Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Too much and not enough

Had one of those my God I’m alive moments before while I was doing the dishes. You know the feeling – suddenly struck by your own being and consciousness and it's almost too much to bear.

I was suddenly so aware of the warm water, the bubbles sliding over my hands and the feeling of my skin beginning to pucker and wrinkle from prolonged submersion. Strange evening light shining though the window and everything wonderful and too much, overwhelming and you want that bittersweet pang to stop but never to end at the same time.

When the moment had passed (as these moments inevitably do), I began to wonder what, if anything, had triggered it. Was it the strange quality to the light outside? The music playing in the background? Both of those things, or perhaps none?

I wonder now, as I’m writing this, if these moments are so fleeting because we can’t handle them. Some kind of self-preservation thing, perhaps? Maybe our brains cannot cope with being aware of ourselves for too long, somehow hyperconscious, so it shuts down, turns away, and we start to think instead about what’s for dinner. The moment is forgotten, and we are somehow less alive than we were in that moment – just going though the motions of living instead.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Quote of the Day Part III

"What's life? Life's easy. A quirk of matter; nature's way of keeping meat fresh."

- The Doctor, (Doctor Who)

While thinking about life and death (more so than usual - this happens when it is part of your studies), this quote popped into my head. It was a few more moments before I remembered it was, in fact, from Doctor Who, and not some source of well-known literature. So I share it with you all knowing that I shall be revealing the depths of my geekiness in the process. That aside, what do you think? Is life just a quirk of matter?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Fountian

Just watched The Fountain. Wow. Feel as though have just woken up from a dream. Unfortunately am way too tired to comment on it apart from that, so I'll leave that for tomorrow, maybe after a second viewing... Or a third.
In the meantime, look at the pretty picture from the film instead.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sparks of life

Soul, psyche, life force... Whether or not these are merely human constructs, I can at least understand why people would think that they exist.

Sitting in QV the other morning, a sparrow flew right up to me, brave and timid and inquisitive all at once. While watching it, it struck me just how full of life it seemed. I could easily believe that there was something, some force lending to this creature such animation...

...Perhaps a little spark of life within, or marionette strings in constant motion, controlled by a puppeteer of the universe. If this is the case, then death would be the snuffing out of this spark, or the severing of these strings. Certainly, death is as sudden and absolute as either of these motions.

I see this 'animation' now all the time... when I watch my cats, or birds outside, or even children running down the street. Perhaps this liveliness and animation has something to do with self-consciousness, or the lack thereof. I rarely see this spark of life in adults. Perhaps we have become too accustomed to the world. The only time I really see it is when people laugh. It is known to some as the language of the soul, after all.


Just as I had hit the 'publish' button for the previous post, there was a knock at the door. Stupidly, I answered it. Note to self: nothing good comes of doing such a thing if it is one in the afternoon. I was faced with a man and woman from who-knows-what church, trying to tell me about the Heavenly Mother, Jesus, the Bible...

In the end, I gave up any pretense of politeness and simply closed the door on them. There are only so many times you can say 'I'm not interested' before this segues into stronger language, so I decided not let it get to that point.

Perhaps it was just unfortunate for those two that I'd spent the best part of the morning thinking about death, the soul, about love and life and all kinds of other metaphysical concerns before they arrived on my doorstep. Mind you, I don't think that at any point in my life I would be prepared to believe that answers come pre-packaged in the form of... whatever they were preaching.

I respect that people's beliefs differ from mine. Everyone is entitled to believe what they want to, and if these beliefs offer comfort to them, that's great too.

What I don't respect is peddling these beliefs as though they are electricity, loft insulation or anything else that is generally for sale by people at your doorstep at one in the afternoon. Surely that just cheapens the whole thing. Isn't there meant to be some kind of spirituality associated with religion? Doesn't trying to sell it as though it's a commodity fly in the face of personal introspection and soul searching?


While thinking about what elements I'll incorporate into my final collection (jewellery based), I came up with the idea of 'companion pieces' - smaller pieces of jewellery that fit inside a larger item, a way of representing a connection to a loved one.

I'd initially considered the idea of having pairs of an item - identical pieces - one to be left with the deceased, the other to be kept with a friend, lover or family member.
However, I think I much prefer the idea of creating two distinct pieces that fit together in some way.

Death immutably alters life for those left behind in its wake. With death, cherished connections become severed at a physical, practical, day to day level. We know that that we'll never again see the deceased in this life; perhaps never again for all eternity. However, such connections continue in thought and memory, and cannot be severed as long as life continues for those left behind.

The two (or more) pieces of jewellery may never again be physically connected, but the fact remains that there is the potential for them to be. Perhaps there is some comfort to be drawn from this thought?

Anyway, to cut a long story short (too late, I hear you cry!), these thoughts reminded me of the following poem by e. e. cummings. 'i carry your heart with me' is a testament to love that knows no bounds. To me, this could mean love beyond death as well.

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in

my heart) i am never without it (anywhere

i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done

by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear

no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want

no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)

and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

- e. e. cummings