I like the lyrics and the mood…but this video is confused and a comedy…no wonder poetry, art, romance, and Love is a lost art.
The freight train represents the focal point of humanity from my perspective. To me, the train symbolizes the human momentum. Cafe, or Janice, calls the human momentum “The Grind”. I think the Grind is very fitting for this symbolic video if you not only look, but more importantly, listen..
To play off the last post…”Call of the Wild”…and in writing my next journal-like entry “Alive”, I think about making love with a woman I care about. And my thoughts are…is this the last act of our wildness? Is this the last bastion to feeling alive in our modern world? Is this the last link to intimacy with nature and our past, heightened senses, adrenaline, wild abandonment? Or, will it also be domesticated? Will technology, economics, and culture (which is becoming defined by the former) eliminate this final link to our wild past? Already, I see economics and technology at work — the advertisements selling products for sexual enhancements..drugs…gadgets…things. There is no need for enhancements when you are truly in love. And there is of course methods to create life without any type of physical connection…the test tube baby…genetic engineering…and so on…and so on. Will we take this final step to sever the last link to our wildness? Will we neuter everything connected to our beautiful and raw natural past? ”Oh Brave New World…with such people in it.”
This piece, like Piece One… from Steppenwolf, didn’t really ring true until I was in my late twenties and through my thirties. From the age of 0 to 20, my life was ideal…improving my mind through school and the university…and my body through athletics. The world was wide open and dreams were to be had. It wasn’t until I entered the adult world…the one that requires money making…that the below passage began to sing its heartfelt tune.
“You have a picture of life within you, a faith, a challenge, and you were ready for deeds and sufferings and sacrifices, and then you became aware by degrees that the world asked no deeds and no sacrifices of you whatever, and that life is no poem of heroism with heroic parts to play and so on, but a comfortable room where people are quite content with eating and drinking, coffee and knitting, cards and wireless. And whoever wants more and has got it in him — the heroic and the beautiful, and the reverence for the great poets or for the saints — is a fool and a Don Quixote. Good. And it has been just the same for me, my friend.
I was a gifted girl. I could have been the wife of a king, the beloved of a revolutionary, the sister of a genius, the mother of a martyr. And life has allowed me just this, to be a courtesan of fairly good taste, and even that has been hard enough. That is how things have gone with me. For a while I was inconsolable and for a long time I put the blame on myself. Life, thought I, must in the end be in the right, and if life scorned my beautiful dreams, so I argued, it was my dreams that were stupid and wrong-headed. But that did not help me at all. And as I had good eyes and ears and was a little inquisitive too, I took a good look at this so-called life and my neighbors and acquaintances, fifty or so of them and their destinies, and then I saw you. And I knew that my dreams had been right a thousand times over, just as yours had been. It was life and reality that were wrong. It was as little right that a woman like me should have no other choice than to grow old in poverty and in a senseless way at a typewriter in the pay of a money-maker, or to marry such a man for his money’s sake, or to become some kind of drudge, as for a man like you to be forced in his loneliness and despair to have recourse to a razor.
Perhaps the trouble with me was more material and moral and with you more spiritual — but it was the same road. Do you think I can’t understand your horror of the fox trot, your dislike of bars and dancing floors, your loathing of jazz and the rest of it? I understand it only too well, and your dislike of politics as well, your despondence over the chatter and antics of the parties and the press, your despair over the war, the one that has been and the one that is to be, over all that people nowadays think, read and build, over the music they play, the celebrations they hold, the education they carry on. You are right, Steppenwolf, right a thousand times over, and yet you must go to the wall. You are much too exacting and hungry for this simple, easygoing and easily contented world of today. You have a dimension too many. Whoever wants to live and enjoy his life today must not be like you and me. Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours –”
Hermann Hesse — Steppenwolf
This is the first of five posts (pieces) that will provide some background for my critical thinking project, that once complete, may change the direction and content of this blog…and then again…it may not. These background pieces are little snippets from a few authors that wrote works or pieces within their works that struck a deep chord within me…a chord that rung true…to me. There are of course more authors and pieces, but these few suffice, for they hit on some of the big questions…and their thoughts…are also taken from other thoughts…that came before.
Now, we can all say that these pieces, which serve as foundations for my critical thinking, skew the process from the start. But, this is who I am and how I view the world…for these few thoughts ring true to me…from what I have experienced, observed, and thought…from youth to the present. These thoughts run deep within me and throughout me…like the blood in my veins…and cannot be extracted…without ripping out a piece of who I am.
“Whereupon it occurred to me – so it is with every one. Just as I dress and go out to visit the professor and exchange a few more or less insincere compliments with him, without really wanting to at all, so it is with the majority of men day by day and hour by hour in their daily lives and affairs. Without really wanting to at all, they pay calls and carry on conversations, sit out their hours at desks and on office chairs; and it is all compulsory, mechanical and against the grain, and it could all be done or left undone just as well by machines; and indeed it is this never-ceasing machinery that prevents their being, like me, the critics of their own lives and recognizing the stupidity and shallowness, the hopeless tragedy and waste of the lives they lead, and the awful ambiguity grinning over it all. And they are right, right a thousand times to live as they do, playing their games and pursuing business, instead of resisting the dreary machine and staring into the void as I do, who have left the track. Let no one think that I blame other men, though now and then in these pages I scorn and even deride them, or that I accuse them of the responsibility of my personal misery. But now that I have come so far, standing as I do on the extreme verge of life where the ground falls away before me into bottomless darkness, I should do wrong and I should lie if I pretend to myself or to others that the machine still revolved for me and that I was still obedient to the eternal child’s play of that charming world.”
