On The Fight For The Dying Light, or Paradoxes of Conformity

(Jay DeFoe — 1956)

People often seem to confuse pessimism with realism. This is not to say that pessimism by itself is not realistic (as is optimism), but it’s almost always that we, who prefer to see things as they really are, are branded blind because we (supposedly) see everything through the bias of the darkness of our discouragement. It isn’t really like that. I think we prefer to fight with this same darkness by accepting that it surrounds us, lurking like a snake ready to attack — only we are never victims of this predatory hunting, because we fight. We fight with and for the light that dies. Every time we sit down to let words emerge in our minds, even without the intention of making such words reach unimaginable plans and hearts, and we pass the expressions of ourselves to the paper, we are representing the fighters of this cruel and partial fight against the dark. The same goes for any aspect of art — and here it’s understood to include the very art of living life. Those who don’t know what really means to live are the best artists: abstracts, surrealists, expressionists of a latent reality that cries out for experiences. Whoever follows his course without really knowing what a course is, follows it truly. They are also defenders of the light that dies.

I always question the place of justice of being when I try to understand this ability we have been given, to be so intelligent and rational to the point of understanding the need to remain curious and open-minded to better assimilate the discoveries and differences that such discoveries can mean and, at the same time, be fully capable of rationalizing things as if they were divided only between “right for me” and “wrong for me”. Even those who try choosing to stop working against manichaeism sometimes cannot escape defeat, and worse: they cannot even admit defeat. There is a big difference between being human and knowing that we are prone to making mistakes, and being human simply because we make mistakes — “Ah, but that is part of being somebody in this life, we will all make a lot of mistakes, won’t we?” Yes, we will. The question is what we’ll do when we realize that a second chance will come, and we’ll be prone to making the same mistakes once again. Are we going to learn to be human, or are we just going to keep making mistakes? Like I said, even we who try to solve this mystery, are constantly wrong about a lot of things. We are an unique combination of mistakes and successes, each one of us. But at least we finally begin to understand that we are — or rather, that we must be more than what certain rules dictate us.

There is, in fact, a paradox between seeing reality as it is and accepting it. They are two completely different things, and that if not done together, can lead anyone to madness. May the one who considers himself perfectly sane throw the first stone at me. I noticed my crazy self when I was twelve and a philosophy professor gave me the task of reading Erasmus of Rotterdam. A madman sees himself in the other, it’s the true meaning of empathy in practice. How beautiful our society would be if we could see each other with the same honesty of the crazy ones… Of course a child could hardly understand perfectly well the necessity of accepting our inner madness as an exclusive trait of our personalities and that, if controlled, it will be like a stepmother for our many children: by marrying madness, we will have passion, creativity, nature as children from us to the world, well cared and ready to face the reality with which we fight so much. However, we (of course), who choose to accept this madness, also prefer not to accept reality as it is. For some it is given the opportunity to learn to control the antagonistic impulses to the complex of values ​​that govern all sectors of our life; and from this control, we are then able to create small revolutions inside and outside ourselves. As everything that is different bothers people, the explanation of our personal visions about the truths of reality could not be seen otherwise: we don’t accept the lies, we don’t accept the simplistic whys, we don’t accept the kindness that kneels before any wickedness, and the wickedness that easily escapes through kindness. We don’t conform, although we aren’t in fact, nonconformists. We are not born nonconformists, we grow to be exposed daily to everything that does not fit the simpler conception of what it is to be human. I may even speak of love again here, but revolt and love tire each other out — they are madly in love with each other, but every once in a while they need some time in solitude, just to realize that alone, one becomes a turmoil, and the other, mere enthusiasm. We cannot deal with the emptiness left by conformism, but we also don’t deal with extremist confusion. We are not in the middle, we are by the side of everything that possesses the need of our empathy.

We are not gentle with the night that embraces us with its darkness, but we become gentle when this darkness nestles us in a deep sleep after another day of sorrows and disappointments with our brothers and sisters; we don’t accept aging, but we accept the passage of time only because it is inevitable (we are empathic with time); we don’t accept the rejection of love, but we learn to deal with the desolation of an accomplished and finished love. We learn not to accept things as they are, and we accept the fact that we have much to learn yet.

I’m not afraid of death, I’m only afraid of the day when the light that enlightens us will die, even when our spirits finally take advantage of the eternal rest. That is why, no matter how many wounds this war causes me, I’m sure that I’ll be, at least, able say: I tried. We’ll get whatever is out there for us to get, anyway, just because we tried. Believe it.