Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The drowning man

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I found this way of judging, it’s just arbitrary and it’s not based on anything except what I think. I call it judging warriors. It’s who are warriors and who our heroes really are. Because you need some criteria to judge the people who you are listening to or that you love or that you hate, I've come up with this thing that I call “shit floats and cream rises.” Shit floats is Jerry Rubin. Cream rises is Abbie Hoffman. Shit floats is Tom Wolfe. Cream rises is Hunter Thompson. Shit floats is Madonna. Cream rises is Joan Baez. Shit floats is Eddie Murphy. Cream rises is Richard Pryor. Eddie Murphy has a long way to go before he will become a warrior. Shit floats is Billy Crystal. Cream rises is Jonathon Winters. These are revolutionaries. If you watch these people long enough you know which guy is a warrior and how much they’re dedicated to that really secret place in ourselves that wants to be a warrior. Not to be a soldier. A soldier fights for the government. A warrior is like a samurai—he fights for the people.

The answer is never the answer. What’s really interesting is the mystery. If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you’ll always be seeking. I’ve never seen anybody really find the answer—they think they have, so they stop thinking. But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer.

—Ken Kesey (1935-2001)

I remember seeing Ken Kesey in 1993, as he spoke to us at San Jose State University. He spoke to us of being a warrior. Today, many years later, I am able to see that many of the people listed above have made changes, perhaps some have attempted to make changes, but still the lesson in the above quote is one I have to take to heart for myself. Indeed, the people Kesey named will all be regarded differently by the public. I would not evaluate his individual determinations. I can only say I must ask myself daily is this a standard upon which to challenge myself. Am I trying to find an answer, or am I seeking out the mystery?

I awoke today from a dream of drowning. Standing at the edge of this huge swimming pool, I saw the waters were brown, the water was dirty, and I dove in. I think it fascinating that in this dream, there was someone sitting at the siude of the pool watching. People falling, standing naked, people attacked by animals are all dreams where people describe feelings of hopelessness, fear, uncertainty. I have no idea what I get from having such a dream.

I know I never have such dreams, not that I remember, but as I recall, I sat in the water, sinking, and I felt my weight lost in the sludge of the water, and I struggled to climb back up without drowning. It is a wondrous experience to have dreams of such vibrancy. In the analysis of such a thing, I remember how Jung said that a man must learn all he can about dream analysis, and then forget it all. Remembering these sleeping visions are satisfying enough for now.

I guess I would say to mention such a dream would seem cliché. The suggestion of drowning is so overanalyzed, so over talked, I would do better to keep it to myself. At least, when one is attacked by sharks, there is a satisfaction on the part of the readers that there be the element of carnage, living chum, savagery. Drowning itself, only entails a sense of hopelessness, terror. It does not have the hold that would capture an audience, so without any more discussion on that I will change the scene.

I woke up today, and showered, satisfied that I would have a great day ahead. In all I experience, I crave closure on things that cause me pain. I long to see positive changes, and I realize, from the quote above, that closure can actually be the noose around my neck. A critical balance must always be struck, through prayer and meditation, to find out which things truly need closure, and which need to stay open.

Of course, when pain inhibits a person, inhibits me, from living life at its fullest, then I have to close issues in my life. I am learning that as I place closure on parts of my life, I am seeing new wonders open, and new excitement welling in my heart. It is a true blessing to be alive at a time like this.

Thank you for reading.


You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.
-Maya Angelou (1978)

1 comment:

baktin said...

Hello Keith. I guess this is your I-finally-realized-post.

I thought that the title of your blog was a reference to an Eldredge book. But the Ken Kesey thought had me thinking...