On Facing the Darkness

It is astonishing how much you can learn by learning something new, it is more then just words, learning new languages is like opening the door to a whole new world, a whole new way of looking at the world as you already know it. I will not deny that it is an exhausting process, and I still have a long road ahead of me on both my Mandarin Chinese and French studies. While I’m tackling the languages two at a time, I have several others I want to learn in addition. I want to at least get to the point of being able to construct sentences in a language before adding another one. I think having someone to speak with would be helpful, true, but right now I don’t have that. Which is okay, I could use any number of services designed for the purpose, but I’m not ready for that just yet.

In addition to Mandarin Chinese and French, I desire to learn Korean, Japanese, and Spanish. It was my love for music which inspired the Korean desire, I can’t resist exploring new music, and through music, new ideas. Then there is how much I love the ‘alphabet’ (not sure if it is an alphabet.) Also, I’ve heard the Korean language is an extremely logical one. Taking into consideration all of that, I’m fascinated already. It is the styling of the characters, and a fairly lifelong fascination for the culture of Japan that inspires me to desire to learn the language, and Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages, and a Romantic language, I would like to learn it more for practicality then being particularly fascinated by it, although, I expect I will find it much more fascinating to me once I start studying it. That is what happened with both the Mandarin Chinese and French.

I’m sure I’ll find more languages I want to learn. There really isn’t such a thing as an isolated language, and they tend to cross over a bit, you might find a word ‘borrowed’ from another language, changed, then ‘borrowed’ again by another language. They are all tied together somewhere. Anytime I follow those ‘links’ I seem to discover that I find the language they lead to fascinating as well. But right now, these are the languages I’ve been trying to learn, or want to add to my language learning. I’ll probably attempt Japanese and Spanish next, then the Korean and something else after that. Right now I want to get my Mandarin Chinese and French much more firmly established.

Regretfully, English is the only language I have achieved any measure of fluency in. But, I’ll never reach fluency in another language if I give up, and don’t keep at it. We all have to start somewhere. It is expected that at the beginning of a journey you cannot see the destination that clearly, so it is with language. After all, it has always been to my shame to not know more languages. That, along with fascination and desire, motivates me to keep at it. More importantly, there is the fact that there is a whole world of fascinating people out there, and language is what is used to talk with them. I’m not just opening doors to new words, but new worlds.

That is why I’m trying to learn languages after all, to talk with people. The funny thing is it is improving my ability to talk with people in English as well. Something I rather like, and has been something I’ve been needing to be better at.

Speaking of people:

What I like about people is how precious they are. I find there are people everywhere, most of which are a lot more then they might initially appear to be. It can be easy to take a cynical view of the world, especially when you consider the fact that there are those of the human race who have turned to the darkness, those who would seek to harm, and not help, those who love evil, and have no qualms about using people for their own selfish gain, about ruining the lives and hearts of many, and so forth. I not only speak of those who might pop into mind at the word ‘criminal’ (even this is far more complicated to be accurately summed up in a single word, not all ‘criminals’ are ‘evil’, sometimes the law is at fault in regard to what is morally right and wrong.) but I speak more of those of various industries that encourage, thrive on, are built on, the objectification of the human being. For example, a good portion of the entertainment industry is dedicated to the promotion of objectification of humanity, dehumanizing both men and women, people of all religions and ethnicities, and so forth. I personally think there should be an outrage at the way woman are objectified for example, in our commercials, in our movies, the overwhelming message seems to be far too often ones like: A woman isn’t worth anything, unless she’s an object for a man, a prize for a man, acts like a man (I have no qualms about women warriors, but why is it that in most movies and such that I’ve seen them in they are basically men in all but looks?), serves men, delights men. And so forth. Am I sensing a common theme here? A bit of a barbaric one even. Here we are fresh off a sporting event that from what I gather, is designed to further the cause of the superiority of men. Hello, this 2013, why are we still dealing with this? It is an absolute disgrace that we have prominent industries built on the foundation of broken hearts, denied spirits, objectified bodies, stolen dignity, and public disgrace of the souls of others. I am an artist, I support art, what I do not support is hijacking art for the exact purpose of destroying all that the artist works for. The artist is one who seeks to build and refine the human being into something better. That does not describe the entertainment industry as it stands today. I pity many of those in it who are under immense pressure to perform, or lose. What happened to being an artist? Why do we have to turn everything into a win or die situation?

Sounds rather like “The Hunger Games”. This isn’t art, this is totally barbaric. This is wrong.

I’m not looking for ‘fluffy’ movies either, or ‘sanitized books’ or what have you. That’s missing the point entirely.

What I’m looking for is a restoration of the sacred, the beautiful, the true. The exalting rather then the tearing down of the worth of the human soul. That is what makes art worthwhile. There is very little that you can’t do to tell a good story, good doesn’t necessarily mean that it is safe, that it doesn’t face the darker side of things, that it doesn’t address the uglier side of life. By no means. The best art in the world often deals with the darker things of life. Proper art remains faithful to what is true, not some idealized world that doesn’t exist, nor does it exalt evil for evil’s sake. A work of art can be beautiful in unexpected ways, beautiful doesn’t always mean pleasing to behold. Art builds, it doesn’t mock the human soul, it builds it. Even if some of the works are those that hurt, that makes us face things we’d rather not face. They still build us. Imagine a world without the darkness. Without the darkness, what would A Christmas Carol be like? What if there was no ghost in A Christmas Carol? What would the end of the story look like for Ebenezer  Scrooge? He would have remained a bitter, old, miser. Sometimes the road to redemption takes us right through the valley of the shadow of death. Sanitized ‘art’ is just as repulsive to me as the works of the industry. It is equally damaging to the human soul, in some ways more so. One seeks to exalt the valley of death, the other seeks to pretend it doesn’t exist. The truth of the matter is, both to exalt and ignore it is to destroy the soul of the beholder. One because it strengthens the power of the darkness without hope of the light, and the other is to chase after the light, but ignoring the presence of the darkness. Either way the darkness will swallow up the traveler. The first because darkness is strengthened, the second because the traveler is weakened.

