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.