I went and saw my friend Simon this morning. He is a chiropractor of immense skill and he is also a very bright young man, I think he is only four or five years older than me.
He is big into mountain climbing and all manner of health-related activities, interests that I have taken a greater interest in since moving out here (except the climbing bit).
He also loves Fugazi and Bad Brains and would love to meet the 'right' girl. I don't know him that well, but my impression is that he is one of those rare people for whom life is a quest, and the goal of the quest is to learn as much as possible about the world and ones self.
The only way to pursue the quest - and I know because I live the same way - is to accept that true fulfillment (since 'happiness' is kind of a bland, vague, idiotic way to describe what we as people actually seek) only comes from within.
I don't mean within like sitting alone in a room until you reach Nirvana, although I wouldn't argue against anyone who wants to take that route. It has it's pros and cons, like any way.
I mean realizing that only you can find your purpose, your destiny, and thus being fulfilled, through coming to know yourself and the world around you. Through crazy adventures and deep explorations. Through years of reading and years of not reading at all. Exploring the physical, emotional, mental, and conceptual limitations of Life.
In a nutshell: Seeking Truth.
Anyway, he's one of those. Simon possesses vast knowledge that I do not - he has studied and come to understand the intricacies of biology, the human body, physics.
Looking in his eyes, I realize that I also possess some knowledge that he does not, of a more subtle kind - sex and emotion, intoxication and loss of control, self-hatred.
His eyes display an innocence of experience in these dark areas, and this his why he still experiences the pain of loneliness and solitude as unpleasant. Once he has sufficient experience, he will come to understand that loneliness is the fundamental human condition - to be accepted, not avoided or negotiated with.
Don't get me wrong. Love is real. Love can also embody Truth, if it is done right.
Companionship acts as the window in the prison cell that is our individual existence.
But that's all it is. There is no leaving your cell. No person can 'join' you, where you are - you were biologically separated from the Earth and creation at your birth.
Your eternal spirit, encapsulated in a funky container that spouts fluids and gets hard-ons and falls in love.
I used to burn with the pain of Love... the Love that explodes inside you when you see a starving human, tattered in the street... A Love that compels to give until you can no longer feed yourself... when you would rather die than see another suffer.
I still feel the same way. That's why I do what I do.
But I learned a long time ago, the cheesy truth that "you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else." And unless you are a masochist, this is true.
For myself, I now define success as "Self-Control". I succeed when I resist my destructive impulses, and I fail when I service them.
As a result of this new concept, it is clear that, in some ways, I'm definitely a masochist.
I dig hurting myself.
But once you identify such a trait, suddenly it's not quite 'you' anymore - it is an aberrant externality within yourself. Weird.
So, Control is the new hotness. Not control of others; control of Self.
Because I don't want to hurt myself. I want to know who I am, and by extension, why I want to hurt myself. And the answer to that is very complex and completely different for everyone.
This all started because I wanted to talk about how, ever since I dedicated myself to the craft of music, there has always been an internal conflict about the relevance and integrity of what I do.
There are people who actively save lives, who study medicine and nature to learn how to heal the sick. Like Simon.
(There are plenty of other important and dignified jobs in the world, but I'll use medicine as the example because to me, the art of healing is the highest of arts and is beyond reproach in it's true incarnation. And my goal in life is to do the greatest good I can in spite of all my fuck-ups. So, if it wasn't music, it would have been medicine.)
Looking at what Simon does, I immediately look to my own Work to see: Am I doing work of integrity? What are my intentions? Is there any significance to what I do?
This internal interrogation has been constant for fifteen years now. And it's good - if you want Truth, you have to question your own beliefs and motivations, on a daily basis.
With Music, I've come to realize that - when it's being done right - it is the communication of truth.
A rhythm cannot lie. A chord can never be corrupted - ever.
Yes, music can be manipulated... it can be used for nefarious purposes (Guantanamo)...it can be placed out of context... of course, it can be just garbage music, with terrible poetics, aesthetics or physics...
But the frequencies and fundamental truths of Music cannot be disturbed by human minds or hands.
Music simply Is, and we just live in it's world.
All that being said, every time I check myself, I emerge from the experience a relaxed man, because - again, as long as I'm doing it right, which is a whole nother daily process - then I know that what I do is just as important, just as integral, and just as honorable as saving lives.
I'm trying my damndest to tell the truth about myself and the world we live in.