Sunday, April 5, 2009

Man on Fire

"We don't have a great war in our generation, or a great depression, but we do we have a great war of the spirit. We have a great revolution against the culture. The great depression is our lives. We have a spiritual depression." ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 19

Read the quote while watching the video. What does this mean to you? Please comment


Mariah MacDonald said...

Thank you for asking this Jeremy.

I think my battle - our battle really - is against a culture that caters to our baser fears & desires.

We all know that united behind our greatest hoped & aspirations our civilization(s) are capable of great things. And I think we all know that cultures that bring expression to deep fears & base desires are vile (think Afghanistan under the Taliban as a fear/anger/hate-based reaction to American intervention, or Palestinian suicide bombers as a reaction to Israel).

Where I think we get lost, confused... sink into subtle depressions instead of full-out-battle-cry-rages is inside cultures that articulate fears and base desires more subtly. Think Los Angeles or Dallas bourgeoise... cultures that cater to the "you must have fake breasts and drive a Mercedes to be loved" paradigm.

But then realize that fear-based, rat-race, have-and-have-not-thinking effects all of us every day.

An IKEA catalogue that tells you you must have this or no one is going to want to marry you is not quite so in-your-face as the missle launch in North Korea this morning. America's Next Top Model telling girls they must do x, y, and z or they're not beautiful is far more subtle than anti-American sentiment on the streets of Tehran.

It's a subtle paradigm shift and that is why I think it's so tricky to talk about, this "great depression," "one ring," "great sadness," "the darkness" - or whatever any epic or religious text choses to call it.

It might not be quite so tricky to talk about some other fear-based expressions our culture is right now engaging: our involvement in Afghanistan as a fear-based-fight-against-the-communist-threat. Our involvement in Iraq as a reaction to 911.

In Think & Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill claims that it is impossible for the brain to be occupied by positive and negative emotions at the same time.

Likewise it is impossible for a culture flooded by fear, hatred, anger to be occupied by love, esteem, and so forth.

I think this is the battle we all engage... the depression we fight... not exactly being able to put a name to the darkness, but revolving in a world that often expresses the darkness en-masse and culturally.

It's something I have been battling in my own life / business: making sure that my work caters to the good in others and not to their baser fears (e.g. vanity / fear of not being accepted / fear of not being fat / fear of not being loved). It would be very easy for me - and has been very easy for me at times - as a person to cross over in any given moment and play off someone's fears to get them to do business with me. Get ten trainers under me and, if I'm not in the right frame of mind or place with God I have the potential to lead an entire gym into darkness.

Or light. If I fight for it.

And so I have come to understand that I have to fight "the great depression" moment-to-moment, day after day. Maybe someday I'll cross over and be just eternally good. I doubt it. I think I'm always going to find that, like Harry Potter, I have a little bit of Voldemort in me or that, like Luke Skywalker, I have a little Darth Vader in me.

The fight is daily.

Mariah MacDonald said...

Thought more about this.

Think this is appropriate:

"Get By" - Talib Kweli

We sell, crack to our own out the back of our homes

We smell the musk at the dusk in the crack of the dawn

We go through "Epidodes II," like "Attack of the Clones"

Work 'til we break our back and you hear the crack of the bone

To get by.. just to get byJust to get by, just to get by

We commute to computers

Spirits stay mute while you eagles spread rumors

We survivalists, turned to consumers

To get by.. just to get byJust to get by, just to get by

Ask Him why some people got to live in a trailer, cuss like a sailor

I paint a picture with the pen like Norman Mailer

Me Abuela raised three daughters all by herself, with no help

I think about a struggle and I find the strength in myself

These words, melt in my mouth

They hot, like the jail cell in the SouthBefore my nigga Core bailed me out

To get by.. just to get byJust to get by, just to get by

We do or die like Bed-Stuy through the red skywith the window of the red eye

Let the lead fly, some G. Rap shit, "Livin' to Let Die"

[Chorus]This morning, I woke up

Feeling brand new and I jumped up

Feeling my highs, and my lowsIn my soul, and my goals

Just to stop smokin, and stop drinkin

And I've been thinkin - I've got my reasons

Just to get (by), just to get (by)Just to get (by), just to get (by)

We keeping it gangster say "fo shizzle", "fo sheezy" and "stayin crunk"

Its easy to pull a breezy, smoke trees, and we stay drunk

Yo, our activism attackin the system, the blacks and latins in prison

Numbers of prison they victim black in the vision

Shit and all they got is rappin to listen to

I let them know we missin you, the love is unconditional

Even when the condition is critical, when the livin is miserable

Your position is pivotal, I ain't bullshittin you

Now, why would I lie? Just to get by?Just to get by, we get fly

The TV got us reachin for stars

Not the ones between Venus and Mars, the ones that be readin for parts

Some people get breast enhancements and penis enlargers

Saturday sinners Sunday morning at the feet of the Father

They need somethin to rely on, we get high on all types of drug

When, all you really need is love

To get by.. just to get by

Just to get by, just to get by

Our parents sing like John Lennon, "Imagine all the people watch"

We rock like Paul McCartney from now until the last Beatle drop

[Chorus]This morning, I woke up

Feeling brand new and I jumped up

Feeling my high's, and my low'sIn my soul, and my goals

Just to stop smoking, and stop drinking

And I've been thinking - I've got my reasons

Just to get (by), just to get (by)Just to get (by), just to get (by)

Yoyoyo, yo

Some people cry, and some people try

Just to get by, for a piece of the pie

You love to eat and get high

We decieve when we lie, and we keepin it fly

Yoyoyo, yo

When, the people decide, to keep a disguise

Can't see they eyes, see the evil inside

But there's people you find

Strong or feeble in mind, I stay readin the signs