Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Each Of Us

Each of us must contend with the circumstances of our lives. Every set of circumstances is distinct, unique, separate from any other set of circumstances. And each of us is solely responsible for how we respond to what is unique and singular and wholly precise in our lives.

Yet no one set of circumstances is more acute or worthy or desperate than any other. We puff ourselves up in our minds to assume the mantle of greatest suffering, the greatest obstacles to overcome, etc. And it certainly seems so.

But that is part of the fallacy that keeps our lives fucked: the universe doesn't give a fiddler's fart for your suffering, your difficulties, your ineptitude. That is a projection onto the cosmos of our inherent puniness. We don't like being lost; we don't want to be alone; we want our lives to be unfucked. And so we create stories about our lives and the events in our lives. We ascribe meaning on the blank face of time. We create. This is our genius: WE CREATE.

This spark, this impulse to render meaning out of nothingness, to carve purpose into our time is breathtaking. When we create (and I would argue that all creation is story) we are closest to fulfilling our potential, closest to using the capacity that exists between our ears and not only what exists between our legs. It is this extra step, this ability to plumb a deeper core that can unfuck what is fucked in our lives.

* * *

The act of creation is to bring into being something that did not exist previously. (Do not assume that creation is beautiful or beneficial - much of what man has created is his own doom.) Idea, thought becomes a physical reality. Babies, books, bombs, etc. are all made in this way. The baby may become Mother Theresa, or Typhoid Mary, the book may be Mein Kampf, or If On a Winter's Night a Traveler..., the bomb might be Hiroshima, or an IED. Creation is value neutral. It is the intention of the Creator that matters.

The great American Philosopher George Carlin once said, "There are no bad words, just bad intentions."

True. True.

So what is it you have created out of the magma of your life, what has your wisp of undifferentiated nothingness become? If your life is fucked you created it. No one else. No outside circumstance. Just you. The story you've chosen to tell is one of victimhood, of being a special case, of being unique and entitled where others are common and undeserving.

* * *

In Kurt Vonnegut's second greatest book, Bluebeard, the hero, Rabo Karabekian, has lived a fucked life. An artist by natural inclination, a man who could render the human form as beautifully as the Dutch Masters, he instead becomes an abstract painter, befriends Rothko and Pollock, etc, and creates huge canvases using house paint that in about five years peels off his canvases so they are now blank. He loses his marriage. Loses a connection to his children. Loses much of everything except the paintings his friends gave him during their time together in the 1940's and 50's, so that now, Rabo Karabekian is a wealthy, wealthy man - the largest private collector of Abstract Expressionist paintings in America.

But Rabo is something else as well. He was a soldier in Europe at the end of the war and the sights he saw, the mass graves, the murder, the desolation are part of him as well. Finally, in his early old age he undertakes to paint a massive triptych of the war - a modern Hieronymos Bosch. There he lays out the vision of his life. It is horribly beautiful. He works on the painting in secret but is found out by an annoying house guest.

He wants to dismiss the work, for he is ashamed of his gift, of not using his gift, of not saying what he needed to say at every moment in his life. He has long denied his ability. The house guest, a ferociously overconfident woman tells him that is "meat did that," that his body as well as his soul created that painting and that he should thank his meat for its work.

And there, in one moment, Rabo Karabekian unfucks his life when he says, "Oh happy soul. Oh happy meat. Oh happy Rabo Karabkian."

* * *

Find your story. Tell it. Thank your meat, and unfuck your life.


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