Showing posts with label Weltschmerz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Weltschmerz. Show all posts

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Old loves coming to visit us again


Kahlil Gibran
THE GREATER SEA
(from 'The Madman', 1918)

My soul and I went to the great sea to bathe. And when we reached the shore, we went about looking for a hidden and lonely place.
But as we walked, we saw a man sitting on a grey rock taking pinches of salt from a bag and throwing them into the sea.
“This is the pessimist,” said my soul, “Let us leave this place. We cannot bathe here.”
We walked on until we reached an inlet. There we saw, standing on a white rock, a man holding a bejewelled box, from which he took sugar and threw it into the sea.
“And this is the optimist,” said my soul, “And he too must not see our naked bodies.”
Further on we walked. And on a beach we saw a man picking up dead fish and tenderly putting them back into the water.
“And we cannot bathe before him,” said my soul. “He is the humane philanthropist.”
And we passed on.
Then we came where we saw a man tracing his shadow on the sand. Great waves came and erased it. But he went on tracing it again and again.
“He is the mystic,” said my soul, “Let us leave him.”
And we walked on, till in a quiet cover we saw a man scooping up the foam and putting it into an alabaster bowl.
“He is the idealist,” said my soul, “Surely he must not see our nudity.”
And on we walked. Suddenly we heard a voice crying, “This is the sea. This is the deep sea. This is the vast and mighty sea.” And when we reached the voice it was a man whose back was turned to the sea, and at his ear he held a shell, listening to its murmur.
And my soul said, “Let us pass on. He is the realist, who turns his back on the whole he cannot grasp, and busies himself with a fragment.”
So we passed on. And in a weedy place among the rocks was a man with his head buried in the sand. And I said to my soul, “We can bath here, for he cannot see us.”
“Nay,” said my soul, “For he is the most deadly of them all. He is the puritan.”
Then a great sadness came over the face of my soul, and into her voice.
“Let us go hence,” she said, “For there is no lonely, hidden place where we can bathe. I would not have this wind lift my golden hair, or bare my white bosom in this air, or let the light disclose my sacred nakedness.”
Then we left that sea to seek the Greater Sea.

(You can find the book here.)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Life hacks

I have no idea what to tell you. I can tell you what I know from personal experience, which I'm afraid doesn't count as a universal rule. Bet let me compile a list anyway.

  • I don't think this level if existence is fair. I mean, how can anyone talk about fairness when there are kids with cancer, or leukemia? How is that in any way fair?
  • I don't know if there is any kind of higher order or justice. Judging by the fact politicians who destroy the lives of millions live just fine and thrive, there is no justice, human or otherwise.
  • Good deeds are not rewarded and bad deeds aren't punished. Just look around you.
  • Nothing happens for a purpose, or if it does, don't delude yourself that you know what that purpose is.
  • People are greedy, lazy and hate responsibility. Although they can do the greatest good, more often than not they'll choose to crawl in the mud and fling shit at each other. It's easier.
  • Love can't save you, because it isn't love unless you know yourself first. Knowing yourself is a life-long pursuit and not for the faint of heart.
  • Understanding doesn't exist. You can't understand others when every person grew up in a different way, trapped in their bodies and their senses, with so many different traumas, prejudices and cultural and religious norms clouding their judgement. Compassion, on the other hand, does exist.
  • Death isn't the answer the same way life isn't the answer.
  • I don't think anything we do makes the slightest difference on a greater scale. I mean, we count less than an amoeba's fart on the grand scheme of things, and I doubt there's a grand scheme of things to begin with.
  • Art matters only if viewed from within the human experience. For another species, our art probably means nothing.
  • Life is probably completely meaningless. What you do, or don't do, changes nothing on a large scale. I don't know if it's always been like this or something sealed this world in a bubble outside the reach of what I understand as divine. But that's how it is.

Okay then. If you take all these things out of the equation, what are we left with?

We're left with each other. And we are left with ourselves. 

My opinion? There is absolutely nothing I can do except keep on trying, because effort is what makes you build character. By character I mean what the Victorians meant. Honesty, self-discipline, commitment, and conviction. Character is in turn what makes one accept whatever life throws at them with a modicum of grace and dignity. And that's about the only power I have in my possession. That, and the ability to make the lives of the ones I love a little better by being in it.

That's my take on it, and it helps me sleep better at night. Take it or leave it. I can only talk about myself anyway. I am trapped in me. I'm sure you understand.

Friday, May 12, 2017

At the borders of dreamland

Art by Natalie Shau. That's what my (beloved) demons probably look like.
Just a note before I close my eyes and drift off to dreamland.
Isn't it funny how you can spend your entire day busy and when the time for sleep comes, still feel that you've achieved nothing?
In spite of my tiredness, I presently resent going to bed. It means the day is gone and it is not coming back.
Time is slipping from my fingers again. 
The only cure I know for this ailment? Writing.
When I am writing, time ceases to exist.
What is your cure?
Good-night.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hope

Spider Jerusalem. My kind of hero.
I'm fed up with Facebook. I follow people who regularly upload posts on animals that need help, need to be adopted or have been abused, and seriously, I am sick to my heart. I can't. I simply can't. I too feed stray animals and it is disastrous for my economical situation. But to see how sick and disgusting human beings are and what they are capable of, it makes me want to go nuclear on the whole planet. We drug our feet in the ashes of a post apocalyptic era, our noses stuck in our expensive gadgets, our brains too busy with the next purchase to notice the pain of this world. We're insatiable attention gluttons gobbling down misinformation and advertisement, dead in our hearts and a plague to the world. We're despicable. I want to watch the entire planet burn, I want all humans dead.

And then...

