Aug 07 2011

Reflections on Light and Darkness

Category: Photos,Prose/EssaysSeven @ 8:27 pm

My Someone in the Light

My Someone in the Light

A reader of this blog brought this to my attention and I felt I had to share it because the person who wrote it obviously has a very profound understanding of Michael. In the aftermath of Michael’s death the reader, whose name is Ara, ran across a commentary on the Wall Street Journal blog by Michael’s friend, Deepak Chopra. Chopra’s piece was titled “Michael Jackson and the God Feeling

The 82 comments in response to the article revealed that many had misinterpreted Chopra’s point. After all, the blogosphere is accessible to anyone, and most are not only not towering intellectuals, they also bring their own personal baggage to the table.

The reactions were predictable: disparaging comments as well those in agreement with what Chopra wrote. Many were seemingly appalled at the sheer audacity of Chopra to infer that Michael inspired anything even close to a “God feeling”, and saw this as offensive and ludicrous.

But  —  buried among those 82 comments was a jewel titled ‘Reflections on Light and Darkness‘, written by someone who only called her/himself ”filipek7“. Here is what “filipek7” wrote (emphasis mine):

Reflections on Light and Darkness

There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in” (Leonard Cohen)

There are no doubt millions of fans of Michael Jackson’s music who remain baffled by what little they have known of his behavior, character and appearance. There are millions more who are totally indifferent to the music and, if anything, repulsed by what they perceive as an offensive eccentric at best or dangerous deviant at worst. In the days immediately following his tragic death, almost all commentators chose to emphasize this ostensible polarity of Michael’s legacy: “a genius in his art, but a disturbed human being.” It seems like there was always a “but.”

If mainstream gurus are good at anything, it is turning truth on its head and, in the process, eviscerating all that is pure. It is not in Michael Jackson’s musical artistry that his foremost greatness consists, but it is in fact in his wonderful humanity. His music is only just one expression – just one manifestation – of that humanity. These misguided eulogies, therefore, have it all backwards. Michael’s legacy is not limited to an artistry that is somehow soiled by a troubled and troubling life. Michael’s greatest legacy is his loving character and the lessons it teaches us, through his ultimately tragic life, about the true face of an often brutal and ugly world.

In Michael Jackson, we see an innocence and purity rarely seen in an adult. Jackson’s “childlikeness” is perplexing to many people, but it is precisely this trait that sets him apart from an adult world that has learned so effectively to be cold and calculated, smart and shrewd, proper and professional. Adults seeking to better themselves ought to become more childlike. If Michael was guilty, his sin (borrowing Dylan’s prophetic words) was that he knew and felt too much within. Unfortunately, it is typical for those who feel deeply to seem to others utterly odd and insane. Hence the proverbial Pierrot, buffoon or idiot, whose superficial lunacy conceals a deep understanding of the human heart. Michael’s intense capacity to feel allowed him to be a loving, caring and responsive human being. He was far more capable of love than are most adults. Because of this acute sensitivity, what we also see in Michael is an utterly vulnerable, susceptible man.

Michael’s bizarre appearance and eccentric behavior were, paradoxically, far more sensible than the “normal” behavior of most “normal” people within the confounding context world that is itself upside down. All of Michael’s strange gestures and attitudes make perfect sense given one profound premise – that the world is pure, innocent and harmless. Of course those of us who have “grown up” have learned that the world is not “pure, innocent and harmless.” Hence the tragedy of Michael Jackson. His actions, whether holding his baby over the balcony or jumping on top of a car to wave to adoring fans or spending millions of dollars on a single shopping spree, seem irresponsible and disturbing when seen and interpreted through the categories of a deranged world. In fact, his actions were selfless and harmless.

The truth is, Michael had the eyes and heart of a child who saw in one dimension – that of pure love. When he saw that someone desired something from him, he gave selflessly, paying no heed to logical consequences or reasonable caution. The dictates of propriety and convention were, as they ought always to be, totally subordinated to the dictates of love. It made perfect sense to him to give joy to others, even if this exposed him and his own actions to spiteful or selfish manipulation by others.

