If you truly believed that you could save the world, would you do what it would take? Even if it meant walking around town in brightly colored Spandex? Careful how you answer…www.transitman.org.
aka Christian French
this is a fascinating short video. i’m not sure how i feel about it though, i want to be honest and say there is something tragic in it for me.
by wearing a super hero outfit and going about the business of a regular person, it kind of exposes the non-heroic in our every day lives. i think i might be reading this is a way that might be antithetical to the artist, but it seems this disconnectedness, and he does a great job of describing and pointing this out, comes from all of us refusing to accept the call of the heroic, the call of glory.
i’ve been having conversations with logocentric lately, and the notion of ‘glory’ has been coming up. in ancient times, people pursued glory, and although i have a different vision for the word, it seems that it is common to our age to be rather pious, to treat glory as a form of egoism, but in reality we are all searching for it, it’s like everyone’s secret fantasy.
but….but what if we accepted this about ourselves, that we were truly looking for a glorious experience in our life? perhaps that would change how we related to others. whereas this artist, the one in the video, is trying to liberate others, perhaps there is a form of self-interest, the liberation of self, the glory of the self, that in the end is the most helpful gift we can give. i don’t know, i’m thinking on the fly here, but i’m trying to sketch out an emotional landscape that opens up for me when watching this piece.
if we were explicit in our desire for glory, we would have to define the appropriate context for glory, the appropriate virtues.
akbar flies off into the sky
Akbar my dear friend this is a very interesting interpretation of this project. For years now I continue to peck away at the world by standing up for what I believe in, hoping that it will inspire change like TransitMan is attempting to do. I continue to believe that the average, everyday pedestrian man will see my honest passionate deeds and gain inspiration that will help them in their daily lives, and much like TransitMan I dress up in a mask and often play the court jester. Globatron the alter-ego has a lot of TransitMan in him I believe. He wants folks to realize their potential and in doing so, you are correct realize Globatron’s potential.
But what you speak of, I must admit, is a deep down human emotion. The search for glory is an ever elusive quest. From what I’ve heard even those who gain it feel empty inside. How we deal with this quest for glory defines us in the end. I seek glory for Globatron too. I want Globatron to seek his potential on a Global even Universal level. Now when we speak of glory on this scale you are correct it does have a tendency to be compared to egoism. But to address that, and to realize that this search for glory is part of the human condition, might be a freeing thing to some. It indeed might be. What type of world would it be if there were no dragons to slay?
I personally have found the search for glory to be a roller-coaster of despair. Now of course it depends on the day you talk to me, as with all roller-coasters riders, but this weekend I was a bit down about all of this. For years I have tried to use my art as a tool to speak truths that I find evident in order to awaken others. At the same time I have yearned for the awakening inside me at the same time. And I must admit I have yearned for glory. But through this yearning I have found only disappointment and it has not lead me closer to finding enlightenment or happiness.
An interesting personal note about the artist Christian French who did the TransitMan project is that he is a Buddhist. I find that interesting the quest for glory is not part of the teachings of Buddha. Maybe the only glory is the glory of personal enlightenment. I researched Buddhism this evening. I find it interesting. I’m not too sure about the reincarnation bit, but there’s even quite a few who don’t believe in that and all Buddhist can adapt Siddhartha’s teachings to their own lives as they see fit and it’s highly acceptable. I’m sure a genuine search for glory would be acceptable also. I’d love to help you find your glory Akbar. Maybe we can all find it together.
Heroic? Non-Heroic? Can you measure the distance between the two?
Akbar, I would say there’s more pathos in TransitMan than there is tragedy. It is pathetic for a chubby human to dress up in a Heroic costume and attempt to save the world, because we, the audience, know the odds are pretty heavily stacked in the opposite direction. Pathetic, because we see his weakness, his vulnerability, clearly exposed; but not tragic, because he is not doomed to failure. I agree in principle with your musings about the quest for glory, but I personally would (and have for many years) frame it as a search for the Heroic. Glory is easily understood as nourishing the ego (“Better than anyone else”) where as Heroic is the expression of one fully expressing one’s potential (“Did my best”) often if not especially in the service of others. Beowulf did not slay Grendel because he was a ball-hog, or because he wanted to overcome a sense of inadequacy, but because his community was threatened. That he was bad-ass is helpful in the narrative of the tale, but in the end what matters is that he rose to the occasion and prevailed. We all live within a personal narrative, with ourselves as the central character, and we are built to express ourselves as the heroes of our narrative. I think that it is unfortunate that we live in a system that encourages us to look to others to do that work for us (Mariners anyone?) I think it is about time we realize that we each of us has the power to make a difference, hidden within the simple choices we make every day.
Globatron, Buddhism is not a set of beliefs one adopts (reincarnation, say) but rather a set of principles based on a particular understanding of how we as individuals and the world as an overall experience operates. Emphasis is often placed, from Siddhartha’s time on on personal direct experience. If I begin to see the outside world as a reflection of my own internal make up, I may begin to feel more responsibility for what I do and the consequences that follow. The important thing is to point your nose in the right direction and not to give up, regardless. Despair, disillusionment and frustration are not just the province of Heroes, Artists, or Buddhists, they are the natural human response to our own inadequacies and weaknesses in the face of struggle. We accept these things and suit up anyway.
TransitMan himself. Thanks for stopping by and giving us input on your project. I appreciate the thoughts on Buddhism also. Beautifully stated I must say and I do believe that it gives more input on the thought process behind TransitMan.
I find your description of TransitMan as chubby to also be interesting. I enjoy the fact that he wasn’t in tip top shape actually. It reminds me of the average computer/mouse clicking office worker more, of which I am. But that’s purely a physical observation.
It’s 8:09 AM. I’m suited up in my office casual, sitting at my desk, staring at my monitor ready to take on this day. Hopefully I can make a difference today. I do agree that it’s the small actions in our lives that impact the world. Chaos theory and the Unified Field theory speak to the significance of the small to the large and vice versa. For example the big bang came out of something the size of a pea. I find that beautiful. Small choices/actions can make significant positive change in the world although they may seem mundane and insignificant at that moment.
I’m going to try and do my best today. I hope others will too.
Looks like some of the comments went by by. Sorry TransitMan. That's what I get for trying to continually improve this here bloggy. Maybe I can get them back.
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