As I have commented before and more so in statuses on Facebook, to me now the 60s was a detonation of all that was "fixed" about Box 1 linear thinking and living, into a fuzzier edged more colourful world, quite literally of flower power, and even OBNOXIOUS quite gary use of colour.
Box 2 is however a transition world and in the end we can't sing questioning songs like
"Blowing in the wind" and
Moody Blues "Question" from Question of Balance for too long without coming up with some answers.
So the main purpose of this post is to question Existentialism itself and define its shortcomings.
"He called me a friend but in truth, I was a fan and happy with that” Bono U2 on Bowie- just one excerpt from the celebrity memories of Bowie in Q magazine this month
I know.. but I'm probably not the only one to have or share high-flown thoughts after the passing of a man who laughed out loud at such accusations. I allowed my mind to travel back to David's actual birthday on 8 January 1947, just over a year on from the war ending. David was a lad quite sane, (me :good one Bono) who is born into a M.A.D. planet where we for the first time possessed the ability, and not just the will,
to blow up the world. NUCLEAR WEAPONS. POW! London, still in ruins from. fascist bombing, saw young boys playing in the rubble of male aggression.
"David was also born at the same time the world was developing an antidote to all that
hate and war. The radio was about to get interesting and the generation that was born in the 1940s became, to me, as great a generation as the ones that saved us from fascism. Psychic warriors 'whose strength is not to fight', as Bob Dylan whispered into David's ear. The renaissance that was the'60s was brought into being by this post-war generation, led by the bard of Minnesota and the four horsemen of the Liverpool docks, but followed through by David Bowie and punk rock. This also put a flag into the
|The Bonos!!!! Like the Corrs, the Irish make their women dangerous to allow out on the streets!!!!Maeve who led Bono to the Lord was just the same, and in one of my rasher moments I proposed to her.(Blogeditor ACW)|
with that." Music of the 60s and 70s became the retort to the cruelty, of the war and
Cosmologies that followed in China and the Soviet Union
, Vietnam and Cambodia. It's easier to place The Beatles at the centre of this love and peace generation. But we should not forget the femininising Day-Glo
glamour of 70s and the u nisexed-up role it would play in challenging ideas of gender,
behaviour and identity.
Cosmic Cosmonauts... David Bowie floating in a tin can, far above the world' was for me, as a teenage boy in Dublin, not just a story song but a call to otherness. David
Bowie turned your bedroom into the cosmos. Is there life on Mars?' read to me, aged 13, as Is there life on Earth?', i.e. how can we find our other selves, the ones that are not locked behind gloss paint doors in the suburbs and boring jobs and working in supermarkets and missing the bus to school. Our metaphorical selves at a time when God is officially dead! The science fiction writers of the age also helped with this -- Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K Dick, Robert Anton Wilson. Diamond dogs were chasing the young Bowie around Bromley that's for sure.
Much has been written about Blackstar, and Bowie's
requiem for hinself but so much of his songs feel like communications
from another world. Listening to Space Oddity after he passed brought us all to tears,
especially if you had a sense of his love for Iman. Ali and I were at their wedding and tell . fill and tell my wife I love her very much, she knows' was the hardest for us to bear on the radio when myself and my family fell to earth after the news. My daughter Jordan and I had been listening a lot to the song Blackstar over Christmas and the New Year. We shared a single set of headphones walking over the hill near our house in Dublin and we played it again and again, laughing at its audacious structure. We were delightfully surprised and moved when that classic'70s Bowie voice returns after four minutes 40 seconds into the song: "Sornething happened on on the day he died." I was so moved
I wrote a long email for his birthday explaining my
gratitude for his birth and the life-giving gifts he bestowed on so many of us...
69 years and two days very much alive
"As well as the, Michael Leunig poem Love And Fear, I attached a fun picture of myself
and Jordan in the moment toasting him as he'd known her since she was two years old
and indeed christened her Pixie. David and I were not always close, we could be critical of each other's lesser work but he was always funny with it (a withering analysis of myself and Edge's spider-based musical activities . He called me a friend but in truth, I was a fan and happy with that. My last communication with him ended with him referring to me as `old sock'. He was never a comfortable shoe, more of a platform. He made us bigger.