Michael was not willing to assume, as most adults are conditioned to do, that someone he approached could have a tarnished nature. He gave others the benefit of doubt, approaching them as if approaching angels and children. When he met demons, thus, he was utterly exposed and likely devastated. This, no doubt, brought him much suffering, i.e., not so much the suffering that was inflicted upon him by the malice of others but only just the sudden realization (played over and over again anew) that the person he had hoped was an angel could in fact be so malevolent. Michael never allowed himself, it seems, to draw the seemingly rational and sensible conclusion that most adults have drawn from repeated experience: the world is generally just this way. In other words, Michael’s purity was such that if he met nine people, all of whom turned out to be vile, he would still greet the tenth as an angel. This defies reasonable human “logic,” but it remains steadfast in an adherence to the greater logic of divine love.

Michael surrounded himself with children not because he was perverted, but because he saw in them the hope for a world which had grown to be far too mature. What he loved in children was the proof and justification of the “purity of heart” of which we hear in the Beatitudes. He tried desperately – in only seemingly irrational ways – to protect this adolescent purity from a world whose hideous cruelty he felt in his very own flesh. If the fact that he saw nothing wrong in expressing love toward children in emotionally intimate ways attests only to his purity, our inclination to assume that he was a pedophile and our willingness to assume that love is a pathological deviation can only attest to our essential impurity. In a world that has fallen to pieces, it only makes sense that (to quote Dylan once again) what’s bad is good, what’s good is bad. Thus, love is a pathological disturbance, whereas cold, rational remoteness defines the new “humanity.”

Michael created and surrounded himself with a world fit for a child because he felt that this is the ideal the entire world should aspire to – an ideal that the world so woefully fails to live up to. It was also, incidentally, a way for him to compensate for the pain that was so ever-present to him – the pain of his past and present, the pain of his visceral, personal experience. Michael was sensitive – perhaps hyper-sensitive – and in so being, he felt the pang of every brutal truth far more directly and deeply than most others would. The harm that was inflicted upon him and others was so real to Michael that it induced in him an absolute and immediate moral response. This response – this Neverland world that eradicated the pain of reality through one sweeping contradiction – however unrealistic and idealistic it might seem to a practically minded adult, was totally reasonable for Michael. Michael was the perfect mixture of a child’s innocence and an old-man’s sagacity. He saw both much less and much more. Quincy Jones was therefore profoundly astute and when he famously described Michael as both the oldest and youngest man he knew.

Michael’s innocence is strangely evident in his infamous shopping spree that evoked such a furor when shown in Martin Bashir’s exposé. My own socially and environmentally conscious logic is tempted to condemn and rebuke such wanton excess. And yet, I can only smile when I see Michael in the store. Why? Perhaps because what I really see is an innocent child grasping for an ideal utopia – pleasantly oblivious to the ugliness of a consumptive and destructive society concealed behind a façade of harmless, pretty, enjoyable products. Michael sees only what is immediately there – the potential for a beautiful world wherein children and adults alike have what they need – the joy and inspiration, the peace and beauty. There is really no concern here for stuff. What allows me to smile rather than to cringe is that Michael’s thoughts and actions flow so naturally and effortlessly along these ideal and pure categories, which seem so improbable to my rational mind. He does not see the horror and the ugliness. These do not factor into his thinking. His urge to buy is not inspired by an egoistic urge to amass stuff for his own gratification. Nor does it arise from being manipulated by an insidious system that wants you to buy for its own impure interest.

The Bashir Interview: Casting Pearls before Swine

When I first (only recently) watched the notorious Martin Bashir special, which was shamelessly aired again and again on MSNBC after Michael’s passing, I could not help but cry. At times I felt as though I was witnessing the public humiliation, flogging and crucifixion of an utterly helpless and harmless child. My first thought was, “why did Michael agree to do this? He should have refused!” Upon some reflection, however, I realized that Michael was willing to expose himself (repeatedly) to Bashir’s sadistic onslaught precisely because of who he was. Michael thought that Bashir’s intentions were pure. He wanted to believe that Bashir would not manipulate what had been said and that the journalist’s quest was simply to share the truth with the world. Why not believe this to be the case? Why assume that the interviewer’s instincts could be self-interested and impure? Would that not be admitting that the world is ugly – that the world is not and will never be Neverland?

