the best way for me to summarize the meaning + placement of “tributary” as the last track of “lunacy” would be to reference the title of a smashing pumpkins song; namely, “the end is the beginning is the end.” symbolically, the album i composed finishes where it began – with a westward view of the ocean. as spelled out in article/episode 12, one of the metaphors that runs through this project is an edenic longing of finally arriving in a space where one is able to feel a particular sentiment (such as ultimate peace, being home, or to quote the name of a radiohead song: “everything in its right place”). for me, the primary symbol for this has been california; the pacific ocean. that vision of looking ahead to an ideal future is indeed alluring + psychologically probably fills some kind of human drive to remain among the living (i.e. if we were either fully satisfied or completely despairing, any sort of progress/continuance would be impossible). yet – i’m reminded of my ancestors who themselves once looked to the west from britain + it leads me to wonder about the circular nature of it all. because whether it’s the next location, the next drink or whatever, once the initial sensation of newness wears off, the feeling of being unsatisfied again is inevitable + we’re bound to keep on keeping on in a vain pursuit of a perpetually setting sun.
but as the name suggests, “lunacy” has not been about the source of our world’s light. the dominant image throughout, of course, is the moon, which despite its allure is barren + uninhabitable. at most, this rock that orbits our own has a slight effect on the water level of planet earth’s tides + acts only as a reflector of the nearest star. and while it’s interesting that the phenomenon of a lunar cycle exists, what’s curious is how much significance some read into the recurrent illumination of a celestial body – as if these patterns actually mean something. granted, the shadows that are cast on the moon can serve as helpful reminders of the various phases + transitions that we experience in life (i.e. new/old, birth/death, etc). however, does any sort of moon on a particular day during the year truly communicate something to us other than the fact that the world we’re on is a little more or less in the way of the light traveling toward it from the sun? to say the same thing differently, is something like astrology – or any expression of religion + spirituality, for that matter – merely the subjective interpretation of a projection; a desperate trying-to-make-sense of patterns in the sky whereby we arbitrarily assign significance to meaningless things simply because they stand out a little more to us than other things? that’s what it seems like to me. because over these past number of years when i have been intently seeking to discover/ascertain/confirm what “this” is about, to quote yet another song’s title, “i still haven’t found what i’m looking for.” accordingly, whenever i hear anyone these days who is absolutely certain about what they believe + dismissive/skeptical of any view that contradicts their own, it’s a definite indication of delusion. it’s like saying those three stars that are commonly referred to as “orion’s belt” are intuitively + incontrovertibly knowable/known to every person as a specific reference to the actual midsection of a hunter from greek mythology. it’s contrivance. and regardless of any well-intentioned theories or presumed “revelations” about what’s “real” in this life, unless a particular idea is unquestioningly obvious + directly applicable to our human experience across time + cultures, any attempted systematic understanding of historical events, natural phenomena + the like is most likely a matter of reading too much into random occurrences + human choice. all this to say, anything that we surmise to be true about what we cannot observe here + now is at best equal in importance to the guesses of others, which to put it plainly could each be described as various streams of thought leading to one sea of chaos.
myself – i presently cannot claim any more than “i don’t know” regarding the absolute questions of our existence. and i’m just as dissatisfied with those who foolishly opt for blind faith as i am with those who are miserably opposed to religion. what’s more, i find no solace in the overemotionalism of mystical approaches to spirituality. so, i’m left to consider a fourth way – that of a resignation to be adrift. that’s the picture that “tributary” paints. it’s finally arriving at the westmost shore, only to find that the promise of fulfillment i’ve held to for most of my time here on earth was propaganda. but instead of uncritical acceptance, antagonistic rejection or overly optimistic attempts to surmount the disenchantment, the only viable alternative i see is to plan to make no further plans. in the face of divine inaction/silence + the resulting generalized numbness, drifting seems like the only option for me – no set course, no itinerary, no intended destination. like floki in the fifth season of “vikings,” the final moments of “lunacy” as an album are aboard a wave-tossed vessel that was put out to sea as a final act of relinquishing control, of openness to whatever is ahead, of surrender to the winds + currents of fate (without a corresponding belief in fatalism). this living moment-to-moment is what i mean by “the second naïveté.” and it’s all that makes sense to me right now – resolving to know nothing. because as someone once wrote: “with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.”
that’s it. the concept album is complete. thank you for taking the time to read/listen to these existential reflections – it means more to me than you might think. and if you have any questions or comments about what you’ve seen/heard regarding “lunacy” – or ideas for future fringe faithful collective article/episodes – please let me know. until then, here is “tributary” (which you can freely download or stream anytime at soundcloud.com).
peace + love sisters + brothers.
close your mouth – the holy war is neither of the two
too much blood has been wasted on things we’ll never know
no amount of eyeless trust can give us ears to hear
here is where the river that i’m in goes out to sea
see the edge grow distant as the moon brings in the tide
tied, my hands – resigned to let the current guide me forth
i won’t name the nameless anymore
i’ve run out of peace, my soul is sore
december’s great pretender has lost the war
my hope is on the floor…on the floor
(we can’t unsee what we haven’t seen
can’t unhear what never has been voiced)
over + out, i’m caught in a swell, i soon will be sinking
what is real that hasn’t been revealed? the sand is running down
there’s no light, i’m floating north of hell, it doesn’t seem you care
why don’t you heal? or listen to appeal? and are you even there?
too much blood has been wasted on things we’ll never (know)
(no) amount of eyeless trust can give us ears to (hear)
(here) is where the river that i’m in goes out to (sea)
(see) the edge
“the moon is full, weakly pushing back the darkness, carrying on its illusion of light. illudere, the latin verb to mock. so many illusions i have had to break, so many ways i’ve been mocked by the above, believing the myth of its illumination. we have been to the moon, divined a complex astrology of the distant stars. we have explored inner worlds and conjured angelic devices that will fit in our pockets. ‘peace be upon you,’ the angels say, but peace will not emanate from the cloud. i know that real salvation lies in accepting that we will not be saved. i know that life cannot be about the promise of riches in heaven. it must instead be about facing the abyss, shrugging at the mystery of the lack of planetary meaning, but lifting our heads and deciding to look out for one another regardless. in the days i have ahead of me i know that there will continue to be pain as well as joy. i’m realistic; things won’t ever make perfect sense. the galaxies tend towards entropic greyness. the universe doesn’t care; only we can do that” (from “getting high: a savage journey to the heart of the dream of flight” by kester brewin).