Enigma Senja

Malam mendekat, tetapi kita belum juga sampai di rumah dengan selamat. Sedikit cahaya yang tersisa pada waktu-waktu inilah yang bisa membimbing kita semua.

Terjun Bebas

Haven't thrown up for a while now but to my disbelief, something far more raw and primal than alcohol has been intoxicating me, impairing my judgment, suspending my dissonance, pushing me to question my boundaries... I thought I'm old enough, wise enough to stop yet here I am, ready to jump off the cliff and hit the sharp-edged promontories. If there's any moral of the story, at least I know that I could still feel... Something so visceral, something so real. Sure as hell this will end up a big glorious mess, but beautiful nonetheless.

Paris

Catatan-catatan di Les Deux Magots, musim panas lalu.

Kebanyakan kota dibangun dari bangunan dan jalan. Beberapa, seperti Paris, dibangun dari gagasan. Kita menyaksikan sendiri bagaimana gagasan saling bertumbukan dan akhirnya membentuk realita di jalan-jalannya. Seperti gagasan kebebasan berpendapat yang diuji melawan gagasan 'iman' suatu kaum, misalnya. Atau dilema gagasan gentrifikasi, yang membuat siklus hidup-mati setiap arrondissement (distrik dalam kota Paris) seakan tidak pernah berhenti. Gagasan-gagasan yang menjadi fondasi kota ini bahkan jauh lebih kuat dari rajutan sosial: "aku ada karena yang lain memberiku kemerdekaan untuk mengada--aku tidak akan mengusik kemerdekaan mereka sebagaimana mereka tidak akan mengusik kemerdekaanku." Menghirup udara segar di Coulée Verte, menapak gang-gang sempit di Quartier Latin, membaca poster dan sticker yang menantang lantang di tembok-tembok Le Marais diiring bising musik punk dari pintu apartemen yang setengah terbuka mengingatkan kembali: kota bukan batu dan marmer semata--fakta yang sering terlupa, saat realita di kota tempat tinggal kita terkungkung dalam ilusi satu ruang ber-AC ke ruang ber-AC lainnya. 


Aisha, Andi, François: merci beaucoup!

Poetic Existence

Without meaning, what are we compared to the machines we built? With the advent of AI employment, I wonder if the very essence of education should be to aid one find one's basis of existence--one's poetic raison d'etre, one's position in symbolic connections.

Read Wilde's lighthearted observation on machines here.

Esse est Percipi

"If someone pops out on the street and suddenly asks me 'who are you', I'm afraid the only answer I have in mind is my job title, and that really bugs me..."

Does living independent from the gaze--and therefore the questions--that The Others posit is ever an option? Quantum mechanics postulates that all objects in the universe are merely waves of probabilities until it is observed--asserting Berkeley's notion that "to be is to be perceived" centuries earlier. But to be perceived as what? Let that question be our cause. Maybe our very existence is a struggle to answer that single question, an answer that will resonate and affect those who come us, the entirety of humanity, the universe, even. At least for me, pondering about the question is a comforting respite from meaninglessness.

P.S since we're talking about roles here, I've shared some of my impersonal writings--mostly on what I perceive as my role--to my newish tumblr. Feel free to come, comment, and follow (and assert my existence).

Bertahan

Do you like what you see in the mirror?

Ada yang bilang perubahan itu niscaya, tapi sekarang ini kaget juga melihat wajah asing di dalam cermin. Semakin banyak kerut dari senyum pura-pura, semakin banyak jerawat dari mikir nggak tahu apa, semakin banyak komedo dari pulang malam buat kerjaan yang nggak bikin bangga, semakin pekat lingkaran hitam dari malam-malam tanpa mimpi, cuma berpegangan sama nostalgia, adiksi, sensasi, dan distraksi, semakin banyak entri yang diulang-ulang aja, semakin banyak teman pergi karena nggak tahan diganggu terus ketenangan (atau ke-tidak-tenangan) hidupnya. Semakin lelah, kata mereka. Tapi kenapa?


One Way Dialog

"A table for two, sir?"
"We'd like a room for two, please."
"Alright, this way please. Can I get you the menu now, sir?"
"No, thank you. We're good. You can leave us now. I'll let you know when I'm done eating." 
The waiter left them both, shivering.

