Saturday, October 09, 2010

Companions

How can I feel connected to so different people? It is almost a negligible detail that I have never met them in person, because I feel that if we did meet, we would share a cordiality beyond any of the friendships and other relationships I ever had (except maybe one). But what is common between all of them? The people I refer to by first names in my head, Adolf (together with Leni and Reinhard whom I sometimes see as his two aspects, but that is not entirely accurate), Ayn, Doctor Jack, Bertrand and the others - what unites them? One praises loyalty, the other individualism; their views are often incompatible and they would probably kill each other if I put all of them together in a room. Perhaps it is that these people are all smart, ambitious, logical yet passionate, argumentative in life and controversial in the literature about them. People of extremes, geniuses with hearts, self-conflicted and determined at the same time. Where are people like that today? Or is it always in retrospect that they are recognized? If I can empathize so much with such people through their writing, I cannot fully imagine the extent and thoroughness of empathy and inspiration brought forth by a personal relationship - it would probably awaken in me some hidden quality that I felt always deep in me, buried under the ordinariness and the worthlessness, the „can´t“ and the „not able to“. (But that again raises doubts; is the moonlight real, or just reflected sunlight? What is a talent that can flourish only in the presence of genius characters to make an impression on its owner? In a sense, Peter Petrelli is not a real superhuman - but Sylar is closer to that than even the ones born with genuine talents, since he has to take brave, transgressive action in order to gain new abilities.) Is uniqueness even a trait, or just a new arrangement of traits that was never seen before? Could a society of unique people survive? Probably not, but in the brief period of its existence it would achieve so wonderful heights of science, art and philosophy (both theory and practice), that one can´t help but wonder whether eventual destruction (in a grandiose and violent manner, no doubt) would worth it. Questions like these are both pleasing nectar and excruciating poison to me, and yet they are brought forth by my own mind as constant as breathing. I tried to stop breathing as a feat of self-control, but it proved impossible to me.
Need! The need to breathe and eat and sleep, that chains people to be slaves, each to one another, and yet separates them from each other in the most cruel way! „Friends! Lock them in a room for a week without food, and that will show what friends are to each other.“ But only those destined to be free in their hearts suffer from that slavery, and those who have a sense of honour and want to serve only who is deserving. The rest calls it happiness. Communion as a rite has its roots in hunger and thirst, and also the herd animal´s hunger and thirst for being a part of the herd. These give rise to fear, that least noble of emotions, which binds even the genius to the herd, shackling hir, breaking hir wings. And those who are unfettered by fear, or as it is often called, „conscience“, end up as news headlines one day and forgotten corpses or prisoners on the other. "Behold the good and just! Whom do they hate most? Him who breaketh up their tables of values, the breaker, the lawbreaker - he, however, is the creator."
But there can be nobility in people who are not lonely geniuses, but that is similar to these beacons´ nobility in that it is also, fundamentally, resistance to fear. Specifically, most often, to the fear of death. Impractical, yes, and selected against in nature, but perhaps that is what makes it so valuable and beautiful. That is why one cannot help but be brought almost to tears when contemplating the twin lightning.
There is not much left worth dying for, something in me says. But that can be just a voice of a fearful animal, clad in cynicism. Oh, uncertainty! Doubt in the self as well as everything else, even the simplest words of fact, let alone promises! Praised by Bertrand, and the cornerstone of scientific thought, doubt is not an easy state of mind. One can almost envy the stupid and credulous when writhing awake all night because of a theoretical or metaphysical matter - or even a personal one, that would be left alone by most in the „knowledge“ that it either lacks importance or will solve itself eventually. Self-doubt is in short supply (at least in appearances) in some of my „mind-friends“, like Ayn, and in abundance in others, like Marie (Curie). But what I have always lacked, a coherent direction, diligence and determination, seems to be universal, although with Adolf it came later, as in his twenties he was just as a lost and futureless wanderer as yours truly.
If I have a home on this „pale blue dot“, it is with people like my mind-friends. Oh, how I wish to talk to them sometimes! To argue, to share ideas, to give and ask for correction, or just to express delight over their existence. To say „thank you“ for all they are, for all they mean to me. I don´t care about „bad“ consequences of their actions, because these actions stem from their brilliant character - if a great person makes a mistake, the mistake is great also. This is what the responsibility of a leader means. I would rather have humanity make enormous mistakes but with the nobility necessary to make and to correct them, than have a stagnant, impotent band of bloodless, brainless robots. Rather McLane a hundred times than Spring-Brauner once!
As a child I included Kevin Mitnick in the band of my respected ones (World Inside The Crystal, a song that also brings tears to my eyes anytime, tells why - and also the film Hackers II), until I found out that he became a corporate employee working for his former enemies. A word of hatred then became attached to him, tainting the idealized image I had in my mind. A word that is the greatest sign of contempt I can ever show to anyone: traitor. (And for a deep reason, it sounds more like itself in German, to me at least.) My alterego, in a crossover fanfiction story written as a joint adventure by me and a DA friend, in her worst nightmare is forced to become one - that part was not written by me, but it hit a sensitive spot indeed. Problem is, there is no idea or person I ever became so attached to that I could betray them even if I wanted to. So in practice, simply avoiding lies is the equivalent of loyalty for me. (I have been betrayed occasionally, but I doubt there was any remorse afterwards. This is the worst about traitors - they believe they did nothing wrong.)
I don´t even know why I wrote all these down. Whenever I feel something strongly, I feel compelled to write it down. Maybe someone like those people I mentioned is waiting out there to read? Someone longing for... an equal perhaps? And if yes... can I ever be equal to someone like that?

2 comments:

Prudence said...

One aspect of your comment struck me, and got me thinking:

The people we admire, especially if they are thinkers, philosophers, or 'great minds', well, there's no way of knowing what those people are like in 'real life'. So we can feel a spiritual kinship with them without actually being able to get along with them in everyday life. Maybe I'm overthinking it, but for me, there's always been a clear separation between the artist/thinker/scientist and their personality, or personal life.

rodiel said...

Hmm, you may be right. But there is no separation between how I think as a person and what I write about... I mean, how could there be?