Category Archives: Musings

Musings on Love

“I am human and I need to be loved,
Just like everybody else does”
– Morrissey

It is commonly accepted that love is a fundamental force in the world of humanity, that it is something that everyone is searching for and that brings happiness when it is found. But why is love such a dominant and overpowering force in the human consciousness?

The answer is, as usual, evolution. After all, what is the purpose of life? If you are a diligent reader of this blog, you may recall that survival is the purpose of life. However, there is a second and very closely related purpose that is shared by all species, and that is procreation. Humanity would die out very quickly as a species if we all became sterile, or (unthinkably) stopped doing, well, you know.

Thusly, love is in fact the main goal of life, a goal that is not so much passive (as is survival) as it is aggressive, by which I mean to say you have to get out there and make it happen. The development of the emotion of love behind the base instinct of sex is well in line with the development of all emotions. All emotions are derived from base instincts which have been evolved into a new form  by the complexity of the human brain until the initial reason for their existence is forgotten in many cases. It’s all very postmodern.

The emotion of love is beneficial to the survival of humanity because it gives people the feeling of a higher purpose, resultant from the happiness it brings. Chemically of course, love might as well be a drug so that’s no surprise. Love is also beneficial in that it (in it’s more advanced forms) promotes monogamy and stronger familial bonds, which lead to more stable lives and thus higher rates of survival, not mention faster evolution as common ideas are passed down from one generation to the next.

I suppose the question now becomes why doesn’t everyone love each other? My best answer is that evolution, which is driven by conflict, and procreation, which is aided by stability, are currently existing in a state of relative equilibrium which has allowed humanity to become the dominant species on the planet. My hope is that in time, the more base aspects of evolution will become transcended as conflict becomes an unnecessary component of change. For now, all I know is that I need to be loved.

Just like everybody else does.

For A Limited Time Only

For a limited time only
Watch
Barren waves crashing down on
Empty shores carrying
Weeds dredged up from
The hollow sea floor
But call in the next five minutes
And receive
Two calling birds whose
Thoughts never go
Unsaid whose company
Never goes unnoticed
So order now and get
Double the offer
Two times the maladies
Good deaths are only for
Those who can afford not
To die with freedom
But the best part
A complimentary
Wristwatch to count
Down the time
That sways like
Empty tree branches sway
But remember
This offer is
For a limited time only

The Will to Life

Ah, now what have we here. Can it be?

It can.

Yes indeed, we have an actual written blog with essay and all. In celebration of this momentous occasion, I thought we could talk about a nice, light topic.

Namely: “The Will to Life”

What is the Will to Life? Well, to put it bluntly, it’s the reason you’re sitting where you are right now. It’s the reason you’re reading these words. It’s the reason you’re going to go back to the start to figure out what the reason you’re trying to find the reason is.

The Will to Life is the base desire of all living thing, a primal and instinctual need to survive that surpasses all others.

In essence, the Will to Life lies at the center of a tree diagram. It is the will from which all motivations, wants and desires are resultant from. The primary goal of every living creature is to survive. Are we agreed?

Good.

Accepting this as fact, the Will to Life is synonymous with the Will to Survive (I personally like the sound of Will to Life better though, don’t you?)

If you’ll indulge me for a moment, think of any event in your life. The last bowl of ice cream you had. The last time you didn’t make that trip out to the gym the day after. The last time you didn’t go to the doctor, knowing he’d be disappointed with you.

Sorry.

The point is, all those actions derived from the same source. The seed of the tree. Maybe they were only a few branches down, maybe they were leaves that had blown away to another land in the wind. Some were borne of the will to be happy, some of the fear of being judged, but all owe their existence to the Will to Life.

Now, there was a guy who talked about the “Will to Live”.

File:Schopenhauer.jpg

This looker

That’s Arthur Schopenhauer, a German (of course) philosopher. However, from the little reading I’ve done, his definition is too narrow. According to the only real website, “To Schopenhauer, the Will is a malignant, metaphysical existence which controls not only the actions of individual, intelligent agents, but ultimately all observable phenomena; an evil to be terminated via mankind’s duties: asceticism and chastity”.

This seems a little crazy to me. Will is not a malignant force,in the same way that it is not a benevolent force. It is A force; in fact, for living creatures, the Will to Life is THE force, but it has no inherent moral value. It is.

Here’s the kicker. What is the one thing humans will never be able to do?

(If you said fly, please leave the room now.)

The correct answer is avoid death. Can we prolong life? Sure. In the future, is it possible that humans will have created technology that will cause the retirement age to be raised to 565? Sure. But in the end, no one lives forever. (Even if it takes til the heat death of the universe.)

