Love vs. Entropy

Things fall apart.  They always do.  “If you break it, then you buy it,” was the rule.  But, now that I own a house, I know that the opposite is also true: if you buy it, you will break it.  Every move I make, every breath I take, I break an air conditioning condenser or a sump pump or something else I didn’t even know was breakable.  Last weekend, I decided to wash my car in my very own driveway.  As soon as the first splash of water hit the front windshield, the whole thing split, two graceful cracks undulating from the middle of the top down to both of the two bottom corners.  Hot glass plus cold water equals expensive.

 

I searched my heart and looked at the ones I love.  Being close to someone always leads to pain.  Always.  But why?  We are all human: insecure, flawed, and driven by what makes me happy.  The problem is that what makes me happy is often at odds with what makes you happy.  Conflict.  A falling out.  Divorce.  And even if what makes you happy is making me happy, both of us could be damaged in the process, as you become a passive prisoner of repressed longings and I become a narcissistic tyrant.  Codependence.  Passive-aggressive.  Spoiled little brats.  I think of Michael Corleone slowly destroying everyone he truly loved.  Cursed entropy of the soul! 

 

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Published in: on June 21, 2007 at 11:11 pm  Comments (3)  

She

She

was

dangerous

in the way

that all women

are dangerous

but she

more than most

Published in: on June 21, 2007 at 3:50 am  Comments (3)  

Death is Beautiful?

Pseudo-Buddhism, “The Fountain,” and the End of Life

Life is beautiful. Some would say that death is, too. I disagree. I warn with Donne: Death, be not proud…. I taunt with Paul: O, Death, where is your victory? However, there is something beautiful about the other side presenting their case as clearly and winsomely as possible.

Classical Buddhism teaches that enlightenment comes to those who deny themselves and their desires. Life, death, and suffering are all illusions. All are nothing. “Do not try and bend the spoon… that’s impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth: there is no spoon.” (This is a gross, pop-Tibetan oversimplification; like all religions, Buddhism knows infinite variations.)

However, this “classical” version of the religion stands starkly contrasted to that of “The Fountain,” which incorporates elements of Hinduism, Mayan religion, and astrophysics. In this pseudo-Buddhism, the past is the present is the future. Death brings life and beauty and awe. Ours is to embrace it. If classical Buddhism is the road to the denial of all things, pseudo-Buddhism is the road to the embrace of all things.

fountain

“Death is the beginning of awe,” said the Mayan priest, as he drove his sword through the conquistador, who would travel through time and space to save his dying Beloved. Dr. Tom Creo was trying to find a cure for his wife Izzi’s cancer. She had accepted her fate, but he hadn’t. She had been writing a book, which he would have to finish writing. In it, he was the conquistador, in search for the Tree of Life.

After the conquistador died, he looked back on his life as a scientist. He had constantly sacrificed time with his wife in order to seek her cure. He was forever turning away from the Tree of Life in order to pursue the Tree of Knowledge. But knowledge could not bring life. In the end, that was a gift which only death could bring.

Many people did not understand or enjoy “The Fountain.” It was too rich with raw emotion, with layers of story, and with visions of Nirvana. However, death is overwhelming — and rich, if we are to believe writer/director Aronofsky. His film would have been a dissapointment had it been any less.

Death is not beautiful in my eyes. But I see the hope of Life, even in the midst of it. I pray that I will one day be able to approach it as fearlessly as Izzi. And I have nothing but gratitude for Aronofsky for letting me see the end through his eyes.

Published in: on June 21, 2007 at 3:32 am  Comments (2)