Brian Eno once said these remarkable words:
Culture is everything you don’t have to do. You have to wear clothes. But you don’t have to wear these particular clothes. We could all just wear sacks actually, couldn’t we? You have to eat but you don’t have to develop complex and beautiful cuisines. So there is a layer of things which we have to do otherwise we would not survive and there is a huge layer on top of that which is stylistic, essentially. And we spend a lot of our time thinking about that stylistic layer…
And a few brief moments later he added:
The best thing about art is that it is not life. It does not hurt you. You can switch it off or walk away from it. But you can surrender to it as well.
If only this were true. Or is it?
I first heard of Brain Eno about ten years ago. An old painter mystic friend of mine, with whom I had developed a habit of discussing over a glass of beer the meaning of life and other spiritual matters, once gave me Eno’s 1978 record “Music for Airports”.
Here’s a quote I read a couple of days ago. I will quote it here in its entirety:
“The artist is originally a man who turns from reality because he cannot come to terms with the demand for the renunciation of instinctual satisfaction as it is first made, and who then in phantasy-life allows full play to his erotic and ambitious wishes. But he finds a way of return from this world of phantasy back to reality; with his special gifts he moulds his phantasies into a new kind of reality, and men concede them a justification as valuable reflections of actual life. Thus by a certain path he actually becomes the hero, king, creator, favourite he desired to be, without pursuing the circuitous path of creating real alterations in the outer world. But this he can only attain because other men feel the same dissatisfaction as he with the renunciation demanded by reality, and because this dissatisfaction, resulting from the displacement of the pleasure-principle by the reality principle, is itself a part of reality. ” Continue reading
I read a little Freud today, but who gives a flying fish about what I – an anonymous monkey – or for that matter, any other Bugs Bunny reads or thinks about, right? Continue reading
My hands are sweating. I feel the pressure in my lungs. The pressure to waste my dear life by putting these letters in half-meaningful knots – symbols – which, so I am told, have meaning beyond themselves. My breath goes in and out – in her own separate and flirty way. I don’t follow her. I only wish I could. I would like to capture and to seduce her. Out of the blue and into the dark. She rises so mysteriously and so swiftly. She recedes into silence from whence she comes again and again. I am full of vigor and life when she is near. But when I catch and hold her, if only for a moment, I am out of breath instantly. I let her go in the hope that she will be back soon. Indeed, she returns shortly, only to disappear again. So many breaths wasted and so many more to come. Life is but a breath. Be wise and waste it. Allow it to run freely to no end, down the hill and through the valley. Continue reading