Challenge, Failure and Fatality

Challenge, Failure and Fatality

February 18, 2018

Written by:

Mitoș Micleușanu

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Personal Fulfilment

We think we can chose, but everything is connected to our structure; how we learned to survive, how we learned to overtake our problems, failures and falls. There is a set of general rules which bring different types of repair equations. For example, if you don’t fall, you don’t know what falling is and you can’t truly rise up and only when you’re down you can really understand what the price of success means. Or, if you don’t get through difficult times, you won’t learn to be stronger. There are even older equations, such as “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” or “from failure you learn”.

Today, when motivational speech is a fashionable thing with all kinds of attractive methods intended for profit, people live their failures in intimacy, behind closed doors, inside inner circles. There is a shyness in exposing your weakness, or asking for help, because nobody wants to be in that position.

There are two types of problems with exposing yourself when you’re washed-out: one is the image of yourself, which you normally want to adjust it to a certain degree of independent human being with a financial autonomy. And in a social context, you can’t survive if you don’t move and communicate, if you don’t have a network of relationships, or if you don’t want to be put in a certain regime or timetable.

This idea of success is very inflated, tumid and extremely well-packed for marketing purposes. I wouldn’t see the idea of success in comparison with failure, but rather with the idea of personal fulfilment which maybe is not related to a certain success.

Success can offer you a certain kind of satisfaction, narcissistic in a way, if it’s the success of the image, or a financial success, if you’re a businessman. But regardless of an artistic or economic success, it all leads to a certain type of fulfilment. And this fulfilment is referred to the times when you agonized, when you felt embarrassed for asking for help to someone. In a way, we all help each other, somehow. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a financial help; even the discussions, gatherings, what a man sees, what he reads, everywhere there are all kinds of helping methods and signs which can be decoded.

We follow various public figures, or people from various backgrounds (be it sportspersons or successful people), who superficially show off a happy version of their own, but if we dig deeper into their past, into their endeavor, we will discover some incredible and almost identical things when it comes to failure, traumas or harsh times. Most of these people are coming from uncertain, problematic and difficult areas, be it a childhood with certain kinds of problems, poverty or trauma which completely changed their way of seeing life. People need an impulse in order to become active. Otherwise, if everything is ok, if they are used to comfort, it needs a certain kind of education for them to understand what is the price of the so-called success.
Fatality is floating anyway, it makes no sense to emphasize it by believing in it or turning it into a credo or a very important landmark.

Failure in Arts

There are some fears about the way an artist perceives this idea of ​​marking something cultural, of becoming a landmark in a certain area, of finding a niche of it, of trying to further lead the things he has seen, to climb some steps toward ever greater recognition. The normally instinctive trend is to make yourself known on a global scale. If you get known from a cultural perspective on a global scale and live with a novelty in your approach, you may come up with some new, avant-garde proposals in a certain sense, and you know you contribute to some acceleration of a social cultural progress.

This is why people can never stop; there is also a cultural avidity, not just an economic one. The cultural insatiability is when a man wants to become more and more heard, mentioned, more present in a cultural plan. In the end, the purpose is to make yourself heard. But all the models we are bombarded with are pretty rudimentary. Success means being everywhere, making money, bringing the people to your concert, selling more books, etc.

But this is not all. We don’t know how what we have done will evolve over time. You can be a great ideologist, you can do some very sharp analyzes in a certain area, and you can put different assumptions and look for different methods to improve something, and eventually that would transform into a regime, for example. We don’t know where it will take what we are launching. But if people always relate to some specific models and turn them into a kind of single result that is worth reaching, then it's wrong.
Photo by Mitoș Micleușanu
Photo by Mitoș Micleușanu

Resistance and Success

We do not like cowardice, we do not want to talk about it, and we do not want to admit that we have these cowardly features. But cowardice must also be understood from an animal perspective of survival. There are situations when running can save you, there are situations in which the run may turn you into a coward. Depending on where you ran, from what situation you ran. There are situations in which you cannot run, or you have to run and run, and there are situations where it may have been better to have fled and you stayed, and then, even if you lost, you will rather be an example like this. Many will say that maybe you did a stupid thing, but generally, people will appreciate the ability to stay on the barricades. People appreciate those who remain in the barricades regardless of whether this worth it or not, whether that will solve the problem or not. Otherwise, we fall into a nihilistic approach or a certain kind of self-sufficiency or denial.

