“Universe”

I often find myself pondering at the meaning of words, their origins. I enjoy those philosophical/contemplative novel words, the things you won’t exactly find in a dictionary, words like wonderwall, sonder, pluviophile, nyctophile, philophobia, etc.

Still other words, literary or archaic, that also would not be so much used in everyday life, tend to my thought and attention, words like hamartia, pseudo-intellectual (yes, Woody Allen!), pedantic, etc.

And there is also a third category of words that I like. It is that which encompasses the words that mean one thing, but also a whole other, deeper, thing. And of those words to me, stems the “universe”.

I like to believe the word universe describes, aside from the mystery of our vast, complex, changing but constant world, the context of a single verse, that summarizes the world-universe. A uni-verse for the universe.

But then again, what words of wisdom so short as to not exceed a single verse, could wholly satisfy the cataclysm that is our world?

I do not know, and I do not pretend to.

But the thought of a uni-verse still drives my thoughts, knowing still, that though the truth is not found, it must exist.

The existense of truth is in itself, a truth. That will be my truth, that will be my justice, my solace until I find a fuller answer.

“For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.”
-Arthur O’Shaughnessy, excerpt “from Ode”

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Real World: Dreamworld

I sometimes like to imagine my entire life is a dream.
I think it gives me a sense of security, that somehow, deep down, I can control my world, except that I simply don’t know how.

I think it keeps me at bay from the more likely, more frightening reality of a world that’s completely out of control, out of mind, careless to throw me at the rocks as the waves that rush to a rocky shore, with time the harsh waters, and fate the fickle winds that blow upon them.

On that thought though, if my life really were a dream, I think I’d diagnose my subconscious with quite a masochistic tendency.

(P.S.: Please don’t interpret that last line too literally haha)

Photo credit: InAweofGod’sCreation / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Sometimes, When the Night Falls Gentle

Sometimes, when the night falls gentle over the land I cannot call home, the thought of you flows with the wind over and into me, toxic fumes on a midnight wind’s path, bleak and obscure, from that soul I called home.

Many a time, when life brings my aching seaward, to rest on the shore, I turn my mind to the dreams I’d left, on those waters, for the dreams now lost.

And as the fresh mountain winds blow on the wounds now lain bare, I find in them treason, and love struck and broken, lingering in the air on which you flew.

Sometimes, when the roses grow in a summer field, amid the stairways of an old town you knew, I find myself there picking blossoms, to be never sent, to the girl I did love, for the love she withdrew.

And often amid my nights of wandering and sitting atop the rooftop we spoke from, I notice a star shining brighter yet than her sisters, its warm radiance recalls, of the eyes that I knew.

I know not today, tomorrow, or years and lives forth, what cruel things I’ll meet, that will utter your name, and now as the moonlight passes, shines on lovers, and shines again, I find my world crueler, and ever reminding, the essence of you.

And now in my solitude, ever when the night falls gentle, I find my mind wanders, from the streets that I know, and the skies that I look upon, wanders astray, to the home that is you, and rests ever there, in somber tranquility, eyes shut and wandering, to the memory of yours.

“The Thinker”, Rodin’s Masterpiece

When Auguste Rodin sculpted “The Thinker”, he broke the exalted false image of the Classical thinker of the age before and the Renaissance man of ages back that had so lingered into contemporary society.

He sculpted what I would argue is to this day the truest portrayal of a thinker ever to have emerged out of the hands of man.

The thinker is shown, a man seated on a rock in the wilderness, strong and muscular, yet, something in his face just cries out a torn and disheveled reality. His arm supports his head, a head that is worn with thought; his body closes in, fearful perhaps, of what lies beyond himself.

It is also perhaps not a coincidence that the thinker is nude, like a shamed street beggar, or even symbolic of an exposed charlatan: what is perhaps allegorical of a man who has lived a lie, veiled his unfortunate state in the face of society, hidden “the thinker”, tried to masquerade into society like just another average joe. Alas we know too well: that who we really are always catches up with us.

Is it by mere coincidence that Rodin had him seated on an olden rock in the wilderness? Or is he an outcast, banned beyond city walls, with only a desolate stone to accommodate a man that nature has cheated with a perverted gift: his mind that wanders, perhaps too far down the desolate path of the mind and soul?

What mystery does this sorry man hold? What in this gaze has enchanted the world? What man of the wilderness has dared to wander into the world of prestigious art salons, into the profanity of luxury Parisian cafes, only to find himself misunderstood by an even more pretentious society?

Will we ever understand him? Rather, does he understand himself?

It is a sorry truth, that all men who’ve met and shall meet the thinker shall turn their heads, unknowingly deceived. And though we’d argue differently, we’ve all been deceived.

We’ve all been deceived.

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The Artist & Incompletion

The following post is part of a series, ‘The Artist’, I intend to write.

We’ve seen it in even the brightest minds, incompletion. It is often a disaster, a misfortune, a loss for an entire world of art-admirers.
Leonardo Da Vinci, the renowned polymath that he was, himself very rarely completed the work he’d have started. In fact, what is by many seen as one of the most beautiful masterpieces of Renaissance art, his painting, ‘The Adoration of the Magi’, lies to this day, unfinished.

