Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Meaning Behind Spirit

I woke up one morning after a traumatic dream about my senior year in college. I didn’t have work that day, or I just didn’t feel like committing time to it.

I had to check my Twitter and Facebook. In my Twitter feed, I found out about You Are The Hero Vol. 2. Should I spend my cash on that? I love Fighting Fantasy stuff. Great books.

Then it hit me.

It’s St. Patrick’s day, and Depeche Mode’s new album came out.

I was alone in the house. The snow was still sticking on the ground. So why not? I drove to the vinyl record stop to pick up the new album.

I found the LP to the left of “new releases.” The friendly old manager was still there.

“Ahh! You came to pick up the new Depehce Mode album! Yeah, that’s the last one left!”

I was excited they had it on vinyl. I didn’t feel like looking for any other record. I wanted to get out of the store quickly and go back home to listen to it.

Two years ago, I remember picking up Yukihiro Takahashi’s Neuromantic album from that same guy.

As I head back home, my GPS took me on a route that was very nostalgic and familiar. Namely, there was a certain location I use to go all the time. Her name was viable on the map.

…But when I got home, I just wanted to listen to the album and forget about that. 

Dave, Martin and Andy, standing in the snow. Strange because it looked exactly like the snow outside.

My mom came in the kitchen about the same time when the record was playing, “The Worse Crime.” She had to go back and visit grandma’s house. I helped her get in some groceries as the record played.

Mom got me sushi like always. The California roll from Wegmans that always fell apart. Not truly authentic.

I was eating the flimsy sushi while listening to “You Move.” A good song. I liked the bass.

I was happy to hear that the first Gore song was “Eternal.” However, it was way too short. Not good enough.

In fact, half the songs on the album were recorded in 2015, and the other half 2016.

In 2015, I was suffering in that… girl’s school.

March, that same year (two years ago actually), she admitted cheating on me.

…And as I passed by her house, the place I use to go all the time, I felt her.

Spirit sounds incredibly flat. The same style that KMFDM is producing now. I felt like they were rehashing old lyrics and images over and over again and trying to create original material with it.

I think the producers are thinking way too much about how they think about Depeche Mode as a brand. I feel “Where’s The Revolution?” is a mimic of “People are People,” along with some Beatles worship.

Now, I have a bad memory of when they played in New York City in September of 2013. I was in my dorm room in Philadelphia. That girl casually took the train to see me often. And on the way back, after we kissed, she told me she met with a friend on the way back.

I could not trust her.

I was doing homework that week. I said to myself, “What if I had tickets, got on the bus to New York, and saw Depeche Mode live. That would be so exciting!”

That never happened. I was too afraid to go by myself. I still am afraid to go alone.

I remember trying to catch a Taxi to go play Netrunner at Drexel. That didn’t happen either. It was the first week of college and I had homework to do. I was way too cowardly.

And I remember giving that girl an expensive $60 present on Christmas. I did the same on her birthday. Shadow over Camelot and Ticket To Ride. I would also send her handmade letters too.

I was in love with her.

And every single time she would stalk me and play board games with me and my friends, I fell for it.

She was old trauma. I forgot about her when I found a new girl (I think). …Yet again, she came back.

The best track on Spirit is “Fail.” I don’t know why Martin Gore keeps a low profile. It has always been a tradition that Gore contributes two songs on every Depeche Mode album. Those tracks on Spirit were “Eternal” and “Fail.” Fail is the best track on the entire album.

The lyrics go something like this:

People, do we call this trying?
We’re hopeless, forget the denying
Our souls are corrupt
Our minds are messed up
Our consciences, bankrupt
Oh, we’re fucked

People, what are we thinking?
It’s shameful, our standards are sinking
We’re barely hanging on
Our spirit has gone
And once where it shone
I hear a lonesome song

People, how are we coping?
It’s futile to even to even start hoping
That justice will prevail
That truth will tip the scales
Our dignity has sailed
Oh, we’ve failed

…People have lost their sanity, not because they are bad people, but because we have lost this game called “life.”