Hermann Hesse — Steppenwolf
As Christmas approaches, and as I age, I contemplate the meaning of this event…to me. I don’t believe in Christianity…perhaps there are some good intentions and wise words passed down via the scriptures…and Jesus was indeed a sage…but is it Jesus…the man…and the wise words passed down from men that translated Jesus and God…that we are celebrating at Christmas? Do all the Christmas songs we hear on the radio…and in the malls…celebrate Christianity and our adherence to those principles? What exactly, does a Christmas tree have to do with Jesus? And Santa Clause? And the push to buy gift upon gift? We all know retail makes their profit in the fourth quarter. Are we in fact…just celebrating economics…capitalism?
I was sitting in my living room tonight drinking beer, recuperating from work — I observed the Christmas tree…decorated only with white lights…not enough time to put ornaments on…the smell of fresh pine…a live tree hacked off from its roots…clipped to a bucket of water…death drying it out…yet there it is…sitting quietly…providing a pleasant scent, fresh air, and beauty. The Christmas tree rings deep into my youthful past…Santa Clause…reindeer…song…family…presents…excitement.
But with age and experience…those youthful impressions evolve into a vague blur…and I think…what am I celebrating? What am I honoring? To what should I pay homage? And then it occurs to me. Why not the tree? What other creature in the world gives so much to my existence asking nothing in return…than a tree…providing shade…beauty…and air to breath…transforming our carbon waste into air? I think more…what of the river…the ocean…the wind…the clouds…the plants…the animals…the earth…the sun. Such beauty…that enables me…and you…to exist. And then I look back at the tree…the dying tree…hacked from its roots…only to be thrown in the dump…after the retailers have made their profits. And I imagine…a celebration…where we put lights on a few trees in a virgin forest…lite floating candles in the river and the ocean…build a huge bonfire on the beach…feast on wild beast hunted and killed with bow and arrow… risking ones own life in the hunt…now that is something to celebrate…to pay homage to…to worship…to give thanks.
Our Love was forbidden from the start — married man with child falling in Love with a single mom at work. All those secret rendezvous – some people find that exciting, but it wasn’t…it was pressure…the whole weight of outward and inward social norms crushing down on a delicate budding flower.
I remember exactly when I began to fall for you. It was on that business trip we took together…alone…to Florida. We had known each other for several years, but this was the first time we were alone together. We worked alongside one another during the day and went out to dinner in the evening and then drove back to the same hotel…only to repeat the cycle for the entire week. It was on the flight home…you were half asleep…when I let my head rest on your shoulder. From that point on, the feelings grew…no one could stop it….not even you. The flower was in full bloom. I received all kinds of advice from those closest to me, but the words sounded like a foreign language compared to the passion of a deafening thunderbolt.
If the social pressures weren’t enough…add the black and white laws of corrupt capitalism. Corrupt capitalism drove us from the west to the east…took me away from my son…forced you to sell your house for a loss…what other choice did we have when they shut down the west coast headquarters in the name of “synergies”? My ex-wife hadn’t worked for years — I couldn’t just take severance and hope to find a job in one month. You may have had time to land something, but then we would be apart. And so we accepted the company’s ultimatum and moved across the country to begin our new life under one roof. Since I negotiated a healthy increase in salary and bonus, I had enough money to support two lives, the old and the new…and I was able to travel and see my son once a month.
And then, after two years, corrupt capitalism reared its ugly head once again. All those fucking assholes, the legalized and protected criminals, brought down the financial system…which led our company to “layoff” 10,000 human beings…with no option to stay on at a lower wage…escorting them out of the building like they were guilty of a crime… treating them like a bunch of fucking dogs. I couldn’t take it anymore. I took the severance package instead of hanging on at a lower salary like all of the other more politically connected, mindful, nipple sucking slaves… well, you know what… fuck those cowards…let them rot in hell for all I care. I know…they are only thinking of caring for their own families…I know the argument and logic..well…what about the other 10,000 little people who didn’t have a fucking choice?
Over-time, unable to secure a new job on the east or west coast, the expense of living the old and the new life depleted all my “worldly resources”, and the time came for a decision. All I had left in my possession was my energy and Love…and that energy was divided… between you and my son…I chose my son. The process of contemplating this decision tore something out of my mind…and the hole remains…all the way the through.
You’re an amazing woman, tough, strong, beautiful inside and out…a fighter. But I know, under all that armor, you have a gentle heart. You deserve more than half of my energy. But my son…he is just a little being…still developing…he needs all of my energy to grow strong and healthy. Just as you have given so much of your energy to your son, so I need to do the same. You, of all people, should understand this gut wrenching decision. I still Love you, but you deserve a man who can give you everything… and nothing less.
There are those that will smile at this outcome, but they of course are advocates of the status quo and perpetuate all that is….from the meaning of the marriage contract…to believing in capitalism even in its morphed and corrupted form. To them…I say…I would do it all over again…poverty is worth the price of pursuing Love…just like poverty is worth the price of pursuing what you know to be true…for you.