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