As we seek to create, we must remember what it is that we are. One thing I’ve been learning is the foolishness of ignoring the, for lack of better term, sacredness of the body. When we treat the body as being nothing sacred, when we forget how special the whole of the human being is, we turn the body into nothing more then an object. Something to be used, something to be taken advantage of.

Sadly, the two biggest perpetrators of this in my own culture are the two who should be defending the sacredness of the human being. The entertainer and the church. We hear talk about the sanctity of life, but forget to remember what it means. What is the point in defending the existence of life if you cheapen what it is to be alive to the point of being nothing more then a commodity, an object to be used, and then discarded? In some ways the human is better dead then being made an object of.

Can you think of anything worse then being forced into being made a horcrux? To borrow a concept from Harry Potter. It is a fate worse then death to have your soul stolen from you.

That is what these things do. The objectification of the human being is to steal the soul from people.

This is, again to borrow from Harry Potter, what Dementors do.

As an artist, I’m repulsed at the notion of the work of the Dementor, a dark creature with the ability to steal a persons soul, leaving them worse then dead, being called work of an  artist.

As a human, as an artist. I must say, this is wrong. This is evil. This has no place in our culture, or any other.

I am puzzled as to why the body is so frowned upon by the church, however. Not in all the church, to be sure, but in my culture, America, there seems to be in much of, not all of it, but in much of the church, the confusion between ‘the flesh’ and ‘the body’. In my mind, they are not the same thing. The flesh is more akin to a zombie then anything else. It is something to be killed, even though it will be restless in its grave, and will keep coming back to haunt you a second time. The body on the other hand is sacred, a critical part of the whole of the human being.

It is amazing what you can learn by watching people, pondering what it might possibly be that makes them what they are. In my mind I am almost haunted by trying to figure out, what is it that makes people so precious? I keep coming back to people being precious, because they are indeed very precious. And the more we see people as precious, the better things will be, when we see people as precious, we can’t help but be horrified when we see people, these precious, precious, beautiful, lovely, wonderful people being turned into objects.

This is worse then the works of Lord Voldemort, again to borrow from Harry Potter. Lord Voldemort’s horror is in his denial of the sacredness of his own body. To him, it was just another means to an end. The objectification of others, is the forcing on others, the work of Lord Voldemort towards himself. It is horrific, and we should be repulsed by it.

Instead we do nothing, or we support it. Some fight it, I won’t deny that, but we do support it.

Even I. While I try not to, even I cannot deny that I am guilty of not treating people as precious.

We need to see people as being beautiful, wonderful, and precious. Otherwise the darkness that is  the heart of the problem will continue to destroy them.

In short, I do have a problem with what it is that a lot of is currently a part of the entertainment industry.

Seriously, I’m not trying to blame many who are in the industry, there are many in it who are not of it, but the industry as a whole, needs to be questioned. Why is it that commercials, movies, books, and so forth, can get away with objectifying people? Why do we hardly raise an eyebrow at the use of human bodies to sell products? Why are we not outraged that something so precious, beautiful, and sacred, is being used to sell something?

All that said, I wish I could be more open and honest with people. I really must open up, be a little vulnerable even. I find the fact that there are those who enjoy talking to strangers to be rather inspirational. It’s lovely, it is the opening of the heart to the appreciation of those around them. It is inspirational to see that in people. I also hope that I can learn to be a little more forthright, yet not cold. In being interested in the welfare of others, we learn to appreciate, and love others.

We begin to see the people around us as being precious, and that is how we can turn the tide on greater evils then we can comprehend. It is the little acts of kindness, the little things, that make all the difference between life and death. Between the preciousness of the soul, and the pillaging of it.

It is the little things that win the greatest battles.

Nevertheless, I don’t know exactly why, but I find myself very inspired to do great things myself in light of seeing others being wonderful.

Also, I am tired of being so secretive. It is killing me, yet I feel so trapped by it. I am tired of second guessing everything I do. Why do I do that? It may feel safer perhaps to try to deny passion, but it is a false safety. Now, I’m sure all great people have their Voldemort, to borrow from Harry Potter, but I admire how they are so passionate about their interest. Passion can be a good thing, a very good thing. Why do I fear it?

There are so many people who I’ve seen that are absolutely brilliant, and inexplicably precious, it would be a sad world without them. I pray that they remain. Precious souls, and gleaming jewels, lights in the darkness. Even if I don’t know them, personally.

These people, these people who change the world by using their talents, their gifts, the little things, I don’t know if they better described in terms such as: The stuff of nightmares, the oncoming storm (to borrow from Doctor Who), the children of the sea, the hand of shadow, the warrior, rather then terms such as precious one, and so forth, not that they are not precious, they are, but sometimes these people are fierce creatures, the wrath of which the sea alone can compare, fire and ice run through their blood, a raging storm, untamable, unstoppable. Terrible and wonderful. A storm doesn’t do them justice, they are more then a storm in their terror. But, despite the fact that they are so very perilous, they are still very good. It is possible to be both exceedingly perilous, and exceedingly good.

That is what the artist is after all. And it is true of many people, if we can but understand them.