I am emptied out and have little to offer anyone these days. A tap on my chest and I would ring like a cask—of course, no one will be allowed close enough for something like that until further notice.
This time it has consumed me and I am become the void. I haven’t embraced it like a Buddhist; it’s just swallowed me. I feel nothing. I am nothing. I want nothing. I eat and sleep—read a little, watch television—I’ve barely left my apartment in almost a week.
The only music I can listen to lately is by people like Steve Reich and Robert Rich—minimalism and trances and drones. I am especially craving drones—big warm sheets of sound. The more challenging minimalism is still almost too much for me—Reich’s “It’s Gonna Rain” left me rocking back and forth in my chair like I had autism.
I have nothing to offer you kids—instead, here’s William Carlos Williams’ “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus”—a poem that captures the spirit of my failure.
According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring
a farmer was ploughing
the whole pageantry
of the year was
the edge of the sea
sweating in the sun
the wings' wax
off the coast
a splash quite unnoticed
Today, I believe that my life is best described in terms of decline. Entropy. In thermodynamics, they talk about entropy in terms of heat and pressure and the energy available to do work. In human society, entropy refers to the inevitable and steady deterioration of a system. Entropy can also refer to the loss of information in a transmitted message. All definitions of entropy lead to the same end however: inert uniformity—the downward spiral of all matter and energy in the universe to flat-line.
Yeats once wrote that “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” All things—lives, thoughts, hopes, dreams, plans, possessions, homes—die and rot and crumble and vanish. Everything we’ve known and clung to eventually disappears.
Buddhists try all their lives to embrace this impermanence. Chaos Theorists believe that all entropy in systems gives rise to new order in cycles we can only begin to imagine. The ugliness of decomposition leading to new life—a vibrant moss that grows on a corpse. Beauty can re-emerge continuously from deterioration—spontaneous and unforeseen order from the chaos.
Today, I can only see the decay and have no hope for new beauty.