FalsisMODE: The Compassionate Lifestyle

por: Joe Leon

Okay, aquí es que se pone mi falsisMODO un poco contradictorio, sin embargo, entiendo que lo paradójico es esencial en la formulación de nuestro enfoque, porque separa a los que son capaces de discernir aspectos serios de la Verdad de los que se conforman con los aspectos superficiales y estéticos. Si, admito que estoy en medio de una dinámica superficie/estética vs. esencia/ética pero ya verán que lo resuelvo muy al estilo salomónico, si se me permite jactarme bíblicamente. Empecemos pues……ah, y creo que escribiré en inglés en esta ocasión, lo prometido es deuda.

falsisMODE#11: The Compassionate Lifestyle
“If you’re going to break the law you better be honest…”

The hardest choice a person can make comes at a very pivotal moment in his or her life, the transformation from innocence to adulthood. This moment can never be chosen, it just happens, and there’s no way to establish a pattern between one person or the other, because it happens at different points of each of our lives. Please, I know so far it sounds like a self-help kind of thought, but it’ll only reach a darker plane of concepts before you get any advice on how to triumph over trauma, because the point of it all is to embrace trauma. In mythology, this moment is called The Rite of Passage and throughout the stories of the planet and its many heroes no single Rite of Passage has ever been observed or described objectively, and there’s a reason for it. This moment, when we make the crucial choice is the moment in our lives in which we are stimulated the most because we discover a kind of power but we cannot control it. Many things happen in this moment which leaves us out of control: we learn that we may know more than our parents, we are conscious of other communities’ impact on ours, we realize our mortality, we lose body parts, the world gets smaller or bigger, or what have you. It is a sudden terrible slash of a moment in which some people describe some sort of veil as being undone, while others testify the contrary, that a certain darkness shrouds their former pure senses. Most of the time, after the short moment has passed, we mostly can’t remember it, as if it were one of those strange episodes of adventure stories in which the character is thrust through a series of hellish challenges only to wake up as if nothing had happened. But the truth is that our lives are not the same anymore, even if our personal surface is still the same. So what are the choices themselves? How many are there? Here it goes…

There are two choices. Yes, I know that in our jaded age we are bored by the old grand narratives of conflict between two opposing sides, but really, that’s all there is to life and it has nothing to do with wanting to subscribe to a dualist philosophy or a binary understanding of the machine of reality. It is a simple common sense, which should never be disreputed or underestimated: you can only either do something or not. That’s it. Within its essence it’s not even about ethics, it’s about the actuality of the world or, in other words, as a Buddhist would tell you, it’s about the world of action and how we are undeniably borne into it. We are borne into action and we will always do something: breathing, thinking, walking, talking, being, etc.. However, in the case of making choices, actions are understood through a different perception, let’s say a more scientific one. In science, everything is understood as related to something else: speed in relation to distance, volume in relation to space, and so on. Without a relationship, none of these concepts could ever possibly be understood. So when it comes to choices, actions are understood as cause in relation to its effect. Hahah, you had to know it was gonna boil down to this. In this sense, sure, we may always be doing something(breathing, thinking, yada-yada…), but if we don’t choose or control our actions then we aren’t really doing anything. This is the old conundrum of the bumbling fool who somehow is able to dodge attacks, not because he wants to, but because of his bumblingness. Is he really dodging his attacks or has he merely stopped being the one in control, giving way to chance to dictate his future. Oh, when the dust is cleared and the bumbling fool stands up oblivious of what has transpired he’ll swear it was all him, but we know better, which is what’ll make the whole scene comedic. Another way to understand this strange manner of acknowledging action is through the basic discourse of war: if you retain yourself from joining the fray you’re not really making a choice, you are distancing yourself from the choices and therefore you’re doing nothing, and in terms of ethics as understood through politics and religion, doing nothing is worse than killing.

So coming back to our moment, our Rite of Passage, we have two choices that seem too subtle when put into contrast with the fear, the hatred, the overjoy, the pain, or the satisfaction of the moment. We are in the middle of a deep rapture of which no one else may be informed of, and we can only guide ourselves ever so discreetly towards one way or the other. We either do something or we don’t. In this overflowing state previous to our choice we are the most aware of our surrounding, of ourselves, of everything that is, which is why at the same time, we are the most blind towards everything that is not. Sounds like a stupid and pretentious thing to say, but think about it: there are concepts that we hold as non-existent (or rather we just not hold them in any manner or shape) that can affect us, for example, the concepts held by other people brought up in a standard different to ours. We can never share this moment with anyone even if a person causes it or we cause it upon someone. It is the most internal of processes, completely selfish and tyrannical. By now, you may be able to keep describing the nature of this moment all by yourself and coming up with more details about it, so I’ll just move along to the effects of the choices through the use of a more personal and material vehicle.

