Saturday, February 19, 2005

Letter to Inspector Lohmann

Inspector Lohmann is one of my favorite bloggers, so it was gratifying when he gave me a shout out. I recommend reading his post, where he collected a number of terrifying news stories.

He seems a bit down, so I decided to write him a letter. For the occasion, I removed nearly 100 percent of the cynicism rather than just the promised fifty percent.

Dear Inspector,

Any thinking person, who is reasonably aware of what is going on this world is just going to have days where the feel like they want to give up. That desire to fade back into comfortable numbness can be overwhelming. A nostalgic glow can invade us sparking memories of a perceived time of innocence.

Once a person has a basic understanding of how the world really works, it can be so easy to run and attempt to lose ourselves in mundane concerns, petty hopes and bourgeois comforts.

I happen to think to do so is a bad idea. I have theories why. But, several people have commented that I have theories about nearly everything, and this was not always intended as a complement. So, feel free to take the following with a grain of salt.

I happen to think that humanities vision is incredibly narrow. It is easy to forget that not only are we citizens of planet earth, but that planet earth is spinning madly through a huge universe we know almost nothing about. If we admit that we know little about our world, we like to think that somebody does. Ha!

This universe is so strange, vast and terrifying that only the true warriors can begin to divine her secrets. I really have no idea if I am up to the task, but I am mad enough to try.

That awful first step may be seeing our reality for what it really is: that gothic, entropic hell where power mad denizens attempt to restrict and control in insane attempts to satiate the bottomless pit of their material desires.

The next step may be to decide what do we do with such terrifying knowledge that often separates us from our fellow human beings, forcing us to form far flung techno-tribes so we don't feel so terribly crazy.

This next step may be a matter of the soul. Soul, like so many other words in our teetering civilization, has become laden with so much trash talk and hidden agendas that it is almost frightening to use it in public. But, as the good Doctor would say, "We are professionals."

We have to ask ourselves what is our natural orientation: Entropy or Creativity. If we can barely endure to watch the pain and humiliation exacted upon the innocent by the powers that be, then we are probably oriented toward creativity. But we have to continually make choices to act and create.

Create what? That is up to each individual. For too long humanity has been a big herd of sheep; a sucker for every huckster promising salvation just for being alive and so damned special.

All great artists have been painfully aware of reality, and used that awareness gained via such suffering for their art. Personally, I can't imagine our world without Kafka's The Trial, and I can only imagine what suffering he went through to gain such insights.

I think the universe can take care of itself. What matters is what we do as individuals in this universe. Do we seek and share truth, in our own way, utilizing whatever talents we have at hand, or do we just lay down and allow the machine to roll over us without a fight?

By fighting, I do not mean taking up arms. We are out-gunned and out-manned. But, in our age, it is a real fight to become an individual. Our stratosphere is so polluted with mind viruses and over-hyped archetypes that to escape possession is a real battle.

It is not for us to worry about winning, it is for us to worry about what will we do even if it looks like we will lose.

We too have absorbed the values of control. We want to anticipate success. We want to know and understand cause and effect in the linear constructs that we have been taught are real.

Our reality is actually quantum in nature. Our cognitive abilities are too limited to anticipate what effect our creative actions for truth may have in our world. I don't think we should even try.

The key is doing. Nothing is inevitable. Nobody is a nobody, and every person who removes themselves from the herd by using their talents means one step further away from that whirling vortex of death.

There is such a thing as evil. But evil thinks it is doing good. They are only taking what no one valued, our own free will. It is time to take that back, and use the chaos as building blocks for our own creativity.

Do we love truth, or do we embrace lies by ignoring truth? Embrace the propaganda and lies, then we become just one more agent of entropy. Another mechanical engine of death. We might as well be putting the innocent through the meat grinder ourselves.

Can we take repeated punches to the gut, yet get back up again? Some days, I don't think so either. But, then someone out there has picked up my slack, and inspired me to get out of bed for another day of fighting. They won't always know it, but that is the role of the artist in an age like ours.

The world needs more crazy fools, willing to illuminate truth even in the face of what appears to be inevitable doom.

It seems that we were born to an age where we are forced to either become a warrior or a mouse. I'm pretty sure I'm a mouse, but at least I can aspire to become a warrior. I can't sit still while the world burns, and most don't seem to notice their house is on fire.

I don't think you can either.

Best wishes,



Blogger Inspector Lohmann said...

Your honor me with your articulately expressed thoughts, and I want to thank you from the depths of my heart for your beautiful and touching letter.

I seem to go through such bouts time to time. I suppose it's only natural for us smart, sensitive types -- as you indicated. And, as you also indicated, we may not know how we effect each other to go on in while taking "repeated punches to the gut," but, as you so rightly say, we do; and, as such, no matter how forlorn or cowardly we are, when, as Tutor has taught me, more townsfolk join the sheriff as he faces down the bad guys it makes their presence that much more powerful.

I posted something back in july that touched on these very matters. It was a short post in which I quote Gramsci ("I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.") and Frankl ("We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread…They offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.") Letters such as yours are vitally important reminders of the need we have to be true to ourselves and to the truth, and the role of creativity in both.

You cite Kafka, which is a great example. I also think of Shostakovich, who wrote some of the most profound and poignant music of the last century, coding his seditious thoughts into the very fabric of his music because he couldn't not express himself.

(It was also your letter that inspired me to share the de Sade excerpt as a way to exorcise my demons.)

Thank you again,

Your fan,


6:15 AM  

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