Live The Vivid

There resides infinitely more good in the demonic than in the trivial man.

Søren Kierkegaard

Where is beauty? If it is in the things of the world, then the more of those things I have, the more beauty I can experience. If beauty is an objective fact then I can be taught how to create it, I can read books on writing great love songs, I can go on courses and I can copy masterpieces. If beauty is out there, then science can tell me what it is; a means of ensnaring big-hipped wives perhaps, or a play of dominance, or some kind of tool of social cohesion.

Whereas, if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, anything goes. Whatever I feel is beautiful, is beautiful — cars, excrement, A24 movies, a three mile copper rod, rape, Greggs. There is no need to master any craft, any skill, because random, lazy, meaningless artistic productions are just as worthwhile as those that represent mastery. If you find my appearance or speech or facial expressions ugly — it can only be your problem, not mine.

Where is morality? If it is in the things of the world, those things can be measured and managed to ensure optimum morality, which means we need measurers and managers in charge of the world. What’s more, people who are good at measuring and managing must, by their very possession of the facts, be moral. Conversely, if morality is in objective things then anyone who doesn’t get with the objective programme — dissidents and outcasts — must be immoral.

Whereas, if morality is in my self, again, anything goes. Whatever I decide is moral must be moral. If I think it is moral to exterminate unbelievers, or if the group I belong to do, then your criticism of my morality is immoral. Not just that but all criticism must be immoral (angry, bitter), for no other reason than that it somehow restricts what I believe or feel is right and good.

Where is freedom? If it is in the things of the world, then I can learn how to get there. I can be told. There is a path, and all I have to do is get on the path and struggle my way along it, following someone who has gone before, some kind of spiritual master or self-help guru or revolutionary leader, and do what they did or what they tell me to do. If freedom is in the external things and events of the world, then all we need to do is manage those things and events, or be managed. We can obey our way to freedom.

Whereas, if there is freedom in my heart, why does it feel so constrained? Why is your freedom different from mine? If freedom is within, then why is it so hard to find it? Why bother changing the world at all, if everyone is already free but doesn’t know it? Surely all we need to do is a bit of meditating, a bit of mindfulness or say a few prayers and everything will be hunky dory? In fact let’s make a prison of the world, because ‘freedom is within’ yeah?

Where is love? If it is in the things of the world, then I must get the things I love and I must cling to those things like grim death, because they might leave me, or be taken away by someone else. If love is a thing, it must be a chemical, something which the body produces for its own material ends and which can be materially stimulated, manipulated, managed and bought. If love is an object… well, it’s not an object is it, so love is a lie.

Whereas, if love is all within, then I don’t need the world, I don’t need other people, I hardly need a body at all. What’s more, if I don’t feel love, then there must be something wrong with me… and yet, at the same time, if love is entirely an internal thing I can never be accused of being unloving, because how do you know? In fact how do you know anything about me? If my love is only here and yours is only there, how do we know they are the same? We don’t. We are strangers.

Where is truth? If it is in objects, then those who know the most things about those objects must be the most truthful — professional experts, for example — while those who know nothing — young children, for example — must be  devoid of truth. If truth is objective fact then, if I don’t have the time to learn these facts, I am stupid, immoral and disposable, as poor people are.

Whereas, if truth is not in the things and facts of the world, then it is whatever I want it to be and the only falsehood is being told otherwise. Also, if truth is entirely subjective there is no way for me to know that my truth and your truth are the same and we are doomed to contention and isolation, not just from each other, but from the entire universe (unless I am the entire universe, in which case I can move objects with my mind, walk through walls and shrink to the size of a pea).

Where is life? If life is in the things of the world — in the facts, figures, images, pictures, ideas, words, theories, memories, beliefs and physical experiences — then anyone without those thing either does not know life or isn’t really living, while the most active and knowledgeable people — Richard Branson? Sam Harris? Joe Rogan? — must be the most alive.

Whereas, if life is not in the world, then the world is death, the body is death, food is death, sex is death, and I must leave the world, punish my body and abstain from physical pleasures in order to know and feel life. I do not need the world, or anything in it, and I can and must withdraw into my mind (or up my arse) forever.

Where is God? If God is a thing in the world, then either It (or He or She) is a man-made invention; the holy books which ‘prove’ God’s existence are full of absurdities, and a Godless machine of the universe clearly works just fine anyway. Or God is forever beyond reach, forever deferred, like the heaven It lives in, and I must spend a lifetime struggling to get there, following paths laid down by God’s favoured prophets, without ever really knowing if ‘there’ actually exists.

Whereas, if God is entirely within, then I am God and nothing you can say can gainsay me. Kneel before Zod.

Where is quality? Freedom, beauty, morality, love, truth, life and God — quality — is ultimately neither in the objective things of the world, nor in the subjective inner self. Positioning them in either leads to moral, logical and intuitive absurdities. The self creates objectivity and subjectivity — creates the difference between me here and you there. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t really a difference between me and you — obviously there is — but that difference is self made.

This, obviously, cannot be known through the self, it can only be lived, or experienced, by something else which is not selfish. There is no way to arrive at this something else, any more than there is a way to arrive at the room I’m in. All that can be said to someone insane enough to ask how to get here, is don’t leave.

Don’t look for or locate quality within or without. Let freedom, beauty, morality, love, truth, life and God be here, when they are, and let confinement, ugliness, immorality, hate, falsehood, death and godlessness be here, when they are here. This ‘letting be’ reveals quality as it is, instead of leaving it to get what you want or avoid what you don’t, which removes you from what it is, diminishes quality and makes a dull idea or a replicable thing of it.

The further away you are from quality, the more you try to get it or avoid it, the less real it is, or seems, and the more confused and numb you become. The more you let quality (or lack of quality) be, the more it is as it is, which means the more unique it is; or you are, with all your ups and downs, miseries and ecstasies, enlightenments and endarkenments. This is why the people we love most of all are not holy and good and wise, but vivid. This is why the people we hate most of all are not angry and evil and stupid, but trivial.

 

Everything and everyone is becoming the same, like characters in a book written by a hipster. Children are losing their otherness, men and women their masculinity and femininity, regions and individuals their distinctiveness, accents their colour and music, songs and films their originality, lemons and walnuts their flavour and moments their uniqueness; while declarations to the contrary become more and more strident.

The world has, and has always had, this as its goal; distraction of heart, stifling of intensity, effacement of uniqueness, and now the goal is in view. History is ending with a feeble gag, in a grey paste, with the suburbinisation of the soul. It’s been happening for a long time, but we’re now reaching total heat death.

There are no solutions, there is nowhere to run, no paths that can be followed and nothing and nobody, in the objective world or the subjective self, that can possibly save me, you or us. There is only the quality of what is, whatever is. Let what is, whatever is, and let that act. Only this can generate the strong vivid characters, electrifying ideas, seductive women, shocking, unrepeatable acts, I can’t believe he said that and flaming moods with their own flavour, laughing orgasms that won’t stop, sarcastic asides from children, games that come from nowhere, not giving a toss but cheerful with it, walking out, dancing badly in the street, wild animals expressing gratitude, smashing something up with a smile, dead bodies, people who really know how to do things that we hunger for.