What do you do when you see something you took so long to build is slowly being eroded? Do you fight like hell even though you don’t have the tools to save it? Imagine you built a super elaborate sandcastle way up the beach during low tide, but you know that the tide hasn’t reached up there since the 1970’s and you’re also able to put police tape all around it to ensure the general public knows it’s not a passive sculpture but something that the general public should marvel at for time immemorial. Okay, so you created this masterpiece that has inspired others to create, to also make sandcastles, some directly in the ocean, some out in the parking lot with dirt, but what you have made is, you think, special, so special that it is revered by others.
Have that in your mind? Now imagine there has been a storm unlike that beach has known for decades. Erosion is happening in real time, it’s tangible, houses on cliff faces near your sandcastle crumble. All the while you erect a shoddily made tarpaulin tent over your sandcastle. But the tide is getting closer and closer and stray, savage children start wandering near, your tarp is directing their interest. You can see a way where if you get your hands on the right tools, a forklift, a palate made to scoop wood, enough time to figure out how to dig that out; that you can save your sandcastle, but even if you did, you’d lose a turret or two.
Except you don’t have that kind of time. The waves are crashing closer and closer, rowdy children surround your fragile beacon of hope that they see is built for the satisfaction of destruction (like bubble wrap), now the rain is starting to fall. The storm was supposed to last maybe ten minutes, a few angry clouds that would last 20 minutes at best. Instead the storm has dragged on for four days straight, with ferocious winds coming at you from all sides, lightening and hail assaults the fragile ground upon which your sandcastle barely clings. You try to salvage the sandcastle by all the means you have. You scoop it with both hands as rain pelts you in the face and the tide gets higher and higher, and the unkempt, rowdy children kick at your ankles.
By the time you get to shelter, all that’s left is the idea of the sandcastle. In your hands is mud, a mush that used to represent your remembrance of the carefully crafted citadel that consumed your every waking moment to create and preserve. Now, there it is, slipping through your fingers, dripping on to the floor of the community center you skittered toward for shelter. You can see out the window the remnants of that sandcastle being relentlessly pelted by rain, ocean, the angry stomping feet of children, and just for good measure a drunken mule that stumbles over and urinates on the wreckage of your art.
The relentless march of time and its unleashed pet, the hell hound of change have patience. They will erode whatever you think you have crafted. It’s all fragile. The only way to preserve anything, it seems, is to be malleable, remember that thoughts and visions remain in the collective thoughts, embedded in the group if they are shared, engrained in the unconscious if only you remember to share them with those who believe. Let’s all share our sandcastles.
You must embrace the truth of transience. Like the Buddhist monks who create those super elaborate coloured sand mandalas, only to let the wind blow them away when done. The Western way would be to try to preserve that work of art forever. The Eastern way is to enjoy it in the moment, in the Eternal Now, and then let it go.
Fuck, I’m bein’ preachy today, ain’t I?
Not at all, that’s beautiful. If you want to, I can undercut it with cynicism:
I looked up a video of it, which seems contradictory to the point of the ethos of their art, but hey, rub their bald little heads and introduce them to YouTube.
There are times when I feel that any sandcastle I was to build would be jumped on and kicked over by others because sometimes I feel the world is full of bullies and self righteous assholes, just saying
Am I the self-righteous asshole in this scenario? (Guess who’s sensitive about being a self-righteous asshole? Spoiler: It’s me.)
That’s beautiful, Pickleope. As each minute passes, we remain the compilation of every minute in the past. We can’t return to the past, but the past is always with us.
Why should I waste my time with sandcastles when I’m way too busy kicking sand into the faces of all those nerds playing in the dirt like nerds?
*sits in sand*
*stares off into distance*