We have no patience, but the effects are seen over time. Real, constructive, serious pragmatism is optimistic. It's not a nihilist, depressing, fatal one. Fatality is floating anyway, it makes no sense to emphasize it by believing in it or turning it into a credo or a very important landmark. But in a poetic or artistic way is not stupid, fatality plays an important role in the creative area. It has a certain weight, consistency, much deeper than singing about popcorn or love at first glance.

Failure can also be seen from a memento mori perspective; it’s always there, like a light bulb, sometimes on, sometimes off. If you see all these grey horizons as a challenge, as a game, everything becomes somehow simpler. We all face the same amount of difficulties, of bitter times, in balance with a small degree of sweetness, pleasure or satisfaction.

Even those people who seem to attract failure can change their mindset, their approach. You need to ask yourself what went wrong, why is happening what is happening. It is very easy to find irregularities on the outside; you will always find them. But to search for anomalies on the inside is very complicated, because you tend to find yourself excuses, which is wrong. We shouldn’t find an external cause for our problems, to say that the world is sick in a certain way. In a nihilistic way, our society is blamed for losing its values. It has always been like this. Someone says that there were times when people were more helpful, more friendly, more engaged. But that’s just a personal perspective, often related to one’s own time and youth.
Photo by Mitoș Micleușanu
Photo by Mitoș Micleușanu

False Failure and Utility

The false failure is when your idea of success is strictly related to your own ego, it depends on your own personal satisfaction. In the end, the failure of a selfish person would be more brutal. The false failure is not as dramatic as it seems. For example, not to have money is a false failure, compared to a real and profound failure such as committing something bad that can’t be repaired. A real failure is losing your family or close friends. A true failure is not being able to find your own place, or if you feel you want to do something, not being able to do it. Essentially, everything is about that feeling of utility. If you feel you’re useful and someone needs you, there are very few chances that failure would sneeze in.

On the other hand, failure is not necessarily when you feel useless, when you feel you’re trying to say something but nobody listens, nobody sees you or appreciates what you’re doing. This could be a situation when you are ahead of your time. People don’t want complicated things in their existence. They want immediate answers and solutions. And when someone comes with more radical and weird equations, they are usually misunderstood. Something which today may look outdated, it can get a certain type of shining in the future. Man doesn’t need to fall in despair. Desperation is also a type of failure, which can play the role of a trampoline to overcome a specific time. If you survive and resist, it’s good. If you don’t, you don’t.

But to understand and admit that essentially you are on your own and you are all alone, that’s a fundamental truth. And if you don’t want to feel that you failed, you need to make things with a certain kind of dedication for those around you. For that small degree of good, be it utopic or idealist. There is nothing wrong in being idealist. It is important to become socially active, careful and emphatic with other’s needs, always learning.

An approach such as the one of Becket, who said “ever tried, ever failed, fail again, fail better” is a nihilistic defense, because it ensures a certain type of comfort based on the idea that no matter how hard you’re trying, everything is going to fail. We don’t have to lie to ourselves, we need to start from the idea that it's bad anyway. And then, if we manage to build some island of light in this general context of suicide, it’s good, but don’t let yourself seduced by these islands. And don’t imagine that success will last. Like the idea of glorification in the religion, or the idea of the will of power in philosophy, and the power as a drug, the dependence on power. We cannot exclude them, we are all to a lesser or greater degree ill with this idea of power, the idea of conquering, expanding our stall. It's genetic.

