Forgiving is Practical. Forgetting is Stupid.

“Forgive and Forget”

That’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. You have to pick one. If done right, forgiveness is much more practical.

There’s a sort of calculus to it, but not like most would expect. The equations you have to balance are between you and another person, but neither side need know shit about the other. Balance of equations serves each side to itself.

If somebody out there needs to forgive you for something, you can forget that. Odds are good you don’t even know about it anyway. Or if you do, you were able to justify it quickly in your own mind and move on. If you’re aware of it, you might give somebody the opportunity to forgive you, as it would be more helpful to them than to you.

But if there’s something on your chest that calls out for reckoning – either forgiveness or vengeance – then you don’t have a choice in this matter. You will remember it until you die. Whatever was done to you, it changed you forever. It’s part of who you are now; how big a part is up to you.

File Under Corrective Knowledge

When you forgive somebody, it doesn’t need to have anything to do with them. You don’t have to give anyone the satisfaction of knowing it. Odds are good they don’t even remember anyway. Fuck that guy. He’s an asshole. You don’t owe him shit.

(Incidentally, those are often the words I use to forgive others. “Fuck that guy” puts out of consideration a wrong done and the one who did it, but it does nothing to remove either from memory. If anything, it files the incident away for reference in future dealings, or to remove those dealings from possibility. “FUCK” becomes an acronym for “File Under Corrective Knowledge”).

Obligatory Jesus Reference

Forgiveness means letting go of something owed to you. There’s wisdom in the words attributed to Jesus: “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (It’s King James, but still counts).

In the Christian tradition, your sins can’t hurt God; forgiveness is a gift of subtraction that you’re meant to pass along, not something that actually adds to you when you get it. In essence, God’s forgiveness allows you to forgive yourself and move on, rather than wallow in a guilt that has served its purpose, outlived its use, and become a burden of its own.

But you don’t need God to tell you that. And you don’t need good intentions towards the one you forgive either. Letting go of bad intentions will suffice for basic forgiveness.

Emptiness is Heavy.

We carry heavy burdens of emptiness if we hold tightly to what others owe us, especially if they owe us satisfaction in pain and blood. Unfortunately, those are also the hardest debts to forgive. That’s the kind of forgiveness that demands daily repetition, and I’m afraid it gets no easier for that.

Still. It’s necessary if you want to be free of it, even only for that day.

Time Doesn’t Exist.

Naturally enough, I’ve made the old mistake of thinking there’s time. The deadline is ages away. I can work on this in a leisurely fashion. No rush. That’s true in the beginning.

There’s never time. Not just in the esoteric, “time-doesn’t-exist” way either. The deadline is always now. That’s also true in the beginning.

This is not to say you have to hurry. I can be relaxed and prodigious at the same time. I work better that way. Know in the back of your mind that you have time; no sense doing rush work while you don’t have to.

But if the front of your mind also knows that, you’ll end up pulling 3 all-nighters in a row to finish on schedule. Even if you can do that without getting sloppy (spoiler: you can’t), it’s still kind of masochistic. If you’re in this position because you wanted to take it easy, I’m guessing you aren’t a masochist. But then what do I know?

I know I have 30 days to prep an album for replication, and then send it to 6000 blogs and radio stations. And I have 15 days to get it into the hands of 15 people who made the project possible. I can do that in 20 days and 5 respectively, but who wants to wait around and then be in a rush?

So that’ll be me going back to work.

The Death of Romance

Over the last 100 years, the word has come to mean something it used not to.

In the vernacular, it refers to some fucking flowers and candlelight on Valentine’s Day.

To me, “romance” is a terrifying word – fraught with danger, consequence, and the inevitability of death.

It applies equally to the rebellion of Satan, the suicide of Wërther, and the murderous rampage of Frankenstein’s Monster, as well as the juvenile idiocy of Romeo and Juliet.

It refers to any noble loser who fights for their heart’s desire, in the full knowledge that the fight is pitched against them – not in any conspiratorial way, but just because that’s the way the universe is.

Or, in the words of William Blake:

It is not the power of true love, but the whole-hearted embracing of self-destruction for the sake of passion.

So if somebody tells you romance is dead, tell them it’s because calm and reason have prevailed. And more’s the pity for it; anyone who survives their passion, dies alone.

Heidegger and Neo: Things I Saw in the Matrix

Spoiler Alert: Anybody who still hasn’t seen The Matrix trilogy and plans to, better not read this yet. I mean… You’ve had 15 years already, but I know people have other things to do.

Before I burned out in college, I read some Heidegger. Who didn’t, right? In my case it was a bit like how I watched “The Matrix” the first time.

In the latter case I had seen no previews & gotten no spoilers. The only thing I knew was that Harris & Klebold had been huge fans, and many parents who hadn’t seen it were philistinically blaming the Wachowskis – alongside Marilyn Manson and Eminem – for the decline of America. Naturally I had to see it.

