I was fired today (sort of - let go, asked to come back if . . .) from my volunteer position - nor was it the first time someone has told me that i don’t help. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with my willfulness. I don’t perceive impediments clearly and so become insensitive when my focus becomes willful. It is a character defect which falls into the category of paradox. I read this morning the indigenous people of Chiapas are being hounded into the forest by armed thugs - it is impossible to not object to such senseless violence toward other human beings, yet i may have just now called down the heat to my own, too close, orbit. Fuck ‘em - they is running dogs for the same thugs who have superheated our atmosphere just to own fast cars that gets them laid, or laughed at, depending on the sophistication of the lady.
C.G. Jung - “Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking.”
I am finishing a drawing i’ve worked on for 4+ months; it would be a much different drawing, had i stopped at any number of times my flagging will had dictated. It is difficult to know when there is nothing more the work can yield, but i am finding my orientation toward my product does not fit many paradigms. The difficulty is in how to understand willfulness as it relates to the process of creation. When my schedule changed this morning, my assignment did not. I write once a week, and find, like most things, when you do something enough - shit happens. Structured time was recommended too me early on, and has been a boon to making shit happen. It is the yield, that puzzles me. Many of my brethren chose to have the work pay the freight - a choice i find fraught with conflicts of interest. I chafe at the inclination of patrons to believe they have any role in my creative process, and my hope is that if anyone ever buys what i have made, it will be because it contributes to what they understand about their world. My sense of the art market is that it is off the rails like most other commodifiable intangibles. The indigenous people of Chiapas are not understood as tangible parts of the economic paradigm and so like forested acres impeding the infinite growth model of modern economics, they are mowed down.
My concern about calling down the heat is a valid one during these days of eviscerating liberty - but is well worth any risk, for what’s one more extirpated malcontent. But before i’m spit out like so much grit, would someone please explain to me how the willfulness of a handful of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) became avatars for the human spirit seemingly through no more than ad fodder, while multitudes of humans are condemned for believing in the sanctity of our living world and its values developed over millenniums of human development. Jung believed in an archetype human state, once referring to our generations as rhizome:
C.G. Jung - “… Yet I have never lost a sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom which passes. The rhizome remains”
I believe human will very much resembles this notion, while philosophers have commandeered the model rhizome to assist the overworked, undereducated drone programmers formulating pathways for the ever enlarging computer framework which the more creative of the digital empresarios have deemed “artificial intelligence” - why not, fake intelligence - we got make believe everything else. The trouble being, is to whose will does this intelligence apply itself. I know for certain zucky has never given a fair ear to what i would like to see on fb, rather his conceit is what he thinks he can fathom from my clicks with which to compile some proximity of my intent - bullshit. The first thing i was taught about computer science is to find out what the user wants, but this was in the days before your keystrokes had been commodified. The rhizome of our world that is currently being nurtured is not predicated on the will of humanity, but the will those HNWI who can pay for what the computer apparatus is told to do.
I am far enough along in my failures to understand some of the lessons which led me to begin doubting the worth of will, most especially the flawed concept of will over another human being. It is enough of a struggle just to attempt my own self-control to the degree i cause no harm to anyone, most especially myself as the ever apt D.E. Tuppins of Detroit remarked “after me, you come first.” Yet without will, i would not attempt this sharing with you. Yes, i hope to learn through the writing process more about will than i did when i began; and yes it is necessary to accept there is much about will, that i do not understand, so how am i to share with you what i don’t know myself¿
Lao Tzu - “People usually fail when they are on the verge of success. So give as much care to the end as to the beginning. Then there will be no failure.
This value of perseverance Lao Tzu articulated so well has been misconstrued, and i would doubt seriously if it has found its way into any algorithmic wisdom. My sense of the drawing i now struggle with about when to stop, resembles more Lao Tzu’s admonition than any economic insight. Put differently, the best work is accomplished when it is only the pencil point and the paper surface, minus the ego interlocutor. Ego asks questions like “will they like it, will it sell, is it worthy etc., etc., etc.” When i feel present with what she was looking at such that i can begin to try and understand what she might have felt, it then becomes the beginning of the drawing and i am only concerned with a better understanding of my feeling about the person and place, not whether i can do it, but how can i do it?
