"I have nothing to offer anyone except my own confusion."
Jack Kerouac (via fellinlovewithmelancholy)
The last few days, I’ve been learning not to trust people and I’m glad I’ve failed. Sometimes we depend on other people as a mirror to define us and tell us who we are and each reflection makes me like myself a little more.
Suppose that people live forever.
Strangely, the population of each city splits in two: the Laters and the Nows.
The Laters reason that there is no hurry to begin their classes at the university, to learn a second language, to read Voltaire or Newton, to seek promotion in their jobs, to fall in love, to raise a family. In endless time, all things can be accomplished. Thus all things can wait. Indeed, hasty actions breed mistakes. And who can argue with their logic? The Laters can be recognized in any shop or promenade. They walk an easy gait and wear loose-fitting clothes. They take pleasure in reading whatever magazines are open or rearranging furniture in their homes, or slipping into conversation the way a leaf falls from a tree. The Laters sit in cafes sipping coffee and discussing the possibilities of life.
The Nows note that with infinite lives, they can do all they can imagine. They will have an infinite number of careers, they will marry an infinite number of times, they will change their politics infinitely. Each person will be a lawyer, a bricklayer, a writer, an accountant, a painter, a physician, a farmer. The Nows are constantly reading new books, studying new trades, new languages. In order to taste the infinities of life, they begin early and never go slowly. And who can question their logic? The Nows are easily spotted. They are the owners of the cafes, the college professors, the doctors and nurses, the politicians, the people who rock their legs constantly whenever they sit down. They move through a succession of lives, eager to miss nothing. When two Nows chance to meet at the hexagonal pilaster of the Zahringer Fountain, they compare the lives they have mastered, exchange information, and glance at their watches. When two Laters meet at the same location, they ponder the future and follow the parabola of the water with their eyes. The Nows and Laters have one thing in common. With infinite life comes an infinite list of relatives. Grandparents never die, nor do great-grandparents, great-aunts and great-uncles, great-great-aunts, and so on, back through the generations, all alive and offering advice. Sons never escape from the shadows of their father. Nor do daughters of their mothers. No one ever comes into his own.
When a man starts a business, he feels compelled to talk it over with his parents and grandparents and great-grandparents, ad infinitum, to learn from their errors. For no new enterprise is new. All things have been attempted by some antecedent in the family tree. Indeed, all things have been accomplished. But at a price. For in such a world, the multiplication of achievements is partly divided by the diminishment of ambition.
And when a daughter wants guidance from her mother, she cannot get it undiluted. Her mother must ask her mother, who must ask her mother, and so on forever. Just as sons and daughters cannot make decisions themselves, they cannot turn to parents for confident advice. Parents are not the source of certainty. There are one million sources.
Where every action must be verfified one million times, life is tentative. Bridges thrust halfway over rivers and then abruptly stop. Buildings rise nine stories high but have no roofs. The grocer’s stocks of ginger, salt, cod, and beef change with every change of mind, every consultation. Sentences go unfinished. Engagements end just days before weddings. And on the avenues and streets, people turn their heads and peer behind their backs, to see who might be watching.
Such is the cost of immortality. No person is whole. No person is free. Over time, some have determined that the only way to live is to die. In death, a man or a woman is free of the weight of the past. These few souls, with their dear relatives looking on, dive into Lake Constance or hurl themselves from Monte Lema, ending their infinite lives. In this way, the finite has conquered the infinite, millions of autumns have yielded to no autumns, millions of snowfalls have yielded to no snowfalls, millions of admonitions have yielded to none."
Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman (via kiss-ripclothesoff-repeat)
"In my dream, people apologized for things that were about to happen and lit candles by inhaling. Lovers pulled up each-other’s underwear, buttoned each-other’s shirts and dressed, and dressed, and dressed. My dream went all the way back to the beginning, the rain rose into the clouds, and the animals descended the ramp, two by two, two giraffes, two spiders. The rain came after the rainbow. Eve put the apple back on the branch, the tree went back into the ground, it became a sapling, which became a seed. God said, let there be light, and there was darkness."
I spend far too much time pondering a forceless force, something that is everything and nothing. I’d like to think we respect each other, or some such nonsense, like we’ve come to this treaty and understand one another, but the truth is, time doesn’t give a fuck; it affects everything, and is effected by everything; it’s unavoidable & uncontrollable. I don’t attempt to plan life, not because I want to be this free-spirited recluse or something, but because to deny time’s power and unpredictability is essentially sacrilege.
