Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sensuality and Death, Francis Bacon

Things divine are not attainable by mortals who understand sensual things, but only the light-armed arrive at the summit.
-- Zoroaster

I know I've said this before, but the way the material world constantly deconstructs/decays makes me question the wisdom of constantly investing my time and energy into making my surroundings and physical being more beautiful (to my sensibilities). Basically everything reduces itself to a pile of rubble or compost eventually. This life is so temporary, and my sense of beauty is becoming so inexorably associated with sensual things--especially ones which are made and meant to be commodified-- that I am struggling to find sure footing based on any Virtuous precepts while navigating this slippery slope that is sex industry work. Getting naked for fun and money in order to get plastic surgery may, perhaps, be the equivalent of placing marigolds on a Dia De Los Muertos ofrenda-- a conciliatory gesture made by the quick to bring beauty and enliven to a fear-inducing shrine of death (aka beautifying my imperfect mortal shell as it dies all around me). I fear ugliness and aging in equal measures. Perhaps I am, yet again, constructing my reality on a sure-to-crumble foundation of sand, whose shifting base is creating all this unrest in my soul. After all, it takes just one powerful tide to sweep away a castle made of sand.

This is the essence of separation from spiritual integrity. This is the essence of sin.

I've been jogging endlessly, trying to make up for the week and a half of regular exercise my recent illness caused me to miss, and yesterday I came upon a remarkable documentary of the painter Francis Bacon. Like Egon Schiele, his work possesses a mesmerizing, inky depth of morbidity that appeals to me when I'm in depressed and confused in the midst of the flesh-press of an objective world whose vagaries I can't seem to transcend. I know life is about to get sour when I begin correlating flesh with carrion and domestic spaces with cages.

Anyway I was transfixed by the endless parade of iconic, deformed figures that transcended the merely grotesque in the Bacon documentary:

One day soon I too will be a rotting pile of flesh.

Maybe the most noble thing I can do is be a vessel of light while my dying form can still telegraph some of the amorphous, yet unmistakable Divinity that still manages to shine through my increasingly manhandled body.