Saturday, June 16, 2012
but really, I'm still on board
My apologies to Gma Mary for the language used in this post...
The prevailing theme of the last few months has been that meaningless bullshit without an overarching coherent story is just meaningless bullshit. Meaningless bullshit, however, which is part of a larger, meaningful story or sequence of events, becomes much more than mere shit. By which I mean to say, it is not the events themselves that matter, but rather the larger context in which they occur. I did not understand this well enough in high school, where there was so much that was clearly irrational bullshit. It was not the bullshit that mattered, despite what you would have been lead to believe from industrial media, Disney, etc.
Being here we are obliged to take part in bullshit so much weirder and more absurd than anything we've experienced in the States, but it all becomes important when it is felt to be part of a meaningful, overarching story of Peace Corps service. Though I'm still in the thick of the story of my Peace Corps service, the logic to the plot has gone out the window and the bullshit is now so obviously vacous and banal.
Maybe this is true for literature and art as well... the artist must present the mundane as existing within an onverarching story that is compelling. I like to think that the job of the artist is to show us why our mundane everyday lives are beautiful. Perhaps the way he does that is to invent a compelling story (just with colors and tones, perhaps) that gives meaning and beauty to our bullshit.
One of the hopes of cross cultural imersion is that enough meaningful bullshit piled up can create meaning ex nhilio, from nothing. I think it can work... I am thinking of a compost heap that creats highly enriched soil from a pile of trash or, of manure itself which is so valuable as a fertilizer. That is what I have to believe, to an extent anyhow, if the remainder of my service is going to be anything more than a melancholic counting of the days. That meaining can arise from meaninglessness; that shit piled up can fertilize new growth.