Scathing Randomness

Cos subtlety and order can only get you so far

Baa

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Did you know that no foreign land army has ever managed to conquer Afghanistan over a long period of time? Like, ever? You’d think this would cause prospecting invaders to stop and think for a moment, but noo. After all, history always repeats itself, but I’m exempt. I’m the historical exception. I’m right. Those guys listened to the wrong prophet, they got their gods all mixed up, and they’re going to hell for that.

And what’s wrong with that? Everybody’s stuck in their own lives, in their own little pockets of humanity at the edge of everyone elses. Living out their brief brief lives in their small, small worlds. Even with the supposedly unlimited connectivity given to us by our social media shepards, there are only so many other sheep in the flock we can identify. So we kill one another to make ourselves feel special and to get more of that sweet sweet grass. Yummy.

We’re doomed little things. Doomed doomed doomed.

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Written by unsarcasm

April 12, 2013 at 3:44 am

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Magic

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As I grew up, I realized the more and more magic disappeared from my life. With the onset of adulthood and the dissolution of teen drama, romance, and ideals, certain things I held dearly and never thought I’d let go started evaporating, out of my clenched hands, so to speak. Certain things I took to be constants, sacred beliefs. And what’s magic, “the glow”, if not the belief that there’s something beyond you? That some things are untouchable and have been so since the beginning of time, but lie outside its flow. Indeed, from the very realm of material existence. Art, music, love, god if you believe in that kind of thing. That we mortals are merely vessels, chosen by magic to express their ways in our feeble methods to the best of our capabilities.

As our brain resolves its miswired connections, becomes permanent, so do our concepts of life. Ideals are eroded as soon as we touch them. Isn’t it funny? With enough contemplation, we suddenly make out what we previously thought to be superficial distinctions between things. Colours, the sky, songs, suddenly take on different meanings when you’re miserable enough. And these distinctions once again blur together once you’re over it. And that, at least to me, feels a bit like magic disappearing. Because, oddly enough, there’s only one form of happiness, whereas there are a multitude of tones and hues to misery.

And yet, you realise, once the glow is gone, you’re still alive. You’re still breathing. You have no choice to live on, once that magic is gone. It’s hard, sometimes. I cling on to these beliefs, these things I believe to be sacred, inviolate. But, god, is it hard.

The Microphones – The Glow, pt. 2
I took my shirt off in the yard,
No one saw that the skin on my shoulders was golden,
Now it’s not, the shirt’s back on, I forgot my songs, the glow is gone
My gliding body’s stopped.
I cannot get through September without a battle,
I faced death, I went in with my arms swinging,
But I heard my own breath and had to face that I’m still living,
I’m still flesh, I hold onto awful feelings,
I’m not dead, there’s no end, my face is red,
My blood flows harshly
My heart beats loudly
My chest still draws breath
I’m buoyant, theres no end

Written by unsarcasm

July 14, 2011 at 4:45 am

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“My ambition is held back only by my laziness”

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If only it were possible to expend you energy, your whole being, your overwhelming passion in a single moment. To pour over that object of affection in a flash of light. To realize the vision, the idea, and be done with it. For god knows I’m inconsistent and impulsive in my pursuits, yet god knows how much at any given moment I’d jump for it.

If only you could love someone infinitely in a instant, and have it linger on forever. If only you could learn everything there is to learn in a heartbeat, and never forget it. If only the value lay not in the journey, but in the destination. For I’d be none the better for it, but I’d be satisfied, fulfilled, for sure.

If only I had to fight for my life just once, and not have to fight again. Oh it’d be an epic fight, I’m told.

Or would it burst, instead? Implode not into a flash of light, but a singularity, a black hole?

Written by unsarcasm

June 21, 2011 at 4:26 am

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5 tips to living with yourself

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1. Accept that you’re a hypocrite.
2. Accept that you’re a selfish asshole.
3. Learn to laugh at yourself.
4. Accept that you’ll grow old.
5. Accept that you’re all you have.

note: for those of you who don’t hate yourselves, refer to points 3 and 4. They’re universally applicable.

Written by unsarcasm

April 10, 2011 at 4:31 am

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3 Poems

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3 poems written for a creative writing class (which I mistook for a literary criticism class). I’m afraid I’m no poet, so I can’t attest to the value of these things, but I did put in quite some time and effort in their writing, so here goes nothing.

