When considering my personal goals for our celebrations of reality, I’m caught considering the nature of what exactly it is that we are celebrating, as well as questioning the limitations I find myself getting stuck in.
When considering the limitations that present themselves, I find myself coming to a line, and wondering how far past that line I can push myself to go.
Pondering this line in the sand led me to consider the concept of duality within reality as a whole.
I first began thinking on the topic of ego and ego death, and the concept of the constant death and rebirth of the ego in my everyday life.
I often strive towards this state of “ego death,” and I find that the moments of pure truth and beauty that I witness, (which I feel are generally my main goals for these celebrations), mostly come from within that state of egoless objectivity.
But, we often live in the in-between. The ‘bardo’ state — bouncing between these moments, and the more subjective, ego enacted moments that allow us to: form thoughts, consider the future and work our way through social constructs.
In the essay Being and Nothingness, philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre writes on the topic of objectivity and subjectivity. He talks of how the mere possible presence of another person causes one to look at oneself as an object and see one’s world as it appears to the other.
He speaks of how this transformation is most clear “when one sees a mannequin that one confuses for a real person.”
While you believe it is a person, your world is transformed. During this time you can no longer have total subjectivity. The world is now the other person’s world, a foreign world that no longer comes from the self, but from the other. The other person is a “threat to the order and arrangement of your whole world…Your world is suddenly haunted by the Other’s values, over which you have no control.”
When you realize it is a mannequin, and is not subjective, the world seems to transfer back, and you’re again in the center of a universe.
Ken Wilber takes these concepts to the next level by studying and categorizing ideas in terms of their nature as a holon, a term deriving from the writings of Arthur Koestler.
He observed that it seems every entity and concept shares a dual role: being both an autonomous, self-reliant unit (whole entity) unto itself, and also a part of one (or more) other wholes.
Consider that a cell in an organism is both a whole as a cell and and at the same time a part of another whole – the organism.
Likewise a letter is a self-existing entity and simultaneously an integral part of a word, which then is part of a sentence, which is part of a paragraph, which is part of a page; and so on. Everything from quarks to matter to energy to ideas can be looked at in this way.
He then organizes how we as humans act as wholons; as parts, into quadrants:
According to Wilber, this means that multiple viewpoints are inherent in the nature of wholons and each of the four approaches has a valid perspective to offer.
Wilber states that it is important to consider all four perspectives since all are needed for real appreciation of a matter. To collapse them all or dismiss one of them is often a serious mistake.
Wilber then describes his AQAL (All Quadrants All Levels) theory which also considers:
Multiple lines of intelligence including: Cognitive, ethical, aesthetic, spiritual, kinesthetic, affective, musical, spatial, logical-mathematical, karmic, etc.
Levels or stages of development including: cognitive development, moral development, hierarchy of needs, psychosocial development, ego development etc.
States: This refers to those aspects of consciousness that are usually, without specific training, temporary, experiential, and often implicitly or unconsciously experienced. E.g. waking, dreaming, and sleeping.
States can also refer to exogenous or induced states, which are intentionally generated from exterior influences; such as psychedelics and other drugs, or situational induced states, such as hypnotherapy or guided imagery.
Types: For example, masculine/feminine.
Bringing this back around to the point at hand, it seems when wondering what we can personally do to contribute to these celebrations, that if we can pull inspiration from all dimensions of reality… we can accomplish almost anything.
At the beginning of the 19th century, modern art broke from tradition and adherence to strict continuity and conventions. Art became “whatever you could get away with.”
Then, half way through the 20th century, the horrible existentialist nag of post modernism began to take hold. Postmodernist critics proclaimed that newness was exhausted and that everything new was just an insignificant variation of something that had already been investigated or created.
Postmodernists went on to claim that the next logical progression in the arts was to borrow, combine, refer to, imitate or comment on previous works of art. Therefore postmodern artists should no longer seek to create entirely new means of art, and their artwork should now become an investigation of what was already new.
Plato coined the term “metaxis” to refer to the state of existing and oscillating between two opposite poles. Examples include simultaneously being an individual and a member of a group, or being an observer and also a performer.
American Dream writer David Foster Wallace once spoke of “analysis parayalysis” – the inability to make a choice or decision while needing to make one in order not to perish.
This can be especially seen in our generation in North America. We experience the great modern abundance and consumption of resources in our daily life, but are postmodernistically aware of the brewing ecological crisis at hand.
We, thinking postmodernistically and buy locally grown organic vegetables, but we drive our modern gas-powered car an extra half mile to get them.
