Saturday, March 29, 2008

Jack Johnson - Wasting time

What I like most about this music is how it emphasizes the process even if the result would come to nothing: in the extreme even if someone tells me

"Love's just a waste of our energy,
And this life is just a waste of our time"

I can still go ahead and have a lot of pleasure by "wasting" it all tonight. Even if it goes nowhere, if it pays nothing, no marriage, no kids, no afterlife, no heaven, no hell, no nothing, it is still an ecstatic experience, just by the fun of it.

The sheer fun of it.

In this, we'll never be disappointed, because we had no expectations at all.

Lyrics here.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My Religion

We sometimes say «I am a Christian, a Muslim, an Atheist, an Agnostic, etc.» and by this we mean that there are certain sentences that can describe better than others our beliefs about God, freedom, the after life, etc. These sentences attribute certain adjectives to subjects, for instance: «God does not exist», «God is the final judge", "God cannot be known", etc. To support these sentences we provide either arguments or experiences or other kinds of appeal (fear, punishments, rewards, love, etc). In all these cases having a religion implies adhering to a certain set of sentences, beliefs or attitudes. Having a religion is like having a certain style, a way of seeing / interpreting the world.

I have a difficulty with this: it is hard for me to say that I am religious, even in the agnostic or atheistic varieties, but it is also difficult to say that I am not. Like many religious people around the world I feel God, the soul, the after-life, I have absolutely no doubts regarding these things. It is a constant presence, just like the colors and sounds that permeate my daily life. However, contrary to most people, I do not claim to know anything about God, the soul or the after-life. This apparent paradox between experiencing something regarding which we claim to know nothing about, is what leads me into this text in which I try to bring out the paradox, crystal clear, to the middle of the paradox which life is.

It seems to me that experiencing God is in certain ways similar to experiencing a melody. When you experience a melody you know that certain sequences of notes make sense, while others don't. However, if someone were to ask why, or if that was something universal or only some psychological trait of yours, could you answer? Are some sequence of notes really beautiful or are they just beautiful to you? I don't know! And I don't know of anyone who has been able to prove any of these views. Perhaps it's something in between. I don't know, but I know that Gould plays Bach well. He understands Bach and Bach's music gets very clear in the hands of Glenn Gould. But would Gould be able to explain the music he plays so well to anyone? Even to himself? ... Of course not! No one can, because words are not the kinds of things that can explain the beauty or sense of a melody.

I don't doubt God's existence in the same way that I don't doubt the beauty of Glenn Gould's Goldberg Variations (both versions). Does that mean that God really exists? Or is He just a word I use to express an inner fleeting feeling? I don't know. I'm not even sure that this question makes sense. What is absolutely clear to me is that it would be absurd to doubt God's existence: His presence is as clear as the beauty of Bach's music. In the same way it would be absurd to proclaim God's existence as something more than what I can clearly see of Him. Like Bach's music, it would be absurd to say: «you must see its beauty!» Of course not! The beauty is not something that can be hold, touched, smelled. It has no spatio-temporal characteristics, it cannot be presented through the senses. I can feel the beauty of Bach's music, but I certainly have no words to describe it and certainly the music can be presented (it has spatio-temporal characteristics) but it beauty can only be envisioned from the inside.

The same happens with the sensation of yellow and the experience of freedom. Do you doubt that yellow looks like, well... yellow? You cannot doubt it, because it is right there, shattering all your doubts, the yellow experience is stronger than all your doubts put together. You cannot doubt it. Can you dount that you are free? Well, certainly, in an intelectual way, in the same way you can say that qualia do not exist. But only with words. The "real" you, the you that feels, and thinks, and acts, descartes' cogito, the real you cannot doubt that his own freedom, in action or potentially. And yet... what is yellow, what is freedom? How does it fit in the world? Is yellow a product of your brain?, and what about freedom? You cannot even describe it, so how can you claim to know what it is like, if you cannot find even a single word to describe these evidences?

I claim that this is what also happens regarding my experience of God. Like yellow, like freedom, like the flowing of time, I understand them when I don't try to explain them, but when I do try to explain what they are, I get further and further away. Trying to explain Bach is not the same as hearing Bach, it might help or it may hinder. Certainly when people hold on to talking about Bach as something of importance, it is almost always a syndrome that they are annoyed to death of his music and they need something more "spicy" to keep them awake.

