A quote from one of my favorite movies, and books, Fight Club, has recently come back to mind.
“How Tyler saw it was that getting God's attention for being bad was better than getting no attention at all. Maybe because God's hate is better than His indifference. If you could be either God's worst enemy or nothing, which would you choose? We are God's middle children, according to Tyler Durden, with no special place in history and no special attention. Unless we get God's attention, we have no hope of damnation or redemption. Which is worse, hell or nothing? Only if we're caught and punished can we be saved.”
It’s a thought-provoking quote, and more to the point, it provoked thought in me about the way in which certain “celebrities” seem to conduct themselves these days. Read the quote and think of everyone as God, and these “celebrities” being Tyler Durden. Meaning, in the eyes of a “celebrity,” whose lifeblood is everyone’s attention, is it not better to garner everyone’s hatred and dislike than to garner everyone’s indifference? If we are indifferent to a celebrity, they will fade away into the ether. If we loathe them, and openly display our disdain, they still have their place at the table. They have, at the very least, not been forgotten.
Now, I don’t want to call these specific “celebrities” out by name. That would only feed into what they want. (I’m probably already giving them what them want, just by making you think about them). We all know who they are, these “celebrities” who make us wonder how they became famous in the first place. Every so often they do something inane and light up the internet for a week. We decry their behavior and lament the fact that we have to endure them, but we are the very thing keeping them in existence. We are playing the role of God in this charade, and we really need to stop.
I watched the 40th anniversary special of Saturday Night Live over the weekend, and something struck me as quite depressing. There were four musical acts chosen to perform for what was created to be a monumental television event. (That’s if I haven’t forgotten someone). Two were chosen because of how truly great their careers have been (Paul McCartney and Paul Simon). Additions obviously intended to add to the grandeur of the event. Yet, the two other acts were, relatively speaking, new, and I must say, nothing special. For a show that was honoring the very best of forty years of entertainment, it was bizarre to see two acts that I doubt will stand the test of time. (One of the acts didn’t even perform an original song). I know why modern musicians were chosen for an event geared to celebrate history. The show still needs its ratings, and so it has to at least try to interest all demographics, but the artists that were chosen were more famous for their “antics” than their art. I found it to be sad, and it’s our fault.
When these modern “celebrities” see the shine on their coats starting to fade, they simply make fools of themselves by doing the most outlandish thing they can think of. We all get together and talk, tweet, post and blog about it, (I’m guilty as well) and they regain their place among the stars. Albeit as the villain in the movie of life, but it’s still a prominent role. They play us perfectly, and we allow it to happen. We’ve become so good at giving them what they want, that they’ve managed to take a seat at the grandest of tables. Think about that: during a broadcast where the likes of some of the best entertainers of the last forty years were being celebrated, the imposter “celebrities” of the modern world were standing shoulder to shoulder with the greats. If that’s not tragedy, than I don’t know what is. Going back to the quote, we truly have chosen hate over indifference. That’s sad.
So, let’s help each other out. I’m going to start today. Let’s not talk about these fools anymore. Let’s stop tweeting, hash-tagging, posting, blogging, clicking, reading, listening, and giving our attention to these people and their acts of idiocy. Let’s put these misbehaving children in a time-out. I’m tired of them, and it seems that everyone else is too. The only way to rid ourselves of their noise is to silence it.
Amazon Kindle has a neat little function where readers can highlight passages in their favorite books and everyone gets to see what they like. (Don’t I sound like a hundred-year-old man marveling at the magic of the Interweb?) From time to time, I look at these highlights. I find it interesting personally to see what it is I’ve written that others find highlight-worthy, but more importantly, I pay attention to it to help my future writing.
I do want to strike a chord with people when I write. It’s always been my ambition to write something that a person can find some meaning in, whether it prompts a person to think about the world in a different way, or if it simply echoes the way someone already feels about life. So, I thought I would write a blog post that details the things that are striking a chord with readers of the Everflame series. Who knows, maybe your highlight is in here?
Highlights from Everflame:
“You are a mystery my son, like a cloud that continues forever. No one can see through to what lies on the other side.”
“We all have the ability to judge our own hearts, and we should all have the courage to do so.”
“That’s the funny thing about truth. Give it enough time and it’ll see its own way through.”
“Strange are the ways of the mind, and stranger is the fuel of emotion.”
