Part of becoming mature lies in the realization that we do not know ourselves as well as we thought we did, that we are not transparent to ourselves and that we act motivated by certain forces, desires, emotions, and needs we have no control or knowledge of. Part of becoming mature consists in trying to befriend and bring light to this shadow life, while knowing that life will end before this endeavor does.
Truths are always hard, which we don’t want to hear, because they disturb our sense of complacency and comfort, they shatter our self-image and hold on the world. If we are not willing to accept and reconstruct ourselves accordingly we are doomed to unhappiness and a mediocre life. We are doomed to repeat the same errors again and again and to stay caught in the same cycles of addiction and thought. Facing the truth takes courage, confidence, humility, and some hardness towards ourselves. Without that we will perish not having achieved our full potential.
The years move on, and the things which seemed so important become trivial; time and loss have a way of distilling life to its essence. The years move on, what remains now are the simple things that were there all along, waiting in the quiet. The years move on, and we start making friends with our own disappearance; how well can we dance the dance before saying goodbye?
Things, in the end, will not be alright, and it is unrealistic to expect them to be so. Life will falter, sickness will creep in, relationships you value will be torn, friends and lovers will one day be strange as ghosts, everything will change, nothing you love will remain the same, and, in the end, sooner or later, you yourself will disappear without ever having felt like you have had enough, or that you have fulfilled all your dreams, or resolved the puzzle of life. If you can truly face this fact, deeply, without closing your heart, you will attain internal peace, and will be able to dance in the rain for a little while. You will give all you can give, and you will know the gratitude of love.
Whereas in the past greatness was identified with asceticism and virtue, an ability to resist and will, in our days the ideal has shifted towards a life of entertainment, consumption, and laisser-allez, one identified cynicism and vice. What was admired was the man who was able to raise himself above himself, to overcome and control himself, whereas now, a voice hums in his ear, telling him to suckle all he can from the bosom of this moment, for that is all he can ever hope to have.
People are avoidant by nature; they dislike taking responsibility for their lives and actions. And because they don’t take charge, they feel, as a result, and subconsciously, that their lives are not going the way they want. This breeds inner pestilence and it becomes easy to get angry over trivial things. The energy resulting from a feeling of dissatisfaction and lack of control needs continual discharge, so things are invented over which to get angry, and life in certain areas grows dark and poisonous. Many people, philosophies, religions, epochs, curse existence as a result of this. Many people need hate and anger to survive.
Not to shrink away from fear, not to rationalize it, hide it, or pretend it isn’t there. To use fear as a way of knowing your weaknesses and strengths, keeping you rooted in reality, as a way to highlight the areas of your life that are asking to grow, to keep you moving on the edge of your life, the edge that is asking you to use up your insight, strength, and imaginative powers, the edge that is sharpening you, allowing you to become the best version of yourself, the person you were meant to be. This is the purpose of fear, and that is the way it should be used by a philosophy that embraces life.
There will always be unbridgeable gaps between our knowledge and reality. On the force of what, then, does the person fill the gaps and act? Life was not founded on knowledge; and a being in the flux of life does not rely on knowledge primarily to act and react. Knowledge is a step back from life, and therein lies its value. It enables us to understand the emotional and unconscious forces and drives that govern our being in the midst of the action — emotions, forces and drives that have hardened into character — and by doing so it gives us the power of control by enabling subtle shifts in the emotions and drives which, in turn, enables us to change or redefine our character. By bringing unconscious motives to light these change and transform; and a person becomes free when, overtime, he is no longer acting out of them as from a compulsion. He is free, which means that the spectrum of emotions have widened, enabling more control and selection over the course of the action, enabling more ease as his sensory and experiential centers take in the outer and inner experience feeding the loop of his being and drives. He is now able to digest life and experience better and with more cheerfulness, and life is richer, more profound, fulfilling and manifold for it.
We are creating for ourselves a world in which it is impossible to live; and even if life was still physically possible, it would be undesirable.
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Once it is over we’ll discover it — modernity was a big lie. Modernity — an incredibly rich soil that nonetheless did not allow the growth of anything great.
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Thirty six; the year I discovered the truth about myself.
Though lesser in potential, self-confidence would take one farther than another who, with a greater potential, lacks trust in his own powers.
In school we study everything except how to properly channel and engage our emotions, how to mature through nurturing them — and why? because school is an institution that is not interested in shaping us as human beings, but as serfs for the great economic machines. The study of the humanities is subjugated to that purpose. And, ironically, as human beings, as individuals, it is from the humanities that we benefit the most. It is a shame that the most essential and needful ought to be pursued on our own, through our personal effort, without proper guidance, support, and illumination.
The focus of our current modes of education is creating surfs for the economic machine, and not real and whole human beings, ready for a life brimming with loss and hope, anxiety and longing. Education in its current form leaves us underdeveloped precisely in those areas we need most, areas that would enable our full maturity and our growing into our full potential.
The discipline of the flower is opening up to the light. That is my discipline too, as a poet, a lover, and a man. Man is conscious depth; his discipline is opening and giving his life direction through the sea of light.
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There is a friend to whom you come closer even when you go into a different or even an opposite direction. Such friendship, what is its touchstone: a mutual commitment to the growth of the heart.
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We do not simply stumble upon new books; they stumble upon us and call us out too. It is a meeting, and the space of the meeting (depending on its depth) spills out back and forth throughout our life, reshaping, transforming, metamorphosing, down into the cradle of our birth and up into the darkness of our tomb.
