LIFE IS A DESIRE, NOT A MEANING: an addendum to “On the Foundations of Green Acting”

Life is desire to create life, to proliferate, to be alive; to encroach upon nothingness and to exceed beyond death. Meanings are variables. With a disposition of openness meanings remain questionable—Socratic. Because we endanger life when the imposition of meaning becomes extravagant and overruns the vital dynamic of desire.

For example: If the meaning of life is assumed to be the earning of money for the consuming of material goods, quantitatively and with increasing velocity, and this meaning tends toward establishment as a governing absolute, then existence becomes increasingly boxed in, cut off, out of balance—obsessive, dysfunctional, denatured, finally pathological. The organic connections between unity and desire are lost, as both pathos and passion are denied. Cumulatively, protracted denial results in atrophy; a social normalcy of boredom, suppressed anxiety, addictive behaviors and docility.

Romantic artists at onset of the industrial era foresaw such developments and countered with an aesthetic focusing on nature’s sublimity, the irrational and individualism as a model of bohemian rebellion. These characteristics, in part, provided content for the character type of the American hippie.

The green troubadour of the new millennium as neo-romantic and more so as eco-shaman—a renaissance-style new culture carrier—requires a discipline to create acts of beauty that is far more fluidic, subversive, re-directional, transformative, and communal. The goal of such fluidity is to develop integrity as a protean resourcefulness to shift, through empathetic imagination, into multiple life forms, life possibilities, and thereby elude the degrees of death, decay and paralytic terror. The goal of subversion is to subvert what is shallow and exploitative in favor of what is deep and embracing; to subvert the interlinked cults of narcissism, greed and violence for the liberating cultivation of a peaceful, healing personhood; an eco-self renewing life within a green culture within a sustainable civilization. The goal of redirection is through compassionate denouncement of the degrees of death and the further normalization of ennui and terror and into compassionate affirmation of the peaceful warrior and healed healer as transnational role model, and of the foregoing green culture and sustainable civilization. The goal of transformation is from sickness to health, from modern madness to a workable alchemy of tested and combined primitive and post-modern sanity. The goal of the communal is, at last, a shift toward world citizenship, a locally inclusive commensality and an experience evolving biotic democracy.

To bring to mind the amazing dictum of Thomas Berry, the great work before us is the mission to “reinvent the human at the species level.” The task is prodigious, a challenge suspended between renaissance and oblivion, and cannot look for success of this urgent mission impossible except through global democratization—a democratization which rejects bohemian elitism and the effete, along with our current indulgence in inflationary narcissism. But a movement of rebellion that begins in an awakening of mutuality and grows outward from the common ground of pluralistic planetary realities. For example: The wretched, humanity’s impoverished majority, cannot be educated in the sacredness of life so long as their own lives subsist on the edge of extinction. Nor can they be guided toward reverence, into the way of peacemaker and Earth healer, so long as they are offered only breadcrumbs and slavery, not bread and freedom.

The hour is very late. And, because of confusion and indulgence, the drama unfolds presently between the absurd premise of action without hope and astonishing acts—perhaps contagious, inspirational acts—of an impossible possibility. The cornerstones of which may await application through such simple, powerful terms in praxis as “come down, stop, let be, yes, no, reconnect.”

So come now, ask this: What does the desire of life say to you? Ask deeply. Wait for the depth of silence to open. Listen carefully. My personal response to the question sounds something like the following: I desire to be as alive in life as possible for as long as possible, to remain rooted and growing. To be mindful, soulful,; a careful listener, a careful watcher. To belong. To be at peace. To be free. To spontaneously respond with acts of creative beauty to the creative beauty encompassing and engaging me—that I am integrally a part of.

Now ask as well: How many truly live within the desire of life? How many exist entrapped in a meaning that betrays life, betrays the living, the transhuman and threatens to condemn the Earth?

David Sparenberg
15 May 2011

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