The contrast between Bashir and Michael really could not be greater. Bashir went out of his way to appear reasonable and measured. Michael, on the other hand, had little regard for how he appeared. His main concern was the truth of how he felt and what he believed. To many people he appeared “crazy.” The truth, of course, was just the opposite. Bashir was consistently cynical, sardonic, judgmental, and seemed to exhibit a pathological indifference when, again and again, he picked at Michael’s raw, open wounds. He showed no regard for the human heart and its anguish. If he had any concern for Michael’s torment, perhaps he was too proud to show it. Bashir concealed his cruelty behind a façade of intelligent, reasonable and intellectual professionalism, as if he were just a skilled journalist in the disinterested pursuit of truth. But it is when things sound perfectly civilized and appear so prim and proper that we should be most wary and suspicious. If we pay close attention, we see that Michael possesses the genuine and good heart and is quite reasonable in all he stands for, whereas Bashir is the true sociopath.

Bashir conducts his hurtful interviews all the meanwhile adhering to the highest professional protocol and journalistic etiquette. At one point in the broadcast, Bashir reflects: “Confronting Michael wasn’t going to be easy, but now it had to happen,” as if this shift to difficult personal subject matter were the result of some inescapable logic, perhaps some imagined standard of journalistic professionalism, which dictates that the truth must be uncovered, whatever the human toll. It is not relevant or important to Bashir how personal the truth may be, whether it has any important humane or useful significance to the audience, or what the consequences of the pursuit of that truth might be. The single thing that matters is the successful exposure of facts, which will secure for Bashir pride among his peers. Are we to admire this journalist’s professional ardor, persistence, and his supreme objectivity in the pursuit of his goal? Is it of no importance that a human being must be sacrificed on the altar of this professional ideal?

In yet another disingenuous attempt to establish his superior ethical and professional credentials, Bashir explains to his audience that his line of questioning is inspired by a “worry” for Michael’s children. Meanwhile, Michael sits and writhes in obvious pain and discomfort. Seeing this, Bashir, ever the objective scientist in hot pursuit, does not desist but rather intensifies his inquest. Michael, the victim, is increasingly desperate and begins to crack. His humanity is bared for all to see. Michael’s legs tremble with anxiety. Under duress, Michael opens up and his emotions spill over. Defenseless because of his innocence, and so pure that he cannot even fathom the foul logic of reason, Michael describes the act of sharing one bed with a child as an expression of care and love. How fair-minded propriety dictates that care and love are in fact deviant behavior is rightly incomprehensible to him. Desperation ringing in his voice, he explains that he cannot abide a crazy world wherein guns and computers have, for children, replaced human contact and compassion. “Why does it mean so much to you?” asks Bashir. The question seems to embody concern, but there is a just barely palpable accusatory tone: Wouldn’t a normal, rational person care less…? Perhaps you care so much because you are demented or perverted…?

The proper question, of course, is how anyone could ever be indifferent to the plight of children in an alienating world? How could anyone care less? Bashir’s rationality has itself become a pathological deviation. Bashir stands in judgment over a phenomenon he cannot understand, because he has grown up beyond where he could ever comprehend the simplicity of a pure heart. His logic is far too sophisticated and proud. When we have grown up to the point where we are actually capable of dispassionately analyzing a tragedy without breaking down and crying about it, we have then truly lost our humanity. Erecting ideals like Neverland in an effort to cope with dismal reality is not a moral failure. Properly seen, it is just a symptom of or testament to the pathological state of the world. The moral failure is the dismal reality in itself.

Bashir is the sort of person who could stab a person and, with cool and calm demeanor, go on to ask why the victim is in pain. He is “disturbed” by Jackson’s ostensibly eccentric behavior and “concerned” for the children, all the meanwhile inflicting psychological torture on the father of these children. Perhaps Bashir even understands that Michael’s sensitivity will make him susceptible to manipulation. He throws Michael off balance and then points to his angst as evidence of character flaws. Bashir is especially interested in the personal and largely irrelevant matter of plastic surgeries, and here his interrogation borders on sadism. Knowing the topic will open painful wounds, he pries into Michael’s demons. Bashir’s interrogation can only bring to mind an SS officer with his cool and scientific method. Perhaps what Bashir was really looking for in his ideal subject was a cold hard rock rather than a human being. What he found instead was an angel.

