4.06.2010

This Is The Way The World Ends: Not With A Bang But With A Dollar

Some were born to sweet delight.



I've been thinking an unhealthy amount about the 'burden of the priviledged', the mention of which calls to mind horrific visions of simpering, whiny fools dossing about in cafes and agonizing with studied 'ressentiment' about the perils of indolence and the untenable sophistry of the world pressing in on them.


The 'burden', of course, is the inexcusable failure to direct one's course in life with enough specific intent to create something of some personal worth, perceived or otherwise.


The vehicle for this failure is a foul, gruesome chimera of overfeeding, undervaluation, cowardice and suppressed creativity; the rationalizations for this failure are, of course, far more numerous and convoluted, a veritable web of ridiculous excuses and sleights of hand that offer no actual insight or solution, only perpetual obfuscation.


The crux can easily be precipitated down to two component parts: the desire to leave one's indelible mark in the physical and/or temporal canvases of this Earth (and derive some pleasure from them) and the need for sustenance (i.e., money, at least in our realm of experience). The perennial imbalance between the two is oft the cause of much consternation, inevitably resulting in the most intractable quagmires in which one wades the muck of self-denial and feelings of utter failure while simultaneously questioning the worth of one's outlying achievements.

Perhaps I'm simply messily venting my own spleen. But really, the simple answer is so elusive: how can satisfaction and personal worth be balanced with the necessary evil of monetary gain in a culture that is ultimately so commercialized as to be entirely impersonal and, to some extent, inhuman in the essence of its very nature? Just how long has this been going on?

There's something rotten to the core about us 'first-world' folk in our denial: the struggle behind human societies, the misery, the formless something that we all share, the similitude that persists from the antennas at the tops of skyscrapers to the messy piles of soiled rags and broken glass inside cardboard boxes under the freeway; our foundations share soil with the shattered bones of all those that toiled before us, the same soil that we pack down more and more densely with our circuitous wanderings.

Some were born to endless night.

But not us: not the privileged ones who have time to caper about and decide which piece they might be in this esoteric jigsaw. And amidst the plenitude of nourishment and material comforts we continue to rail bitter invective against the ones that fit in all too easily and painlessly, that fail to adequately question their own roles. After all, this is supposed to be hard, but the more time spent on the fringes the harder it becomes.

And catching the subliminal wave of the next television commercial, blissfully floating in that weightless ether of irresponsibility and programmed derision, we'll be damned by this patterning of ours before we figure out that we're being purposefully woven in, falling prey to doubt and cowardice and lack of resolve.

Stuck between the outstanding and the utterly destitute, the worthwhile and the absolutely pointless, I turn towards the cold wind and try to wash myself of this self-imposed penury.

Try as I might, however, my alchemy suffers the same fate as that of everyone else, for the simple truth is this: not a one of us has successfully, unmistakably turned shit into gold. All we can do is try, and the occasional fleck panned out of the slag makes it strangely and inexplicably worthwhile.

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