Morpheus – the charismatic spiritual zealot – scared the shit out of me (apparently also scared Laurence Fishburne on opening night). So did Trinity – the unquestioning, murderous angel at his side. About halfway through, Neo began to scare me even more as he began to embrace the more shadowy elements of Morpheus’ doctrine. Whoever the good guys were, they were being kept hidden from me.

The agents were bad, this we could be sure of; Hugo Weaving is the perfect villain if you need to get across the fact that something cartoonishly evil can still be a serious threat (Red Skull anyone?). And anyone who stands up against tyranny and oppression and stuff is a friend of mine.

But Morpheus was a holy warrior, and calm as a field of poppies; that combination should be terrifying, and it was (just as it was in any video I ever saw of a speech given by Osama Bin Laden). He explained with surgical detachment that killing innocents was permitted under the right circumstances. If you need to know where Morpheus is, just follow the screams.

Trinity was a devoted fury, killing anyone in her path with extreme prejudice. Hesitation meant death.

But even more terrifying were the increasing similarities between Neo (the everyman’s Messiah) and the Agents – movement, speed, environmental control. Most terrifying was that he did not appear to know who he was, despite all this power and good intention. Even as he and Trinity were clearly falling in love as they closed in on their target, I wondered deep down if Neo wasn’t the true villain in this story, whether he knew it or not.

I was of course shocked to learn – after reading “The Thing” twice – that Heidegger was a card-carrying, pin-wearing, flag-waving Nazi. Nothing in what he had written suggested anything but the exact opposite to me. Then I thought “Well, maybe he considered Jews and Gypsies to be Things, with no purpose other than to be emptied out for the good of humanity.” It’s fucked, I know. But what do you want? The guy was a Nazi. Nazis are fucked.

Maybe I’m just a bad judge of character. Neo turned out to be a pretty decent guy in the end, giving his life not only for his people, but for all intelligence – whether animal or digital. It was almost… Thingly.

Money Grows on a Very Specific Tree

Just for fun, I punched the words “money used for good” into a search engine. The results I got were all about capital gains and buying cars.

Money isn’t the root of all evil. It’s more like one of those situations where you thought it was a forest, but it all turns out to be one tree; the trunks turn out to be branches, all connected to one root.

Yes. Evil is a Pando tree. Not to say the Pando tree is evil. It’s a metaphor, so don’t freak out. The Pando could just as easily be a metaphor for how we humans all seem to be autonomous and different (which we are), but are actually one (which we also are).

Money is just another branch.

Our capacity to fool ourselves and others is the root.

S’posed-ta

I don’t usually rant about this stuff. There are other people who are better at it. But you can hear something a million times, and it won’t stick until you break the rules & see for yourself.

So after seeing a handful of friends break some stupid rules and determine the parameters of their own happiness, I’ve decided to give it a shot. The other thing wasn’t working out anyway.

Happiness – by conventional standards – is a bad joke. From very early on, we get taught how to perpetually get-what-you-need to get-what-you-need to get-what-you-need. If you aren’t lucky enough to enjoy that, you can end up trapped in that maze for the remainder of the only life you are going to get.

And the joke will be on you. Whatever meaning you attached to that frantic life, it really was nothing more than a rat’s maze. So you found the cheese. Great. Cheese is good. On to the next maze.

Or you can do what you want. This may include such things as:

1. Manipulate reality to the whims of your imagination.
2. Impose your will on unsuspecting air molecules.
3. Fight the Power.
4. Sling coffee for minimum wage (Hey. Some people are into into that).

Believe it or not, these are all viable options. We can see the proof of it.

But none of it defines you, whatever Rachel Dawes or Batman say. Whatever happens, you’ll “be” what you are, and nothing can change that. Not even you. Not even the rat maze. Cuz you’re not a rat. Right?

What matters is that what-you-are is compatible with what-you-do. Figuring that out can be really fucking hard, especially when everyone else around you has a different idea of what you are and what you should do. Lately, I’ve just been telling them to fuck off & mind their own business, and the quiet has been sublime.

When it comes to your future, there is no s’posed-ta.

There’s wanna.

There’s gonna.

There’s doing.

There’s did.

That’s the choice. That’s where change can happen.

S’posed-ta was invented by repressed control-freaks to kill people slowly. I’m not even joking. They can’t kill you quickly anymore. Things have had to get a little more subtle. Might not even be their fault; maybe they’re s’posed-ta do that.

For the rest of us…

It’s never too late to say “Fuck the rules.” At least I sure hope it’s never too late. I’m just getting started.

Say it with me.

Fuck the rules.

Teach or Preach

If you’re about to make a statement, you gotta decide.

Preaching is a proclamation of what you believe to be true.

Teaching means giving someone the tools to figure out what they believe.

These are distinct. In any given instant, they’re mutually exclusive.

So I’m done preaching for now.