Upon hearing of Anthony Bourdain’s demise.
I am saddened, infuriated.
We are dead a long time.
Beginnings and endings are the essence of life’s journey. The impulses of creativity and destruction are inherent within the human psyche. Annihilation in its purest form leads one beyond the limitations of the small self, into a world of unending possibility. Self-annihilation is not the way of nature. The tightrope of life is laid bare by this dear man’s demise. Saddening. Bracing.
The themes of suicide, celebrity, and mental illness have been tumbling through me, touching, stirring, revealing. Two questions tug at the fringes: why, and where are we heading that leads to this man so globally liked and admired to end his life?
I had never really heard of him ’til yesterday, many friends posted about him. He had an enormous impact.
A victim of our fading humanity? Another sorry tale of chasing ‘success’? It appears that unless we can tell ourselves we have succeeded materially, unless we can work harder than hard… a chasm of despair beckons, consuming.
Let’s step back from the brink.
We are dead a long time.
In the increasingly disconnected world where the pursuit of things and money dominate, I feel cast in the role of the smiling assassin, “Well, I told you so didn’t I? There’s nothing to be gained by trying to ‘handle’ your emotions, your mind will always be a cantankerous servant of your ego. This world will not deliver you from yourself. You must dive deeper beneath the wild wild waves.”
A spiritual smugness sweeps over me, smirking I think to myself, “I’ve got it sorted out (sort of), so I’ll be ok, Jack, and, well, sorry you had to die to things I saw and did not rail about”.
Anxiety, depression, despair, grief, hopelessness, are the lot of us humans. It comes in bucketloads. Buddha got it right: ‘Life is suffering’. Love and tragedy are the great uniters.
There is a peace that passes all understanding, it lies on the other side of our human frailities.
Acceptance. Surrender, sets us free… a light is switched on delivering sweet solace, and succour.
However, collectively we are choosing the seduction of things and are slaves to systems that no longer serve the human spirit. Our world is increasingly dehumanising and we reach for pills, drugs, suffer silently alienated from self and others, and then a long walk off a short pier becomes attractive.
We are dead a long time.
Human needs for connection, affirmation and community are real. Yet, we mindlessly rumble on consuming goods, products and services that destroy our inner fabric… disconnecting, dehumanising, and fraying human value. We are seduced by technologies that distance us from our basic needs.
The act of honouring ourselves every day in healthy mindful ways has never been a stronger requirement. Connecting to self and others stabilises us so we can hear the creative life affirming impulses from the core of our being.
No matter how the light may dim, the world is better for your being here.
We are dead a long time.
Vale Anthony, you graced the world with a charm and magic that will be sorely missed.