Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hard on Everyone

There's one Bear In Heaven song that I really can't get enough of. It's even on my Defying God playlist - a playlist I'm quite proud of. In particular, there's one lyric of that song that I think has some significance to me.  (Yes, that is a weak statement...)

"Life is hard on everyone"

It's not.

But in a sense, if you don't find life hard, I am inclined to say, with plenty of prejudice, that you aren't living the right way. 

There's a distinction to be drawn between living a hard life and being miserable.  But to live an easy life is, according to me, most likely wrong.  For life to not be hard on you, you must have gotten to a position of comfort by either your own means or you had the good fortune to find yourself in privilege, and you must not have subsequently been put, by yourself or by powers beyond your control, into a position that's personally difficult for you.

It is inevitable that such a person with an 'easy' life is surrounded by people with baggage, people with difficult lives.  Trying to help those who are less fortunate is not an easy task, so...

Any easy-liver is, by definition, in one of two camps:

1. Oblivious - Their eyes are closed.  They are not aware of their surroundings, and they are incapable of understanding others.  Nothing has been demanded of them, so they have not exited the metaphorical cave to experience the greater world.  Ignorance, because they aren't curious enough to see the world for the compromised, chaotic, and painful place that it is.  To this camp, I offer my sympathy, and I hope that somebody opens your eyes.  Furthermore, I hope that once your eyes are opened, you take upon yourself some sort of responsibility and challenge yourself to change the world for the better, whereupon your life will become more vibrant and challenging.

2. Selfish - They are completely aware of the challenges facing others, but intentionally refrain from solving problems that are bigger than themselves.  To this camp, I profess my disdain.  You have doomed yourself to be morally and existentially useless.

Here's an ironic twist to this line of thinking:  if more people were to make their own lives difficult for the sake of improving the world, we may be able to think of living a hard life as entirely separate from being unhappy.  I mean, being able to see a positively healthy future requires that you be disappointed consistently.  Working towards Utopia is difficult, and the failure leads to disillusionment.  But then when people try to ameliorate the unhappiness, they give up.  There is a twisted entwining of earnestness and dissatisfaction.

Now imagine a world that has reached a point where people try their best to actually be good people.  Unhappiness would no longer be the result of disillusionment--it would be the consequence of contingencies, unintentional mistakes, and the simple realities of life.  It's still challenging to sustain that kind of thing, but at least it's rewarding when you know that other people care about you as much as you care about them. 

I care a lot.  I can't do the apathy thing.  Life is hard for me, mostly because I have chosen to take on a few challenges I deem vitally pertinent.  I've essentially decided to leave it to the Universe to decide whether I'll ever be satisfied.  Maybe that's the right thing to do.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Defying God

