Monday, March 14, 2011

As You Proceed

As you proceed through life,
following your own path, 
birds will shit on you.
Don't bother to brush it off.

- Joseph Campbell

* * *

I'd go Joe one better: if you are not getting shit on you are not on your path. The shit is proof you've unfucked yourself.

* * *

Human society is like a kid coming home after school and eating a bag of Cheetos: lazy and indifferent to the actual costs of its poor decisions. Society thrives on conformity - the Cheetos of human interaction - and despises anything that doesn't fit into the well-worn niches of work, ambition, acquisition and consumption. The size of your house matters more than your capacity to act with compassion. If you're not on the gravy train you are "the biggest fucking loser" imaginable. Here are the goods and the goods are what's good and if you don't have the goods, then you are no good.

Got it? Good.

But the goods alone are never good enough. They make life easier or more pleasurable or more beautiful, but they never fill the hole in your soul.

You've got to be on your own path for any of those things to be any good. If you aren't living the life that is yours alone to live then you are fucked. If you are living out the consequences of being solely yourself, then you are going to be shit on, misunderstood, even despised for not bending to what others expect out of you.

Better to fuck them, then fuck yourself.

And here's why: as much as society (large and small) craves conformity and continuity and control, it only advances by the work and lives of crackpots, fools and outcasts who insist on creating something new out of the materials at hand. Campbell describes the hero's journey as incomplete unless he returns to the wasteland - the place of conformity and timidity and fear - and delivers some measure of what he learned on his path for others to use. And here's the kicker: the fucked never want what is given. The only action available to the hero is to sacrifice and give away his impossibly earned knowledge. He can have no influence over whether anyone finds value in it.

For him the value was in the doing and that is all. That is all.

* * *

Lately I have felt a gathering storm. My reading has pulled together disparate threads and suggested other readings which have reinforced and propelled some new projects, new avenues of expression. But it has not broken loose yet. It builds and I am alert to its changes so that I don't miss what is surely coming my way, what I am surely rushing towards.

And what are those books, those readings but the attempts others have made to try and bring back to the wasteland their hard won knowledge, their insight gained at what appears to be a life lived out of bounds? The world resounds with their sacrifice. Somewhere, in a library, at a yard sale, by the side of the road, in an open field, or locked in vault is the example and encouragement you need to answer the call of your life. Living fucked and stuck in the wasteland of other's expectations is a lousy way to spend a life. You were made for more. Get off your ass and find it. Even at the cost of your safety, security and sanity - find it.

What appears to be safe and secure is the illusion of conformity. Act out of compassion, act out of your true self and you are the mirror of the God who made you. Act out of fear, out of compliance, out of a desire to be rid of the responsibility of your inherent freedom and you are dead where you stand.

What's a little shit on your shoulder compared to that?


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