Thursday, August 11, 2011
From the front lines of midlife
I spent my life so far in the pursuit of "truth." I wanted to know the real from the manufactured. I wanted to know whether there was a big-G-god or gods or angels, and if there was life after death. What was human nature? Why did people act cruelly and selfishly? How could I manifest in the world and in myself the potential I saw in the 60s?
I had a desperate need to know, not only because I knew early on that my parents were clueless, but because I wanted to be good and do what was right. Right for the world and for myself. And in order to be good and do right, I had to know what was, objectively, ultimately real and true.
This summer, I changed. Now, I know that there's nothing to know. Reality just is. Whether it was created on purpose or randomly, it was created and now it just is. There's nothing to know. There's no right or wrong in the objective and ultimate, great and mysterious Everything. Everything just is. Once I saw that, the pursuit of truth that was the purpose and meaning of my life just . . . disappeared.
I sent an email to my friends that some of you got, with a page torn from my sketchbook, in which I stated these ideas and then asked, "Why be good?" I was surprised to get many thoughtful answers. And many of those told me that the writer had come to the same conclusion at some point and had decided to choose the good. This is the existentialist answer. Of course, it begs the question of what is good, which may be answered in myriad ways.
Summer is coming to an end. I have a few trips to take and I know I'll learn things while I'm in other places, but it doesn't matter, not really. My art doesn't matter. This blog doesn't matter. One friend told me that it's our relationships that matter, and I sure as hell feel love for my beloved Jack and my kids and my friends this summer. I feel that love so deeply sometimes, it's like my heart's gonna burst. Does love matter when nothing else does? And if love matters, then does art matter? Do I simply choose to live as if my choices matter?