Ponderings on Art, Responsibility, Identity, Virtue, and Tragedy.

The Weight of the World

If not for a word, there

Would be no book, no language.

If not for an atom, there

Would be no world, no universe.

If not for a decision, there

Would be no free will, no choice.

If not for a vote, there

Would be no democracy, no republic.

Our decisions and actions matter.

They effect our lives,

They effect our world

In myriad ways,

seen and unseen.

Whatever you do

carries the weight

of the world.

Take firm hold of your responsibility

As a human being with some

Influence upon this planet.

Fear not to care,

And do not shrug.

 

***

Even a faraway galaxy is local if you’re living there.

*

The virtue of tragedy is empathy; compassion.

*

My identity is not in any sense fixed. It is like a spilled fluid amongst broken glass. My psyche is only reflected in jagged shards – shards which can be rearranged and re-glued together into whatever form my imagination deems feasible. For better or worse, I am the maker of myself.

*

I have a reverence for everything useless. The tasks of bare survival – to include hunting for food, taking shelter, and reproducing are essential activities – but they are also weary and base. What I champion are those extraneous genes responsible for humankind’s motives to paint on cave walls, vocalize sounds into recognizable melodies, and construct sacred temples. I champion all superfluous culture, all art, all creative expression, all abstractions! It is these things, after all, which truly separate us human mammals from the non-human ones.

*

All hail the first ape whom thought to shave!

*

The moments wherein one feels he or she has digested the world are rare moments indeed. They should be enjoyed for the fine illusions that they are. Yet in truth, ignorance is the sea in which we all swim. It is only that a human being feels particularly fine when he or she has reached the highest peak of a wave and can at last see, for a moment, the vast expanse of all the other waves upon this infinite ocean of mystery…

*

Art and Soul

A true artist sells his soul.

The commercial artist sells a product – one which is often superficial, impersonal, and/or otherwise utterly lacking in soul. Within every Van Gough painting or Beethoven symphony there can be found a portion of the artist’s emotional identity. Art produced solely for mass consumption, by its very nature, contains nothing personal. Arguably, artists whom never give away anything personal are not artists at all. This is why art is often a dangerous and daring activity– it requires us to be vulnerable enough to share ourselves, often our most sensitive and creative selves, with potentially the entire world.

***

The Pledge of Allegiance (Revisited)

I pledge allegiance

To the symbolic fabric

Of the divided states

Of Corporate Amnesia.

To the Plutocracy

For which it stands

One Delusion

Under an invisible man in the sky,

With Stupidity

And Ignorance for all.

***

“No Regrets”

I know I am a good human being not just intuitively, but based upon the evidence of my guilt and how frequently I experience it. Virtuous men are always ones with marked consciences, whereas “evil” men are utterly lacking of it. Guilt and conscience go hand in hand. Which leads me to think that the contemporary expression, “No regrets!” is an obvious denying of inner guilt and remorse. It is either this or they have no conscience at all, and are rather proudly exclaiming their sociopathic disposition. One can’t count on less than two hands how many times a drunken man at a bar has slurred out, “I’ve got nooo regrets!” all the while drowning in self-denial, aided by cheap liquor. As I’ve stated in a previous article, “a man without a regret is a man without a moral.”

I was in a coffee shop the other day and observed a young woman with “No Regrets” tattooed on her forearm. How inspired by a bad conscience must one be in order to have these words permanently inked on their body? Now her regret is for all to see. The tattoo doesn’t hide the inner guilt or remorse – it only plainly reveals, makes conspicuous. I felt bad for the woman. And, of course, discussing with her the stupidity of the tattoo could only incite dismay and rage, as she is already fully committed to what the tattoo communicates about her – no regrets.

***

 

Freedom in Purgatory (Poem)

Please don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments selection below! I’d be interested to know if you’ve any criticisms, ideas, and the like about the following poem. In my view, what makes us responsible beings is our existential freedom. Perhaps this is my Halloween poem for 2018, as I happen to find the idea of, “What if we were really irresponsible and just blew it?” particularly scary.  Thanks in advance, dear readers!

***

 

The fate of this world is decided

By us;

One decision

At a time.

 

Freedom is worldly.

Every man’s choice,

Constitutes the world.

Even the breaking of dawn is a choice:

The connected tendons or the slit wrists?

Suppose

 

a bad heart, numbed brain.

World, hammered into cardiac arrest

By a clotted conscience.

