Saturday, October 17, 2009

As I was plodding through the contents of the last post, the phrase "artistic suffering" popped into my head and seemed a natural fit in the context of things. Thinking about this a bit more has prompted the following question. Given the choice, would I forsake this streak of mine, the aspiration to create art out of experience (suffering and joy alike), if it meant actually getting what I want? That is, would I be satisfied with being happy and content if it meant being normal? (I should clarify that writing long pieces about a moment in a time probably crosses most people's definitions of the normalcy line.) Is this artiness the real me, and more darkly, even if it is would I give it up anyway?

A wish is nothing new in the context of human experience, but it is quite sobering to reflect what one would sacrifice for it. At the moment, my answer to the question would have to be no. I don't question the depth of feeling one can have without it, but whatever this spirit of the cosmos that has invaded me is, engaging it has not been without pleasure. This might be an overly defensive stance, I admit, but my personal measure of the value of life cannot exist without some effort to comprehend the universe. The (personally) gilded phrases and sentiments that sometimes arise from my otherwise cloudy writing are entwined with that search. That is not meant to be a slight against normality, but only an explanation of where the strength resides in this one soul trapped on the other side. Without it, I would be nothing. Therefore, having experienced it, I cannot imagine sacrificing it even if it meant satisfying the very things I often lament and wish for.

My answer is far from iron-clad, you understand, but at least it clarifies some of my oddities.


Chris said...

Stuff normality, man. I reckon people only act normal out of fear. Everyone's responsible for their own happiness and at their happiest, people can be very "strange" - some have an embarrassing fetish for deeper meaning for instance ;) But many buy into a false universal concept of a normal happy life because it's safer. Ultimately it's a lie and lies like weeds grow until they become unsustainable. We're tempted to compromise our beliefs (for example, you pretend to like the same things as some pretty girl and then she changes her mind and you've lost a part of your soul in the process, or something).

I really like this quote: "Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads." - Erica Jong, apparantly. Made the right choice, you have! :)

So, why so much respect for normality?!

Aditya said...

But Reidy, are you claiming that there is only one path toward having a Good Life? I am not even 100% sure that asking deep questions about existence is necessary toward that goal - it is for me, but I don't know if it is for everyone. I am open to the possibility that I'm just making up for personal deficiencies by exploring such issues. See also an upcoming post :-)

I do of course agree that there are cases where people are normal out of fear, because the side we're on (roughly speaking - I realize you're far more advanced than me!) is fraught with uncertainty. But I don't know if one can make that as a general assertion.

Chris said...

Interesting question... As long as you do the right thing. Be good. Does that count as one path? You don't choose from millions of alternate lives. You choose to be good or how hard to try or what to believe in. Time takes care of the rest. If anything, I'm saying each person knows better than anyone else what the "right" path is for them. They can compromise or courageously answer the mysterious calling from within. The way of the vampire!

Different strokes for different folks, whatever is in your heart (maybe fashion, maybe poetic understanding), follow it. In your case, I think deep questions is a phase to be followed thereafter by your true destiny, dancing!

Oh yeah, everyone's afraid. And consumerism bites right into that fear. Nobody takes responsibility. We're just watchin' tv. They're just showing us what we want. Everybody loses! Cover your pain, don't face it. Temporary, false solutions. More and more insecurity! Eventual collapse. Right?

Aditya said...

Yes, that's much more reasonable - I should've known I couldn't trip you up as easy as that ;-) In light of this though, what did you mean by "normality" in your first comment? Just the concept of taking no risks and always choosing the path of least resistance? (For the record, I was using the term as the complement of "Likes to write posts that answer a question he asked himself"...)

Chris said...

I like that definition. Path of least resistance. No risks. Not bad. Though at the same time, it's arguably going more out of your way to be normal than not. Letting others direct you or following them to avoid being alone. Less confrontations with others. Less independence.

Maybe you could put it this way. Being normal isn't bad at all. You don't lose yourself. But you never really live. Or find a deeply satisfying purpose. Or realise how amazingly strong and unique you are. There are no pessimists, just realists and optimists. Truth and hope or faith or something. An interesting battle.

I dunno. So much is fleeting in this world!