|As imagined by Michaelangelo|
- Heraclitus, 500-ish B.C.E.
* * *
The cosmos was Heraclitus' aim. My reach is not so far, yet I find in the fragments of his thoughts that have survived the fall of time a voice that speaks to the matters that speak to me. Another of his fragments tells me, The way up and the way down are one and the same.
And damned if it isn't so.
* * *
What fucks us most is a misunderstanding about time and how we are to use it. For we clansman of the tribe Fucked Fuckers make presumptions about time that derail us from the start. We presume time to be an extension of our self, our ego, our personality, rather than the other way around. We suck at the tit of our dominion over matter and believe only we matter. What is commerce and war but a clever manipulation of raw materials? What is our religion but a self-fulfilling prophesy of our place at the top of the ladder? What are our relationships but a side business of commerce and war and prophesy? And as wealthy as we may become, as victorious as we may be, no matter how many blow jobs we get, we still are wrong about time and it fucks us.
Time is an everliving fire, kindling in measures, being quenched in measures and we are the measures. Our ego tells us we are the fire, but, in truth, we are the fire's kindling and it's dousing.
To be fucked and stuck and going nowhere is to deny the contribution only you can make to the fire. Your life is the kindling, the fuel, not the fire itself and through your acts the fire burns or gutters out. As you die another takes up your place, just as you took another's. The contradiction of a fire roaring and being quenched at the same time is resolved by seeing time (your life) from the fire's point of view. It is always coming into being. It is always expiring.
Knowing this, what are you waiting for?
* * *
If you read any of Heraclitus' work (a single scroll of which only a hundred or so fragments remain), you are confronted with his insistence on pairing opposites to describe unity. He wants to break you out of static thought and get you moving again, or for the first time.
I want the same.
Having lived a fucked life for too fucking long, having burnt up most of my kindling trying to live so that others would be satisfied, having once denied my gifts the way Peter denied Jesus for fear of his own skin, I want you to use it up before you lay it down. But before you can use it, you have to know what it is. And how does one figure that out?
The way up and the way down are one and the same.
You have to move through the changes you are holding back. You are the one damming up the flow of your life. You are the one refusing the price of admission to your life, namely, your death. You can pretend you won't die for only so long and then you die. The risk is not in defying death, but embracing life. You have this bit of light you can add to the fire, or not. Your call. But know this, that fire, that everliving fire will burn with or without you. The fire does not need you. You need it. You need its purpose. How you arrive here is material only to you. The way up and the way down are the same. What matters is what you, and only you, can bring to the fire.
* * *
I said we misunderstand time because we view it as belonging to us, when the hard truth is the reverse: we belong to time. From this we misunderstand what our lives are, what they are for, what we might do with them in our time. But here's the news: the distance between a fucked life and an unfucked life is the distance between between the fire and the kindling. Both of which are inside you.
Light 'em up.