Hening

Ada hening
Di lekukan biru, gelap, kelabu,
Di simpangan pasir, langit, dan deru,
Di kekosongan  malam, membuta, mendiam,
Di jejak cahaya yang merayap sepi
Menjlajahi pundakmu

Kutersesat dalam raungan semesta

Ada hening
Di desahan peluh, hangatmu, tubuhmu,
Di lengkungan asap, melayang, menyatu,
Di kelelahan hari, terluka, dan tenggelam,
Di biasan terang yang terkurung terhenti
Dalam kusut rambutmu

Bandung, 26/2/11

Masih

Kita masih mencaci maki dunia,
Hanya tak selepas dulu,
Terus merangkul kesepian kita,
Hanya tak seerat lalu

Dan masih terhisapku oleh arus waktu,
Tertahan, terpukau menentang aliran laju,
Dan terus tersesatku dalam lautan masa,
Tak tahu ke mana atas dan ke mana bawah

“Suaramu berubah.”
“Memang selalu begitu.”

Malam ini kurindu semua yang bisa dirindu,
Sesamudra, dalam tak bertepi,
Atau mungkin ini kan berlalu,
Embun di jendela, kenangan menyelimuti

Bandung, 10/3/11

[untitled]

Ku berjalan lurus,
Yang kulewati lingkaran,
Ku berbelok kiri,
Keramaian terbentang,
Merapat ku ke tembok,
Kau selimuti nyaman,
Berdiam ku di tempat,
Yang kau sodorkan Tuhan,
Menengokku ke belakang,
Yang kurasa penyesalan,
Memandang ku ke depan,
Kau beri kematian,
Ke tanah ku berpijak,
Kuinjak kegetiran,
Ke langit ku menggapai,
Yang kugenggam kehampaan

Apa yang kau mau?
Apa yang kau mau?

Bila memang ku datang sendiri,
Biar kupilih kapan ku pergi.

Bandung, 8/4/11

Written by unsarcasm

April 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm

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On writing

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A good creator is someone with:

1. The gift of expression

2. Ideas to express, or The weight of depression.

To me creation is the ultimate form of appreciation. Something beyond our selves, our feeble existences and lifespans. Everyone (‘s genes) seeks immortality in some form, be it through their descendants, or through their creations. Everyone wants to be remembered. The latter method suits my style better, I guess since I’m such a selfish, egotistic bastard (what can I say?). The urge to create and procreate, and the urge to rebel against it is something I’ll keep for another time.

What does it take to write, synthesize, create? Anyone can take a couple of random chords, string them together, and put a melody on top of it. What makes some people better at it? So let’s say someone listens to a fuckload of music. Being a musically gifted person, s/he is able to, after the first few original songs, string together a complete song, based on the synthesis of the thousands of bands s/he’s listened to. Take another person, who isn’t musically gifted, but is intense and emotional, using music as an outlet for the many things s/he can’t express fully through words. Who’ll write the better song?

I think that to be a creator, a good writer in a broad sense (scientists, engineers are included), you need to have the ideas and the passion, the ‘voice’ to drive you to express, and the ability to do so. The first person above would be an example of a person without the ideas but with the ability of expression, and the second person the opposite. You have to be restless, unique, and you have to be talented. The very best writers and creators are those with these characteristics. They’re who I’d label geniuses.

The gift of expression isn’t so much a gift as it is an ability, as it can and should be practiced, honed, and perfected. They’re our basic tools in our chosen fields of creation and I’m guessing you have to have some sort of talent to build upon in the first place. 10000 hours is supposedly the amount of time needed to perfect your craft, though this ‘info’ was taken from a somewhat dodgy book. 10000 hours of guitar-playing, drawing, upholstering furniture, solving mathematical problems, designing interiors, coding, dancing, and so on and so forth. The ‘tools of the trade’ I call them. The techniques, built over time and our collective knowledge throughout civilization of building houses, writing songs, etc. The things we learn in school and we infer from our experience.