World, overcrowded with sociopathic imbeciles,

Disintegrating in unfeeling stupidity.

 

Bad faith, bad lies.

World, blinded and bleeding for sights unseen;

A festering, terminal illness gone undiagnosed.

World, attempting justification for its ceaseless horrors.

Eternal wars,

gory religious schisms,

follies purged in blood.

 

Bad diet, bad consumption.

World, submerged in dripping fat, engulfed in sloth.

Mouths wet and seeped in instant gratification ,

With brains bathed in the electricity of vile taboo.

World, eating off its own carcass;

A geographical hermaphrodite

Cut up in self-mutilation.

 

Bad posture, bad money.

World, crippled o’er its lowly seas,

Rasping, clasping, aching for a drink.

World, bribed by an influence of heaven

and sent straight to Hell;

A green purgatory wherein ancient presidents burn

In the liver spotted hands of feeble men

Choked in the after-life at the collar and tie.

Our hearts will pump out the bills

to pay for their funeral.

 

Bad choices make a bad life.

World, collapsing its existence by choosing not to choose.

The easiest choice, after all, is one not chosen.

World, one life, cascading into sudden death

Due to a nuclear stockpile attached to a hefty red button;

Supplied fertile push by an Armageddon-hungry elitist,

Famished for golden eternity.

World, swamped into a cosmic dimple,

Sinking into the blackness of space,

Renouncing its queer absurdities

And returning into galactic star-shit.

 

We have decided to churn ourselves

into sub-atomic compost,

Particles of stellar garbage

upon our very own volition.

 

If this happens,

It will be what we have chosen,

Nothing more.

Imagine it:

A world-wide suicide

Constructed in the shackles

of our liberation.

 

We had

a great responsibility.

We were

absurdly free.

The Limits of Freedom (Is Freedom’s Limit).

Freedom does not exist without its limitations. For what, truly, is ever not limited?
All things in life possess inherent boundary-limitations. Some boundary-limitations are unbreakable, or uncrossable. For instance, an object of three dimensions cannot confine its actions to merely two, one, or four. A physical man cannot be non-physical and continue to be a man. A thing cannot be a no-thing and continue to be a thing. If a thing, person or phenomena exists, it is confined to the boundary-limitation of existing.
The freedom of all existent-forms stretches to this point. This is the break at the shore of liberty. If life is tide, death is shore, and liberation is shackled to its self.

Freedom/existence is limited because it is missing its fundamental half. One might say that one part of freedom composes all of human life, while the other part composes nothing, as that part is death, an absence of life, utter void.

Life and death, freedom and futility, are pieces of the existential puzzle. Except the former (life and freedom) are physically shaped pieces, while the latter (death and futility) is the empty space surrounding the pieces. The latter fits because it could fit anything, as it is no-thing.

Am I making sense? Am I crazy?

You are of course free to judge until the day you die.

***

The River As Analogy for An Unbreakable Boundary-limitation

One cannot ford the river of life.

Life fords the river that is you.

If you and life are identical,

and you and life ford the river,

then life, the river, fords itself.

 

Yet we know a river that fords itself

needs no fording and thus we are left

with only the river,

only life.

All of the universe appears as a singular,

immobile atom.

There is an illusion of movement,

yet all is perfectly still.

Reflections on Freedom (what is it? what does it mean?)

“Man is condemned to be free.” – Sartre.

One does not choose freedom. Freedom comes free with birth. It is inherent in the human condition. Likewise, one does not (cannot) ever choose to be born. Birth is the creation of individual consciousness; it is simultaneously the enabler and limiter of all freedom.

Choices are always here for us to make – and we are not free not to make them. One may choose not to choose and will have utterly failed in the attempt. For not choosing is always a choice. Freedom is a self-limiting fact of life. Liberation provides its own shackles.

As I have said, one does not choose to be born. This does not mean, however, that life is not a choice. The distinction is subtle, yet grand. Do you think that life is not a choice? Then simply turn over your wrists and slice diagonal– this gruesome act will have been your choice, and yours alone. Suicide, obviously, is an extreme consequence of one’s decision not to exist.

Freedom is not a right, and you and I have no right to it. Freedom is, rather, an enabler of rights. Freedom has a right to us.

Life is not a right, and you and I have no right to it. Life is an enabler of rights. Life has a right to us.