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The poet, today, is an outcast destined to live in the shadow of a socially unjustifiable existence. The intellectual atmosphere of his time renders him mistrustful even towards the sacred fountain of his inspiration. And so he finds himself in the peculiar position where he cannot turn away from poetry nor completely give in and surrender to it — he does not believe in his own existence. He suffers, and his suffering is incommunicable. He suffers in silence. Yet this silence and suffering are preparing something in him too; even now, something is rising out of him. This intuition alone makes his existence bearable, and fills him with the awe of being a poet. He will go unseen like a flower on the wind. But poetry, her, the midwife of the heart, has already taken something out of him and planted in the garden of eternity. He will go unseen, but the poem shall survive.
It’s been over a decade now since Nietzsche got seriously introduced in my life, a period in which I read several of his books, my favorite remaining The Gay Science. Of all his thoughts, the one from which I benefited the most, the one which has affected me mostly and which has remained with me throughout is this one: the idea and hence the will of affirming life, of affirming the being you are now, at this moment, in this infinitely complex web of becoming. What would it take, then, to make such a leap of affirmation? It would require a human being to look into her past, and to behold the most difficult and painful events through which she has lived, and to accept them, embrace them, and even love them because they are part of the intricate makeup that constitutes her current self, because without them she would not be who she is at this moment. Nietzsche would say that she would have to will them again, want to live through them again and again out of an infinite love and affirmation for the person she has become. In fact the web of events that Nietzsche has in mind extends far beyond the person in question, the particular subjectivity, to encompass the world and its history; so the person now looks at the most painful and questionable events in history and existence and out of an infinite love of life wills them again because she wills its present and future, hers and life’s, because in her heart a powerful Yes! is resounding, a powerful emotion that acts like a loop through which everything that has ever lived wants to be again, is in love with itself. And to complete the circle Nietzsche then devised the idea of eternal recurrence. The person now stands at the crux of the moment and asks herself if, living this moment the way she is living it, she is ready to live it again and again for an infinite number of times in the exact same way. To will this moment once is then to will it for an eternal number of times, recurring through the fabric of existence, so, obviously, you would want to will it in the best way possible, or the way that is most in harmony with your strength and heart. Ultimately, you must say Yes! to living your life in the exact same way again and again for an infinite number of times; you affirm existence in your person, and through you existence entire is justified. All of this, however, must be contemplated truly and not just in abstraction, its truth must be felt taking hold of the whole heart. Nothing is more difficult. Yet the difficult is something we love, because we love life.
You become worthy of the object of your desire, be it a lover, a poem, or a way of life, once you are able to let go of the numerous bits and pieces, the distractions, in order to dedicate yourself to it entirely, down to your heart and soul, to the truth of your life. Otherwise you’re just fooling around and passing time, and nothing great will come out of your life because you have not aspired to anything great.
I remember the fear in my sister’s eyes as she laid in her deathbed. I felt so helpless and powerless, and this feeling kills me to this day, cuts into me with a pain I cannot describe. It haunts my dreams at night. I could not ward off death and save the being I love most in the world. They tell me to get over my guilt, that the responsibility was not my own, and though that is true, you cannot not be or feel responsible, and hence powerless. I do not know how to get over this feeling, this incredible pain, but maybe I do not need to…
I also remember the light in her face, a light that became so clear to me towards the end. I don’t exactly know what this light is or why it shun with such clarity, or why her dreams became bathed in white as death approached. Was it her soul, getting ready to leave her body? Was it the beauty of her heart, a beauty that was there her whole life but that became more visible to me as I saw into who she truly was, beyond and inside the flesh and form. I don’t know, but this light! God, this light. As though I was beholding her essence, and it reduced me to tears.
I remember being haunted by this question (and I still am): Will I ever see her again? I will see her again and again as I bring her to life through me in my daily life. I will meet her around the corners of my life, as I live out more and more my own heart, love, and essence, as I become truer to the great love that bound us, that will forever bind us. But the question remains: Will I ever see you again, Sarah? You will come to me in the moments of my life, but at the moment of my death, will you be there with me? Will I feel the press of your hand in mine as you welcome me into the eternity of light of which you are now part.
Cursed be this life! Yet infinitely blessed for having allowed us to share this love even if for such a small period of time.
Like a tight bud I closed in upon myself, but that was only the outward appearance of it; in truth it was an inward motion, a closing in upon the self that is an opening up of an inward world, the inward world, the world of the soul; and the most precious thing this gave me? (and this I call poetry, the self-expressive, the inwardly reflexive) — the ability to withstand my solitude so I could deepen myself and give myself back to the world through my heart and from the depth of my soul.
I know of no more depressive fact about our daily life than its lack of the element of greatness, of belonging to something great.
A man who is in a gravely ill condition refuses to go see a doctor despite the many advises he is given. Days go on and his illness grows worse until, at last, he falls out of consciousness and an ambulance is called in to rush him to the hospital. If he survives the damage he suffered will not be reversible, and he will be forced to live on in a diminished existence.
Man, the rational animal, will not do the one rational thing that ensures his future survival, the survival of humanity. Could it be that, after all, man is irrational? Rationality — if we believe his claim, that he is rational — has been a tool at work against his survival — rationality as his greatest stupidity; its progress and advancement leading to his extinction.
Man, the animal with no control over his impulses and will, ultimately wills his own end.