Tuesday, April 02, 2013

On Art, Part III

(This is Part III of a four part mini-think piece on art. Every section qualifies and contradicts every other section. Okay?)

God, to me, is only the vast expanse of neural fire and silence that gives rise to the imagination. Hence, in a metaphysical sense, there is no death. But we use the word as a stand-in for an infinite depth of unknowing. And I suspect there is a way to touch that sea of storms and quiet in this lifetime...and I suspect it is through the heart door...because sometimes when I'm making art the world of distraction slips away and it's as if I'm barely there, my words are uttering themselves, and all I really need to do is get out of their way.

Thus, regarding art and everything else, there are two modes: pressing forward, or giving up. The former allows for an upsurge of inspiration, of questions, emotions and thoughts in the artist and the audience. The latter is a dusty secluded room where people go to be bored by an assembly line life...moving around as mere meat, shrouding the burnt-out remnants of consciousness. And if we decide to embrace the former, which we should do, definitely, then life becomes this risky and deafening cascade of glorious and terrible interactions. Even when we're by ourselves, alone in a room with our thoughts...and especially then, because to feel the weight of those thoughts as things we make and then let go of forever is to feel the weight of time and oblivion, which we all must face. Now and at the hour of the body's demise. 

Art is the process and the practice of knowing that every moment matters. This doesn't have to be a fearful knowing...but it makes some people desperate with denial if all they've been doing is pushing their meat-suits around, grumbling about how much highway tolls cost. But seriously, that is the silliest thing...you have someplace to go, the road you're on takes you there...just go. Enjoy the scenery and the music and the sound of the engine and the wind in your face. And when you come to the toll booth, pay the price, say "thanks" and make sure you touch the toll collector's hand (at least acknowledge the minimum of human contact). And then go forward. I'm not talking about tolls, of course. I'm talking about obstacles...every one of which is both a pitfall and a chance. But the idea is to pay the toll and use courage and momentum to look forward into the wind. Keep one hand on the wheel and one hand on your lover's thigh, and turn in the direction of brightness, strangeness, and adventure. Then art is not just something beautiful that you make to leave for the world so that it remembers you (it either will or it won't). Art is also a tool and a talisman that you use to see ahead of you into the night. It's something you use to look into that vast neural fire and emptiness. Because you have to look and you have to go forward into it, despite all fears, to avoid the insipid meat-suit shuffle. 

The rooms with those selves of ours that are just acting life out, rather than living it...those rooms are always looming and lurking right behind us. And jutting our necks out into the uncertainty and strangeness is what causes us to embrace the death game, saying, "Yes, death, I know you're here...but look, I'm here too, and I made something that even you have to contend with, before you pull the sheet over me." And though we may shake, art is the love that propels us forward into the glimmering dark...and it's also the message we bring back to this humming world.

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