As a species, we seem to be innately attuned to the need – cave paintings in France and Sulawesi, shell etchings in Java, a padlock on a bridge … a blog post … We need to make our mark …
What is it that attracts? The act of making, or the fact that there will be something that post-dates our physical existence …
35,000 years ago – we felt an urge to paint outlines of our hands on caves walls. And I say ‘we’ because it seems to be a species-wide undertaking. Unconnected by geography, connected by DNA – this act seems instinctive …. intuitively pursued.
It could have been an elaborate greeting – “hi – nice to meet you”.
It could equally have been our ancestors wanting to demonstrate their existence. While some of the paintings communicate the presence of potential food sources … these hands seem to be simply a historic version of “I woz ere”.
… and the act has filtered through multiple millennia; refinements not diminishing the primal motive.
Making a mark.
How do we do it in 2016? Why do we do it in 2016? How do I and why do I?
We etch our name into the side of rocks or at street corners of wet cement; we aspire to third party acknowledgement in the form of bronze-hued wall-mounted plaques; we stand in picket lines attempting to change the present in order to ensure the future; we buy brushed steel-padlocks from local hardware stores and link them ‘forever’ around unsuspecting bridge infrastructure …
Ask anyone why they do any of these things … there would be a multitude of fully-rationalised explanations … but possibly the true ‘why?’ is gene-deep.
Do we have an instinctive understanding of our temporary place in this world; the act of making a mark equally instinctive – intended to suppress fear of the unknown? I
… are we stardust and, as a result, have an innate knowledge of the scope of the universe; making marks the reaction to our nanoscopic size?
I don’t know why I want to make my mark.
I simply know that I do.