The Dreamer’s Disease

I believe I first encountered the phrase the indomitability of the human spirit in my reading of the works of Yukio Mishima. Since then the phrase and the veracity of it has remained with me. Anyone who knows me knows that my life has been built of books, of the reality and truth of art in its many forms. Artists are, if anything, dreamers at their core. It was no arbitrary act that the only thing left in Pandora’s box was hope. Without hope there is nothing but desolation, an emptiness that is boundless and fills all with darkness. Even when the artist depicts in words or color or three dimensions a scene of decay, suffering, violence, or death, it is always with hope and a faith in some belief that seems a fortress that cannot be besieged or set ablaze.

Artists are utopian even when they create only dystopias. They expose the dark truths and forces, bringing them to the surface, in the hopes that their audience will react and engage in discourse and become warriors in the cause of progress, eternally warring with the system that keeps bound all those who have no power or will to fight, who exist in a state of ignorance of their own making and the making of others, for the truth is that the elite, those who have risen to power by abusing the rights and freedoms granted us not just by the government but by life itself as human beings, who have risen to power through lies and false promises, through corruption of all types, wish to hold on to power even when in the grip of Death, because nothing but that power and the material benefits that go along with it matters to them.

This faith, this hope, for a better tomorrow for all humanity, is what I call the dreamer’s disease. It is something that I know the majority of human beings have, but which we all lose from time to time, and even for extended periods of time. But this is the message of art, even when it exhibits a scene of terror or horror. Art asks you to look within and to summon the divine indomitability of the human spirit to carry on toward the fulfillment of the dream of reform and revolution that rectifies the inequality that all previous generations have endured and inflicted on each other. Art asks you to take up the flag of truth and empowerment through that truth and bury it in the bloody hide of inequality of all kinds, the ever-grasping and far-reaching tentacles of material and moral evil born of the ego and the trinity of ways in which it fundamentally manifests itself: ignorance, fear, and desire. When we destroy the illusion of the ego that has chained our true selves to the impermanence of the material world, we transcend and integrate with the spiritual energy that has created and preserved all life and find ourselves liberated to live and be as we were meant to—in communion with one another through acts of that creative spirit made concrete and impactful.

Artists dream and suffer, for they lose hope that things can change, but yet they always return to the dream and work to bring to life and light the deeper realities behind the human condition because they have been chosen by the creative spirit to be beacons of faith, hope, and belief. It is a disease for which there is no cure, and to which we are sacrificed, willingly or not. To be the bearers of the light of truth, to be compelled to make clear the path toward knowledge and redemption when few listen or care is an isolating and torturous experience, a state of being with which we artists have been irreversibly branded.

I may appear an awful pessimist but I know that I am not. I was marked before birth with the dreamer’s disease and have wished over and over again to escape it, to not be its slave, but it seems that yes, even in me, the indomitability of the human spirit in the face of all the storms, terrors, and evils of life cannot be drowned or destroyed, that no matter what, I still believe and have faith, I return to the hope that is the flame within each of us, and create from it, quietly dreaming that my words will not just be read but acted on, that my poetry and philosophy will waken the consciousness of another, or a multitude of others. This is the dreamer’s disease—to be a martyr to hope and the passion that has made humanity progress even as it regresses. The dreamer’s disease is to faithfully hold on to the dream of the ideal society and state of human civilization even when the candle is burning low and sheds little light or warmth within. It is to create art, and revolution through that art. I cannot give up the mantle of the dreamer’s disease no matter how often I want to, for it will not let me go, as it is stronger than I; it is the spiritual consciousness of life made manifest in me. It is one with my mind, heart, flesh and bone.

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