This is a post I wrote about 2 years ago. It's a rant more than anything else. But, if you're interested in that sort of thing, then read on...
Will I cop-out my own artistic statement of attempting to tap into the nothingness that is common in all humans? I guess my passionate opinion (this post is both passionate and about passion) will be more visceral than practical.
"Has it always been this way?" is my question when I observe, and then try to fathom, increasing composites of global, climactic events. "Am I biased because I exist here and now?" I want so desperately to access the most objective scope, looking at the past and cross-culturally, but if I could illustrate it, I would create a logarithmic graph, the asymptotes being objectiveness, perfection, and complete reality. I can be as objective as possible, but I will always occupy a certain, individual time and space.
Different cultures have a name, a distinctive moniker, for the same moral system. Each institutionalized/ monotheistic religion is just a different name for the same widely-overlapping array of moral principles. Moral-labeling has become a way to separate cultures, an excuse to define the pride of nurture and nation. America, for example: the effect from the pyramid's dogma-laden apex onto vulnerable society creates an uprising of people traumatized by the possibility of being an outlier if they don't abide by the system-created (it's not even human-created at this point, it's the invisible structure based on certain ideology) "what God says," and to many people, hanging onto the margin would be a slow and and shameful lifetime of death.
These different labels, especially the monotheistic: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism for example, work under the same moral principles, yet have been disputing one another ever since the time we could enact our emotion globally, the God-fueled need to hate in order to love, to experience what you've been convinced is love. Sometimes, people mistake intuition and emotional reaction with the divine. ~In the beginning~ when humans became self-aware, they wondered how it was they got there, so they created God. This was before hard science and increasing emergence of critical thinking.
Religion then becomes a doctrine for government, and society treats this dogma, their government, as a higher-up, God-like figure. Most government figures, of course, embody the ideal American: rich, white, Christian, and male. And this is what society worships, the thing we can't attain, the thing we look up to because we've been socialized to believe that it's greater than us. Politico-religious structures should be obsolete, but not much has changed about them.
The principle incentive for wars (not revolutions, I'll get to that later), with varying levels of explicitness, is over religion...or so it seems. I don't think current border-control wars are passion-based, in fact passion is usually a way to conceal the outdated conquistador-ist ambition, which today translates into capitalist (still outdated), dream. I think the war in Iraq is most fundamentally based on having resource rights, but GW tried to fool and fuel the nation by spouting the advent and perpetuation of terror.
Politicians and media figureheads have become fear-mongers. Something that really appeals to patriots. Another example: I don't think the Arab-Israeli conflict is actually based on the idea that God has granted them land (Zion, for example)...if the trouble is over land, the dispute is economically driven. God (or the mandate) gave us rights to this, so we can bomb the Gaza strip, and yes, we'll give you rights to some parts of Gaza, just kidding it's not actually your land anymore because now we get to govern you, Palestine. Oh, and we'll build a cage, a societal prison over your native land. Beware of our military! Because yours sucks. The mandate is on our side. We also have the world power of America to keep you constantly in check. The foundation of a lot of macro-religious conflicts has to do with the strive toward cut-throat capitalism, or sometimes, a capitalist utopia (a dystopia if I had influence in naming this potential and actual nightmare).
God is the scapegoat for invading and claiming rights, the excuse for having more upward-mobility. This idea breeds social darwinism, which unfortunately, has become inherent to our society. The earliest American documents are Christian documents. We were going to be the "Beacon on a Hill."
In terms of the field (I don't know if it's a field, but I'm taking a class) of International Development, we want democracy--the individual rights, light at the end-of-the tunnel solution to injustice. Democracy: the best thing we can think of now, the Westernized Way, "the west is the best." The sole principal of "individual rights" in its rhetoric does not imply "collective rights," so the fact that we're trying to bring this utopian concept of "democracy" to every developing nation is only going to perpetuate some other discriminatory, culturally-unaware problem then spark up a post-post-modernist movement in the social sciences which attempts to approach an even more objective view. But we were all born somewhere, and we will always be that person no matter how much we try to break farther and farther away from the smallest tinges of reality. Don't get me wrong, I think realistically and practically, democracy is a positive process, but it ignores how principles vary cross-culturally. The Eastern view is more collective, the western more individualist. We are competitive. We will do anything to climb the latter to contribute to our namesake. What good will it do? Oh yeah, boost the ego, drive away the insecurities that the inaccessible apex of the pyramid douses you with.