And then I come across a work of art, or a piece of music, or a performance that makes my heart stop. And I decide that since we're capable of such beauty, then perhaps we should live a little longer. Maybe we should be spared. I'm not so sure, but I don't have the means of ending the planet anyway. For which I am grateful. The temptation might have proved too much to bear.

I was talking to a friend a few days ago and she said to me I make a huge difference in the lives of many, including her own. Do I make a difference? I have no fucking idea. Still, it was sweet of her to feel this way and tell me. She makes a whole lot of difference to me, because of her integrity and kindness. 

I think this world can't handle integrity and kindness. This entire dimension has been dumbed down to the point of the 'achievements' of our species competing on what is going to kill us first; pure incompetence, overwhelming pollution or planned Armageddon. Everyone strives to be more ego-centered than everyone else, with politicians and corporations leading the parade of parasites and the entire human population following suit like the fucking rats in the fairy tale of the Pied Piper. Lemmings with iPhones and Instagram accounts that live for the next follower and the next like and the next petty drama. I feel I'm an alien life form stranded on the Ga-Ga Idiot planet and condemned to put up with the natives for the rest of my life, with no hope of escaping. 

And then...

And then I re-read my favourite books and comics and once more listen to the music I love. And tell myself, "Don't give up. There is hope."

Please keep that hope alive by keeping those you love safe and happy. I don't care if the one you love is a person, pet, potted plant or just yourself. Keep them safe and happy. It makes all the difference in the world, or so I am told.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas classics




"All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable."

"REALLY?" said Death. "AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE."

"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"

"YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES."

"So we can believe the big ones?"

"YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING."

"They're not the same at all!"

"YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET"—Death waved a hand. "AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME... SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED."

"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—"

"MY POINT EXACTLY."

-Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

Merry Christmas/ Yule/ whatever celebration you celebrate to everyone! I hope you are all safe and in the company of the ones you love.

Monday, November 28, 2016

On love


The following dialogue is taken from the movie "Interstellar". Highly recommended.

COOPER
"You’re a scientist, Brand -"
BRAND
"I am. So listen to me when I tell you that love isn’t something we invented - it’s observable, powerful. Why shouldn’t it mean something?"
COOPER
"It means social utility - child rearing, social bonding -"
BRAND
"We love people who’ve died ... where’s the social utility in that? Maybe it means more - something we can’t understand, yet. Maybe it’s some evidence, some artifact of higher dimensions that we can’t consciously perceive. I’m drawn across the universe to someone I haven’t seen for a decade, who I know is probably dead. Love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space. Maybe we should trust that, even if we can’t yet understand it."

Yes, but love takes effort. And it takes effort because like light, love is made of myriads of tiny particles; kindness, generosity, understanding, selflessness, care... This is the secret that allows it to transcend space and time. Every one of these characteristics is about overcoming, transcending, breaking through the barriers of everyday life, normality, expectation. Beyond gaining, beyond life itself in some cases. 

"Do not go gentle into that good night; Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

The sky is roaring tonight. So am I.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Life


She is closing the shop. The sun has set. She looks at the pinkish-blue sky. There are five chemtrails from airplanes. No wonder, she thinks. Unless they keep spraying us, sooner or later they will have a full rebellion in their hands.

She is sweating, her heartbeat fast. She moves her hips to the rhythm of the popular song, alone in the night, happy. Her t-shirt clings on her, her smile wide, exuberant, unpretentious.

She is watching the second season of Daredevil. There’s a scene with Frank Castle in jail attacking other inmates who are trying to kill him. He is a sight to behold, a well-oiled, merciless, unstoppable killing machine. Every breath he draws and lets out is accompanied by a shower of blood, broken bones, maimed flesh, screams and gurgles. She watches mesmerised as he carves a glorious path of death amongst human scum. He’s a berserker unleashed to rid this world of filth, unshakable in his resolve. She wishes she could be like him.

Her cats have fleas. There are two solutions for fleas: spraying your cats (and learning to kung fu a frenzied cat that somersaults, hisses, scratches and does a kind of superspeed static run clawing with all four legs simultaneously) or buying Stronghold spot-on treatment. The second is too expensive, so kung fu it is.

She is muttering under her breath as she slips her fingers between her legs. She draws a symbol with blood on her forehead, heart and over her womb. She whispers the holy names and welcomes the familiar sensation of energy.

A customer at work apologises for something. She wonders why polite people tend to be overly apologetic while overbearing, rude ones feel so entitled.

She approaches a dog on the street. The dog is tethered outside a shop, its owner inside. She talks to it. The dog growls in response and starts barking at her. She turns her back and leaves. A part of her wants to kick it, to give it an actual reason for growling at her. Another part advises her not to take it personally. Most living beings are a direct result of their conditioning, herself included. I will break this conditioning, she thinks. I will make myself an exception.

She is taking a shower. There is very little shower gel left. She considers buying some more, but then she remembers the bank took all their money for this month because her mother owes taxes. With a sigh, she picks up the shampoo and uses that instead.

There is a mosquito buzzing around her as she types a sentence on Facebook. She shakes her head with disgust at the amount of human stupidity in social media. Moments later a meme makes her laugh so hard that she scares her cat. The cat hides under the bed. She shares a petition she signed and gets up to get a drink of water.

A customer at work gives her life advice. She wonders why others feel entitled to share their wisdom without knowing anything about her, or her life, or her situation. She wonders if she too does the same without realising it and shudders. She should refrain from giving advice. Maybe she should stop voicing her opinion altogether and see what happens.

She is still trying to find a way to stop caring, or cause spontaneous combustion to some humans. She can’t quite decide. For the time being she is just hanging in there.