Friday, May 20, 2005

I just read an article in the New Yorker about meth, internet, sex, and death in the gay community. Not good news. Put it on the shelf, now about to break, with the other tomes about oodles and oodles of unnecessary suffering and death. The article left me wondering why people are so self-destructive, and in this regard gays are no different than anyone else, with the exception of certain style issues, as one might expect. But the article left me feeling something else. Something left out. We talk about everything up to the moment of death, and then the curtain is pulled, and it is no longer polite to talk about it. Unless someone brings up infantile notions of heaven and hell. What happens when we die? Does anyone know? Is it important?

Our culture has this one great blind spot that occludes all others: our unwillingness to face death, and our reluctance to learn about How To Die, or to even know that there might be such knowledge. We joke about it all the time, but when the coffin door slams down, we may wish we'd learned a little more about it when we could have. In the meantime, here on the surface of our beloved little mudball, we're all driven completely crazy by this lack of basic self-knowledge, by this tremendous occlusion, this vast river we call Denial. And it is this, I think, that paradoxically allows us to be so violent, so ready to inflict death upon others.

Who - or what - is this guy; does he, by any chance, look familiar?


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