When I think of passion in America, the first thing I think of is political parties, especially the current GOP and how they are able to take advantage of the older generation, trying to feed something into them like the anticipation of the feeding tube, those who are so new to this kind of scare-tactic driven media, the media that is comforting or riveting, the media that in itself is the closest thing to death.
Passion can be both a brainwashing technique from media moguls/ political blabbermouths (they have become one in the same), or it can be a reform that begins from a bottom-up pattern in our structure vs. ideologies like neoliberalist globalization and top-down economics, which usually result in BRIC-like countries where you see a high socioeconomic stratification. Bottom-up might be the only way to chip at the handful of people who control you, who try so implicitly to manipulate you. At this point, the civilians suffering from utmost strife have exposed the reality of their state thanks to globalized technology, which I think defines our generation, and intensifies our passion. The crisis-driven passion has been the domino-effect of uprisings in the Middle East and Northern Africa, even protests that have happened in North Korea, though to deepen the disparity, these protests had little to do with changing the government (who would dare), but with basic, instinctive needs: adequate food.
Does every skeptic hate their society? I don't hate mine, but if I could escape, I would. The fact that we can't change this invisible, patriarchal, hierarchical, masturbatory consumerist hate-hole or whatever money-obsessed operations that control us (the ones we never hear about, the secret puppeteers) stimulates both my passion and my cynicism. I guess being an American makes a difference. It just complexifies my frustration.
Desperate for material, and nostalgic for places I used to be in life, I decided to look through my old blog. Although I don't think this poem is very good anymore (I feel like myself and other poet friends outgrow their old poetry and become ashamed of it) it reminded me of the nightmare it was inspired from. Now it's all coming back to me.
"this was inspired by a nightmare i had last night about a black bird (black phoebe is a bird that closely resembles the one in my nightmare) that i wasn't able to let out this unlit house i discovered. i found her sacred blocks (i didn't know they were sacred) and started stacking them. when i realized i was making a profit from them, i tried to recruit everyone over to come live in this tiny dark house. but if i let the bird out of the house, it would tell everyone else about what was happening in her house, and it would die, so i had to leave it inside. when she was inside, she was frightening, she worried about her sacred blocks. i felt guilty when i woke up."
Next to you this morning, in my dreams before I felt the sun came in, we were in the house I grew up in. We were supposed to be somewhere else but we stayed. Home is always easiest, it seems at first, but am I going to feel like a stranger the more I'm away? Let's not think about tomorrow. Close your eyes and abrupt: wake up when you're ready to start the day and I can't say real words.
I've been thinking about the Beach Boys. Those harrowing undertones, those small discomforts that undergird sunny harmonies. The Beach Boys point to sunshine and what's there underneath. Dark, inscrutable. Biking through the park at night, the ducks were winding down, echoing their atonal and urgent songs across the ripples of the deep blue pond. The moon was in the pond. The cypress was in the pond. The mirror in the ground catches what's in the world above. I sat on the bench for a while. The only light was the moon in the pond.
Smoking-with-my-roommates-summer, tell-me-I'm-not-crazy-summer, my beautiful roommates: none of you are crazy. It's just that whoever calles you that is simply stupid, lacks complexity. You are beautiful. Sometimes the Beach Boys feel like the only right thing. Like the Velvet Underground, sometimes other music couldn't possibly make sense for the moment. Heroes and villains, just see what you've done.
The hot air balloon spins down into a valley of strung-together wildflowers. Kat trudges barefoot through a muddy creek. The dress is old lace with a dark beige slip underneath. The beautiful lady wears it, and we are at her party, doily tablecloths, porcelain saucers. Turns out the party is part of a film, and the hot air balloon is a lie. The third time we go up, Engram makes up so many stories to the point where I know he is lying. He thinks it's funny. This is how I know I'm dreaming: Engram tells me none of it is real.
I woke up at 6:30 and went back to bed. What is there to do besides sleep, when you don't know what to do? I'm making excuses. I'll be packing my bags, putting all my books in boxes, all of my scraps that I will use for "something" in shoeboxes. This is not going to be easy, but I prefer challenges. I know that to get where I want to be in life, I have to take a lot of risks. One of them includes leaving everything behind and starting over again. Not leaving everything behind completely, though. Makes everything so much harder, but it's more thrilling that way. Maybe I prefer it being this difficult. I never liked being comfortable. You have to work, work, work for what you want. It's been proven to me, and I've proven it to myself. We can have exactly what we want. And if we don't want something, deep down inside, something we can't admit not wanting, it's best to let it go.
