A Journal Of The Dark Arts
A wildly unpopular word, these days. Kids believe in the Easter Bunny. Christians believe in a
paradisiacal afterlife, and waste this one. The Buddhists say that Belief is the root of all suffering, some meaningless gridwork over the Void. Descartes’ revenge, the ultimate con; the belief in SOME form of security in the maelstrom, in the endless Bacchanalian muck of existence.
Okay, we understand; we are all floating in inky blackness, a prisoner within our own sense shields. It is impossible to say, with any certainty, what exists outside of our own minds, our own experiences. Its irrelevant, unverifiable. We are cocooned in this strait jacket of existence, as long as we draw breath. Ask a philosopher what is the meaning of life and s/he will laugh cruelly in yr face. As far as many are concerned, the only goal of life is LIFE: eating, shitting, fucking, dying. Anything beyond that is a function of the mind.
And so is Art. And so is culture.
People also seem to think that Art is evil and escapist, not quintessentially TRUE at any cost. It is not permanent, it is a passing fancy. We live, we dream, we die. But what of the feelings that raise up, in every living creature? The burning passion, the exultant highs, that make us feel, briefly, like Gods. Sure, these peaks will almost assuredly plummet you into the pits of Hell. That’s what you get for having a belief. But does it make it any less valid, in the moment? The Buddhists actually pity someone, for experiencing pleasure, because of the resultant pain that will come of it. If that’s not anti-life, i don’t know what is.
I’ve read several articles, lately, reminding artists and journalists of the utter irrelevancy of their pursuits. Its all just spit in the flood, the idea that we could change the world with our ideas, with vibrating air and colored wax, is laughable. Its all unfurling, and most of the predominant ideologies of the 20th century agree, that we are all meaningless specks of dust, unable to effect one goddam thing. Which means that listening to, making, or attempting to write about music is probably the greatest waste of time imaginable, if you don’t take into account that some of the greatest music i’ve ever heard is being made, right this second. People seem to still be inspired, still pushing themselves to greater heights of personal achievement and realization, even if no one is looking, or maybe because of it.
If yr a music lover, or an artist of every stripe, you are screaming against the void. Defying the ultimate inevitability, oblivion, and championing our lowly human experiences. When we are living passionately, making art, making love, we DO feel like Gods. You must be prepared to suffer the slings and arrows of disappointment, and the forces that seem to arise to put ‘lowly humans’ back in their place. Because this degradation always seems to be coming from Humans, and probably from someone with more position or influence than you. Its like ‘How Dare You try and storm our citadel? The lousy masses belong in the furrows and latrines,’ and hold on to their dogma ferociously. They have the money, so they get to say what is worthwhile. But when i listen to music, it TRANSPORTS me, it wakes me, livelies up myself. It gets me out of my sorrow and slump, gets me off the fucking couch and trying to help sculpt this world into what it could be, how it seems to me.
This is all because of BELIEF. The fanciful kind, the kind that believes in Santa Claus and miracles. When you are listening to a record, if you do not believe that it is important, it will pass by you like the wind. Just more wallpaper white noise, and it IS meaningless. Because you made it that way. Because of the BELIEF that is was so. You have to stand up, hold up yr head, hold up yr heart, and know yr own truth, without question. With unshakeable faith.
Music has made me a better person, in so many ways. It has taught me to be alive to my life, my surroundings, the people places and things that i adore. It has taught me patience and humility and perseverance. It has lifted me to Heaven, and brought me to my knees, and i wouldn’t have it any other way. I seemed to have landed in the unlikely position of trying my utmost to refine my fingers and ears and lips, to let pure inspiration flow through me, like the sounds that fill my Eustachian canals. I spend all my time finding interesting Art, and attempting to describe it to people. A lot of it is Avant-Garde classical music, musique concrete, noise, flotsam and jetsam from the 20th century Art grotto. No one cares, and yet i am still trying to find that perfect phrase, to transmit the feeling of what it is like to listen to this music, or to make it. I have to believe, in Art and myself.
So i come off like some religious zealot who has seen to much. Full of himself, deluded and lost. I am a lunatic, for thinking the things that i do, but i departed Consensual reality a long time ago. I walk in the wastelands, holding up my banner. We need lightbearers to get through this long dark night of our collective soul, until we can get to the point where our artists are seen as the collective dreamers and mythmakers of our society, and that is essential to our sanity.
I’ll never quit. I promise you.