Life On Crying
posted by October 17 at 14:14 PMon
“Are gay men allowed to cry?” Eli Sanders asked me a month ago, and I promised to provide an answer within a month. That month has passed and this is the answer I have for him: no. Absolutely no. Why? Because—and women, though I don’t speak for you (yet), please pay close attention—crying is base, low, and primitive (in the unloaded sense of that word), which is why babies do it all of the time.
Now, what we need to do is make a clear distinction between two human states: one, emotional; two, feelings. Which is the higher state and which is the lower one? Emotions are certainly lower and feelings are by far higher. Feelings are developed over time, and, as the neurologist Antonio Damasio has pointed out, possible only in animals with the capacity to remember, to reflect on what is remembered, and to refine those rough memories into “precious memories,” as the great Sister Rosetta Tharpe once called them.
I’ll give you cry babies this: Emotions are the foundation, the ground, the soil for the development of feelings. But, and this is a crucial but, once you have outgrown emotions, which are useful to babies because they can’t talk, they must be abandoned (in the same way playing with toys is abandoned) and the adult must move on to the vast and dark sea of feelings. Emotions, which can be found even in worms, are incapable of making real art (and there is such a thing as real art), only feelings can produce something like the opening of Shostakovich’s “3. Largo” in his Symphony 5.
Leave crying to babies and become who you are—an adult! (Americans have the hardest time with this adult/children distinction, which is understandable. It is a consequence of socialization that the majority of Americans worship and stay stuck in childhood. When having to pick between ruling over children or adults, America’s dominant socializing machine, capitalism, will invariably pick the former, which is why 50 Cent is a millionaire and Cecil Taylor is unknown.)