Smash the Masquerade.

A billion eyes reveal a billion lies,
yet we continue to play in the masquerade
donning masques we mistake for faces,
costumes in colors we mistake for races,
acting out roles mistaken for souls,
our true face screaming for mercy
or damning us
behind this somehow-seductive armour.

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Subterranean Game Rules.

I cannot see the blossom
without entertaining thoughts on the seed
from which it sprung,

how, where its roots have stretched
beneath that thick veil of soil
providing at once shielding and support.

I would no sooner gaze at the gift
in its bow, box and wrapping paper
without wondering what, in fact, it is.

See, I want to see you.

And I need you to want to see me
because you want to,
not because you feel you need to.

Not because I want you to want to,
but despite the fact.

Breaking the Habit.

Habit is a word with negative connotations, and it goes largely undeserved, methinks. Everything is habit, really, its just that you don’t so readily notice a habit when the pattern is played over a long enough time line, or is elaborate enough in its dance and play with other patterns in poly-rhythmic fashions.

And just consider those moments when you find yourself saying to yourself, perhaps to another, “I just wasn’t myself today.” Or someone says to you, “Wow. That was out of character for you.” What does that mean in translated terms?  It means you broke the habit for a moment. You were unpredictable and hence suddenly unfamiliar. You missed a beat.

While I think it would be premature, prejudgmental, pre-so-many-things to say that we are habit, I think it can be pretty well established that we identify “self” with our developed patterns. We see ourselves and others as just an interrelated webwork weaved with strands of thought-patterns, emotional cycles, habitual mannerisms, expressions, tones of voice and behavioral responses.

“Self” constitutes a network of interrelated patterns. I am identifiable as distinct from you as you are from me and we are from others over the course of space and time, so I am a habit. You are habit. Everything is habit.

We mistake habit for law, for reality, due to its redundant nature. We consider habit real because in being distinct, familiar and predictable it can only serve to enhance our power. Yet we can only go on to exploit that habitual reality is to construct a strategy that is by its very nature strange and spontaneous — and if it works, it graduates to real because we use it habitually, by necessity.

So habit is not inherently negative. We can go in healthy or unhealthy circles, spiral out or spiral in, up or down.

Nonetheless, it certainly pays to break the habit. At least every once in awhile.

Drip-Dry.

Is the mind to the brain like a bulb that just suddenly burns out one day? Do we shine bright like the blazing sun and then leave with a bang if our power source is not cut off first? Is loss of life sudden?

Is the mind akin to a fluid the brain holds, which it then either sips dry or lets bleed through the narrow fissures betwixt its butterfingers? Do we slowly fade away, slipping into the infinite void of non-being? Riding the rapids of white noise until the violent sea consumes us? Fizzling off into the static until we reach the station of negation? Are we dying from the moment we’re born, slowly draining the precious vein of vitality?

Is the mind to the brain like a driver to his car? And the car will surely break down for good one day, but can and does the driver ever die, regardless as to whether he has but one car or a long succession?

I see evidence suggesting the last, but the first does not make me afraid, only the second. That from the moment we are there is a race between dripping dry and being swallowed by the beastly are-not I find to be morbid and terrifying. If you take any of it away, just take it all at once.

I never wish to be any less than who I am. I would never wish it upon anyone to be any less than who they are.

Doubt Keeps the Windows Open.

So much of what we believe, even take to be self-evident, is built on faulty premises that we ignore their incompatibility with reality when revelation dawns. With frightened and furious fingers we hold onto our bullshit with a death-grip so as to not go bat-shit crazy — and in so doing we keep ourselves bat-shit crazy.

It would appear that we cannot give up so easily what we have invested in so greatly.

Yet not questioning our most sacred assumptions and divorcing them when they prove to be false or outdated only results in the constipation in our development as unique individuals, constipation in our road to greater understanding, and constipation in the progress of our species.

This makes faith, which is defined here as uncritical certitude and unwavering worship, an untenable and even dangerous approach towards life. Those with firm faith in their convictions ignore their hypocrisy and their worldview’s inadequacy. A good dose of doubt keeps the windows open. It keeps you in check. Keeps the input coming in. Gives you the feedback required to steer yourself through life…

More Fingers in the War Against Noise.

Forget the symbol for a moment: the thing in itself naturally bears meaning. The symbol used to designate it is dependent on the thing in itself for meaning.

Language is comprised of an agreed-upon system of symbols dependent on those external things-in-themselves for meaning. It necessarily limits what a person can convey to another — there is a set minimum amount of noise that will be present in every transmission.

Art in its more conventional images (such as drawing, painting, sculpting, and so on) could be seen as a language, but it is a language that only the artist can translate without that remaining, omnipresent, set-minimum degree of noise. Unless you’re talking to yourself, you can never make a crystal clear transmission to a person through this medium as you can with yourself. There is always that noise, that cacophony, and the higher the degree of ambiguity in a stimulus, the more malleable it is in the receiver’s mind. And the subconscious has busy fingers eager to see the soul’s reflection, if only in a metaphorical mirror.

The artist makes his art so the world can see the artist — and the world only sees itself.

As for language as it is typically seen, I’m not as sure as many that we need it to talk with ourselves, or even other people. But I know it helps. Language undoubtedly enriches our capacity to explore ourselves as it offers a medium beyond our natural one, but by necessity if this is true and we elect to only communicate with ourselves as we must communicate to others — through language — and cease utilizing our capacity for “wordless thought,” we are using what could serve as a tool for us as a self-imposed prison.

Yet the part of me that believes this is indeed true also confesses that we reach our hands beyond the bars of the cage every now and then. After all, if that were not the case, there would be no real evidence suggestive of wordless thought. We often find ourselves incapable of remembering a certain word and yet even with considerable effort cannot define that word accurately enough with words within reach in our linguistic arsenal despite the fact that we know what we want to mean by that word. If you know what you want to mean before you say it, there must be a primeval form of thought that exists beyond the realms claimed by language.