Posted by: filipek7 | June 30, 2009 4:07 PM, in response to: Michael Jackson and the God Feeling

Michael

Michael

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17 Responses to “Reflections on Light and Darkness”

  1. Joyce says:

    I quite honestly feel speechless after reading this incredible response to Chopra’s article. It is written with such understanding and clarity. I think Chopra himself could learn a lot from this comment. “Filipek7’s” analysis of the cruel Bashir interview and it’s devastating effect on Michael was excellent and so upsetting at the same time. How is it possible that more people do not see the cruelty of this and so many other so called journalists. How can they not see the innocence, purity, love and deep caring nature of the real Michael Jackson. I suppose it is as “filipek7” states… “a symptom of or testament to the pathological state of the world”. I really do not know what else to say except Thank You Seven for sharing this jewel by “filipek7”. It is definitely worth re-reading!

  2. Susan Trout says:

    Seven, you discovered a treasure. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful, loving tributes to Michael’s pure nature that I’ve ever read. How sweet of that person to write such a compelling piece. The only downside is that it confirms and intensifies what we all now know to be true. There is nothing wrong with Michael Jackson….there is everything wrong with our world and how we view it and treat each other, especially innocent children and animals.

    This one guarantees tears.

    Though it hurts even more, I appreciate you sharing it with us.

  3. cjg says:

    AMEN

  4. meap says:

    Yes, Seven,
    So true. Especially the Bashir interview. It was so obviously tilted and I wondered how Michael did not see it. But one of the conclusions that I have come to is that Michael had an unhappy habit of keeping his word. Even when it went against him he never strayed from the truth.

  5. Maria says:

    Seven,
    Beautiful pictures of Michael. This moment, when Michael had his arms outstretched is a metaphysical moment. Then I felt that he was someone special. He was a gift from God. We see and feel it very intensely.

  6. Anne Mette Jepsen says:

    Thank you Seven!!!
    LOVE and GRATITUDE 🙂

  7. Max says:

    There are many things Chopra said after Michae’s passing I find objectionable, because he stressed in every interview I watched that Michael was seriously addicted to drugs and even catalogued what he considered to be Michael’s serious character flaws. At the same time, I admired the fact that he could also say that Michael was godlike and lit up the world. About that famous shopping spree–it was only Michael’s attempt to illustrate a well-known spiritual truth, which goes something like “ask and you shall receive” and “always expect abundance, never lack.” Meanwhile, of course, I have realized that most people with lots of money are not only good at spending large chunks on a whim, but accumulating more endless riches precisely because they thus have become magnets for abundance.
    This letter should have been printed large in every newspaper and magazine. Michael was and is persecuted precisely because he was/is an innocent adult, which the world considers a contradiction of terms that make him a prime suspect for objectionable behavior.
    I have always been astounded by his moral courage. All the headlines one sees about yet another someone who is hailed as “the new Michael Jackson” totally miss the point of who this man really was. It is the innocence he passed on the his children the bloggers and pundits are now poised to squash. And that is our task–to not allow such an outrage.

  8. Christina says:

    This response to Chopra’s essay is nothing less than “Speechless” thank you so much! You hit the nail on the head!

