Sunday, November 3, 2013

Discipline and Ritual

For once will you say what you really mean, not what sounds best or what's most well received? It can take a lot of mental power to really step back and examine what's happening, in the long run. Outside of the every day. We're too used to thinking one day at a time, allowing each day to crossfade into the next, repeating our habits over and over again, good ones and bad ones. Can we really change? Can we, really??? Not just pretend? Not just acting the part of the reformed? Can I change my perspective, knock it out of its normal operation, and into one that it needs to be? Or does it have to happen to me, or does it have to happen on its own? Will we ever be more than a mass of breathing, hungry bodies, where only some care about its fellow beings and strives to organize our world into an "equitable" and "sensible" society, while the rest follow their self-serving interests? Will we, as a whole, ever want more than our own personal sense of safety and security, our own basic human needs met? Will we ever as whole care about the bigger picture? At what point are we being "selfish" and at what point are we not respecting our selves and our own personal well-being? Will we ever stop our self destructive habits? Is it hopeless to strive for a dream that will never become real? And there's no escape. We have no choice. Being born is a fact, not an intention. We are forced to live in this world of breathing, growing, consuming hungry bodies, anxious and mostly alone, struggling to make sense of world that can't fully be made sense of, all the while driven with an underlying urge to reproduce ourselves whether it's best for the rest of us or not, in a world where it's taboo to discourage our right to reproduce whether we have the means to support the aftermath or not. A world where what's important is the aggregate of our communal desires, beliefs, fears, and dreams. Is it hopeless to believe in a world where we aren't barely getting by, barely escaping true chaos, despite how hard we try to believe that we are in control, that "everything is okay", that we know what's going to happen tomorrow and next year. WE DONT KNOW. All we can do is do our best, with what we're given, because we don't have a choice. For some, the best is to reach for the bottle. For others it's to reach for the medical kit. Or whatever vice it may be. But no one is truly right, no one is truly wrong. It just is. It's a world of static, peppered with moments that inspire us to believe it all means something.

Sometimes I want to melt out of my body, to not be a body any more, to shrink to the size of a tiny atom, to be only that, free from the thorns and prickles that ensnare us and our fragile, impressionable and manipulatable minds. Or to expand wide as everything, to dissolve into the abyss and become everything and nothing at once. Maybe not forever, just for a while.

Maybe I need to narrow my scope a little. In this entire weird existence I have lived out, the moments I have enjoyed the most is when I forget myself and am fully engrossed in the moment, whatever it is, it takes me out of my cerebral state. I don't have to put order to chaos. Maybe I need to embrace the chaos. It's not the end of the world. Not yet.

Knock it down to loss of inspiration. The sheer excitement of a sound that was inventing itself before my very eyes, that was inspiration. Now it's gone. I have searched all over for it, in the past and the present, and nothing sticks. It's disappointing and depressing. I have taught myself the ability and the skill to make sound, music of my choosing, and now no ideas come. Nothing that hasn't been done before or is worth doing that anyone will care to listen to. It's all about feeling. Feeling is what starts an idea and keeps it going.

Maybe I just don't know what I want. I know what I don't want, and that's a lot. What I want, and what I've always wanted, is some thread woven through dubstep music, something that caught me and led me through that entire odyssey. That thread is gone from dubstep now, but it exists still, in places small and far, in unexpected corners and spaces yet to be defined. It's hard to explain, but it's the mental space it takes me to. Out of this world. This stupid, selfish, anxious and crowded world. Even here I can't escape the feeling. It's unnerving. No I won't come to your stupid event, no I don't care who you're opening for, and no I won't DJ for free. Everything you're hoping for I have already seen. It leads nowhere but back where you started, eventually.

This feeling I felt then was at the root. The bass was essential. The lowest root frequencies. Ones you can't hear, you can only feel. Back then it wasn't about danceability, it was about feeling it. When you're feeling it you nod your head. Before it became all about crowd reaction. When it was meditation on bass weight. True meditation. Communal musical meditation. People came together for that, to share a few drinks or a spliff, to lose themselves on a weekend, to escape the mundane everyday repetitive tasks of our lives, for what? To maintain this collective sense of security, as if we're all not in massive "debt" to our forefathers who didn't have the foresight, and couldn't have had, to plan accordingly for the world getting overpopulated and too big to take care of itself to the standard we've all come to expect. To make money. To take your money and buy something that serves your needs, or your wants. Who wouldn't want to escape that?

I have to believe that this still exists somewhere, this idea in my head that I've experienced in real life, the pinnacle experience, that has come to pass a number of times, but not nearly enough times. Of course not in the same form and shape, but with the same essence. It lives in techno too, in a way. The root thump of four. The consistent, persistent, relentless signifier of constant creation. The march of time. What these bring to the experiencer is a withdrawal from their mind and into the shared space of the moment, the sounds of those around you, the pure vibrations passing through you, penetrating your preconceptions like a knife and showing you true reality. Movement.