The ideas, the restlessness, I think, is pretty much innate, or at the very most the product of your upbringing and youth. I think most artists are terrified of losing the restlessness that once pervaded them to age, recognition, and security. I know I am (ha ha). This is the tricky part, and is often subject to mystification and other such shit. Depression and tragedy make great stories. People love this kind of shit. Also, imbuing age old techniques with your own personality isn’t something that can be learned, at least I don’t think so. (There’s a reason literature courses usually teach criticism and not creative writing.) It’s also partly the reason why I don’t want to go to music school (the other part of the reason is that I’m not good enough).

At the very summit, where it’s a given that everyone is a master of their craft, the determining factor, I feel, is your ‘voice’, your take on things. The way you see the world in a way no one else does, and the way you ‘sing’ it. Perhaps in the form of a certain way of daubing your paint on the canvas, or certain chord progressions. I get the feeling that scientists and theories are somehow related, but have so far been unable to reach a satisfying analogy. Skill and ability are necessary but insufficient.

I realize there are still holes in my reasoning regarding this matter, probably cos I haven’t bothered to clearly define the assumptions and parameters involved. I’ll get around to doing it some other time. Hopefully, though, this’ll be enough for some food for thought.

Written by unsarcasm

March 30, 2011 at 12:58 am

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It’s all about the tension

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Ok I’m back on the proverbial armchair to philosophize some more.

Build-up and release.

Maybe it’s just one of those things, like how 4/4 comes so naturally to us, or how mountain panoramas make us think of god (hah), but restraint and release comes naturally to most people.

I guess when I put it that generally it comes off as being obvious. What I mean is, restraint and release leads to emotional satisfaction and resolution. The vulgar example is of course masturbation, but this is actually widely applicable, people. Instead of getting straight to the point (emotionally), holding back and letting that emotion stir and fuck you up inside before finally letting it out when you can withstand it no longer feels more satisfying (more so if it’s on someone’s face).

Firstly, in music. The whole genre of post-rock is built around this premise. (By post-rock I actually mean Mogwai and its derivatives.) Long build-ups of pretty little phrases slowly gaining in speed and momentum are supposed to be symptoms of restraint. “God I feel so effed up but I’ll just keep this to myself. It’s cooler that way.” Before the song explodes into huge reverb-laden chunks of distortion and colourful shit. In truth, they aren’t building upon much. The initial phrases they build upon are rarely anything special. I imagine countless guitarists are doodling over their frets this very moment looking for post-rock phrases. It’s an analogy to the human conditioin, really, in its dramatization of the mundane.

Post-rock may be the extreme example, but think about it and you’ll realize most great pop songs have some hint of restraint and release. Take Me Out with its down-strumming first half builds up tension till it’s released in its funky second half. Killing in the Name with its (relatively) restrained verse and chorus transitioning to its shattering final cry of “motherfffffucccker”. Paranoid Android with its long meandering upward melodies breaks down into its unnatural, schizophrenic guitar solo. And so on and so forth. There is of course music that is just about restraint (ambient music) and release (grindcore) but even there restraint and release is still needed to lend the song some dynamics.

Tension, restraint, and release, ultimately, is about dynamics. And life is dynamic.

Books and movies. Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro, is perhaps *the* book that taught me about restraint and release. Restraint 99 parts and release 1 part. But boy what a climax. Before Sunset. Restraint in what is left unsaid and what bubbles up from what is unsaid. Incredible movie.

Music, art, books, movies. Essentially it’s all just a reflection of human emotion (arguably). Maybe unrequited love is just a case of people enamored by the whole concept of restraint and release? The idea that feelings that are withheld and left to fuck with your mind will lead to some extreme happiness or closure once they are released or satisfied? In truth it can be fought. Love can be fought. You can learn not to love somebody. But people just choose not to, despite what it does to their metabolism.

Mind games. The Chase. You could just get straight to the point and tell them you like them, would you please go out with me. But does it ever happen that way? Why not, if you obviously have chemistry and are honest about your feelings? Yeah, cos people like playing the game. The build-up is exciting, adrenaline (and testosterone) inducing, and it makes the final admission all the much sweeter. In truth, you’re probably 20, you’re not gonna get married, and it’s probably not l*ve. Glorification of the mediocre.

Well, we all lead boring lives so might as well forgive ourselves.

 

 

Written by unsarcasm

March 21, 2011 at 4:54 am

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