Good evening ladies and gentleman
So. Run with me for a second. As I’m sure you are aware if you’ve been reading Thinking Evolution lately, i have been particularly bored. To that end, i was watching videos on YouTube, and came across “The Killing Joke” monologue from one of the many Joker characters from over the years. Two lines in particular caught my attention.
“Memories are what our reason is based upon”
“Madness is the emergency exit”
Right, it should be mentioned I’ve not gone crazy in my boredom- but i can’t help thinking about how important these two lines are to understanding who we are and the challenges we face everyday throughout modern society. So let us start with the top one, reason. What is reason?
Memories are what reason is based upon. Certain memories are truly fucking terrible things. I often think I am doing good, well even, when aboard the comfortable trains of thought, the comfort of familiarity washing over me like your favourite chair, heading in the same direction for reasons we have become less and less sure of every time we climb aboard. The point is, we have a certain familiarity with pain, misery, depression, spending our time thinking about things we didn’t do or things we wish we had done differently. They say when they ask older people the one regret they have about life, it isn’t about what they did, but about what they didn’t do. We fear change, it hurts us, worries us because we remember. We can only watch it again and again until a certain point. Yet we continue to torture ourselves in what went wrong, rather than what felt good.
Even if we feel like it’s been so long since anything changed it feels like nothing ever will. However, i remain steadfast we have all in some way incited a change, in our lives, no matter how big, small, or even compulsory they felt. It happened and we reacted in certain way, that has left a memory remaining with us, a feeling etched onto your mind, an idea intertwined into every cell in your soul. Whether the feeling created is good or bad, and the change bought about either a positive or negative effect, something remains, an evolution, a step away from familiarities’ comfort of the first half of the journey.
The desire to be perfect seems to be something of a never ending challenge in modern life, with the problem that somehow, we have to learn to deal with the fact we never will be perfect.
I’ve spent vast periods of time wandering around the darkest recesses of my mind grappling with the problems of perfectionism, but it is an inescapable truth that you will never be that perfect self- everything I hope to be tomorrow may not even feel worth it tomorrow, or the next day. Hope for today, because it’s the only thing that every really exists. Tomorrow is guaranteed to nobody and yesterday is nothing more than a memory, never to be repeated if we are willing to listen.
Even so, we as a society live for this “perfective” ideal, strive to survive to that point where we will feel like that everything is perfect. Problem with that is, sometimes changes have negative effects on your life and don’t think we can deal with that so well, hence the persistent desire to head for the “emergency exit.”
There is a memory that goes with that change, the thing that made us feel so terrible, when all you want is to curl up into a ball and disappear, for the world to leave us alone while we wallow in how we “missed the signs” of our impending doom, the sense that failure was coming and that success we just out of reach. The memory may fade, but that feeling forever remains and it’s from this “reasoning” that our memories give us where we develop those fears, of life, of love and perhaps most critically, change.
“Madness.” From a purely psychotic “jokeresque” perspective it would obviously mean going insane, to the point where you lose concepts of morals and ideas, when the idea of what is right and wrong becomes so uninteresting to the point you just don’t care about killing people, blowing things up and generally being an “agent of chaos.” Now take this premise and add some life to it. Beyond the obvious idea a lot of us would be greatly affected in an extremely negative way by killing and blowing stuff up, we have the dreams that feel almost other worldly in that they are only really visible to us, and that when the world is going wrong they appear a fantasy looking like the “emergency exit.”
They appear fantasy because they are unique in nature- untainted even. They are as personal and truly ours as anything can be. They were not shaped by society and what we are “supposed” to do . They are ours, untainted by what the Joker would quip how fucking meaningless life can sometimes feel.
I mentioned before this idea of being on a train- a negative thought of a situation or a memory, with the destination feeling all too familiar. We live in a society of fear, and the train is taking us to the same feeling that we would do all we can to avoid. This is where our anxiety comes in. The crippling fear that a train of thought could make or break us, to make for a huge leap of change to that could lead to nothing, could make you feel low, could make you fear even more. I often wander about whether i fear life, or i have been scared so long, been jumping off the train “at the emergency exit” so long i have become uninterested in whats coming, the final station the train is going to stop at.
I feel like imagination can play a major part in our memories, in the fact that we can create thoughts and feelings that will make a fleeting memory, something that may have only happened for a second in real life, so much worse. You can have people in your life doing all they can to keep you aboard the train, to see something through, when all you want is to take that emergency exit, give into the anxiety stopping you from living your dreams, the moments we lust for, ideas and images we are always creating mental artworks of, but never seeing them though because of the fearful comfort of familiarity. All for the potential of the anxiety building to the point where we are crippled from it and the boredom feels like a warm blanket of comfort we never want to put down.
The Joker is insane, without a doubt, but take away the murder, explosions and chaos. Just for a second, and look at life in general and how memories, the “vile little brutes” are everything that make us, us. We have bad memories and good memories, and whether we like it or not, both make up who we are. We spend so long staring out the window, anxious of how a change could make us feel, how it could effect our control on the life we are so convinced we have “balance,” only to then dive for the ocean of boredom, to take the emergency exit all over again.
Memories form the reasoning that we build our lives upon, the personality that we are showing to ourselves, and the world. Yet we are so fearful of pain, of anxiety crippling us and questioning the “balance” we have worked so hard to create. We jump on and off the train of thought, heading always for the emergency exit. We often feel like the reasoning these memories give us make the jump logical, the “best option,” for the journey in the end, will only provide misery, anxiety and inevitable fear of life, to that end we spend time convinced the destination will never matter, because we will never make it.
The journey is always going to provide issues, there will always be stumbling points. Its supposed to hurt and its supposed to make you feel anxious, for this way it feels so much better when you get there! and when you do you can look back and see what you have done, the work you flowed through, the graft you pulled and for once, be so dam proud. Or we can, as usual, take the emergency exist. Maybe for all of his psychotic behavior, in a way, the Joker was right…
Madness is the emergency exit.
And we have been spending our lives convinced this was normal, because its easier to avoid life than to live it.
What do you think? Does anxiety dictate the way we live, the way we avoid life for the fear of change, what is the “emergency exit?” What is yours? How do you find yourself again and again moving towards it?
Yours, with love as always. DR
Random picture- plus a link to the Killing Joke monologue.