Metamodernism means continuously oscillating between the two “opposite poles” of modernism and postmodernism, and simultaneously surpassing both movements in search of new ground.
It is a structure of feeling that builds upon itself. It’s about participation between the observer and the artist and this participation feeds upon itself.
The Metamodernist Manifesto claims “Metamodernism shall be defined as the mercurial condition between irony and sincerity, naïvete and knowingness, relativism and truth, optimism and doubt, in pursuit of a plurality of disparate and elusive horizons. We must go forth and oscillate!”
Dutch professor Hans Boutellier speaks of a society that gradually takes the shape of an improvising jazz orchestra, in which individuals aim to provoke direction to complexity by establishing networks based around like-minded ideas or ideals – structures that sometimes lead to harmonious playing, but, as with all forms of improvisation, often lead to chaos and disharmony.
My hopes for these celebrations of reality is to achieve great oscillations of both chaos and harmonies, irony and sincerity, naivety and knowingness, relativism and truth, optimism and doubt, and modern and postmodern art, thereby creating a community in which we can play off of each others “jazzy structures.”
I worked a job where I was able to go outside and chain smoke a lot. These are some of the people I met while bored, working in this seemingly abandoned food court building facing Main street and next to a little parquette. Late 2012 to early 2014
Dee & Dee
Homeless couple, seemed harmless at first. The guy ended up accusing me of selling his girlfriend heroin and got it into his head that me and my friend Neil banged her. He threatened my life multiple times while I was at work. I found out he was on probation for assault with a deadly weapon. He got my phone number somehow and was calling it, threatening me and Neil. It got pretty serious.
She started showing up with a black eye and his name carved across her entire forearm Slayer style. I started carrying mace. She told him it was true that Neil and I had banged her(after him torturing her into saying it, obviously). It was not true. This made it worse.
This weird guy Shane that was always hanging around said if Dee came back again he’d have his cop brother go fuck with him off the books in uniform, but they disappeared. I was having a smoke 6 months later and the girl (also called Dee) came back all cleaned up. She gave me $20 that she owed me (not from herion just from me being a good person), and said he was in jail.
Tonight, Neil’s roommate Frank told me that Dee was trying to rent a room at his house last week. Frank said how Dee said he knew Neil when he mentioned him, and said that he still has beef with me. The roommate then called Neil, found out the story, and luckily did not give him the place or tell him where Neil lives.
Gutter punkest kid I have ever met. He had this friend named Sunny. They were in a weird Ricky vs Cory / Trevor type relationship where GG would just treat Sunny like total shit even tho GG was actually way smaller than she was. Super aggressive panhandler — he just demanded dollars from people walking down the street and got all up in their face about it. Played really good punk ukulele.
He always brought me a bunch of stolen shit as offerings or something. My favorite leather jacket I got from him. Got this really nice Tibetan jacket that I gave to a girl from BC cause I’m pretty sure he stole it from the store next to my work. He smoked a lot of meth and was shooting heroin.
He was always nice to me, but a superdick to everyone else. He had the Nomad punk symbol tatted on his face. Always wore these dirty overalls that were way too big for him. One time, he took them off to change and he was wearing really nice clothes underneath. Like fresh designer jeans and a white shirt. Totally bizarre.
I was nice to him so he was always loitering around my work, which yes, got bad, but I was so bored and my boss was never there so I didn’t care. One day he talked shit to the jerk food owner whose son was working with her (because he was on house arrest for like 15 B&E’s) and he punched GG Allen in the face or something, which was for the best probably, since he was really bateing out my scene. I was not there for that, but he never really came back afterwards.
The last time I saw GG, he had a bandage on his arm and he told me he dug into his arm to see the veins inside and had just got out of the hospital. I hope he is OK haven’t seen him around for a while.
Jess was a scavenger, always looking for roaches and butts in the park out back my work. She always wore this facemask thing like batman, I’m pretty sure she was actually a guy. Super introverted. Once I asked her where she got the mask and she said Thailand and I asked how long she was there for and she said, “I don’t remember.”
Adam and Lisa
Total scavenger hippies. Never slept in shelters. Never panhandled. Sometimes busked. Got like 14 g worth of roaches after a pot conference at the convention center. Always had drums and instruments and juggled and shit.
Nice homeless kid my age. Didn’t do drugs just wanted to do art and smoke pot and drink beer.
Dog food Dan
Homeless with his old three legged dog Goliath. Totally normal till he got drunk and then would be talking to himself, yelling for change at people that weren’t really there. Etc.
