Is there more to us than Thanatos? I believe there is. Art, medicine, literature tell me so. A little child’s laugh tells me so. The water against the waves does, too. But I also believe that we’ve been told for so long that there isn’t more to us than Thanatos — that all we are is little walking vessels of greed, rage, spite, and hate — that Thanatos is all we know how to be anymore. Let us, then, begin the difficult, beautiful work of discovering a greater truth about ourselves.
What is this reflective shield that can show us the danger without turning us to stone? What can open our hearts, without breaking them? What can replace paralyzing fear with a new vision of what is beautiful and possible? What can break the bonds of lies and denial? What can allow us “to see, to sing, to welcome with courage and grace and imagination, whatever asks entrance into our lives”? The words are from the poet, Jane Hirschfield.
There is a vast difference between going supine before one’s oppressors and surrendering to the vast, ineffable order of the heart of creation. The task is ongoing—and arduous, even, at times, terrifying. It involves a drowning—a baptism of sorts, but of the poetic (not fundamentalist) variety— a washing away of calcified habit and a rebirth by an immersion in the embracing waters of a larger order—one that is not defined by a compulsion for domination of the things of the world one cannot control.
Was Vincent “eccentric”? Is any of us eccentric when we allow ourselves to look and to see what is occurring on our planet? What happens to us when we do so? Certainly, we are called “troubled” or “mad” by some. But isn’t madness actually quite the opposite? Are we not “mad” or “troubled” if we do not allow ourselves to see? Does seeing really make us mad, or does it do something else?