“The Everflame is a symbol, Tomas. It has no power. It’s just a reminder of something we all have, our spirit. And it is to this spirit that we are accountable, not to an all-powerful tyrant, not even to ancient creators, simply to ourselves. By making an oath to the Everflame, I am merely making an oath to all that I am. If I break that oath, it is I who suffer the greatest loss, and nothing can change that. All these men who barter with their Holy for forgiveness should ask themselves, first, for this forgiveness. They would not find it so easy to come by. We all have the ability to judge our own hearts, and we should all have the courage to do so.”
Highlights from Everflame 2: The Burning Man:
“Every day, every hour, every minute. We choose right or we choose wrong. We are not defined by our past and we are not defined by our future. Only our present.”
“No being can be good or evil. It is actions that are good and evil.”
“Everyone has darkness inside of them. Every being on this Earth has the potential for great good and great evil. We all must fight to keep the darkness from consuming us, keep it from burning inside.”
“People are afraid of the unknown. It’s the most powerful fear I’ve ever seen. The sad thing about it is that it prevents most of the world from opening their eyes to the things that are right in front of them.”
“Everyone needs a reason to protect that which is good in the world. Without it, the darkness can convince you that the world isn’t worth your efforts.”
“I want so desperately to know good from evil. What if the difference is only a matter of perspective?”
“A young boy asks his father why all of the other children are afraid of the darkness. The boy’s father replies simply that the other children are afraid because they cannot see in the darkness and there might be dangerous things that they cannot see. The young boy smiles and laughs at his father’s answer. Don’t the children know? Asks the boy. They cannot be seen in the darkness either.”
Charles believes that the purpose of every human being is to find one relationship and devote themselves to it completely and totally. He said that one should treat it like an artist’s masterpiece. Charles said that the masterpiece is called love.
“He is a man who has the knowledge to see the world for what it really is, and the wisdom to let it be.”
“A flame will keep the darkness at bay, but only as long as it burns.”
“Heroes never live to tell their own tales.”
Highlights from Everflame 3: War Cry:
“The best decision is not always a matter of right or wrong, it depends on reason and purpose.”
The world cares not for heroes. It will bend and break their will through the maddening chaos of its existence. It will drag their dreams across its sandy crust, crushing hope beneath the weight of its rocky bones. The world cares not for heroes. It destroys them.
Suicide is the will to change and therefore cannot be an acceptance of defeat.
“There is suffering that comes from hope, but because of hope, suffering can never defeat you.”
A moment often comes to pass that defines the nature of an individual. It is a moment where the world forces you to bend to its will or suffer the consequences, a moment where it becomes painful and clear that there is no victory to be had over the will of the world, but to continue the fight, undaunted, is within itself a prize. To fight for one more minute of life; to fight for one more perfect moment in a world that does not easily afford such things; to fight for those who have given to you their all.
“It is my burden! You wish to see it laid out in front of you?... Fine… you shall have it. You ask me if I love you, no. Love is a word and a definition and a thing that has been given limits. What I feel because of you is all; it is everything. Reason has no place within my heart because my heart is full of you. You are my motivation, my faith, the blood that lives within me. Everything I am is for you and you alone… I know my desire is futile, and I do not care. I will walk this world alone for the whole of time and I will carry this in me forever… and every step taken… will be for you. There is no other way for me.” With tears falling from her eyes, she rushed forward and kissed him as hard as she could. Her arms wrapped tightly around him and as they did, his defenses fell and he returned her kiss. He surrendered to her and for the first time in his life, his heart knew a pain that was joy.
“It was not long ago that I realized that love is not an unknown adventure in a far off land, love is a warm blanket waiting at home.”
I will build myself. I will become. Every waking moment I possess will be a moment I spend working on me.
“There is good in this world. There are things I’ve found in this world that are precious to me, because they bring light into my darkness; they chase away my darkness. I know now that my life is about those things. My purpose is to fight for those things, fight for the things that fill me with light, and fight against the things that threaten them.
Highlights from Everflame 4: As The Darkness Waits:
Among equals, there is no such thing as treason. Treason only exists in the hands of those with power, and they may only use it against those who are without.
But what is the use of wisdom when one has a sword? What use is freedom when one fears treason? And what use is life when one has honor?
We are all following dreams and visions; we who are cursed and graced by this fire called hope. However, I will not be a slave to dreams and visions; I will lead myself. I am strong and I am a singularity. I am a builder of self, in wisdom, body and spirit. I have the faith to believe in and cast judgment upon myself. I will stand the line between the light and the darkness. I will master myself for as long as I am lost in the gray.
They walked onward for escape, not for hope, but escape can never come for those who walk with hell in their heads.
We are not good or evil, we just are, and it is only our actions that can be defined.