I begin this year with music, as it’s much more expressive than words. Kurt Cobain is a guy who died more than 20 years ago, yet his legacy remains. Below are 3 of his songs with Nirvana, in an order that is not exactly random, following distinct steps that some of you might have experienced in your life.
Kurt killed himself when he was 27 years old and, while listening to his songs and reading about his life, beyond his drug addiction and his chaotic behavior, one can see a background disappointment with life, and his final phrase in his suicide note – “it’s better to burn out than to fade away” – brings into sight a person not willing to compromise, who can’t endure a life of nothingness. As I age, I begin to see that life becomes at some time a matter of endurance, a matter of being able to deal with all the rubbish the existence can throw into you and in your path, rather than a pleasant walk or journey. Kurt must have felt the same the moment passion and vibe faded away, and not being creative or emotional meant the end for him. This is hard to understand for people who are happy just “to be” or “to exist”. There is that quote sometimes found on the Internet that “You are alive, and if this doesn’t make you happy, I don’t know what will”. Well, for some people, being alive is (was) not enough.
In psychology this is called identifying with a certain trait or ability or feature; you become your creativity, or your vibe, or your deeds (your art, your masterpiece, etc.). By doing this, you give up your complexity and become one-sided. By consequence, when you lose the part you’re identifying with, you lose yourself as an entire being (your life purpose included). Life becomes meaningless and some sort of suicide shortly follows (some folks don’t have the courage to kill themselves in one move, just like Kurt did, so they become addicts or alcoholics, depending on the available means of slow destruction). So the lesson we could learn from the life and death of Kurt is that it’s advisable or desirable to see ourselves not only through our role or job title or our accomplishments, but also honor our entire multifaceted being.