Thursday, March 3, 2011

A conversation with Che

The world doesn’t need a hero.  People don’t need heroes.  They need heroic ideas and ideals.

But a hero inspires people, motivates them, gives them the courage to do what they would ordinarily not dare and to hope for and aspire to what they ordinarily would never think to do.

Yes, a hero does that but all such heroes are short lived.  Sooner or later, they die or people get disenchanted with them.  Or they themselves change.

Did you?

Always.  I became more impassioned, more extreme, more intolerant.  And few could keep up with that.  I’m not even sure that I did.  But sometimes, you get on a trajectory and its momentum gives you little chance of escape or pause.  

Which is why the only hero worth having, the only hero that will outlast any other hero and that you can personally hold to account, is the hero within you.  That’s what people need – the awakening of the hero within themselves.

But you have to be careful and understand this well.  Such a hero doesn’t match the fairy-tale images that people are so romantically and helplessly drawn to.  On the contrary, the hero within is ambiguous, difficult to pin down at times and at other times, blindingly clear and impassioned.  

Can you live with such a hero?  Are you ready to go to battle under his or her direction?  Will you be prepared to go to bed with him or her every single night no matter how badly she has behaved or how mad she has caused you to feel?  That’s a question that you really need to answer if you are serious about heroes.

So, were you your own hero?  

How can I say?  Sometimes, it felt like I knew exactly who my hero was.  There was no confusion.  But, at times I had to be the hero and he had to lie down and take orders from me.  Now that was confusing.

You cannot be serious, right?

I am deadly serious (laughing).  You see, this is our problem.  This has been our problem since the beginning of time.  We want clear cut distinctions.  We want black or white but nothing in between.  We want precision, exactly this or exactly that.  We cannot, simply cannot tolerate ambiguity, plurality.  It’s always got to be this or that.

And that’s bad? 

Of course it’s bad!  The world isn’t made that way.  Heroes aren’t built that way.  We are children if we cannot wake up from our fairy tales and take on the world as it really is.  And until we do, it’s going to piss on us and we’re going to keep hating it for doing that.  You see, we can’t stand the smell of our own piss.

I don’t know what to think.  I’m a little upset.  I don’t know exactly why but I guess I expected something better, grander, earth-shattering, the ultimate, irrefutable answer, I guess, though to be honest, I don’t think I even had a question to start with (shaking my head, feeling lost and puzzled).

Let me try and put some perspective here.  You thought I was and wanted me to be the hero, the one with the answer to everything, the god-answer.  The answer that would once and for all and for ever put an end to any kind of questioning and doubt.  An answer you would know with every fiber in your muscles was the ultimate truth.  You expected that from me.

And my qualification for this?  For being able to, in your estimation, provide such an answer?  That I was a hero once upon a time and, yes, let’s face it, I still am to some.  So, in your mind, a hero must have the ultimate answer, the ultimate truth.  Oh, and I forgot to mention. 

There is another reason why you expected me to have this god-answer.  The simple, perhaps sometimes overlooked fact that I am dead.  Well, at least physically dead.  And for some reason, in your mind, dead people have answers that living people don’t seem to have.  

Look, I know this may sound like I’m having a go at you and I’ll be lying if I said I wasn’t but teasing aside, it’s true.  Many people believe that dead people have answers to difficult questions that physically alive people don’t seem to have.

Perhaps (drawing on his cigar), they believe that dead people have access to god or greater access to god and I know that for you, god is the all-encompassing source of all there is including or should I say, which is really all the information that is and ever was and ever will be.

So, yes, if you believe that dead people have greater access to god, then of course it makes sense that you would expect dead people, or at least certain dead persons to have all the answers and the god-answer.  It makes sense, let’s not fart-arse around that.

Yep, you’re right.  That’s exactly how it is.  But, Che, the strange thing is I don’t even know why I started talking to you.  I mean, what did I think I would gain by talking to you?  But I can tell you this:  I wanted to.  It wasn’t something that I’d thought about or planned.  Perhaps I was just drawn into your field.

Does it matter?  Do you have to know why?  Isn’t it enough that we’re having this conversation?  You know how many people would give their finger nails for this?  I mean have them painfully extracted from….

I get the picture (smiling) and yes, I know how amazing it is to be able to have you all to myself but that’s why I want to make sure I don’t squander this opportunity, you know?  I mean, if there was something really important, really deep and meaningful that I wanted to talk to you about and I’m unable to because I’ve forgotten what it was, oh for crying out loud, that would be…

Hey, listen.  Sometimes, you got to remember that the open ended conversation can be the most revealing and revolutionary conversation because you have a wide, open Havana that you can explore in any direction, not just one or two, you know?

Yes, I do.  And, of course, it’s silly that I seem to have dismissed the value of the conversation we’ve had so far.  I mean, it really is amazing. 

Hmm…(chewing on his cigar).

I know, you’re thinking that there’s so much I already know but…I don’t know, you think that despite knowing all that I do, I’m still looking to you for some kind of confirmation or further revelation…I don’t know…perhaps I’m finding what I know just a little too bland, not enough sizzle and pop, you know?  I mean, the world must have an infinitely grander meaning and purpose and explanation than what I seem to have, you know?  
Actually, that was not at all what I was thinking though I agree, it would make our struggle and suffering and angst worth it if the purpose was well, mind-blowing, if you like.

So what were you thinking?

How cigars taste the same here as they did where you are.

(Smiling silently)

We both are, smiling silently, that is, contented with our conversation.  I, of course, am wondering if I’ll chat with him again.  I’m still plagued by physical world realities like access (would such a prominent person have time for me?), self-esteem (would he want to speak again with a ‘nobody’ like me?) and purpose (would I find it useful talking to him now that he’s pretty much told me that that there are no mind-blowing answers).

Yes, yes and yes, he says.

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