Saturday, 11 December 2010

Paradise

Some days are better than others. I think we can all agree about that. Well, if you won't, I will, 'cause it's true. There are a million cliches I can insert here, most of them muttered by athletes in post-game pressers to keep a state of normalcy. Although a lovely woman on the train pointed out such utterances also smell of recovering addicts; very insightful. Phrases such as "one day at a time," "you take the good with the bad," "one misbegotten leg before the other."

Nothing ever stopped cliches from being true, except for arrogant bastards thinking they're above aphorisms, NFL-era or ancient. Arrogant like those sad sods who post Youtube comments about the "real, imminent, and dangerous war between real music and pop music." Pine on you modern day Aristotles. I'll devote a blog to excerpting that hilarity in the near future.

But wait, back a bit. "A return to normalcy," Warren G. Harding's campaign promise to reconcile the horrors of World War I through his potential presidency, was criticized heavily for normalcy not being a word, not using normality. But both variations are now considered correct. Might have cost him his dream. And we've a had a president elected twice who can't articulate the most powerful weapons known to man. Nuke-cu-lurr. One day at a time.

Since his book prompted these frenetic questions, I must plug the departed Kurt Vonnegut. Mentioned him once on this blog and I'll mention him again. Reading Armageddon in Retrospect, a collection of until-then unpublished speeches and stories. Pick it up--worth it to grasp up every last bit of the greatest literary genius of our time. I'm reminded of how much of a realist he was, overt humanism pouring out with his epic wit and humor. Compassion married with cynicism. Always wanted to be like that, even before I read Slaughterhouse Five, infinitely amped up afterwards. Tried not to think about the ethereal and the hereafter, 'cause I'd thought about it before. 4 weeks or so ago, I also remembered that being jaded about anything whatsoever is bullshit. Vonnegut dismissed the oversimplification of some people with such large questions, not the consternation. These are the same questions humans have pondered since they were scratching rock etchings into cave walls; questions that pulse with inspiration and wonder. Questions that can't be answered in a single breath. But even after thinking about it, I'm agnostic. I'll keep thinking about it off and on. Some days more than others. So it goes.

Can Utopia exist? People have asked this for countless generations. That's a concept most people don't take one day at a time or with a sense of procrastination. They want it now and they search for it all the time. I search for it, irrational though it may be.

Kurt speaks of a misinterpreted Marx, how he's decried mostly because he called religion "the opiate of the masses." Earlier, I watched Religulous, a Bill Maher documentary about the absurdity of religion. To paraphrase Socrates, if you can't explain why you believe what you believe, you have a problem. What mantras do some of these crazy people wake up to? God is great? I am righteous? The world is encapsulated in one book by an unknown author? Two books? One day at a time? Make me a sandwich?

Utopia is an important concept, important in understanding what we want and understanding we can't always get what we want. What's your heaven, your utopia? Is it a mantra? A place? One thing, two things? Red fish, blue fish? A harem? A candlelit bath or a rocky crag to climb?

The Last Emperor, a rapper who blazes through verses like a wolf chews through mutton, has elegance to rhyme his version. Do we have to die to get there? I hope not, 'cause I can see the lip of my utopic entrance.

Possible superstitious dramatic irony aside, what is heaven to me? Where? A place of openness and love, of learning and endless energy. Of feeling, colors, and intellectual stuffing the air so thickly you cough up metaphorical pea soup. Meritocratic and meticulously designed, it's a place where spontaneity is just as beautiful as it is in everyday life.

Some days I think about heaven, and some days are just rock and roll. But all days are here for the taking, not for procrastination and not for the repeat rehabbers, as the impromptu train conversation with someone who just ran with my question showed once again. Like life and death, paradise is an off the cuff encounter or a hot chocolate in the freezing snow. Where's your paradise?

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