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.

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