Thursday, September 29, 2011

Time May Rage

For Lucille
Time may rage but rage in vain
My designs unchanged remain.

- Surely, Black Dub

* * *

The genius of Aurelius, Epictetus, Frankl is the conscious decision to abandon any pretense at attempting to control that which cannot be controlled: the thoughts and actions of others, chance or fate and chief among the uncontrollable - time.

What care do I have about something that exists outside and beyond me, of which I am a brief traveler, my transit unnoticed by the sweep, silence, grandeur, and no-thingness of time?

If you are fucked you care deeply about time, or more precisely, your time. There just seems to be so damned little of it. But time is without quantity. It exists whether we measure it or not, whether we measure ourselves against it or not. It doesn't need you, yet you believe you need it.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

* * *

There is a cartoon of an eagle, sweeping out the sky, it's talons out about to kill a mouse. The mouse's back is to the viewer and he holds up the middle finger of his raised hand. The caption reads: "The last act of defiance."

* * *

If you want to unfuck your life you must defy the draw of time, the heavy patterns of ascension and decline and refuse the terms. But to do so you need something to live for, something to give your life to, something larger, better, finer, more beautiful than yourself: your cause, your love, your designs and desires. Doing so puts you outside of time, lets you abandon what you cannot control and brings you back to those things that are under your authority: your cause, your love, your designs and desires.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience." So says the brilliant and long suffering Jesuit priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. If you are fucked you invert the line and so get it wrong from the start. If you are human striving for timelessness, or heaven or communion, you will always fail. Like Vegas, Time always wins in the end. But if you are timeless to begin with, if you already are the communion then you cannot be wounded by time.

Semantics! Semantics, you say!

No. Not a bit. Think. Has a preponderance of effort on the immediate brought you happiness? Is your circumstance hard, or unfair, or filled with unearned grief? Do you find yourself falling behind your designs and desires? Are outside influences dictating the terms of your life? Yes, the economy is in tatters, but does that absolve you of seeing what can be done for those you love, for those who need what you have to offer?

No. Not a bit.

Let time rage and let it rage in vain. Give yourself to the task of loving something beyond the immediate. In Rilke's words, "Love is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world for himself for another's sake, it is a great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things."

What vast things are in you? Reveal them.

* * *

A day will come when we hear the news of the death of BB King. He is 86 years old and still touring. I pray he dies with Lucille in his hands. Don't get me wrong. I do not wish to hurry his passing, but he will pass and the vastness of his gift, what he gave his life to, what he gave to the world will continue, outside of time.

Again, what vast things are in you? 
Reveal them. 
Now is your time.
Raise your mousy middle finger and have at it.


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