It seems like a long time since I've written something. Since I've put something together, I mean. I know why. I'm afraid. Lately, every time I try to approach my emotions, I go into a void. It's like I don't know anything anymore. I don't know how to channel it, it's like I've forgotten, a nightmare that it's your time to speak in a play and you've forgotten all of your lines. There's no way to bring them back, there's no way to make them up. Instead of dealing with it I do yoga or lay on my floor. I think it's because I'm afraid, deep down inside, of all the changes in my life. I think this is why I keep dreaming of airplanes. There's something scary about discomfort, but there's something more thrilling about the challenge.
We've created such a specific world. Smile with a straight spine. Don't let other people know how you're really feeling. You'll let everyone down. I'm ready to be there, already. This waiting period over the summer is going to stab me from the inside, glass shards pressing out from my ribcage, disturbing my heart, telling me it's too late to go back. You've already chosen the beginning of the rest of your life, and everyone is so excited for you. Somehow, you're the only one not radiating as you should be. You're the only one in the movie theater and it's flickering images of the Atlantic ocean, of discernable seasons, of the ideal image of your future self. It's time to put on the dress, step into the frame, and convince everyone that this is who you really are.
At night you're painted by weather. You're not lonely but you don't know enough. Woke up to February in a rainstorm and he's already gone but you didn't see him leave.
Dreams are coming true. Even the recurring ones about airplanes. You yourself haven't flown yet but in the fall you'll be by the sea. Gone. Are you going to feel yourself in your body still? You're not going to be a different person. Let the night in. Is this what people say? What are the important things people tell you? You suddenly forget when forced to remember. One of the biggest parts of you wants to stay. That space in your ribcage, in your chest. The one that feels full.
Feel molasses, track one Lou Reed, I had a dream about this conversation. What was the thing I should never say? That I am leaving. The door's finally not shutting with the wind. I burrowed by face so hard in his back that I thought my nose was bleeding, and it hurts still. I saw my own body happy with him. I'm not counting down the days. I'm going to pretend that I'm staying.
The interactive room was the best part. A suspended black curtain with masks on the inside. We put our faces through. You didn't know which mask you had until you put a different one on. Yula and I stayed there for a while.
We drank more wine, went to Stephen's, remembered high school. Played beer pong and donned bro personalities. Chest-bumped every time we made it in. Some vapid conversations, some meaningful. You want to think you'll feel the same way about your friends from high school, even years later. It's not really that people change, it's just that we're in different places.
Adam says good poetry has to have a turn. A complication of emotion. I don't know what good poetry is. I said I think it has to be full of surprises. I'll be reading poetry for 1718 again in February. I think some things have finally come to completion. And I never feel that way. I'm either getting better at my craft, or I'm just getting older.
Too sweaty to know our names anymore. Bounce night at St. Roch's goes on forever. I'm already procrastinating and class starts tomorrow. I feel like I'm never going to get Boise State's application in. Crossing my fingers that I'll be pressed to do it at the last minute, because I'm not doing it now, and I'm not doing it tonight. I'll work on this poem about Poland avenue. I'll make up characters that don't exist, but people want to believe it's coming from me. It's based on something very real but I've never been to the places I'm talking about. I never did any of those things.
Forget the year-end list. I'm moving this year and I don't know where to yet. I don't feel alright and it's not because the world is spinning. It's because I've been here too long.
We danced too closely again. Then I woke up the same way I always do when this kind of thing happens. Sleep-deprived cheeseless pizza. I wish you hadn't spend the night.
Life can do whatever it wants but I've done something bad again. The rooms downstairs are more comfortable. I've been the only one in the house for the past few weeks. The residue of a sticker is stuck to the mirror and it's not going away. What if I don't, either? What if things go exactly opposite as planned?
We played a game I hated. It was like Apples to Apples but everything was crude. On top of that there was product placement for Geiko and MTV. There was so much mention of jacking off. Of penises. They told me I was too sensitive, that the way to win with me is think of all the "abstract poetic shit" in two-card combinations. I kept mentioning that all I wanted to do was laugh. When we went to Snake's I got asked again, as it always happens, at the end of the night, if I was okay. I'm okay, I'm just tired of being here.
On New Years we went home early. Everything was too expensive and it was hard for anyone to walk because we drank too much while waiting for the cab. Two broken glasses and streamers in my driveway. I still need to sweep but I'm the only one home. 13 is hard to write. So is anything at the beginning of the year. I haven't opened my journal in a while, except for to write down vinyl numbers during my radio show. Maybe it's because I'm so physically sore for sitting at a desk for 9 hours that my brain is convinced it's not working either. I've lulled halfway through the novel I'm reading. Is everything supposed to be fresh in the New Year? It feels drained, but maybe it's because I've been here too long.