07 May 2007

On Romantic Bullshit


In the previous post, Geoff and I started groovin' on some mysterious bullshit... and we both have had some romantic zingers, and I would like to land on this one:

My feeling is that all great works of art, the timeless ones... understand this thing of which we speak. And that it is what we consider beauty in the end. I don't think it is such a mystery, and i think by making this beauty undefinable or unobtainable, just out of reach, we continue to enjoy our laziness.

This is verbal kung fu. In this statement, Geoff manages to bust with some totally romantic bullshit and simultaneously call me out on some totally romantic bullshit! All great works of art have this one thing in common? It's really that easy?

And we are actually talking about beauty?

And yet, this beauty-waving motherfucker has the presence of mind to see that yes. I am absolutely being lazy when I say I cannot describe that which is right in front of me!

Seriously now. We are both (inappropriately) gettin' our Keats on. I don't think that we are talking about anything as vague as "beauty" or "the human condition" any more than I buy that it is truly unexplainable or untouchable or in any other way beyond us.

I think the thing that's messing with the verbiage is that we are both looking for "something greater." All that looking can cause you to strain yourself. To look too far ahead, behind or to the side.

I think it is this straining that causes romantic lapses. And I think that the only cure for this straining is refocusing on that which is in front of you.

Let us, then, refocus on reality, and on what is directly in front of us:

The question was, "What is the aesthetic of implication?"

And Geoff and I so far have concluded, I think, that it's an aesthetic of interconnectedness and vulnerability, of cause-and-effect, an absence of separations. Geoff thinks beauty plays a role, and I would love to hear why because I have a very troubled relationship to beauty myself. We both agree that a lot of the verbiage surrounding western-buddhist dogma (like compassion) is unhelpful, but are somewhat at a loss when trying to figure out what to replace it with.

We seem to agree that there are existential truths that are illuminated when one focuses on the interconnectedness of all being, and what that looks like. You perhaps see the vast potential of your own self, your capacity to become boundless or accept more than you previously thought possible.

I would argue that there is a Real Magic angle to all this. That even though there is no romance or other slight-of-hand, you can actually become larger than you thought you could...

...it's just that in order to do this, you have to become much smaller than you thought you were.

EDITED TO ADD:

Geoff, when I called you a motherfucker in this post, I meant it in a friendly way, in the same way you would call a friend a bad-ass. And when I wrote that you wrote bullshit, I took it for granted that I think we both know that we were both kinda bullshitting...

...and that neither of us could help it. It's a big topic.

Now that I am re-reading this post, I am seeing that you, or someone else, could have thought that I literally think that you are a motherfucker! And that instead of making fun of us, a too-fast read could make it seem that I am just making fun of you!

I think enough blog-spit has been swapped between us for you to trust that I have a deep respect for you and am a potty-mouthed kidder! But the other twenty- or thirty-something of you:

Geoff is a great guy and I am not really calling him a Motherfucker, and I am not making fun of him as much as I am trying to inject a little levity in an otherwise too-serious discussion that we are both engaged in.

2 Comments:

Anonymous geoffrey said...

HOLY SHIT! This is the problem with this internet blog crap... i am out of town. on a work/travel trip for two weeks. And here i have NO idea that this conversation about and with me is going on with and without me. HA.... SHIT. The funniest shit is that i've never been so pleased to be called a motherfucker. Grinning my ass off really. I need to really read this post before i go into anything (and further implicate myself... wink wink nudge nudge). Anyway, i will be back. I'm moment to moment on a crappy wi fi connection... much love, G.... PS. you can tell how fuct is is, i can't even remember my google log in info... cuhlassic.

14 May, 2007 02:14  
Anonymous geoffrey said...

ok. i read it. and i totally agree with all that you say. We were speaking romantically and i was calling you out, just a bit anyway. And now i think i should be clear on my end anyway.

I am so not scared to talk about beauty. I don't see what the big fuss is. People get all freaked out around the word, and i think it is mainly because they have some pretty fucked up associations with it... (REALLY) basically, that it has something to do with "pretty" or some shit.

so to be straight... we were talking about interconnectedness and implication. That led us to the word "compassion" or co-feeling (but not the condescending form of the word).

Now toward the end of all this, skipping ahead a bit, you say:

Geoff thinks beauty plays a role, and I would love to hear why because I have a very troubled relationship to beauty myself.

And here is where i think i should be clear. I don't think beauty plays a role in the compassionate. I think compassion IS what we see as beautiful.

!!!GASPS heard throughout the blogosphere... !!! but... you ... can't... define... beauty...

I say bullshit. The one thing that is the common denominator in work that is considered beautiful is that it is compassionate. Compassion full. When an artist realizes in a work, or when a work realizes through an artist, past his or her navel, that we are all dealing with the same condition at some level. This requires intense accountability and stems from intense vulnerability... but every beauty full work from Felix Gonzales Torres to a cave painting (past all bullshit mental criticisms) has this root of compassion.

It sounds romantic. It's not romantic. The reason the california transplant upper middle class buddhist because i can afford to be pottery barn zen master fuckers piss me off is because they try to make it unobtainable be making it romantic or magical or something only a sneetch could afford. It's crap. What they are marketing isn't the real thing. We need to take the words back and give them substance, all the while loving these fuckers too...

Btw DF, your binding of all these elements together is so gruesomely compassionately full of icky beauty... i love them. They are accountable and vulnerable and only as strong as their weakest link. They aren't hiding a fucking thing.

BTW... just in case there is some word scrutinizing motherfuckers out there. I wrote this fast as i could type so i could get it out before i lost my connection. So don't read too hard... fuckin bloggers, always reading too hard.

14 May, 2007 02:49  

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