I need to keep growing.
But I don’t need to keep seeking and seeking.
I need to keep growing.
But I don’t need to keep seeking and seeking.
i’m drinking a tangerine Italian soda at 11:20 at night. the apartment is messier than usual. it doesn’t matter. there’s no good enough reason to be motivated to mind. it’s been one of those days. it’s gloomy out. nothing better to do than create things. supplies scattered around everywhere. computers. books. papers. i live here. fully live here. nobody is in my way. but i kind of wish there was.
there are those who would have you believe that doing this sort of thing makes you selfish. selfish to spend so much time on art, like you’re so important. selfish to write about yourself. no, selfish to not be writing about somebody else. talking about somebody else. existing as if you value everything else more so than what is inside you.
as if every other activity out there isn’t selfish. as if watching tv isn’t selfish. the person who assigns worth to something is yourself. the person who decides something isn’t worthy is you. but it feels like it’s everyone else who decides. decides that their meaningless and half-assed pursuits are somehow okay but yours isn’t.
am i supposed to just let the ideas die? what happened to the life of the mind. i literally have nothing better to do. i could make more money and work myself to death but i already have one job and i like it. i just don’t watch tv. i don’t want to. it’s boring. there i said it. it’s fucking boring. except when there’s company. when there’s company, it’s entertaining and enjoyable. that’s how i feel about it. maybe if i really loved alone time with my tv, i’d be too busy for art. it’s practically sacrilegious to say that out loud. i wouldn’t want tv gone forever. it’s just not what every person who exists on this planet is here to do with their time.
making art is not selfish and self-centered just by default. art is for others. as much as for the self, maybe more so. art is made with audience in mind. with communication in mind, however abstract. i use myself but i am not writing to me. I am writing to them. i am writing to you. i am writing for you. when i write, it is you i am thinking of. art is made because humanity desires it. humanity needs it. but i fail. like anyone i fail. so i keep doing it. i show up to fail. i hope the next time i will get it right. it takes a lifetime. but that’s okay. art is made to make the world a better place. a richer, more beautiful and more honest place. imagine a world entirely devoid of art. seriously.
you can be a megalomanic doing any sort of occupation in life. not just art. look at the world’s wealthiest people and how we admire them and excuse their flaws. and then look at poets. it’s REALLY damn hard to be an egotistical poet. maybe for a short time, but it likely wouldn’t be sustainable. poetry is humbling. nobody cares, at least in real life. “nobody” as in, society at large. in most cases it doesn’t pay because the world does not respect you enough to think that you deserve it. it’s even harder to please a crowd than in music, or visual art also. but these are all tricky occupations. you do it because you want to and you feel it is needed. you need it. others need it too and you know it. even if it doesn’t always seem like it, others need it.
you show up as your inadequate self. you may never quite match that pre-filled idea that someone else hopes, and you are passed up for better investments. you are rejected over and over, and in so many nuanced ways. and you show up.
you know that the rest sucks even more. the alternative fucking sucks. so you get up and you start again.
At a certain point, there’s only so much that can be done.
I’m far from the first one to think that our situation now should be no surprise. We’ve been recklessly asphyxiating, mowing, crowding, disrespecting, neglecting, destroying the planet for generations. Now nature is taking over. Science could never move as fast. Nature is in charge.
Nobody IRL wants to be the one to say it, or even think it. What fools we are. How self-important we have been as humans. The unchecked egocentrism comes now to this. Of course, it is our moral and ethical duty to provide people with the best chance that they can have at survival. We sacrifice for the sake of one another. We value lives.
Why then does our true primary source of life, our environment, the earth, get left out of the equation so often in our daily political and economic consciousness? This has been a permanent conflict of interest. Our growing population and extended life spans, without any truly impactful or sustained attempt to mitigate its burden on our environment, the earth from which we are largely alienated. Nature becomes something to visit and vacation, rather than to take as part of ourselves.
As much as we see and value ourselves, our society, our culture, we must too turn an eye towards this earth as our real and ultimate life support.
Now each one of us, any one of us, could die. We experience this die-off just as whole swaths of species have died at our inattention, our neglect. Few want to recognize how we ourselves have created so many of our disasters. It’s easy to get busy and look the other way.
We must learn more reverence for that which is old, which has already come before us, and in this case, the one true elder. We must care for it, above and beyond our own self-interests. Nobody wants to say these things out loud, not me either. How uncomfortable we are with nature doing the job that it does, to the extent we must do whatever it takes to regain control over it. How uncomfortable we are as a culture with death, dying, aging, changing — not just in this instance but with the natural cycle of life, as we rebel more and more against these inconvenient truths.
Which brings us to the most difficult question of all. Are we even responsible enough, to extend our own lives? And what exactly would be the point, if we can not even breathe the air, drink the water, draw nutrition from soil, or exist without intermittent unprecedented calamities anymore?
Who wants to sit down and take the time, a long time, to regard nature with the respect it deserves? Because ultimately we are not in charge. The river is in charge, the glaciers are in charge, the ocean is in charge, the mountain is in charge, microorganisms are in charge. Everything is different now as we can not pretend that’s not true.
We can not ignore another kind of science – climate science, environmental science. So I don’t really want to hear them talk about science, until they’re ready to talk about that.
March 23, 2020 – March 31, 2020
(links added later)
(Lockdown Journals Part VII, FINAL THOUGHT, II)
There is an end to the very best things. But also an end to the worst.