Meaning and Meaninglessness Reviewing Tim Hecker's Virgins and finding meaning in the inherent meaninglessness

The money's running out and the whoosh of the upcoming ground is getting deafening. Am I running forward or am I collapsing? Am I still getting away with my risks or is this The Great Reckoning at long last? If I was given another chance would I do anything differently?

The Void is calling and so I enter it, à la Gaspar Noé. In the town that I have spent the last three years of my life (God has it been so long?!), I still feel trapped and the music of Tim Hecker and other ambient music full of more emptiness than the ethereal. More numinous than ominous, more lonely and ethereal than New Order’s Movement, and more ill-defined than my own movement forward. Why is Icelandic and ambient music so fitting in a place that feels so empty? It’s only natural.

This is not the review I've been writing. It's also not written with any particular record in mind - rather a state based affair.

The money's running out and the whoosh of the upcoming ground is getting deafening. Am I running forward or am I collapsing? Am I still getting away with my risks or is this The Great Reckoning at long last? If I was given another chance would I do anything differently?

The Void is calling and so I enter it, à la Gaspar Noé. In the town that I have spent the last three years of my life (God has it been so long?!), I still feel trapped and the music of Tim Hecker and other ambient music full of more emptiness than the ethereal. More numinous than ominous, more lonely and ethereal than New Order’s Movement, and more ill-defined than my own movement forward. Why is Icelandic and ambient music so fitting in a place that feels so empty? It’s only natural.

It’s a simulacrum, “I've never liked that sad look of someone who wants to be loved by you.” Somehow, someone stealing and adopting your music is not the same as a natural musical soulmate. This hyperreality is something of a Korine film once again.

Is the difference crucial? Perhaps. Regardless, I'm still on my search for the person that clicks with me organically, and not because they wish it so. Although, “fake it ‘till you make it” is still something that I perhaps espouse; it does not work here. Eventually, even the most chameleonesque of us feel the pain of being in the wrong place. “You said I came close as anyone’s come, to live under water for more than a month.” Even a chameleon, the one creature who can adapt to any environment and blend in, eventually finds themselves in desperate yearning for a place that is more appropriate for them. We can mimic whatever we like, but it does not change the fact that some environments are just alien, unhospitable, rather like the environment that the music of Tim Hecker evokes.

“A life in art and a life of mimicry. It's the same thing.” Aside from the existential dread that forms over time of an empty place, of a gulag there is also that discreet, yet distinct, slightly guilty annoyance. It is ironic hypocritical revulsion because that what I am is engineered, created, and stolen from someone else; and yet when what I in turn have come to like is now just copied by someone else. It is the feeling of an unequal exchange – and I have felt it prior with others. Oddly enough, until now I couldn't understand that I was guilty of the same thing. By me stealing her preference and my subsequent debt to her, I still did not and could not know that that's how she felt. When you raise someone up to be a colossus to be a mimicked, they cannot help but feel this returning feeling of revulsion that stems from the very fact that you borrowed so much from them. They come to feel that this person needs/wants your approval so bad that they'll take whatever you give them. It's like Dobby with his socks.

But it took me to be in the same position to realize how she felt. Neither person shall sacrifice themselves on the altar of the other. Are we not all tabula rasae that are just looking to be filled up by borrowed characteristics that we adopt from our environments? Are we not the product of our various influences and the characteristics and preferences we find appealing? By becoming what we believe to be desirable, we ultimately and with the irony of life, become undesirable to the very people that we are taking from. Nobody that you pedestal can ever feel on an equal level with you as a consequence of your own actions.

For instance, a YouTube star and their fans are not on the same level. The star then consequently moves away from their fans because they do not want to feel superior to the people they interact with directly. Their discomfort because of the imbalance of power that they are granted by these other people that hoist them up is natural.

And thus what is the resolution? If the people we emulate in order to find other people akin to our obscure objects of desire are disgusted by our attempts, what is the point of that self-growth? It must be an internal feeling of growth, something that one applies to others and as a consequence become appealing not to the original but to the simulacrums of the original person, not the prototype, but the resulting models one finds. It is in this way that Hollywood concepts of love come to infiltrate real romance, and as a result, the false imperfect copies become derived from the false idealistic visions. Just as a chair is an inferior copy of the Form of the Chair, our reality is formed by imitating the “perfect” forms as seen in media, TV, music, film, you name it. We have successfully replaced our previously true-to-life concepts with concepts that derive from the media we consume. Instead of having our media copy real life, real life copies the media we are subjugated to.

We all become who we want to become, we all choose our paths in accordance to what we see as desirable and this leads to a world of chameleons. What is the color of a mirror? We become the flavor of water – the flavor itself being diluted and distilled, the flavor being defined by the container in which it is stored. The concept of authenticity seems so hopelessly dated when nobody and nothing seems to be authentic anymore, everything is a poor copy of a copy of a copy.

If we are who we want to be, and what we want to be is defined by the things we consume, we are no longer real independent selves, but rather copies, funhouse mirror images, specters and re-imaginings of others. Are we not entertaining reboots, sequels, remakes, film adaptations? And even if we are, can one really argue that there is an emptiness in that?

If you do not know who you even are if one took away all the influences, then how can you be authentic and true to yourself? We are just bundles of references, a collection of influences. Due to our vessel-like selves, once we have had taken in a number of things, their imprints can never be washed away. We are forever colored by the things we have adopted. Small wonder then that we feel so damn empty.

We take on likeable characteristics and disparage and discard of the ones we feel are unappealing. We are everything and nothing at once. So where to from here? We can keep going on this never-ending journey, either to an engineered ideal self akin to Lana Del Rey or to a downward spiral falling off a cliff – I cannot tell. Am I constantly improving at the cost of self-identity or am I simply eroding who I once was?

If a stranded desert traveler can marvel at a mirage of an oasis, a person that is themselves a mirage can appear appealing and desirable. However, when the hypothetical desert traveler arrives at the oasis, they drink and regain nourishment. Does the mirage or the real oasis hold equal or unequal value? If they are unequal what is superior – the promise of something great, or something great delivered? If one is an imperfect imitation that looks like something great from afar, then getting close can only be destructive. If one is an imitation that is improving constantly, then perhaps eventually it will be completely impossible to tell the difference between the auteur’s masterpiece and a shoddy replica. If nobody can tell the difference between the genuine YSL motorcycle leather jacket and a Chinese made copy, then what really is the difference? The only one who would know the difference is presumably the one who buys the counterfeit. Their knowledge that what they have is fake can never be erased, they are cursed with this eternal knowledge of knowing that what they are and what they have is fraudulent. It is the reason that I do not buy replicas. It is the same idea as Sartre’s Curse of Freedom. If we recognize that we are free to make any choices we wish, then we are also eternally cursed with the knowledge that we can always be better than what we are presently. Our fuckups of the past are irréversible, irrévocable. We are fated to never be able to change our pasts, and with this knowledge, we are also fated to know that we can never hold a candle to our own ideals.

And so what then? If we can find meaning in the meaningless, at least define it for ourselves then it’s all alright. Let us plod ever onward, across some tundra ...