Life and freedom are inherent conditions of existing. One may either rejoice, or despair! Both are appropriate reactions. Yet whatever one chooses, it is his or her choice alone. Most things in life, although a majority of human beings are not aware of this fact, are choices.

Hence why I agree with the cliché that “with freedom comes great responsibility”. It is not so nearly often understood that with freedom also comes great anxiety, as well as great consequence. A free human being is one whom has realized that his or her life is a choice, and takes all responsibility for his or her choices and consequent actions.

As a conclusion to this short reflection, I would just like to straighten out one thing in particular: those whom tote that ridiculous bumper slogan: freedom is not free.

Well, if freedom is deprived of its very essence (that of being free), then exactly what are we left with?

I will of course gladly provide an answer: freedom without ‘free’ is just dumb.

On Writing, Day Jobs, and Winning Nothing.

Writing, for me, is not a mere hobby or passion. It is an activity I commit to out of an obsessive compulsion; the majority of my writing is always done out of desperation. I have been scribbling words to paper since I was old enough to grasp an understanding of the alphabet. Words are like oxygen, water, sustenance…when I write, it is as if I have no other choice in the matter than to write.

But of course, I do have a choice. It is through the act of writing that I choose a commitment to freedom.

*

Day jobs, although ascribed an all-consuming significance in our capitalist society, are philosophically peripheral; for they are far removed from the good life. Day jobs are games imposed upon the masses whom take them upon an obligatory faith.

How does one activate their inner-potential working in a plastics factory, digging ditches on a construction site, or making sandwiches? The answer is, of course, they probably do not. The ones whom do active their potential while doing such work are very few, not to mention extraordinarily serendipitous.

Humankind would rather waste its impermanent sunspot life being consumed by a dreary faith in obligation, while hoping for a paradisaical life post-mortem, than to deal with this life, to live it truly and freely, right now, at this very moment…

As if there wasn’t enough empty space in the universe already, human beings tend to secure more of it.

*

Drinking dollar bills through a flimsy straw,

Her wide cherry eyes roll like a fowl slot-machine.

She is consumed by

Hope in soul-death.

Hope in material falsities.

Hope in the faithless.

DING-DING-DING-JACKPOT!

She wins the substance of nothing.

*

Thoughts on Freedom, Art, Rebellion and Watching the Flies Do It.

Hope my fellow bloggers will enjoy this abundance of aphorisms I’ve concocted this morning!

*

Two flies landed on the page I was reading in my book and began to fuck. The sight was not as boring as I’d thought it would be.

*

Introverts are not necessarily anti-social. It is only that whenever people are around there is bound to be very little peace and quiet. If people brought with them peace and quiet reflection wherever they went, introverts would be crowd lovers.

Perhaps it is the extroverts whom are, in reality, anti-social; always shaking people from their thoughts and pushing them to go out and do things like dancing, drinking, conversing, etc. is perhaps not such a social temperament at all.

*

The greatest worldly value of the artist is that he or she presents not only visions of another way of thinking and perceiving: he or she presents new visions of being. The artist, whether he is aware of the fact or not, is often a creator of possible solutions.

*

Artists are the manufacturers of ideas and dreams merged with knowledge.

The Artist’s Equation is:

Ideas + Dreams + Knowledge x Action²  = Revolution

*

It occurs to me that nearly all of my creative and most daring endeavors in this life emerges out of a rebellion against futility. Futility is a haunting specter and a perpetual threat, like an axe on a hair trigger, rigged over every doorway.

I am a man of constant rebellion.

*

I write just to steady myself sometimes. Just writing down in my journal where I am and whom I’m with provides me with some illusion of stability; a feeling of comfort, at least. Like a sea sick sailor upon a storm-blown deck, grabbing hold of the cold iron railing. Life is like that: an always unsteady, at times raging sea. We feel we must all grab hold of something, for fear we may lose ourselves overboard…

*

The reason for my love and championship of art is because art means freedom. In putting words to paper, I am free to create whatever world I choose. My only limit is myself. In my world, I am God tending to his creations. I am free.

The artist is a practitioner of freedom. All his liberties are conditions set by his/her imagination.

*

Soldiers are human beings whom sacrifice their freedom in order that they may “fight for freedom”. Yet isn’t the best way to “fight for freedom” to remain free? To exemplify freedom by means of the choices one makes in one’s life? Giving the military ownership over one’s own mind and body seems outright anti-freedom to me. Fascist, even!