If there is no thought outside the realms of language that would mean that we would be bound to thinking within the parameters of our vocabulary. Even if we knew our native language through and through, we still would find ourselves behind the bars of a conceptual prison, for there are other lands where they speak other languages. As any work of literature translated from one language to another or the subtitles at the bottom of a foreign film should reveal to you, some words of other languages do not have correlates in our language and vice versa. You might choose a word that could maybe pass as some close relative of the word in that other language, sure, but the point is that there is always something lost in translation.

There is always noise in communication.

This is why it starts to piss me off a little when a person complains about foreigners in this country who, so the person says, “Needs to learn the language.” No, like many other countries do, we need to learn more than our native language. It is well known that a child can pick this up far easier than adults, so why not utilize that window to its full advantage? Teach them dozens of different languages.

We don’t need one shared linguistic system that everyone on the planet adheres to, we need an environment of diverse systems to overcome our obstacles in communication. But they only serve their purpose if we learn other languages. People who speak a foreign tongue can think things you cannot because you have not picked up the tools that are there for the taking. With every new word, the kind of things you can think about increases, and not by a mere fucking factor of one, either. Thoughts aren’t words, words make up thoughts, and so the thoughts potentially possible with the introduction of your new word are found in the relations the new word can make with words already in your linguistic arsenal.

I get how we built language, at least in theory, by pointing to a certain object and always making a specific sound, for instance, and in so doing creating a “word.” . But as is obvious, we don’t only have objects in language. We have emotions. Higher concepts. How did a person indicate “love” or “hate”? It cannot be a shared experience in the conventional way, as with a sound we all hear or the taste of a fruit we could all take a bite out of. We can’t taste, touch, see, smell, hear or even point to an emotion. So did we note the facial expressions we ourselves make when we feel a certain way and finally made the connection when someone else made those same facial expressions that they were feeling as we did?  That might explain why nonverbal communication is said to make up 93% of our communication.

Language is just written or verbal shorthand for a complicated network of perceptible indicators for this or that imperceptible other-person’s subjective experience. All words, sentences, and so on are by necessity mere summaries of thoughts. Just ways of “pointing at the moon,” as the Zen would say. Nonverbal communication points at that same moon from a different angle, that’s all, but it helps with the refinement of the overall transmission.

More languages, more words: more fingers.

Mirror for the Mind.

Art not only informs, but helps form, the artist. And the reason is not complex at all.

Imagine having to apply make-up or shave without a mirror or some other reflective surface. Imagine someone tone-deaf trying to tune a guitar. We need this feedback in any way we can get it. What we truly need is to be receiving data through a recurrent feedback loop in order to properly adjust ourselves. This would be optimal. The speed, the immediacy of this feedback is essential for proper functioning and for full potential to actualize. You need the natural, real-time progression of events.

Art is the mind’s mirror. Art lets the mind see itself, and so gives it the necessary tools with which to adjust itself. Self-knowledge, self-awareness, finding yourself: this is the first step to changing yourself, developing, growing, evolving. To know yourself is to defeat the enemy. It gives hope that one will stop running in circles when he suddenly recognizes his own tail for what it is, and perhaps travel in a straight line towards a chosen direction. It gives hope that one will spiral outward.

Of Viruses & Insects.

We really do adopt the characteristics of a virulent virus upon the earth. Good or ill, take it as you will, I’m just calling it as I see it. And if by some chance the galactic federation was absent-minded and unobservant enough to send a scout ship down to earth to formerly initiate contact, in the long run an invitation to join their cosmic brethren among the stars and reap the fruits of their vast knowledge and epic god-actualizing power, they would with our luck arrive in a vehicle the size and general shape of the common housefly and some morbidly obese American male without the vaguest sense of hygiene would stop amidst his beer-and-onion-breath, glorifying-the-uneducated blather with an equally disgusting mobile tub of mindless lard to use his pudgy, clammy, Doritos-stained hand as a makeshift fly-swatter for the cosmic vessel that would have otherwise provided a planetary bailout and ignite the short but neon-blazing-bright intergalactic war. We seem to have adopted the live fast, die young way of life anyway, so its too easy to see this was only a matter of time and fashion. It would be fitting.

Exorcize the Entelechy.

Echoes from the screams. Reverberations of the battery. Its like static in my head and ice within my veins as my shivers turn to violent convulsions, just trying to shake the world away. Monsters wear any number of skins and they are not exclusive to fiction. I’m afraid to look inside. I refuse to peer within you. You’re a sick man. I strive to escape your vibe, confident that this insanity you display adequately defines you. Though I cannot imagine it, I fear the possibility that any empathy with you might somehow bring me to justify your actions. I draw the line at you, and in drawing a line at all I risk becoming you. Making myself in your own image to defend myself against the man I know so well, yet do not know that I know, refuse to know that I know. Refuse to acknowledge that I am the potential and you are the entelechy, and to know you would be to defeat the you in me. And I refuse for it would require letting go of my resentment, which the frightened, angry and hurt child still shivering within my soul still feels certain is its only line of defense.

Maiden of My Mental Mould.

Looking at her, its like you’ve had this mental mould in your mind of what the perfect girl would be like and in your reactionary searching for potential candidates you have come to accept that you’ve set the bar too high, that you’re going to have to give a little, compromise, and then lower even your bottom line. Every time you hold up that mental mould to a girl you have accepted that she’s not going to fit it perfectly. It’s just a fact of life. And then she strolls in, and you look at her, and the mould disappears it fits so perfectly. You realize that the mental mould was cast from her. She is the girl against which you judge all others.