  9. Lisa MJJ1111 says:

    When as a society, and I mean that globally, when will we stop victiamizing the targeted ones. Because of the preditors of our world-the rapest, the murders, the robbers, etc..WE must never walk alone-in a dark alley, we must carry a gun, knife, or spray, we must lock our doors and windows..And then when something does happen to us by the parasites of soceity-and ooops, “I forgot my spray so I got rapped..” “IT was her fault because she should have been more careful.” What happened to blaming the person who enacted in cruelity, in malice? Society blames the victim! The thinking of the masses has literally become upside down. Michael was far from stupid..He knew he lived in world of cruelity and ignorance–He spent his life giving us knowledge, wisdom, and love..because he did know. He not only knew, he felt it -deeply, most likely 3x more than the average empath. Michael’s tortures only gave truth to Michael’s pure heart.. Michael was the MAN IN THE MIRROR..and when Michael was near you, or one when you see his truth..either he will reflect your inner light, or he will show you the darkest part of your soul. Martin Bashir, Tom T, Diane D., and so many like them-have a fear of the light-so their jealousy, prejudices have became their personalities. What all these parasites had in common? They were blinded by their sickness..Yet, now they know-that is why are responsible for how they treated him. Yet, that in itself, takes humility..something they may not have. They are of this world. Michael was not of this world..yes, he was a man who lived in this world..but he was not of this world. Michael is beyond this world. And instead of understanding it, some of us choose to got against it..so we destroy what we do not understand. Michael was a trascendant being..living in world that TRIED to destroy his LIGHT..Yet, man can never destroy what was GOD GIVEN-God put into Michael is essence of LOVE, wisdom, and truth..Light only continues to shine brighter, multiple, change and grow and grow. RIP Michael, you were a gift from God, a light in world of darkness thank you for showing us how to LOVE..RIP king of Hearts..I will see you in paradise..

  10. Vanessa Donovan says:

    I love you Michael for all that you were, your gentle sweet soul, your unselfish giving to those in need, you will be forever in my heart, your devoted fan x

  11. Seven says:

    @Max,

    That’s one reason I didn’t bother to post the text of Chopra’s article here. 🙂

  12. carina for mjj says:

    Thank you for this article.It is the best I have read.I think filipek7 has a better understanding of Michael than Chopra.On one point I have a different feeling,that is, the shopping spree.I believe that Michael started to become tired an enervated by Bashir,somehow he may have perceived the underlying cruelty.He just zoomed through that shop and casually pointed to this or that to be bought.Somebody else made this observation before me and said”he showed Bashir the finger”.Those pieces of merchandice were returned.Bashir had become a tiresome guest that overstayed his time.He seemed such a boring person.I always recall the picture of Michael in his giving tree and bashir refusing to climb.
    This article should be spread all over the media.And by the way ,Michael also knew people of great importance,heads of state, artists and others all over the world.

  13. Max says:

    Another thing Chopra said really bothered me. He said he made sure to always stay in close contact with Grace and that she would report back to him anything amiss in Michael’s household. What did that make her but a paid spy? Paid by Michael, the one transgressed against, no less. I’m still steamed about that one.

  14. Lisa MJJ1111 says:

    Many of Michael’s so called friends, including Chopra, have gone out of their way to point out certain things about Michael-that seemed to be from their own personal biases not neccessarily the WHOLE truth of a situation. Chopra is considered a spiritual leader too, so maybe a tinge of competitiveness was at hand. I am not doubting Chopra’s admiration for Michael, but at times admiration and envy can go hand and hand. I agree with Max, about how Grace R. seemed to be the spy for Chopra-I do not know-it seems deceitful to me. Michael had so many people in his circle who say that they love him,or care about him..but it does not seem like love or even consideration when one is spying on someone. Even if the ‘spying’ was for a bigger purpose–what was the purpose? I do not recall any one doing any kind of intervention for any reason when all this was happening..No wonder Michael could not sleep-everyone around him-wanted something from in one form or another..even his so called friends.

  15. carina for mjj says:

    That Chopra used Grace R. behind Michaels back, if true is, the biggest sin one can do as a therapist,and he claimed to be somekind of spiritual therapist.If this is in fact true you can just discard Chopra 100%.

  16. Dialdancer says:

    Seven, you continue to do what should be impossible, present a piece of work on Michael more endearing than the last.

  17. Ara says:

    Seven,

    You have no idea how much I miss you. You (and your posts) were instrumental in bringing a profound understanding of Michael into my life. Yours was a space where I could come to feel his presence, and I came to love him even more because of your insights and sharing.

    It’s Easter again, Easter 2013, and every Easter I think about Michael. I hope you are well, Seven. Thank you for everything. Thank you for Michael. I will be grateful to you, always.

    –Ara

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