Having said that, I can feel that bloody, war-torn eagle screaming down at me, ravenous with pulsing talons itching to sink into my flesh, all the while screaming, “Freedom is not free!

*

America is a nightmare,

smothered with crosses like kisses &

soaked with proud stupidities

as if they were our children’s wishes.

Groupthink just as plentiful

as my kitchen’s dirty dishes.

*

Life, ultimately, has the quality of being forgettable. Humans become so caught up, so distracted by their day-to-day routines that they forget their primary preoccupation: that they exist at all.

*

“A rejections of seriousness” is something I consider to be simultaneously wise and foolish. Whether it is truly one or the other depends on the relative perception of the person rejecting seriousness. One is the cowardly fool, the philistine whom rejects serious matters and earnest discussion because he or she is simply too ignorant or stupid to comprehend – and cowardly in that he will not even attempt at comprehension.

The other is the wise, for he or she is knowledgeable of the fact that in this world “seriousness” accounts for little except a deduction of time and emotional energy. For all is truly absurd and impermanent, and if armed with this knowledge, how seriously can we take ourselves?

*

His ex-wife was a hair-stylist, and that was the last time he ever got his hair cut…

Freedom & Liberty

If “freedom isn’t free”, as the patriotic slogan proclaims, then there is no freedom. By its own definition, it has been nullified. Freedom without the “free” is just dumb. Pun very much intended.

It is far more accurate to say that freedom is a condition of our existence not at all free from consequence. Any consequence, however, comes to you free.

A truer popular slogan would be, “with freedom comes responsibility”. Why is this accurate? Because we are responsible for the choices that we make. These choices result in the consequences of our having freedom.

It is, I believe, this responsibility for consequence which one might refer to as, liberty…

 

***

What are your thoughts on freedom and liberty?

The Day Job Rebellion (Story)

The following story is the ending of a series I am writing called, “Tails of a Disgruntled Wal-Mart Cart Pusher”. I hope you enjoy it, and if you’ve any critique to offer, will let me know! I am always open to improving what I write. Thanks. 

*

I push a last row of shopping carts into the cart garage and head for the men’s urinal. The cool air conditioning of the store chills the sweat caked to my back and legs as I walk the crowded, brightly-lit walkway to the bathroom. Behind me is a man, short and stout, of Asian ethnicity, crowding upon me. I make my way to the head and he practically runs to his side of the partition. Well, a man’s gotta go when a man’s gotta go, I think to myself. I unzip and soon the bathroom walls are echoing the sound of urine streams hitting porcelain.

That’s when I hear the man say, “EY, look at dat! I got a big ow’ dick! Look at dat big ow’ dick! Look at dat big ow’ dick, DAMN!”

I continue on doing my business. Then he leans over to my side of the urinal partition and with one eyebrow raised rather comically he shouts,

“EY! You got a big ow’ dick too!”

“Thanks for noticing.” I say.

“Big ow’ dick! Big ow’ dick!”

“Yup,” I grin, nodding my head, trying to finish what I came here to do.

“Not as big as mine doh.”

He goes back to looking at his thing.

“Damn! Not as big as mine doh.”

“Can’t all be king.” I say.

“Yeah, yeah. I gotta big ow’ dick! Yours not as big as mine.”

“Well, maybe I’m a grower.”

“Big Ow’ Dick!”

I shake the last lonesome drops and zip ‘er away. I walk out, leaving the obviously disturbed man to gaze down at his male genitalia, as if he were discovering he had one for the first time in his life.

About twelve feet away from the men’s room I hear, “SUCK IT, BITCH! BIG OW’ DICK! YEAH! SUCK IT!”

Men, women and children in the store are now cocking their heads toward the sounds of these bizarre utterances. I smile and pick up my pace as I walk my way out the store. I’d rather not be present for the particularly absurd scene which may be about to take place.

***

Back out on the god damned lot. The sun beams down hot upon my head. I can feel my brains cooking inside my cranium. I wipe the dripping sweat from my forehead for what is about the hundredth time today. Gem the crow flies from a light pole over to a shadowed corner of the building. Immediately, I envy him of his shade. Has one reached the point of desperation if he envies the life of a god damned bird? Possibly, I think. Possibly.

A police car is parked outside the Wal-Mart. Soon enough a few officers are loading my short, stout Asian buddy into the car. He continually reasserts that the police officers ought to suck his enlarged old member but none of his wishes seem to be coming true. They have cuffs on him and have thrown him into the back seat. Then they drive him away to the jail house.

