Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Me, Me, Me


"How could you be so, Doctor Evil...?"


I haven't downloaded purchased Kanye West's new album. I've been meaning to get around to it, but life has intruded.

But, his single is all over the place, and I've read enough reviews to get a general understanding of what the album entails. Fresh off critical acclaim for his first three albums, West has decided to take things in a different direction.

In short, Kanye is sad.

Now, seeing as how I haven't listened to the entire CD, it would be irresponsible and impossible for me to actually review it. But, I would like to discuss what appears to be one of its themes, romantic pain.

We've all been there. Heartbroken, sick, angry and, ultimately, sad. The truth is almost all of the romantic relationships we participate in are doomed to fail, yet, most of us truly believe that every person we profess our love to will be with us forever. It's a peculiar human delusion, most acutely found here in the good ole USA.

I was reminded of that delusion listening to Kanye's CD because not only does he appear to suffer from it, but the root cause of his delusion is also familiar.

Kanye loves him some him, and he can't understand why everybody else doesn't.

Does that sound familiar?

I was talking to a friend recently about how easy it is to fall in love with ourselves. Think about it. Which person do we spend the most time with, which person do we know the most about? Which person's motives are we most familiar with? Now, some people have serious issues about their weight, or skin color or anything that makes it seem like they don't love themselves. They might not love themselves as strongly as the rest of us, but there is still love there.

Truthfully, most of us love ourselves so that we're confused when other people don't reciprocate that love. More importantly, we can't understand why more people don't see the world the way we do, so that we could love them too.

Unfortunately, the world is not made up of me, or even a close facsimile of me. The world is made up of them, or rather a bunch of youse. That means that in order to find true happiness in love and in life in general, I need to sublimate a little of me, and embrace a little more of you. And that ain't easy.

For example, in Kanye's song, he spends a lot of time bemoaning how vindictive his former lover is, but very little time discussing what he did to bring out that side of her. I seriously doubt that she was some evil ice queen when he met her because it would be highly unlikely that he would fall so hard for her in the first place. See, Kanye, like most of us, is much more willing to gloss over his own personal imperfections because after all, he loves himself that much.

Love compels us to forgive and move on. Love forces us to see the best in people when logic would make us see the worst. How love does this, I'm not sure. Nobody is sure. But it happens every day. Personally, I think that once we stop thinking so highly of ourselves and our merits, once we understand that we possess flaws just like all the unsavory characters we despise, then it becomes easier to submit to love's healing balm. We don't have to love ourselves less to do this, but we do have to understand better why everybody else might not share our feelings.

One of the most difficult things in life is to truly see the world from a different perspective. It's a constant challenge and trial. And, unfortunately, there is no tangible reward once you develop the habit. There is no pot of gold, no magical angel wings. Instead, you'll just find other people's lack of empathy troubling and you will be less able to assimilate into society. Sure, you might feel better about your development as a human being, but that's a cold comfort indeed.

Ice Cold.

As I look back over this piece, I realize that it's pretty dreary. That wasn't my intention at, I just wanted to get some thoughts off my chest. Oh well, y'all are hardy folk.




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5 comments:

Clifton said...

“One of the most difficult things in life is to truly see the world from a different perspective. It's a constant challenge and trial. And, unfortunately, there is no tangible reward once you develop the habit. There is no pot of gold, no magical angel wings. Instead, you'll just find other people's lack of empathy troubling and you will be less able to assimilate into society. Sure, you might feel better about your development as a human being, but that's a cold comfort indeed.”

That is the truest statement I have read in a long time.

Lorraine said...

Damn. This is so true. Damn, damn, damn. But, what's the alternative? To assimiliate? I can't help but not seek truth, and the more you seek truth the more angry you become that others aren't seeking truth too.

I am a better person for seeking truth. But yes, I am a lonely person. In my "quest" I have lost friends who got angry at me for telling them truth, or I have gotten angry at their indifference to truth. I have a feeling that will be a trend throughout my life. But what's to be done? Once you know truth you can't go back. You see people and the world different forever.

In the end though, I don't want to go back. If I have to sacrifice a few friends to fight injustice, so what? People of color have had to sacrifce more, much more.

This is just a great post. Thank you for writing it.

Big Man said...

Once you know truth you can't go back. You see people and the world different forever.

This was a great response. It's like Morpheus and Neo. Once you're out of the Matrix, there is no way you can every return.

Damn, that was pretty nerdy.

Lorraine said...

@big man
LOL! Well, thankfully I have never seen that movie so the nerdiness is lost on me. ;)

Deacon Blue said...

Big Man, I didn't even find the last paragraph dreary, much less the post. Maybe it's because I'm reading it while in a fairly Christ-centered frame of mind, but I actually found it very comforting.

Raving Black Lunatic