Friday, February 21, 2014

got a martyr in my bed tonight

 “Shock is so passé”
—Sir Anton Juan 

wait. yes. I fear the day that covers of Let it Go become passé. But that is not this day.

I think this week must be National Soundbite Week, in which college professors throughout the world are commanded to produce beautiful little quotables for their classes. 
This creates an excellent incentive to go to class. Because the rain and the wind and the sheets of slippery ice lying treacherously under the riptide-infested waters would otherwise force us to stay inside like sane people.
But, the professors have been on a roll this week, so we attend their classes, because we cannot stay away.

“We are disappointed idealists most of the time,” Cyril O’Regan challenged us. 
Think, he said. 
Do you really seek happiness? Because most of us simply seek to be the least unhappy that we can be. We do not seek active happiness, but rather we try to avoid unhappiness, avoid discomfort and pain.
We are constantly told to lower our expectations, to make ourselves comfortable, to hedge our bets against unhappiness, instead of casting out into the deep to seek the largest catch of happiness we have ever seen.

We are given so many distractions, so we are never allowed to encounter our lack of happiness.
For there, if we ever found ourselves in the midst of silence we might hear that call.
If we stopped our ears, we would hear the terrifying call in the middle of the night, the one that destroys any possibility of sleep. 
The kind of call that comes when you find that you're at a standstill, at a draw. 
When you finally realize that inside of you is a battle for what you are, a battle for who you are, a struggle to realize your stand for something, then you can't just wake up the next morning and forget those questions.
You can never fully sink back into your distractions.
But the problem with being human is that we can't always be asking those mind-numbing, life-pausing questions, if we were constantly asking ourselves: "who am I?" we would never actually live enough to find out. 
Self-reflection is never to be confused with navel-gazing.
Self-reflection could be better compared to fueling a car.
Because if you never understood yourself, then you would never be able to move forward into becoming more yourself, which is sort of the point of life, I'm told.
Boredom, I've also been told, arises from obsession with self.
Boredom is a manifestation of that most feared phenomenon: stagnation.
Staying lost in our self-reflection, like an idling car stuck in a snow bank and never moving forward.
Maybe we will never find an answer to the questions of who we are and what we are supposed to be, but the answer to difficult questions, as impossible as the answers may seem to be, is never to simply avoid the question.
That's not reason, that's irrationality.
That's not realism, that's a pipe dream.

"We've decided that ignoring the question is a survival technique, and we've dressed that up as an answer to the question. We're masquerading avoidance as an ideology, and the title of that ideology is "realism."
--Cyril O'Regan


  1. On the subject of "Let It Go" covers, have you seen this Sam Tsui "Let It Go/Let Her Go" mashup?