# Name Artist Album Comments
1 The Pulse Of This Skyline With Lightning Like Nerves Slow Six Nor'easter [Prelude]
2 Chained The xx Coexist I was raised with love by my parents on the bank of a large river.
3 Inside a Boy My Brightest Diamond
Every nightfall, I stay awake to explore, past curfew and past my bedtime.
4 Settle Down Kimbra Vows One night, my parents find out and admonish me for being too rambunctious
5 The Queen's Rebuke/The Crossing The Decemberists The Hazards Of Love but I refuse to sacrifice my freedom, so I run away from home.
6 The Universe is Going to Catch You The Antlers In The Attic of the Universe Once at my safest hiding spot, I hear them coming for me,
7 I Follow Rivers Lykke Li Wounded Rhymes So I take off my clothes and jump into the river.
8 Bubbles Shining Over the Sea Arata Iiyoshi Hideki Sakamoto I see lights I see across the water, and I swim to them
9 These Rivers Between Us Slow Six Tomorrow Becomes You But the river is wide
10 The Rip Tide Beirut The Rip Tide and the rip tide pulls me back,
11 Eon Trap Kelly Bailey Half-Life 2: Episode Two too strong to let me leave;
12 What's Wrong? Grizzly Bear Shields I continue to paddle with all of my might, but with undying suspicion...
13 Truth Behind the Project Takeharu Ishimoto Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- OST Yes, their warnings were more than proverbs.
14 Tau-9 Kelly Bailey Half-Life 2 I understand the nature of the undertow. I feel God's presence, as the waves relax until they are completely still.
15 Oh Maker
I acknowledge Him and recite a prayer of worship I learned when younger.
16 Mutual Core Björk Biophilia God says to me, “Hush, my Son. I will always be with you. You are still a small piece of Me, and I promise to always watch after you. Yet, I can only keep you safe if you remain with your family in the world I prepared for you. As a child, you must respect your parents. Only through the wisdom of the ages can you understand the world. After I send you back home, keep with you this memory, and live with dignity and reverence.”
17 Disappeared Yoko Shimomura Kingdom Hearts -FINAL MIX- Additional Tracks God has been pulling me closer during this lull in time. He pulls me deep under the water.
18 What The Water Gave Me Florence + The Machine Ceremonials I wake under a bright morning sun, at home, with the memory of unmatched grandeur.
19 Where We Belong Passion Pit Gossamer I am where I was told to be, having been prevented from throwing myself into unknown danger
20 Cool Light Bear In Heaven I Love You I shiver with the knowledge that He will always be with me.
21 Red Lost In The Trees A Church That Fits Our Needs Home is bright, a beach touching trees. I absorb the details until every single one is a little piece of me.
22 Lewis Takes Action Owen Pallett Heartland Restless, defensive, and agitated, I know I must move.
23 You're Not Supposed To Be Here Kelly Bailey Half-Life 2 I grab clothes, a bag, a bow, a quiver of arrows, and water. Departure.
24 Mnemonic In Motion Wires Under Tension
Daylight moves forward, and with it my numbed feet.
25 Thirsty The National Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers Becoming thirsty, I retreat into the woods. I will continue after twilight.
26 Seven Devils Florence + The Machine Ceremonials I see a serpentine beast, and I freeze. God's voice resounds in my ears, filling the words of every important lesson I have ever learned.
27 Tryst With Mephistopheles Owen Pallett Heartland The creature speaks to me: “As you have listened to the words of your own kind, please listen to mine. I am no beast, just as you are no pawn of a deity. I see that you need shelter, and I promise to show you hospitality. Your family and friends fear and kill us, but we refuse to sink to their level. At the very least, we will protect the little peace that we have.”
28 You Could Be Happy Snow Patrol Eyes Open New life in a place like this could fill up the many holes in my heart. Revelation!
29 Black Rainbow St. Vincent Actor The walk back to his village takes my mind off of the past. He takes me to his home, puts some padding on the floor that he can sleep on, then generously gives me his bed. So much about this foreign town excites me, and I can't fall asleep.
30 Stargaze Xavier Rudd White Moth The serpent sees me, and decides to show me around. Together, we stargaze.
31 Guard Down Kelly Bailey Half-Life 2: Episode One I tell him about the ways I have been disappointed and hurt. He listens. He tells me about his world. I listen. We both feel the world become smaller and larger, all at once. Slowly, we surrender to the feeling of peace and just exist.
32 Battle in the Forgotten City Nobuo Uematsu Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children At the same place I entered the village, five of my most imposing cousins arrive with heralding cries of bringing me back. Denizens of this forested sanctuary exit their houses with a defensive air. My cousins shout, and the natives shout back. There is debate, argument, and all that fear will catalyze.
33 War Hypnotic Brass Ensemble The Hunger Games Score When there are threats of war, I whisper to my new friend that I should leave. He offers to take me somewhere safe. We run away with so much excitement we can't help but laugh.
34 Fanfare for the Brave Senju Akira Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood OST 1 Although I'm lost in the woods, I follow him. I can only muster courage up to the point that we reach the river.