We are essentially expansionist systems. There are expansionist systems that seem to be lacking in any kind of emotion, non-empathetic, going over bodies. Politically or socially, expansion is not about emotions, but about interests. It is the imposition of rules; and the one who is stronger imposes them, sooner or later.

Power of Education

Photo by Mitoș Micleușanu
Photo by Mitoș Micleușanu
From the social point of view, we die, others are born and carry on that set of problems on the one hand, and the things that they have solved from us, on the other hand. Education is extremely important, it is the only major problem that makes things stagnate. The fact that there is still no price on high-level education. There is a certain comfort there, and any governmental or religious structure will not have a very pronounced interest in changing people. They must adapt to the fact that people have become smarter. But if people don’t become smarter, they can be controlled and they don’t disturb the comfort of power structures. That's why you have to ask, otherwise they will not give you anything. Because they do not want you to change yourself, except in the professional plan that will bring something extra to those who govern. But we have to understand very clearly that if you do not ask for your rights, no one will give you any rights. The rights were won with blood.

This is the paradox: from one side you have the impression that they should understand and do some common-sense things, that seem absolutely normal: invest in an cutting-edge education system, invest in schools, in a health system. And we believe that it's common sense, and that's how it should be. But there is no good sense up there. There is self-sufficiency and comfort that these people have. Only a very small number of them have that kind of progressive thinking, like letting us educate people, give them better conditions, give them cheaper technology. Even industries are perverse, because they have gotten money out of people by producing things that are not reliable, things that ruin faster. This is basically a fraud.

If one only thinks about one’s life, of course it's hard to talk about hope. But if one understands that one’s life is only a second in the history of a social system or a world, then the issue of failure or despair does not arise. Eventually all people would like to live in a better world, but too few are willing to sacrifice some personal, small interests. We people are basically lazy animals, we do not like to be pushed out of a warm armchair.

Power has errors because it is centralized. When it becomes more decentralized, it will be more fluid, more complex. It will work rather like the brain works, which does not have a control center. Society is still a bit more primitive than the brain, but it tends to get a certain kind of brain dynamics; and the brain itself changes. But probably from an organic, genetic, structural point of view, the world can be seen as a super synaptic system that still clings to this idea of centralized power. Several centers are better than a single center. One is vulnerable.

Marina Abramovic said in an interview that in the end, it is important for an artist to know when to draw back and to think about the moment of retirement and how they will die. It's very important because people cling so hard on issues of power or wealth. This is the spirit that appears in nature, to set aside, because you do not know what future will bring. Conservation is a characteristic feature of the living world. Consciousness, however, appears with a plus, it allows a change rather to the opening than to the closing. No matter how the technological world will evolve, people will be one step ahead, although we have this fear of getting the victims of our own construction.

The earth looks like a rotisserie. It rotates, but it does not lie too much in the sun with one side, because if it stays too much with a part of the sun it would fry, it would burn and the other would freeze. So is technology. We're in a hurry, but we have to be very careful not to fry us. Here are the risks. The natural world has developed quite naturally because there have been cycles and a certain rhythm that has existed for millions of years. Species could develop naturally over time. Things that have a solid foundation are built in time, there is unconscious caution of nature, a certain leeward.

We are here for a short time, compared to the time since Earth exists. So is the evolution of humanity. Perhaps it must take several tens of thousands of years until the world gets a certain kind of general wisdom. We do not even know, maybe it's already telepathic, maybe it's not the language that's right now, maybe we'll be systems somewhere in a virtual space, who knows?
About the Author

Mitoș Micleușanu

Mitoș Micleușanu was born in Bakhchysarai (Crimea), lived and studied arts in Chișinău (Moldova) and Cluj-Napoca (Romania). He is a multidisciplinary artist, being involved in a wide range of artistic projects, from experimental music to poetry, photography and visual arts. Follow Mitoș on bandcamp and his blog.

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