‘But maybe now can be enough’ vs. ‘Living in the moment’
What I’m trying to do in my writing is lift a weight — a weight that’s not in fact real but has all the properties of being real — that is, it mimics these properties. To get that imaginary weight off everyone’s back and make it lighter and more fun and more pleasurable to be alive, to breathe this magnificent, beautiful air. It’s not forever. But maybe now can be enough.
Am I talking about others or myself? What is the truth?
Can I free myself without also freeing others? It’s the same seesaw, with what we’d nowadays call a mobile fulcrum. There’s less of a separation than some or maybe all of us imagine between you and me. In short, I can’t do it for me without involving myself with the rest of us in this world or universe and therefore working or playing to achieve or relax into this lightening of oppression for us all. Sound crazy? And/or about average? This is more or less what you hear from the average asshole on the street? Probably. No point being pretentious about it.
Okay, buddy (you say), say we make a thought experiment and don’t dismiss your nonsense altogether and outright. So what happens? How do you go about making this weight disappear, or “lift it” off our backs? How about it?
Thanks for your trust. The answer is, I wish I knew. How about if I talk some more about the advantages of getting this to happen, maybe that will help?
Boy, are you pushing your luck, buddy…
Okay, thanks. Look at it this way: How many of us know what it’s like to live in slavery? Hmmmn… Okay, whatever. I’d contend that we’re all, or almost all of us, living in it now. Not the cotton plantation type slavery. But to live without honesty and full-cry pursuit of the truth and the openness to that truth — that is enslaving.
Yes, we can still laugh, thank God, we can enjoy ourselves often enough, we’ve seen photos of ourselves in such a condition and it looks real. But as Mack the Knife says in Threepenny Opera, “Is this what you call living?”
What is that weight that oppresses that I want to get us all free of? What is its nature, whereof is it made? To be sure it’s comprised of decades, centuries, eons of compounded cultural baggage. For a start: received ideas, intimidating platitudes, holy nonsense and various and sundry forms of unnecessary suffering which have been developed over the ages with the utmost creativity and the most ironclad indifference and brutality. Indifference to our humanness. That’s not a euphemism for “weakness.” It’s openness, creativity, love, soul. Not what passes for “soul” in the glibness of airy New Age pseudo-conversations but something more earthy and connected and beautiful. Still sound like New Age garbage? Read on.
What’s the difference between our fun and laughing and the fun and funniness and laughing that I’m aiming for? Well, either way it’s a type of aliveness that we don’t want to altogether waste — what we can be free to do if not oppressed by all that crap I’ve been talking about. But in what I’ve been talking about there is a resonance — like a shaking of the whole bridge from its towers in the sky to the pilings under the water anchoring you to bedrock, a laugh that is a shaking of the whole design.
A kind of shaking that gets all the way down to the marrow of the bones.
So there is something about wholeness. I think in any deep laughing or deep fun (does using the word “deep” beg the question?) there is something of this wholeness. And there’s no absolute “top” to it or maximum any more than there’s some kind of limit to being so-called “fully” alive. That will get you only to that neo-Platonic perfectionism which I hate. Let it go. Breathe a little. Like I said somewhere, take a “pajama day”! Another idea: If you have enough time to recover, let your psyche be exploded… You may not feel very welcoming of the impact and immediate consequences, but when the dust and some of the debris clear you have a whole new whiteboard to draw on, a whole beautiful field to plant in, a new era to begin to breathe in and furnish with what you love or need.
Any of you New Agers still with me?
For a time my life felt empty of what used to feel meaningful. That world seemed — like Hamlet said his world was — “weary, stale, flat and unprofitable.” But long is not forever and eventually I reached a point where I could say, “Life is kind of pleasurable.” And now I’m past that: Despite the uncertainty over the next ten minutes which I try not to altogether forget, being alive is full of wonderful experiences and exciting possibilities — even if worrisome; being alive is to be treasured…
I once developed a course called “How to Participate in Your Own Life.” Just before launch the authorities of the moment were too frightened to let me teach it. But I used much of the material the following year in my “Communication and the Media” course in Singapore. The understanding and treatment of pain and fear and their consequences are similar in the current hit book “Flinch!”
Summary? If we can dispel or assuage people’s unnecessary suffering — based on illusions —our unavoidable suffering can be, perhaps, less unbearable and subject to occasional relief.
Oh: oh yeah: So what’s all this to do with my website? Well, I hope it will be a place where “the truth” can be told, maybe argued over, “corrected,” fine-tuned. Where the water will finally boil.
The website offers 4 ‘genres’ or formats to approach the truth that I keep talking about.
• The Stories about how people in the U.S. thought and behaved, starting with the Fifties, can establish a basis, or the beginning of one, for understanding (“deconstructing”?) the Oppressing Weight and giving us some perspective.
• The teaser for my Screenplay, the romantic thriller “In the Southern Cross,” provides at least some hints of the underside of traditional Chinese culture — the truth that has been hidden from us — against which the story plays out.
• Nuclear War Manual for Dogs (1983) — “straight talk from a streetwise canine” — gives some reminders of just how unsmart it can be not to face what is true; the down-to-earth consequences (dog’s point of view) of failing to grasp certain big dangers… Dangers so big that they leave moot most of the other oppressions that harry and worry us.
Please don’t hesitate to respond and join the discussion. If you keep silent you deprive the world of what only you can give. And the rest of us need your feelings, insight, point of view to advance any farther in this quest.