Well, another one bites the dust.

5 PM ***

Two elderly women in an Oldsmobile are driving through the crosswalk, gazing out into the distance, as if peaking through a dreamy haze, for an adequate parking spot. They are not looking where they are going and almost hit a man carrying his baby boy. The man grits his teeth and kicks the front bumper of their car. The old women gasp, looking appalled. The man flips them a finger, kisses his baby boy on the head, and walks into the store to acquire his groceries.

A Mexican man with a thick black and grey mustache hangs out by the side entrance door. A brown leather travel case rests by his feet. He is gazing off into the setting sun. His lips don’t quite form a happy smile, but close to it. He looks a bit wise, you might even say. He’s like a South of the border version of the Mona Lisa.

I wonder what his life might be like, what might be going on in his mind at this very moment, as he waits. I wonder if he has a wife and children at home. Where is his home? Is he sentimental? Does he long for Mexico? Does he long for the past? Probably, I think, he just longs for his taxi.

Curious and no longer content pushing carts, I walk up to him.

“Hola! Commo estas?” I say.

“Hola. Estoy en paz.”

“Oh?”

“Si. Me voy a casa, esta vez para siempre.”

A large white and black taxi pulls up beside us. I shake his hand. He has a warm, not so tight grip. A kindly old man. I bow my head.

“Buenes cosas viniendo a ti. Lo se!” He says as he climbs into the taxi.

“Muchas gracias! Adios.”

The taxi pulls away from the sidewalk, down the road, and gone. Gem flies from his shaded area and back over to his favorite light pole. Then he takes wing and flies off to the fields beyond the lot. Somehow I get the feeling he won’t be coming back. So long, ol’ Gem.

***

6:00 PM. One hour until I am off the job and home. It seems an intolerably cruel and long time to wait.

The people heave their tired bodies to and fro across the lot. To my chagrin and anger, I have seemingly become one of them.

A large mini-van backs out of its space, nearly hitting a woman walking by. The woman shouts at the driver, but he doesn’t notice and pulls away as if she were never there in the first place. The woman curses under her breath as she continues to walk to her car.

I curse under my breath too, but not for the same reasons.

The lot smells like humanity. Oil. Gasoline. Sweat. Rotten meat. Stank, humid air. Hard to breathe. Hard to live.

Just when slavery and treachery appears at the open crevice of the door, I shed my chains and slam the fucker shut.

I look down at the cart I’m pushing, one of five thousand, and with a happy disgust, chuck it across the lot. It tumbles over on its side. A man looks over at me, frowning, perplexed. I answer him with a raised middle finger. His mouth opens, then he storms inside the store, probably to notify the nearest manager of their dear cart pusher’s lack of basic etiquette.

I climb upon the steel cart corral, row 12, and stand atop of the bars. I gaze off toward the open fields and marvel at the bright, sinking star.

The same star which has been there, rising and setting, since the beginning of the Earth. The same star which shall be there after all of humanity has killed itself off through its own self-destructive negligence and stupidity. The same star which will be there even when the Earth itself is decimated, collided with some asteroid or other. All of this raises the corners of my lips. I am now smiling like the old Mexican man was smiling. I am now the American Mona Lisa, I think to myself. This cracks me up and now I am smiling broadly, very happily and laughing all the while.

I jump down from the corral. All the cars are zooming by, driven by busy people oppressed by infinite obligations. I rip off my yellow reflective vest with the Wal-Mart symbol on the back. I stomp on it with my boots, shoving it into the dirt and the abandoned bubble gum upon the pavement.

I walk all the way to the edge of the lot, where the grass and reeds grow high. I pause for a second, raise my boot in the air, and then land it over the divide. I do the same with other one. Then I keep walking, off into the glistening field where the wind sways the grass. Eventually I find myself a tree and rest my tired body against it.

I look down, past the field I have climbed, at the Wal-Mart, sitting there rather squat and rectangular with all the mindless cows whom shall continue going in and out until the slaughterhouse of life calls them all home. The endless, futile roll of hot, shiny cars full of angry people zooms by down on the highway below. I kick off my boots and watch it all pass me by, like bubbles in the air ready to pop.

Now this is life, I think to myself, as the sun sinks deeper into the land.

O’ Diogenes, you great rebel, hand me your blasted lantern! For I am the only honest man I have ever found.

At last!

At long last!