Memento Mori

Thursday 14 June 2012

You know, it really doesn't pay to trust people who are "up" all the time.  Or who insist on always looking on the bright side of life.  That doesn't ring true to me.  It feels like they're lying.  Or at least that they're hiding their less pretty sides. 

Sometimes I think that people who insist on always looking at the bright side are really in denial and terrified of what they may find if they go scrabbling around in their own closets.  Sometimes people who don't wanna go down are suffering from one of the diseases pertinent to our culture - the sort of excessive hubris that automatically comes after a while when you're up too long.  It starts to feel illegal to go down in a death-denying culture which insists that you must be always up, and that if you go down we'll medicate you.

That's insane.  That's like being a parent and allowing a red lemonade-drinking child to have as much as they want and to stay up for as long as they want.  Who isn't allowed to see dead Uncle Fred in the front parlour because that's too scary for children.  (But then what kid would see dead Uncle Fred anyway these days?  We secrete him away before he can give the game away.  Chances are Uncle Fred will wait out his closed-casket funeral in a funeral home.

It doesn't pay to shield ourselves from the dark, simply because we'll always be afraid of it.

When you are down, there are no end of advisers on hand to recommend how to change your viewpoint,  your habits, your diet, to quite simply harden the fuck up.

But no.  When you fight tooth and nail not to come to the dark place like I consistently do and consistently have, once you are here there is a clear-seeing that strikes you, that is beautiful in its starkness, so that you almost don't want to leave.  There is a space here and a silence that you wish to try to remember to take back with you when you swim back up to the surface.

You want to find a way to bring these anti-hubris eye drops back with you when you go back.  To remind you of that which you keep forgetting, that both sides of the coin belong. 

And that your sadness is beautiful. Though it not be sociable, or you be palatable when you are in that space.  That's okay.  Let it be.  Despite what anyone else may say, your sadness and your darkness is a holy space.  It is sometimes best to walk the holy and dark space in your own solitude.  It's okay.

I think this is why people have skulls on their desks.  It is a reminder of the darkness, of that which is not able to be seen when you are in the light.  Memento mori - remember that you shall die.  It's not really as morbid as we've been led to believe. 


  1. "It feels like they're lying."  They are. Being sad once in a while is healthy, just like the earth needs winter and summer, we need sadness and happiness. 

  2. I agree.  I also think some people are very wounded and it's right for them to often be sad - it just might not seem that way to those on the outside.  But I think many winter seasons need to be lived in the midst of some wounds, and there's no bad in that, regardless again of what the culture or other people might say or how ugly it seems on the outside :)

    Oh, and BTW, I realised before that I used your name in your blog.  Are you wanting to keep it anonymous?  If so, let me know and I will come and delete my comment and write another one.

  3. With you all the way, Sue. The Black Sun is a priceless jewel, illuminating much with its myriad facets. (Despite appearances, I'm definitely not 'up' all the time, by the way:))

  4. I like the way you put that, Harry.  It is a rather interesting jewel isn't it, shining in the dark like it does.  It sort of makes me shivery - it changes the scope of everything.  Until I forget about it and need reminding again.

    You *do* seem a little like you're "up" all the time, Harry - but that's seen through my own rather defensive and distorted lens.  I was going to say, "Thanks for sharing the fact that you're not always up" but then that didn't sound quite right!  :)

  5. Depression's been my black sun in the past, Sue. It's shown me great riches, and continues to do so. And I find I'm never harmed by its curious rays, but rather deepened, opened up, hollowed out of all the illusion. Then joy springs up from nowhere... Now Here... And without 'down', how can there be 'up'?:) It is all most Rich, and greatly to be valued.

  6.  Ahh, see, that's very cool.  I must take a leaf out of your book then.  I tend to resist it, and we both know how pointless that is. 

    Curious rays.  Yes :)

  7. Mine the depths, Sue. Thar's gold in them thar hills. How many deeply creative folks have been there, and produced sublime things?:)


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