As a man who views himself as an artist at heart, I myself have rarely ever completed my grand, ambitious, and often exaggerated projects.

Last year, I’d started work on what was to become my most magnificent achievement yet. It was a philosophical socio-political play by the name of ‘Pandora’.

The play, based on the Ancient Greek myth, was to portray my elaborated views on the erroneous use of knowledge, brain waste, and the war on intellectualism.

The play’s first act would show Pandora, the heroine, opening the pithos that would unleash unto the uncivilized man the two-edged sword which would lead him to self-destruction, the desire for knowledge.

The play would end in Pandora’s hanging in a public square under charge of corrupting society and leading it into war and corruption (due to man’s misuse of knowledge).

I wrote the first two scenes from the first act which were highly poetic in style, grand in nature, and complex in emotion and thought. But to even my own misfortune, all of a sudden, I lost interest.

Think that was a good idea?

Two years before, I wanted to write a novel and lost interest after the third chapter.
At the start of this summer, I wanted to write a collection of poems on love, but after losing hope in the collection’s dedication, I saw it pointless to proceed in any of my poetic work on the subject of love, perhaps for a break before going back into the subject.

The artist, often of passionate nature, is too regularly swayed into dismissing his work due to frequent changes in emotion towards his muse.

Too many times, I have set out on huge musical projects: caprices, film scores, dedications to loved ones, and had all sorts of great ideas and melodies in mind.

But every time I started work. my enthusiasm would fail in comparison to great masters before me: Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Beethoven, they were all somehow my competition.
And after listening with awe to every single work, I felt discouraged to ever pursue my projects, though I knew very well how illogical it was for a budding self-taught composer of only 16 years of age to compare himself to the great men of musical history who had obviously studied music long and hard before attaining their final level of mastery.

Also, one of the most significant reasons for my often sudden loss of motivation is the discrepancy between vision and reality, for I have yet, in music for example, to master orchestration and composition to be able to manifest the music as it plays in my mind exactly onto the music score.
My musical works thus only include short pieces for piano, numerous improvisations, and just about above 10 or 12 brief orchestral pieces, with hundreds of recorded melodies and musical notations waiting to see daylight.

Perfectionism has driven me insane.

I have recently started practicing my portrait-sketching. I am self-taught. And being the perfectionist that I am, I must stay about an hour on every sketch, neatly revising every single detail, never to obtain the envisioned result.

My success lies in simple projects, those who can keep time with my always-altering bursts of inspiration and enthusiasm. Such are my poems, orchestral pieces, and essays among others.

Many have perceived me as a hard-worker. I am not a hard-worker in any way. Most people’s definition of a teenage ‘hard-worker’ is an academic over-achiever, someone who works long nights, who can force himself into work.
I am in no way that person. My character is that of a capricious mind.

I cannot force myself into work, but, controversially, what I believe in I will work for endlessly and to the very end. When it comes to working for my values and interests, I will work long nights, spend days on my projects, and risk even my health in depriving myself of sleep and food.
The problem is that I can never force myself into work that I have no motivation for.

Perhaps it is because as a child, I was spoiled, not materially, but motivationally.
Allow me to explain; as a kid, I was at the top of my preschool and lower elementary classes, not due to hard work, but rather purely effortlessly.
I was congratulated by my parents and teachers, based on ability, and never based on determination and work. Even when they did not know it, they would very often congratulate my ability and not my work.

I was among my teachers’ favorites, if not quite a few teachers’ favorite, not because I worked hard, but because I simply was a good student, again, effortlessly.

I grew up with the idea that no matter what, success was inevitable, it was out of my control, success was almost part of who I was.
I blame the academic system for never challenging me in preschool and elementary school.

When I grew up, things suddenly needed to be studied, I had to suddenly start memorizing material. My grades started falling lower and lower, partly also due to psycho-social complications (which I might discuss later in this series in ‘The Artist & Ostracism’), though I still maintain to this day a good GPA even under minimum effort.

I believe many other artists-at-heart have had similar childhoods, thus leading to our often whimsical minds.

The moment a duty or project turns into an obligation, or rather homework, I inevitably detach myself completely from any effort to achieve it.

Another thing is that, being the socially independent person that I am, I never give importance to social praise of my work; I am never encouraged by praise or any other outside force like money. I am what some describe as “intrinsically motivated”, which means that I cannot derive any motivation from anywhere other than myself, and also that I cannot derive motivation from what does not somehow relate to my integrity in my case.

I am heavy with the burden of my incompletions, due to several motivational and moral complications.

When I think of my work, I think of how many ideas I have betrayed, how many artistic projects that never came to be, I think of how high my GPA could be if I could somehow force myself to study, but I know deep down that even like those before me, I may really never be able to escape this terrible reality, incompletion.

I am guilty, before God and man, for never fully utilizing my potential, seldom completing my work, and never forcing myself to work against my motivation.

Perhaps, though, these final lines may justify my indolence before the godly court:

It is a pity when the artist does not complete his art, but even more a pity when the art does not complete the artist.