Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Might As Well Face Facts...

As an occasional journalist, I take an interest in listening to or reading interviews with artist I'd otherwise deem enigmatic.  My own experiences meeting artists and performers, and my own experiences as an artist and performer have taught me that people are people, their variances in personality having little to do with how we categorize or laud them.  But still, there's the mystique, the artifice or creating an aesthetic, a persona for people to be intrigued by or identify with, which engages us.  Actively undermining or reinforcing that is something of a gamble, because, as I said, people are people, and not all people are decent.

All that said, I heard an interview from someone who is very good at conjuring mystique, possibly in part because it's projected onto them to begin with?  Regardless, in what can be considered a very "down to earth" and humanizing interview the artist acknowledged having a rough childhood.  There was no specification on just what that entails, but from what's known about the artist, and what our standards are in this day and age, as far as dysfunction and trauma, I'm sure it was nothing to scoff at.
In the past, a part of me actively identified with the notion of having a "rough childhood" because, regardless of how I choose to orient my attitude towards it, my childhood was far from ideal.  There was violence, cruelty, dejection, perversion, and confusion from the onset of my capacity to remember.  My understanding or rationalization of the idea of being "born into sin" is a direct reflection on my experiences as a child. I thought myself innocent, but I was not surrounded by innocence. At best I was too young, and thus naive and ignorant of just how damaging and potentially corrupting the things I was exposed to were. When it's common place for people who ought to love each other to be cruel and sadistic towards each other, behavior you learn to model before you can recite the alphabet that doesn't bode well for future developments.

I have a good memory, as most of my friends can attest.  I don't think this is some biological endowment. It's a check on my character.  My moral compass isn't oriented on some arbitrary good like true north, it's shattered into bits, and rests on one side of a scale with stones that ought to have been cast at me for my indiscretions from my childhood onward. By process of elimination the correct moral path was made apparent, no longer obscured by those who undermined their own authority with behavior that was contrary to it.  I don't think anyone should be forced to discover their conscience by broaching what they later find to be unconscionable. A lifetime spent tip-toeing around the line that ought not be crossed increases the likelihood that it is.  It's better to put as much distance between yourself and that line as possible. For that to be possible it has to be made clear.  For that to happen most people need to have it pointed out to them by someone they trust, who has gotten close enough to the line to say definitively, "This is the point of no return, do not go beyond this point."  It's a little paradoxical, because would that person have to exercise judgement contrary to conventional wisdom, as I defined it, to get close enough to make out that moral line clearly?

I like to think our lives are the summations of the choices we make, but they are also the summation of choices that were made for us when we lacked the power or knowledge to make them. It's up to us how we reconcile the consequences of those choices.  Nevertheless, there's a weight that comes with that grounds us.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Sans Prompts

Dropping the musical prompts pretty much derailed this blog.  That and eliminating a number of stressful thought processes from my life.  There are plenty of other things that could prompt me to write, but without having a song to veil my emotions and disclosures I'm inclined to keep those matters to myself.  It's strange how easy it is for me to document the stability in my life by my compulsion to write about it.  Some of that may be the impact of ambivalence.

I remember telling someone close to me that life doesn't have to be complicated.  Things are simple and straight forward, and it's our own behaviors and rationalizations that complicate things.  An inability to be honest, with our selves and others is one of those key sources of frustration.  The desire to change the will of others to satisfy our own is another.  The lack of respect and appreciation for life creates so much turmoil.  A lack of respect and appreciation for innocence is just as damaging.

I try to be pragmatic and think about what causes so much complexity in life.  Asking the question, "Why?" seems like scapegoat.  I don't think that's the issue.  If you've ever been around a 3-4 year old kid, the question "Why?" comes up a lot.  Rather than view it as a sign of just how perceptive and curious a child is, a lot of people respond with exasperation. They respond in a way that makes it seems like explaining is a burden, or being questioned is a challenge.  I just think it's a manifestation of intelligence.  We are made to wonder.  This is what sparks the imagination.

There is no crime in not having all the answers, and there should be no shame in it.  We have our limits, and given the complications we make for ourselves, they encroach on us further with every new thread we spin. The acceptance of these limits is an acknowledgement of the horizon. We have a depth of field, and that's okay.  Our limitations aren't set by what one person can do, or one generation. The potency of humanity comes from the power of the collective becoming more efficient and productive over generations.  We approach life like a 100 meter dash, when it's a relay race to infinity.  We run the risk of falling out of the running if we don't take care of ourselves, and the baton we're meant to hand off to our successors.  The goal isn't to win the race, it's to never stop running.  Our only competition is our attitude towards the value of living as a whole.

If life is worth perpetuating, shouldn't our focus be on taking every measure available to ensure that it is?  Our aspirations within our epochs should be balanced between improving the quality of life for the whole of humanity, and all life on Earth during our time, while advancing our capacity to preserve life when this epoch ends.  As it stands, we are locked in a mental trap such that the value of living, and life is mutable.  Relativism in regards to the value of life undermines our progress and threatens the existence of life as we know it. It has become the fundamental complication in our existence, from which most others descend.  Our hierarchies and inequality are first and foremost justified by the idea that some lives are more worthy than others.  That is an unsustainable orientation for humanity.

Alone, a rising tide will sweep you away never to be seen again, lost to the sea. Together, we have changed the course of those very seas. Now if only we could harness that collective energy towards productive means.