Now Is The Time To Make Yourself Immortal
We live in crazy times.
COVID-19. Isolation. Political discourse within the United States and other countries. Protests. Explosions. Economic downfalls. Unemployment.
The ripple effect of this pandemic has already begun. Who is to say how long this will last or what other dominoes may soon fall during this pandemic.
But instead of sitting around at home watching Netflix, we need to have the foresight to make use of this quarantine.
It doesn’t matter if you are rich. It doesn’t matter if you are famous. Right now, we all have an opportunity to be immortal.
There will soon be countless of creatives and scholars who will want to teach, sing, write, and make films about this unforgettable moment in history. In fact, it’s already happening.
…Because when you have nothing but time, inspiration comes.
Look at any historical moment.
The Renaissance. The Black Death. World War I. The Spanish War. World War II. Vietnam. The Communistic Era.
These were all times when some of the greatest works of art, literature, music, and historical viewpoints were created. It was an individual’s way of making an infinite statement about an unforgettable situation. It was a humanistic way of dealing with profound circumstances that were beyond their control.
We may not be alive to see what may become of our work. But for all we know, our contributions to society may even be placed as a relic in a museum.
If we document this incredible time, through some form of medium, we will certainly be studied a hundred years from now. We are currently part of a fragment in history where humans will heavily speculate our actions during this quarantine. Just as we study impactful moments or influential people of a certain era, we have this magnificent opportunity to shine.
When we are so enamored by a thought or an idea, we can fall into such a flow state that we find ourselves finishing something so quickly in which we would have never completed during a state of normalcy. But passion can dictate us. It’s how I managed to write my memoir, Heartbreak In The Time of Coronavirus in four months. I didn’t write this for anyone but me. I had to get it out. I had to write to save myself. Others will certainly feel the same way.
This is a period where we can choose to make beauty from this pain.
This is a period we can be leaders to a new spiritual awakening.
In the 14th century, The Black Death swept up nearly two hundred million souls under its rug. Authors such as Giovanni Bocaccio who wrote The Decameron portrayed this deadly pandemic in a fictitious series of stories that referenced erotic tales of pain, humor, and tragedy. As one of the few survivors of the plague, this illuminative narrative was Boccacio’s way of processing such a traumatic experience. As someone in exile, this was also Dante Alighieri’s way of making a rebellious statement against the political Florentine factions. In The Divine Comedy, Dante daringly places the pope and other prominent leaders in The Inferno as vengeance for being banished as a free thinker. Examples of the subtle meanings behind great literature such as the Decameron and The Divine Comedy, led the path for others to do the same.
For instance, author George Orwell was a clairvoyant who foresaw that the acts of communism, fascism, and imperialism could someday lead the world into a dystopian society of control and surveillance through books such as Animal Farm and 1984. To this day, his books are compared to any government that begins to unjustly seek authoritarian power. They are books that can even be viewed as a representation for what is currently happening in the Great Era of the 21st Century Pandemic. Currently, countries and corporations are dictating what we say, what we do, and what we can write about and promote. They follow our every move. In my opinion, we are slowly entering the dystopian society that Orwell had once imagined.
During the bombing in northern Spain by the Nazi’s, Pablo Picasso painted Guernica which was depicted as one of the most unforgettable anti-war statements in history. On April 27th, 1937, unprecedented atrocities are perpetrated on behalf of Franco against the civilian population of a little Basque village in northern Spain. Chosen for bombing practice by Hitler’s burgeoning war machine, the hamlet is pounded with high-explosive and incendiary bombs for over three hours. Townspeople are cut down as they run from the crumbling buildings. Guernica burns for three days. Sixteen hundred civilians are killed or wounded. Pablo Picasso stated, “The Spanish struggle is the fight of reaction against the people, against freedom. My whole life as an artist has been nothing more than a continuous struggle against reaction and the death of art. How could anybody think for a moment that I could be in agreement with reaction and death? … In the panel on which I am working, which I shall call Guernica, and in all my recent works of art, I clearly express my abhorrence of the military caste which has sunk Spain in an ocean of pain and death.” It only took a little over a month to finish this work.
During WWII, children even made an impact on history. Anne Frank could have never dreamed that someday, her diary would become a primary reference to the Holocaust. She was only a young woman, searching for her way to survive the unstoppable chaos that was slowly suffocating her. But her accounts of hiding with her family during this abominable time are one of the biggest contributions to modern history. Since her death, people of all races and creed still saw the hope Anne Frank held within her soul. “In spite of everything, I believe people are really good at heart” she claimed.
Years later during the 1960's, creatives began to spark a wave of new thought when The Doors along with other legendary classic rock musicians arrived during a cultural revolution. Aside from The Doors simply being music virtuosos, they are respected for being poetic, symbolic, psychedelic, and especially, political. Jim Morrison had a talent for placing a hint of greek mythology, references to the poet William Blake, and songs that challenged the government.
Five To One. Unknown Soldier. The Soft Parade. The WASP.
These songs were lyrical statements that questioned the turbulent times of the 1960’s. Assassinations. Wars. Civil rights movements. Jim Morrison’s music and rebellious lifestyle inspired generations across the world to expand their mind to the greater picture, question authority, and think about what may lie on the other side of life. Through his entire career as an artist, the American poet raged against the system and the dying of the light until his last breath.
In the 20th century, we have witnessed the art of the people spoken on walls and streets. From Cuba, to Chile, to Germany, to the United States, graffiti has been popularized as a way to revolt and express their political oppression or dreams for a better life. Famous relics such as the Berlin Wall resonates as a tribute to the years of Communism that were finally broken down between East and Western Germany.
In the 21st century, some of the most iconic images were due to creative vigilante, Banksy. The unknown artist sparked international curiosity for pieces that were inspired by key political flashpoints. In Jerusalem, Banksy’s depiction of the Love Is In The Air (Flower Thrower), the artist depicts painting the city’s West Bank barrier wall that separates Israel from its Occupied Territories. The image depicts a protestor, sometimes referred to as “the masked thug,” caught in the act of hurling a bouquet of colorful flowers. This is one of many artworks that Banksy has executed in favor of Palestinian rights, and his advocacy continues to stir controversy.
All of these artists, authors, and musicians unintentionally changed the world in unfathomable ways. The key to it all was that they were pioneers that fearlessly raised their voices during a pivotal time in history. They had an existential spiritual awakening that later revolutionized the world around them.
Things can always be better. People can always be better. Life can always be better. In order for us to move forward, we have to start somewhere.
Now is the time to speak up and make yourself immortal.