35 Hidden Highland Arata Iiyoshi Hideki Sakamoto I hadn't told him about being submerged by God Himself in the River...
36 The Abduction Of Margaret The Decemberists The Hazards Of Love We undress, stuffing our clothes hastily into his bag.
37 The Darkness Arata Iiyoshi Hideki Sakamoto The river is far colder than I remember it being the night previous. We swim tirelessly with the knowledge that, were we to hesitate, I would be lost to a lifetime of submission. But for the waves and our own splashing, silence envelops us.
38 Beginning of Breeding Yoko Shimomura The 3rd Birthday OST Around the middle of the river, I see a light on the opposite shore. I become frantic. I shout to hurry.
39 Disrupted Original Kelly Bailey Half-Life 2: Episode One Behind me, the trees fall below the waterline, giving the illusion that the world behind us is sinking. I warn my friend, and he agrees we must swim faster. The same mysterious fate befalls the boulders dotting the river.
40 White Land Arata Iiyoshi Naoto Ishida The stars, the moon, and the ethereal pinprick all grow brighter as we approach land. Rain begins to fall, scattering the many lights, dazzling me more than ever before.
41 Wanderlust Björk Wanderlust As my first encounter with my world's deity, time comes to a standstill and again God appears. The water around Him inexplicably recedes, and He is standing before us. He declares with timbre, “Audacious Man. You have sacrificed all that you have ever held dear. The life that awaits you is outside of my control. I had faith in you, but you destroyed my hopes for your future. Relent in your selfish quest for vanity. I will take you back and continue to provide for you.”
42 Little Faith The National High Violet (Expanded Edition) “Never. I deign to create a world much larger than the one you so graciously lent me. Take back from me that miserly existence. My dreams far exceed what you could ever hope. I am leaving."
43 Face On Yoko Kanno Wolf's Rain OST 2 By now the ground is completely exposed, and we are standing in heavy mud. I demand from the Serpent my quiver and bow. I aim at God.
44 Time Control or Controlled By Time
He insists “You know nothing. This Universe is as easily afforded to my will as if it were a figment of my imagination. Anything you do is destined to fail if I will it to. You would be unwise to defy me.” I refuse to flinch, despite the palpable rise in temperature.
45 J-E-N-O-V-A
Distant Worlds II The Serpent is equally stoic. He draws with a dagger a circle on the ground, which has completely desiccated. Drawing the knife to his hand, he draws a streak of blood and adds it to the circle. He then folds his hands, and appears to pray.
46 Born Anew Masashi Hamauzu Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack As God walks towards me, one of the stars grows brighter at an alarming rate, until it erupts into light and strikes the Serpent. I am stunned, a fiery pain in my throat.
47 You Do You Bear In Heaven Beast Rest Forth Mouth I stare at the prismatic steam as it clears to reveal a glowing lance in the hands of my companion.
48 Triumph of a Heart Björk Medúlla While God looks on without surprise, The Serpent hurls at Him his lance with ferocity. Almost simultaneously, my arrow lands in His left eye.
49 I Am the Antichrist to You Kishi Bashi 151A Silence. The ground opens up below God. He is static above an obsidian void.
50 Chaotic End Masashi Hamauzu Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- Original Soundtrack (Disc-2) He covers his wound and, without a word, leaves our world.
51 Dusknoir Arata Iiyoshi Hideki Sakamoto Once He has vanished, I hear in my head the echo of a message that He must have intended for me: “You will never find the kind of love that I could have given you. You have relinquished a life of solace and ease. Everything yours for the taking.” To this, I feel obligated to shout back to his quickly fading presence: “You gave me everything I never asked for! Forget my family. I know exactly what I want now and I don't need it handed to me by my ancestors.”
52 Idle Heart Bear In Heaven I Love You The immediate response is a flood of water rushing in from both upstream and downstream of what used to be our great river.
53 Ready To Start Arcade Fire The Suburbs The lights in the sky grow brighter still, until the blistering night sky is too much to look at.
54 Period Chemistry Unknown Album Slowly, our eyes adjust to the light and it still hasn't darkened—but we soon realize that the sun has taken the place of the moon, and the starlight expanded to a sheet of white
55 Sleeping Ute Grizzly Bear Shields Finally, our escape is complete. Liberty is now true. My serpentine friend and I look at each other and smile in relief. We decide to travel together for the time being. I mention to him the light that I saw when running away from home for the first time, and he agrees to help me search for its source. We traverse the side of the river until we find it. Silence suits us, having shared so much already in the past few hours. We soon come across the charred remains of a small village. In the middle of all of the thoroughly destroyed buildings, one flimsy structure seems to have defied all odds and survived the fire without a single scorch mark. Though hard to make out in the daylight, there's a lantern above the door with a hearty fire encapsulated by the glass.