What you believe matters, however. It’s all anyone has to act on. And since what you do is who you are, your actions define you. If you don’t believe anything is true simply because you can’t logically prove what’s true, you won’t do anything. You won’t be anything. You’ll end up spending your life in a rocking chair looking out at the horizon waiting for an answer that never comes. You might as well be dead. It’s an old philosophical problem.
Russell Banks, Lost Memory Of Skin
This is a new painting I’m working on. The pencils were done in January, but have sat on my shelf, patiently waiting for my confidence to catch up with my ambitions. I’ll post more updates over the next few weeks as I work on the canvas, and hope to have it finished before the end of May.
Soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions, and abstractions. Simple free being becomes encrusted with the burdensome armor of the ego. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, we become seekers.
The author of those words died last weekend. His writings, and his perspective on the world, have helped change my life in a way that’s still not clear to me, but what is understood is that fact that we must never give up seeking, and if we never find that which we think we are looking for, it doesn’t really matter. What’s important is what is disovered along the way, while you were looking for what you thought matters most.
Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death–ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life.
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time