I love school. I have the best roommates (Kat and Lauren) in the world. And then there’s Chelsea, and Ana Maria, and this group called the Navigators which includes quite a lot of interesting people. I hope they aren’t a cult.
Tonight Kat and I went out and sat in Washington Square Park and Union Square. We hung out with a bunch of stoners and people who live on the streets. There was this one guy, Mike, who kind of took us under his wing and introduced us to everyone. They were completely stoned out of their minds—it was so much fun. They told us which guys in the parks were actually crazy, and they were so funny about it: “We are fucking crazy, but these guys just are fucking INSANE.”
And they were—this one guy talked to people who weren’t there and just yelled about in different directions. A few of them had guitars, which was originally why we went and sat over by them. We just wanted to chill and listen to music.
We use fake identities. Katarina is Aurora (until she thinks of a name she likes more), and I am Layla (cause it kiiind of sounds like Julia but has a really cool song), and we are both 21, from Hickery Falls, Montana visiting kin (our mutual cousin to be exact) in New York. We are planning to do this every night after 10:30- I think we’re going to meet some really cool people.
Lauren (our other roommate) thinks we are crazy- she doesn’t think it’s safe to be in the park after dark, and maybe it’s not the SAFEST thing to do, but it sure is fun! And we aren’t being stupid about it.
Below are excerpts from Where Truth Meets Traction by Won Kim. Kind of sums up my life right now.
Not that I have ever done hallucination-inducing drugs, but the closest trip I have ever experienced without ever snorting/chewing/injecting anything was when I stood in the middle of Times Square and spun around as my senses absorbed the City.
MTV, Toys R’ Us, taxi cabs, Broadway ads, hot dog vendors, Reuters, throngs of tourists, Virgin Records, yelling doomsayers. I nearly fainted from the whirlwind of neon lights, clamoring voices, and honking horns. However, my phantasmic spin, a la Julie Andrews, didn’t have me envisioning rolling hills or children singing in falsetto. The barrage of scrolling information, cues, and hints left me exhausted. What does it matter if the Dow Jones ticker showed the market on an up-turn or that Coca Cola’s advertisement asserted it was the real thing, baby?
According to the corner preacher, “The end of the world is upon us. Truth will prevail!” In practical perplexity, one has to ask what is the truth, really? And how, in the world of overwhelming catch-phrases and ever-changing trends, will truth prevail? Even if it does exist, where is it found, and how would I know if I found it?
Jesus declared, “I am the truth,” Galileo wrote, “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered,” and Jack Nicholson’s character in A Few Good Men claimed, “You cant handle the truth.” Two suffered for their claims, and the third was, well, nominated for an Oscar.
Tyler Chen, an NYU graduate student, says, “Media has a role in bringing truth to the masses to some extent. But,” he contends, “the media also manipulates truth for its own agenda and profit. At the end of the day it’s about making money.”
Have we lost our faith? Who knows best?
Even if we were served bite-size truth morsels, how many of us really seek it any further? When you read/hear/see the hell that exists in Darfur, Sudan or North Korea, what usually happens? Compassion pokes its head through our congested heart for a moment, until Family Guy makes us laugh and forget, and Deal or No Deal reminds us that we live in a society that loves to throw money away-only we don’t see this.
Can You Handle the Truth?
Truth does exist. We read the papers because we believe they have discovered it. They’re in the know and we want to know. We are hoping for a deeper connection with reality, and to feel that we’re not just part of some ethereal journey without substance. However, it’s time to admit that truth isn’t confined to media or journalism or Ted Turner. In truth, truth is a lot harder to find.
It’s a lot like love (queue Forrest Gump soundtrack). You have to search for it, fight for it, and, ultimately, choose it. However, the ability to choose doesn’t necessarily make truth relative. It does, however, make us accountable. Why did you choose your religion or anti-religion? Why did you choose your occupation? Why do you prefer the Yankees over the Red Sox? Why did you vote that way? Why does the plight in Africa move you? Why do you think that homeless guy is going to spend it on alcohol?
The most difficult step on your journey toward the truth is beyond your ability to answer such questions. So what if you’re a semi-liberal who loves the Red Sox but can’t trust the homeless guy on 5th Ave with your money … which, by the way, you’ve been planning to send to a worthy cause but haven’t yet found the time … what with your consulting job and obsession with 24? The real journey begins here: What are you doing with the choices you’ve made? What are you doing with the news you’ve just read? What are you doing to put some traction to the truth?
I don’t think we can joke about this sort of thing too much; all the vain, self-satisfied, insane ways we carry on about truth as if we know exactly what we’re talking about, as if we have access to a God’s-eye view of what’s really going on. We don’t know our own minds from one minute to the next. We’re mad to think we’ve got a hold of truth like nobody else or that we want it more or that our relationship to the Almighty trumps everyone else’s. With such atmospheric conditions surrounding our speech, we need jokes like we need clean air. We can’t live or think sanely without them.
Perhaps our big ideas (religious, economic, political) take a murderous turn whenever we think they’re more important than people’s lives (specifically the lives of those who aren’t yet convinced of the rightness or righteousness of whatever it is we get trembly over, shedding tears, pledging allegiance). And when we’re ready to hurt someone, if only in our minds, for not getting in line with what we take to be our values, we desperately need a gadfly (a Socrates, a Jesus, an Andy Kauffman, a Stephen Colbert) to mercifully make fun of our vanity, our arrogance, and our pretensions toward God-likeness.
We need forgiveness too (for we know not what we’re doing exactly), and we need a good talking too. Otherwise, we’re stuck within our little jihads and our other wars on terror. These struggles are only authentic to the extent that they’re a blessing to people who don’t share our opinions. We get to be of benefit to people who aren’t within our sameness circle, perpetually passing the peace of “think what you think.”
Freedom is people talking. Disagreeing agreeably. Everybody and everyone. To the limit. We get to try to see straight and think straight together. We aren’t alone. We get to talk about all manner of things. We get to ask all kinds of questions. Let’s keep talking.0