Sunday, November 24, 2013

Truth is Toxic

I am a genetic defect. I am the beta model of a product that never made the production line. I have 2.5% sex appeal because I'm 97.5% honest. There's no room for that sexy, intangible mystery of character when you try to abide by what is right. A cop is never as sexy as a criminal. Why is that? Because the criminal is more romantic and more of a dreamer. He's taking bigger chances and the well-to-do play it straight and make sense like a square. When a dumb or bad person overreaches and fails, it's implying they're aiming for a higher standard. We know the story of Icarus flying too close to the sun. There's no Greek myth for a superbeing who flew a thousand flights safely to provide food and water for her family. At least not one anyone references.

We love the romantic ideal of a person that strives and goes above and beyond, but it's a false and dangerous narrative. You see the shooting star, you get wet, you think for maybe a second you may be of any significance to witness such an event. A fucking sun likely with its own planetary system just supernova'd right before your eyes. That's until some buzzkill next to you says there's no such thing as a shooting star, it's actually just a large rock being burned to death. That knowledge is not going to you laid, because as some smart guy said, "Love is the child of illusion." The child of truth would be closer to another quote that goes, "The horror... the horror."

 Life is about contrast

Let me fill you in on a universal truth: FEMA camps are going to enslave us all. Truth doesn't matter in light of an interesting title. It doesn't matter that there's not enough food, or a workforce or supplies to make the camps viable in any form. What sells that headline is the mind-boggling sexiness of it all. It's the human desire for trauma and destruction. As a first world, civilized people, we here in the United States spend our leisure time playing video games about the apocalypse, watching movies about brutal crime, and reading books on brutal crimes and the apocalypse. Many in our heavily Christian nation wear crosses, adorning themselves in an instrument of torture as an unintentional ode to death. Their actual savior might be death itself, because it's a saving grace, the ultimate palm tree paradise you can daydream about when knee-deep life's agitations and failures. All that hate, confrontation and death may be scary, but they stave off the deeper, scarier questions of mysteries and meaning.

 This chart is more profound than Da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man"

Seeking what's right can only go so far, though, because there's no correlation between what is right and what is true. The sad fact is happiness and intelligence are mutually exclusive. It's true enough. Adherence to the impossible standard of perfection will kill the soul. If you took every story at face value you'd be crippled by sundown. Your friend's heartache would become your heartache. Your colleague's cancer would be your own. There's an endless amount of suffering in the world as unaccounted for as our government's budget. To fathom one tenth of it would break you. The rich have jets and we have our excesses, too. I know this because the impoverished aren't reading this blog. We have party streamers while the poor have dirty water. Countries in the east have bloody revolutions, in America we have a TV show called Extreme Christmas Trees. Kind of makes a man want to champion the intangible.

The intangible is that sweet spot right in the middle of what should be and what is. To get there you must walk through vast lands of grey areas. Irrationality is toxic but toxins are natural. It's as if it's another element. It's deeply entwined with our ideas of romance and we value nothing above the romantic. It's the chaotic impulse in us that desires a little extra. At the other end is the Impossible Standard. Perfection tugs at the heartstrings of an idealist. But things aren't ideal, if they were, that would mean they had happened. What exists cannot be an ideal. So you fight them with realism, but realists don't have any dreams left in them. So what's the goal? Strive for the ideal with your ambitions tempered in the real. I don't like that sentence but it's pointing in the right direction. It's as good as it can be in light of my indifference to fix it. I'm sticking with it.

Some people don't have homes,
this hotel has a few in its lobby.

There's the Impossible Standard in it's never-ending battle against Reality. Reality represents those hard truths that are rarely challenged or changed. Finding balance between the two is the Dividing Line. This must've been what Johnny Cash talked about. Life's most alive in the neurotic tightrope one walks between the desire to enjoy and the desire not to cause distress. In the end, it's relative. Some people find that scary, but it's not saying throw caution to the wind and dismiss your ideals. Just refine their practical use to suit your needs. If polled, I bet we'd all say we would benefit from a sensitive world. Those ideals don't always work in a relative and flexible world.

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds

- Joaquin Phoenix (Rest in Peace)

Let's imagine a hyper-sensitive world. Should "jerk" be considered a disparaging insult? No one would vote that in, but I'm sure there's a nicer way to say it. Calling someone a jerk pales in comparison to say, calling in to detonate a roadside bomb. In the context of a world riddled with war, calling someone a jerk carries no weight. Call me a fuckface, I don't care. I won't sit in the shower and cry about it, because it's a cakewalk compared to [insert your favorite genocide here]. But let's say we could get the world on the same page and everyone's sensitive. Sure, we're safe, but only relative to earth. Then the aliens will come and takeover our planet for resources. And you know what their atomic weapon will be? They'll get on megaphones and call us jerks. We'll have heartattacks and die en masse unable to fathom such cruelty.

Depiction of apocalyptic post-human wasteland

Truth is a reflection of what is real. A truth that denies irrational impulses and romance isn't true. Therefore there is no perfect reflection of truth that isn't a bit toxic. Your fresh brewed cup of truth is always served with an artificial flavoring of inescapable romantic sweetener.

It's all context. I weigh real against desire, find a spot in the middle and follow that truth. That's why irony is so sweet yet impossible to replicate. Not only must your aim be perfect but you're hitting a moving target. There's a chaotic context I can't escape as I chase the Impossible Standard. Perfection is defined by each specific individual, so it's impossible in a world with two people, and a world of one is not worth living in. So I'm going taint this otherwise honest attempt at a reasoned article with some throwaway romantic notion. In the words of Socrates, Get in the pit and try to love someone.

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