In a world where we typically have to work 5 days out of the week to maintain the basic needs of a human lifestyle, this doesn't leave much time to pursue other activities. Free time is paramount and not to be wasted. Wasted on checking your endless e-mail account, updating and upgrading your fucking software, watching the latest episode of whatever the fuck, downloading massive amounts of music that you "NEED TO HEAR", updating your stupid fucking queue of entertainment, staying "up to date" with the news and the stock market, or the endless news feed of your friend's activities who just want you to know what stupid shit they've been up to or what's pissing them off or to ask for your donations to their stupid cause. All distractions. Distractions abound, they are plentiful and they are unquenchable. They are not the true moment. They accomplish nothing. What do we have to show for simply being entertained? Passing the time?

So what if I'm not peaceful all the time, I don't have to be. So what if I don't have something positive or inspiring to say every time I write something. You don't have to do or say anything. What people expect is what they expect, not what it has to be. Disappoint them if you have to. You don't live your life for them, and they don't live their life for you. You live your life for you. Anyone who says otherwise is deluded or pretending or trying to manipulate you. With all this chaos and things to be worried about, there is no "good stopping point". The only way to escape it is to fucking stop. Right now. Stop the world. Stop listening to the demand and desires and needs of everyone else and maybe you'll hear something out of this world. Your tea cup can't be poured with something new if it's already full of old garbage. The only way is to stop, shake it out, brush it off, and open your ears, open your mind. The nice thing about the universe is that it's unstoppable and endless, constantly recreating itself into new forms. No two are the same. There is always novelty to be found, somewhere.

What do we want more than to be listened to, really listened to? And to feel part of something that's going somewhere new? Even if you aren't, really, to feel that you are, and that you're sharing the ride with others. To have something to say, to say it, to be heard, and to know that what you said is taken to heart, that it might inspire someone else, or take them out of their own head, if only for a moment, to somewhere they can't take themselves. Sometimes we have to push each other in the direction we need to go. We can't pull or push ourselves into a place that we aren't, we haven't the momentum or the footing to push or pull from.

It seems hard to escape the world of products, of already filtered ideas, ones pre packaged for consumption, movies vetted by the top execs, conversation building blocks and small talk that are tried and true, or prepared laughter to shrug off discomfort or awkwardness. It's hard to find raw creation. Creations that haven't been filtered according to a tastemaker, a producer, or a test audience, pre-evaluated and confirmed to offer some entertainment value or import to the receiver, and if it doesn't, there must be something wrong with YOU. When raw unfiltered ideas are not prevalent, it's easy to forget that they exist. That every song you hear on the radio is just how good that artist is, that they just busted that out easily, like it wasn't hand picked out of a batch of 20 or so mediocre tracks and then enhanced and remixed and mastered and plastic wrapped for the general public to enjoy. That the masterpieces we see in museums are just that artist's life, and that's just how next level they are and how masterful they are. We don't see the countless failed attempts at art, when they doubted themselves or just weren't in the right mood. All we see these days are the finished products, the best of the best, and we come to believe in a barrier between us and the artist, like they are some alien inhuman saint sent from above to grace the masses with its presence on earth, to impart its gifts of beauty and wonder to us. As if they didn't scrap piece after piece until they finally happened upon something worth sharing. We come to believe that art is easy for some, and if you're not as "gifted" as they are, you shouldn't bother trying. How wrong that is. But we still believe it.

True beauty and art, no matter the form, is the result of persistence, inspiration, time & place, and a little good fortune. Nothing more, nothing less.

If 99% of it ends up as crap, never being used or shared with anyone, at worst, is it still worth the effort for that 1% of transcendent beauty? It's up to the artist to decide. Don't try at all, and you make 0%. Try, roll the dice, the more you keep trying, and the chance rises in the favor of ending up with something exceptional. There are no short cuts. You have to be okay with making crap most of the time. And you'll be pleasantly surprised when it's not. The reason the artist does what they do is not to make exceptional art, but simply because they have something to say, something to show, and each one is a flawed yet uniquely perfect attempt at accomplishing the task. Do so with conviction and feeling, and your results will multiply. Stop fixing everything to make it nice and neat, let ideas disperse and come alive in their own chaotic way. There is no clean and convenient way to be a true artist. Have fun, follow your excitement and bliss, and time will melt away. Catch on to a passing moment and follow it, enjoy the ride. That's the only way. And until you get that through your head, you'll keep treading water. Discipline and ritual.