Friday, April 29, 2011

Lex Luthor's Existential Epiphany and the Power of Music

The power of something as simple as music to make a man cry is absolutely astonishing. There’s no real logical reason why it should when you break it down… just a collection of sounds and chords arranged according to subjective aesthetic. But the right piece can map out your soul… reducing the heavily inter-woven fibers of the emotional structure making up your life into an identifiable rhythmic cadence that seems to know you better than you know yourself. Sometimes it’s a memory, a fragment from yesterday that brings everything back in big vibrant technicolor through association. Sometimes it’s something you’ve never heard before. Like the face of a woman on the subway you’ve never met before, but can’t help feeling like you’ve known your entire life… it makes you think about the choices you make every day simply by sticking to your own routine. How many times have you condemned yourself to a linear destiny simply by choosing not to strike up a conversation with a stranger? 

You’re lying awake in bed at night and you hear something that’s simply so evocative of your experiences that it takes you by surprise, and pierces the emotional Great Wall of China you keep up for appearance’s sake. Just walks right in through the front door like it owns the place. There are vulnerabilities you never even think about until something hits you right square in them like a baseball through a pane glass window. It happens in the simple truths that we don’t like to think about. There are irreversible mistakes you’ve made in the past where you’ve lost important things… trust, closure, friendship, a relationship with someone incredible… it’s been entirely your fault because you’re weak, and there’s nothing you can do to repair it or make it never have happened no matter how hard you try. The delusions that we use to keep ourselves going everyday, the light at the end of the tunnel with a happy pleasant simple existence. Mortality, and how much of our lives we waste not doing the things we really want to because we can’t or won’t. You’re reminded of the most basic of all painful truths… there’s simply a huge difference between the way the world is and the way you want it to be, but you can’t do anything about that. 

But you don't just cry when something like that happens... you laugh, too. You laugh because there's something wonderful at the heart of everything. Even in the middle of the night in the dark in your bed with no one else to talk to, you aren't alone. You're surrounded in the world by countless others who go through the same struggles and experience the same joys that you do every day, taking the same pain and pleasure. That's what it means... that's the significance of the entire experience. It's intangible communication of existence's common denominators, even the simple ones. You're not alone. You exist on the same wavelength as an entire species, all that's left up to you is finding the connections and appreciating their value. 

"It's all just us, in here, together. And we're all we've got."

There's a profoundly beautiful moment at the end of All-Star Superman where Lex Luthor has gained Superman's powers for a day, and finally gets to see everything in the visual spectrum simultaneously the way his arch-enemy does. In the several seconds worth of complete and total clarity that he experiences, he arrives at an extremely simple conclusion. "It's all just us, in here, together. And we're all we've got." This is it and you make the most of it, you find connections where you can and you love like nobody's business because in all importance we don't have anything other than that. I think about that moment a lot. It makes me want to be a better person. 


  1. I think that this is amazing. I love you you lead up to that, it stuck a chord with me. Seriously, you are awesome.

  2. I just couldn't agree more. Well said. Thank you.