I understand its been awhile since I’ve written a word here and there are very many reasons for that. Note, I never indicated whether they were good or bad choices because it doesn’t matter. The point is nothing has been written because there was simply nothing I could find to say. Sure there were moments where a flash of insight would pop up here and there but it all rang falsely hollow after a while like a child’s telephone. But then, of course, life had a way of forcing my hand and my mind to reconsider.
This past weekend, I went to a three-day hard rock and metal music festival. Mind you, I wouldn’t have normally gone to something like that but some friends were going and I got the days off so I thought what the heck. The first two days were spent rediscovering a couple of groups that were once mere footnotes to my conscious memory and understanding how we can gouge prices of food and drink to a level rivaled only by politicians during campaign season. But great insights were certainly not forthcoming. It was on the third day that a group I happen to know pretty well and had enjoyed was playing on a secondary stage. This required standing out in the middle of a parking lot waiting about an hour for another group’s performance and then the set up for the group to perform. Besides the desire for time to achieve supersonic speed so that it could get to what you are waiting for, you can’t help but begin to feel the physical crush of humanity contracting tighter and tighter to center stage. A mix of beer, sweat and the desperation of desire for collected release swarmed the air till forming clouded formation. And then, finally, they began.
The first thing you immediately feel is the rush of oxygen let out of the body, not only from your roaring of approval for this song and that, but from those behind you pushing you forward against increasingly impenetrable walls. And maybe its a result of the physical lightness but also you can’t help but begin to feel yourself numb to the physical sensation after a time. Your focus is entirely dominated by the spectacle you see before you. You are polymorphs to collective groupthink, rising and falling in time to musical beats preprogrammed and freed to carry across the air as they see fit. And then, you have reached nirvana. For in that short time, (and it almost always seems short no matter whether its 20 minutes or hours on end), you are not tied to gravity’s pull. But then, it’s over. The group leaves the stage, the crowd fades away, and you are staring back into the gathering abyss of emptiness laid out before you.
And it hit me with the same force as the guitar that had just screamed through banks of speakers that here is life in microcosm. For we are in battle with encapsulation from conception. We are constantly on the lookout for escape from pressures built up real and imagined. The release, when it comes, is oh so glorious and our fight for it to last oh so futile. Is it any wonder that books, music, movies, and television are so universally loved by everyone? There is just so much in life that works to swallow us in and keep us immersed in the bubble of perceived happiness. And even Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence was careful to state that everyone was entitled to the pursuit, not the attainment, of it. Even in the dead of night, when there is simply nothing left available to keep us distracted, we are forced to close our eyes and shut down to the world around us. So maybe, before sleeping one night, we should all take a couple of minutes to just sit or lay down and contemplate amongst the silence. Life is work, whether it is the thing that makes us money to live, or the thousands of processes undergone by the human body in the course of a day. So, we certainly can enjoy those moments when the band lifts us off the ground and carries us amongst the clouds. But they won’t be scheduled and they will come and go just as quickly. Happiness is not life. Life comes from what we do and how long we can wait between performances.