Friday, August 04, 2006

To know we can die is to be dead already! (Part 1)

So onward.

4a. "The kiss of death, the embrace of life"

1. The quality of having no useful result; uselessness.
2. Lack of importance or purpose; frivolousness.

Sometimes, it seems that way. The idea of life. The fact that the only thing we know is creeping at our doorway at any moment is death. Nothing else is certain.

I had this post in mind a few days ago, spearheading my thoughts on death and the end of life and how to deal and what to make of our own deaths and why we are so afraid of it. Today this post just got a bit more personal. One of the most important people in my life has lost their father. And it is really hard to think about this. And then I think back to my thought that life is futile. I think of a new word and a new definition for life.

1. Remarkable or extraordinary.

It's true. Again, point one is taken into thought. As much as we don't know much about our lives, what the point is and all those negative thoughts we think of, there is truly something beautiful and unique about the human spirit. Anyway, beyond these thoughts I am going to tackle the subject of life, death and how us humans try to figure it all out with our minds that are too complex for our own good. Sometimes I wonder why we started things like religion and philosophy and trying to figure out the meaning of life rather than just take life by the balls and take it for what it is.

So my sources for this are going to go beyond a single text like the last one. Leviathan was great and all. There was a lot that I didn't put in because I am taking Hobbes' advice to some extent and seeing reality in others. But I will do that by reading some more text and listening to songs and watching films.

For death, there are a few things that will come into play. I will take Kierkegaard's Sickness Unto Death, Epictetus' Enchiridion and apply them the way Touey would only love. Also, I will look at some sociobiology that I learned from Touey. And I will look at some films by Hal Hartley and the song "Marquee Moon" by the band Television. And that is where I will start this post.

How does a art-punk band of the late 70's make the same points as Philosophers from ages past? Here are the lyrics of their song "Marquee Moon":

I remember how the darkness doubled
I recall lightning struck itself.
I was listening, listening to the rain
I was hearing, hearing something else.

Life in the hive puckered up my night,
the kiss of death, the embrace of life.
There I stand neath the Marquee Moon
Just waiting,

I spoke to a man down at the tracks.
I asked him how he don't go mad.
He said "Look here junior, don't you be so happy.
And for Heaven's sake, don't you be so sad."

Life in the hive puckered up my night,
the kiss of death, the embrace of life.
There I stand neath the Marquee Moon

Well a Cadillac it pulled out of the graveyard.
Pulled up to me all they said "get in."
Then the Cadillac it puttered back into the graveyard.
And me, I got out again.

Life in the hive puckered up my night,
the kiss of death, the embrace of life.
There I stand neath the Marquee Moon
I ain't waiting, uh-uh

Now to some, these lyrics may seem not so philisophical. But if anyone has read one text by any philosopher, they know they speak in code, in thesaurusless worlds and in reverse statements. And for good reason. Life and death are complex themes that we deal with everyday. Here are my observations on the probably my favorite take on life.

The first verse eludes me just a bit. I believe it is a take on how we are all very paranoid of immenent danger and death. But in the chorus, we have the line "the kiss of death, the embrace of life... here I stand neath the Marquee Moon just waiting." So we know there is death. It's there. But the Embrace of Life is where the good comes out of it. All we can do is wait and while we are at it, we might as well embrace life. The second verse is great. the "Don't you be so happy and for Heaven's sake, don't you be so sad" is something I can relate to. You get to sad, you miss the life you have (where my head is at.) If you get too happy, you forget the fact that we are standing on a precipice that can crumble at any moment. Again the chorus, but instead of just waiting, we get hesitating. Much more normal. It's easy to be afraid of death (more on that in part B) than to just wait for it. The last verse is obvious a metaphor on dying. A very unusual and mundane metaphor. But it's great. Unglamourous on all accounts (although Caddys are awesome.) So after the last verse and before the music swells to a great chreschendo (one of the best in rock and roll) we get the chorus where Verlaine (lead singer) proclaims "I ain't waitin', uh-uh." Now I don't think this means he is going to do it himself OR that he isn't afraid of death. This goes back to the "Embrace of Life" part. He is ready to embrace it and enjoy it.

So embrace life.

End part A.

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