Saturday, November 27, 2010

You're Looking For

You're looking for evidence
When you're living proof.

- Karl Walinger, "Sunshine"

* * *

I've spent a good deal of my life looking for answers. Not just any answers, not answers that could, say, improve the quality of drinking water in Sub-Saharan Africa, or positively impact dropout rates at inner-city schools, or feed, heal, cure any one on this planet other than myself. I was better than that. I sought burning bushes, gazed at my navel, read as much of the Upanishads as I could choke down and in the end simply wasted my precious time.

The answers I sought were always unanswerable. They do, however, provide great cover while dithering away one's life. One looks so busy and serious and deep and well, profound.

Except, of course, one is none of the that. One is a shithead.

* * *

My head is clotted with bits of song, passages from books, scripture, movie lines, jokes, memories of words said or unsaid to those I love and those I could do without: the accumulated rust of fifty years. I strained to see the use of it. So much information, so little knowledge. But it is not the fault of the songs or books or movies or loves that has made their accumulation useless. Child, it was me not using that info to create something new: my life.

To be fucked is to want answers but to not put those answers - whatever they might be - into action. Doubt, fear that you've got it wrong, or won't know how to work this damned thing, keeps you circling back trying to get it right.

I keep getting caught in the rain,
Fooled again and again.
I start acting like there's no tomorrow.
Drowning in a sea of pain and sorrow.

It has such a familiar ring to it, no?

But that's just you stuck on the wheel of your own fears. Stop. Leave it behind. Life is always ready for you to join it, but bear this in mind - the game clock is always winding down and you have no idea how long the game will last. If you are going to get any living in before time runs out then you'd better start right now. Truly, what will you be giving up? Your doubt? Your fear? Your victimhood? Are these things worth clinging to (like guns and religion)?

Don't be a shithead all your life.

* * *

The verse from Walinger's song is:

You're down in the basement
When we're up here on the roof.
You're looking for evidence
When you're living proof.
But we hope you're gonna make it,
Up here.

I have to tell you: Karl is right, as was Plato's Allegory of the Cave, as was this odd couplet:
The last shall be first, and the first shall be last.

There is no want of clues for you to unfuck your life. It strikes me the whole of man's striving has been to do just that - moving from need to need (food, shelter, meaning, purpose). What has gone wanting is your willingness to live by the light in your head and not simply live in the reflected glow of others' work.

The world will not notice when you die. That is a human value - to miss the dead, to mourn the dead - but even that will fade in time and sooner than you think. No, the world won't notice when you stop breathing and I'll forget soon, just as you'll forget me. So live while you can. You have everything you need right now. There is nothing that you need, nothing that you lack. You have been your answer all along.

Don't make a big deal about it. Forgive yourself quickly. Show, don't tell.

Oh, I said,
Sometimes I just can't get enough of you.
Sunshine, you just blow my mind.
Gonna take it all, gonna change it all for you.
And I'm so glad that you found me,
Yeah, you made it just in time.
Yeah, I'm so glad now - I'm getting delirious.


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