Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Sub-burpin' Sprawl

I am a black hole.

I'll get back to that in a minute. Let me do the set up first.

I would argue that, while perhaps not an overwhelming number, a pretty big segment of society is pretty shallow, perhaps even a majority.

Psychic space being a finite element if you look in two dimensions, part of the reason we end up in conflict with each other is that your sprawl ends up butting against my sprawl, because each of us is trying to get more sprawl.

I'd wager this large segment of society are always busy doing, well, something: Running out to meet friends, working too hard at a job, jetting off to the next vacation. They need the trappings of a "good life", the condo on the beach, the car, fine wines.

They expand sideways because they can't know there's a depth to life, too.

I call these people "Flatlanders". In the guise of "expanding themselves," adding sides (to extend the metaphor), they gain no third dimension. They buy this trinket or that souvenir and proudly display them on their shelves to boast of their travels.

They claim understanding of the world around them, but in truth, this is a false logic.

For how can you truly relate to the world if you do not relate to yourself? How can you understand someone else and have compassion for their plight if you don't understand yourself and extend that compassion to yourself?

How can you love if you have no love to give?

Love is a commitment, and commitments always demand faith. You can only have faith by delving deep into those parts of you that lie covered in darkness, shrouded by the sprawl of your flatlandedness.

Faith is not based on logic or hunches. Indeed, faith is that thing that keeps us tied to what we love when "evidence" suggests it might be time to let go.

I put "evidence" in quotes because none of us can ever really know a truth outside of ourselves. our eyes deceive us. Our ears hear distant noises that emanate from within us.

Our minds lie to us for...what? Fear? Our protection? Freud was not far off, I fear, when he spoke of the id, the ego, and the superego. Many people you'll meet have a champion superego, but no id.

Well, that's not completely true. That id shows up in the weirdest ways and those are the behaviors we look at and wonder what the hell were they (or we) thinking?

Faith comes from belief. Faith is a never-ending well to draw from.

I am a black hole.

Spending my adult life extending my self-knowledge, I have been able to give love completely.

Love does not necessarily mean another person at all times. One can love yourself, for example, or find love in the smallest acts of kindness and in the roughest, bleakest landscape.

I express this love through my art: my photography, my acting and performing, and especially my writing. By opening my heart to what goes on around me, by drinking in from the fountain of the world, I can absorb that which I see and express how it affects me.

This is something that Flatlanders never get: it's not about seeing the temples at Angkor Wat or the pyramids or Mount Everest, taking a snapshot, buying a trinket, and bragging about it later, maybe saying how you "soaked up" the local culture with a beer and some local food at a boƮte.

It's about how these affect you. I probably have fewer pictures of more places in the world that I've been than anyone else. And I'd wager I have a deeper understanding of anyplace I've been than a million other tourists.

Let's say five people, including me, see a house on a high cliff and take pictures of it.

Most people will center on the house, and the good ones will get enough of the cliff to allow for the precarious position of the building.

I will take that same picture and focus on the cliff: the striations of layers of history building, year after year, one on top of the other, the roots breaking out into the air, the grass overhanging the lip.

Oh, I'll include the house, to show it as the burden the cliff must bear until it can no longer bear it, to highlight the foolish transient nature of people who build on land that is ultimately destined to fall.

To highlight the Flatlanders.

I take that picture that way because I understand the precarious nature of life, how tomorrow, we might all be gone. Or more to the point, how tomorrow I might be gone.

So I want to leave a piece of me in these places. Many people talk about leaving their heart, but for me, I've shredded little bits of my soul and left them behind. Places don't steal my heart. I steal places' hearts.

I am a black hole. I leave a small footprint on the surface, but once you've peeked into the abyss, you realize there's a lot more down there than up here.

The trouble with Flatlanders is, they insist on painting on the surface what they want me to be, to define me somehow. But you cannot define that which you cannot understand.

And then they get frustrated that I no longer fit the definition they gave me in the first place.

I am a being, not a doing. I don't worry that I've held the same job for eleven years, because while I don't enjoy it much, I know that it's comfortable for me, and as many places as I've worked, this is pretty sweet and stable.

Some may jump jobs every other year and believe they are improving their lot, but they collect nothing but a paycheck and a too-long resume. Like children with french fries, they are grabbing for the next one before they're finished chewing the first one.

Further, I understand that my discomfort there has to do with boredom, the terrible mind draining tedium of having conquered all I can on this employment.

My faith tells me this. I am enough, and my needs beyond the space to explore my space are few. I don't need to be "seen" in a hot exotic restaurant with friends who I can only truly stand when I'm drunk, but my influence is felt none the less.

I am a black hole. By knowing myself, I know everything I encounter. No, I might not know every single fact about everything...altho most people will swear I do...but I have a deep comprehension of the truth of it.

It is that truth that gets expressed, like the radiation bursts out of the black hole.