How can you lose in this game called life? It’s not like there are any specific rules to it. One has to be living and breathing to enjoy life, right? But once you’re dead, that’s it! We could say that life is but a dream, or a ticking clock towards death. Once the clock strikes 12, you’re done.

Now that’s a very hedonist and nihilistic way of thinking. Since this is what every white American likes to think about. Unlike the natural way of following your “dasein,” as Martin Heidegger wrote in Being and Time, where we prepare ourselves for death and self-improve our existence for future generation.

If we were free to do what we want, however, people would play a Machiavellian game of social networking, dependency, and selfishness.

The human “spirit,’ what Gore calls it, is innate within us all. We have the ‘spirit’ to go forth and to do good in the world. We have a religious “spirit.” But what happens if this spirit becomes corrupted? Does it leave the body? Or does the spirit become corrupted?

If the spirit is corrupted, then we worship totalitarian politics. I’m talking about the Alt-Right, Cultural Marxism, the cult of any personality. The “militancy” we feel as a sense of belonging to something greater. …And then they go ahead and exploit those who go against this rule. 

The front cover of Spirit ironically features marching feet and flags flying. A sense of marching nationalism. The ‘spirit’ of an ideology.

With songs like “Going Backwards,” “Where’s the Revolution,” “The Worst Crime,” all bring out some kind of totalitarian politics.

But “Fail” brings out the album’s theme. People have failed the social game. It’s time to consider that things are bad because they are innately bad, that people have failed to win a game they could never win in the first place. Like how I failed to woo over that girl. And she failed to understand me. Or that she failed with her own poor choices.

We failed trying to make friends in high school, we failed trying to chase after our dreams, we failed trying to live with certain people we wanted to live with, we failed getting the job, we failed and don’t have a narrative or legacy to tell other people about.

Even if you had those things, and for once you were the winner, people are still failing.

F. Roger Devlin’s book, Sexual Utopia in Power, is about how men fail to achieve the women they desire. The women also fail to understand the men. Both parties have failed.

Gore’s lyrics again:

People, how are we coping?
It’s futile to even to even start hoping
That justice will prevail
That truth will tip the scales
Our dignity has sailed
Oh, we’ve failed

Erik Erikson had something called “the stages of pyschosocial development.” This was a psychological theory that describe peoples trying to answer basic questions about their own existence. The right questions answered would mean to live a “good life.” But if one fails to answer these spiritual questions, they become corrupted.

The Hollywood Neo-nazi is living in his own traumas. In other words, he failed the psychosocial game. Meanwhile, the jolly cultural marxist professor had the wrong answers. Both are ironically perverted.

People fail in the psychosocial paradigm. They fail answering questions and will fail with perverted answers.

The reason why everyone is miserable in the western world is because everyone has failed individually as a player in a game that they don’t know how to play. Basically, there are winners, and there are losers.

…And losers listen to Depeche Mode.

I have to ask myself whether I failed in the social game, or whether I am an exploited pawn with no influence, just like the protagonist in Albert Camus’s The Stranger. Was I offered the good life? And in order to win it, did I have to pretend to be like Roosh V or be ripped like Jack Donovan? Did I lose because I failed to seize these crucial life moments? Is it because of social Darwinism?

And that girl, who I knew since the 4th grade. I still drive by her house as I pass the record store. I told her all my secrets, and tried so hard to win her as my girlfriend, and hopefully future wife.

But it didn’t happen. Either I lost and made the wrong choices, or she failed and didn’t see me. Maybe I lost because I had to answer those psychosocial questions while she was still in high school.

Am I a non-influential agent, or loser in this game?

I feel like my own spirit has been transformed into something else. Call it, “overcoming my youthful trauma.” But I think it’s more than that. Then again, the spirit of me is energized into something else (the creation of art).

She lost her spirit to acknowledge me. I lost my spirit when it didn’t get through with her.

I failed to woo her. Now I’m an Asian-Aryan.

 

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