Saturday, 30 May 2015

Inertia and other revelations

What does 'LIES' mean? Was it written by a disgruntled passenger 
with no room for his suitcase? Is it the name of a kid with an unfaithful parent?
Was it a comment to a conversation?
While I was on the train today, I noticed this intriguing graffito. A battle immediately ensued in my head between Adventure and Inertia. Inertia suggesting that I could photograph it another day (?), or, better still, never. But because today was a day filled with revelations, Adventure prevailed. Inertia was talking with a voice very similar to Depression, 'Why should I bother taking this picture? What's the point? Is it consistent with my unity, is it in line with my consistency as an artist, as a poet, as a brand, as a friend, as me? Is it revealing, unveiling, understandable, useful, progressive?' One of today's revelations is that Inertia is the force that stops you from overcoming imaginary obstacles. The obstacles can be summarised as the difference between who we are striving to be and who we are. In most cases we are striving for acceptance, hence we are striving for whatever image of adulthood we've had in our head since the age of four. We look up to people we are incapable of emulating, as we see them as real adults, while we see ourselves as promising kids. As we keep on failing to become like the adults we admire, we hope at least in their benevolence, in their acknowledgement that eventually we'll get there too. Of course, when the kid in question is older than the accomplished adult he/she wants to impress, or when the admired adult is already dead and cannot validate you anymore, Inertia steps in to save the unity or integrity of the dream. It protects the dream from shattering into a million imperfect, immature, pieces. The faulty logic is that, in our solipsistic nature, we project ourselves into others, and look back at ourselves with disdain for having failed to reach all those goals that are, ultimately, only known or important to us. Until today, I thought that my goal was to please my dad and Pablo Picasso, and I tried so hard to speak a language and follow a path that were not natural or even possible for me. It's a lie, I didn't try hard at all, I just listened more to Inertia than to Adventure, because, in order to impress my dead heroes I thought I had to be deliberate, know my destination before embarking on the journey. Who I really am, though, is a vagabond, led by an insatiable curiosity and a relentless douleur de vivre. Wherever my mind takes me, there is where I need to go, no matter how winding the path, how many real and imaginary obstacles, how uncertain or far away my destination. When I see it at the horizon, I am sure I will recognise it.

Friday, 27 February 2015

To hell and back

I've always been intrigued by different realities, different states of consciousness, and the idea that, armed with your accumulated wisdom and the right mental tools and training, you could just close your eyes and astral travel. I was sure that the umbilical chord that keeps the astral you attached to the awake, "normal" you, would snap you right back in place with no effort at all. I thought I knew a lot, and why shouldn't I? I have a first degree in philosophy, a PhD in ancient philosophy, and I spent my entire life studying religions, spirituality, psychology, anything to do with the mind, the exploration of the mind, and the mysterious Universe. Which to me, of course, held virtually no mystery... So, what exactly happened on the night of October 15th, when I closed my eyes and suddenly fell from a state of joy into a world of utter terror? When, from a place of certainty, I ended up on quicksands? When, instead of one umbilical chord linking me to me, I found dozens, and didn't know which was the right one? We shall never know. Because you cannot really understand a state of consciousness when you are in another. It's either or. Either sane or insane, happy or unhappy, dead or alive. Of course, you can tell stories, anecdotes, recall images, try to relive (or forget) the emotions, even, to a degree, describe them, but you cannot be in two places, you cannot reconstruct the dynamics, the feel of that other place, most of all its logic. The climb back out of the hole is still going on, but today I felt like putting some of it in writing, creating a distance between today me and the me in the hole. I've learnt a few things in this journey: we are not always in charge, we don't know very much at all, we are vulnerable, yet the force that holds us together is pretty strong. And we mean to others much more than we think. Time, patience, faith and our internal guiding system, for how confused or blurry it may seem, will eventually takes us back into the light.