Monday, May 27, 2013

Spring Cleaning Of The Home And Mind-My Strange Emotional Journey Through The Month Of May

                  Looks as if there is a personal confession here at the start of this. For most of my life, its been extremely difficult to keep my room clean. When I was younger it would frustrate my parents and they'd clean it up for me. Or take the old Joy Berry (80's era child educator) approach and just put my things into a trash bag in a closet until I learned how to clean them. Going to go out on a limb here and say this probably happened to a lot of children. Yet cleaning up the mess on my floor still highly frustrates me. I know where I want to put everything around me. But the sheer immensity of it all appears overwhelming. Only on are occasions when I am in the correct mindset can I clean my room properly to see day. And its a difficult one to achieve. This month I faced the difficult task of cleaning out both my room and my psyche. Both are only partially complete at present. But this is going to be about four lessons I learned this month while cleaning out my metaphorical "psychic bedroom". So at the risk of any self indulgence,I can only hope what is said here will inspire. These stories are meant to create perspective,and I'd like to try in little ways to help others will my own lessons learned.

            The first lesson that I learned this month is that art and commerce do not mix. A recent attempt to submit my art for display locally taught me that. Sure its a cliche perhaps. Some people might even see it as an excuse,or artists who make such statements as being "slackers" unwilling to try harder-with more of a desire to inspire than perspire. Nothing in our society could exist without art-whether the most practical of office building or the most beautiful gardens, the same society which desires these things treats those who create them as if they are beggars,thieves or sometimes even criminals. Makes some artists think of themselves as somehow deserved of a completely menial existence. When I think of submitting art for approval,as if one is a competing student waiting to be judged solely for their creative contributions to the world around them,it has the effect of being greatly beyond soul destroying. Any sort of competitive co-existence is antithetical to creative arts. We all saw that in iron curtain countries even more so. First programs cut to meet budget? Art. More appropriate to create art than commerce from it,and find a way to balance it towards making a happy and productive living.

           The second lesson I learned is that their is an enormous functional different between the people of the world and the world itself. So many times I hear people say "the world is so sickening sometimes" or "the world is so wrong" to paraphrase John Lennon. Sometimes these phrases are bandied about to such a degree a lot of people easily neglect the simple truth: even the greatest of activists are not necessarily trying to make the world a better place. Left to its own devices,this world is quite a beautiful and productive place. Nature understands its own checks and balances quite well. When someone is saying they are trying to "save the world",they are rather arrogantly assuming that its humanity's duty alone to make or break the future of the planet Earth. That our socio politics outweighs that of the other thousands of other life forms we share the planet with. So even though I am steadily growing into the mindset of a strongly socially aware individual, it seems more appropriate to refer to these as looking to make the people of the world treat each other and the planet better rather to merely wax megalomaniacal by stating that I am trying to "save the world". Its a big and powerful planet. It bought me to life and it can end it whenever it wants. The physical world will save itself better if humans do not arrogantly damage it in their self centered delirium.

         The third lesson that I learned is that putting the past totally behind you is to deny oneself a future. One of the things that I have been told is that "living in the past",as the saying goes will only make it hard to live in the present and will tie you down like an anchor to a lower sea level you will never have the chance to raise to the surface again. Yet with everyone around me from family,friends,and even those who insist that talking of the past is self indulgent and harmful psychologically are in all honestly awe inspiring in the level in which they easily evoke their own personal past to make sentimentally based (and often opposing) points. The idea seeming to be that its wrong for anyone to think about the past but the person who states it. In the end, the past cannot help but come up. The human mind never seems to perceive time as a straight line. If it did, that which occurred in our past would not effect our future. Human beings need to have their past,present and possibilities of the future available to them at all times as the one reference guide we wouldn't so easily lose on,say a city bus. One that is in our minds and in our hearts.

           That brings me to the fourth and final lesson that I learned. And that is I somehow have to not look down on myself because many people may choose to vilify people like me whether they or I like it or not. I stated this relatively clearly a couple entries ago when I discussed the Time magazine cover story looking far down their nose at people of my age group-people struggling their way through life as so many changes are coming thick and fast. Self confidence is a very easy thing to talk about,to the point where it sometimes becomes an almost annoying buzz word. But the achievement of it for anyone is an extremely taxing process that is the end result of such an enormous set of trails and tribulations that,by the time ones desired confidence level is achieved,it may have the ironic effect of feeling much like a defeat.  It was even told to me recently that there is a school of thought that the more people say,the less they know. So the less communication one has,the less people talk,the more they know. Perhaps not knowing is really the beginning of wisdom. Yet not communicating is the absence of wisdom. So if communicating too much is self centered and narcissistic,how can a society of mute individuals accomplish anything at all?

            The musician Brian Eno once said of Americans,New Yorker's in his specific case,that we were a culture with little sense of honor. That the average person one would meet on the street of this nation is so willing to bear their hearts and emotions to another. And one of the most significant parts of honor is holding back-keeping emotions to one self. I suppose in his specific viewpoint I would be the poster boy for what he was talking about. Honor is about dignity and bravery. And those two conditions simply don't function very well when so many important things are kept private. It has the effect of making someone angry and cynical-even if they don't want to be. The reason I learnt these lessons I talked about this month came from the fact that I almost ended up on an extremely cynical road-something I actively dislike in contemporary culture since the early 1990's.  One has to always be aware of who and what is around them. What is happening. What's being said and what's not being said. One needs to hear it with their own ears if possible,not through the filter of another. And most importantly,being angry about any injustice either sociological or individual is only appropriate if your passionate enough about hope to change the given injustice. Sometimes the littlest things we do bare the best fruits. And that is the ultimate flower of the lessons I have learned.

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