The most painful thing I have ever done in my life is choosing the compassionate lifestyle because what I’ve actually done is surrendering myself to the cruelties of nature. I have to ignore competition, I somehow have to ignore regrets and most of all, I have to give my other cheek when I’m struck, despite any power or control I may have at one point or another in my life. It all sounds very heroic and romantic, but I assure you it is not, and I knew it wasn’t when I made the choice. There is nothing appealing about heroes, honestly, I think they spoil the people. I am interested in heroes because they are the most bizarre creatures in the mythological hierarchy of our civilization; they are no more than shiny catalysts determined by the moments on which they must function as opposed to being determined by themselves, as the rest of us must do. In other words, heroes have no choice; they are a choice (or rather a fragment of it), which is the one opposite to the choice of a compassionate lifestyle. This opposing lifestyle can be known as the passionate one. It is the choice, which is more immediate in its effects; it is profoundly connected to our emotions (external) than our feelings (internal). When the moment hits us, we are either fearful or understanding, and depending on the choice we make– whether we will lead a compassionate or passionate lifestyle–we shall carry that fear or understanding either as a curse or as a blessing. See, dualism is not as simple as contemporary intellectuals would tell you.

In my case, learning to understand certain things made me fearful, so I’d say it’s possible to have a dose of both conditions at the same time. I chose to be compassionate because I want to share my fears and understanding with others and in this day and age it causes me pain, because we live in a traumatic world in which nobody is really interested in other people’s experiences. With so much conflict being projected at us either through the war experience, economics or the growing televised vision of the world it is safe to say that we are living in passionate times. Thus, the most cost-effective choice is to lead a passionate life, apparently. I’m sorry I don’t get into specifics or try to exhibit as many material examples as a Marxist would, you should figure out this is also a characteristic of leading a compassionate life. What concerns me the most is the very essence and nature of things that is questioned heavily by the passionate community. In religious terms, I’m concerned with God, not his existence. I do not seek to distance things, to undo them or separate them, rather discover the inherent bonds between everything. Instead of a relativist, I’m a relationist. I do not bother discerning on whether things are true or false, I worry on the fact that both instances may come from the same place and will affect me.

In Hindu, the concept of discriminating discernment is called viveka. That is also the name of a very beautiful girl I met some years ago whom called me an anarchist on the first moments we met. I haven’t seen her in a long time and I truthfully regret(and that goes against my nature), that I never got to talk to her about all of this and how important at least her name was to my life. Then again, maybe that’s part of being a compassionate person, one is always laid back and doesn’t always take full advantage of monumental occasions, quite frankly, because one is so taken by the distracting feelings. Her presence demonstrated to me that I lacked a very important tool in my life, and that was precisely her namesake.

In conclusion, the moral of this whole thing is that we should make choices for which we believe we can stick by even if we’re not prepared. As we grow, we learn that some choices are much more organic and therefore much more compatible with ourselves than others. Personally, falsisMODE, I believe, is the most organic choice to be made by an artist in our era because it entails an understanding on the emptiness of authorship, history and commerciality. The art market compels art to eat itself, to be entertaining and to stop relating to its former relatives religion and science. falsisMODE compels the artist to understand this: that even though we are sitting in front of a computer, a car, or standing in a conveyor belt, or in front of a holographic projection, we are causing ourselves to suffer through artificial complexities only to remain in the same place:

“Here is the cave and here is the projection. I, who am standing, is the one who holds the truth, so you listen.”

True revolution is this: “There is no need for any truth other than compassion.”
Hope I’ve bothered some of you, as I understand I may have caused more problematics than settled. As some of you may choose to disagree with some of the things I’ve written, I expect I’ll have to deal with not so much your opinions but those you’ve either read or heard about. I want to completely and sincerely apologize for all the parts that seem very pretentious about my writing, I can’t help it. Just understand that my deepest preoccupation was saying the things that I said, not seem cool coz I said them.

With that in mind, um, I don’t know, do whatever you want! ¡Que viva el rock and roll!

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