pleasure and pain of homo sapiens

Pleasure & Pain of Homo Sapiens

If desire is the backbone of human nature and desire often leads to loss, how can we break the psychological cycle of failure while simultaneously finding meaning in a meaningless world? The following collection of haikus remind us of our innate human drive and the traps we fall into, repeating them mindlessly over time.


Author Statement & Explanation


“Pleasure and Pain of Homo Sapiens” reads like a chart that one would see in a research paper; however, the underpinnings of the ideas are based on aesthetic ideas from America, Asia, Europe, and Arabic calligraphy. Therefore, this piece replaces god and spiritualism with the individual and materialism. It is a scientific look at these human experiences and their trajectories. As an end result, it creates a universal piece since it mixes concepts of the beautiful and sublime together from dominant cultures around the world.

Why the letter D? 

The letter “D” has the best representative movement for the theme I settled on, which can be summed up in a phrase. I crafted each haiku with the main theme, “The Drive of Desire,” which came from reading the “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. Frankl argues for humans’ desire to have purpose and meaning in a meaningless world. Desire is the backbone of human nature — we all desire something to give us meaning. However, we are fickle, so we move from high to low, low to high, a rise from the high of the line, the edging of the line, the drop of the line back to the low of the line, and once they all meet, the desire is completed and the search restarts all over again — the same movements of the letter of D. 

Cyclical: The desire for something new.

Engagement: The founding of the desire.

Escalation: The process of consuming the desire.

Pinnacle: The wanting of the desire not to end. 

Plummet: The desire of wanting to be at the Pinnacle again.

Why the letter L? 

I needed to find both a representative movement and settle on a theme; therefore, I recalled an article, “Losing Hurts (In Surprising Ways)” from NPR. From the article, I gathered there are effects to losing or being associated with losing, so I crafted the haikus to drive at this idea of always finishing last — a loser. The person starts off high, drops low, and finishes on the same line. 

According To All Odds: A play on ‘beating the odds’ to real drive at the feeling of last in line.

Cornered: The critical review of the feeling, last in line, “Do I lack something?”

Repetition: Why can’t I escape this feeling of being last or a loser?



Justin A. Curmi is a writer, poet, and theorist based in New York City. He is interested in the theories proposed by Benedetto Croce and John Dewey, which he applies in his writings and poems to drive at the mechanical process behind human creativity and nature. To view more of his works, you can follow him on Instagram @political.odyssey.

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