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On Life and Finality (Anne Rice Style) [May. 29th, 2007|10:20 pm]
[Current Mood |impressedimpressed]

So, I've again been reading The Vampire Chronicles. These books are so full of wisdom that they almost overwhelm me. In particular, the wisdom of life, existence and death.

There are quotes in these books I've learned more from than entire college courses, and here are three of my favorite lessons. Right here, copied down with my thoughts.

"You make life when you play," I said. "You create something from nothing. You make something good happen. And that is blessed to me."
"I make music and it makes me happy," he said. "What is blessed or good about that?"
I waved it away as I always did his cynicism now.
"I've lived all these years among those who create nothing and change nothing," I said. "Actors and musicians--they're saints to me."
"Saints?" he asked. "Blessedness? Goodness? Lestat, your language baffles me."
I smiled and shook my head.
"You don't understand. I'm speaking of the character of human beings, not what they believe in. I'm speaking of those who won't accept a useless life, just because they were born to it. I mean those who would be something better. They work, they sacrifice, they do things...there is blessedness in that," I said. "There's sanctity. And God or no God, there is goodness in it. I know this the way I know the mountains are out there, that the stars shine."

I strive to recognize this beauty every day of my life and, when the opportunity arises, to create it myself. Whether or not we believe something greater exists, we can each bear witness to the greatness in this world. I need not say more.

"If there weren't one single work of art left in this world...and there are thousands...if there weren't a single natural beauty...if the world were reduced to one empty cell and one fragile candle, I can't help but see you studying that candle, absorbed in the flicker of its light, the change of its colors...how long could that sustain you...what possibilities would it create? Am I wrong? Am I such a crazed idealist?"

Without the singularity of that candle, can one ever appreciate it so fully? Will you ever stop to study the magnificence of this small and multifaceted thing amongst the totality of this world and of life as we know it? I admire the thought that a thing can be seen as precious without the need of everything around it being starved of value. If we stop to look around...stop to think on the wealth of millions of "candles"...will we have the same remarkable mindset as an immortal enchanted with a single flame? Would this, if the need arose, save us from the insanity stemming from the constant, irreversible change of life?

...I would see [my sister] sweet and palpable before me, a shimmering, precious creature soon to grow old, soon to die, soon to lose those moments that in their intangibility promised to us, wrongly....wrongly, an immortality. As if it were our very birthright, which we could not come to grasp the meaning of until this time of middle life when we looked on only as many years ahead as already lay behind us. When every moment, every moment must be first known and then savored.
It was detachment that made this possible, a sublime loneliness with which Lestat and I moved through the world of mortal men.

Existence is something to savor. It is something we draw our entire lives around, whether we know it personally or not. I do admit that the thought of this finite life frightens me. My days are numbered whether I know the number or not, and so are yours. We must, as I've said, savor the beauty in each. I am young. On some days I feel I could conquer the world with my hopes and dreams, to the point where I do feel my confidence makes me immortal. But if I was, hey...I wouldn't enjoy having the rest of this short life ahead of me. I wouldn't see things in such beauty. I wouldn't strive fiercely to accomplish my hopes and dreams and desires, to drink in the world in all its beauty and glory. I'd simply be, and that be-ing would become a curse greater than any middle-aged desperation. Even vampires die, despite their immortality. They die from the insanity and despair caused by the turns of a changing world. They lose themselves to the absence of any bit of sense or reason from the eras they once knew, and as time shoots by beyond their grasp--century after century--they lose their hold on existence.
I do believe this would happen. All those men who have searched for the Fountain of Youth: well, they hadn't thought over this last bit. We aren't designed to handle immortality so we might as well love what existence we have.

[User Picture]From: glacier_kitty
2007-05-30 02:41 am (UTC)
I try do write deep thoughts and my brain goes crazy..how do you do it?? lol
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[User Picture]From: minuetcat
2007-05-30 02:48 am (UTC)
Because you're not depressed, you're on SPEEEEED! lol.

Well, I have to be inspired and this was one of those inspiring days. I'm sure there are similar things that catch you up in your mind's Moment of Utmost Need to Describe and then it just comes out of you. Or if they don't now, perhaps they will someday.

Congratulations on your graduation, btw...wow!
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[User Picture]From: king_gravewater
2007-05-30 12:34 pm (UTC)
You must have read different Vampire Chronicles to me.

I found them to be the most self-indulgent, trend-following exercises in clichéd writing I have yet witnessed. Nothing personal, of course, its just this statement really left me gobsmacked.

If you really want to understand the human condition, then Heinlein is the place to go. Stranger In A Strange Land and The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress can profoundly alter the way one looks at the world.
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[User Picture]From: minuetcat
2007-05-30 06:16 pm (UTC)
Well, I suppose everyone's entitled to their own opinion.
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[User Picture]From: arbitration
2007-06-05 07:30 am (UTC)
I was really a Heinlein fan too, a few years ago. I probably still am...I just haven't revisited 'Stranger' since High School. It may be a bit much to say that any book can really help us understand the "human condition" (well, except maybe the works of some philosophers), but I also had a really hard time getting through the 'Vampire Chronicles'. Actually, I stopped halfway through because I realized I wasn't enjoying myself...but I have terrible tast in books.
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[User Picture]From: king_gravewater
2007-06-05 08:35 am (UTC)
I am not so sure it is a case of terrible taste. Perhaps it has more to do with having unusual/fussy tastes. That is one part of the reason I took up writing again myself. The market just did not have what I wanted. Heinlein's novels help further understanding of what it means to be Human (or even sentient) by giving us food for thought on the essential questions. Stranger's biggest question, at least as far as I could see, is whether education, societal proscription, or place of origin really makes us alien. A question a lot of people in my Friends list would no doubt like answers to.
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