Friday, January 14, 2011

What Do You Want?

Someone once asked me "What do you want?"

At the time I thought it was a strange question with too broad a context.

I searched for an answer regardless, intending to say something humourous about a knight in shining armour or vast sum of money but I remained silent for some time as my brain repeated the statement over and over in my mind coming up with next to nothing until it finally reached through the mire of useless gibberish in my consciousness to the cobwebs and dusty thoughts of my childhood. The only thing I saw there was a dead squirrel laying in the dirt beside the tall chain link fence separating the grade school I attended with the neighbouring homes. I was eleven years old. I knelt down beside it. I mourned for it. I wished I could give it life again. Eventually I covered it with dried leaves and walked on.

It was an answer, although lucid, distant, and not terribly useful but it was all I could come up with.

For the next 18 months I squirmed my way through the rest of my brain looking for a more meaningful answer. I only let go of the need to find it when I realized the only thing I truly wanted was amusement. I guess that is my way of feeling happiness.

Yes, I spent 18 months trying to find an answer to the stupid question.

Roll forward another several years of living for the sole purpose of amusement and we come to....

Now I think this stupid question is paramount and must be answered. If the question cannot be answered, then the point to life, and death, is lost.

God I'm full of shit.  I have no idea what I am talking about and people should really not listen to me.... but do what you want.

Whatever. Point made.


FreeFox said...

Not full of shit, just trying to make sense of things. From what little I've read, a lot of very smart folks have worked on that one, and nobody has found a simple and clear answer. ^_^

And, hey, Lou, if you're reading this, maybe here is one thing I think I found out that might be of help to you: I've spent a lot of time thinking about rules and walls and borders and stuff. I mean not just spending some time behind bars, though that has the effect of making the walls around you very present and obvious. But also as a thief and con artist: Cuz what you do then is basically trying to get around rules and walls, and not only that but to use them against your marks, you know, the same way a martial artist turns the force of his opponent against him.

And finally, as Ms Corpse Cafe quite correctly points out, there is that final border (hah, final, from finis, L, relating to borders of the end), death, the ultimate event horizon from beyond of which nothing returns.

And all this studying of walls taught me one thing: We are surrounded by walls. Our skin are walls. Every moment is a wall separating the past from the future, every mind is an island unto itself seperated by the sea of his or her own personal experiences. But - and that is what being a con artist is all about - the very walls that seperate and protect us are also exactly the interfaces that join us.

But since all these walls are simply everywhere, they are sort of invisible for us. It takes concentration and the willingness to see truely to become aware of them. They are scary, not just because they separate us from everything, and that hurt, but also because they join us to the rest of the world, and that is incredibly frightening.

The hardest, most insidious walls are thouse around us that we do not see: Expectations, guilt, shame, fear, and - worst of all - hope. It is those walls that keep us from knowing what we truly want.

The boredom you describe in your latest blog, like my fear that made me run away and drift through England, Scotland, and Norway, is the invisible wall that seperates us from from our true wishes. The boredom - that stifling, suffocating, unbearable feeling - is the sign that inside there IS a true wish, one that is imprisoned in these invisible walls.

And as long as you do not become aware of these walls - and not just of their vague presence, but of their exact nature - you will not find a door leading out. And inside your soul will starve and wither.

The way out is not in finding relief from boredom and fear. The way out is in living through them, reaching out for them even if they sear and burn your hands, and making them a part of yourself. I know it sounds like esoteric shite, but believe me, become your fear, become your hope, and you will find the strength to overcome both...

And then you can actually Do "What [...] You Want". ^_^

(Okay, sorry for the sermon, Ms. Corpse Cafe. But I wanted to tell this to Nerstes for quite a while now. And since you answered him here, I thought this was a suitable place to do so.)

Ms Corpse Cafe said...

Um.... no problem

yup... you're cool. I like what you said in your sidebar on your blog I am aware that in the end, every work of art is created in collaboration with all of humanity.

now... i follow you too.

Winks and warmness,


Anonymous said...

Oh, um, guys, really...i don't know how to respond to this. I realize this, all of this, but...then, I really don't know. I wish i could be more coherent.

my respect to you


Anonymous said...

Karma said...

Mom you are amazing. When did you first ask yourself this question? I am 23 and have just begun to realize there are these life sentencing emotional "walls" that baracade us in or out of ourselves....

bringing humans to such depths of depression, confusion and lonliness. and yet so common among apprently "happy" people.

I am finding the complexity of adulthood can be so overwelhming for a young adult. I can still taste the simplicity of childhood a bit but every day its drifts further away.....and I come closer and closer to hitting this stupid question. What do I want?

Ms Corpse Cafe said...

I asked this question seriously at 2 different times in my life. The first time I asked myself I was 18. At that time, with all the simplicity that life is for a young person, I looked at a career to define what I wanted. As a result I went to film school.
But what I refer to in the blog above happened 5 years ago. When you left actually. I had no reason to get up and go to work or to do anything at all. I had been using you as my reason to live and when you didn't need me to get up and go to work in order to pay the rent, I lost faith in myself and my reasons for doing anything. I began searching for other meaning in my life. It was then that some wise person asked me this question.
There is likely no single answer, but I can tell you that the way to find out how to correctly listen to yourself through all the walls and emotional barriers is to start small and experiment with something that you can see the results of very soon. Ask what you want and write down everything that comes to mind, even if it seems ridiculous. Then take a look at it all and choose something very realistic that won't be too hard to accomplish. Do it and assess the effect it has on you and on others afterward. If it felt rewarding for you and didn't hurt anyone then you've got a good start on your hands. Bonus points if it not only didn't hurt anyone else but benefited someone(s). Then pick something from your list a little bigger. Try it out. See what happens. Life is an experiment. Partake in it! Don't worry if you are feeling troubled now. This feeling will come and go. There is no paradise on earth waiting for us to find it if only we try hard enough. The only paradise is making the right choices in each moment and that generally feels good enough.
Anyway, I finally have learned to trust myself. If I feel a yearning for something then I go in that direction. I trust this process. It leads me well. But first I had to learn to trust myself through the experimentation I described above.
And beware, what you think you might want might turn out to be something quite different than you expect... so try not to judge anything too harshly or write anything off too soon. You never know, two years down the road you might discover it to be your calling.