SUBSCRIBE TO Q MAGAZINE HERE
Q THE MUSIC'S ONLINE LISTEN AGAIN SHOW
The SHORTCHANGE of EXISTENTIALISM
M Scott Peck's book Different Drum and David Tomlinson's book Post Evangelical paved the way for many voting with their feet regarding the rather twee, staid fellowship meeting pattern of the charismatics. But in these books they refer to the 4 psychological stages of development which are not quite the same as the 4 box image above.
They include as their box 1 what I would call box zero. or our default cluelessness before anyform of enlightenment. We arrive here unsocialised and ego centric. Gradually we are weaned and external infrastructure, such as parents schools and authority figures show us there are lines to be drawn to our absolute realm of freewill!!!!
Now what I am calling socialisation, or our introduction to external laws are all well and good, but a healthy sociological being will start to develop their own inner frameworks of seeing and behaving.
I wrote the other day that when i went to Exeter University I only saw the University President once......ever. On the first day. Not helped ofcourse by the fact that I heard God's voice to leave at the end of the first year, which meant i was in the right place at the right time to receive input fron Robert Edward Miller senior and Robert Miller later on, the son.
But my point is.....unlike school University is free enough for a President to involve himself purely with the direction, adminsitration , funding and publicity of the University, since by then students must have self initative.
So we enter the "fuzzy world" of existentialism.
What I FEEL and THINK subjectively.
How I relate to the global "out there".
Broadly speaking as both Bono and then myself elsewhere in this blog have written is that Bob Dylan and the Beatles were the flags being dropped, as our generation raced out of
our stalls of patronism, into the race thoroughfare of existential truth....
Except while it was going on everybody but everybody was bewildered with what on earth was going on.
Box 2 freedoms lead to internal decisions.....I maintain, ultimately between God and the devil. Between progressing via the Cross into a Box 3 maturity of learning and functioning from our new redeemed identity, or keeping a default of a self for self identity,allbeit tarted up in quite a mature way outwardly.
Here is where existentialism shortchanges.
Now i had no idea that as a student of German and French in 1977, I was at the very tale end of a movement at the centre of world culture. Sartre,Camus and existentialist thinking was so massive, no small numbers of people were selfishly taking things to the nth degree and choosing suicide. Many many had thrown themselves off buildings by this time, some under the effect of drugs, some just choosing their own end "existentially".
Laws and robotic living are not the answer. But actually self for self, now unleashed, is no more of an answer either.
The Caribbean or French or English paramour who just says....hey....what flows man???? Just go with the flow!!!! Can just as easily by that mean impregnate a girl, and leave when the baby is born. "It don't flow man.....it starts to take over my whole life....it's not right."
Here's a thing about existentialist truth.
Ezekiel 8 describes our innards, our temple walls.
What we have up on our Temple walls negative or positive....
manifests. Either draws good things to us or draws our fears and loathings to us.
This is the point by the way of the Parable of the Sower and the seed. SEED always grows....but they can just as easily be weeds.
By Box 2 we are starting to put our toes in the water with steering our own destinies from the inside.
The point of making Jesus Lord, is to ensure that Jesus by us, in our forms, (Galatians 2.20) is doing the faithing, and the drawing in. In other words that we are building on the ROCK. Yet another Jesus concept lost in the mists of Sunday school teaching.
Existentialism doesn't make everything right. It just manoevres us into the freedom whereby we can really begin to steer internally.
If we are too stuck in other people's frameworks....be it friends family or national or educational...or our ideas of what a job should be.....then sometimes we are not free enough to grow.
This is why Jesus talks of leaving things.
Leaving and or hating family.....
these are spirtual shorthand terms for hating that which is of the independent self....be it in others, in family , in friends, in our job....etc etc.
Jesus comes as a knife to all our relationships....in fact to everything that is self for self living. This is the Cross...saying NO to the Genesis 3 condition and YES to the God of other love.
God is unconditional love, and by severing self loves, we can at last be free to let God's agape flow.
The thirdlevel is learning flow....but not just any flow.
"The mature have trained their senses according to righteousness to be able to discern the difference between (the spirit of) good and evil.
Related music track on the Lefthand side of the blog. Mark Knopfler On the Rock.