Hotsauce and Goblin
Rail riders. Got two puppies and left. Hotsauce returned six months later with one of the puppies grown into a huge dog and a hole an inch deep in the back of her head from a fight she and Goblin had in Vancouver or something.
9 years clean off smoking crack for 15 years before that (since he was 14) works for the Salvation Army men’s shelter now even tho he is technically banned from it as a client. Never ending chain smoking tales of smoking crack in Toronto and squeege punk life.
The Sandwich Lovers
One day this sandwich place had just moved in. Squeege and I were standing around talking shit. These two guys came in and start yelling at the sandwich place owners, a father and son.
They take it out into a vacant stall in front of my booth. “We are going to come to your house,” they were yelling at the dad. “We are going to make your dad our bitch,” they yelled at the son.
Me and Squeege went over there and pushed them out of the building telling them to fuck off.
That Saturday one of the guys came back, with a girl this time. The sandwich place was closed on the weekends. The guy was asking me when they were open next and trying to tell me next time he came in I better not touch him or he would call the cops.
“Call the cops,” I told him. “You were threatening them in my workplace making a scene. Call the cops right now.” He told me they were creditors which seemed suspicious.
They left and I never saw them again.
19 years old single mother on welfare pregnant with second baby from two different asshole dads. One homeless kid who fucked off, and one 40 year old guy who just got out of jail. She’s a good mom tho.
Was totally set up. She had this inheritance and a nice place, but terrible social anxiety. In the brief time I knew her, while she was pregnant she sent basically all her money to this guy who lives in Mexico, who had already beaten her, thinking she was going to go move in with him. I don’t think she went.
My age. Homeless meth smoker, but always looked good / clean and you could never tell he was homeless or on meth till after a couple days on a bender and then he would get super paranoid.
Homeless punk with his dog Ray. I befriended him. We drank beer and chilled out. Some times i’d sit with them while Neil panhandled and his dog Ray got tones of sloppy love from drunk girls. I let him stay at my place to have somewhere to leave his dog while he looked for a job when I went to Burning Man. I got back and he had a job as a bike messenger and a place of his own. Now he has an even better place with a huge backyard for Ray. We became good friends.
Once, someone stole Ray while Neil was sleeping on the street. He long boarded through the city for 3 hours zig zag pattern and found the guy with Ray. The guy had taken his collar, tags and leach off, and had him tied with shoelaces in a slipknot around Ray’s neck.
He showed up at my house around 6:30 am with Ray, I’m unsure to this day if he killed the bastard.
Was the guitar player In this band the Killer Wards that hit it kind of big but he got charged with attempted murder or something on someone who he said sexually assaulted someone he knew, he lost it all and was outed from the band.
He got shot once while I knew him. Hit with a stray bullet while standing in a bar and was so drunk he didn’t realize what happened. Went home and woke up covered in blood. Still didn’t go to the hospital until he collapsed on the street.
If it had been an hour longer he would have died from lead poisoning. I saw the bullet hole a couple days later. His lung also collapsed twice in the time I knew him.
Gwardo is a much older bike messenger. He’s the type of guy you might see with like, barbie strapped to his handle bars or wearing a santa hat or something. He is like the dad of all the bike messenger kids and always lends them money and helps them whenever he can even though he is super broke too. He has all these gwardisms such as calling beer ‘barley soup’ or saying things like ‘all the ganja is gonorrhea when the weed is gone or saying ‘those goddamn racists’ reffering to bike messenger race participants and so on. He’s always friendly, always has beers and native ciggarettes to share, and works really hard. He’s just a good guy.
Paul worked at this bakery that moved in near the end of this era of my life. One day he dissapeared, and the next day the jerk food lady told me he was on TV and was sentanced to five years in prison for a DUI he had from 2 years ago, when he was only 19. He tore his SUV into 3 separate pieces and killed his passenger.
He looked like an Armani model and I worry how he is doing in there….
The park I worked in front of was a notorious crack park until the Safe Streets Act came into the city 10 or so years ago says Squeege. Not like it used to be anymore, but it was still a hub for shifty characters for sure.
The building I worked in was originally a chicken slaughter house. The floors were slanted so the blood could roll down into drains in the floor. Sometimes late at night you would swear you heard the cluck cluck clucking of chicken ghosts.
After that it was a dive food stand place for many years, but just before I started working there they renovated it, and jacked up rent cost so high that no one could afford to set up shop In there anymore.
There was only one other stand for the first year I worked there and by the time I left there was only four booths total. I had total freedom. The place looked abandoned all the time and that is why we eventually went under. No one ever came in.
– Nebraska Thunderfuck XoXo
*Names and street name changed to protect the not so innocent