, we still write, we still make, we create, paint, film, photograph, dance, and sometimes when nobody is looking we even sculpt. Even when the eviction notices slide through our letterboxes, there is still new art being produced all over the world.
But why? What is that little piece of our human nature that urges us to cement our fictions on paper, film, and now the internet? Even as the bailiffs comes calling for everything but our underpants.
Personally, I call it our inner-Berk.
If we jump back in time to 200,000 BC, back to the times of loincloths and over-pronounced brows, you’ll see what I mean.
Let’s take a look at the Yubunty tribe. They’re a small tribe located somewhere in the middle of Pangea. They have simple lives. They hunt, eat, sleep, reproduce, sleep some more, and occasionally make growling noises. And you know what… they’re pretty happy about it.
Also they’re completely fictional.
But look over there in the corner, a little outside of the campsite. One of the tribesmen is busily hacking away at a piece of wood. He’s sweaty and tired but looks completely engaged in what he’s doing. In fact, he’s been so lost in his work that his tribe is starting to worry about him. He hasn’t hunted, has hardly eaten, barely slept. The tribe think that maybe he's gone off in the head. They’re thinking it might be time to ostracise him from the group.
This tribesmen's name is Yerk and luckily for him, he has just finished working on his project.
He wipes the sweat from his very large brow and calls over the tribe.
“Look!” he says. “I have finished!”
And they come and they look at this round chunk of wood and ask what it is.
“It’s a wheel,” says Yerk.
“Wow,” the tribe say as one. “What does it do?”
“Well,” Yerk says, clearing his throat. "It’s a significant step in our development and will revolutionise the way humankind thinks of transport.”
“Incredible!” says the tribe chief. “And look, next to him. It’s Yerk’s brother, Berk.”
“Hi,” Berk says. Berk has also been busy working on a secret project. He, too, hasn’t hunted, has hardly eaten, barely slept. He too is sweaty and tired and has just finished up his project.
“And what have you been working on, Berk? Have you also found a way to change transport forevermore and given humankind a significant advancement in technology?”
Berk scratches his butt and shrugs. “Nah,” he says, before revealing his secret project. The tribe gasp at what looks like a wooden spherical thing with spiky bits. It looks sort of like a face but with horns. “I just wanted to make this weird thing I had in my head.”
“Right… but what does it do?” says the tribe.
“Nothing really,” Berk says. “It just is.”
“It just is?”
The tribe is concerned. One of them does the curly finger motion around the ear. The tribe chief suggests that maybe it’s time to ostracise Berk. They don’t want Berk around. He makes them uncomfortable. They ask his brother, Yerk and he also agrees. “Berk is strange."
Berk doesn’t mind, though. Even as he’s about to be kicked out of his cave, he’s already working on his next sculpture and has plans for the sculpture after that.
*TIME TRAVEL NOISES*
And we’re back. You didn’t step on a butterfly did you? Good.
I reckon there’s a little bit of Berk in all of us. It’s that little part of us that is happy to spend our time working on our little creative projects when we should probably be looking for new sources of income, working on our homes, maybe washing the dishes. It’s that little niggling voice in your mind that reminds you that you’ll have plenty of time to worry about hoovering the stairs tomorrow. Today, though, it is time to create!
And I’d say that maybe those of us who are feeling a little frustrated with their lives, maybe aren’t getting the same satisfaction they once got from Netflix, Nandos, or the Starbucks down the road. I think maybe they’ve been neglecting their inner-Berk. Perhaps it’s time they gave that loincloth-wearing hairy part of themselves a little love and let him get to doing what he does best… making stuff.