I’ve always thought that I had problems living in the moment, but time and I have this understanding; it takes, it gives; it’s the only thing you can depend on, and the last thing you’d want to. Time is only an illusion, this thing we think we share, and take comfort in, but deep down do you believe that time is telling you the absolute truth? We count down the seconds, minutes, hours, days, measure our lives in social calenders, cups of coffee, cigarette breaks, yoga classes, scheduling in happiness, and taking comfort in our memories, which we store in the shadows of our selves and dust off when we need them. If time is so concrete, then surely those snapshots must be unchanging. Tell me the edges haven’t blurred, you haven’t noticed something that wasn’t there before; tell me the addition of time didn’t add or subtract to your memory of time, and we’ll bow down to time like it’s an absolute of which we should place the utmost importance.
If you can not, and i’m willing to gamble this is the case, then why must I place my value, my worth, in it’s passing? What i’m getting at is, it’s not me; it’s you.
Growing up I placed my worth, when I had nothing, in “one day”, and I pushed myself constantly for more, better. It worked. I came to a point where I began to like myself, and instead of stopping and finding some contentment there, I just kept pushing. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t asking myself “What next?” or “What do I do?”; i’ve created an existence in which there is no such thing as enough.
I won’t deny that my constant desire and well-intentioned ambition are an internal force, and believe me, i’ve heard plenty of “you must be be happy with yourself before ______” type propaganda, and it’s always left me confused. If this is true, then surely I must loathe myself, but…the thing is, I don’t. For love to be real, it means acceptance, right? To accept something, most would say, some understanding of it is necessary.
Here’s what I understand: No one questions when i’m happy, even when it comes about with no apparent cause, but if I ever feel any other emotion, in order to not be looked at with blank eyes and be deemed a depressed cynic, I must say, simply, that i’m fine? There were moments in my past that I was told I wasn’t enough without knowing what my future was, like it was about to come running to me holding out the answers to life like a mom chasing after a school bus with a child’s forgotten lunch [okay, that analogy was never used…]. and now, in what once was future, i’m consistently told that i’ll have none of this new future if I don’t deny the past the past all of its cause and effect. Why is it fair to take away my pieces? If i’m to place any importance in existence, than why can’t I have all of it?
I am so tired of faulting myself for having love rather than goals.
What am I doing with my life?…
I’m going to try to find as much magic in moments as I can. I’m going to acknowledge the monsters in the shadows. I’m not going to smile just because you tell me to, or senselessly push harder through time to get to the future that doesn’t exist, shoving aside one now for another, because “that’s the important one, that one up there.” I’m going to acknowledge that I don’t see love as a separate entity from happiness, and i’m going to love unabashedly. I won’t be trying to fill a void; I won’t be codependent; I won’t be seeking distraction, but rather, simply being honest. It’s going to fucking hurt, when people come and go, when things don’t turn out as i’d hoped, when time shuts a door and a person or place and they don’t make it into “the future”, but I won’t, no, I can’t, let that strip them of all their meaning. I’m not giving the past this insurmountable power over me, but i’m not giving it to the future, either; by acknowledging who i’ve been, and who I am, that which I know and that which I don’t, i’m taking the power. I won’t live in fear of what could be, just as I won’t live in fear of what won’t, and when I open the door for a stranger, or smile at someone on the street, it won’t be so others will call me pleasant, or god will let me into some gated dimension full of fluffy clouds and brass instruments. In this way, i’m not a consequence of time, time is a consequence of me.
"When we’re incomplete, we’re always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we’re still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on—series polygamy—until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter."
Tom Robbins (via faustus-syndrome)
"We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing."
Charles Bukowski (via observando)
Did you know that you actually can never forget a face? Every single face you’ve ever seen during your life gets stored into your memories, and gets used up later. For example, in dreams your brain can’t just make up a face. Every single face you’ve seen in your dream, you’ve seen somewhere once in your life.
And those strange nightmares you’ve had of those terrible demon like creatures ?
You’ve seen them around too, you just cant remember. You don’t want to remember.
I have no idea how valid this is, but i’d like to think my dreams are like Ed Gein, sure.
The Art of Staying Aloft: a photo series by Gloria Wilson of Small Mysteries.