So, really, what are you doing right now? Still reading this? What’s the point? You’re going to lose. The one will that drives your life, the Will to Life, is destined to meet it’s end with no fulfillment. And yet, there still exists that most illogical of human emotions.

Hope.

We’re all dust in the end, yet we keep pressing onwards, driven by a will that is indomitable, existing as it does at the very base of all other functions of the mind and heart, until the day when the inevitable reaper comes knocking on your door, the knell sounds, and the last ravens fly off to a different window.

Hmm, that got heavy. I thought this was supposed to be a celebration?

That’s better.

Is Dylan a Sellout?

In lieu of the Chrysler ad during the Super Bowl, I have been forced to ponder this question. And I’ve come to the conclusion that to think Dylan is a sellout is to make the mistake that he ever bought in. Bob Dylan, first and foremost, does what he wants to do. It was true when he went electric, it was true when he was born again, and it’s true now. Dylan is often held up as a counterculture icon, and he is, but people forget that he never wanted to be, and that he crashed his motorcycle and went into hiding for nearly a year just to get away from the image he had built. That’s what must not be forgotten. Dylan never claimed to be the “spokesman of a generation”. That title was thrust upon him, and he’s tried to shake it off ever since. Concluding this brief musing, Dylan is only what Dylan wants to be, not what you or I want him to be. If he served his fans, he’d never have gone electric after all. The legacy of Bob Dylan is of a popular culture figure who continually defies expectations and does things his way. If that means selling cars, then so be it. The world’s not ending. If he wants to sell cars, he’ll sell cars, whether you and I want him to or not. And that’s the point. He wouldn’t be Dylan otherwise.

Empathy for the Devil

One of the great walls of isolation I’ve found myself up against is not a lack of empathy, but empathy of the wrong kind. Empathy for the murderer. Empathy for the suicidal. Empathy for the psychotic and psychopathic. It seems contradictory that the ability to empathize would be an isolating variable. Being able to understand what others feel and think should be a source of bonding and connection. But what about when that understanding is with the man on death row? Who then do you bond with?

Empathy for the devil pushes away all God-fearing people. The phrase, “I just can’t understand why [so and so] would do that” is a phrase I try to never allow to cross my mind. And yet it is one of the first things that pops into the average Joe’s head when he hears about the latest school shooting. “Why would he do that?” The question is rhetorical. He doesn’t want to know or understand why. “My sympathies for all those who lost a child.” But Joe also doesn’t want to understand what the parents feel either. He will sympathize, but not empathize. He can lift a perceived burden from his own shoulders by sending condolences and carry on with his life. To quote Robert Frost: “And they, since they were not the ones dead, turned to their affairs.”

The phrase I always try to remember when I hear of a terrible occurrence is: “Nothing human is alien to me.” This is a very unpopular sentiment. The best example is the Nazis, who have been summed up as mad, labeled as evil, and demonized in near totality. Average Joe doesn’t want to look at the Average Hans and know why Hans let his Jewish neighbors be killed. Then Joe would have to look into himself and practice that horrible, frightful word: introspection. Because to understand how another can do harm or stand by idly, one must be able to understand why they might do the same. Notice that I said might, not would. Just because I can empathize with a man who killed his family doesn’t mean I’m going to do the same. It simply means I can understand how that man got to that point, and how, with a different set of circumstances or a slight change in character, I could be that man.

That ability, the ability to empathize with the devil, renders me practically on the same level as the devil. Watching other people blindly lord their own impeccable morality over the damned is frustrating, yet how can I stand up for the psychopath or the drug-addled? I must sit in silence, isolated by understanding. And I can’t make people understand. Their defenses would never be let down so easily, their walls are as impenetrable as my own. Are you one of these people? Take a good hard look in the mirror, and then a long sensitive look around. The devil begs no sympathy, but even he must desire a little empathy.

Stuffed Men

Red or blue? Pick your side. Just know there’s no way out alive. Crosses burn and stars will fade, crescent moons will wax and wane. But don’t believe me? Take your pick. Just know that it might hurt a bit. Marching anthems, shouts of glee, oh what a happy jubilee. So fill yourself up, burn that fuel. Make a man become a tool. Then fly away, into the stars. The ashes burn over pits of tar. If nothing else, can we agree? There’s nothing I would rather be. So shoot me up, don’t bring me down. Delusions of grandeur all around. Men stuffed full of truth and lies. Only love what money buys. And I won’t vote and I won’t pray, for night has fallen on this day. So take your pick, pick your side. Just know there’s no way out alive.