Earlier today, I was thinking about apocalyptic moments. My life is teeming with those instances of surreal hyper-awareness. Visual stimuli, audio input, self-inflicted emotional strain, and the rhythmic oscillations of sinusoidal energy waves often overwhelm me. I've said before that my life is a perpetual existential crisis. Though a bit of an exaggeration, it's quite true.
Each day I feel as if I'm tumbling into the abyss, one calculated step at a time. Attempting to manipulate the unknown, fitfully at best, is all part of the plan. Oftentimes that mastery of mystery involves playing it safe, thus limiting opportunities for growth. I'm admittedly guilty of diverting down this path a bit too often. Though the past few years have shoved me tumultuously from my comfort zone on many occasions, though I've been completely transformed as a person, I've barely set foot into the elusive territory of self-actualization. I like to believe I'm heading in the right direction.
Recently, I've been thinking about that inexplicable, yet all too common scenario in which you willingly walk away from something that you actually want. It's perplexing and perturbing. However unsettling the moment is, the dust will inevitably settle and reveal some inherent truth. One of those truths is that the challenging and hard-to-understand periods in our lives do, in fact, serve some greater purpose. Cataclysmic calamities offer incredible profundity. Progress often stems from frustration. The painful past is intricately linked to the hope-filled future by the present moment.
Before we can find the answer – before we can even know the question – we must be immersed in disappointment.
-Jonah Lehrer, Imagine: How Creativity Works
I have a morbid imagination, and I've had a lifelong fascination with death and darkness. My dream job for most of my childhood was to examine the remains of decomposed and mutilated bodies as a forensic anthropologist (back before CSI). Before reaching middle school, I was deeply intrigued by stories of serial killers, such as Jeffrey Dahmer. (My parents were understandably worried.) I began my college career on course to become a neurological researcher and I've seen the Body Worlds exhibit three times so far. The body, mind, soul, existence, and post-existence are my favorite little medley of thought.
I've never feared death, but rather I've been enamored by the incomprehensible phenomenon, and the unanswerable question: What happens when we die? That falling off from one life into the next, that blissful transcendence. Death is the ultimate phantasmagorical exploration. I adore that contemplation and the unknowing.
“Death is the road to awe.”
- Darren Aronofsky, The Fountain