posted on Jan, 12 2016 @ 01:42 AM
I hear out of the blue “David Bowie dead”. Wow, I think to myself. Didn’t even know he was sick, and then I hear on the T.V “Bowie kept it a
secret for 18 months”, and the “aah” and then the ebb, “so sad”, as I realize how sudden and unexpected this was, and young he still was
(relatively speaking). An image flashes on the screen of Bowie, sick, with his face wrapped in a bandage and two buttons covering where his eyes would
be. But it’s not just that: he’s so sick looking. His pallor. His sickness, read on his face, and the buttons…the image flashes in my mind
“he’s representing the anonymity of his situation: one which we all face. The buttons, blinding him to what he desperately wants to know, but
can’t, so must wallow in his morbid thoughts and fears.
Later on in the day I turn on the TV and put it to youtube, type in David Bowie, and watch his video Lazarus. The video starts with an armoire door
opening, with a sick, pale man – representing death, most likely – lurching out. He crawls towards the bed where the sick and dying Bowie rests,
contemplating what awaits him – eternal darkness? Eternal nothingness? And for a man – like Bowie – who lived and felt and experienced life at
an intensity that few people are privileged to feel?
Bowie calls out with each scene. I’m more focused on his body movements than his specific sayings. I think “Lazarus”, as in “the man
resurrected by Jesus”, and “aahh’, he believes – or wishes – or NEEDS – this. But Bowie isn’t making anything simple or easy. Amid the
hope for resurrection or a meaningful return to knowing, there is darkness, fear, the bed, the disease, the strenuous activity of thoughts and
thinking – the spasmodic movements of Davids body. Bowie strikes the heart of the reality: death is a scary, scary #ing thing.
But then he gets up, we see his face, he’s moving his body, and I can’t help wonder about the spirit of this man; sick, and no doubt enfeebled by
his late-stage cancer; but up, moving, focused, eager, moving – presenting meaning in his movements and effortful assertions in his words. He
dances, he shows himself, reminds himself, recalls life, recalls his joys, recalls his multiplicity of ways – laughter, play, partying, fun, but
also spiritual pursuits, praying, seeking of meaning. A man who has been well educated and philosophically initiated. He wants to present his death,
express his death – for art? My cynical side speaks up, but I calm it. I think the most important thought: “Who can help it”? The man is dying,
and he is doing something beautiful in his dying. He could die and let it be; or, as perhaps only someone as genius as David Bowie can ponder, he can
turn it into a deep and realistic portrayal of life’s final moments. In his death, with his buttons on his eyes – he is me, you, or anyone else,
who experience themselves at the center of it all (of which Bowie was an exaggeration) and the utter calamity of facing death – of the dissolution
of the thermodynamic organic constitution we call our body – and face….what? David Bowie is nothing and no one, just a robot – or a machine –
which he intimates in his robotic-like retro-steps back towards the armoire, leaving the world of machine-like organic form, and returning to whatever
Before his return to the armoire, he utters a beautiful line: first he says he wants to be free like a blue bird, and finally, he says he wants to be
“like me”. And that’s the hardest truth, yet a profound truth. I’m sure Bowie died in peace, with loved ones, and with a certain gnosis that
whatever he – and we too one day – returns to, is the natural way, and the natural reality, that precedes and follows existential knowing.