[Lost Transmissions is space to post personal rants / demos / unfinished lyrics / stream of consciousness.
It is a combination of a journal, a blog, a sketch pad, and a confidant, where I will post once a week. Each week the new post will replace the old post – *NO ARCHIVING*. So if you miss a week, you have missed it forever. Check back each Monday for a new post.]
Jan. 21st 2013
The perils and perks of being an artist have been subject of many an essay; essays more well written and profound I’m sure. But I’m going to write one anyway because everything doesn’t matter.
Perhaps it should be restated; everything doesn’t matter. And that is beautiful.
The promotion at your job, my next album, making the bed, having children, love – it all doesn’t matter. There will be no record kept, no cosmic log of every action you’ve ever done. No: when the universe becomes cold and lifeless and even the memories that your brain has stored in its amalgamation of neurons have gone from life to dust to particles floating in the vastness of space the sum of every action by every being on every planet all sums up to zero. Null set. Goose Egg. Nil. Zilch.
“Well, good god Christopher!” You may say; “That is certainly a dark thought for this sunny monday afternoon!” (your local weather and time zone may vary) But I would argue: why does that knowledge have to be depressing? Don’t you see? That means you’re free.
You’re free to do anything. When you live your life with the confines of thinking that you are contributing to the infinite lexicon, you are burdening yourself with the weight of everything that has come before you and everything that will come after. That is a weight no one can, or should, bear and its heavy stress warps people into not thinking and living bravely.
Now, some may interpret this and ask the question “Then why get out of bed in the morning?” To which I would reply: “Why wouldn’t you?”
Why would your motivation for doing great things be contingent on said things being infinite? Why would you assume there is no value in exploring within the scope of a human lifetime, namely – yours. Further more: why does the innate joy of creation lose value when its inevitable destruction is put on the table?
As an artist, I’ve pondered about the myth of Sisyphus. For those not familiar it goes something like this:
Through a series of Greek-y events, Sisyphus is punished for trying to escape death by being forced to push a boulder up to the top of a mountain. Once pushed to the top, the boulder will inevitably roll back down, proving the work to be ultimately futile. So, for all of eternity, he is doomed to push a boulder up a hill fruitlessly. This story is put in context thusly: Why push the boulder? That is; if everything you will do, upon death, not matter to you (if you don’t believe in a conscious afterlife) then why do it? In this metaphor, your job, you relationships, et al. are the bolder and death is the boulder rolling back down the hill.
I’ve given a fair amount (probably too much) of consideration to this idea and came to the conclusion that this story is missing one important consideration; the idea of existence as a concept unto itself.
The idea of death or non-existance only has meaning because we exist to define it. So while, yes the boulder will go back down the hill, it is a stark difference than there being no such thing as hills, boulders, or a boulder-pusher at all.
In other words: you’ve had plenty of time to not exist, to not get up in the morning, to not make music, to not live life. In fact its been billions of years of non existence, and after you die it’ll be billions more – but for this one blip you do exist, and we all should be humbled to roll that boulder.
You cannot live infinitely and you can not act infinitely. You can act now and live now. This is your time to roll your boulder and the only obligation you have is to let others roll theirs. We have an inter-connectiveness that is self-evident; this only works if we work together, and though you can say that “this working” doesn’t matter (to call me out on my opening statement) I would say that on the scale of the infinite, you’re right. It doesn’t. However, it was my intention (whether I’ve been successful or not) to take the burden of those scales away and free you from this idea that the only things that have meaning are the things that will last forever.
So, perhaps it was dishonest of me to open this essay like I did. I will admit that it was a bit of the old bait and switch. Because, what I hope you see by now is that when you let go of thinking that just because something will inevitably be destroyed DOESN’T mean there is no reason to build it, you’ll find a freedom and calming sense because it means:
Everything means everything.
Meaning is innate in everything, and everything’s ultimate fate is irrelevant to the equation. In other words: you don’t NEED your boulder to stay at the top of the hill to justify pushing it, you just need to love pushing your boulder.
So find the boulder you are going to push and let others push theirs and don’t be concerned with what comes next. Live your life without the burden of the infinite. Don’t think tasks that don’t come to fruition are meaningless. Don’t think meaning is contingent on infinity. Don’t judge yourself on a “legacy”. Don’t ever get bored by life. Don’t burden everything you do with thinking you need to JUSTIFY its existence. Don’t worry about giving your life meaning, it already has it. Don’t worry about what comes next.
Don’t worry about what comes next.