Our relationship with the world is quite simply actualized through the concepts we form in our minds that enable us to speak about the reality we perceive. It is in this context that Plato’s allegory of the cave became one of the most famous philosophical metaphors in quotidian parlance. Our perception of reality is always …
It’s late at night in the infamous, shabby neighborhood. All of I sudden I hear the thunderous roar of a motorcycle in the street below. I look down from the window and I see one of the most humongous Road King Harley Davidson beasts I’ve ever seen. The black monster displayed a tall wind splitter windshield and a kick-ass sound system that blared a seemingly famous 80’s soul-pop song. The beast’s owner, a typical large, hairy and rugged man in his mid-fifties, proudly and meticulously backed up towards the curb, parking his precious ride. He left the music playing at full blast as if it served as a soundtrack to display his Road King bike. I watched as he got off his motorcycle in a slow-motion pace we’re used to seeing in movies. He wore the classic detonator leather jacket with the famous logo on his back.
The music went on for a few seconds, when a bag lady, attracted to the song like a zombie zeroes in on humans, wobbled and closed in on the bike. Wearing nothing but her dirty underwear and an equally filthy large sweater, she started singing and dancing erratically. She knew the words to the song. It surely brought her memories of something good, and she immersed herself in the experience of that moment.
I left the scene and proceeded to get ready to go to sleep when I heard again the thunderous, raucous rumble of the black beast leaving, and the music fades away in the distance. It left me pondering about how memories make us feel the emotions we experienced in the past, all over again. Maybe, if the memories are good, they give us a glimpse of all that could have been but hasn’t, and now keeps haunting us. Sometimes, like the Erinyes (those hideous snake-haired monsters) they punish us for eternity for the mistakes we’ve made, and we still don’t seem to be able to forgive ourselves. A blessing or a curse, I don’t know.
It is intriguingly peculiar and, at times torturing, the capacity that MUSIC has to penetrate the deepest layers of the unconscious structure of our minds. It opens up doors into different personalities, different personas, different masks we wear all the time during the course of a single day, or an entire lifetime. Music throws this spell on us and reveals the dynamic state of ebullition within our hearts; some days we are saints, other days we are vengeful demons perpetrating evil at any opportunity we get. Music extracts from us the intensity of our emotional states at any given time or brings back from the history of our past all the sensations experienced in a powerful re-enactment of the pathos, encrusted in our psyche, by those moments.
The cyclic nature of the human experience shows us that somehow the idea of Nietzche’s Eternal Reoccurrence, the “eternal hourglass” of our existence, places us in a state of fatalism where each generation observes the other repeating similar mistakes, under similar circumstances, materialized in slightly different modes of expression. What difference separates our sufferings of love or bouts of anger from those experienced by other humans centuries ago? The evidence of repetition seems to underline every era and behavioral activity we all have been reproducing ever since we came to be. Is the awareness and total embracing of this dark side of the human psyche the process through which we get to the other side as some great thinkers postulate? Yeah.
“What is thinkable is also possible”, says the philosopher, and the rats and the scum of society recognize the essence of what the word really means in a perfect correlation of one meaning, attached to no other possible form, and its objective and empiric represan_tation of a specific state of affairs. In what represan_tation of the events of my life, can my most accurate experience be reproduced through the signs of language (which serves as my sole form of expression and communication) in an attempt to transcribe to another person the perspective I take during the course of my innermost urge to convey, explain and make it real with the stamp of language as a form of creation itself?
In what represan_tation of the events of my life, can my most accurate experience be reproduced through the signs of language (which erroneously serves as my sole form of expression and communication) in an attempt to transcribe to another person the perspective I take during the course of my innermost urge to convey, explain and make it real with the stamp of language as a form of creation itself?
Perhaps, music becomes the medium through which we can clearly reproduce the framework of a past experience, somehow untied from the constraints of the new material lying on the surface of present waters. How honest can we be as we use language to make the situation alive and real in the world where we interact with other thought-creating organisms like ourselves?
THE MOTORCYCLE, THE RIDER, THE BAG LADY AND THE SONG
(note: the song in the video clip above is not the one the motorcycle was playing)
HOW HONEST can I be when I try to represent here my experience of that scene I witness between the motorcycle, the rider, the bag lady and the song? All elements put together to reveal the totality of truth in the universal structure of a timelessness event within the space we weave our way through. Nothing but our senses to lead us through the dark fog of the soul, and the inevitable surrender to this phenomenon becomes the recognition of our inability to control anything at all.
The representation of an idea can be explored through different perspectives, but its transparency will rely on the logical and unequivocal observation of the fact(s). You will give yourself naked to the other and your strength will reveal insofar as the vulnerability which you allow yourself to experience at that particular moment in time. The puzzling and peculiar realization we observe is that anything at all we perceive can actually be completely different from the concept we have in our minds and attempt to represent through the linguistic signs we choose to use.
I walk across the room, pacing back and forth like a conscious organism that has just been woken up from a dream, trying to make sense of the reality I was afraid to accept, and instead, tried to imbue unsolicited meanings to the facts that go beyond my control. Why do we seem to negate the facts and forcefully try to apply a structure that agrees with the emotionally charged personal meanings we use to disguise our inability to deal with the state of affairs we see in front our eyes? Fear is the answer to the problems that afflict us. Fear of what is. Fear of what is not. Fear of what is no more. Fear of our inability to accept the conditions that rise up from our inability to understand that we can actually deal with anything that is given to us.
We are all alone. We are (not) all alone and we all know that we are not alone since we all share the same state of insanity we inherited from our ancestors. How can we disguise the fact that we seem incapable to accept that we are perfectly able to deal with whatever reality is thrown out our way? I feel, in my heart, the pain of the recognition that I still resist the unmerciful inexorability of the conditions that arise in front of me.
I die a little bit with every turn of the page, every change of scene, every landscape; every experience, every dream zone redefined, every specter of myself – even if the darkness of the shadow proved unbearable to resist. I live those moments over and over again in my mind and I see myself replicating the same similar patterns that will take me out of myself. I rejoice in the moments where I recognize myself in the eyes of the other, in their faces; that moment of rapture, complete surrender to the emotion, the ecstasy of being swept away, of being swooned.
Grab my hand and follow me and let me make you cross the gap that divides us. Let me hold you close to me and whisper words of forever, even if for just a brief moment we will believe that nothing else exists but the totality of the reality we are creating together; the pain of existence can at least stand still in time, in the silence of our need to connect through the awareness of choosing no one in order to become one.
And for that one moment, we are invincible in our own selves.
*Information about the video clip above is at the end of the clip.