My death is

coming swiftly. In a moment of idle thought today I worked out how many days I had left if I made it to 80. I have 21,993 days left. My wife thinks that expecting 80 years is pessimistic. I don’t think it is. Now I’m left to work out how I spend these days. If I could stock pile unused time in a savings account to use near the end of my life I wouldn’t do it. I don’t know how to save money, much less time. My wife thinks I shouldn’t bother myself over how I spend my time; a bucket list is healthy, but striving to color each day’s schedule with cosmic meaning isn’t worth the effort.

I also asked my wife what the top five on her bucket list were. Here they are in order.

No. 1 To have a large family. Preferably with 12 children.

No. 2 To see as much of the world as possible.

No. 3 To finance normal life and such adventures comfortably.

No. 4 To live on a beach.

No. 5 To start our family’s own holiday traditions.

When I asked her she said this top five wasn’t going to change.

My top five are

No. 1 On my deathbed, to be at peace with what I did up to that point.

No. 2 To see as much of the world as possible.

No. 3 To write beautifully and meaningfully for a career.

No. 4 To love my family so that I can help them, to have many good relationships, and to be true to my humanity.

No. 5 To publish writings that last beyond my death.

I often worry that I am living wastefully – that I am not doing things that matter. I also find myself in moments of happiness because life hasn’t handed me the bristly end of the stick yet. Eventually it will. Many deep thinkers have been mistakenly understood as insecure people. I think most of the “insecure” people are just intelligent. Life has tricked many; to me, it’s the people who recognize when they’ve been tricked who eventually do something that helps humanity. Confident people are the stupid ones, but that isn’t always the case. It’s always a good skill to know how much salt to mix in your judgment of a person. Everyone needs at least a grain.

After you’re dead, you won’t care about anything that you did while living, but the people who outlive you will either have better lives or worse ones because of what you did. That is why life is so serious. Almost every thing that I do will affect people who are alive today or will be alive tomorrow. It’s responsibility and guilt that haunts me every day. But, I know that I would be more annoying than inspiring if I took each moment so seriously. In the end it is probably wise to treat each diminishing day as seriously as Jim Carrey, and as comically as the holocaust.

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Art is Submission: thoughts on letting go

 

Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac took the strings of harmony and emotion and beat them until the art dripped out of their persons like a squeezed pear. And no one could ever truly enjoy the beauty of their art in this performance unless he submitted himself to what they submitted themselves to. I saw in the comments on this video that some people related their performance to the influence of drugs on their minds. These delightful people may be correct; it makes no difference to me. The drugs were a sort of instrument themselves. Like a switch on a computer, the drugs did something to their inhibitions that caused them let go of the cares that kept them from complete submission to their music.

Interesting enough, I’ve written while being high a few times. I’m writing completely sober at present, if you are wondering. I’ve also written songs and performed songs in front of crowds, from fifty people to some number over a thousand, and what I’ve had to do with each line on paper, and each note I held out during a performance, is let go. I had to submit myself to the present moment, with all of it’s pressure and all of it’s anticipation flittering out of me at once, and found myself in state of mind that I could not experience without the performance. To no surprise, I find myself in total resonation with the urge to be high while performing music, and even writing it.

There are different kinds of highs, and I have a very limited expertise in the variety of highs myself, but common with all drug use is the journey one takes from usual consciousness into a different one. Focus is unlimited at a certain point on the road to letting oneself go during a high. And it is important to note that not every artist is high during his performances. I have never been. But the times I did a terrible job performing has always been when I didn’t let go of everything but the music.

This principle of letting go applies also to listening to music or enjoying any performance of art. It could be a speech, or a book, for example. Once you’ve forgotten your surroundings, including the ringing of thoughts in your mind’s ear, you can enjoy the arts in an enlightening and energizing manner. To my eyes and ears, this performance is of the finest of self-forgetfulness and complete submission to the beauty and power of art, and one should not forget that he must recognize and submit to this principle if he is to enjoy the complete beauty of this performance.