What I mean is this: I feel God, and yet I cannot say a single word that would apply to Him. But, in that respect, the experience of God is similar to all the other experiences we have of sounds and tastes and colors and freedom, etc. We know what these things are, in the sense that we can recognize them, but not in the sense that we can explain what they are to ourselves or to others.

So, when I look at all these religions, I feel connected to them, just as I feel connected to atheism and agnosticism. I could be all of these peregrines and martyrs and skeptics and mysterians. But in fact they all seem like people who like to shout. they picked God, but they could have picked any other thing: for instance they might want to shout about yellow: "yellow exists", "yellow exists only in your imagination", "yellow is beautiful", "yellow is ugly", "yellow is the most beautiful color", "yellow is beautiful because I see it as beautiful", "yellow is beautiful and if you can't see it, you're blind", "yellow is a construct of your brain", "yellow is the proof that the soul exists, for no brain could make you see yellow", and so on, and so on...

These are shouting people, and we should let them shout, it is good for you, for your health, it exercises the lungs, gives you something to do, makes you known, gets people to know people, to have something to bragger about. Obviously, if you prefer to just savor the colors, more and more, you will brag less and feel more. But that is a whole other story.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The sour of the heart

When I was little, my parents liked me, well, actually it would be better to say that they loved me...

My parents built my heart right from the start, both atrias, blowing me, right in the sinus node, with the air of life, with the smell of love...

that love has stayed, until this day. As if I deserved it, as if it belonged to me... That love has propelled me through the hardships of life, it has been has a beacon and as a motor of a rocket spaceship. Every difficulty I've ever had was supressed by the aid of this belief: that I was loved, that someone cared.

Actually, I seem now to realize, they didn't care so much for me (for they did not even know me) they cared, yes, for love. They loved in love's name, because is sacred and good and, well, pleasant, and goes well and one falls in love. That's why they loved me. I was easy to love, I was small and so couldn't retort, I was dumb and so couldn't see they faults, I was young and so I couldn't see their past. I had been born but it is as if their images had also been born with me, a fresh start, a fresh opportunity to make all anew, a life without errors, where they could show how spotlessly full of love they really were.

My father and mother made contests, to see who could love me better, and I learned to love myself. Through their eyes I was, oh!, so beautiful, so nice, so well behaved. And through all that my life was worth existing. I become obsessed, or better, possessed, by their image of me. Oh, how I wanted to be that love of joy center ... the image / catalyst of higher dreams. I came to see myself as a awakener of beautiful love dreams.

Of course, anything can be a awakener of love dreams; in fact, I'm not sure if there is anything in the universe which is not at least a potential awakener of love dreams. What was different in me, was not the ability to be a mask of something beautiful, but the fact that I wanted to be that...

I wanted to be... their love. But because their love seemed so attached to this body and face of a child, a wellll behaved child, I tried to remain a child all my life. Obviously, they joy was not there, and love was not there. For both Love and Joy can only come of the Living and True Heart. That belonged to my parents, they brought that, and created that, and was just the statue that they built with the cusps of their hearts. Each kiss gave me an eye-gaze with which to look at the world, a way to feel and see things.

I am nothing but their love, and the love of all that have surrounded me since, a jigsaw puzzle of feelings and beliefs and goals... That's who pedro is... a mumbo-jumbo of articulated relations between facts and emotions.

A perspective that my parents brought and that I, pregnant with all that have passed though me, should pass on to everyone and everything and even more, topped by my own creativity...

Why should I do that?

Do I want it?

Well, if I don't exist, it is quite difficult to want do dislike anything, but the statue that my parents build was supported on its own importance. Now that it faces a bottomless emptiness where its support used to be, it's crumbling into something else.

I don't know what it is. I don't even know if I'll let you know afterwards. The ancient statue would. But a new thing is arising and how it will behave... I don't know.

I loved them, I love them, very very very much... Or do I?

Perhaps it was all a big misunderstanding: they loved me as a way to say that they really loved Love. And I loved them just the same. In fact we all just loved Love. But in the faces of each other we smacked and pampered and in any way we could, we tried so heart to paint each others' faces with the colors of Love...

And all because we loved Love!

But Love has no colors, and the more we painted, the more we come close to realize, that paintings of love are not love. Painting reminded us of our true beloved.

The statue is sad and cries, but very happy at the same time. Happy and laughing, pain and bosom in her pleasure, she truly sees, approaching, approaching, that vision, that there is nothing to loose... that she should be happy to loose her forms...