Nor is the willfulness involved in writing much different; i sometimes have a vague idea about what to write, and then veer from anything that smacks of telling another what to think. It’s a method of leashing the internal editor while letting the cat out of the bag, so to speak. My issue with systems which do not account for the human in a respectful and considerate fashion exactly mirror my own struggles with will; i will move heaven and earth to learn self-control, but will wage eternal and protracted warfare with anyone who wishes to tell me what i must do - fucking paradoxes - can’t live with ‘em, and you can’t shoot ‘em. It is also for this reason war is an anathema to me, like not giving a shit whether you understand words i use or not - war is not my problem, yet my only problem. As long as humans are conned into believing that the chum you are in the foxhole with dodging incoming rounds is any less valuable to you than the person lodging incoming at you - we as a species are doomed. What is sad, is how close we are to crossing the threshold toward a mutual awareness of our common enemies - greed, hatred and delusion as well as those who would advance these self defeating values as helpful for our collective future.
Dwight D. Eisenhower “… we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influences, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
This was a the last republican to balance the budget and the supreme allied commander at the end of WWII, a willful man who was also black. At the time the Nazi economic model presented a threat to the emerging democratic paradigm. With 20/20 hindsight it is clear we quit that war just before success otherwise we might have been better positioned to survive the corporate putsch we are now facing. The problem is that our enemy is no longer the other guy, i have no problem with people being wealthy; i object when that silly ambition becomes justification for destroying my world. Mr. M.T. Suit is threatening to do just that, and i’m not even black, muslim, korean, indian or gay. The people who have conceived the treadmill on which our world is exhausting itself have no concept of personal will, otherwise they would have curtailed their avarice long ago. While those who side with humanity have been convinced if they could only be rich, and selfish and able to control others - existence would be a delight.
I have found my peace, and sadly it more closely resembles war, except the struggle lies within my own heart. I will myself away from hate, from greed and i demand clarity from my purpose. I cannot know what another person is facing, whether they are more worthy of survival than i, or even whether they want my seat in the lifeboat, but i know that no one gets out a alive and i would rather my last feelings on earth be from the warmth of helping another, rather than that scabrous unrelenting fear of who else is gonna try and take my seat. We are a capable people, but only in so far as our personal ambition meshes with a grander design - one in which the openness of youth is honored with a learning environment that respects their hunger for personal growth and is not a foil to obscure some more sinister purpose of indoctrination into a consumer maze ending in addiction to objects that leech the very joy of life from the sinews of their soul - one where families are not torn apart by poverty or greed by ill-conceived social systems meant only to keep them serviceable as cogs in a factory - one in which the aged and infirm are helped in anyway that relieves the suffering inherent to such states.
Michel de Montaigne - “Of all the virtues life confers on us, contempt of death is one of the greatest. The premeditation of death is the premeditation of liberty. He who has learned to die has forgot to serve”
There is an irony that the promise of everlasting life held dear by the waring factions of our world has never, to anyone’s certain knowledge, justified the taking of one life over another. Even if it were true that the right adherence to the right idea would guarantee a seat in the life raft of “ever after”, who is to say that the person you just whacked wasn’t g_d’s own child - it’s happened before, and from my experience - what happens once, happens twice and so on and so forth; or better yet, your theoretically appalling violence just split a demon into two demons - each twice as venomous as the original - talk about your conundrums. Creating art or writing does not deliver me from strife, rather it helps me to understand the limits of my own will, for no matter how clearly i may perceive a beautiful thing, i have learned that any effort however determined will fall short of depiction; and however logical an idea may seem to me when attempting to formulate a way to express that idea clearly enough to be easily shared - it all sounds like gibberish until long after the fact when the panic of expression has folded its way back into the dull suffering we are all searching to control - somehow, some way. My will may not have been entirely beaten into submission yet, but it certainly is more mindful of what it nurtures and what don’t, for if you ain’t loving - you ain’t payin’ attention - good luck to us all - invest your assets wisely.
acceptance - the sonnet
acceptance is never just happenstance,
by definition it’s a decision
always the right one, and never by chance
though times it results in devastation.
is Mr. M.T. Suit the one leading?
i don’t know where he’s going - we won’t meet
mostly because i do not serve a king-
that he’s a rich fool, just makes it more sweet.
i accept the miracle of what’s next
having no idea what that’ll be is fun;
pretty sure it won’t be found in a text,
might be from the business end of a gun
i won’t pull that trigger, it’s the wrong end-
our future will be made by how we blend.
reprinted with permission - all rights reserved