Istimewa

Anak itu hampir selalu meraih peringkat 1 atau 2 atau 3. Sejak SD hingga SMA, ia selalu diterima di sekolah-sekolah terbaik di Jakarta dengan beasiswa. Tapi tak seperti anak lain di sekolahnya, anak itu tak punya orangtua yang mampu membiayainya les bola atau biola. Hobi anak itu hanya membaca dan memecahkan soal matematika. Tak heran jika tak ada yang menganggapnya istimewa. Tapi anak itu tahu, ia  lebih pintar dari teman-temannya. Ia juga tahu, ia mau berusaha keras. Maka ia berjuang mati-matian sejak awal semester pertama untuk masuk Kelas Unggulan. Konon kabar, guru-guru kelas unggulan tamatan Singapura dan biasa melatih Olimpiade Fisika dan Matematika. Kelas Unggulan adalah satu-satunya kesempatan anak itu untuk merasa dirinya istimewa. Hari pengumuman tiba. Ia satu-satunya yang lolos. Mulai semester depan, anak itu akan belajar di Kelas Unggulan. Sendirian.

The Prodigal Son

He returned home one year ago, naive, lonely, hungry, without a penny, but with a heart full of prayer that someday he will become worthy.


One year after, the prayer has turned into a question: worthy of what?

25

"To absent friendslost lovesold gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due."
--Neil Gaiman in Sandman: Season of Mists

Good to know that you survived your first year of freefalling from the comfort of a system. It's a wild ride, but surprisingly you made it out alive.

Along the journey, you realized that writing self-convincing entries or wearing a cocksure smile could never conceal the void in your soul. You learned that splitting your life makes you never feel a whole. You learned that the scars you left in others' hearts will eventually leave you an empty hole. You learned that accomplishments aren't going to shield you from getting hurt. You realized how the dark things you keep to yourself will haunt you forever. You figured that you want the blinding spotlight no more. Yes, cheap thrills don't work anymore and now crazy shits are such a bore.

But you found new ways to get both your fix of adrenaline rush and of contentment: by courageously letting go of absent friends, lost hopes, slipping moments, and any other addictions and Dumbo feathers; by immersing yourself completely in even the most mundane of moments; by gracefully accepting your alienation, and in return giving birth of worthwhile creations.

More adventures await and you eagerly anticipate, but this time you feel like you don't need to test your limits anymore. You're learning to love your rough edges and honor the borders. You're learning to at least be decent, both to yourself and to others around you. You still love watching fireworks, but now you don't mind staring at the stars or even the dark night sky.

You're still that kid who live for today, but now you try your best to break the day's bread and share it with ones your life is connected to. Though you're not even slightly sure whether you're going to make it or not, but you're on your way to transform your mere existence into meaningful presence.

There's still so much more to see and feel and learn and ask and share as you chart your way out of the storm of confusion, build your model of reality, write your personal code of morality, and construct your ever-unfinished worldview, but right this very moment, your face is alight, you're alive, and everything's alright.

Here and Now

"...all you can do is sit back and bask in your relevance to the cosmos."
--Neil deGrasse Tyson

Read Me

I'm an open book; sheets of paper soaked wet with sweat, bound by broken promises, written in illegible scribbles of licorice-scented blood.
I'm an open book, composed of fragments of forgotten fables and long recycled lyrics and shards of sharp-edged stories and pieces of the people I love, but--
Most of my pages remain unwritten.
I'm an open book, so write on me if you would, or close me for good, or read me if you could.
Double personality is so 2000. Mobil jemputan warna hijau telor asin Brebes yang hobinya kebut-kebutan di Kalimalang sambil menggeber Joy Division. Kretek, kopi, dan gorengan bersama Derrida di taman kota. Es krim rasa tape dan gulali rasa nangka. Situationist International. Risoles isi daging rusa asap. Lingkar samsara Sisifus. Tanda seru. Selamatkan seni dan desain dari diri mereka sendiri. Petir. Piknik antar peradaban. Fluxus yang tersumbat, gerak yang terhambat. Kembang api. Interupsi. Negasi. Saya percaya pada kekuatan dialog dan pendidikan menengah, inisiasi remaja menuju masyarakat. Narasi besar telah runtuh. Mari nyanyikan epik kita sendiri. Seorang teman berkata, yang bisa menggambarkan saya adalah sebuah wadah yang ke dalamnya terus menerus dilemparkan apa saja oleh siapa saja. Semoga wadah itu tak ada dasarnya, tak akan penuh ataupun tumpah isinya. Semoga wadah itu tetap ada, terus membendung keriuhan di dalamnya. Semoga keriuhan itu tak mereda, dan semoga semua manusia tak berhenti bertanya.

Aidil Akbar Latief
@idlelatief