Press Play and Read Vol 1.: The Answers are in the Art/ists

I should have done this a while ago. It’s quite interesting what the absence of much desired sleep produces.

I’m going nowhere with this, as usual. Nowhere at all.

During times such as these, when viral swords draw gaps between us, which in turn cut worlds into fragments and randomly blow them into cyberspace so that we’re even closer than they were before, I reflect on universal emergency. That state in which governors throw up their hands and submit to chaos. Some call it “the end of the world.” Possibly. Or, in the vain of theological scholarship that urges us to understand apocalyptic texts as less indicative of the doom of a particular historical era to end all eras and more of figurative symbols which concretize several times throughout the ongoing global story from now and then and then to now, to paraphrase Catherine Keller and Killah Priest simultaneously, is it more helpful for us to see ourselves at the end of a world? I’m not sure.

The ways in which we’ve become, particularly alongside the technological, philosophical, theological, ecological, and social regressions that mark the 20th and 21st centuries, have placed us in perils that may have forever darkened the possibilities of homo sapiens continuing on/in Earth. Without the help of any supernatural agents, we’ve introduced plague after plague to the ozone, the soil, and other animals. With the knowledge of our damage, we continue to walk heavily, pressing carbon footprints into the sand so large they seem to beg for special attention. Our mass production of food, siphoning of natural resources, and tossing of plastic into the seas has put the clock on fast forward until the Gods we are determine our end in a unintended and unwanted spell casting of Altizer via Cox. Many of our tribulations we can trace to our own pen of authorship.  As we run for shelter in these “last days,” Some of Gaia’s wounds begin the journey toward healing. If we listen, the ruach will return to our lungs and our lungs will return to our souls. This is where art becomes vital.

The “end times” are so much more bearable in a movie, a play, a song, a poem. But in this epoch, we are our favorite piece of art that waxes so beautifully about worlds tearing at their seams, removing every shred of a future devoid of pestilence, violence, and vicious battles for resources. Art shows us the entire globe on the brink of explosion, such as The Lord of The Rings. Art also shows us the local apocalypse, like The Karate Kid. On the path to Mordor, Frodo and Sam briefly hide in lush thoughts of the Shire, the land fully removed from the cares of Middle Earth. In training with Mr. Miyagi, Daniel learns the peace that that practice of karate brings, settling his body and mind in the midst of brutal bullying by the Cobra Kai. These rays of hope, these burst of sunlight that pierce their way through fine cracks in the crucible, are what we must hold on to, even though most of them will slip through our fingers. In these near instants, it is hard to distinguish between the sun and the artists. Frodo and Daniel escaped their “end times” and lived into a new beginning.  Let’s hope that we’re as lucky. In these “last days,” let us close our places of worship (even on the internet) and tune into the books, the songs, the dances, the thoughts, and the souls of our artists, who have chosen to inspire in this era since the Gods have taken an indefinite vacation to drink, party, and have sexual orgies. We’d rather they never return.

The Yesteryear Tomorrow

On the way to LA this past Saturday, I was nearly late for the train that would set my foot on its soil just before sunset. I nearly missed the train, and took rapid strides to arrive on time. Usually, time does not matter. These trains are always late. But, not this one. It was right on time, or even a minute early. As my ticket dropped from the machine a few seconds after the train doors opened, I rushed on the train, holding many of the highlights of Western philosophy in my hand. I caught a glimpse of it as I was boarding the vessel. It called me to it. The postmodern textures of the train cars didn’t suit my contemplative mood, a mood that can take me from future to past. I walked from car to car to find solace, but could not. Then, as I kept moving to the last car of the train, I really saw it.

As I walked into the ancient car, with the seats adorned with light brown fabric from a Wonder Years show, and the floors gleaming as the sun bounced off its vintage metal strips, I passed into a porthole leading to that which had already been. I recognized it though when it was present, I didn’t exist. It was like going from 2009 to 1965 instantly. I saw the world differently through its windows. Through these transparent glass holes, I can see conservative Christian dogmas and Jefferson Starship psychedelia at war in the California palm trees. They almost ruptured at the conflict. This car was the sore thumb in a modern world, being made years earlier. I could taste the patriarchy in the air, as foul as the very center of Archie Bunker’s infamous chair. Yet, the flower scent of the winds of change mixed with the stench, assuring me that life requires the picking of forbidden fruits semi blind, making the taste of both the good and evil inevitable. I felt neither peace nor war here, just contemplation. As I exited the train and entered the modern era again, I wondered what had happened to me in this short hour when I was between Aristotle, Governor Reagan, and these memory laden seats. Yet, I felt that I was related to everything in the universe in this olden train car. Is the car God? Maybe not. Maybe God doesn’t know where God is because there is nowhere to be known but the all, which is nothing. This reflection makes no sense because the essence and existence upon which I reflect is beyond the rational facades you mask your own ignorance with . Just the reality as I see it. Selah.

The word of the Lord from the God.