there’s a self-discovery that happens when you revisit things you’ve accumulated over a period of time. You look back and begin to recognize patterns in your own thinking.
When you build a thing you cannot merely build that thing in isolation, but must also repair the world around it, and within it, so that the larger world at that one place becomes more coherent, and more whole; and the thing which you make takes its place in the web of nature, as you make it.
“You’re obliged to pretend respect for people and institutions you think absurd. You live attached in a cowardly fashion to moral and social conventions you despise, condemn, and know lack all foundation. It is that permanent contradiction between your ideas and desires and all the dead formalities and vain pretences of your civilization which makes you sad, troubled and unbalanced. In that intolerable conflict you lose all joy of life and all feeling of personality, because at every moment they suppress and restrain and check the free play of your powers. That’s the poisoned and mortal wound of the civilized world.”
∆ Octave Mirbeau, The Torture Garden (1899)
Everyone is constantly trying to articulate the secret languages in their head to the outside world. If your language is too secret, then no one can understand; if your language is completely public, then there’s no mystery. There’s no longer the pleasure of decoding.
how much of what you do is performative, with the intent for others to see?
how much of what you do is born from genuine desire, so much so that no one has to be a witness to it outside of yourself?
“You read something which you thought only happened to you, and you discover that it happened 100 years ago to Dostoyevsky. This is a very great liberation for the suffering, struggling person, who always thinks that he is alone. This is why art is important. Art would not be important if life were not important, and life is important.”
— James Baldwin, Conversations with James Baldwin
Art is not just artistic but social and interpersonal; it is made by humans, for humans; it is expressive and communicative; and so we experience it also as these things
There is no resolution for the difficulty of the human condition. What is lost will not be restored. Grief does not get smaller. All that grows is endurance, the ability to withstand suffering. My suspicion is that the joy does not get smaller either, and that we grow to make space for all. And the accumulation of grief, joy, and other feelings breaks us only when we refuse to make space for all of it.
| Jo Gleason